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Islamic World News ( 28 Jun 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iraq Declares End of Caliphate after Capture Historic Mosul Mosque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Members of the Iraqi Federal Police gesture after returning from the front line in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq June 28, 2017. Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters

 

Terrorism Case against Qatar Muddied By Muslim Brotherhood Links

Old Afghan Rivals Meet in Turkey for Political Unity after Recent Violence

Anti-Islamic Race Hate Graffiti Daubed On Belfast Restaurant

Newport Man's Anger after His Personalised Number Plate Spelling His Name 'Jihad' Is Banned By DVLA

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Arab World

Iraq Declares End of Caliphate after Capture Historic Mosul Mosque

Withered Islamic State ‘Caliphate’ Shorn of Funds, IHS Says

30 civilians dead in air strikes on IS-held area of Syria: Monitor

Syria Condemns, Rejects US Allegations on 'Impending Chemical Attack'

Israeli Air Force Launches Airstrikes against Syrian Army Positions in Quneitra Again

Turkey Sends Military Convoy to Syria

Zam Zam boss saved for 3 years to take 27 employees to Mecca for minor pilgrimage

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Mideast

Terrorism Case against Qatar Muddied By Muslim Brotherhood Links

Rights Group: Migrants 'Stuck in Saudi' as Qatari Bosses Forced out

Iran Says President Donald Trump’s Travel Ban Is Racist toward Muslims

Turkey reaches out to over 200,000 Syrians in Ramadan

Qatar dismisses Gulf demands but says open for dialogue

Turkey remembers Istanbul airport attack blamed on IS

Qataris Hire Swiss Lawyers to Sue Gulf ‘Siege’ States

Tabreed signs Dh1.5b Islamic finance facility

Iran accuses US of 'brazen' plan to change its government

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South Asia

Old Afghan Rivals Meet in Turkey for Political Unity after Recent Violence

Clashes Reported Among the Taliban and ISIS Militants in Nuristan

Iran worried as Afghanistan’s allies mulling deployment of more troops

NATO considering an increase in troops level in Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

US Senate approves 4,000 more visas for Afghans under the SIV program

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Europe

Anti-Islamic Race Hate Graffiti Daubed On Belfast Restaurant

JD Sports Shares Plummet As Muslim Festival Timing Moves the Goalposts

Finsbury Park attack: Makram Ali alive when hit by van

Romania Detains Suspected Islamic State Militant

Russia, Turkey Agree on S-400 Missile System Delivery

Three men arrested over reports of anti-Islamic material displayed in Armagh

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North America

Newport Man's Anger after His Personalised Number Plate Spelling His Name 'Jihad' Is Banned By DVLA

Calling Islamophobic Violence ‘Terrorism’ Won’t Make Muslims Safe

Department of Basic Education website hacked by Pro-Islamic State activists

USA Ban on Six Muslim Countries Implemented From 28 June

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India

Azamgarh IM Operative Came Online As Islamic State Recruiter, Says Man Deported To India

Police arrest four over Muslim teen's murder

Sushma Swaraj assures help to Indian woman jailed in Riyadh

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Pakistan

Pakistan Accuses US of 'Speaking India's Language' and Of 'Dual Standards' On Kashmir Issue

China defends Pakistan, says it is at frontlines of anti-terror fight

Pakistan slams Indo-US joint statement as being 'singularly unhelpful'

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Southeast Asia

China’s Soccer Authority Condemns Insulting Comments about Muslim Player

Islamic State threat grows in South East Asia, warns head of US Pacific Command

Philippine Muslims fear fighting may deepen communal discord

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Africa

Al-Azhar says Islam ‘totally incompatible’ with violence, as IS shifts focus to Upper Egypt

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/iraq-declares-end-of-caliphate-after-capture-historic-mosul-mosque/d/111713

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Iraq declares end of caliphate after capture historic Mosul mosque

29 June 2017

A still image taken from a video shows Grand al-Nuri Mosque site destroyed. Video said to be shot in Mosul, Iraq, on June 22, 2017. Amaq News Agency/via Reuters TV

Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the mosque in Mosul from where Islamic State proclaimed its self-styled caliphate three years ago, the Iraqi military said.

Seizing the 850 year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque hands a symbolic victory to the Iraqi forces who have been battling for more than eight month to recapture Mosul, the northern city that served as Islamic State’s de facto capital in Iraq.

“Their fictitous state has fallen,” an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV.

The insurgents blew up the medieval mosque and its famed leaning minaret a week ago as US-backed Iraqi forces started a push in its direction. Their black flag had been flying from al-Hadba (The Hunchback) minaret, since June 2014.

Iraqi authorities expect the battle to end in the coming days as Islamic State has been bottled up in a handful of neighbourhoods of the Old City.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion,” his office said on Wednesday.

komnews.org/iraq-declares-end-caliphate-capture-historic-mosul-mosque/

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Terrorism case against Qatar muddied by Muslim Brotherhood links

Thursday, 29 June 2017 12:01 PM

As a critical deadline in the boycott of Qatar nears, Egypt’s stake looms larger than it may seem.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE say they are targeting Qatar above all because it funds and supports terrorism. On the list of 59 individuals they have provided as evidence, 26 are Egyptian citizens.

An analysis of those named suggests the dispute is as much about Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood since the 2011 Arab Spring as it is about its backing of international terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda that target the West. There are no ISIL members among the names.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a diffuse and divided group that defies easy classification as a militant movement, is not labelled as a terrorist organisation in the US or Europe. The Egyptian government, however, has spent the past four years trying to crush it, saying it embodies the dangers of political Islam.

Some who escaped the crackdown found refuge in Qatar, which also gave them a powerful media platform from which to attack El-Sisi, now Egypt’s president. One of the more concrete demands made of Qatar to end the standoff is to close Al Jazeera, the Arab world’s most watched satellite news channel. A deadline to meet those demands, which include ending alleged sponsorship of extremist groups, expires next week.

Those who financed terror “to destroy our nation and those of others, we won’t forget them and we won’t forgive them,” El-Sisi said in a recent speech. He didn’t specify any nation.

Qatar, whose air, land and sea links with the boycotting nations were severed at the beginning of the month, says it is active in trying to shut down terrorist financing.

The Muslim Brotherhood organisation renounced violence in the 1970s, but since Egypt’s July 2013 coup, disaffected former members have formed radical splinter cells that have carried out assassinations and car bomb attacks against security forces and judges in the Sinai peninsula, Cairo and other city centres.

Destabilising Factor

“These actors are embedded in the heart of the country and they are able to destabilise,” said Awad. “They pose a more realistic threat of overthrowing the government than al-Qaeda or ISIL ever can with their campaigns in the Sinai.”

Qatar also continues to support Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot based in the Gaza Strip that has conducted militant campaigns against Israel.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia also fear the destabilising potential of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that has grassroots support and no love for the region’s monarchies.

“One of Qatar’s most overt connections to Islamic extremism is its support for the Muslim Brotherhood,” says a fact sheet distributed to journalists by the Saudi embassy in Washington. “Through the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar has attempted to undermine Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have replaced Qatar as Egypt’s principal donors since the coup that dislodged the country’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammad Morsi.

arabianbusiness.com/terrorism-case-against-qatar-muddied-by-muslim-brotherhood-links--679208.html

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Old Afghan rivals meet in Turkey for political unity after recent violence

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 29 2017, 10:14 am

1 Comment234 viewsEmail Email Print Print

Two key Afghan political figures and old rivals, General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ata Mohammad Noor, have met in Turkey together with the leader of Harakat-e-Islami Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq as the trio have stepped up efforts for political unit in the aftermath of the recent violence in the country.

An Afghan MP and spokesman of Junbish-e-Millie party Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj said the three leaders have reached to an agreements on several key issues, including the formation of unity among the political figures, movements and parties.

He said the three leaders also agreed that they are not after the collapse of the current government but insisted that the current situation, deadlock, and violence is not acceptable to the Afghan nation and their respective parties.

Tahyanj further added that the three leaders are expecting to organize further meetings and take practical steps in the country in a bid to find a solution for the situation of the country which has drastically deteriorated during the recent days.

This comes as Tahyanj earlier said the leaders of Harakat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Islami have visited Turkey to attend the engagement ceremony of Gen. Dostum’s son.

The leaders of Jamiat-e-Islami and Junbish Millie parties have stepped up efforts to boost political cooperation in the aftermath of the latest political and security upheavals in the country, particularly after the deadly bombings and violence in capital Kabul.

The meetings between the Junbish Millie and Jamiat Islami parties takes place despite major rivalries existed between the two parties in the past and in some cases some deadly clashes have also taken place between the commanders of the two parties, particularly in northern provinces of the country.

khaama.com/old-afghan-rivals-meet-in-turkey-for-political-unity-after-recent-violence-03035

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Anti-Islamic race hate graffiti daubed on Belfast restaurant

June 29 2017

A takeaway in east Belfast has been daubed with anti-Islamic graffiti which police are investigating as a racially motivated hate crime.

The Turkish Kebab house takeaway on the Beersbridge Road, Belfast was targeted between midnight and 7am on Thursday.

Graffiti was spray painted on the shutters of the premises.

Sergeant Jackson would appeal to anyone who has any information about this incident to contact Police at Strandtown on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 195 29/06/17.

Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/antiislamic-race-hate-graffiti-daubed-on-belfast-restaurant-35877485.html

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Newport man's anger after his personalised number plate spelling his name 'Jihad' is banned by DVLA

Niall Griffiths

A NEWPORT man has spoken of his anger after his number plate containing the word Jihad, was banned by the DVLA.

The man, who had bought the personalised plate because his first name is Jihad, says: “I’m angry and upset about the whole situation, it just makes me look like I’m a bad person.

“If someone had seen me doing something illegal in the car with the plate, I’d say fair enough but I’m just a regular guy.”

The licensing authority had pulled the JH11 HAD plate for fear of its negative connotations with extremist ideologies.

Plates specifically resembling Jihad, plates starting with JE and ending HAD, are unavailable.

But the direct translation of the word in Arabic means “struggle”, which the car owner believes has been taken out of context.

He said: “At the end of the day when everyone buys a new car they think about personalising their plate with their name, and I did the same but the name has now been misrepresented.

“I understand people’s concerns after the recent events in London and Manchester but in the end I’m not doing anything wrong, it’s just my name.

“Jihad means struggle, and that could mean the ongoing struggle of daily life.

He added: “The people that do these horrible things have twisted its context that the name I was given now causes offence to people.”

The woman who had spotted the car driving around Newport had reported it to both the DVLA and the police.

