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Islamic World News ( 7 Jun 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iran Parliamentarians Chant ‘Death to America’ After Islamic State Attacks Tehran


















Six ISIS recruits from Iran attacked the parliament and leader's shrine, said a top official

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Iran Parliamentarians Chant ‘Death to America’ After Islamic State Attacks Tehran

Iraqi Kurds Plan Independence Referendum on Sept. 25

Imams, Religious Leaders Voice 'Utter Disgust' After London Attack

Jakarta: Clerics, Islamic Schools Told To Stay Away From Politics

Iftar with a Difference: Scarred By Lynchings, Alwar Families Say Will Give up Dairy Farming

 

Mideast

Iran Parliamentarians Chant ‘Death to America’ After Islamic State Attacks Tehran

Tehran Attackers Were Iranian ISIS Recruits: Official

Iran's IRGC Vows to Avenge Tehran Terrorist Attacks

13 dead in twin IS hits in Tehran

Leader Plays down Tehran Attacks as Fireworks, Says Incident Proves Preciseness of Iran's Strategy

MP Confirms Authenticity of ISIL Footage of Terrorist Attack at Iranian Parliament

Deputy Interior Minister: Terrorists Enter Iranian Parliament in Disguise

UN Special Envoy for Yemen headquarters to move to Amman

Turkey parliament approves troop deployment to Qatar

Netanyahu’s remarks show Israel ‘not ready’ for peace

Kurdish-backed militia launches Raqqa operation as another declares war on Turkey

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Arab World

Iraqi Kurds Plan Independence Referendum on Sept. 25

Hezbollah Asks For Support on Billboards and Posters

Trump: I thank King Salman for fighting terrorism

Muslim Brotherhood rejects Saudi terror accusations

Pro-Assad troops threaten to hit US positions in Syria

Syrian regime replicates the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces

Saudi FM: Actions against Qatar in the interest of Doha itself and region

Raqqa campaign will accelerate, US envoy says

Bahraini king: Saudi protects us in light of Qatari, Iranian interference

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Europe

Imams, Religious Leaders Voice 'Utter Disgust' After London Attack

Pressure Builds on British Muslims to Better Identify Extremists

UKIP Calls for Britain to Ban the Hardline Islamist Muslim Brotherhood

Ahmadi worship place violently targeted in Ireland days after London attack

Russian hackers to blame for sparking Qatar crisis, FBI inquiry finds

Anti-Muslim Crimes Spike in London after Attack Says Mayor Sadiq Khan

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Southeast Asia

Jakarta: Clerics, Islamic Schools Told To Stay Away From Politics

Philippines Says Militants Had Planned Much Larger-Scale Attack

Police Arrest 'Motivators' Behind Kampung Melayu Suicide Attack

Christian, Muslim and Hindu Soccer Players in Indonesia Use Goal Celebration to Make Political Statement

China rejects US report on military bases in Pakistan

Zaid tells Muslim leaders to change before terrorism sets in

Report: Singapore’s libraries pull down controversial Malay books on religions

Indonesia Records Region's Largest Drop on Global Peace Index

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India

Iftar with a Difference: Scarred By Lynchings, Alwar Families Say Will Give Up Dairy Farming

Jignesh Mevani Tries To Unite Dalits, Muslims over Cow Slaughter

Jharkhand: Muslim man attacked by irate mob for taking ‘beef’ to Iftar party

Dalits, Muslims Join At 'Chhabeel' Organised In the Memory of Bhinderanwale and Sikhs Killed In the Operation Bluestar

Pakistan Using Shrine Donations to Fund Terrorism in India Rajasthan Intel

Main problem in J&K is Pak-sponsored cross-border terrorism: India at UNHRC

Army foils another infiltration bid in Kashmir, three terrorists killed

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Africa

Ethiopia: Promoting Religious Tolerance through Iftar

Libyan Army Reveals Documents Proving Qatar’s Interference in Libya

Burundi: Imam Detained for Creating Conflicts in Buterere Mosque

Gambia: UAE Embassy in Dakar Reaches Out to Needy Muslims

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South Asia

Taliban Suffer Casualties in an Explosion In Sar-E-Pul Province

Qatar crisis: Bangladeshi expats fear job loss, suffer as commodities get costlier

NDS informs of developments in probe from detained Kabul funeral bomber

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North America

Trump Offers to Help Resolve Gulf Crisis, UAE Tightens Squeeze on Qatar

Trump to Iran: States Backing Terror Risk ‘Falling Victim’ Themselves

US Senate advances Iran sanctions bill, eyes new Russia sanctions

A terrorism expert on why Trump's anti-Muslim posturing makes us less safe

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Pakistan

LHC Adjourns Hafiz Saeed’s Detention Hearing

Pakistan wants stable Afghanistan, saysAizaz

Pakistan set to become full SCO member

Pakistan to recommend three ad-hoc ICJ appointees in Jadhav case

JI laments silence of political parties over KE’s ‘corruption’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/iran-parliamentarians-chant-‘death-to-america’-after-islamic-state-attacks-tehran/d/111462

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Iran Parliamentarians Chant ‘Death to America’ After Islamic State Attacks Tehran

7 Jun 2017

Iranian parliamentarians appeared to blame the United States and Saudi Arabia for the deadly twin Ramadan terrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State early Wednesday morning in Tehran, which claimed 12 lives and injured at least 42 others.

A combination of Islamic State suicide bombers and gunmen stormed Iran’s parliament and an iconic shrine dedicated to the late founder of the Islamic Republic and father of the 1979 revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said the attacks were a cowardly act and reportedly downplayed the tragedies as a “minor issue.” He said, “Iran is an active and effective pillar in the fight against terrorists, and they want to damage it.” After he finished speaking, his fellow parliamentarians stood up and began shouting, “Death to America,” while pumping their fists in their air.

Iran’s clerics and hardliners chant, “Death to America,” often during rallies and after Friday sermons. The death chant from Iran’s parliamentarians on Wednesday implied that they believed the United States was behind the attacks.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq News Agency. It is believed to be the first successful attack carried out by the jihadi group inside the Shiite state.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has long stated his belief that the United States created the Islamic State (which is referred to as Daesh in the Middle East).

In 2016, less than a year after the Iranian regime received a pallet of hundreds of millions of dollars, which coincided with the release of five American hostages, Khamenei tweeted from his English-language Twitter account that the United States created and is supporting the Islamic State in order to “defame true Islam” and promote Sunni Wahhabism.

In 2015, Khamenei again claimed that the United States created and is promoting the Islamic State out of its hatred for Islam. “The present US officials are against the principles of Islam and, unlike their statements, they are after fomenting differences among Muslims, and its example is creating terrorist groups like Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS) and other groups that have been created through the funding of the US affiliates and their political aids; they (the American officials) have caused the recent tragedies in the Muslim world,” Khamenei reportedly said.

He added, “The Shiite or Sunni does not make any difference for the Americans; they are against any Muslim who wants to live in accordance with Islamic rules and make efforts to that end.”

Wednesday’s attack on Tehran was the first time the Sunni Islamic State carried out an assault in a Shiite-majority country. The incident ended after Iranian security guards and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) killed four of the Islamic State militants.

President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Trita Parsi, who was instrumental in helping with the Iran nuclear deal – and who has advocated for the recognition of the Iranian regime’s legitimacy by the West – issued a statement demanding President Donald Trump stand alongside the Iranian regime following the attack:

We urge President Trump, members of the U.S. Congress and all nations around the world to condemn the attack in solidarity with the Iranian people without delay, as European officials have already done. Terrorism respects no borders, and we remind the Trump administration that Iranians held vigils for the American victims of terrorism after the September 11th attacks.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi condemned the attack and stated:

ISIS’s conduct clearly benefits the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, who wholeheartedly welcomes it as an opportunity to overcome his regime’s regional and international impasse and isolation. The founder and the number one state sponsor of terror is thus trying the switch the place of murderer and the victim and portray the central banker of terrorism as a victim.

She suggested that the uprooting of terrorism in the region can be accomplished in the following ways:

The IRGC must be designated as a terrorist entity.

The IRGC and paramilitary proxies of the Khamenei caliphate must be removed from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation must expel the mullahs’ regime and recognize the Iranian Resistance for ending religious fascism.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/06/07/iran-parliamentarians-chant-death-to-america-after-islamic-state-attacks-tehran/

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Iraqi Kurds plan independence referendum on Sept. 25

7 June 2017

Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region has called a referendum on independence to be held on Sept. 25, an official said on Wednesday, moving ahead with a plan for full statehood that is likely to be opposed by Baghdad.

Hemin Hawrami, assistant to Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, tweeted: “big news. Kurdistan Referendum for independence is on 25/9/2017.”

The date was set after a meeting of the Kurdish political parties chaired by Barzani, who heads the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that rules the autonomous region, Kurdish TV Rudaw reported.

A senior Kurdish official, Hoshiyar Zebari, told Reuters in April a referendum would be held this year to press the case for “the best deal” on self-determination once the ISIS is defeated in Iraq.

The Kurds are playing a major role in the US-backed campaign to defeat the ISIS, the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim group that overran about a third of Iraq nearly three years ago and also controls parts of Syria.

The militants have been squeezed into a small area of Mosul, their de-facto capital in Iraq, as a push to retake the city reaches its climax.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/07/Iraqi-Kurds-plan-independence-referendum-on-Sept-25.html

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Imams, religious leaders voice 'utter disgust' after London attack

by Hannah Brockhaus

Jun 08, 2017

Vatican City, Jun 6, 2017 / 05:30 am (CNA/EWTN News).- More than 130 imams and religious leaders throughout the UK have joined voices in strongly condemning recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, calling the acts “cold-blooded murders.”

In a joint statement issued June 5, the imams and other religious leaders said they condemn the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London “in the strongest terms possible.”

Coming from a range of backgrounds across the UK, the signatories said that in “feeling the pain the rest of the nation feels, we have come together to express our shock and utter disgust at these cold-blooded murders.”

In an unprecedented move, the imams who signed the statement also declared that they will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer for the attackers.

Signatories urged fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw the privilege of the prayer because of the “indefensible actions” of the perpetrators, which are “completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam.”

Seven people were killed and 48 others injured in London the night of June 3 when three men drove a van into a crowd of people on London Bridge around 10 p.m. local time. The men then went on a stabbing spree in nearby Borough Market, where people were enjoying a night out at restaurants and pubs.

The three men reportedly shouted “this is for Allah” during the attack. The three attackers were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the first emergency call.

According to police, 12 more people have been arrested in connection to the attacks.

Saturday's assault marked the third terror attack in the UK in three months. In March a separate car and knife attack in Westminster left five people dead, and a bombing at an Ariana Grade concert in Manchester May 22, killed 22 people, most of whom were youth.

Such “ruthless violence” is never acceptable, the declaration read, but especially during Ramadan, when Muslims around the world are focused on “prayer, charity and the cultivation of good character.”

This only serves to demonstrate how “utterly misguided and distant the terrorists are” from the Islamic faith, the signatories said, adding that the “reprehensible actions” of the attackers has neither religious legitimacy nor their sympathy.

“Alongside our friends and neighbors, we mourn this attack on our home, society and people, and feel pain for the suffering of the victims and their families,” they said, and prayed “that the perpetrators be judged in accordance with the gravity of their crimes in the hereafter.”

“Their acts and willful dismissal of our religious principles alienates them from any association with our community for whom the inviolability of every human life is the founding principle,” they said, quoting the Qaran.

The signatories also commended the actions of the police and emergency personnel for their courage and “rapid response” the night of the attack.

Closing their statement, the faith leaders said they are praying “for peace and unity, and for all the victims of terror both at home and across the globe, who are targeted, irrespective of their faith.”

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/imams-religious-leaders-voice-utter-disgust-after-london-attack-30933/?utm_source=CNA&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter

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Jakarta: Clerics, Islamic Schools Told To Stay Away From Politics

June 8, 2017

Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) across the country are being told to stay away from politics.

"It's better for the kyai [Muslim clerics] not to be involved in politics. If they are, the pesantren could be neglected and the government could interfere with them, which is not good for the essence of pesantren itself," Muslim scholar Azyumardi Azra of Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University (UIN) Jakarta said on Wednesday.

His statement comes in response to the growing conservative religious sentiment that marked the divisive Jakarta gubernatorial elections and which has seen many mosques become politicized. Many fear the same trend may shape the upcoming 2018 regional elections, which will be held simultaneously.

Three country's most-populous provinces — West Java, Central Java and East Java — are among 171 regions that will partake in the regional elections.

Data from 2012 from the Religious Affairs Ministry showed that of the approximately 27,000 pesantren across the country, 78 percent were located in these three provinces.

Muhammad Hosnan of Annuqayah Sumenep Islamic boarding school in Madura said that ahead of the 2018 East Java election, many political actors had been trying to approach numerous pesantren.

"This worries us. As pesantren, we are close with the local people. But politics is involved, the essence of our relationship with the public becomes ambiguous," Hosnan said.

Abdul Mu'ti, secretary-general of country's second-largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, said the phenomenon had become a new challenge for the pesantren.

"What is most important is that the kyais and students understand that having different political stances is normal," Abdul said. (dmr)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/06/08/clerics-islamic-schools-told-to-stay-away-from-politics.html

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Iftar with A Difference: Scarred By Lynchings, Alwar Families Say Will Give Up Dairy Farming

June 8, 2017

Generations of Azmath Khan’s family have dabbled in dairy farming, but that’s about to change now. “I will leave this and move to farming. Life is more precious, I’d rather leave the profession than be beaten up again or, worse, get killed,” said the 26-year-old, who was allegedly beaten by Gau Rakshaks in Alwar on April 1. Dairy farmer Irshad, who lost his father Pehlu Khan in the Alwar mob lynching case, agrees with him. On the Centre’s latest ruling, which bans sale of cows for slaughter, he said, “The Centre should buy old cattle from us and keep them in Gaushalas. This way at least we will be able to make some money. Now, there is fear of transporting even buffaloes, and this ruling makes it even tougher. I’ll move to farming too.”

“It’s been two months since I lost my father, and no one from Rajasthan or Haryana government has visited our home. No one should be allowed to take law into their hands… we want justice,” he added. The two were present at an Iftar get-together organised by the Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) in Jamia Nagar on Tuesday evening.  Also present at the event were families of Mohd Akhlaq, who was killed in 2015 in Dadri over suspicion of cow slaughter, and Fatima Nafees, the mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed. On Tuesday evening, before the Ramzan fast was broken with plates full of mangoes, watermelons, pakodas and sherbet, the families took the stage to recount their stories.

Also present at the event were families of Mohd Akhlaq, who was killed in 2015 in Dadri over suspicion of cow slaughter, and Fatima Nafees, the mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed. On Tuesday evening, before the Ramzan fast was broken with plates full of mangoes, watermelons, pakodas and sherbet, the families took the stage to recount their stories.

