New Age Islam
Thu Dec 03 2020, 12:06 AM

Islamic World News ( 6 Jun 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Iraqi Commander: Saudi Arabia, Mother of Terrorists’ Ideology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Even Ronald McDonald is into the act

 

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification Law

Ethiopia's Christians Mark Ramadan alongside Muslims

Bid to Use Zakat to Fund Defence of Muslims Accused In Terror Cases

Arab World

Iraqi Commander: Saudi Arabia, Mother of Terrorists’ Ideology

ISIL Executes 11 People in Front of Families in Mosul

Rouhani Urges Muslim States to Spearhead Building Violence-Free World

Ansarullah Leader: Saudi Side Insincere in Yemen Peace Talks

'Terrorists Attacking Syria's Aleppo Despite Start of Ramadan'

ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Syrian Army Attacks in Deir Ezzur

Syria: Gov't Forces Continue to Advance against ISIL Southwest of al-Tabaqa Airbase

Iran Renews Stance on Political Solution to Crisis in Yemen

Syria: Gov't Forces Closing in on Key Desert Town of Arak

UN: 10,000 Civilians Escape Iraq’s Fallujah in Past 10 Days

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification Law

Indonesian Islamic Sect Leaders Detained For Blasphemy, Treason

In Indonesia, 'national defence' training against perceived threats

Rohingya: A challenge for ASEAN society

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Africa

Ethiopia's Christians Mark Ramadan alongside Muslims

South Africa Muslims Fear for Future of Ramadan Traditions

No need to panic over terror alerts: Nhleko

Terror warnings: Is South Africa really an Islamic State target?

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India

Bid to Use Zakat to Fund Defence of Muslims Accused In Terror Cases

Islam Means Peace: Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

PM Modi greets Muslims on beginning of Ramzan

Bail pleas of four accused in Malegaon 2006 blast case rejected

Former SP Minister Quereshi My Political Mentor: Pro-IS Mufti Abdul Sami Qasmi

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Europe

Islamic State Members from the West Seek Help Getting Home

European Union Seeks U.N. Approval to Intercept Libya-Bound Arms

British Army's Helmand bomb skills help Kurds face Islamic State

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Pakistan

Pak Plans Return To Int’l Islamic Bond Market

‘Handing Pakistani Checkpost To Afghanistan Is A Major Offence’

Followers of murdered Pakistani activist say they will not be silenced

Notification on Rs20bn subsidy lacks legal moorings: SC

Enrolment drive in Fata fails to achieve target

Committee raises doubts about CPEC’s western route

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Mideast

Turkish Gov’t Shakes Up Judiciary with Decree Shifting More Than 3,700 Judges, Prosecutors

11 Killed, 36 Wounded In Car Bomb Attack on Police Vehicle in Istanbul

Israel ‘Keeps the Status Quo on the Temple Mount,’ Netanyahu Assures Muslims

Turkish President Erdoğan to attend Muhammad Ali’s funeral

AKP MP prepares legislative motion to label German killings of Nama people ‘genocide’

Israeli Court Rejects Petition to Ban Zionist March from Entering Muslim Quarter

Palestinians enlist the willing United Nations to threaten the Israeli economy

CHP not hopeful Turkish government will push for foreign policy change

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South Asia

Dostum: Haibatullah Is Symbolic, Haqqanis, ISI Key Player in Ongoing Violence

11 ISIS Militants Killed, 14 Wounded In Nangarhar Operations

MoD: 14 terrorists killed in an airstrike in Ghazni province

Senior security official killed in North of Afghanistan

Fight against ISIS topped Mansoor’s agenda during his visit to Iran

NATO offers condolences after death of US and Afghan journalists

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North America

Striving to Find Foster Parents in America’s Largest Muslim Community

Why Muhammad Ali was 'the greatest' American Muslim

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/iraqi-commander--saudi-arabia,-mother-of-terrorists’-ideology/d/107562

 

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Iraqi Commander: Saudi Arabia, Mother of Terrorists’ Ideology

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A commander of the volunteer forces fighting alongside the Iraqi military against the ISIL terrorist group in Iraq said the ideology adopted by the terrorists originates in

Saudi Arabia.

Hadi al-Ameri, who is also head of the Badr Organization, an Iraqi political party, dismissed as worthless the accusations made by certain Persian Gulf Arab states against the popular

forces fighting against ISIL in Iraq, presstv reported.

“We don’t listen to the opponents, who echo the comments of certain Persian Gulf Arab states, because we consider them as a contributor to terrorism,” he said.

“Persian Gulf Arab states have played a great role in supporting terrorism in Syria. They support bloodshed and terrorism in Syria. Some Persian Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia...

are to blame for all the damage that has been inflicted on Syria,” the Iraqi commander said.

“Therefore, we totally disregard those pointing the finger at us,” Ameri said, rejecting criticism that the volunteer forces, also known as the Popular Mobilization Units, are spreading

sectarianism in Iraq.

Iraq has been fighting a campaign of terror launched by the ISIL terrorist group, which launched an offensive in the country in June 2014 and overtook certain areas of Iraq.

The Popular Mobilization Units have been an efficient force, allied with the Iraqi army, in attempts to take back the militant-held areas and degrade the terrorist group of ISIL.

The remarks by Ameri, whose forces fight under the banner of the Popular Mobilization units, came after the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, Thamer al-Sabhan, claimed that sectarianism and

tribalism were the driving force behind the Iraqi government’s arming of volunteer forces.