She had said: "How can this be allowed with everything that is going on in the world at the moment?

"I have told the police about it and they said they would make a note of it.

"Surely this plate cannot be legal?"

The driver, who had bought he plate in October, has since been given a replacement but claimed that his car had been the victim of criminal damage in recent months.

He said: “It has been scratched several times before, I’m not sure if that’s because of the plate or the fact that it is a nice car.

southwalesargus.co.uk/news/gwentnews/15379734.Newport_man_s_anger_after_his_personalised_number_plate_spelling_his_name__Jihad__is_banned_by_DVLA/

 

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Arab World

Iraq declares end of caliphate after capture historic Mosul mosque

29 June 2017

A still image taken from a video shows Grand al-Nuri Mosque site destroyed. Video said to be shot in Mosul, Iraq, on June 22, 2017. Amaq News Agency/via Reuters TV

Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the mosque in Mosul from where Islamic State proclaimed its self-styled caliphate three years ago, the Iraqi military said.

Seizing the 850 year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque hands a symbolic victory to the Iraqi forces who have been battling for more than eight month to recapture Mosul, the northern city that served as Islamic State’s de facto capital in Iraq.

“Their fictitous state has fallen,” an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV.

The insurgents blew up the medieval mosque and its famed leaning minaret a week ago as US-backed Iraqi forces started a push in its direction. Their black flag had been flying from al-Hadba (The Hunchback) minaret, since June 2014.

Iraqi authorities expect the battle to end in the coming days as Islamic State has been bottled up in a handful of neighbourhoods of the Old City.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion,” his office said on Wednesday.

komnews.org/iraq-declares-end-caliphate-capture-historic-mosul-mosque/

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Withered Islamic State ‘Caliphate’ Shorn of Funds, IHS Says

By Donna Abu-Nasr

29 June 2017

Losses driving IS to intensify its campaign of terrorist acts

People flee the Old City of Mosul following advances made by Iraqi forces on June 23. Photographer: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP via Getty Images

Three years after Islamic State declared its caliphate on parts of Iraq and Syria, it has lost roughly two thirds of its territory and 80 percent of its revenue, IHS Markit, a London-based information and analytics group, said Thursday.

Territory controlled by Islamic State spanned an estimated 36,200 square kilometers on June 26, or roughly the size of Belgium. That’s down 40 percent since the start of 2017 and 60 percent since a first estimate in January 2015, according to IHS Markit’s latest analysis.

Islamic State’s fortunes have suffered this year on both the Iraqi and Syrian fronts. U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have advanced into the outskirts of Syria’s Raqqa, the extremist group’s self-declared capital, while Syrian government forces are pushing east toward Deir Ezzor. In Iraq, government forces and Iran-backed militias are preparing to eliminate the last remaining pockets of Islamic State control in Mosul.

Mosul’s liberation is a matter of days, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said last week, according to local Al-Sumaria TV. The central command of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State has pronounced the jihadists’ defeat in the city as “inevitable.”

On Thursday, Iraqi forces retook Mosul’s landmark Nuri Mosque compound where Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the caliphate in 2014, according to al-Sumaria TV.

“The Islamic State’s remaining caliphate is likely to break up before the end of the year, reducing its governance project to a string of isolated urban areas that will eventually be retaken over the course of 2018,” said Columb Strack, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit.

Russia has reported that it may have killed Baghdadi during a bombing raid in May. His death hasn’t been confirmed.

The territorial losses have battered the group’s wealth. Islamic State’s average monthly revenue fell 80 percent to $16 million in the second quarter of 2017 from $81 million two years earlier, IHS Markit said in the report. Average monthly oil revenue is down 88 percent and income from taxation and confiscation has fallen by 79 percent from initial estimates in 2015, according to the report.

Main Factor

“Territorial losses are the main factor contributing to the Islamic State’s loss of revenue,” said Ludovico Carlino, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit. “Losing control of the heavily populated Iraqi city of Mosul, and oil rich areas in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Homs, has had a particularly significant impact on the group’s ability to generate revenue.”

As its rule collapses in the Middle East, the group has intensified its campaign of terrorist attacks further afield, the report said.

Islamic State declared a caliphate straddling parts of Syria and Iraq after capturing Raqqa in 2013 and Mosul a year later. Since then, extremists linked to the group have proliferated and murdered hundreds in London, Ankara, Beirut, Brussels and Paris as well as in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

In Syria alone, 4,880 people, including 292 children, have been killed in three years by Islamic State bombings, beheadings, firing squads or stoning, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is chronicling the Syrian war through activists on the ground, said Thursday.

bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-29/withered-islamic-state-caliphate-shorn-of-funding-ihs-says

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30 civilians dead in air strikes on IS-held area of Syria: Monitor

AFP | Updated: Jun 28, 2017

BEIRUT: At least 30 civilians were killed in air strikes on an area of eastern Syria held by the Islamic State group on Wednesday, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was not immediately able to say whether the strikes in Deir Ezzor province were carried out by the US-led coalition, or by the Syrian army or its Russian ally.

They came just two days after a suspected coalition strike on an IS jail in the province killed 42 prisoners and 15 jihadists, according to an Observatory toll.

Today's strikes hit an area 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Mayadeen, the town where the prison bombing took place.

Most of Deir Ezzor province is controlled by the jihadists and it has been the target of air strikes by the US-led coalition as well as the Syrian army and Russia.

The coalition has been hitting IS in both Syria and Iraq since mid-2014 and the jihadists are under growing pressure in both countries.

Syria's war has killed more than 320,000 people and forced millions from their homes since it began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/30-civilians-dead-in-air-strikes-on-is-held-area-of-syria-monitor/articleshow/59354759.cms

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Syria Condemns, Rejects US Allegations on 'Impending Chemical Attack'

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syria denied as “misleading, false and baseless” the US allegations about Syria’s intention to launch a chemical attack.

” Syria confirms that the US allegations aim to justify a new aggression on Syria under false pretexts as happened in al-Shairat Airport,” a source at the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, SANA reported.

The source said such claims are made to cover the US-led international illegal coalition’s strikes in Syria.

” Syria condemns the US threats and rejects them, ” the source said, affirming that ” any US aggression on its army and people is in the service of terrorist organizations and  contradicts with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and Security Council resolutions on combating terrorism.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960408000761

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Israeli Air Force Launches Airstrikes against Syrian Army Positions in Quneitra Again

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Israeli warplanes, for the third time in the past few days, attacked the Syrian army positions in Quneintra province simultaneous with a massive offensive of the al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board).

The Israeli air force targeted the Syrian troops' artillery unit in Eastern Samadaniyeh in the outskirts of Quneitra city.

Reports say artillery fire plays a major role in pushing the terrorists back from the region.

A prominent Syrian military and strategic expert described Israel as an accomplice of the terrorists in Syria, warning that Tel Aviv intends to create a buffer zone in the Arab country.

Yahya Soleiman said that by attacking the Syrian army positions in the Golan Heights, Israel sent this message that it will never leave the terrorist groups and will defend them to the end.

"There are decisive ties between Israel and terrorists to set up a buffer zone in the Golan like Antoine Lahad region in Southern Lebanon - whose creation plot failed - and this time the situation will be repeated in Syria," he added.

"Whatever happens in Syria is in line with meeting Israel's interests, destroying Syria and weakening the powers standing beside Damascus," Soleiman said.

Noting that Tel Aviv is well aware of the positions of the terrorists' missile launch pads and knows that none of them is due to hit Israel, he said the regime is seeking to find a pretext to provoke the militants to target the Syrian army forces and this has several times happened.

"The Israeli side has violated the ceasefire plan and kicked out the UN forces to move freely beside the terrorists. We witness how the Israeli convoys move along the borders and transfer the terrorists from Syria to the occupied territories," Soleiman said.

Stressing that Russia knows the realities in Syria, he said Moscow has tried to force the American side to participate in the peace process in Syria but the US has led all efforts to failure.

Military sources confirmed on Monday that the Israeli Air Force, for the second time in a row, targeted the Syrian Army troop's strongholds in the Southern province of Quneitra.

The sources said that the terrorist groups' mortar units shelled the Golan Heights at Syria's border with Israel, and the Israeli fighter jets also bombed the Syrian army centers in Quneitra.

The Arabic-language Elam al-Harbi said the mortar units of al-Nusra Front opened fire at Israeli positons in occupied Golan Heights in order to give the needed pretext to the Israeli forces to attack the Syrian army.

Al-Mayadeen news network, meantime, reported that Israeli warplanes targeted a Syrian army vehicle.

Media sources said on Sunday that the Israeli fighter jets attacked the Syrian government forces' tanks and artillery positions South-West of the war-hit country.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960408000194

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Turkey Sends Military Convoy to Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkey dispatched a large military convoy to Northern Syria to continue operations in the region as the Ankara-backed forces attacked the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions.

The Turkish army dispatched its military convoy to Northern Aleppo after conflicts intensified between the Ankara forces and the SDF.

After the Kurds stormed the positions of the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Mar'anaz region South of Azaz, the Turkish Army's artillery and missile units shelled the positions of the Kurdish fighters in Northern Syria.

As dozens of Turkish army tanks arrived in the region to spearhead a fresh round of military operation aimed at connecting the Northern Aleppo pocket with the militant heartland in Idlib, Kurdish forces in the Efrin region are on high alert.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that Ankara is ready to launch a new military campaign similar to the Operation Euphrates Shield in Northern Syria.

“Presently, negative processes are underway in Syria. In case they lead to a threat to our borders, we will respond the same way as during the Euphrates Shield operation,” Erdogan told the Russian Izvestia newspaper, as the tension between Ankara and Washington has risen over supplying arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria by the United States.

He added that Turkey would not allow establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria and was ready to carry out another large-scale military campaign if needed.

Turkey declared in August 2016 that its army has launched 'Euphrates Shield' military operation in Syria, as Ankara claims that it has begun to cleanse the ISIL terrorists from its border with the Arab country.

But, despite Ankara's allegation, Turkish military forces support militant groups in Northern Syria, and fight against Kurdish forces in the region.

Turkish officials have frequently stressed that operation 'Euphrates Shield' will continue to create a safe zone in Northern Syria.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960408000605

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Zam Zam boss saved for 3 years to take 27 employees to Mecca for minor pilgrimage

 

SINGAPORE - The boss of Indian Muslim restaurant Singapore Zam Zam saved for three years to take 27 of his staff to Mecca for their first umrah, or minor pilgrimage, to repay them for their years with the company.