“They broke my ribs and nose, I haven’t been able to get myself treated because I have no money. I can’t work now and I will not do dairy business anymore,” said Rafiq, 24, who was with Pehlu Khan the day he was beaten up. In an emotional plea about her missing son, Nafees said, “We have to protect ourselves; we will keep coming to the streets. I’ve written to and tried meeting several leaders about my son, but none of the accused have been arrested.” At the event, Mohd Akhlaq’s brother Jaan Mohammad said, “

At the event, Mohammad Akhlaq’s brother Jaan Mohammad said, “Bheed ka koi roop nahi hota hai (the mob has no face). This was a planned murder. These gau rakshaks have no fear, they believe they’re above the law. We live in a democracy and this is not how it should be.” Once the call to prayer from a mosque far away was heard, the attendees moved towards the tables to break their fast, even as their concerns lingered behind.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/iftar-with-a-difference-scarred-by-lynchings-families-say-will-give-up-dairy-farming-4693958/

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Mideast

 

Tehran attackers were Iranian ISIS recruits: official

Jun 08, 2017

TEHRAN: The attackers who stormed Tehran´s parliament complex and the revolutionary leader´s shrine on Wednesday were Iranian nationals who had joined Daesh, a top official said.

The six attackers "were Iranian and joined Daesh from some parts of Iran," said Reza Seifollahi, deputy secretary of Iran´s Supreme National Security Council, on state TV late Wednesday.

It was the first attack in Iran claimed by Daesh, which had threatened to step up its campaign in the country in recent months.

Iran is a key fighting force against Daesh and other groups in Iraq and Syria.

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Jun-2017/tehran-attackers-were-iranian-isis-recruits-official

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Iran's IRGC Vows to Avenge Tehran Terrorist Attacks

Jun 07, 2017

"The public opinion in the world, specially the Iranian nation sees this terrorist action that happened a week after the joint meeting of the US president with the heads of one of the reactionary regional states that has constantly been supporting Takfiri terrorists as to be very meaningful, and believes that ISIL's acknowledging the responsibility indicates their complicity in this wild move," the IRGC statement said.

The powerful military force further warned that it would not miss a single moment to avenge the incident, saying, "The IRGC has proved that it would not leave unanswered the shedding of innocent blood and it ensures the Iranian nation that it will not hesitate even for a moment to protect the country's national security and the lives of the dear people, as it killed all these terrorists with the help of the Law Enforcement Force today."

Four unknown male assailants fired several rounds at the guards protecting the parliament building in Tehran, killing at least five and wounding 25 others in the hallway on Wednesday morning.

According to initial reports, the assailants opened their way into the parliament's administrative building while shooting at the guards, killing at least two IRGC guards and three others, and wounding 25 civilians.

Four of the victims were killed on the scene of the attack, while a fifth one succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Ten of the wounded victims were civilians who had come from different constituencies to visit their deputies.

Also, several assailants raided the holy shrine of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, South of the capital Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing at least two and wounding ten others in a bomb attack and a shooting spree.

The number of the victims of the terrorist attack who lost their lives grew to 12 according to the caretaker of Iran's emergency squad.

The suicide attacker at Imam Khomeini Mausoleum was a female.

The law enforcement and guards at the shrine said they have also defused another suicide vest at the scene.

ISIL's official website, Amaq, issued a statement at 09:00 GMT claiming responsibility for both attacks.

In a separate statement issued earlier this afternoon, the Iranian interior ministry confirmed that 12 people have been killed and 42 others wounded in this morning's terrorist attacks, stressing that the security situation is now fully under control.

Two terrorist teams simultaneously entered the area around the holy shrine of (the late founder of the Islamic Republic) Imam Khomeini and the administrative building of the parliament on Wednesday, the statement said.

"The first terrorist team, comprised of two people, entered Imam's shrine at 10:30 local time (06:00 GMT). The first person was killed in a suicide blast and the second person was killed in clashes with the security forces after he conducted some blind shooting," it added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960317001717

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13 dead in twin IS hits in Tehran

June 08, 2017

Tehran - Gunmen and suicide bombers stormed Iran’s parliament and the shrine of its revolutionary leader on Wednesday, killing 13 people in the first attacks in the country claimed by the Islamic State group.

Dozens were injured in the attacks, which targeted two of Iran’s most potent symbols: its parliament complex in central Tehran and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who led the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The standoff lasted around five hours before all the gunmen holed up in parliamentary office buildings were killed.

IS released a video of the attackers from inside the building via its Amaq propaganda agency - a rare claim of responsibility while an attack was still going on.

The assaults began mid-morning when four gunmen burst into the parliament complex in the centre of Tehran, killing a security guard and another person, according to the ISNA news agency.

An interior ministry official said they were dressed as women and entered through the visitors’ entrance. One eventually exploded a suicide vest while the others were killed by security forces.

At roughly the same time, two assailants entered the grounds of the Khomeini mausoleum, killing a gardener and wounding several other people. One detonated a suicide vest, while the other was shot dead.

It was not clear whether the shrine attackers were women, as earlier reported, or just wearing female clothing.

“The terrorists had explosives strapped to them and suddenly entered the shrine and started to shoot around,” said the shrine’s overseer, Mohammadali Ansari.

Iran’s emergency services said a total of 13 people were killed in the two attacks and 43 wounded.

Iran’s supreme leader shrugged off attacks. “These fire-crackers that happened today will not have the slightest effect on the will of the people,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said after the twin attacks.

President Hassan Rouhani called for global unity against violent extremism. “Iran’s message as always is that terrorism is a global problem, and unity to fight extremism, violence and terrorism with regional and international cooperation is the most important need of today’s world,” he said in a statement.

The country’s powerful Revolutionary Guards vowed revenge and claimed the United States and Saudi Arabia were “involved”.

In reaction, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister rejected the accusation by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that Saudi Arabia was behind the twin attacks.

Speaking in Berlin, Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said he condemned terrorist attacks wherever they occur, but said there was no evidence that Saudis were behind the attacks in Tehran, adding he did not know who was responsible.

Iran’s parliament was in session as the violence unfolded and members were keen to show they were undeterred, posting selfies showing themselves as calm and continuing with regular business.

Meanwhile, gunshots continued in the neighbouring office buildings, with police helping staff to escape from windows and snipers taking position from rooftops.

Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the attacks, saying they were a “trivial matter” and that security forces were dealing with them. The intelligence ministry said there had been a third “terrorist” team that was neutralised before the attacks started.

Tehran was on lockdown, with streets blocked and parts of the metro closed. Journalists and onlookers were kept away from the sites by police.

“I was inside the parliament when shooting happened. Everyone was shocked and scared. I saw two men shooting randomly,” said one journalist at the scene, who asked not to be named.

“I was shopping and suddenly heard shooting,” said housewife Maryam Saghari, 36, who lives near parliament. “People started to run away from the area. I was very scared. I don’t want to live in fear,” she told Reuters by telephone.

Television footage showed police helicopters circling over the parliament building, with snipers on its rooftop. Tasnim praised the elite Revolutionary Guards for confronting the attackers.

Interior Minister Abdolrahman Fazli told ISNA he had convened a special meeting of the country’s security council.

Messages of support were sent by Russian President Vladimir Putin and from the Syrian foreign ministry.

The three countries are close allies in the fight against rebels and jihadist groups in Syria. Iran has also been helping to battle IS in Iraq, which also sent its condolences.

Jihadist groups have clashed frequently with Iranian security forces along the borders with Iraq and Afghanistan, but the country has largely escaped attacks within its urban centres.

The intelligence ministry said in June 2016 that it had foiled an IS plot to carry out multiple bomb attacks in Tehran and around the country.

Militant groups are also known to operate in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan and has a large Sunni community.

Jaish-ul Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran accuses of links with Al-Qaeda, has carried out several armed attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.

The attacks took place at a particularly charged time after Iran’s main regional rival Saudi Arabia and other Sunni powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of backing Tehran and militant groups.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is visiting Turkey to discuss the Qatar crisis, told reporters that the attacks will “strengthen resolve of the Iranian nation against terrorism”.

It was not clear whether the shrine attackers were women, as earlier reported, or just wearing female clothing.

“The terrorists had explosives strapped to them and suddenly entered the shrine and started to shoot around,” said the shrine’s overseer, Mohammadali Ansari.

Iran’s emergency services said a total of 13 people were killed in the two attacks and 43 wounded.

Iran’s supreme leader shrugged off attacks. “These fire-crackers that happened today will not have the slightest effect on the will of the people,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said after the twin attacks.

President Hassan Rouhani called for global unity against violent extremism. “Iran’s message as always is that terrorism is a global problem, and unity to fight extremism, violence and terrorism with regional and international cooperation is the most important need of today’s world,” he said in a statement.

The country’s powerful Revolutionary Guards vowed revenge and claimed the United States and Saudi Arabia were “involved”.

In reaction, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister rejected the accusation by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that Saudi Arabia was behind the twin attacks.

Speaking in Berlin, Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said he condemned terrorist attacks wherever they occur, but said there was no evidence that Saudis were behind the attacks in Tehran, adding he did not know who was responsible.

Iran’s parliament was in session as the violence unfolded and members were keen to show they were undeterred, posting selfies showing themselves as calm and continuing with regular business.

Meanwhile, gunshots continued in the neighbouring office buildings, with police helping staff to escape from windows and snipers taking position from rooftops.

Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the attacks, saying they were a “trivial matter” and that security forces were dealing with them. The intelligence ministry said there had been a third “terrorist” team that was neutralised before the attacks started.

Tehran was on lockdown, with streets blocked and parts of the metro closed. Journalists and onlookers were kept away from the sites by police.

“I was inside the parliament when shooting happened. Everyone was shocked and scared. I saw two men shooting randomly,” said one journalist at the scene, who asked not to be named.

“I was shopping and suddenly heard shooting,” said housewife Maryam Saghari, 36, who lives near parliament. “People started to run away from the area. I was very scared. I don’t want to live in fear,” she told Reuters by telephone.

Television footage showed police helicopters circling over the parliament building, with snipers on its rooftop. Tasnim praised the elite Revolutionary Guards for confronting the attackers.

Interior Minister Abdolrahman Fazli told ISNA he had convened a special meeting of the country’s security council.

Messages of support were sent by Russian President Vladimir Putin and from the Syrian foreign ministry.

The three countries are close allies in the fight against rebels and jihadist groups in Syria. Iran has also been helping to battle IS in Iraq, which also sent its condolences.

Jihadist groups have clashed frequently with Iranian security forces along the borders with Iraq and Afghanistan, but the country has largely escaped attacks within its urban centres.

The intelligence ministry said in June 2016 that it had foiled an IS plot to carry out multiple bomb attacks in Tehran and around the country.

Militant groups are also known to operate in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan and has a large Sunni community.

Jaish-ul Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran accuses of links with Al-Qaeda, has carried out several armed attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Jun-2017/13-dead-in-twin-is-hits-in-tehran

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Leader Plays Down Tehran Attacks as Fireworks, Says Incident Proves Preciseness of Iran's Strategy

Jun 07, 2017

"The Iranian nation is moving ahead and the fumbling with firecrackers performed today will leave no impact on people's willpower," Ayatollah Khamenei said at a meeting with a group of students and representatives from the university student associations from across the nation here in Tehran on Wednesday evening.

"Everyone should know that they are too little to be able to influence the willpower of the Iranian nation and the country's officials. And these incidents, of course, revealed if the Islamic Republic had not displayed resistance at the heart of all this conspiracy, we would’ve had much more trouble of this sort in the country. God willing, they will bite the dust," he added.

Four unknown male assailants fired several rounds at the guards protecting the parliament building in Tehran, killing at least five and wounding 25 others in the hallway on Wednesday morning.

According to initial reports, the assailants opened their way into the parliament's administrative building while shooting at the guards, killing at least two IRGC guards and three others, and wounding 25 civilians.

Four of the victims were killed on the scene of the attack, while a fifth one succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Ten of the wounded victims were civilians who had come from different constituencies to visit their deputies.

Also, several assailants raided the holy shrine of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, South of the capital Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing at least two and wounding ten others in a bomb attack and a shooting spree.

The number of the victims of the terrorist attack who lost their lives grew to 12 according to the caretaker of Iran's emergency squad.

The suicide attacker at Imam Khomeini Mausoleum was a female.

The law enforcement and guards at the shrine said they have also defused another suicide vest at the scene.

ISIL's official website, Amaq, issued a statement at 09:00 GMT claiming responsibility for both attacks.

Meantime, Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon vowed to take revenge for the twin terrorist attacks that killed 12 people in Tehran this morning.

"The public opinion in the world, specially the Iranian nation sees this terrorist action that happened a week after the joint meeting of the US president with the heads of one of the reactionary regional states that has constantly been supporting Takfiri terrorists as to be very meaningful, and believes that ISIL's acknowledging the responsibility indicates their complicity in this wild move," the IRGC statement said.

The powerful military force further warned that it would not miss a single moment to avenge the incident, saying, "The IRGC has proved that it would not leave unanswered the shedding of innocent blood and it ensures the Iranian nation that it will not hesitate even for a moment to protect the country's national security and the lives of the dear people, as it killed all these terrorists with the help of the Law Enforcement Force today."

An hour later, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in a message on Wednesday said the twin attacks in Tehran today were committed by the terrorists who have been hired by his country's enemies to strike at Tehran for their frequent losses in the region, ensuring that his nation would enhance the war on terrorism more resolutely.

The Iranian president expressed his condolences to the bereaved families of the victims of the Wednesday morning terrorist attacks and promised all security bodies and different branches of power would continue probe into the incident that claimed the lives of 12 people in the capital today until clarifying all dimensions and sponsors of the "blind" and "cowardly" move.

Rouhani reminded that the nation has been a victim of terrorist attacks and war since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and added that the terrorist move in Tehran today was not a totally unexpected incident, given the history of his nation throughout the past 38 years.

He said Iran's intelligence and security power has made it a secure land at the heart of a region that is struggling with chaos, and reminded the "religious democracy" that was staged by the massive turnout of the people in the recent elections in his country.

The president said "ill-wishers of Islamic Iran" could not tolerate the solidarity of the nation and the establishment and "hired and supported reactionary Takfiri elements to hide their regional defeats, collapse of Islamic values and their people's dissidence".

He said such moves that have been repeatedly taken against Iran in the past would lead to nowhere, and stressed that Tehran would prove once again that such plots only enhance its unity and solidarity as well as its powerful security structure.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960317001833

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MP Confirms Authenticity of ISIL Footage of Terrorist Attack at Iranian Parliament

Jun 07, 2017

"The footage released by the ISIL from the parliament building shows my office and two of our colleagues who were martyred in the operations," Hossein Ali Haji Deligani told FNA on Wednesday after two terrorist attacks on the parliament building and the holy shrine of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, left 12 dead and 42 others wounded.

Two of Deligani's aides, working at his office, were killed in the Wednesday morning terrorist attack on the parliament.

The Iranian security and IRGC forces killed all the four terrorists who attacked the parliament building, bringing the situation under control after several hours of clashes.

Parliamentary reporters quoted security officials as saying that all the four assailants have been killed.