Reacting to the developments, the popular units called on the central government in Baghdad to expel the Saudi ambassador for instigating sedition and insulting the Iraqi people.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ameri stressed that it is crucial to fight Takfirism on an ideological level alongside the military operations, so as to completely defeat the terrorists.

Ameri also said the US supported terrorists and in Syria, who then penetrated into Iraq and began killing the people. He warned that ISIL is like a dangerous disease that can spread all

over the world if it is not eradicated.

The Iraqi commander praised the unity among all Iraqi groups fighting the terrorists, adding that they won’t stop until the city of Fallujah, in the Western Anbar Province, and other

places in the country are liberated from the terrorists.

In recent weeks, the Iraqi army has been engaged in large-scale military operations to wrest back control of Fallujah. Iraqi forces have freed most areas around the city, but are facing

resistance during their advances.

Humanitarian organizations say ISIL has trapped around 50,000 civilians, including 20,000 children, in Fallujah, threatening those who try to escape with death.

Iraqi Premier Haider al-Abadi says safe corridors have been established to allow civilians to flee.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000288

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Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification Law

June 6, 2016

In December 2014, as one of its last actions before its term ended,  Indonesia’s House of Representatives pushed through a law requiring halal labeling, or Islamic certification of food

products and pharmaceuticals that had been hanging fire for eight years, primarily because of a flock of contentious provisions that critics say will damage the interests of importers of

foreign products and raise questions about fairness at the World Trade Organization.

Although Indonesia is nominally Muslim, with 87 percent of its 250 million people following the faith, it has been a largely tolerant society, with many drinking beer, eating pork and

following other non-Muslim customs. However, as stricter rules have made their way out of the Middle East, Indonesia has increasingly been falling into line. The halal law, demanded by

the Ulema Council, the country’s top religious body, is an example. 

At the time of passage, much of the country’s business community, both domestic and foreign, warned that the law would put in place “one of the most extensive and draconian halal regimes of any country,” according to a note from the European Union, “throwing up unnecessary and costly barriers to the import of food and other products.” Today, a year and a half after passage, the regulations are close to being implemented to govern the process. And sure enough, according to members of the western business community, they are indeed  throwing up unnecessary and costly barriers.

The law stipulates jail time of up to five years and a maximum penalty of Rp 2 billion (US$150,000) for companies that violate the law.

The law particularly hits foreign pharmaceuticals, primarily because the complex supply chain makes it extremely difficult to verify that the products are indeed halal. According to  Islamic law, products must be taken from animals that are alive immediately before evisceration, that Muslims perform the slaughter, all flowing blood be drained completely from the carcass and any modern methods must be considered in line with Islamic principles.

Pharmaceuticals are hardly alone, however. The regulations are to apply to goods that can be “worn, used, utilized, imported and circulated in Indonesia’s territory.”

It also appears the law will inevitably create a giant new bureaucracy. The law mandates the establishment of a new agency, the Halal Product Guarantee Agency, to be supervised by the  Ministry of Religious Affairs. The agency will be responsible for issuing halal certificates to producers. Companies must employ at least three inspectors, operate their own laboratories or use other certified parties that have laboratories to support the halal check for products.

Although the agency will issue the certificates, the verification process will be handed over to a third party called the Halal Inspection Institution, which is to make field checks on the

processing of raw materials inside or outside of the manufacturing facilities. Yet another agency is to be set up to audit the halal certification process.

In Indonesia, the growth of a new agency to govern the import of anything is a license for bureaucrats and their political allies to make illicit money, with religious considerations no

barrier to wrongdoing.  There is no better example than “Beefgate,” which blew up in 2013 when anti-corruption watchdogs raided a Jakarta hotel room and found an aide to the leader

of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party, along with a naked coed and a suitcase containing Rp1 billion, presumably to evade quotas for the import of Australian beef.

And, while the law doesn’t appear in theory to contravene Indonesia’s World Trade Organization obligations since the law applies equally to domestic and imported goods, in fact its impact is expected to be far more negative for imported products. The obligation for halal-based storage and distribution, potentially even including shipping containers, is expected to add substantially to costs.  Halal checking is to include manufacturing, packaging, distribution, sales and serving to make sure that halal products are not mixed with non-halal products during production and distribution. Non-halal products must be labeled “non-halal.”The local business community isn’t much better off, with the Indonesian Food and Beverage Association expressing concern that the law could place unnecessary burdens on small and medium sized enterprises as well. The current cost of a halal certificate from the Ulema is roughly Rp2 million (US$150).

The Ulema isn’t backing away from any of the law’s provisions, no matter the cost, saying it would give comfort to the Muslim community. Last week, at a meeting of parties over

modifying the regulations, the Religious Affairs Department refused all suggestions, quoting the Quran to back the unchanged package.

“We see this as very positive. For Muslims, we can be assured that when we consume certain food and beverage products, they are truly halal,” Hasanuddin AF, chairman of the MUI

Fatwa Commission, told the Jakarta Globe when it was passed. “All this time, halal labeling was not an obligation, it remained voluntary for producers of food and beverages, drugs or

cosmetics to show their good intentions to their [Muslim] consumers. Now the law gives us protection.”

asiasentinel.com/econ-business/indonesia-introduce-draconian-islamic-certification-law/#frameId=appnext_widget&height=64

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Ethiopia's Christians mark Ramadan alongside Muslims

06 June 2016

The sun had already sunk below the blood red horizon in Addis Ababa’s neighborhood of Semien Mazegaja as Jemal Ahmed and his wife Kebedech Aliyu prepared for the Muslim holy  month of Ramadan.