The restaurant at 697-699 North Bridge Road was closed for 10 days from June 19 to June 28 as its staff had gone for the pilgrimage during the last days of Ramadan, and reopened on Thursday (June 29) to welcoming customers.

Mr Zackeer Khan, who has been manager at Zam Zam for almost six years, told The Straits Times on Thursday that the company paid for all 28 employees' visas, tickets and hotel accommodation for nine days.

"We do this for our workers because they've worked very long and very hard for us," said Mr Khan.

The 28 men - including the boss - who went for the trip included those in their 20s and a man in his 60s.

All of them have worked for the company - founded in 1908 - for five to 30 years, Mr Khan said.

While Mr Khan declined to comment on how much the trip cost, a check on five websites offering umrah packages from Singapore shows that it costs upwards of $3,000 per person, or about $84,000 for all 28 men.

Zam Zam restaurant closes for 10 days as all staff go for minor pilgrimage, netizens applaud

The umrah differs from the haj - a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca - in that it can be performed at any time of the year. Some pilgrims take the umrah as preparation for the haj.

"All of the staff, it's their first time going for umrah," he said. "They don't know if they will be going back. We must go in our lives, at least once."

He said the trip was very good, and there were a lot of people there. The men donned Zam Zam jackets and brought along a Zam Zam banner which they posed with for photos in the holy city.

They chose to go during the last 10 days of Ramadan, even though their business would be booming, because of the special prayers held at Mecca.

"The workers, they all cried and were very happy," Mr Khan said.

The restaurant reopened on Thursday and customers were happy to see them, he added.

"When we were gone, our customers were messaging us, saying they miss our food," he said with a laugh.

"Actually we did not (publicise it on Facebook) to let people know that we're very great, we just put the notice because we didn't want people from Johor and Tuas to come all the way and see that our shop was closed," said Mr Khan.

Zam Zam had put up a notice on its Facebook page on June 19 informing its customers of the closure. The eatery is open seven days a week, from 7am to 11pm.

When news broke of the restaurant's closing for its employees to go for umrah, netizens applauded the move and wished them safe travels.

straitstimes.com/singapore/zam-zam-boss-saved-for-3-years-to-take-27-employees-to-mecca-for-minor-pilgrimage

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Mideast

Terrorism case against Qatar muddied by Muslim Brotherhood links

Thursday, 29 June 2017 12:01 PM

As a critical deadline in the boycott of Qatar nears, Egypt’s stake looms larger than it may seem.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE say they are targeting Qatar above all because it funds and supports terrorism. On the list of 59 individuals they have provided as evidence, 26 are Egyptian citizens.

An analysis of those named suggests the dispute is as much about Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood since the 2011 Arab Spring as it is about its backing of international terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda that target the West. There are no ISIL members among the names.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a diffuse and divided group that defies easy classification as a militant movement, is not labelled as a terrorist organisation in the US or Europe. The Egyptian government, however, has spent the past four years trying to crush it, saying it embodies the dangers of political Islam.

Some who escaped the crackdown found refuge in Qatar, which also gave them a powerful media platform from which to attack El-Sisi, now Egypt’s president. One of the more concrete demands made of Qatar to end the standoff is to close Al Jazeera, the Arab world’s most watched satellite news channel. A deadline to meet those demands, which include ending alleged sponsorship of extremist groups, expires next week.

Those who financed terror “to destroy our nation and those of others, we won’t forget them and we won’t forgive them,” El-Sisi said in a recent speech. He didn’t specify any nation.

Qatar, whose air, land and sea links with the boycotting nations were severed at the beginning of the month, says it is active in trying to shut down terrorist financing.

The Muslim Brotherhood organisation renounced violence in the 1970s, but since Egypt’s July 2013 coup, disaffected former members have formed radical splinter cells that have carried out assassinations and car bomb attacks against security forces and judges in the Sinai peninsula, Cairo and other city centres.

Destabilising Factor

“These actors are embedded in the heart of the country and they are able to destabilise,” said Awad. “They pose a more realistic threat of overthrowing the government than al-Qaeda or ISIL ever can with their campaigns in the Sinai.”

Qatar also continues to support Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot based in the Gaza Strip that has conducted militant campaigns against Israel.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia also fear the destabilising potential of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that has grassroots support and no love for the region’s monarchies.

“One of Qatar’s most overt connections to Islamic extremism is its support for the Muslim Brotherhood,” says a fact sheet distributed to journalists by the Saudi embassy in Washington. “Through the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar has attempted to undermine Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have replaced Qatar as Egypt’s principal donors since the coup that dislodged the country’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammad Morsi.

arabianbusiness.com/terrorism-case-against-qatar-muddied-by-muslim-brotherhood-links--679208.html

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Rights Group: Migrants 'Stuck in Saudi' as Qatari Bosses Forced out

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A rights group said migrants employed to work as farmers and domestic staff are stuck in Saudi Arabia after their Qatari bosses were ordered out of the kingdom amid a major regional crisis.

The workers from countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal have been left without accommodation and money, said Ali Bin Smaikh al-Marri, chairman of Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Al Jazeera reported.

"There are a lot of migrant workers affected by this decision," said Marri, adding that many of those impacted were farmers who drive livestock between the two neighboring countries.

"Usually the workers travel with Qataris, many Qataris employ farmers and travel with their domestic workers and drivers," he said.

"The workers were not allowed to travel into Qatar and now they are living illegally in Saudi Arabia and do not have basic needs. They have no shelter and cannot access money."

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, ordered all Qataris, many of whom own properties and businesses in these countries, to leave and their own nationals to return home.

The Saudi-led bloc's order was part of wider moves against Qatar, including the suspension of political, economic and diplomatic ties with Doha over accusations it is supporting "terrorism".

The four countries have not provided any evidence for their claim, while Qatar has repeatedly rejected the allegation.

The bloc also closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate's only land border, a vital route for its food imports.

The NHRC has called for an immediate and unconditional lifting of the blockade on Qatar, describing it as "collective punishment" that resulted in "tearing up families".

It has also said it has monitored several serious violations against Qatari students in the three countries - especially in the UAE.

Also on Wednesday, Marri said that Qatar would employ a Swiss law firm to seek compensation for those affected by the Saudi-led blockade.

"Some cases will be filed in courts in those three countries and in some courts that have international jurisdictions, like in Europe, related to compensation," he said, adding that many Qataris qualified for pay-offs.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960408000800

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Iran Says President Donald Trump’s Travel Ban Is Racist toward Muslims

6/29/17

Iran has branded a U.S. Supreme Court decision to reinstate President Donald Trump’s travel ban racist toward Muslims as America gears up to implement the restrictions against travellers from six Muslim-majority nations.

“[It is] an indication of the decision of the leaders of that country to discriminate against Muslims,” said Bahram Ghasemi, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry Thursday, according to Iranian state TV.

The ban prevents citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from getting a visa to enter the U.S. unless they have family in America, a job or an offer to attend university.

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The State Department issued official instructions to staff in overseas embassies as well as border officers in the U.S. ahead of its implementation at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday that the restrictions could begin ahead of its ruling on whether the ban itself is constitutional, which is expected later this year.  Three of the court’s conservative judges argued that it should be fully implemented.

The travel ban was brought in via an executive order Trump signed in March after an initial order in February was struck down by a federal judge in Hawaii, who argued that the president's rhetoric against Muslims was discriminatory and potentially unconstitutional. President Trump argues the ban is necessary for national security purposes.

Read more: Trump travel ban: judge rules review of U.S. refugee vetting to go ahead

But while Iran has spoken out, other countries affected by the travel ban have remained quiet.

An official at the Libyan consulate in London said they have “no information on that” when asked whether their government has a statement about the ban. Yemen’s ambassador in London did not immediately return a request for comment.

After the Supreme Court decision Monday, an official in Yemen’s Ministry of Expatriate Affairs, Ahmed al-Nasi, said his country believes the decision “will not help in confronting terrorism and extremism, but rather will increase feelings among the nationals of these countries that they are all being targeted."

Emirates, the largest of the Middle East’s airlines, said on Thursday that its flights to the U.S. are continuing as normal. A spokesperson for the Dubai-based airline told the Associated Press that it “remains guided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on this matter.” In April the airline scaled back the number of flights it flies to the U.S. because of decreasing demand.

“It’s regrettable that the American government, because of their economic and commercial short-sightedness, have closed their eyes to the main perpetrators of terrorism in America,” Iran’s Ghasemi said.

“We always believed that the Muslim ban that President Trump imposed soon after assuming office had no basis in facts,” said Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters during a trip to Germany.

The U.S. has labelled Iran one of the largest state supporters of terrorism internationally. On Wednesday Trump’s National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said that 80 percent of the Syrian regime’s fighters are actually Iranian proxies.

The travel ban will halt people from these countries from travelling to the U.S. for 90 days while a review of the vetting procedures for refugees and migrants is undertaken.

newsweek.com/trumps-travel-ban-racist-against-muslims-says-iran-629997?piano_t=1

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Turkey reaches out to over 200,000 Syrians in Ramadan

29.06.2017    

Turkish Red Crescent reached out to over 200,000 people in Syria during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Thursday, the aid group’s Syria field coordinator Kadir Akgunduz said that the agency provided humanitarian aid -- including clothes, food and cleaning materials -- in Idlib, Azez and Jarabulus regions.

"During Ramadan, iftar (fast-breaking meals) for 255,570 people were distributed across Syria," Akgunduz said.

He went on to say that 14,675 packs of food, 6,200 boxes of milk and 486 packets of biscuits were delivered for children living in camps.

Turkey hosts over three million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. It has spent $25 billion in sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkey-reaches-out-to-over-200-000-syrians-in-ramadan/850862

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Qatar dismisses Gulf demands but says open for dialogue

 

Qatar is ready to discuss "legitimate issues" with Arab states to end a regional crisis, but it said a list presented by them last week contained some demands that were impossible to be met because they were not true.

The feud erupted this month when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran. Severing diplomatic and travel links set off one of the worst rifts in years between the US allies.

The four countries have sent Doha a list of 13 demands, including closing the state-funded Al Jazeera television and reducing ties to Iran, an official of one of the four countries said, and gave Doha 10 days to comply.

The deadline is expected to expire on Sunday.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Thursday that Doha was interested in negotiating legitimate issues concerning fellow Gulf states, but said some of the demands were not reasonable.

"We cannot 'sever links with so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah' because no such links exist," he said in a statement. "And we cannot 'expel any members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard' because there are none in Qatar."