Also, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani visited the parliament building minutes ago.

Meantime, caretaker of Iran's emergency unit said that the number of martyred people in the two terrorist attacks on the parliament and the holy shrine of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, in Tehran has increased to 12, adding that 42 people were wounded.

Four unknown male assailants fired several rounds at the guards protecting the parliament building in Tehran, killing at least five and wounding 25 others in the hallway on Wednesday morning.

According to initial reports, the assailants opened their way into the parliament's administrative building while shooting at the guards, killing at least two IRGC guards and three others, and wounding 25 civilians.

Four of the victims were killed on the scene of the attack, while a fifth one succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Ten of the wounded victims were civilians who had come from different constituencies to visit their deputies.

Also, several assailants raided the holy shrine of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, South of the capital Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing at least two and wounding ten others in a bomb attack and a shooting spree.

The number of the victims of the terrorist attack who lost their lives grew to 12 according to caretaker of Iran's emergency unit.

FNA reports said four unidentified armed assailants started a shooting spree at Imam Khomeini's shrine this morning.

Three of the assailants shot tens of rounds at the people visiting the shrine, while the fourth one detonated herself in a suicide attack in front of a police station opposite the shrine.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960317001401

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Deputy Interior Minister: Terrorists Enter Iranian Parliament in Disguise

Jun 07, 2017

"The assailants entered the parliament in women's dress and through the gate special for the visitors, started the shooting spree and entered the area, causing fear and horror," Zolfaqari said in an interview with the state-run TV on Wednesday after two terrorist attacks in the parliament and the holy shrine of late Imam Khomeini in Tehran.

"In the first minutes of the attack, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces entered the scene and gained control of the floor and main area of the parliament building," he added.

"Over 30 people have been wounded so far and 2 people were confirmed as being martyred (in the two terrorist attacks)," Zolfaqari said.

He added that several plots by terrorist and Takfiri groups were foiled in the past three years by the Iranian security forces, noting that the corpses of two assailants at the holy shrine of late Imam Khomeini are now in the hands of the security forces. Zolfaqari underlined that the security officials of Tehran province held an urgent meeting immediately after the terrorist incidents and the meeting of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) will be held within hours to study different aspects of the attacks.

Four unknown male assailants fired several rounds at the guards protecting the parliament building in Tehran, killing five and wounding 25 others in the hallway on Wednesday morning.

According to initial reports, the assailants opened their way into the parliament building while shooting at the guards, killing at least two IRGC guards and three others, and wounding 25 civilians.

Four of the victims were killed on the scene of the attack, while a fifth one succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Ten of the wounded victims were civilians who had come from different constituencies to visit their deputies.

Also, several assailants raided the holy shrine of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, South of the capital Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing at least two and wounding ten others in a bomb attack and a shooting spree.

FNA reports said four unidentified armed assailants started a shooting spree at Imam Khomeini's shrine this morning.

Three of the assailants shot tens of rounds at the people visiting the shrine, while the fourth one detonated herself in a suicide attack in front of a police station opposite the shrine.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960317001082

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UN Special Envoy for Yemen headquarters to move to Amman

8 June 2017

Amman, the capital of Jordan, will be the headquarters of the office of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Jordanian foreign ministry has announced.

According to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the announcement was made following a meeting between the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi.

This came days after UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s motorcade was shot by Houthi militias during his visit to Sanaa, hindering his mission.

‘Forbidden’ from returning to Sana’a

Meanwhile, Houthi leader Saleh al-Samad, head of the political council of the militias, said that the UN envoy is “forbidden” from returning to Sanaa and accused him of bias, demanding the United Nations choose a new envoy who respects the will of the Yemeni people.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/08/UN-Special-Envoy-for-Yemen-chooses-Jordan-as-its-headquarters.html

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Turkey parliament approves troop deployment to Qatar

Jun 7, 2017

Turkey's parliament approves a measure to deploy troops to a Turkish military base in Qatar amid a widening rift between the Arab country and neighbors in the Persian Gulf region.

The parliament approved the deployment on Wednesday with 240 lawmakers in favor, most of them from the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The deployment had been drafted before a spat surfaced between Qatar and three main allies in the Persian Gulf, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The three countries, plus Egypt and the Maldives, have cut ties with Doha over what they call Qatar’s support for terrorism. Qatar has denied the allegation.

However, the debate on the legislation was moved up the agenda of the Turkish parliament while a separate bill was introduced to the chamber on increased military cooperation between Turkey and Qatar.

Turkey, which initially moved to mediate between the Arab countries, has declared its support for Qatar, rejecting claims that the country is financing terrorism.

Erdogan said on Tuesday that Qatar was a leading force in the regional fight against terror and criticized others for pursuing the policy of isolating the oil-rich country. He even hailed Qatar for a “cool-headed and constructive” stance in dealing with regional issues.

The vote in the Turkish parliament on Wednesday would be a fresh sign that Turkey is supporting Qatar in the dispute with the Saudis and allies.

Erdogan and other Turkish officials have said that they will continue efforts to resolve the dispute.

Full report at:

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/06/07/524519/Turkey-deployment-Qatar

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Netanyahu’s remarks show Israel ‘not ready’ for peace

Jun 7, 2017

The Palestinian Authority has censured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent vow to maintain military control over all of the West Bank, saying the remarks show the regime is not prepared for the resolution of the decades-long conflict with Palestinians.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, Netanyahu pledged that Israel will keep its grip on the West Bank in any cases.

“We seek peace with our neighbors, a real peace, a peace that will last for generations. That is why in any agreement -- and without an agreement -- we shall maintain security control over all the territory west of the Jordan River,” he said.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement on Tuesday that the remarks are destructive to crisis resolution efforts.   

Netanyhau’s comments “seek to create a climate that makes the situation more complicated and are absolutely not aimed at supporting efforts for a solution,” Rudeina emphasized, noting, “They are a message to the US administration and to the international community that Israel is not ready to reach peace based on international law and resolutions.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry accused the Israeli premier of seeking to “to cut off the momentum of US and international efforts to resume negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.”

The Israeli premier had made similar statements late last month.

Following a visit to the occupied territories in May, the US president said both Netanyahu and Abbas had “assured” him of their willingness to “reach for peace.”

Full report at:

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/06/07/524457/Israel-Benjamin-Netanyahu

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Kurdish-backed militia launches Raqqa operation as another declares war on Turkey

Amberin Zaman

Jun 08, 2017

The Syrian Kurdish militia and its Arab allies known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) formally announced the start of the fight to liberate Raqqa, the self-declared capital of the Islamic State, just as another Kurdish group declared it was escalating its war against Turkey.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) declared today in an incendiary statement that just as Turkey had launched “a ruthless war against the Kurdish people,” it too would be more ruthless than ever before against the Turkish state. TAK, which murdered numerous civilians in a string of previous attacks, vowed to target Turkey’s already buckling tourism industry, igniting the “fires of hell” in Turkish cities. The statement read, “We call our brave Kurdish girls and boys to take part in this war of revenge, this struggle for honor.”

Should TAK act on its threats, it will give the government further justification to continue its state of emergency slapped on in the aftermath of the failed July coup. It may also further complicate Turkey’s troubled relations with the United States, as TAK acts as the urban wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the militant group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule inside Turkey since 1984. The PKK is in turn closely linked to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Kurdish militia that is the United States’ top ally in the fight against IS.

Turkey insists the three groups are all branches of the same terror tree and is furious that the United States ignored its warnings against directly arming the YPG for the Raqqa campaign. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim voiced Turkish anger again today, telling the parliament that Turkey had warned the United States against the risks of "eradicating one terror group with another terror group." Yildirim said, "To support terror groups does not behoove our alliance."

Coming just days after the Pentagon began distributing weapons to the YPG, the TAK threats could easily be construed by Turkey as proof that US support for the Syrian Kurds emboldens the PKK.

It will not have helped that top PKK leader Bese Hozat told reporters, “It's time to overthrow the fascist AKP.” She was referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party. Hozat also dismissed speculation of the possible resumption of peace talks between imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish government that were frozen in 2015. Alluding to the jailing of thousands of Kurdish lawmakers, mayors and activists and ongoing Turkish military operations in the mainly Kurdish southeast region, Hozat said, “Discussing peace in these circumstances is equivalent to surrender.”

So far the United States has tuned out Turkish complaints about the YPG and will likely continue to do so until the operation to capture Raqqa is completed. That may not be anytime soon.

Full report at:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/sdf-syria-kurdish-fight-liberate-raqqa-turkey-tak.html

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Arab World

 

Hezbollah asks for support on billboards and posters

7 June 2017

The international siege on the Lebanese Hezbollah militia promoted the party to ask for support of its Lebanese fighters on billboards and posters on Wednesday.

Hezbollah, which relies on Iranian funding and is accused by the US Treasury of illicit smuggling and trafficking, is suffering from a financial crisis that has led to the launch of a number of fundraising campaigns to equip its fighters.

The financial crises of Hezbollah made the militia demand support of the fighters through billboards and photos at Beirut International Airport’s road and other roads.

The Lebanese daily Al Nahar quoted a Hezbollah official saying that the aim of these campaigns are to equip fighters with uniforms and gears.

According to the newspaper each supporter pays about $1,000 instead of fighting, similar to paying money instead of army recruitment.

Hezbollah suffers from a number of US and international sanctions affecting its institutions, and its supporters in Africa and Europe.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/07/Hezbollah-asks-for-support-on-billboards.html

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Trump: I thank King Salman for fighting terrorism

8 June 2017

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday thanked King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud for doing a great job in countering terrorism and fighting those who fund terror groups.

During a speech in Ohio on infrastructure, Trump talked about investment in Saudi Arabia and his recent trip to Riyadh, praising King Salman’s stance in the fight against terrorism, stating that King Salman will stop the funding of extremist groups.

“The Riyadh summit provided an opportunity for historic action with Saudi Arabia and 50 countries to fight terrorism and defeat it,” he said.

Trump spoke by phone with King Salman on Tuesday, stressing the need to unite the Arabian Gulf.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/08/UN-Special-Envoy-for-Yemen-chooses-Jordan-as-its-headquarters.html

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Muslim Brotherhood rejects Saudi terror accusations

Jun 7, 2017

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has rejected “false accusations” of terrorism by Saudi Arabia following a diplomatic rift among the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region.

In a statement on its website on Wednesday, a Cairo-based wing of the movement called on the Saudi kingdom to cease its support for military-backed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

"The Kingdom's insistence on backing the obscene putschist (Egyptian) regime, providing it with financial and political support, attacking the moderate Islamist movement represented in the Muslim Brotherhood, and accusing it of terrorism, puts the Kingdom's credibility at stake," the Brotherhood statement read.

In Egypt, the Brotherhood made history after its presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, became the country’s first ever democratically-elected president in 2012 before being ousted in a military coup one year later.

The Egyptian government has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood since the coup, which saw then army chief Sisi become president.

The Saudi regime is considered as the main backer of Sisi's rule over the North African country.

Elsewhere in the statement, the movement also advised Riyadh not to listen to the rulers of the United Arab Emirates, whom it called "corrupt."

"Do not listen to the princes of oppression and injustice in the UAE, those corrupt men are a plague on the (Islamic) nation and the Kingdom both. They are the cohorts of Zionists and finances of oppression and obscenity," it added.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates broke off relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. They also suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, ejected its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries.

Qatar has long denied funding extremists, with Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, rejecting those “trying to impose their will on Qatar or intervene in its internal affairs.”

Full report at:

http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/06/07/524500/Muslim-Brotherhood-Saudi-terror-accusations

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Pro-Assad troops threaten to hit US positions in Syria

Jun 08, 2017

Damascus - A military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday it could hit US positions in Syria, warning that its “self-restraint” over US air strikes on government forces would end if Washington crossed “red lines”.

The threat came in a statement in the name of the “commander of the operations room of the forces allied to Syria”, and was circulated by a military news unit run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah, one of Assad’s military allies.

Assad’s allies also include Iran and Russia. The statement did not spell out whether Moscow was a signatory to it.

“America knows well that the blood of the sons of Syria, the Syrian Arab Army, and its allies are not cheap, and the capacity to strike their positions in Syria, and their surroundings, is available when circumstances will it,” the statement said.

The United States launched air strikes on Tuesday against what it said were Iranian-backed fighters who it said posed a threat to US and US-backed forces in southern Syria, the second such attack in three weeks.

Russia: US strike on pro-Syria govt forces violates international law

Tuesday’s air strike launched by the United States in Syria against Iranian-backed fighters who support the Damascus regime violates international law, Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Wednesday.

A Syrian military source said the strike had caused deaths and material damage and showed the coalition was “in support of terrorism”. The Syrian military command warned against the dangers of escalation, the source added.

The US military had repeatedly warned massing forces to stay away from a so-called “de-escalation” zone near a garrison used by American special forces and US-backed fighters around the southern town of At Tanf.

Meanwhile, the United States launched an air strike against Iranian-backed fighters who it said posed a threat to US and US-backed forces in southern Syria, in a new escalation of tensions between Washington and troops supporting Damascus.

The Pentagon, which has sought to stay out of Syria’s civil war to instead focus its firepower on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, carried out a similar strike on May 18 that was denounced by Damascus.

A Syrian military source said the strike had caused deaths and material damage and showed the coalition was “in support of terrorism”. The Syrian military command warned against the dangers of escalation, the source added.

In recent days, the US military has repeatedly warned massing forces to stay away from a so-called “de-confliction” zone near a garrison used by American special forces and US-backed fighters around the southern town of At Tanf.

The zone was agreed with Russia, Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s ally. Assad is also backed by Iran and Shi’ite militias.

“Despite previous warnings, pro-regime forces entered the agreed-upon de-confliction zone with a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, armed technical vehicles and more than 60 soldiers,” the US-led coalition said in a statement.

It said the United States, via a military hotline with Russia, issued several warnings before the strike, which destroyed two artillery pieces, an anti-aircraft weapon and damaged the tank.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the strike was carried out by manned, US aircraft.

“The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime or pro-regime forces but remains ready to defend themselves if pro-regime forces refuse to vacate the de-confliction zone,” the statement said.

Still, the incident showed that the area around the Tanf garrison in southern Syria was under growing pressure.

Tanf is part of a region known as the Badia, which consists of vast, sparsely populated desert territory that stretches all the way to the Jordanian and Iraqi borders and was declared a military priority by Syria’s foreign minister earlier in May.

US-backed rebel advances against Islamic State militants have allowed them to secure swaths of territory in the Badia, alarming the Syrian government and its allies.

US-backed rebels took Tanf from Islamic State last year, and regional intelligence sources say they mean to use it as a launchpad to capture Bukamal, a town on Syria’s border with Iraq and an important militant supply route.

The coalition’s presence in Tanf, on the Damascus-Baghdad highway, was also meant to stop Iran-backed groups from opening an overland route between Iraq and Syria, the sources say.

In interviews with Syrian state-owned TV station al-Ikhbariya broadcast on Saturday, Syrian soldiers vowed they would reopen the Baghdad-Damascus highway.