Sitting in their neat one-bedroom home with their year-old twins Ismael and Issac sleeping nearby, Jemal, a Muslim, and his Orthodox Christian wife Kebedech explained how their  different faiths did not prevent them from honoring each other’s religions.

“Thanks God, we lead a happy and cheerful marriage,” Jemal, 31, said. “We are faithful to our beliefs and a marriage that made us one."

Speaking in a soft voice, Jemal explained how he and Kebedech, 29, would fast and pray together during Ramadan. “I also accompany her in every religious event and Lent,” he added.

Their cross-religious marriage is reflected in their children’s names,” Jemal said. “Ismael and Issac are Christian and Muslim names so the kids will appeal to both religions and be what  they would be.“They are already Muslims, according to the teachings of Islam and our agreement.” Turning to his wife, he asked: “Is it not?”

“Hum,” she coughed and burst into merry laughter.

“This is a tradition in Ethiopia,” she said. “They have a religion that has accepted me wholeheartedly.”

In Ethiopia, which is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, Sunni Muslims make up around 34 percent of the estimated population of 97 million.

According to Islamic scholar Ahmed Abdurrahman, Ramadan in Ethiopia has always been marked by interaction between Muslims and Christians.

“Here there is no segregation,” he said. “No Christian- or Muslim-only neighborhoods. We have lived as one single indispensably linked community ever since Islam arrived in Ethiopia.

“Since then our Christian fellowmen join us during iftar [the evening fast-breaking meal] and all-night prayers. We are also together with them in their Lent season and have a good time  with them during holidays.”

worldbulletin.net/news/173514/ethiopias-christians-mark-ramadan-alongside-muslims

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Bid to use zakat to fund defence of Muslims accused in terror cases

June 7, 2016

Zakat in Arabic means that which purifies. Now, a prominent Islamic group would like to use this 2.5 per cent annual tax, which every financially sound Muslim is supposed to distribute  among the needy, as a consolidated fund to help cleanse terror-accused Muslim men of that taint.

The Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, an organisation that has been financing the legal battles of several Muslim men arrested in terror cases across the country, has been urging Muslims, particularly  during Friday sermons at mosques, to contribute to that effort this year. Zakat, one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, is generally collected and distributed during the month of  Ramzan.

“The Quran and Hadees spell out eight ways in which zakat can be used,” said Gulzar Azmi, head of the legal cell of Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind. “One of these ways is to help those who are in  bondage and captivity. In today’s environment so many poor Muslims are getting caught in terror cases and languishing in jails for want of money to fight their cases. We are seeking zakat from the community to help fight the cases of such men. Earlier, we would spend zakat funds on providing medical help or education.”

The organisation last year spent over Rs 2 crore on the legal defence of 410 Muslims embroiled in 52 terror-related cases across India, he said, and added that 108 whose defence it had funded were acquitted of the charges.

n analysis done last year by the Association of Muslim Professionals found that even if 10 per cent of India’s 17.18 crore Muslims pay the bare minimum zakat, the total contribution would  be Rs 7,500 crore. Any Muslim who owns assets worth more than 75 gm gold after deducting his liabilities is expected to pay 2.5 per cent of his total income, assets and savings.

The zakat is given either to a needy person or to an organisation. As such, the amount is never a consolidated one. It is either distributed piecemeal to individuals or goes into madrasas to fund religious education. Numerous groups in India collect zakat and utilise it for community work.

Members of the Jamiat have now started going to Muslim localities and mosques and have been highlighting the need of raising money for the legal defence of Muslim men.

“We have two messages to the community. One is to ensure that they do not fall prey to subversive elements who want to take them away from the path of peace and harmony,” Azmi said. “The other message is that the community needs to be aware that it needs to set up this legal corpus to handle the injustice meted out to Muslim youth.”

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/charity-jamiat-ulama-i-hind-bid-to-use-zakat-to-fund-defence-of-muslims-accused-in-terror-cases-2838452/

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Arab World

Iraqi Commander: Saudi Arabia, Mother of Terrorists’ Ideology

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A commander of the volunteer forces fighting alongside the Iraqi military against the ISIL terrorist group in Iraq said the ideology adopted by the terrorists originates in

Saudi Arabia.

Hadi al-Ameri, who is also head of the Badr Organization, an Iraqi political party, dismissed as worthless the accusations made by certain Persian Gulf Arab states against the popular

forces fighting against ISIL in Iraq, presstv reported.

“We don’t listen to the opponents, who echo the comments of certain Persian Gulf Arab states, because we consider them as a contributor to terrorism,” he said.

“Persian Gulf Arab states have played a great role in supporting terrorism in Syria. They support bloodshed and terrorism in Syria. Some Persian Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia...

are to blame for all the damage that has been inflicted on Syria,” the Iraqi commander said.

“Therefore, we totally disregard those pointing the finger at us,” Ameri said, rejecting criticism that the volunteer forces, also known as the Popular Mobilization Units, are spreading

sectarianism in Iraq.

Iraq has been fighting a campaign of terror launched by the ISIL terrorist group, which launched an offensive in the country in June 2014 and overtook certain areas of Iraq.