The UAE ambassador to Russia has said Qatar could face fresh sanctions if it does not comply with the demands. The Gulf states could ask their trading partners to choose between working with them or Doha, he said in a newspaper interview.

Sheikh Mohammed said that since it was impossible for Doha to stop doing things it had never been doing, "we are left to conclude that the purpose of the ultimatum was not to address the issues listed, but to pressure Qatar to surrender its sovereignty. This is something we will not do".

Nato ally Turkey has backed Doha in the rift with four Arab states. Qatar's defence minister is due to visit Ankara on Friday and will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart, sources at Turkey's defence ministry said on Thursday.

Kuwait, which retained ties with Qatar, is trying to mediate in the dispute with the support of Washington.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash urged Qatar to choose its Arab neighbours.

"As the hour of truth approaches, we call on the brother to choose his neighbours, choose honesty, truth and transparency in its dealings and to realise that the noise of the media and the heroism of ideology are just a passing illusion," he said in a message on his Twitter on Wednesday.

UAE Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum published a poem on his Instagram account overnight on Wednesday in which called on "brother" Qatar to unite with the rest of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

dawn.com/news/1342129/qatar-dismisses-gulf-demands-but-says-open-for-dialogue

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Turkey remembers Istanbul airport attack blamed on IS

June 29th, 2017

TURKEY on Wednesday marked one year since the triple suicide bombing and gun attack on its main international airport in Istanbul that left dozens dead and was blamed on IS. Late in the evening on June 28, 2016 three attackers shot randomly at passengers and staff at Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport before blowing themselves up. Forty-five people were killed, the deadliest attack on an airport in Turkey’s history.

At a ceremony just outside the arrivals hall of the airport, weeping relatives of those killed laid flowers by a black memorial where all the victims’ names are inscribed. Some wept as they touched the inscriptions bearing the names of those they lost, an AFP photographer said. “We remember with respect, we will never forget,” read a ribbon on a memorial wreath.

The government blamed the IS — who at the time were holding swathes of neighbouring Iraq and Syria — although the jihadists never issued a claim for the attack. The attack also heralded a summer of bloodshed in Turkey including the July 15 failed coup attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which authorities blamed on the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

After the airport attack authorities arrested 42 suspects, with four more still on the run. Those held, who include suspects from Russia, Algeria and Turkey, are due to go on trial on Nov 13. The authorities have said a large number of those linked to the attack are from ex-Soviet Central Asia or Russia’s mainly Muslim northern Caucasus region. Two suicide bombers were identified as Vadim Osmanov and Rakhim Bulgarov, although the third was never named.

dawn.com/news/1341985/turkey-remembers-istanbul-airport-attack-blamed-on-is

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Qataris hire Swiss lawyers to sue Gulf ‘siege’ states

June 29th, 2017

DOHA: A top Qatari human rights group said on Wednesday it will employ Swiss lawyers to seek compensation for those impacted by the decision of Gulf countries to cut ties with the emirate.

Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Commission, said his group would take action against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which cut ties with Qatar this month.

“We’ll be coordinating to start legal action with those affected by these sanctions,” Marri told a news conference. “The three countries are responsible to compensate those affected,” he said, adding many Qataris qualified for compensation.“Some cases will be filed in courts in those three countries and in some courts that have international jurisdictions, like in Europe, related to compensation.”

Marri refused to say which Swiss firm would be employed, but said a statement would be released in the near future.

Many Qataris own properties and businesses in these countries. One senior official said recently that most Qataris own “two or three properties and a villa” in Saudi alone.

The Gulf crisis, the worst to hit the region in years, shows no sign of abating.

dawn.com/news/1341994/qataris-hire-swiss-lawyers-to-sue-gulf-siege-states

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Tabreed signs Dh1.5b Islamic finance facility

Published: 18:45 June 28, 2017 Gulf News

Tabreed, the Abu Dhabi-based district cooling company, said on Wednesday it has signed an Islamic finance facilities agreement worth Dh1.51 billion to refinance part of the company’s existing senior bank debt.

The facilities will also provide additional funds for capital expenditure and investment purposes. They were arranged by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, and Mashreq Al Islami, Mashreq Bank’s Islamic banking division.

The bank debt was previously provided by Tabreed’s creditor banks in December 2014, and restated in May 2015.

gulfnews.com/business/companies/tabreed-signs-dh1-5b-islamic-finance-facility-1.2050545

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Iran accuses US of 'brazen' plan to change its government

AP | Jun 28, 2017

UNITED NATIONS: Iran is accusing US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of "a brazen interventionist plan" to change the current government that violates international law and the UN Charter.

Iran's UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Tuesday that Tillerson's comments are also "a flagrant violation" of the 1981 Algiers Accords in which the United States pledged "not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs."

Tillerson said at a June 14 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the State Department budget that US policy is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons "and work towards support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government."

Khoshroo urged all countries to condemn such "grotesque" statements.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iran-accuses-us-of-brazen-plan-to-change-its-government/articleshow/59346949.cms

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South Asia

Old Afghan rivals meet in Turkey for political unity after recent violence

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 29 2017, 10:14 am

Two key Afghan political figures and old rivals, General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ata Mohammad Noor, have met in Turkey together with the leader of Harakat-e-Islami Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq as the trio have stepped up efforts for political unit in the aftermath of the recent violence in the country.

An Afghan MP and spokesman of Junbish-e-Millie party Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj said the three leaders have reached to an agreements on several key issues, including the formation of unity among the political figures, movements and parties.

He said the three leaders also agreed that they are not after the collapse of the current government but insisted that the current situation, deadlock, and violence is not acceptable to the Afghan nation and their respective parties.

Tahyanj further added that the three leaders are expecting to organize further meetings and take practical steps in the country in a bid to find a solution for the situation of the country which has drastically deteriorated during the recent days.

This comes as Tahyanj earlier said the leaders of Harakat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Islami have visited Turkey to attend the engagement ceremony of Gen. Dostum’s son.

The leaders of Jamiat-e-Islami and Junbish Millie parties have stepped up efforts to boost political cooperation in the aftermath of the latest political and security upheavals in the country, particularly after the deadly bombings and violence in capital Kabul.

The meetings between the Junbish Millie and Jamiat Islami parties takes place despite major rivalries existed between the two parties in the past and in some cases some deadly clashes have also taken place between the commanders of the two parties, particularly in northern provinces of the country.

khaama.com/old-afghan-rivals-meet-in-turkey-for-political-unity-after-recent-violence-03035

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Clashes reported among the Taliban and ISIS militants in Nuristan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Wed Jun 28 2017

A gun battle erupted among the Taliban and ISIS militants in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan, leaving a number of people dead or wounded, the local officials said Wednesday.

The incident took place late on Tuesday in the vicinity of Wanat Waigal district of Nuristan.

The provincial governor Hafiz Abdul Qayum confirmed the incident and said preliminary reports indicate at least one militant, ISIS loyalist, was killed and three others were wounded.

He said the three people wounded during the clash are believed to be civilians and there are fears of more clashes between the two sides as the house of a former Taliban commander has been cordoned off by the Taliban insurgents.

Clashes between the Taliban and ISIS loyalists are not rare in some remote provinces and districts of the country.

However, such incidents are rarely reported from the eastern Nuristan or Kunar provinces where fewer ISIS activities have been noted in the past.

Scores of militants from the both sides were killed and dozens were wounded in a similar incident in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan nearly two weeks ago.

khaama.com/clashes-reported-among-the-taliban-and-isis-militants-in-nuristan-03033

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Iran worried as Afghanistan’s allies mulling deployment of more troops

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 29 2017

The Iranian authorities have expressed concerns regarding the presence of the foreign forces in Afghanistan as the international allies of Afghanistan, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mulling expansion of the troops presence in the country.

The Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani during a meeting with the Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament of Afghanistan Abdul Rauf Irahimi said there is no need for presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan since Afghan people are fully capable of fighting the terrorists.

Larijani also claimed that that the presence of foreign military forces on Afghanistan soil under the pretext of fighting terrorism has hindered the country’s progress.

He also stressed that Iran would spare no efforts in helping Afghanistan in combating terrorism, according to the local Mehr News Agency report.

The remarks by Larijani came a day before the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels who are mulling to deploy further troops to Afghanistan in a bid to help with the train, advise, and assist mission of the alliance’s mission in the country amid deteriorating security situation.

The NATO Secretary General said earlier today that the “We will end the day with a meeting of all nations contributing to our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and we will discuss the future of NATO’s presence in the country.”

Stoltenberg further added “Our military authorities have requested a few thousand more troops for the Mission in Afghanistan and today, I can confirm that we will increase our presence in Afghanistan.  Fifteen nations have already pledged additional contributions to Resolute Support Mission. And I look forward to further announcements from other nations.”

khaama.com/iran-worried-as-afghanistans-allies-mulling-deployment-of-more-troops-03039

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NATO considering an increase in troops level in Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 29 2017

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed that the alliance is considering an increase in its presence in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reports ahead of the defense ministerial in Brussels, Stoltenberg confirmed that “Our military authorities have requested a few thousand more troops for the Mission in Afghanistan and today, I can confirm that we will increase our presence in Afghanistan.”

The Secretary General further added that “Fifteen nations have already pledged additional contributions to Resolute Support Mission. And I look forward to further announcements from other nations.”

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, mainly focusing on train, assist, and advise of the Afghan national defense and security forces, assumed the charge soon after the conclusion of the NATO-led combat mission at the end of the year 2014 and beginning of 2015.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the defense ministers of the alliance will discuss the path forward in Afghanistan, including future troop levels during the defense ministerial.

Stoltenberg further added “We will close the ministerial with a meeting on Afghanistan. Where our Resolute Support Mission helps ensure the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorism.”

The NATO chief said the alliance has no plans to engage in combat missions in Afghanistan.

He said the alliance will focus mainly on the training, advise, and assist mission within the framework of the Resolute Support mission.

khaama.com/a-few-thousand-more-troops-to-join-nato-mission-in-afghanistan-stoltenberg-03037

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US Senate approves 4,000 more visas for Afghans under the SIV program

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 29 2017

The United States senate has approved at least four thousand more visas for the Afghan nationals who have worked with the US-led coalition and fearing persecution by the militant groups, it has been reported.

The new visas were approved by the US lawmakers in the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, the committee included the additional visas in its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a must-pass piece of legislation that sets priorities for the Department of Defense budget for fiscal 2018, which will be about $650 billion.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen has said “Our nation owes a great debt to the civilians who have provided essential assistance to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, and I am very pleased that this legislation authorizes the necessary visas for these brave men and women.”