“Within a few days, you will find us at the Iraqi border, and we will achieve a great and historic victory in the history of this crisis - cleansing the entire Badia, liberating the Tanf road ... and restoring the vital artery between Iraq and Syria,” said one of the soldiers interviewed by the state TV channel in the Badia area.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Jun-2017/pro-assad-troops-threaten-to-hit-us-positions-in-syria

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Syrian regime replicates the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces

7 June 2017

The Syrian regime began to form new militias under the name of “Popular Mobilization Forces,” similar to those in Iraq.

The main members are sons of clans in Al-Hasakah region, Al Arabiya news channel reported on Wednesday.

The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces have allegedly become a model for the Syrian regime.

News agencies and sites close to the regime spoke in the name of this militia, which involves mainly the sons of tribes who will form the regime’s forces within its operations.

The “Popular Mobilization Forces” belonging to the regime consists of volunteers and retired people from both the tribal, the compulsory and standby services.

The leader of the force, Ali Hawass al-Khalif, is a member of Al-Rashed tribe, and an employee of the regime living in Damascus.

The crowd is formed in coordination with the Military Intelligence Division. Some suggested to name the militia “Island’s shield” and “Sons of Tribes”

About 500 people are joining the militia, mostly from the villages of Damkhya, Safiah and Abu Zuwail near Al-Hasakah.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/07/Syrian-regime-replicates-the-Iraqi-Popular-Mobilization-Forces.html

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Saudi FM: Actions against Qatar in the interest of Doha itself and region

7 June 2017

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday that the decisions taken by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and a number of Arab and Islamic countries against Qatar were in the interest of Qatar itself and the region, affirming that Gulf states could resolve a row with Qatar amongst themselves without outside help.

“We have not asked for mediation. We believe this issue can be dealt with among the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” he told a news conference along with his German counterpart in Berlin. (ALSO: UAE minister Gargash ‘cannot rule out’ more steps against Qatar)

“We discussed the crisis in the Gulf and the reasons for our actions towards Qatar. We did not ask for mediation from Germany or France,” he said.

He stressed that terrorism is rejected whatever its source and funding “and we face it in cooperation with our friends.”

Al-Jubeir explained that “Saudi Arabia has suffered from terrorism, and we are at the forefront of the countries that fight it.”

He said he had not been officially informed of any US investigation into the alleged hacking of Qatar’s news agency, a development which is part of the dispute.

“With regard to measures undertaken by the FBI, I’ve read in the media but have not been informed of anything official and I can’t express an official position,” Jubeir told reporters.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/07/Saudi-FM-Actions-against-Qatar-in-the-interest-of-Doha-itself-and-region.html

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Raqqa campaign will accelerate, US envoy says

7 June 2017

The US-backed campaign to capture Raqqa, ISIS’s de-facto capital in Syria, will accelerate, the US envoy to the international coalition fighting the militants told reporters in Baghdad.

The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Tuesday it had launched an operation to capture Raqqa, in an assault that overlaps with the final stages of the US-backed attack to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul.

“So similar to Mosul,” ISIS’s capital in Iraq, “the Raqqa campaign is underway. These are critical elements in the ultimate defeat of Daesh but this will be a long term effort,” Brett McGurk said, referring to ISIS.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/07/Raqqa-campaign-will-accelerate-US-envoy-says.html

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Bahraini king: Saudi protects us in light of Qatari, Iranian interference

7 June 2017

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, said in a statement on Wednesday that Manama has always chosen to be on the side of Riyadh to protect its country against Qatari and Iranian interference.

The king said he is in Saudi Arabia not only to discuss developments in the region, but also “to renew our appreciation for the support we receive in Bahrain to protect its security and stability in light of the Qatari and Iranian interference.”

He said interference coming from both Qatar and Iran “extend several centuries.”

He added: “This interference has affected our Arab and Muslim brethren, which did not leave any choice for us to protect our security and stability, but to take these measures.”

Mauritania became the eighth country to cut ties with Qatar after Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Maldives and Mauritius.

“We urge Qatar to correct its policies and to stick to agreements…to eliminate practices that aim to shake our countries’ security and threaten the unity of our societies for our relationships to go back to the way it was with Qatar and elsewhere.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/07/Bahraini-king-Saudi-protects-our-country-in-light-of-Qatari-Iranian-interference.html

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Europe

 

Pressure Builds on British Muslims to Better Identify Extremists

June 07, 2017

LONDON —

As Britain confronts a wave of terrorist attacks, pressure is mounting on its Muslim community to do a better job of identifying potential extremists and policing itself.

At the forefront of such efforts is Nazir Afzal, a Muslim and former top prosecutor. Afzal gained national attention for pioneering difficult prosecutions to tackle honor-based violence and forced marriage, as well as child sexual exploitation and grooming in the northwest of England, including Manchester, the site of last month's suicide bombing that killed 22 people at a pop concert.

In an exclusive interview, Afzal said the community has, in general, done a good job of making sure mosques are no longer a forum for radicalization of young Muslims; but, he adds, more needs to be done, both by Muslims and British authorities, to curb the country's dangerous Islamist minority and counter the jihadists' narrative.

"Very few people get radicalized in mosques and places of worship," said Afzal, the first Muslim to be appointed as a chief prosecutor in Britain. "It takes place elsewhere, in the backstreets and other places. The communities have gotten very good now at policing what happens in mosques, although there are exceptions."

Community reports as the 'bedrock' of intelligence

In the interview, conducted after last month's Manchester bombing but before last Saturday's van-and-knife attack in London, Afzal was critical of both the government and Muslims for not doing enough, and of being too tolerant of Islamic extremism. However, he was ready to identify efforts that have made a difference.

He credits grass-roots Muslim groups, many of them led by women, for challenging extremists and warning authorities when they see something especially alarming. "Time and time again, I come across really good work. The vast majority of work happens within the communities and is under the radar," he said.

Afzal cites the foiled attack on Downing Street in April, just two days after the Westminster Bridge attack, when a suspected jihadist armed with several knives was arrested by police 200 meters from the prime minister's residence. Police had shadowed the suspect from his home following a tip.

"Information came from within the community," Afzal said. "The head of UK's security and counterintelligence agency] MI5 has made it very clear that information from the communities is the bedrock of their intelligence."

Media coverage gives a different impression. "The people with the loudest voices are the ones the media tend to hear," he said. "The vast majority of Muslims don't want this type of behavior. They don't want to be associated with this violence and ideology."

Grooming for terrorism

Afzal, who until recently was chief executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, says much more needs to be done when it comes to early intervention, emphasizing that it is crucial and it works.

"The grooming of people for ideology is the same as grooming for sex or for organized crime," he said. "They manipulate the most vulnerable in our society and distance them from their families and friends. In relation to grooming for sex and crime we do have responses that work through early intervention, through education, through diversion. Why is it that we don't make more use of those techniques when it comes to radicalization?"

Afzal faults what he says is a laziness by successive British governments in identifying who to engage with in the Muslim communities, and warns that grass-roots groups making headway are often being neglected and starved of funding. "The best work I see is by women-led groups," he said.

Those groups are already engaged with families and have been tackling forced marriage, domestic abuse and honor killings, and have built up trust in the communities. "Therefore, when they identify someone at risk of radicalization, they are in the position of being able to do something about it," he said, adding that the groups deserve to be better funded.

It is a mistake to perceive all Muslim communities as the same, he says, pointing out that in London alone, Muslims are from 50 countries. "They are extremely diverse, and it needs a diverse response and not a one-size-fits-all approach."

One of the biggest challenges faced in combating radicals and their narrative is a generation gap, Afzal warns. More than half of all British Muslims are under the age of 25 and from low-income backgrounds, while community leaders tend to be much older, male and middle-class.

Community leaders, too often, want to avoid the issue, he says. They are badly equipped to understand the recruitment process and how radicals tailor their appeal to an array of youthful urges — from a need for redemption to thrill-seeking and status-seeking. Many who are recruited are "struggling with their masculinity" and are lost, Afzal says.

What's needed is a much stronger counter-narrative, he says, and one delivered by charismatic people able to connect with disoriented youngsters and who are not afraid to shake things up.

https://www.voanews.com/a/pressure-builds-british-muslims-better-identify-extremists/3890702.html

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UKIP Calls for Britain to Ban the Hardline Islamist Muslim Brotherhood

7 Jun 2017

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has called for the hardline Islamist Muslim Brotherhood to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the government and for its activities and related institutions to be investigated.

“In 2015 the Government produced a review – the Jenkins review, that laid bare much of the problems with the organisation, but its recommendations were not strong enough,” Mr. Nuttall said in a press release, noting the Brotherhood “has been instrumental in promoting an extremist world view in the UK and beyond”.

“The review suggested ‘refuse visas to members and associates of the Muslim Brotherhood who are on record as having made extremist comments, where this would be conducive to the public good,” he continued.

“I would like to know when the Government thinks that ‘extremist comments’ are ever conducive to the public good? And how many extremists have had their visas blocked under these rules.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928, is an international hardline Islamist movement that considers Western society as “inherently hostile to Muslim interests” and is a key inspiration to terrorist groups like Hamas.

The Jenkins review also reported the Muslim Brotherhood has undeclared links to Britain’s largest Islamic organisation, the Muslim Council of Britain.

Contextualising his calls for the Brotherhood to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation, Mr. Nuttall referenced the close connections of the Islamist organisation to those responsible for the recent Manchester Arena terror attack.

“We know that the Didsbury mosque, also known as the Manchester Islamic Centre, where the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, worshipped and worked has links to the Brotherhood and we know that Qatari money was involved.

“The review also stated that it would investigate illicit funding of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood, how many investigations have taken place, and what are the results of those investigations. The review said ‘the views and activities of the Muslim Brotherhood meet the legal test for proscription’. In the light of the horrors of the past year is this happening? If not why not?”

Condemning the prime minister, who was home secretary for 6 years, the UKIP leader said Theresa May “failed to effectively act” on the review’s recommendations.

Breitbart London reported last week that a report authorised in 2015 intended to be shown to then Home Secretary May which is believed to focus mainly on the funding of jihadi groups by Saudi Arabia may never be released, with Home Office sources admitting the findings were “very sensitive”.

Six countries designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation: Russia, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Full report at:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/06/07/ukip-calls-for-britain-to-ban-the-hardline-islamist-muslim-brotherhood/

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Ahmadi worship place violently targeted in Ireland days after London attack

Jun 08, 2017

The Ahmadi Imam of a worshiping place in Galway, which was attacked during the hour of prayer on Monday evening, has appealed for “calm” in the wake of the London terrorist attack.

Imam Ibrahim Ahmad Noonan of their worshiping place Maryam in Galway told The Irish Times that up to 100 members were left “terrified” when rocks smashed through the windows during the attack on Monday evening.

The attack comes in the wake of the terror attack in London on Saturday night and news that one of the three attackers lived for a time in Ireland and got married here.

A cross-border inquiry is seeking to establish if Rachid Redouane (30), who lived in Rathmines for a time, got married in Ireland for immigration reasons. Police said Redouane claimed to be Moroccan or Libyan.

An investigation in recent years found some men who had been refused immigration status or whose marriage plans had been questioned in Britain sought to marry in Ireland as a “back door” to staying in the European Union. It is understood he married in 2011 or 2012 before leaving for London and that he made an unsuccessful application for asylum in the UK in 2009.

Ahmadi Imam Noonan said the the attack in Galway took place at approximately 11.20 pm on Monday evening. “Last night, during the time of prayer and actually as we prayed, rocks smashed through the windows”, the Imam said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/07-Jun-2017/ahmadi-worship-place-violently-targeted-in-ireland-days-after-london-attack

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Russian hackers to blame for sparking Qatar crisis, FBI inquiry finds

7 June 2017

An investigation by the FBI has concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for sending out fake messages from the Qatari government, sparking the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in decades.

It is believed that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks; instead, freelance hackers were paid to undertake the work on behalf of some other state or individual. Some observers have claimed privately that Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates may have commissioned the hackers.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain launched an unprecedented campaign to isolate Qatar diplomatically and economically over links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iran. All four countries withdrew their ambassadors. They also launched an economic blockade, including denial of airspace, leading to panic-buying in the capital, Doha.

Qatar claims the hacking operation was designed to discredit the emir of Qatar by attributing to him remarks in support of Iran and critical of Donald Trump. It has pointed out that fake news stories, which were a product of the hack, were quickly picked up by Saudi and UAE news agencies.

The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said he had no knowledge of the results of the FBI inquiry. The Russian government has denied any involvement in the hacking.

In a further tightening of the diplomatic screws on Wednesday, Qataris were banned from landing at any airports in the UAE, even to transfer to another international flight. The UAE has also banned its citizens from using social media to express views sympathetic to Qatar.

Turkey’s parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday allowing the deployment of troops to Qatar, adding another complication to a delicate diplomatic crisis.

Turkey signed a deal with Qatar in 2016 to establish Ankara’s first military base in the Arabian peninsula, and part of the agreement entailed the deployment of Turkish troops to the base. Officials had said earlier in the day that they would fast-track the approval of the troop deployment, in light of the crisis in the Gulf.

On Tuesday evening Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, offered support to Qatar, saying he disapproved of the sanctions imposed by the other Gulf countries.

“I want to clearly say that we disapprove of the sanctions on Qatar,” Erdoğan said at a Ramadan breakfast event. “These developments, coming at a time when we need solidarity and cooperation more than ever, are no good for any country in the region.”

Ankara and Doha have grown closer in recent years, both backing opposition militias fighting to overthrow the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. The two countries also lent their support to Islamist groups in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab spring uprisings.

Amid mounting regional and international concern, Jubeir, speaking in Germany, said the Gulf states did not need any outside help to settle their dispute. “We have not asked for mediation. We believe this issue can be dealt with among the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.”

The dispute has huge geopolitical implications. Qatar is home to the largest US military base in the Gulf and is the world’s largest exporter of liquid gas. A worst-case scenario for the west would be the breakup of the anti-Islamic State coalition.

The UAE foreign minister, Anwar Gargash, said the anti-Qatar alliance was not seeking to displace the Qatar royal family, but foster a change in approach. “We have now reached a cul-de-sac in terms of trying to convince Qatar to change course,” he said, accusing the country of being “the main champion of extremism and terrorism in the region”.

The UAE wants Qatar to sever its ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, and Iran. It also wants news outlets seen to be critical of the Gulf monarchies, such as the Qatari-funded al-Jazeera, to be closed down.

Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders live in Doha, and Qatar has shown a willingness to retain diplomatic contacts with Iran, partly due to joint economic interests, including a large underwater gas field.

In its first statement since the crisis erupted, the Muslim Brotherhood rejected the Saudi accusations, saying that Riyadh should not listen to “the corrupt princes of oppression” in the UAE. Hamas said it was shocked by the UAE’s stance.

In contrast, the US president weighed in with a series of tweets on Tuesday backing Saudi Arabia and asserting that Qatar was funding terrorism, a claim it vehemently denies.