The Popular Mobilization Units have been an efficient force, allied with the Iraqi army, in attempts to take back the militant-held areas and degrade the terrorist group of ISIL.

The remarks by Ameri, whose forces fight under the banner of the Popular Mobilization units, came after the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, Thamer al-Sabhan, claimed that sectarianism and

tribalism were the driving force behind the Iraqi government’s arming of volunteer forces.

Reacting to the developments, the popular units called on the central government in Baghdad to expel the Saudi ambassador for instigating sedition and insulting the Iraqi people.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ameri stressed that it is crucial to fight Takfirism on an ideological level alongside the military operations, so as to completely defeat the terrorists.

Ameri also said the US supported terrorists and in Syria, who then penetrated into Iraq and began killing the people. He warned that ISIL is like a dangerous disease that can spread all

over the world if it is not eradicated.

The Iraqi commander praised the unity among all Iraqi groups fighting the terrorists, adding that they won’t stop until the city of Fallujah, in the Western Anbar Province, and other

places in the country are liberated from the terrorists.

In recent weeks, the Iraqi army has been engaged in large-scale military operations to wrest back control of Fallujah. Iraqi forces have freed most areas around the city, but are facing

resistance during their advances.

Humanitarian organizations say ISIL has trapped around 50,000 civilians, including 20,000 children, in Fallujah, threatening those who try to escape with death.

Iraqi Premier Haider al-Abadi says safe corridors have been established to allow civilians to flee.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000288

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ISIL Executes 11 People in Front of Families in Mosul

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi local authorities revealed that ISIL terrorist group had executed eleven people in Mosul while trying to flee from the areas controlled by the organization toward 

South of Mosul.

"ISIL executed 11 people in Mosul, while trying to flee from the areas controlled by the trerrorist group toward the Kurdish Peshmerga forces positons in Makhmur region South of Mosul,” said senior member of Nineveh Provincial Council, Ali Khodier, Iraqi News reported.

“ISIL members executed the eleven people in front of their families in order to provoke fear among them,” Khodier added.

The brutal executions by ISIL came as Iraqi security forces are making advances in their parallel operations against ISIL in Fallujah, Western Iraq and near Northern city of Mosul.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000672

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Rouhani Urges Muslim States to Spearhead Building Violence-Free World

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged the world Muslim leaders to take the lead in creating a world devoid of violence and extremism.

“I call on the heads of the Muslim states to pioneer in making a world free from violence and extremism through consensus and solidarity as well as providing a real image of the Islam to

the people of the world,” President Rouhani said in separate messages sent to the leaders of the Muslim countries on the occasion of the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan.

He went on to say that at the present critical juncture in the Islamic history a harsh and fake image of Islam threatens the historical heritage of Islamic civilization.

"At such a juncture, it is necessary to present a real picture of the merciful Islam, the Islam of peace, amity, and brotherliness to the people of the world and lead the creation of a world

where there is no violence and extremism.

President Rouhani has campaigned for a World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) which was approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2013.

In relevant remarks in September, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed Washington for the ongoing regional crises, and called on the US officials to come to understand the realities instead of blaming others.

“Unfortunately, Washington's regional policies have fueled violence and extremism; the US allies in the region are currently supporting violence and extremism directly and indirectly,”  Zarif said, addressing a joint press conference with his Czech counterpart Lubomir Zaoralek in Tehran.

The Iranian foreign minister reiterated that the US officials and other international actors should avoid making “irrelevant remarks" and stop stirring a more chaotic situation in the  region, and said, "The US officials should understand the realities in the region."

Zarif, meantime, criticized the inhuman treatment of refugees who are fleeing their homelands to different parts of the world to get away from extremism and terrorism, and reminded that "Iran has hosted millions of refugees from its neighboring countries in the last three decades."

He expressed Iran's readiness, as a serious actor and a peace-seeking country in the region, to cooperate with regional states and the international community to fight violence and  extremism.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000378

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Ansarullah Leader: Saudi Side Insincere in Yemen Peace Talks

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement Abdel Malek al-Houthi criticized the Saudi-backed delegates in the ongoing UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait, saying they are  “insincere.”

Houthi said while negotiations are underway to reach a solution and put an end to Yemen’s conflict, Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with its deadly military attacks against the country,  presstv reported.

He lambasted Saudi airstrikes as “unjustifiable,” saying a solution to the Yemeni crisis would have been at hand if the Saudi-backed negotiating team had demonstrated goodwill and  exercised rationality.

The Ansarullah leader blamed the “obstinacy of aggressors and pro-Riyadh mercenaries” for the lack of progress in the negotiations. He also accused them of indiscriminately targeting  women, children and the elderly in Yemen.

Houthi said his Ansarullah delegates have always followed a sound and reasonable approach during the course of the talks with the opposite side.

He also denounced the position of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations special envoy for Yemen, as “biased.”

Ansarullah’s leader pledged that the movement will remain steadfast in the face of Saudi Arabia’s military onslaught against Yemen. Houthi praised Ansarullah members and fighters from Popular Committees as he called for unity among the Yemenis.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015 in a bid to reinstate Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and undermine the Ansarullah movement.

More than 9,600 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured in the aggression.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000422

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'Terrorists Attacking Syria's Aleppo Despite Start of Ramadan'

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian reconciliation center in Syria said in a statement Syrian terrorists are attacking residential areas, government forces and Kurds in Aleppo despite the start of

Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims.