This comes as the United States approved 2,500 visas for the Afghan nationals under a similar program earlier last month.

The US government had approved 1,500 visas for the Afghan nationals under the National Defense Authorization Act which was passed in late 2016.

However, reports emerged later suggesting that the US embassy in Kabul has run out of visas and has stopped scheduling interviews for the applicants.

“It’s both a moral and practical imperative that Congress approve additional visas. Thousands of Afghans have put themselves, and their families, at risk to help our soldiers and diplomats accomplish the U.S. mission and return home safely,” Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The Senate Armed Services Committee last year opposed to extend or authorizing new visa for the Afghan Special Immigration Visa Program.

khaama.com/us-senate-approves-4000-more-visas-for-afghans-under-the-siv-program-03036

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Europe

Anti-Islamic race hate graffiti daubed on Belfast restaurant

June 29 2017

A takeaway in east Belfast has been daubed with anti-Islamic graffiti which police are investigating as a racially motivated hate crime.

The Turkish Kebab house takeaway on the Beersbridge Road, Belfast was targeted between midnight and 7am on Thursday.

Graffiti was spray painted on the shutters of the premises.

Sergeant Jackson would appeal to anyone who has any information about this incident to contact Police at Strandtown on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 195 29/06/17.

Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/antiislamic-race-hate-graffiti-daubed-on-belfast-restaurant-35877485.html

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JD Sports Shares Plummet As Muslim Festival Timing Moves the Goalposts

 

Shares in JD Sports plunged on Thursday as the sportswear retailer said the timing of Eid had skewed recent trading.

The company moved its clearance sale forward to ensure it had new stock available for the festival marking the end of Ramadan, when many buy gifts for family members.

JD said that meant same-store sales comparatives would not be “truly meaningful until the end of the first half” when distortions from last year’s Euro football tournament will also have unwound.

It added that growth in same-store and online sales was in line with expectations and that its expansion was on track. By June it opened 28 new stores, including its first two in Australia. It anticipates meeting full-year guidance despite pressure on margins, partly due to the weak pound.

Still investors took fright and sent the shares tumbling 37.9p, or almost 10%, to 360.4p.

Analysts remained positive, however. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Mark Photiades described it as a solid start to the year and house broker Peel Hunt said: “Each of the structural growth boxes is ticked (domestic strength, online growth, overseas expansion), and the story is evolving nicely.”

standard.co.uk/business/jd-sports-shares-plummet-as-muslim-festival-timing-moves-the-goalposts-a3575786.html

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Finsbury Park attack: Makram Ali alive when hit by van

 

A man who died in a terror attack near a north London mosque was alive when he was hit by a van, an inquest has heard.

Makram Ali, 51, from Haringey, was hit by the vehicle after leaving a prayer meeting at Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park on 19 June.

An inquest at St Pancras Coroner's Court heard that he is believed to have had a "medical episode" shortly before.

Darren Osborne, 47, from Cardiff, has appeared in court charged with murder and attempted murder.

He appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday charged with killing Mr Ali and the attempted murder of others at the scene.

Nine other people were injured as a result of the attack.

Detective Inspector Edwin Hall of the Metropolitan Police told the court that the incident was being treated as a terrorist-related murder.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Ali's death was caused by multiple injuries.

According to his family, Mr Ali had suffered some form of collapse due to a weak leg and was "sitting up and expressing a wish to return home" when the attack happened.

His relatives have previously described him as a "quiet, gentle man" who "spent his whole life without any enemies" and who regularly attended the local mosque.

Mr Ali came to the UK from Bangladesh aged 10 and was married with four daughters, two sons and two grandchildren.

The inquest was opened and adjourned by senior coroner for Inner North London Mary Hassell, until any criminal proceedings have finished.

bbc.com/news/uk-40444129

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Romania Detains Suspected Islamic State Militant

 

Romanian prosecutors on Thursday detained a 39-year-old man suspected of links with the Islamist radicals who orchestrated the November 13, 2015 suicide bombings and mass shootings in Paris that killed 130 and wounded 368.

The man is suspected of spying on a military base in Romania and of sending information to jihadist militants of Islamic State, IS, in order to plan an attack at the base, prosecutors said on Thursday.

“The data was collected by the suspect with the purpose to be sent or made available to a Salafist or pro-jihadist terrorist entity in a European Union state, a group whose adepts have travelled to Syria and Iraq to participate in jihad activities and who were connected with the individuals who claimed the Paris attacks on November 13 2015,” the prosecutors said.

In a first case of its kind for Romania, the man was detained in Arges County, southern Romania, after the prosecutors searched his home. He had been under surveillance since 2015, according to the Romanian Intelligence Service SRI.

According to the press release of the prosecutors the man who called himself “Ibrahim” was a Romanian citizen who had been radicalized in a French prison where he was detained for a petty crime committed in France, where he worked for a while.

The prosecutors say he faces charges of supporting a terrorist group, links to the November 2015 attacks in Paris, but also for extremist Islamist propaganda on social media, where he shared footage and images of attacks perpetrated by the Islamic State militants.

The press release said that starting November 2016, the man used several social media accounts where he distributed photos and recordings of attacks committed by Islamic State, executions and beheadings “in order to attract new adepts able to commit similar acts”.

In spring 2015, the suspect allegedly went on a reconnaissance mission at a US military base in Romania and documented access points and possible security vulnerabilities.

SRI spokesman Ovidiu Marincea told journalists that the man attempted to travel to Syria to join IS and tried to convince other people to join him.

It is the first case in which a Romanian citizen allegedly planned an attack on Romanian territory in the name of an Islamist extremist organization.

Romanian authorities have handled other terrorism-linked cases in recent years, however.

In 2016, the Bucharest Court of Appeal jailed an Iraqi Al Qaeda member for seven years for facilitating the illegal passage through Romania of 250 Iraqis wanted by international law enforcement organizations for terrorist acts perpetrated in the name of Al Qaeda.

In February 2017, a 21-year-old Romanian citizen who lived in Germany was arrested in Frankfurt on terrorism charges. He was suspected of participating in planning a terrorist attack in Germany, according to Karlsruhe prosecutors.

balkaninsight.com/en/article/suspect-with-islamic-state-links-detained-in-romania-06-29-2017

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Russia, Turkey Agree on S-400 Missile System Delivery

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Moscow and Ankara agreed on the delivery of the S-400 air defense system to Turkey, Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin said Thursday.

"The contract has been agreed upon. The issue on the loan has not been resolved yet," Kozhin said, RIA Novosti reported.

Kozhin said Russia saw "no obstacles" to the delivery of the air missile defense system to Turkey in connection with its membership to NATO.

The S-400 is Russia's next-generation air defense system. It can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets including ballistic and cruise missiles.

It can track and engage up to 300 targets at the same time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers .

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960408000786

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Three men arrested over reports of anti-Islamic material displayed in Armagh

June 29 2017

Three men have been arrested in relation to suspected hate crime in Armagh and Coalisland.

Police conducted searches and arrested three men age 31, 38 and 47.

They have been arrested as a result of an investigation following reports of anti-Islamic material being displayed in the Armagh area, which was reported to Police on June 21, and the discovery of material in Newry on June 21.

All three are currently assisting Police with their enquiries.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/three-men-arrested-over-reports-of-antiislamic-material-displayed-in-armagh-35877854.html

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North America

Newport man's anger after his personalised number plate spelling his name 'Jihad' is banned by DVLA

Niall Griffiths

A NEWPORT man has spoken of his anger after his number plate containing the word Jihad, was banned by the DVLA.

The man, who had bought the personalised plate because his first name is Jihad, says: “I’m angry and upset about the whole situation, it just makes me look like I’m a bad person.

“If someone had seen me doing something illegal in the car with the plate, I’d say fair enough but I’m just a regular guy.”

The licensing authority had pulled the JH11 HAD plate for fear of its negative connotations with extremist ideologies.

Plates specifically resembling Jihad, plates starting with JE and ending HAD, are unavailable.

But the direct translation of the word in Arabic means “struggle”, which the car owner believes has been taken out of context.

He said: “At the end of the day when everyone buys a new car they think about personalising their plate with their name, and I did the same but the name has now been misrepresented.

“I understand people’s concerns after the recent events in London and Manchester but in the end I’m not doing anything wrong, it’s just my name.

“Jihad means struggle, and that could mean the ongoing struggle of daily life.

He added: “The people that do these horrible things have twisted its context that the name I was given now causes offence to people.”

The woman who had spotted the car driving around Newport had reported it to both the DVLA and the police.

She had said: "How can this be allowed with everything that is going on in the world at the moment?

"I have told the police about it and they said they would make a note of it.

"Surely this plate cannot be legal?"

The driver, who had bought he plate in October, has since been given a replacement but claimed that his car had been the victim of criminal damage in recent months.

He said: “It has been scratched several times before, I’m not sure if that’s because of the plate or the fact that it is a nice car.

southwalesargus.co.uk/news/gwentnews/15379734.Newport_man_s_anger_after_his_personalised_number_plate_spelling_his_name__Jihad__is_banned_by_DVLA/

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Calling Islamophobic violence ‘terrorism’ won’t make Muslims safe

Thu., June 29, 2017

In response to criticisms that the term “terrorism” is applied almost exclusively to violence by Muslims, political leaders have been quick to describe recent acts of violence against Muslims as “terrorism” too.

Justin Trudeau condemned Alexandre Bissonnette’s shooting spree at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in January as a “terrorist attack”; British Prime Minister Theresa May likewise denounced Islamophobia as a type of “extremism” after Darren Osborne’s fatal assault on Muslim worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park last week.

These pronouncements have been hailed as strikes against Islamophobia — but they are more likely to exacerbate the problem than exorcise it. Framing Islamophobic violence as “terrorism” leads to the dangerous conclusion that state anti-terrorism powers — which have been wielded disproportionately against Muslims, Indigenous peoples, and other communities of colour — should be strengthened in the name of protecting Muslims.

For the last sixteen years, Western liberal democracies have used the statistically minuscule risk of Muslim “terrorism” to rationalize sprawling systems of Kafkaesque counterterrorism: preventive arrests and indefinite detentions without charge; surveillance of schoolchildren for “radical” ideology; entrapment of vulnerable people in “terrorism” plots developed by state informants; criminalization of dissent and other forms of previously free expression; use of secret evidence in trials; torture and with torture outsourced to other regimes; and extrajudicial killings (by the U.S. and the U.K., including against their own citizens).