There were signs that Trump’s enthusiasm for the Saudi-UAE assault on Qatar has unnerved the Pentagon and European capitals. The serving US ambassador to Qatar appearedto openly challenge Trump’s view that Qatar has been aiding terrorism.

France initially refused to take sides but urged Qatar to be fully transparent and answer the questions of its regional neighbours.

The German foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, offered help to solve the crisis, and said Qatar’s isolation served no purpose.

In an attempt to protect its economy, Qatar said it was talking to Iran and Turkey about securing food and water supplies to prevent shortages. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also travelled to Turkey to coordinate a response.

Qatar’s government released a video on Tuesday that showed supermarket shelves stocked with food and other goods in an attempt to avert a repeat of Monday’s scenes of chaos, which were sparked by fears of shortages.

A government official said Doha had large strategic food reserves and that there was enough grain to last four weeks.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/russian-hackers-qatar-crisis-fbi-inquiry-saudi-arabia-uae

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Anti-Muslim crimes spike in London after attack says Mayor Sadiq Khan

Jun 07, 2017

Anti-Muslim crimes in the British capital have increased fivefold since the London Bridge terror attack, Mayor Sadiq Khan said Wednesday, warning that police would take a “zero-tolerance approach”.

“Provisional statistics for 6 June show a 40 percent increase in racist incidents, compared to the daily average this year, and a fivefold increase in the number of Islamophobic incidents,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.

It said 54 racist incidents were recorded on Tuesday, compared to a daily average of 38 so far in 2017.

Twenty of them were anti-Muslim incidents, well above the 2017 daily average of 3.5.

“This is the highest daily level of Islamophobic incidents in 2017 to date,” the statement said, adding it was higher than levels reached after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed.

On his Facebook page, Khan called on Londoners “to pull together, and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by these hideous individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life”.

He also warned that “just as the police will do everything possible to root out extremism from our city, so we will take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime”.

London’s Metropolitan Police said it had made 25 arrests for hate crime offences since Saturday, when eight people were killed by three Islamist extremists in the city centre.

Officers had also been in touch with places of worship “to encourage them to report hate crimes and to reassure those who congregate there that the police will take these crimes seriously”, said Dave Stringer, head of the force’s community engagement unit.

He said police were seeing year-on-year increases in all areas of hate crime, in part due to a greater willingness of victims to come forward despite overall such crimes being under-reported.

“However, we also know world events can also contribute to a rise in hate crime,” Stringer said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/anti-muslim-crimes-spike-in-london-after-attack-says-mayor-sadiq-khan/story-rLyjaiLQKFDO1uM6u5CbkN.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Philippines Says Militants Had Planned Much Larger-Scale Attack

Jun 08, 2017

Marawi City, Philippines. Philippines troops thwarted an original plan drawn up by the Islamist militants now holed up in Marawi City to "spread terror" in a rampage of violence that would have given them full control of the southern town, the military said on Wednesday (07/06).

"There was indeed a bigger plan and it was supposed to wreak more havoc," military spokesman Restituto Padilla told a news conference as aerial bombing resumed against fighters who have sworn allegiance to the ultra-radical Islamic State.

Philippine senators said members of the upper house were last week shown a video of the militants, led by a group known as Maute, plotting a far more sophisticated siege of Marawi City than the attack they launched there on May 23.

"It was clear that these terrorists, the Maute group, their end goal is to make Marawi ... independent, or to separate from the republic," Senator JV Ejercito told Reuters.

"With a plan like this, this is already rebellion and a threat to national security, so declaration of martial law is justified," he said, referring to the martial law declared by President Rodrigo Duterte across the southern island of Mindanao when the siege began.

The Associated Press (AP) first reported on the seized video footage, which showed Isnilon Hapilon - proclaimed last year by Islamic State as its "emir" of Southeast Asia - and others planning to take hostages from a school, seal off roads and capture a highway.

Armed forces Chief of Staff General Eduaro Año told the AP that the images showed an intention to dismember "a portion of the Philippine territory by occupying the whole of Marawi City and establishing their own Islamic state or government".

'Not A Religious War'

The battle for Marawi City has raised concern that Islamic State, on a back foot in Syria and Iraq, is building a regional base on Mindanao that could pose a threat to neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore too.

Officials said that, among the several hundred militants who seized the town, there were about 40 foreigners from Indonesia and Malaysia but also fighters from India, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Chechnya.

The military has said that the fighters are increasingly penned in around a built-up area of the town, and troops have been clearing houses that the militants had defended with snipers for the past two weeks.

The fighters prepared for a long siege, stockpiling arms and food in tunnels, basements, mosques and madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, military officials say. The Philippines is largely Christian, but Marawi City is overwhelmingly Muslim.

Progress in the military campaign has been slow because hundreds of civilians are still trapped or being held hostage, some as human shields, the military said.

A Catholic priest and about a dozen of his parishioners were taken on the first day of the battle by militants who burst into the town's cathedral and set it alight.

Military spokesman Padilla appealed to social media users not to circulate material, such as the razing of the church, that may fan religious tensions.

"Let us not buy into the plan of these terror groups to inflame the feelings of our other religions," he said. "This is not a religious war."

A four-hour ceasefire to evacuate residents trapped in the town was interrupted by gunfire on Sunday, leaving some 500 to 600 inside with dwindling supplies of food and water.

Officials say that 1,545 civilians have been rescued.

The latest numbers for militants killed in the battle is 134, along with 39 security personnel. The authorities have put the civilian death toll at between 20 and 38.

http://jakartaglobe.id/international/philippines-says-militants-planned-much-larger-scale-attack/

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Police Arrest 'Motivators' Behind Kampung Melayu Suicide Attack

Jun 08, 2017

Jakarta. The suicide bombers who carried out an Islamic State-linked attack in East Jakarta's Kampung Melayu last month were members of a religious community in Bandung, West Java, where they received "motivation" from two suspected militants.

Police arrested the two, identified as Muslih Afifi and Wachidun Triyono, in Bandung's Cileunyi and Cibiru on Wednesday (07/06) and searched their homes, where they found bundles of documents related to jihad.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Muslih and Wachidun lead a foundation called Asykari As-Sunnah in Cileunyi.

The suicide bombers, whom police identified as Ichwan Nurul Salam and Ahmad Sukri, allegedly attended recitations and preaching sessions at the foundation five days before the deadly attack on May 24.

"After that recitation, there was a sort of motivation session for the two suicide bombers," West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus told the Jakarta Globe.

Among documents found at Muslih's home in Cileunyi was a printed speech titled "Amanah Amirul Mujahidin" and an article, "Taushiyah and Tadzkirah," by jailed Islamist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

Police also found a paper depicting the symbol of the Islamic State militant group.

Wednesday's operation followed the arrest of another suspected militant, identified as Muhammad Iqbal, in Bandung's Jatinangor, who reportedly also attended the Asykari As-Sunnah's sessions.

"Most of those arrested recently attended the same recitation and preaching sessions. All were from the same community, the same foundation," Yusri said.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/police-arrest-motivators-behind-kampung-melayu-suicide-attack/

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Christian, Muslim and Hindu soccer players in Indonesia use goal celebration to make political statement

By Marissa Payne

June 7, 2017

Three Indonesian soccer players have become symbolic of what a more peaceful world might look like thanks to a unique goal celebration recently caught on camera.

Lined up in a row, Bali United’s Hindu defender Ngurah Nanak, Christian forward Yabes Roni and Muslim striker Miftahul Hamdi each celebrated Yabes’s second goal of the team’s 3-0 win last month against Borneo FC by demonstrating the three religion’s prayer positions.

A political statement without words, a photo of the celebration taken by photographer Miftahuddin Halim and posted to the team’s Facebook page on Sunday went worldwide.

“Because different beliefs will not prevent us from achieving the same goals,” the photo’s caption reads.

[Basketball’s governing body clears the way for female Muslim athletes to compete while wearing a hijab]

The photo comes at a particularly important time in Indonesian history, as the rise of less tolerant Islamist political factions in the country in recent months has threatened Indonesia’s more moderate and secular government.

To combat the growing concern, Bali United players celebrated the team’s goals by demonstrating people of different religions not only can work together but genuinely get along.

“Even though we all come from different religions and ethnicities, we’re all one, “Yabes told Indonesia’s Kompas.com (translation via Vice). “We have to protect the country’s harmony and stay united.”

 The photographer Halim echoed that sentiment, noting he was “glad that photo serves as an example for people. Soccer can unite the country.”

While three players of different religions celebrating a goal together in prayer may be new, individual religious goal celebrations are not. Players of all faiths have been known to thank a higher power after scoring during the game. While this has sometimes caused controversy with fans, FIFA is receptive to the celebrations as long as players do not extend their religious celebrations beyond gesturing.

According to FIFA’s rule book, world soccer’s governing body draws the line when players display any political, religious or personal slogans on signs, undershirts or other equipment during the game.

Full report at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/06/07/christian-muslim-and-hindu-soccer-players-in-indonesia-use-goal-celebration-to-make-political-statement/?utm_term=.68346b86649e

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China rejects US report on military bases in Pakistan

Jun 08, 2017

BEIJING: China on Wednesday dismissed as irresponsible the annual US Defence Department report that predicted China would expand its global military presence.

The defence ministry in a statement refuted the US assessment, saying “China is not doing any military expansion and does not seek a sphere of influence”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a briefing that China “is firmly opposed” to aspects of the report.

“We have noted the report released by the US which made irresponsible remarks about China’s national defence development in disregard of the facts,” Ms Hua said, declining to comment on “speculation” and noting that the “friendly cooperation [between China and Pakistan] does not target any third party”.

The Pentagon report said Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea had caused regional concern over its long-term intentions.

“As of late 2016, China was constructing 24 fighter-sized hangars, fixed-weapons positions, barracks, administration buildings and communication facilities” at three outposts in the Spratly Islands, the report said.

China has balked at US involvement in the dispute.

“The US’s intensification of deployment in the region — frequently sending navy vessels on reconnaissance operations — has created the tense situation,” China’s defence ministry said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Jun-2017/china-rejects-us-report-on-military-bases-in-pakistan

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Zaid tells Muslim leaders to change before terrorism sets in

June 7, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Former minister Zaid Ibrahim says if Muslim leaders don’t change their ways, it is just a matter of time before terrorism erupts on Malaysian streets.

He said in his latest blog post that the policies and behaviour of Malaysian Muslim leaders contribute to the “healthy growth of terrorist conduct and behaviour”.

Writing in a frank and honest manner, Zaid laid bare the situation in the country, and how the actions and non-actions of Muslim leaders have been laying, and continue to, lay the seeds of terrorism in Malaysia.

But instead of just criticising or assigning blame, he also offered suggestions on how to ensure terrorism is defeated.

“If the PM (Prime Minister Najib Razak) is sincere in wanting to combat terrorism, may I suggest that he begin with two simple steps: have a new group of progressive Muslims helm Jakim (The Islamic religious department) to present a new vision of what is true Islam, and then give regular lectures to state religious departments to let them know that Islam is not, in fact, under threat.

“The PM needs to inculcate a more hopeful and positive behavioural change in Muslim leaders so that we have a less toxic environment in the country. Why not talk about hope and how we can live together better?”

Zaid said Najib, like other Muslim leaders, frequently asked Muslims to emulate the “real” Islam. This, he said, usually happens after a few bombs have exploded or other senseless killings have taken place in the streets of western Europe.

Saying that Malaysia has its “fair share” of terrorists, the DAP member added that the nation had produced bomb-makers and jihadists who have joined the Islamic State’s movement in Mindanao, southern Thailand, Indonesia, Syria and Afghanistan.

He gave several examples of Malaysians who were involved in terrorist activities in Indonesia and the Philippines.

“None of them have exploded bombs in our streets yet, but terrorism is not just evidenced by violence and death. In our case, the body may look healthy but a virus is clearly in our midst and has already infected our neighbours.

“Overt violence is only the visible part of terrorism, the end of the food chain. It begins when we adopt political, cultural and social norms and values that are violent in nature.”

Elucidating on the seeds of terrorism, Zaid said: “The language we use, the political culture we adopt, the manner with which we treat dissent and the disproportionate actions we take against those who oppose us are all examples of the birth of terrorist actions.”

Saying these actions capture the imagination of those who want to further their cause, he added that terrorism takes time to fester.

“Radical Muslim leaders in Britain had to engage in radical preaching for many years (thanks to liberals who could not appreciate the difference between hate speech and free speech) before they successfully produced the walking bombs in the streets of London and Manchester today.

“It will be the same here. If we continue to allow hate speech to proliferate, if we cannot show enough tolerance to other believers and if our political culture continues to intimidate, then it’s just a matter of time before the bombs explode and senseless killings take place in this TN50 country.”

Terrorism, he said, is not confined to suicide bombings but is the use of violence and threats to intimidate and coerce, especially for political purposes.

“Our Muslim leaders like to tell Muslims in this country that Islam is under threat, and that pluralism and liberals must be wiped out in order to protect the religion. They tell Muslims to follow the ‘real’ Islam, which means Muslims can only follow whatever these leaders define as true Islam.

“They use the law to compel observance of the true Islam, as opposed to showing kindness and understanding to Muslims who have gone astray.

“These leaders should know that laws and edicts have never succeeded in forcing people to follow a belief system. Belief is the territory of the soul, and the soul resents preachers who belittle them.”

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/06/07/zaid-tells-muslim-leaders-to-change-before-terrorism-sets-in/

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Report: Singapore’s libraries pull down controversial Malay books on religions

June 8, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — Singapore's National Library Board (NLB) will immediately remove a series of books published by a Malaysian company from all of its libraries in the republic over its controversial contents, The New Paper reported today.

The paper reported that the Malay-language books are part a series published in 2013 titled “Agama, Tamadun dan Arkeologi” (Religion, Civilisation and Archeology), focusing on religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and paganism.

“One of the books has, on its cover, children wearing yarmulkes, smiling as they hold machine guns,” the report said.

“In it, there are declarations of how the third world war will ‘start in the Middle East between Israel and the neighbouring countries, which are the Arab states’.”

The New Paper also reported that it found the questionable books in the junior non-fiction section of the Bishan Public Library on Tuesday.

“Some of the statements indicated that in one religion, people used to view their daughters on the same level as servants, and that their fathers held the right to sell them.

“Another volume describes how one religion believes that ‘plague, hell, poison, snakes and fire are all better than women’,” it reported.

It reported that there are eight books in the series, and a check of NLB's online catalogue revealed that there were about 30 copies of each book in the country’s libraries, with six copies currently on loan, as of press time.

The daily reported that the books were first discovered by a Singaporean Twitter user, who took to the social media platform to post photos of the book on Sunday. The user has since deleted his account following backlash against his criticisms.