"Despite the start of Ramadan, a holy month for all Muslims, terrorist groups are attacking not only the positions of the government forces and Kurds in Aleppo but residential areas as well

and the number of civilian casualties is growing," said the statement, Sputnik reported.

In the night, the terrorists purportedly fired multiple rocket launchers, artillery, mortars and anti-aircraft weapons at Aleppo, the center said.

"Over 24 hours, the settlement of Handrat, the al-Nairab airport as well as al-Muhafaza, Meydan, Sheikh Maqsood and al-Zahra districts in Aleppo were subjected to mass fire from

multiple rocket launchers and mortars."

The ceasefire in Syria worked out by Russia and the United States took effect on February 27. The cessation of hostilities does not apply to terrorist organizations, such as ISIL and al-

Nusra Front, outlawed in a number of countries worldwide.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000510

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ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Syrian Army Attacks in Deir Ezzur

Tue Jun 07, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian military forces, in a fresh round of attacks, targeted the ISIL strongholds in three different battlefields near the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur and inflicted major losses on the militants.

The Syrian soldiers' anti-ISIL attacks near Panorama in the Southwestern countryside of Deir Ezzur city, claimed the lives of at least 14 militants and destroyed their military vehicles.

The army, meantime, stormed the ISIL positions near al-Tharda mountain and Haweija al-Saker region, which ended in the killing or wounding of several militants and slowed down their military movements.

In relevant developments in the province on Saturday, the ISIL terrorists stationed in the Southwestern parts of Deir Ezzur attempted to advance in districts near al-Tharda mountain and Panorama regions, but were pushed back by the Syrian army.

In addition to stopping the militants' advance in several regions near al-Tharda and Panorama regions, the Syrian army and popular forces also killed scores of terrorists and wounded

others, forcing them to flee the battle ground.

The Syrian air force also hit the ISIL gatherings and vehicles equipped with machineguns which were moving towards the Southeastern parts of Panorama area.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000501

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Syria: Gov't Forces Continue to Advance against ISIL Southwest of al-Tabaqa Airbase

Tue Jun 07, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and National Defense Forces hit the ISIL strongholds hard along a main road towards the strategic airbase of al-Tabaqa West of Raqqa province,

capturing a small but key town in the region.

The ISIL terrorists suffered a heavy death toll and pulled the remaining pockets of its forces out from the town of Bir Zeidan near the town of Bir Ambaj along the road connecting Ithriya

in Northeastern Hama to al-Tabaqa under the heavy attacks of the Syrian government forces.

The ISIL military hardware also destroyed in the attacks.

The Army used different light and heavy weapons in its offensives.

In relevant development near al-Tabaqa on Monday, the Syrian Army and National Defense Forces engaged in a tough battle with the ISIL terrorists in the mountainous regions of Eastern

Hama and Western Raqqa, and captured a key village after over a day of non-stop clashes.

The Syrian government forces, who had reached to Abu Alaj village surroundings yesterday, managed to enter the village and its nearby hills located 10 km to the East of Zakia crossroad

and forced the ISIL to retreat from the area.

The ISIL left behind scores of the dead or wounded members and fled the battlefield.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000304

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Iran Renews Stance on Political Solution to Crisis in Yemen

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian renewed Tehran's stance on the need to find a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.

"The crisis in Yemen has no military solution and the Yemeni people themselves should decide their future," Amir Abdollahian in a meeting with Japanese Foreign Ministry’s director

general for the Middle East affairs in Tehran on Monday night.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister reiterated that the regional conflicts, specially the crises in Syria and Yemen, do not have military solutions, and said, "The only option is to

consolidate peace and stability in those two countries and the region through adopting a rational stance."

In relevant remarks in early May, Amir Abdollahian in a meeting with his German counterpart Markus Ederer in Tehran underlined the need for ceasefire in Yemen and ending the ongoing

humanitarian crisis in the impoverished nation.

"There is a need for the restoration of the ceasefire, removal of the siege and adoption of constructive approaches by all parties in the ongoing talks in Kuwait and with the help of the

UN," Amir Abdollahian said.

Saudi Arabia has been waging a war on Yemen since late March 2015 in a bid to reinstate Mansour Hadi and undermine the Ansarullah movement, which took over state matters after Hadi resigned.

Over 9,400 Yemenis, including 4,000 women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

Yemenis, in return, have been carrying out retaliatory attacks on the pro-Saudi forces deployed in the country as well as targets inside Saudi Arabia.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000259

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Syria: Gov't Forces Closing in on Key Desert Town of Arak

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and popular forces have significantly advanced against the ISIL in Eastern Homs and are now in a very good position only four kilometers away from

the strategic town of Arak, military sources said minutes ago.

"The ISIL is pulling back its forces position by position in the Eastern side of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) under the heavy shelling and attacks of the Syrian government forces,"  the sources said, adding, "The army's attacks are aimed at capturing the last strongholds of the ISIL terrorists in Eastern Homs and paving the way for stronger presence of the government fighters in Raqqa and Deir Ezzur battles."

"The army soldiers have only four kilometers to access the entrances of the town of Arak," the sources said.

In relevant developments in Eastern Homs on Monday, the Syrian Army and National Defense Forces continued to advance against the ISIL along the international highway of Homs-Deir

Ezzur, killing several militants and capturing more territories.