Now, attacks against Muslims are being similarly exploited to further entrench and inflate counterterrorism programs. The Quebec mosque shooting was spun into a vindication of Donald Trump’s draconian national security measures by the White House: “it’s a terrible reminder of why ... the president is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety,” said press secretary Sean Spicer.

One of these “proactive” presidential steps was the “Muslim ban” announced just a few days before Bissonnette went on his anti-Muslim rampage in Quebec.

Following the attack in Finsbury Park, Prime Minister May pledged to combat hatred of Muslims by possibly increasing the counterterrorism powers of police and security services (even though an official review recently concluded that these powers are already adequate), and by establishing a Commission for Countering Extremism that will “work to stamp out extremist ideology in all its forms” (including non-violent ones).

The expansion of state efforts at ideological surveillance and control will not correct counterterrorism’s abuses, but compound them. The equalization of unfreedom is not progress toward justice.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is all about the socks, including this Star Wars-themed pair from May the Fourth.

Justin Trudeau’s socks appeal is starting to wear thin: Menon

Defence lawyer Patrick Edgerton speaks to the media following the first day of the Derek Saretzky trial at the Lethbridge Provincial Court on June 7. On Wednesday, Derek Saretzky, 24, was found guilty of killing a father, his toddler and a senior.

Jury finds Alberta’s Derek Saretzky guilty of three counts of first-degree murder

In any case, Islamophobic and White-supremacist ideologues are unlikely to experience the kind of collective suspicion and pre-emptive intervention suffered by Muslims stigmatized en masse as “security threats.” Even after Bissonnette’s act of anti-Muslim mass murder, which alone killed three times as many people as Muslim “terror” ever has in Canada, Islamophobia remains publicly marginalized on the national security agenda.

In May, the mayor of Quebec City opposed a proposal to extend the province’s deradicalization program, which is currently focused predominantly on Muslims, to address the radicalism of the far-right.

Earlier this month, the RCMP responded to a Vice report on an armed anti-Islam “patriot” group called the III%, which has hundreds of members and conducts live fire paramilitary training exercises, by stating that it “does not investigate movements or ideologies,” only “criminal activity.”

“It needn’t be said how immensely different ... law enforcement would view a few dozen Muslim men and women doing similar training and/or making shows of force,” said Vice journalist Mack Lamoureux.

The branding of individual murderous Islamophobes as “terrorists” attempts to deflect charges of racism against security practices that continue to target Muslims.

But it is hardly surprising that Darren Osborne and Alexandre Bissonnette would hate Muslims, when political leaders, such as Theresa May, have trafficked in unfounded theories that Muslims are plotting to take over British schools; when laws like Canada’s Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act inaccurately imply that Muslims are uniquely, “barbarically” oppressive towards women; when official public safety reports fixate almost entirely on Muslim threats while largely overlooking far-right groups, responsible for many more deaths and assaults; and when counter-radicalization programs like Britain’s Prevent legitimize the belief that Muslims need to be monitored by their fellow citizens for signs of “violent extremism.”

This is the fundamental problem with calling Islamophobic violence “terrorism”: it represents state counterterrorism as the solution to anti-Muslim “extremism,” while ignoring the role of the state itself in propagating the myth that Muslims are the ultimate menace.

A counterterrorism apparatus built around the idea that Muslims are dangerous cannot be used to make Muslims safe.

Azeezah Kanji is a legal analyst based in Toronto. She writes in the Star every other Thursday.

thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/06/29/calling-islamophobic-violence-terrorism-wont-make-muslims-safe.html

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Department of Basic Education website hacked by Pro-Islamic State activists

June 29, 2017

As of Thursday morning, their website remained incapacitated and out of action. They were forced to remove the page after a series of grotesque images were left on the page by seemingly pro-IS activists.

The message the hackers left was visable from a Google search

Across the site, images of decapitated bodies – some of which belonged to children – and mutilated corpses were posted, in what seems to be a disgusting protest against the western world.

The hackers call themselves Team System DZ, and left a chilling message up on the site:

“A message to the American people, the government, and the rest of the world. Is this the humanity you claim, or is life irrelevant to Muslims? Do not imagine these actions against Muslims will pass you and we will forget to the Arab and Muslim peoples all over the world. I love Islamic State.”

I.S have been responsible for many barbaric attacks over Ramadan in the UK, Afghanistan and Egypt. It is not yet known if the hacker of the DBE site is from South Africa or further overseas, and the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) is investigating the incident alongside the government.

The Department released a statement late last night, condemning the ‘brutal’ images and the message of hate:

“We distance ourselves from the brutal images that incite hatred and violence. We have taken immediate steps to have the images removed from the website and investigate how it was hacked. We are currently working with SITA to reclaim the website and condemn such acts in the strongest terms.”

Government bodies across the world are currently being targeted by malicious hackers, as seen in the Ukraine and with the NHS in the UK. It seems Islamic State is also taking this route to spread their pathetic agenda of division and hatred.

The DBE site remains down whilst SITA fight to regain access.

thesouthafrican.com/department-of-basic-education-website-hacked-by-pro-islamic-state-activists/

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USA ban on six muslim countries implemented from 28 June

29 June, 2017

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has ordered all ports of entry to start implementing a ban on visitors from six Muslim countries after the US Supreme Court unanimously endorsed Trump administration’s controversial decision.

The implementation began on Wednesday evening, 72 hours after the verdict.

The ban applies to Muslim citizens from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. President Donald Trump’s original order, issued on Jan 27, also applied to Iraq but it was later excluded because of US military presence in the country. The order also indefinitely halted refugees from Syria.

“With the objective of maximizing national security, the Department of State will implement Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” in an orderly fashion, consistent with the Supreme Court’s unanimous order, and in accordance with the Presidential Memorandum issued on June 14, which directs us to begin implementation 72 hours after the stay,” said a statement issued in Washington.

On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed parts of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to go into effect while agreeing to hear oral arguments on the case this fall.

The court allowed the ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States”.

Examples of formal relationships include students accepted to US universities and an employee who has accepted a job with a company in the US, the court said.

President Trump called the decision “a clear victory for our national security”.

“As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm,” he said in a statement. “I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.”

The Department of State said it will provide additional details on implementation after consultation with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. “We will keep those travelling to the United States and partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order,” it said.

Since the Supreme Court exempted the relatives of legal US residents, including students, from the ban, it’s still unclear who and how many people will be affected by the decision. Human rights activists warned on Wednesday that the confusion was harmful, given the delicacy of the refugee process.

“We know that people are going to be hurt by this, and there will be a lot of disruption and dislocation,” said Lavinia Limón, president and chief executive of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said in a statement.

“There are people told they were going to fly next week after waiting two years, who maybe sold their possessions and are all packed,” she said.

“It’s just cruel to imagine that after fleeing war and waiting years finally you’re ready to go next week and guess what? This is what happens.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged the travel ban in court ,said the “bona fide relationship” clause applies to most successful visa applicants from the six countries.

“This order, properly construed, should really allow for only the narrowest implementation of any part of the ban,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project, said at a news briefing.

paktribune.com/news/USA-ban-on-six-muslim-countries-implemented-from-28-June-278993.html

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India

Azamgarh IM operative came online as Islamic State recruiter, says man deported to India

29 June 2017

One of the two Islamic State (IS) recruiters behind the online identity Yusuf-al-Hindi, could possibly have been Mohammad Sajid alias Bada Sajid, who hailed from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and is believed by Indian agencies to have been killed in 2015 while fighting in Syria, reports The Indian Express on June 28. This is what IS sympathiser Amzad Khan, who was deported to India from Saudi Arabia in April, has indicated to interrogators, while identifying a photograph of Yusuf-al-Hindi, sources said. Sajid was a member of Indian Mujahideen (IM) before fleeing to Pakistan after a security crackdown in 2008, from where he and Karnataka-born Shafi Armar migrated to Afghanistan and Syria. Armar was recently designated as a ‘global terrorist’ by the United States (US).

Investigators believe that Sajid and Armar had radicalised Indians online using the same identity — Yusuf-al-Hindi. “It is possible that after Sajid’s death, Armar has been handling the account,” said sources. According to sources, Khan, a 37-year-old from Rajasthan, told interrogators: “In the beginning, Yusuf had set a photo taken from his back as his profile picture (on his Telegram account). By the end of December 2015, he changed it to one taken from the front.” Investigators believe this image was one of the same set of photographs taken from two angles. Khan told interrogators that he later saw the same person in a video posted on social media by the IS in May 2016, purportedly showing those who had gone to Syria from Maharashtra.

satp.org/satporgtp/detailed_news.asp?date1=6/29/2017&id=9#9

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Police arrest four over Muslim teen's murder

29 June 2017

Indian police said Thursday they have arrested four people over the murder of a 15-year-old boy on a train, the latest in a slew of hate crimes against Muslims in the largely Hindu nation.

A group of men attacked Junaid Khan and his three brothers last week in an apparent row over seats as they travelled home by train from New Delhi, killing him and injuring one of his brothers.

One brother said the attackers accused them of carrying beef, a meat popular among many Indian Muslims but shunned by most of the country's Hindus, who revere cows as sacred.

Deputy superintendent Mohinder Singh said police had arrested four men and identified the chief suspect in the killing, who had yet to be arrested.

Media reports said two of the men arrested were local government employees.

"We have also taken many eye witness accounts from the daily travellers on this route and are focusing on arresting the knife attacker," said Singh by telephone from Faridabad in northern Haryana state where the killing took place.

The news came a day after protests were held in several Indian cities over the recent killings under the slogan "not in my name".

Rights groups have also warned of a culture of impunity for crimes committed against Muslims -- often on the pretext of protecting cows -- and urged the country's Hindu nationalist government to act.

"The pattern of hate crimes committed against Muslims with seeming impunity... is deeply worrying," said Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty International India, in a statement this week.

The rights group said at least 10 Muslim men had been lynched or killed in public since April in suspected hate crimes.

Last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised the vigilantes and urged a crackdown against groups using religion as a cover for committing crimes.

Critics say vigilantes have been emboldened by the election in 2014 of his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party.

The slaughter of cows and the possession or consumption of beef is banned in most Indian states, with some imposing life sentences for breaking the law.

dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4649892/Indian-police-arrest-four-Muslim-teens-murder.html

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Sushma Swaraj assures help to Indian woman jailed in Riyadh

PTI | Jun 28, 2017

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday assured help to an Indian woman from Telangana, who is lodged in a jail in Saudi Arab's capital Riyadh.

"We will provide Fahimunnisa Begum legal aid and all assistance," Swaraj said on Twitter.

Swaraj's assurance came after the woman's husband requested the minister to ensure her release.