It also quoted an NLB representative saying that while all efforts are done to ensure that the books it authorises do not offend the public, the body is unable to vet all titles before placing it on the shelves.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/report-singapores-libraries-pull-down-controversial-malay-books-on-religion

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Indonesia Records Region's Largest Drop on Global Peace Index

Jun 08, 2017

Jakarta. Increased tension between hardline Muslims and minority groups such as Christians is one of the reasons why Indonesia's score on the 2017 Global Peace Index deteriorated, according to a report released by the Institute for Economics and Peace last Thursday (01/06).

"Although majority of countries in Asia Pacific have made improvements in their overall scores, Indonesia recorded the largest drop in the region," the report said.

In 2016, Indonesia ranked 42 out of 163 countries listed in the index. This year, however, the country experienced the largest drop among Asia Pacific countries, dropping to 52 on the index.

The Global Peace Index is compied by The Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank headquartered in Sydney, Australia. The index was initially launched in 2007, and has been updated annually since.

The index measures the state of peace according to 23 indicators, which includes incidents of violent crime, levels of militarization, weapons imports and the number killed in both internal and external conflicts.

The index suggested that Indonesia's overall score deterioration was "driven by a deterioration in the indicators measuring political terror and the number and duration of internal conflicts," and cited "increased tensions between hardline Muslims and minority sectarian groups, chiefly Christian" as the main cause.

The growth of intolerance and increased tensions in the archipelago nation is best illustrated by the highly-publicized Jakarta election, which prompted mass rallies against then Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of ethnic Chinese minority, as well as the blasphemy case against him, which led to his conviction and 2 year sentence.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-records-regions-largest-drop-on-global-peace-index/

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India

 

Jignesh Mevani tries to unite Dalits, Muslims over cow slaughter

June 8, 2017

Almost a year after the Una flogging incident hit the headlines, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Wednesday addressed a gathering here in a bid to unite and mobilise Dalits and Muslims by raising the Centre’s ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter. While the gathering — organised soon after iftar — was aimed at bringing both the communities together ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat, hardly any Muslim attended it.

The public meeting was being organised by Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM), in alliance with Dalit-Muslim Sangathan, at Behrampura in the city after a gap of five months. “It will soon be one year of the Una Dalit flogging incident. When the incident took place, the Dalits and the Muslims united and took it as their own fight. That was a slap on the face of the BJP government. Let’s unite again and show them our collective power,” said Jignesh Mevani, addressing the well-attended gathering on a narrow lane of a residential area. He was referring to last year’s July 11 incident in which a family of Dalits was flogged by alleged gau rakshaks after they were found skinning a dead cow in Una taluka of Gir Somnath.

“It is time that issues of health, education and employment are taken up by our movement. Only Dalit rhetoric will not help us. Look at the government-run hospitals in the city — most cater to the Dalits and the Muslims. None of them has enough staff and proper facilities. Let us demand our right to good health,” he said. “Access to education continues to be a problem for the Dalits and the Muslims. Why does a Dalit still pick up a broom and get into the gutter? Modi’s development model called Gujarat model is actually a modern version of the Manusmriti in which we continue to do the same thing our forefathers were forced to do.”

“If Modi really has a chhapan inch ki chhati then he should ensure that the one lakh unemployed youth in the state get jobs. Which Hindu rashtra are you talking about? For whom is this Hindu rashtra?,” said Mevani.

On the issues related to cow and its deification, Mevani said: “Kutri aney ghadedi maata nathi, toh gaay maata kevi retey thai (If we don’t consider a dog or a donkey as our mother, then how can a cow to be our mother?). It was in response to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s comment that cow is considered as “mother”.

Jignesh ended his speech by calling for a march to commemorate one year of the Una incident. Political analyst Anand Teltumbde and social activist Asit Roy also addressed the crowd. Teltumbde in his brief speech said,”Modi is putting statues of Baba Saheb (B R Ambedkar) to please us. But none of his value is taken into consideration. Polarisation of the Muslims and the Dalits continue in this country. This is how they are building a Hindu rashtra.”

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/jignesh-mevani-tries-to-unite-dalits-muslims-over-cow-slaughter-4694029/

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Jharkhand: Muslim man attacked by irate mob for taking ‘beef’ to Iftar party

Jun 07, 2017

A Muslim man was assaulted by an angry mob for allegedly trying to take beef to an Iftar party at Barbadda village in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district on Tuesday morning.

The victim – identified as 35-year-old Ainul Ansari – has been admitted to the Patliputra Medical College Hospital, where he is recovering.

Police said Ansari, a resident of Murahdih, was headed to Barbadda village on a scooter when 20 people waylaid him at Loharbarba. Even as they were assaulting him, somebody informed the police.

A team led by Barbadda police station officer-in-charge Dinesh Kumar reached the scene soon afterwards, and rescued Ansari. “The irate mob insisted that we search the victim’s scooter. We did so, and recovered meat – probably beef – from its storage compartment,” said Kumar.

Ansari’s wife, Sahida Begum, denied the allegation. “We planned to hold an Iftar party at our house on Tuesday evening. Ansari was bringing mutton for the event, but the villagers mistook it for beef,” she said.

A sample of the meat has been sent to a Ranchi laboratory for identification.

The villagers have accused Ansari of trading in beef for the last three months. “They claim that he purchases the banned meat from Wasseypur in Dhanbad and sells it in the area,” a police officer said.

The residents of Murahdih, however, narrate a different tale. “Something like this has never happened before. We source our mutton for Iftar parties from Dhanbad because it is cheaply available there. But there’s a lot of fear now. How are we – poor village folk – supposed to celebrate the festival in such circumstances?” asked one of them.

Though tension prevails in the area, no complaint has been filed so far. “Neither Ansari nor the villagers who assaulted him have turned up to lodge an FIR,” said Kumar.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/ranchi/jharkhand-muslim-man-attacked-by-irate-mob-for-taking-beef-to-iftar-party/story-q1ZXWgGoNJ9b3vksZklqEM.html

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Dalits, Muslims Join At 'Chhabeel' Organised In the Memory Of Bhinderanwale And Sikhs Killed In The Operation Bluestar

Jun 7, 2017

PHAGWARA: For the first time Dalit and Muslim groups took part in the 'Chhabeel' organized by Sikh outfits on the national highway in Phagwara in the memory of Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale and other Sikhs killed in the Operation Bluestar. The "unity among minorities and Dalits" was conspicuous after some right wing Hindu groups opposed hoardings announcing holding of the 'chhabeel' and a religious function carrying pictures of Bhinderanwale

The Hindu groups also held a small 'chhabeel' outside Hanuman Garhi Mandir on the service lane along the national highway as police did not allow them to reach the main carriageway in front of the Sikh groups. At the 'chhabeel' organized by Akal Students federation, in which several other Sikh organizations also joined on Tuesday, pictures of Bhinderanwale were displayed on the banners and youths seen wearing T-shirts with his photos.

Police personnel were deployed in big numbers and a close vigil was kept in the wake of tension brewing in the town for the last few days after Hindu groups announced to remove hoardings and Sikh activists threatening to retaliate.

Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) leader Jarnail Nangal, who contested the recent assembly election from Phagwara, also visited the 'chhabeel.' Dalit organizations of Ravidassia/Adidharmi and Valmiki communities also participated in the event, and along with Muslim activists, they served sweet and water to people. Ambedkar Sena (Mool Niwasi) president Harbhajan Suman said they had united against Manuwadi forces. "We shall keep on opposing their divisive agenda," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/dalits-muslims-join-at-chhabeel/articleshow/59031129.cms

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Pakistan Using Shrine Donations to Fund Terrorism in India Rajasthan Intel

Jun 8, 2017

JAIPUR: Intelligence agencies of Rajasthan police have found that ISI handlers allegedly set up donation boxes at places of worship, and use the money donated by devotees to fund terrorist activities in the border villages of the state.

The sleuths unearthed the funding network while interrogating ISI spy Deena Khan, who was arrested last week from a remote village in Barmer district. "Khan revealed that he was in-charge of a small Mazar in Chohtan village of Barmer district and distributed Rs 3.5 lakh of Mazar's donation to other spies like Satram Maheswari and his nephew Vinod Maheswari," a senior officer of the state intelligence and security wing told TOI, adding that Deena's handlers in Pakistan would call him over phone, and ask him to distribute fund accordingly.

The officer said Deena Khan disturbed the amount among several spies, including Satram and Haji Khan, who were arrested by the border intelligence earlier this year for sharing confidential information about the movement of Indian troops along the international border. "Since no record books were maintained by the Mazar authorities, Deena Khan secretly used part of the religious offerings to fund anti-national activities," the officer said.

The police suspect that ISI may have set up several such donation boxes at multiple locations in border areas to fund its espionage activities. "It is difficult to distribute money through hawala network as it can be traced. Hence, the donation boxes are easy way to collect money and distribute it among the spies," the officer said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-using-shrine-donations-to-fund-terrorism-in-india/articleshow/59043946.cms

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Main problem in J&K is Pak-sponsored cross-border terrorism: India at UNHRC

Jun 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday accused Pakistan of using terror as an instrument of state policy and asked Islamabad to vacate its illegal occupation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK)+ .

Raising the issue of Pak-sponsored terrorism at the United Nations 35th session of the Human Rights Council, India said "Pakistan must rein in its compulsive hostility towards us."

"The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory. Therefore, the neutrality of the phrase "Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir" is artificial," Rajiv K Chander, India's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, asserted during the session.

He also said that the state has an elected democratic government and represents all sections of the people unlike the situation in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

"The central problem in Jammu & Kashmir is cross-border terrorism+ , and Pakistan's use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. This fact needs due recognition by one and all. We firmly believe that a policy of zero tolerance to terrorism is as much an international obligation as it is a commitment to our own people," he said, adding that a robust independent media and civil society combined with an impartial judiciary, should act as the sentinels of Indian democracy.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/main-problem-in-jk-is-pak-sponsored-cross-border-terrorism-india-at-unhrc/articleshow/59038755.cms

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Army foils another infiltration bid in Kashmir, three terrorists killed

Jun 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: Three terrorists were gunned down when the Army foiled an infiltration bid in Machil sector of north Kashmir's Kupwara district, an official said on Wednesday.

"Last night, the troops guarding the Line of Control (LoC) noticed a group of terrorists trying to infiltrate into the valley from across the border in Machil sector," Srinagar-based Army spokesperson Rajesh Kalia told TOI.

Troops engaged the heavily-armed terrorist who tried to escape taking advantage of the thick forest cover. Three terrorists, yet to be unidentified, were killed and 3 AK-47 rifles recovered. Search operations to track down other members of the group were going on, Kalia said.He also said there is no causality on our side.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/army-foils-another-infiltration-bid-in-kashmir-two-terrorists-killed/articleshow/59037663.cms

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Africa

 

Ethiopia: Promoting Religious Tolerance Through Iftar

7 JUNE 2017

By Bilal Derso

Religious observations like Iftar have pivotal roles not only in strengthening mutual respect but also in promoting tolerance, accommodate diversity and uphold harmony among the people, according to religious fathers.

A member of the Ethiopian Ulema, Fatwa and Da'awa Council, Sheikh Mustapha Mohammed told The Ethiopian Herald that the practice creating platforms for peoples of different faiths create better understanding of religions and values they attached to peaceful coexistence.

Sheikh Mustapha stated that the widespread communal religious observations between peoples of different religions is among the contributing factors Ethiopia being a place of religious tolerance in the contrast to religious conflicts that persists around the globe.

He said, "the presence of followers of other religions at the Iftar ceremony shows the huge importance the event has for sustaining the long cherished value of tolerance and mutual coexistence in the society."

Suleiman Mohammed, 43, was born in Dessie, a town where the followers of both Muslims and non-Muslims live peacefully for ages.

Suleiman said that Iftar is one of the religious festivals that non-Muslim friends and neighbors have been invited by their Muslim brothers.

The fact that people with different faiths taking part in Iftar have significant roles for paving ways for them to exchange views about their livelihoods and maintaining the long lasting culture of accommodating differences, he added.

According to Suleiman, "such religious observations serve as bases to enable people with different religions working together to common agenda of peace and development as well as nation building. They are also platforms to recognize and respect differences and shun radicalized viewpoints."

Seifu Solomon, a Christian, on his part said that he has been taking part in numerous Iftar ceremonies with his neighbors and friends over many years.

He indicated that such events enable people to realize all religions taught, the need to live in harmony and evils of radicalism. " Involving in religious observation as of Iftar would help people with different faiths to respect differences. It also have considerable vantages to maintain Ethiopia's age-old culture of religious tolerance."

He added that religious observations, besides their religious values, have laid the foundations for peace and coexistence in the country,

Ethiopian Muslims highly valued the peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims. The growing movement by Wahhabists; ultra-conservative Islamic group; however, attempted to disrupt this peaceful relation.

Sheikh Mustapha said, "religious leaders should use the Ramadan month in activities to boost inter-religious harmony and preach the congregation for peace and unity among Muslims and non-Muslims to mobilize their participation for building the democratic system and enhancing the economic growth. "

The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council should play a leading role to preserve the tolerance and avoidance of religious-based conflicts by advising the laity to shun radicalized view of the religion, he added.

Hailemichael Woldesenbet, a priest in St. Mary Church, agrees on this fact saying the destructive act of these forces are not only at- tempting to impose their will on the public violently and obstruct the peaceful spread of religion but also disturb the peace of the country, which is an unacceptable deed.

He said, "Greater emphasis needs to be placed on educating the new generation towards religious tolerance and building a tolerant society at large."

Religious intolerance becomes more dangerous when it is exploited to attain political ambition of an individual or interest group in that they often try to manipulate public opinion with misinformation and prejudice on a certain religious affiliation, he added.

He also emphasized that all stakeholders should strive to retire the influence of those interest groups by paving a way access to pluralistic information that would allow them to differentiate between facts and stereotypical opinions as well as discredit hateful propaganda.

Unless stakeholders work in concert to repulse the destructive efforts of some interest groups, Ethiopia's age-long history of accommodating people of various religions could be endangered.

Vigilant protection of such cultures do not be destroyed by fundamentalists and extremists who have other agendas rather than religion has become the order of the day since recent years.

Religious observations are central to maintain the tradition of peaceful co-existence among different faiths that has been existed for centuries. If religious stakeholders manage to maintain the peaceful coexistence of the Ethiopian people, the country' vision to ensure its renaissance would be a reality.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201706070667.html

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Libyan army reveals documents proving Qatar’s interference in Libya

8 June 2017

Libyan army spokesman Colonel Ahmed al-Mesmari revealed on Wednesday night documents showing Qatar’s interference in Libya.

“Since 2012, Qatar has not been dealt with because of its role in supporting terrorist groups in Libya,” he told a news conference in Benghazi. “Qatar's destructive role in Libya will soon end.”

He added that Hamas was also involved in the conflicts in Libya.

The Libyan ambassador in Riyadh, announced on Monday that the President of the House of Representatives Aqila Saleh announced the severing relations with Qatar and the withdrawal of the ambassador.