The Syrian government forces drove the ISIL back from al-Kaziyeh farms in Northern Palmyra after advancing from the recently captured hilltops overlooking the grain Silos, which not

only claimed the lives of dozens of the militants but destroyed their military equipment.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000379

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UN: 10,000 Civilians Escape Iraq’s Fallujah in Past 10 Days

Tuesday 7 June 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- About 10,000 people fled the Iraqi city of Fallujah occupied by the ISIL terror group, UN agencies said.

Officials from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program, World Health Organization and International Organization for Migration based their estimate on a weekend visit to the camps, according to the release, Sputnik reported.

The estimate came amid reports that ISIL fighters were shooting people who attempt to flee the city.

"In the past ten days, approximately 10,000 people have come to camps set up by the government to seek safety and services," the agencies stated. "An estimated 50,000 people remain trapped in the city as the military offensive continues."

Fallujah, located some 42 miles West of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, is one of the largest cities in the Anbar province. ISIL terrorist group  has been in control of the city since 2014.

The Iraqi Army and local militias, backed by US airstrikes, launched the offensive to retake Fallujah on May 22.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950318000450

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification Law

June 6, 2016

In December 2014, as one of its last actions before its term ended,  Indonesia’s House of Representatives pushed through a law requiring halal labeling, or Islamic certification of food

products and pharmaceuticals that had been hanging fire for eight years, primarily because of a flock of contentious provisions that critics say will damage the interests of importers of

foreign products and raise questions about fairness at the World Trade Organization.

Although Indonesia is nominally Muslim, with 87 percent of its 250 million people following the faith, it has been a largely tolerant society, with many drinking beer, eating pork and

following other non-Muslim customs. However, as stricter rules have made their way out of the Middle East, Indonesia has increasingly been falling into line. The halal law, demanded by

the Ulema Council, the country’s top religious body, is an example. 

At the time of passage, much of the country’s business community, both domestic and foreign, warned that the law would put in place “one of the most extensive and draconian halal regimes of any country,” according to a note from the European Union, “throwing up unnecessary and costly barriers to the import of food and other products.” Today, a year and a half after passage, the regulations are close to being implemented to govern the process. And sure enough, according to members of the western business community, they are indeed  throwing up unnecessary and costly barriers.

The law stipulates jail time of up to five years and a maximum penalty of Rp 2 billion (US$150,000) for companies that violate the law.

The law particularly hits foreign pharmaceuticals, primarily because the complex supply chain makes it extremely difficult to verify that the products are indeed halal. According to  Islamic law, products must be taken from animals that are alive immediately before evisceration, that Muslims perform the slaughter, all flowing blood be drained completely from the carcass and any modern methods must be considered in line with Islamic principles.

Pharmaceuticals are hardly alone, however. The regulations are to apply to goods that can be “worn, used, utilized, imported and circulated in Indonesia’s territory.”

It also appears the law will inevitably create a giant new bureaucracy. The law mandates the establishment of a new agency, the Halal Product Guarantee Agency, to be supervised by the  Ministry of Religious Affairs. The agency will be responsible for issuing halal certificates to producers. Companies must employ at least three inspectors, operate their own laboratories or use other certified parties that have laboratories to support the halal check for products.

Although the agency will issue the certificates, the verification process will be handed over to a third party called the Halal Inspection Institution, which is to make field checks on the

processing of raw materials inside or outside of the manufacturing facilities. Yet another agency is to be set up to audit the halal certification process.

In Indonesia, the growth of a new agency to govern the import of anything is a license for bureaucrats and their political allies to make illicit money, with religious considerations no

barrier to wrongdoing.  There is no better example than “Beefgate,” which blew up in 2013 when anti-corruption watchdogs raided a Jakarta hotel room and found an aide to the leader

of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party, along with a naked coed and a suitcase containing Rp1 billion, presumably to evade quotas for the import of Australian beef.

And, while the law doesn’t appear in theory to contravene Indonesia’s World Trade Organization obligations since the law applies equally to domestic and imported goods, in fact its impact is expected to be far more negative for imported products. The obligation for halal-based storage and distribution, potentially even including shipping containers, is expected to add substantially to costs.  Halal checking is to include manufacturing, packaging, distribution, sales and serving to make sure that halal products are not mixed with non-halal products during production and distribution. Non-halal products must be labeled “non-halal.”The local business community isn’t much better off, with the Indonesian Food and Beverage Association expressing concern that the law could place unnecessary burdens on small and medium sized enterprises as well. The current cost of a halal certificate from the Ulema is roughly Rp2 million (US$150).

The Ulema isn’t backing away from any of the law’s provisions, no matter the cost, saying it would give comfort to the Muslim community. Last week, at a meeting of parties over

modifying the regulations, the Religious Affairs Department refused all suggestions, quoting the Quran to back the unchanged package.

“We see this as very positive. For Muslims, we can be assured that when we consume certain food and beverage products, they are truly halal,” Hasanuddin AF, chairman of the MUI

Fatwa Commission, told the Jakarta Globe when it was passed. “All this time, halal labeling was not an obligation, it remained voluntary for producers of food and beverages, drugs or

cosmetics to show their good intentions to their [Muslim] consumers. Now the law gives us protection.”

asiasentinel.com/econ-business/indonesia-introduce-draconian-islamic-certification-law/#frameId=appnext_widget&height=64

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Indonesian Islamic sect leaders detained for blasphemy, treason

Tuesday, 07 June, 2016

Three leaders of a banned Indonesian sect have been arrested for blasphemy and treason, police said on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from activists who accuse authorities of

persecuting the men for their beliefs.