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 Sushma Swaraj ? @SushmaSwaraj

We will provide Fahimunnisa Begum legal aid and all assistance. twitter.com/KTRTRS/status/880046484045021184 …

10:04 PM - 28 Jun 2017

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The reason for her arrest was not known.

Responding to a request of another person, Swaraj said the Indian Embassy in Bahrain will look into the reported drowning of an Indian there.

Kabees Abdul Jaleel, 32, had reportedly drowned in a swimming pool in Bahrain.

Swaraj was approached by the person on Twitter who said the deceased was his relation.

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Indian Embassy in Bahrain will check up and inform you. @IndiaInBahrain twitter.com/SMohamedAskar/status/880036539161493504 …

10:06 PM - 28 Jun 2017

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He said they did not know what happened to Jaleel and requested Swaraj to take appropriate action.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sushma-swaraj-assures-help-to-indian-woman-jailed-in-riyadh/articleshow/59359262.cms

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Pakistan

Pakistan accuses US of 'speaking India's language' and of 'dual standards' on Kashmir issue

Shailaja Neelakantan | TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jun 28, 2017

NEW DELHI: A miffed Pakistan has accused the US of "speaking India's language" and of "dual standards" on the issue of Kashmir, reported Pakistani media.

Pakistan's comments come after two developments over Monday and Tuesday put it in an embarrassing spotlight.

On Monday, the US state department named the Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen Kashmiri separatist Syed Salahuddin a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist'+ . And an Indo-US joint statement - released after leaders Narendra Modi and Donald Trump met on Tuesday - sternly urged Islamabad "to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries".

"It seems as though the blood of Kashmiris in not at all important to the US, and international laws relating to human rights do not apply to Kashmir," said Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar on Tuesday, according to Dawn.

Nisar said the US's actions "mock" justice+ .

"Ignoring the worst form of state terrorism does not only mock justice and international norms, but also exposes the dual standards of those upholding human and democratic rights," Nisar added, reported The Express Tribune.

Pakistan, Nisar said, "would not compromise on the rights of Kashmiris" and will continue to support the Kashmiris' "cause"

Earlier, Pakistan also slammed as "completely unjustified" the US naming Hizbul Mujahideen chief Salahuddin a "global terrorist".

"The designation of individuals supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination as terrorists is completely unjustified," a ministry spokesperson said in a statement without naming Salahuddin.

Both the Indo-US joint statement and the US action on Salahuddin are being seen as a major diplomatic victory for India which has long accused Pakistan of backing terror in India and more specifically, in Kashmir.

The joint statement issued by the US after the first meeting between Modi and Trump contained some strong words for Pakistan.

"The leaders called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They further called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups," the statement said.

Pakistan's foreign office was unhappy at being named in the statement.

"Pakistan has demonstrated a longstanding commitment of combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The people and government of Pakistan have rendered immense sacrifices in both blood and treasure to end this scourge, which has been acknowledged by the international community," Pakistan's foreign office said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/modi-in-us-after-indo-us-joint-statement-pakistan-says-uss-dual-standards-exposed/articleshow/59347485.cms

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China defends Pakistan, says it is at frontlines of anti-terror fight

PTI | Updated: Jun 28, 2017

BEIJING: A day after India and the US asked Pakistan to stop cross-border terror, China on Wednesday put up a strong defence of its 'all-weather' ally, saying Islamabad was at the frontlines of the fight against terrorism.

"China thinks that the international cooperation against terrorism should be enhanced and stepped up. The international community should give full recognition and affirmation to Pakistan's efforts in this regard," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters here.

His remarks came in response to the India-US joint statement issued after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

"We have to say Pakistan stands at the frontlines of the international counter-terrorism fight and has been making efforts in this regard," Lu said in response to the statement in which India and the US had asked Islamabad to ensure that its soil is not used for cross-border terror.

The joint statement issued yesterday after Modi-Trump meeting had also called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks.

Modi and Trump also vowed to strengthen efforts to fight terrorism and eliminate safe havens for terrorists.

Ahead of the Modi-Trump meeting, the US State Department had set the tone for the summit by declaring Syed Salahuddin, chief of Kashmiri terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, as a 'global terrorist'.

The State Department's action had sent out a strong message against the terrorism emanating from the country which is hurting India.

During their meeting, Modi and Trump had had also "committed to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including al-Qaeda, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), D-Company (led by underworld don and terror mastermind Dawood Ibrahim), and their affiliates."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/china-defends-pak-says-it-is-at-frontlines-of-anti-terror-fight/articleshow/59352616.cms

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Pakistan slams Indo-US joint statement as being 'singularly unhelpful'

Shailaja Neelakantan | TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jun 29, 2017, 11.37 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Islamabad has slammed the Indo-US joint statement following the Modi-Trump meet as "singularly unhelpful", Pakistani media reported Thursday.

The joint statement issued Tuesday has some of the strongest words from the US, in recent times, on terror originating from Pakistan. And Islamabad is displeased because it believes the statement "aggravates" a tense situation.

"The joint statement is singularly unhelpful in achieving the objective of strategic stability and durable peace in the South Asian region. By failing to address key sources of tension and instability in the region, the statement aggravates an already tense situation," Pakistan's foreign office said in a statement, Dawn reported.

The Indo-US joint statement - released after leaders Narendra Modi and Donald Trump met on Tuesday - sternly urged Islamabad "to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries".

"The leaders called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They further called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups," the joint statement said.

Pakistan's foreign office reiterated its criticism of the US naming the Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen Kashmiri separatist Syed Salahuddin a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist'.

"Any attempt to equate the peaceful indigenous Kashimiri struggle with terrorism, and to designate individuals supporting the right to self-determination as terrorists is unacceptable," said Pakistan's foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakaria, reported The Express Tribune.

On Tuesday, a miffed Pakistan accused the US of "speaking India's language" and of "dual standards" on the issue of Kashmir.

"It seems as though the blood of Kashmiris in not at all important to the US, and international laws relating to human rights do not apply to Kashmir," said Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar.

He said the US's actions "mock" justice.

"Ignoring the worst form of state terrorism does not only mock justice and international norms, but also exposes the dual standards of those upholding human and democratic rights," Nisar added.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-slams-indo-us-joint-statement-as-being-singularly-unhelpful/articleshow/59364381.cms

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Southeast Asia

China’s soccer authority condemns insulting comments about Muslim player

2017/6/29

China's top soccer authority on Wednesday condemned using soccer as an excuse for religious bigotry after a football fan posted insulting comments about a Muslim footballer that plays in the Chinese Super League to social media.

"We are firmly against and strongly condemn using soccer to spread religious discrimination or to insult other people's faith. Soccer should be a sport to spread positive energy," the Chinese Football Association posted on its official Sina Weibo account on Wednesday night.

The statement was made after a fan of Jiangsu Suning Football Club insulted Burak Yilmaz, a Turkish player for Beijing Guoan Football Club.

"I would like to order a pork burger to show my 'support' for Yilmaz," the Sina Weibo account "Jiangsu Soccer Newspaper" posted on Tuesday after Suning's Monday match against Guoan, attaching a poster of Burger King's pork burger. The account is not affiliated with Jiangsu Suning.

"Soccer pitches are not lawless. It should not be tolerated or allowed to spread conflict outside of the match, and even insult someone's personality and religion…" read Guoan's notice on the event on its official Weibo account on Wednesday.

Guoan said the club will sue the fan behind the Jiangsu Soccer Newspaper account and is now gathering evidence.

"'Jiangsu Soccer Newspaper'has to pay for its brutal behavior," said Guoan.

Following Guoan's post, 'Jiangsu Soccer Newspaper' posted an apology to Yilmaz and Beijing Guoan to Weibo.

The pork burger post has been deleted and the account's Weibo user name has been changed to "Jiangsu Soccer Observe."

The match between Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan ended with a goalless draw on Monday. A conflict occurred between players of both sides at the end of the match in which Yilmaz slapped a player of the opposing side.

The referee gave a red card to Yilmaz and a yellow card to Suning's Li Ang.

According to the Beijing media, Yilmaz said that during the argument, Suning's Brazilian player Alex Teixeira Santos spit on him and Li made an insulting gesture to him, which caused him to lose his temper and slap Li.

Yilmaz, Li and Suning's assistant coach Gianluca Zambrotta will attend a hearing on the incident at the Football Association's headquarters in Beijing on Thursday, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

globaltimes.cn/content/1054114.shtml

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Islamic State threat grows in South East Asia, warns head of US Pacific Command

 

Australia's neighbourhood faces a "substantially" increased threat from Islamic State with the current battle against militants in the southern Philippines serving as a sharp wake-up call, head of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris has warned.

Speaking on board the visiting American warship USS Bonhomme Richard, Admiral Harris told Australian journalists that "ISIS is trying to gain a foothold in the Indo-Asia Pacific and I think it behooves all free nations to take a stand and play a part in defeating ISIS."

He said the situation in Marawi city, where the Philippines army has been bogged down in a ferocious battle against Islamic militants, was a "wake up call for the region."

Australia's Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, confirmed that the ADF had contributed three aircraft to assist Philippines forces with intelligence and surveillance support.

But he played down the prospect of Australian ground forces joining the conflict, saying it was a "question for government" and that Manila had not sought combat troops from the ADF.

The military chiefs were speaking on board the US navy amphibious assault vessel at a formal ceremony to kick off Talisman Sabre, a large-scale war-fighting exercise between Australian and US forces which will involve 33,000 sailors, troops, marines and air force personnel over the next month.

More than 200 aircraft and 21 navy ships will also take part in what is set to be the most complex joint training exercise between US and Australian defence forces since the biennial event began in 2005.

watoday.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/islamic-state-threat-grows-in-south-east-asia-warns-head-of-us-pacific-command-20170629-gx12k8.html

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Philippine Muslims fear fighting may deepen communal discord

 

When a small army of militants allied to Islamic State took over parts of Marawi City in the southern Philippines last month, many of the country's Muslims were alarmed.

By MANUEL MOGATO and KAREN LEMA JUNE 29, 2017 7:08 PM (UTC+8) 0 0

When a small army of militants allied to Islamic State took over parts of Marawi City in the southern Philippines last month, many of the country’s Muslims were alarmed.

Although the Christian-majority Philippines has endured bouts of insurrection by Muslim groups for centuries, the two communities mostly live together peacefully. Now, many Muslims say, the vicious urban battle with government forces for control of Marawi may intensify the divide.