This came after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Yemen decided to sever ties with Qatar and accused them of supporting terrorism.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/06/08/Libyan-army-reveals-documents-proving-the-involvement-of-Qatar-in-Libya.html

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Burundi: Imam Detained for Creating Conflicts in Buterere Mosque

6 JUNE 2017

By Diane Uwimana

Khalid Miburo, an Imam at Buterere Mosque of Ntahangwa Commune in the capital Bujumbura, is detained since 1 June. "The security forces arrested him when he was at the Buterere office to inquiry after the young Muslims detained for causing conflicts at the Mosque", says a muslim from the locality. Previously, 18 young Muslims have been arrested accused of destabilizing the prayer at the Mosque.

"They brought their own Imam to dismiss Khalid Miburo, the acting one", says Ramadhan Hakizimana, the representative of the Burundi Islamic Community-COMIBU in Buterere area. The police decided to arrest and detain them to calm down the situation but all of them were shortly released expect two who are still behind bars for investigation reasons.

On 6 June, Muslim men and women from Buterere area held a sit-in at the headquarters of the Burundi Islamic Community. "We don't know the whereabouts of our Imam and the motives behind his detention", says one Muslim.

Abdallah Sadiki Kajandi, Chairperson of COMIBU, says it is normal that conflicts occur in a community but measures must be imposed if necessary. "Khalid Miburo has tried to stir up trouble among Muslims. We have tried to calm down the situation by advising conflicting parties", says Kajandi.

The COMIBU representative says the detention place of the Imam is known and states that he will be released as soon as the investigations are over.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201706070129.html

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Gambia: UAE Embassy in Dakar Reaches Out to Needy Muslims

7 JUNE 2017

By Amie Susso

The United Arab Emirates Embassy based in Dakar under its Ramadan Food Programme recently extended magnanimity in the form of Ramadan gifts to the needy Muslims in the country.

The presentation held at Islamic Institution in Tallinding was courtesy of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayeh Al-Nahyahan Foundation.

The items donated include, gallons of cooking oil, bags of sugar, 9-tones of dates, bags of rice.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Sheikh Muhammed Basirou Camara, the president of Islamic Union, expressed delight with the move, saying the move is anchored on the principle of caring and sharing with needy people.

The gesture, he went on, was the sixth of its kind the embassy was reaching out to the needy people, acknowledging that Islam remains a religion of peace that calls for sharing and caring especially in the month of Ramadan.

For his part, Nema Ahmed, a representative from the United Arab Emirates Embassy based in Dakar, said the donations are from charity groups in based in UAE, targeting the needy people like widows.

"The items are going to be distributed in three groups, so I hope the items will be evenly distributed to serve it purpose" he added.

One Sheikh Cherno Darbo emphasised that the people of UAE are committed to supporting the people of The Gambians.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201706071210.html

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South Asia

 

Taliban suffer casualties in an explosion in Sar-e-Pul province

Jun 08 2017

The Taliban insurgents suffered casualties in an explosion in northern Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Wednesday an explosion took place in the vicinity of Suzma Qala district earlier today, leaving at least five insurgents dead or wounded.

A statement by MoI said the insurgents were busy in the making of an Improvised Explosive Device when the explosives went off prematurely.

The statement further added that three Taliban insurgents including a local commander of the group identified as Qari Zekrullah were killed and two others were wounded.

The Taliban insurgents group has not commented regarding the report so far.

The Taliban insurgents frequently use IEDs as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government officials but in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UANAMA) released its latest civilian casualties report in April, covering a period of three months since the start of 2017.

According to the report, the Anti-Government Elements caused 62 per cent of civilian casualties – 1,353 civilian casualties (447 dead and 906 injured), reflecting a five per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016.

The UN mission also added it recorded a 12 per cent increase in civilian casualties caused by pressure-plate improvised explosive devices – 218 civilian casualties (86 dead and 132 injured).

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-suffer-casualties-in-an-explosion-in-sar-e-pul-province-02889

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Qatar crisis: Bangladeshi expats fear job loss, suffer as commodities get costlier

Adil Sakhawat

Jun 08, 2017

Seven countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, on Monday severed ties with Qatars, accusing it of backing terrorism and destabilising the region

Ever since seven countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, the Bangladeshi expatriates living in the country are in a great fear of losing their jobs.

However, Bangladeshi embassy officials in Doha, where, according to an unofficial figure, about three lakh Bangladeshis are living currently, said the expatriates will not be affected due the situation.

Expatriates’ Welfare Secretary Begum Shamsun Nahar said while replying to a query during a workshop at the ministry on Wednesday said: “We deal our labour market carefully with the help of the Qatari government. So, the Bangladeshi expatriates there will not suffer despite the tension.”

Even Bangladesh’s Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam on Wednesday said the labour market in Qatar for Bangladeshi expatriates will remain unaffected.

Seven countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, on Monday severed ties with Qatars, accusing it of backing terrorism and destabilising the region.

Many Bangladeshis expressed the grave concern that they might be sacked ro sent back home if the situation continues. On the other hand, many other say their salaries and allowances would be cut by the employers.

Things became even tougher for the Bangladeshi expatiates as they have already bearing the brunt of a price hike of everyday essentials in the gas-rich nation.

Mona Islam, a driver of Qatari transportation service “Mowasalat” who works in Doha, said: “The commodity prices has already soared after Monday’s incident. The vegetables, among other food items, got pricier in the meantime.”

“Potato prices have doubled since Monday as we are now buying each kg potato at 3 Qatari riyals. The price of onion also soared to 3 Qatari riyals, up from last week’s 2 Qatari riyals,” he said.

Mona’s colleague Motiur Rahman said the price of imported milk and other dairy products, especially manufactured in Saudi Arabia, also see a rise since the Kingdom stopped exporting goods to the Arabian Peninsula country.

Confirming the price hike, Dr Md Serajul Islam, Labour Counsellor of Bangladesh embassy in Doha, told the Dhaka Tribune told the diary products were selling at higher prices, but the prices of other essential commodities remained unchanged due to a healthy stock.

He, nevertheless, expected the situation to be normal as the Kuwaiti Emir has been trying to negotiate with the Saudi King the matter.

But, he claimed that Bangladeshis living in Qatar will not feet the heat of the unrest.

“Even if the deteriorating relation sustains for a few more days, Bangladeshi community will not be affected,” he hoped.

He also assured that the embassy will be open to the Bangladeshi expatriates at any emergency.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2017/06/08/bangladeshi-expats-fear-job-loss-suffer-commodities-get-costlier/

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NDS informs of developments in probe from detained Kabul funeral bomber

Jun 08 2017

The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), informed regarding the further developments made in the ongoing probe from the detained suicide bomber who was attempted to carry out the fourth explosion in Salim Izadyar’s funeral ceremony.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said the NDS Chief Masoom Stanikzai informed regarding the developments during a high level defense meeting chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

No further details were disclosed regarding the developments achieved from ongoing investigations from the detained suicide bomber who is the custody of the security forces.

However, the ARG Palace said the defense officials meeting concluded by issuing instructions for further thorough investigations.

The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), released its new findings regarding the coordinated suicide attack on Salim Izadyar’s funeral ceremony in Kabul last week, stating that the suicide bombers were trained in Mawlavi Ahmad Madrasa located in Chaman area of Quetta city of Pakistan and were sent to Kabul for the suicide attack.

NDS further added that the suicide bombers managed to pass through strict security measures by placing the explosives inside their shoes.

A group of at least three suicide bombers who had disguised themselves as funeral participants detonated their explosives among the prayer participants, leaving scores of people dead or wounded.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/nds-informs-of-developments-in-probe-from-detained-kabul-funeral-bomber-02888

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North America

 

Trump offers to help resolve Gulf crisis, UAE tightens squeeze on Qatar

Jun 08, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump offered on Wednesday to help resolve a worsening diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab powers as the United Arab Emirates invoked the possibility of an economic embargo on Doha over its alleged support of terrorism.

In his second intervention in the row in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a White House statement said.

"The President offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary," it said.

Trump, in a later call with Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, called for unity among Gulf Arabs "but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism," the White House said.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday over long-standing allegations that Doha is courting Iran, which they deem the region's biggest external threat, and supporting Islamist groups, seen as the biggest internal danger.

The four countries also cut transport links to tiny gas-rich Qatar, disrupting food and other supplies and deepening uncertainty about the future of trade and investment ties.

In a sign of economic damage from the dispute, Standard & Poor's downgraded Qatar's debt on Wednesday as the country's riyal currency fell to an 11-year low amid signs that portfolio investment funds were flowing out because of the rift.

S&P cut its long-term rating of Qatar by one notch to AA- from AA and put the rating on CreditWatch with negative implications, meaning there was a significant chance of a further downgrade.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Reuters there would be more economic curbs on Qatar if necessary and said Doha needed to make ironclad commitments to change what critics say is a policy on funding Islamist militants.

He later told France 24 television that any further steps could take the form of "a sort of embargo on Qatar".

REGIONAL TENSIONS

Reiterating comments by Gulf officials, Gargash told Reuters there was no plan to seek a change in Qatar's leadership, only a change in its policies.

Regional tensions, already high following the diplomatic dispute, ratcheted up further after militants attacked targets in Tehran on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people.

Iran blamed arch-foe Saudi Arabia for the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State militant group. Riyadh denied any involvement.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf states could resolve a row with Qatar among themselves without outside help.

"We have not asked for mediation, we believe this issue can be dealt with among the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council," he told a news conference with his German counterpart during a visit to Berlin that was broadcast on Saudi state television.

Jubeir declined to confirm a list of 10 demands published by Al Jazeera, which included shutting down the Doha-based news channel, but added that Qatar knew what it needed to do to restore normal relations.

Meanwhile Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah continued a regional effort to mediate the crisis, shuttling from the UAE en route to Qatar on Wednesday evening, a Kuwaiti diplomat told Reuters.

But efforts to defuse the worst crisis among Gulf Arabs for two decades showed no immediate progress.

The UAE threatened anyone publishing expressions of sympathy toward Doha with up to 15 years in prison and barring entry to Qataris.

TURKISH SUPPORT

Qatar has backed Islamist movements but vehemently denies supporting terrorism. It drew some support on Wednesday when Turkey's parliament approved a draft bill allowing its troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar. Turkish exporters have also pledged to provide food and water to Qatar if needed.

Trump's defense secretary, James Mattis, spoke to his Qatari counterpart to express commitment to the Gulf region's security. Qatar hosts 8,000 U.S. military personnel at al Udeid, the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East and a launchpad for U.S.-led strikes on Islamic State jihadists.

The sudden isolation has spurred Qatar to hold talks with Turkey, Iran and others to secure food and water supplies, said a Qatari official. He said there were enough grain supplies for four weeks and Qatar also had large strategic food reserves.

Abu Dhabi port authorities in the UAE have eased curbs on non-Qatari oil tankers going to and from Qatar, according to industry sources and shipping circulars seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Bans on Doha's fleet using regional ports and anchorages are threatening to halt some of its exports and disrupt those of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported the crackdown on expressions of sympathy with Qatar.

"Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias toward Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form," Gulf News quoted UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi as saying.

On top of a possible jail term, offenders could also be hit with a fine of at least 500,000 dirhams ($136,000), the newspaper said, citing a statement to Arabic-language media.

Slogans against and in support of Qatar have dominated Twitter in Arabic. Newspapers and television channels in the region have also been engaged in a war of words.

COMPLEXITY

UAE airlines Etihad and Emirates said all travellers holding Qatari passports were currently prohibited from traveling to or transiting through the emirates.

They announced details of the restrictions after Australian carrier and Emirates partner Qantas Airways said it would not fly Qataris to Dubai because of the bans.

Foreigners residing in Qatar in possession of a Qatari residence visa would also not be eligible for visas on arrival in the UAE, an Etihad spokesman said in an email.

Gargash, the UAE minister, told Reuters in an interview it would be very complex to disentangle the "very diverse" business ties between Qatar and its neighbors but suggested this might be necessary.

"You cannot rule out further measures. We hope that cooler heads will prevail, that wiser heads will prevail and we will not get to that."

"Tensions are still high and mediation efforts by fellow Gulf Cooperation Council state Kuwait have yet to lead to a concrete solution, so investors will likely remain on edge," said one Dubai-based trader.

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Jun-2017/trump-offers-to-help-resolve-gulf-crisis-uae-tightens-squeeze-on-qatar

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Trump to Iran: States backing terror risk ‘falling victim’ themselves

8 June 2017

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed sympathy for the victims of a terror attack in Iran that killed 13 people, but issued a barbed warning that the country was reaping what it sowed.

Gunmen and suicide bombers, acting almost simultaneously, attacked Iran’s parliament and a shrine to the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

“We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump said in a brief statement. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Earlier, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that “the depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world.” “We express our condolences to the victims and their families, and send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Iran,” she added.

Campaign rhetoric

Trump has long accused Iran of backing terrorism. During last year’s presidential campaign, he suggested that one of his top priorities was to dismantle the “disastrous” 2015 deal aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

As president, he has maintained his criticism of Iran – during a visit to Israel last month Trump said Tehran now feels “emboldened” by the nuclear accord – but has not tampered with the agreement.

Even as Washington expressed its condolences over the terror strike, the US Senate advanced legislation Wednesday that would impose new sanctions on Iran, partly for what the bill described as the Iranian regime’s “support for acts of international terrorism.”

Procedural hurdle

Lawmakers voted 92 to 7 to clear a procedural hurdle, setting up a later vote on final passage. But Republicans and Democrats alike said they are eager to add an amendment that would slap fresh sanctions on Russia in response to US intelligence conclusions that the Kremlin conducted or approved cyberattacks on US targets in an effort to sway the presidential election.

“In the last eight months, what price has Russia paid for attacking American democracy? Hardly any at all,” Republican Senator John McCain said. “We need a strong Russia sanctions amendment. We need it now.”

Senate Democrat Dianne Feinstein said it was “the wrong time” to pass fresh sanctions on Iran.

“The country has just suffered from two significant terrorist attacks after electing a moderate government with 57 percent of the vote,” she said. “We need to give Iran the opportunity to recover and set a new course.”

Zarif calls it repugnant

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that US President Donald Trump’s reaction to the deadly group attacks in Tehran was “repugnant”.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/08/Trump-to-Iran-States-backing-terror-risk-falling-victim-themselves.html

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US Senate advances Iran sanctions bill, eyes new Russia sanctions

8 June 2017

The US Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to advance a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran, the same day at least 12 people were killed in attacks in Tehran, as lawmakers planned to add a package of sanctions on Russia to the measure.

The vote was 92-7 on a procedural motion to end debate on the Iran sanctions bill, clearing the way for a vote later on passage of the legislation.

Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said most members of his party supported the Iran bill, but that they would only agree to let it go ahead because they expected it would be amended to include “a strong package” of new sanctions on Russia as well.

Many lawmakers have been clamoring for new sanctions on Russia over its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election, annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support for Syria’s government in that country’s six-year-long civil war.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/08/US-Senate-advances-Iran-sanctions-bill-eyes-new-Russia-sanctions.html

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A terrorism expert on why Trump's anti-Muslim posturing makes us less safe

Jun 7, 2017

In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, it’s worth asking: Does Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy and terrorism make us more or less safe?