The leaders of the controversial Light of Nusantara Movement or Gafatar are facing lengthy jail terms after being detained last month, police detective Agus Andrianto said.

Critics say the crackdown on Gafatar, which has been accused of luring followers to practise a deviant brand of Islam, is the latest example of a minority group coming under attack due  to their beliefs in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

The group’s former leader Mahful Muis Tumanurung, ex-spiritual leader Ahmad Mushaddeq and his son Andri Cahya – who also used to be a senior figure in the group – have been detained, Andrianto said.

Blasphemy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison while treason is punishable by a life sentence.

While the blasphemy accusation relates to their beliefs, the treason claim stems from allegations they were trying to establish an independent state, according to their lawyer Fati Lazira.

He said the accusations against his clients were baseless.

The use of the blasphemy law is particularly controversial, as rights groups have repeatedly pressured the government to repeal what they say is outdated legislation used to punish  people for peacefully expressing their beliefs.

Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said it was the first time the blasphemy laws had been used since President Joko Widodo, known as “Jokowi”, took power  in 2014.

“Human Rights Watch calls on the Jokowi administration to stop the case against the three Gafatar leaders and stop using the blasphemy law against religious minorities in Indonesia,” he said.

Gafatar captured national attention earlier this year as critics attacked their allegedly deviant belief system.

As anger mounted, a mob attacked Gafatar followers on a communal farm on Indonesia’s part of Borneo island, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of them. Soon afterwards, the

government banned the sect and the country’s top Islamic clerical body declared their beliefs heretical.

scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/1968162/indonesian-islamic-sect-leaders-detained-blasphemy-treason

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In Indonesia, 'national defense' training against perceived threats

Tuesday, 07 June, 2016

Yakobus Mebri stepped in front of his classmates at a training center in Indonesia's West Java province and, at the top of his voice, demanded if their hearts burned to defend the nation.

"It does! It does! It does!" the recruits thundered back, breaking into what appeared like a war dance.

Their instructor, Major General Hartind Asrin, then asked them to sit down: the Bela Negara - "defend the nation" - class was starting.

"We have to be more vigilant of potential threats in their infancy," he said as students diligently took notes.

The sprawling training center in Bogor, about 60 km (35 miles) south of the capital, Jakarta, is at the heart of a movement spearheaded by officials from the ministry of defense and

military against perceived threats such as communism, drugs and homosexuality.

The concept of defending the nation in this way has existed since before Indonesia's independence in 1945, officials say, but they now see a need to shore up protection against

"influences" that deviate from the founding principles and norms of the country with the world's largest Muslim population.

Over the last few months, the movement has gained momentum, partly in a reaction to support from President Joko Widodo for an investigation into an anti-communist purge in 1965.

Historians say at least 500,000 people died in the violence that followed when suspected communists killed six generals in an attempted coup against then-president Sukarno.

Successive governments have refused to apologize or accept that death toll, and Widodo's move has outraged many among the military's elite.

"THEY DESERVED TO DIE"

Defense minister and retired general Ryamizard Ryacudu, who told Reuters recently that communists may now be seeking revenge, last week drew a comparison with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 to justify the massacre of half a century ago.

"This was an uprising, they deserved to die," he told a conference of retired officers and nationalist groups from which a reporter said she was ejected because some there accused her of being a lackey of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).

More than 2,000 members of "Bela Negara" and Islamic groups marched from a mosque to the presidential palace in Jakarta on Friday to protest against what they see as a resurgence of  communism, burning hammer-and-sickle flags in the streets.

Many in the march said they feared a revival of the PKI, which was one of the largest communist parties in the world before it was outlawed in 1966.

Like other protesters Reuters asked, 40-year-old Ilyas from Jakarta had never met a communist. But he had seen signs of their return: "Many features of communism have appeared, from the perspective of culture and clothing and other areas," he said.

Under the authoritarian General Suharto who took over from Sukarno, the PKI was dissolved and leftist symbols were banned.

Critics believe the recent whipping-up of a "red scare" - along with condemnations of gays and other "foreign influences" - is an attempt by the army to re-militarize Indonesian society

following its loss of influence in civil and political affairs with Suharto's fall from power in 1998.

JOGGING, SONGS AND LECTURES

"Bela Negara" official Major General Asrin told Reuters the program was necessary to strengthen nationalistic values and said about 1.8 million people had signed up for it.

Officials aim to have almost 900 training centers across the country by early 2018, with lesson materials and funding being provided by the government and trainers coming from the

military or police, Asrin said.

At the training center, a typical day starts at 5 a.m. with a jog, songs and marches, followed by lectures and practical sessions. Officials insist the aim is to make people better citizens,  not soldiers, though Reuters saw some participants learning how to assemble a gun.

The spirit of "Bela Negara" can be implemented in various forms, such as reporting a misbehaving peer to the authorities, said Gianto, one of 10 trainers at the center, who teaches a session on leadership skills.

Gianto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said he tried to instill a "one for all, all for one" mindset in his students and said a practical example of this would be punishing an  entire group of students for the mistake of an individual.