Civilians who have fled the fighting say the militants spread rumours on social media and by word of mouth that Christian soldiers were committing excesses against the largely Muslim population, and urged locals to take up arms.

“They are using the discrimination, neglect and social injustices against us, the minority, to sow hate and anger,” said Musa Diamla, a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a rebel group that has signed a ceasefire with the government.

Nearly 400 people have been killed in the month-long battle in Marawi, which is on the Philippines’ southernmost island, Mindanao, which is roughly the size of South Korea and where more than 20 percent of the population are Muslims.

A government soldier frisks a resident who evacuated his home in Sarimanok village, Marawi City, Philippines June 1, 2017, during an ongoing assault of government troops on insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of the city REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco - RTX38HBS A government soldier frisks evacuees from Marawi City, Philippines June 1, 2017. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Islam has even older roots in the Philippines than Christianity. When Spanish colonialists landed in the country in the mid-16th century and pushed Muslims to the south, they called them Moros, from the Spanish word for Moors.

For hundreds of years, the Moro people resisted Manila’s rule and the term ‘Bangsamoro’ – meaning ‘nation of Moros’ – was coined in the second half of the 20th century as many sought and fought for independence, or at least autonomy.

Multiple peace pacts with Moro groups have since collapsed or run into delays, consigning Mindanao to economic neglect and poverty, and fuelling a culture of insurgency and banditry.

“Reforms have not taken root in the south due to conflict driven by the Moro struggle for self determination,” said Julkipli Wadi, former dean of the Institute of Islamic Studies at Manila’s University of the Philippines.

Government troops walk past a mosque before their assault with insurgents from the so-called Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City, southern Philippines May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX37IWG Government troops walk past a mosque in Marawi city where they fought insurgents from the so-called Maute group. May 25, 2017. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

“As the peace process dragged on indefinitely, this created frustration for the Moro youth and this is the reason they are prone to embrace radical ideology,” he said.

Harmony, but discrimination

The Philippines’ constitution provides for the free exercise of religious profession and worship, and the country does not rank among those most often criticised by Western governments and rights groups for violations of religious freedom.

In Quiapo, a teeming and rundown district of the capital, Manila, Christians and Muslims live peacefully alongside each other, worshipping at an ancient church and an imposing mosque that are just a few blocks apart.

“We live in harmony,” said Rohaina Babar, a 40-year-old Muslim woman who sells clothes from one of Quiapo’s many street stalls that offer everything from headscarves to pirated DVDs.

Based on 2010 census data, 94 percent of the Philippines’ Muslim population of over 5 million live on Mindanao, but more than 100,000 are in Manila, many of them Moros who left the south to escape poverty and violence.

Displaced residents line up to receive food from the Philippine government, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group in Marawi City, Philippines June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva Displaced residents line up to receive food, as troops continue an assault against insurgents in Marawi City, Philippines June 28, 2017. Reuters/Jorge Silva

Some Muslims in Quiapo worry that the bonhomie of different faiths could be at risk as the death toll among troops fighting in Marawi, now at 70, climbs.

Anxious to nip religious tensions in the bud, the military appealed to the public this month not to share video images of the militants destroying religious statues and pulling down a cross inside a church.

Babar said that comments she reads on social media and in the news were becoming increasingly anti-Muslim.

“It’s like they equate Muslims with terrorists,” she said.

“A generation of disgruntled Muslims”

Despite the appearance of equality and tolerance in Quiapo, however, Muslim leaders say discrimination against people of their faith is ingrained in the Philippines.

Mountain lairs of Maute militants. Source: Reuters Mountain lairs of Maute militants. Source: Reuters

Paisalin Tago, a commissioner at the National Commission on Muslim Filipino, an agency under the office of the president, said Muslims are under-represented in senior government and military positions. In elections last year, only 11 Muslims were voted to the 292-member House of Representatives, low compared to the community’s 5-6 percent portion of the 100 million population.

“In some agencies, if they find out you are Muslim, they won’t accept you although you are qualified for the position,” said Tago, a Muslim, noting his agency is flooded with job applications from Muslims who cannot find work in other government offices.

Jesus Dureza, the presidential adviser on the peace process in Mindanao, said he could not comment since he had “no specific information on those complaints.”

REFILE - CORRECTING DATE Evacuated residents rest at an evacuation centre in Iligan, while government forces fight insurgents from the Maute group in Marawi, Philippines June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva Evacuated residents rest at a centre in Iligan, while government forces fight insurgents from the Maute group in Marawi, Philippines June 27, 2017. Reuters/Jorge Silva

He acknowledged that Muslims had some reason to be aggrieved but said there is a peace and development roadmap for the region that will address historical injustices.

“Historical injustice”

In Mindanao, the sense of injustice is felt more keenly.

Former rebel Diamla said Moro people used to be the majority in Mindanao, but over the past half century Christians have migrated from the north and grabbed much of their land.

“Historical social injustice is being used as a platform by extremists to recruit and fan anger,” said Zia Alonto-Adiong, a local politician in Lanao del Sur region, which includes Marawi.

Abdulgani Ali, who owns shops in Marawi and nearby Iligan City, said there is less resentment of Christian neighbours than there is of the government for neglecting Muslim livelihoods.

An evacuated resident carries a child at an evacuation centre in Iligan, while government forces fight insurgents from the Maute group in Marawi, Philippines June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva An evacuated resident carries a child at a centre in Iligan, Philippines, June 27, 2017. Reuters/Jorge Silva

“Where are the schools, roads and development projects?” he said. “They are all in non-Muslim areas and that’s why we still have a low literacy rate and higher poverty incidence.”

Official statistics show that 48.2 percent of families in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which includes Marawi, were below the poverty line in 2015 compared with a national average of 16.5 percent. The poverty line is defined at $180 per month for a family of five.

The region’s secondary-school enrolment rate and its literacy rate are the lowest in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was for many years the mayor of Mindanao’s biggest city, Davao, pledged last year to devolve power from “imperial Manila” to long-neglected provinces.

But Zia said Duterte’s plan for a federal system has only delayed progress towards peace with Moro insurgents, encouraging the emergence of “a generation of disgruntled young Muslims.”

atimes.com/article/philippine-muslims-fear-fighting-may-deepen-communal-discord/

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Africa

Al-Azhar says Islam ‘totally incompatible’ with violence, as IS shifts focus to Upper Egypt

June 29, 2017

Abdullah Rushdi, Al-Azhar, Alexandria, Copts, Islam, Islamic State, Minya, Mohamed Morsi, Naguib Gibrail, Salem Abdul Jalil, Sinai, Upper Egypt

Students wait for transportation in front of Al-Azhar University on 2 June, 2016, in Cairo, Egypt.

Scholars at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the pre-eminent seat of Sunni Islamic learning, have submitted a bill to the Egyptian government, which “aims to reaffirm the total incompatibility between the violence justified by religious arguments and Islamic law”.

As World Watch Monitor reported on 21 June, Al-Azhar has distanced itself from claims that its teachings condone, or even encourage, acts of violence in the name of Islam.

The bill comes as a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Salem Abdul Jalil, appeared in court on Saturday (24 June) after calling Christians “unbelievers” on his TV show.

Naguib Gibrail, a lawyer and Coptic Christian activist who brought the charges against the cleric, said the Sheikh’s remarks amounted to “slander” against Christianity and threatened Egyptian unity. Gibrail has also filed similar charges against another Sheikh, Abdullah Rushdi.

According to Coptic news site Watani, “a number of prominent writers, journalists, and liberals have openly called for the lawyers to drop both cases, fearing that once a case is opened it would lead to arguments on the Christian and Muslim faiths, which is bound to deepen divides among Egyptians along religious lines”.

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, at a press conference on 2 June, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt, as part of Al-Azhar’s Campaign Against Extremist Ideology.

Meanwhile a renowned Coptic Orthodox priest, Fr Makary Younan, has had the charges against him dropped, after he was accused of “insulting Islam” for saying in a televised prayer meeting that while Christianity came first to Egypt and is a religion of love and forgiveness, Islam came later and spread through the sword.

In the wake of his comments, Coptic Pope Tawadros II asked him to temporarily stop the prayer meetings, but they began again on 24 June.

Copts reject training after another church attack foiled

On Saturday (24 June), Egyptian authorities arrested six people allegedly planning a suicide bomb attack on a church in Alexandria during the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

According to a statement from the Interior Ministry, the six belonged to an extremist cell determined to “intimidate” and “divide” the nation. The suspects are also thought to have been involved in the bombing of a Christian-owned shop in the neighbouring governorate of Damietta in April.

“We may very likely be misunderstood by some who exercise morbid thoughts and believe the Church stockpiles arms and resorts to aggression.”

Anba Macarius, Bishop of Minya

In the Alexandria flat where the six were arrested, police reportedly confiscated weapons and explosives, including two suicide belts and six detonators.

Meanwhile, in Minya, Copts have been offered training to help them protect themselves against attacks.

Watani reports that the Bishop of Minya, Anba Macarius, politely declined the offer, saying it might make the Copts even more of a target.

“We may very likely be misunderstood by some who exercise morbid thoughts and believe the Church stockpiles arms and resorts to aggression,” he said, referencing the 2013 attacks on churches were falsely accused of storing arms in the wake of the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi.

From Sinai to Upper Egypt

On 22 June, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said it had killed seven people believed to have been involved in recent attacks on Copts and their churches. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks, in which around 100 people have been killed.

Embed from Getty Images

A child hovers over the coffins of his parents during their funeral service at St Samuel’s Monastery. They were among the 29 Coptic Christians killed in the Minya bus attack on 26 May.

The recent spate of attacks in and around Minya suggests that IS is shifting its focus from the Sinai Peninsula towards establishing a foothold in Upper Egypt, an area “marginalised” by politicians, lacking in security and in which many people are poor and uneducated, according to Al-Monitor.

Al-Monitor quotes the director of the National Center for Security Studies, Brig. Gen. Khaled Okasha, as “ruling out” IS’s ability to seize territory within Egypt. “Geographically, this can never happen,” he said. Instead, he said IS is determined to carry out as much damage as possible, by choosing the targets most difficult to defend, including Copts.

He said Egypt has a “strong legislative support system to counter terrorism”, but admitted that there are “gaps in security procedures”.

As World Watch Monitor reported last week, Copts have been crying out for more protection in the wake of attacks, such as the Minya bus attack that killed 29 Copts travelling to a monastery on Ascension Day (26 May).

worldwatchmonitor.org/2017/06/al-azhar-says-islam-totally-incompatible-violence-shifts-focus-upper-egypt/

 

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