The president’s response to the latest attacks was what we’ve come to expect: impulsive, reactionary, and counter-productive. He immediately doubled down on his call for a Muslim ban and then, a couple days later, picked a fight with London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Trump’s reaction raises concerns about his capacity to deal intelligently with terrorism. If there is a domestic attack during his presidency, what will he do? Will he overreact? Will he further estrange the Muslim community?

Daniel Byman is a professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He’s also a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and a former staff member of the 9/11 Commission and the Joint 9/11 Inquiry Staff of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

I asked Byman to answer the question: Are we more or less safe under the Trump administration?

His answer is “less safe,” and for two reasons. First, we have no idea what this president is thinking or what he will or won’t do, and that alone is deeply unsettling. Second, by demonizing the American Muslim community, Trump has both increased the likelihood of radicalization and alienated the very people whose help the country needs in the fight against terrorism.

Below is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Sean Illing

We’re having this conversation against the backdrop of two recent terror attacks in Manchester and London. What do you make of Trump’s response?

Daniel Byman

The President's response to the London attack is yet another indication of how he shoots from the hip in a crisis and politicizes tragedies rather than taking the high road. This angers allies, worsens domestic tensions, and otherwise makes a bad situation worse. To me it signals that he will pursue whatever policies were on his mind before an attack occurs without considering the new events and information.

Sean Illing

The president just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia, where he aligned the United States with the Saudis and other Sunni regimes against Iran and its Shiite proxies. Do you think it was wise for him to openly take a side in this internal Sunni-Shiite conflict?

Daniel Byman

I was troubled by his open embrace of a dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. I recognize the United States has multiple interests in the region and has to work with the governments but he seemed more comfortable with the Saudi government than with European allies, which is upsetting to me.

To your broader point, I think he embraced the Saudi narrative, which is that Iran is the major problem in the region. My view is that the back-and-forth between Saudi Arabia and Iran is dangerous in that it feeds the narrative of groups like the Islamic State.

I believe Trump’s decision to pick the Saudi side makes Saudi Arabia more comfortable escalating this conflict in a way that I think is bad for US interests. I’m fine with the United States increasing pressure on Iran, but I don’t think it should openly identify with Saudi Arabia.

Sean Illing

The narrative undergirding Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia is that the Saudis are partners in a common struggle against terrorism. Do you buy that?

Daniel Byman

Well, it's a bit of a mix. The Saudis are actually a great counter-terrorism partner narrowly defined. If we're trying to find individual terrorists, if we're trying to go after individual funders, the Saudis are often quite helpful. At the same time, they’re supporting an array of causes through both propaganda and money that align them with jihadists. Their actions in Yemen give al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula a lot more freedom there.

The truth is that Saudi Arabia is on both sides of this conflict, and that’s what makes this so difficult. We need them day-to-day and we need partners in the region, but there’s no doubt that they’re part of the broader problem.

Sean Illing

Here’s my big concern, and feel free to talk me off the ledge if my worries are misplaced. Trump is unstable, impulsive, and mostly uninformed about relevant issues. Given his combustible personality and everything he has said so far about terrorism and the Muslim world, I worry that if we suffer another substantial attack on the homeland, Trump will overreact and potentially drag us deeper into the abyss.

Daniel Byman

I'm tremendously worried as well. There are two ways I think about this. One has to do with domestic policy. There's a question of what restrictions we would put in place against American Muslims. How would we think about laws on surveillance? Would his rhetoric be demonization rhetoric that would worsen the relationship between the United States and the Muslim community? All of these things are of significant concern to me.

The other question is on foreign policy. That's trickier because it's harder to imagine dramatic escalations under the current situation. You could imagine deploying more forces to Syria to retake Raqqa, but I can’t imagine the logic of putting more forces on the ground there.

What's pretty clear about this president is that we don't know what he will or won’t do. That’s what worries me the most. He’s erratic and has sent inconsistent messages (to our allies and enemies) and he doesn’t think things through. To me, that just makes the likelihood of a mistake that much higher or an impulsive action that ties the United States down in dangerous ways.

But again, my biggest concern is that I have no idea what this president will do.

Sean Illing

The other gnawing question for me is this: If we can see that Trump is likely to overreact, then so can ISIS or al-Qaeda or any other organization invested in drawing the United States into an intractable fight. Does that fact not create a unique window of opportunity for Jihadist groups to strike the US homeland?

Daniel Byman

I don't want to oversell this. There's a lot going on and Trump's rhetoric is only part of it. To me, the biggest problem is his demonization of the American Muslim community, which may well convince more individuals that their government is out to get them and is the enemy and maybe lead some to become radicalized and join militant groups.

An even bigger danger, though, is that many of the arrests against radicals have come from tips within the Muslim community. Even if you look at the Manchester bomber, I think there were two phone calls from his mosque, from people in his mosque saying this guy's a threat. They're calling the security services, which is what you want people inside that community to do.

If people are convinced their government is not trustworthy, that if they call the police someone's going to come and kick them out of the country or harass them, then they're not going to call. That’s my biggest concern right now.

Sean Illing

I certainly share that concern, but I want to press you a bit more on the question I just asked. Does the likelihood of an overreaction by Trump present a window of opportunity for terrorists?

Daniel Byman

It's always hard to tell. I do think they consider this as one factor but, as your question alluded to, there's a lot going on. Al-Qaeda has been looking to strike for a long time, but it's really off balance and weak. The Islamic State is, in my view, likely to step up attacks because it's being hit very hard in Iraq and Syria. That logic was true under Obama and it remains true under Trump.

Full report at:

https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/6/7/15753470/donald-trump-manchester-london-terrorism-isis-al-qaeda

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Pakistan

 

LHC adjourns Hafiz Saeed’s detention hearing

June 8, 2017

LAHORE: A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) adjourned, till June 19, the hearing of a petition challenging the detention of Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz  Saeed and his aides Professor Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid, Qazi Kashif Hussain and Abdullah Ubaid.

During the hearing of petition, the Punjab home ministry submitted a reply, stating that detention orders were issued on the instructions of the federal government. He said that a federal review board report on the extension of the detention was submitted before the court.

The petitioner’s counsel AK Dogar said that the review board declined the government’s request for an extension. He requested that the petitioners be released and after hearing both sides, the bench adjourned the hearing.

On January 31st, the Punjab government placed Hafiz Saeed and four other JuD party leaders under house arrest. The Ministry for Interior’s letter stated that “as per UN Security Council sanctions, two organisations, JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), had been put on a watch list and were placed under the Second Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act.”

LHC gives federal govt last chance to submit report

The ministry, on January 27, told the Punjab government that JuD and FIF were engaged in activities which could be detrimental to peace and security. It added they were in violation of Pakistan’s obligations to the UN Security Council Resolution 1267.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1429979/lhc-adjourns-hafiz-saeeds-detention-hearing/

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Pakistan wants stable Afghanistan, saysAizaz

June 08, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Aizaz Chaudhry on Wednesday said that Pakistan wanted to see a peaceful, stable, prosperous and sovereign Afghanistan.

Participating in a panel discussion titled “Regional Perspective on US Strategy in Afghanistan’ held at the South Asian Centre in Atlantic Council, Washington DC, Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry strongly condemned the tragic Kabul incident.

According to a message received here, he stressed that there was an opportunity for both Pakistan and the United States to work together to achieve peace in Afghanistan.

He said that the mistrust between the two countries was blocking the progress in achieving the objective of peace. "Terrorism under any pretext is not acceptable to us," he added.

He said that Pakistan's efforts to bring peace in the region would not be interrupted by the rhetoric of the Afghan leadership. Just putting blame on Pakistan, all the time would never help in any manner to achieve the ultimate objective of regional peace, he added. Meanwhile, US Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday lauded Pakistan's efforts to eliminate terrorism during a meeting with Pakistan's Ambassador to the US, Aizaz Chaudhry

Ambassador Chaudhary called on the Senator and briefed him on Pakistan's effective and successful counter-terrorism campaign and its enormous strides in the economic domain.

Appreciating Pakistan's efforts to eliminate terrorism, Senator Graham underscored the need for close cooperation towards regional stability. Aizaz Chaudhry has met several US lawmakers in recent weeks to highlight Pakistan's sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.  In his meeting with them, Ambassador Chaudhry has underlined the role Pakistan had been playing as the frontline state in the war against terrorism and the staggering cost it had paid in terms of loss of precious lives.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Jun-2017/pakistan-wants-stable-afghanistan-says-aizaz

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Pakistan set to become full SCO member

June 08, 2017

ISLAMABAD - A handshake and some pleasantries between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi is all the two nations can expect on the sidelines of the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan starting today (June 8).

Both the nuclear-armed neighbours will be inducted as full members of the SCO in the summit.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will participate in the meeting of the Heads of State Council (HoSC) of the SCO on June 8 and 9.

The HoSC is the highest decision-making body of the SCO, which meets annually.

The last summit was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in June 2016.

Pakistan has been an observer with the SCO since 2005.

Pakistan applied for full membership of the organisation in 2010.

The decision, in principle, to give membership to Pakistan was taken by the SCO Heads of States meeting held in Ufa, Russia, in 2015.

The SCO meeting would also explore the possibility of Iran joining the group.

While the full membership was already decided, the peace lovers from Pakistan and India expected a meeting between Sharif and Modi on the sidelines.

The efforts in this regard were not good enough to announce a formal meeting.

This week, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ruled out a formal meeting between Modi and Sharif in Astana.

Pakistani officials said since India had shown no intent, Pakistan did not press for a meeting.

A senior official at the foreign office told The Nation that Pakistan believed India should initiate contacts for bilateral talks as they were the ones who suspended the dialogue process.

“We have always been ready for talks. India is discouraging the dialogue process so it should show some change by making contacts for meetings. We can take it from there. We never ruled out the PMs’ meeting in Astana too. They absolutely ignored this option,” he said.

The official said that the two PMs might still go for a handshake and share pleasantries as a formality.

“Bilateral meeting is not on the agenda. But you never know if the prime ministers unexpectedly sit together,” he added.

Pakistan and India are presently engaged in a legal fight over the convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case at the International Court of Justice.

Pakistan is also considering to somehow drag India to the ICJ on the Kashmir issue.

India claims Pakistan cannot take the Kashmir dispute to the ICJ as it would violate the Shimla agreement and the Lahore declaration.

A Pakistani military court had sentenced the Indian spy to death in April.

Jadhav, a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent, was found guilty of terrorism and espionage.

New Delhi however, claimed he was kidnapped from Iran last year.

For several weeks, the possible Sharif-Modi meeting on the sidelines of the SCO summit was discussed on both sides of the border.

There was never a confirmation but Pakistan did not rule it out all through.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), is a political and security organisation that facilitates counter-terrorism cooperation.

Its present full members are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

PM Sharif and PM Modi are likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

Sharif is expected to raise Pak-India tension with Jinping.

China also has its own issues with India.

Pakistan and India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is the other main topic.

New Delhi also criticises China’s infrastructure projects in Pakistan and Sri Lanka fearing China may use them against India for military purposes.

Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that the SCO Summit would provide Pakistan with a forum to effectively implement the agenda of regional connectivity being pursued by the government.

“The summit is an opportunity for regional countries to further their bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” he said.

Zakaria said that Pakistan looked forward to strengthening its bilateral and multilateral ties with all member countries of the SCO.

A foreign ministry statement said that Pakistan fully subscribed to the Charter of the SCO and the “Shanghai Spirit.”

“As an observer, we have been actively participating in the activities of the organization. Pakistan shares with the SCO and its member states, deep-rooted historical and cultural links, as well as strong economic and strategic complementarities. Our interests converge across a wide range of areas. SCO will help us underscore our interest in regional peace, stability and development and our support for regional cooperation against terrorism and extremism,” said the statement.

“On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, the prime minister will hold a number of bilateral meetings with other participating leaders. Besides the SCO Summit, Kazakhstan is also hosting the International Expo 2017, in which more than 100 countries including Pakistan are participating. The prime minister along with other participating SCO heads of states will also attend the inaugural ceremony of the expo,” it said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Jun-2017/pakistan-set-to-become-full-sco-member

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Pakistan to recommend three ad-hoc ICJ appointees in Jadhav case

June 07, 2017

Pakistan will reportedly be recommending three names to International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday for appointment as ad-hoc judges to hear case filed by India over convicted spy who is on a death row in Pakistan, Kulbhushan Jadhav.

A delegation led by Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf will be presenting the names to the court.

Former chief justices of Pakistan (CJP) Nasirul Mulk and Tassaduq Husin Jeelani and former attorney general Makhdoom Ali have been recommended to be the ad-hoc appointees at the UN court.

Representatives of Pakistan will convene a meeting with president of the ICJ on June 8. Members who are to meet the ICJ chief include the attorney general and Director General (DG) of South Asia Affairs Dr Faisal among others.

India took to the world court last month seeking provisional stay to execution of Jadhav which was granted.

“Court considers it a failure on the part of Pakistan to present counselors to Jhadav,” said President Ronny Abraham who announced the verdict. “A link exists between the rights invoked by India and the provisional measures being sought by the state,” he continued.

Counsel for Pakistan Khawar Qureshi maintained that responsibility to punish terrorists lies with all of the countries. Qureshi said that the issue at hand concerns national stability of Pakistan and ICJ does not have the jurisdiction to rule over such case.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/07-Jun-2017/pakistan-to-recommend-three-ad-hoc-icj-appointees-in-jadhav-case

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JI laments silence of political parties over KE’s ‘corruption’

June 08, 2017

KARACHI - Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chief Engineer Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman has said that Muhammad Bin Qaim had not only conquered the land of Sindh but had also won the hearts of people. He was speaking at an Iftar party, held in connection with ‘Baab-ul-Islam’ here at Shah Faisal Town on Wednesday.

The JI leader said that Pakistan is not only a country but an ideology.

He was of the view that eliminating evils from the country is a religious obligation.

On the occasion, he urged people to join the party for the progress and development of the country.

Talking about the role of JI in the progress of the city, he said that the party had been solving the problems of the city, irrespective of its position in the assembly and the local government. “During the tenures of Nematullah Khan and Abdus Sattar Afghani, Karachi witnessed remarkable development,” he added.

The JI leader recalled that 100 million gallons of water was provided to the city during Nematullah’s tenure on daily basis.

He further said that Nematullah had managed to compile the feasibility report of K-4 project under which 260 million gallons of water was to be supplied to the city.

Talking about the ongoing power crisis in the city, Naeem said that K-Electric itself had become a mafia. “JI is campaigning against the KE, but unfortunately no other political party in the city is ready to even speak against the power utility.

He held KE responsible for the deaths of around 5000 people during heatwaves in Karachi.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/karachi/08-Jun-2017/ji-laments-silence-of-political-parties-over-ke-s-corruption

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/iran-parliamentarians-chant-‘death-to-america’-after-islamic-state-attacks-tehran/d/111462

 

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