The program stemmed from the concerns of the authorities that some trends in society were not in line with nationalistic values, said political analyst Djayadi Hanan.

"But it became controversial because the military and the defense ministry are involved in this program, prompting suspicion that this is militarization," he said.

For "Bela Negara" student Mebri, however, it will cultivate in Indonesians a love for their country from a young age.

"This course helps me to shape my character and personality, so I'll become a strong, determined and honest person who is always ready to follow the orders of my superiors," he said.

reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-security-idUSKCN0YT0MB

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Rohingya: A challenge for ASEAN society

Tue, June 7 2016

The plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar has attracted the world’s attention for years. In May 2015, the Rohingya refugee crisis grabbed international headlines when tens of  thousands of Rohingya fled from Myanmar’s state-sponsored persecution in overcrowded boats heading toward Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Myanmar’s government views the Rohingya as illegal citizens and describes them as immigrants from Bangladesh, despite the group having inhabited Rakhine state since the 16th century. Government policies bar them from praying, obtaining education or getting married. Many children have witnessed their parents killed by the junta regime, as if the Rohingya people were delinquent evildoers.

The Rohingya also lack religious freedom. The problem is compounded by the attitude of many of the country’s monks, who approve of enmity against the Rohingya, as the majority of  Myanmar’s population is Buddhist. Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk and the leader of the anti-Muslim movement in Myanmar, is known for his controversial idea of sending the Rohingya  people to a third country.

According to the UNHCR Global Trends Forced Displacement in 2014, the number of individuals forced to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere averages 42,500 individuals per day.

In 2015, a report by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights ( APHR ), an organization of members of parliament from several ASEAN countries, stated that infraction of human rights  against Rohingya had resulted in a regional human trafficking epidemic. The group added that there had been further abuses against the Rohingya people upon their arrival in other  Southeast Asian countries.

A number of non-governmental organizations in Indonesia have tried to resolve this humanitarian crisis in Myanmar by pushing ASEAN. Humanitarian activists have begged ASEAN to take a firm stance against Myanmar and urge Myanmar’s government to restore the citizenship and full rights of the Rohingya people.

Unfortunately, ASEAN itself has failed to adequately respond to the crisis, and the suffering of the Rohingya endures.

The role of ASEAN society

The international community previously looked to Aung San Suu Kyi to solve these crises, as a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her struggle for democracy. Thus far, however, the Lady has

remained silent on the issue.

Penny Green, a law professor at the University of London and director of the State Crime Initiative, said, "In a genocide, silence is complicity, and so it is with Aung San Suu Kyi."

At this point, humanitarian activists must speak up regardless of the consequences. This situation is so critical that ASEAN society can no longer stand by watching. The longer we choose to be silent, the greater the loss to our collective humanity.

In the midst of silence, an international summit initiated by the South East Asia Humanitarian Committee ( SEAHUM ) deserves our utmost appraisal.

SEAHUM is a humanitarian organization network based in Southeast Asia, aiming to encourage countries to cooperate in humanitarian activities in the ASEAN region. The group initiated an

international summit on 18-19 May ago in Bogor, West Java, as a bridge for stakeholders who have contributed to this issue.

The summit discussed a number of issues related to the Rohingya, such as understanding the opportunities and challenges for the Rohingya after the general election in Myanmar, ASEAN

countries’ role in helping the Rohingya and how to create good cooperation with all stakeholders.

SEAHUM also encouraged the Indonesian government and ASEAN to commit support for the protection of the human rights of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.

During the summit, Parni Hadi, a founder of Dompet Dhuafa, said Indonesia should launch a measure of total diplomacy, which he called “civic diplomacy”. This diplomacy, which

involves the people instead of depending on governments, is similar to public diplomacy.

According to Parni, civic diplomacy involves “people to people” contact through all means, involving social media and conventional media ( press diplomacy ) with particular emphases

on social ( humanitarian ) and concrete cultural activities.

The UN General Assembly’s human rights committee unanimously passed a resolution calling for Myanmar to grant citizenship to the Muslim minority Rohingya people. Committee also

called on the Buddhist nation to contain violence against the Rohingya and other Muslims.

The international community and ASEAN, in particular, have an important role in mitigating human crises in Myanmar as mentioned before. Humanitarian advocacy is one of the most

effective ways to end violence in Rakhine state.

As the most influential organization in South Asia, ASEAN must dare to converse and act when infractions occur – and so must society.

thejakartapost.com/academia/2016/06/07/rohingya-a-challenge-for-asean-society.html

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Africa

Ethiopia's Christians mark Ramadan alongside Muslims

06 June 2016

The sun had already sunk below the blood red horizon in Addis Ababa’s neighborhood of Semien Mazegaja as Jemal Ahmed and his wife Kebedech Aliyu prepared for the Muslim holy  month of Ramadan.

Sitting in their neat one-bedroom home with their year-old twins Ismael and Issac sleeping nearby, Jemal, a Muslim, and his Orthodox Christian wife Kebedech explained how their  different faiths did not prevent them from honoring each other’s religions.

“Thanks God, we lead a happy and cheerful marriage,” Jemal, 31, said. “We are faithful to our beliefs and a marriage that made us one."

Speaking in a soft voice, Jemal explained how he and Kebedech, 29, would fast and pray together during Ramadan. “I also accompany her in every religious event and Lent,” he added.

Their cross-religious marriage is reflected in their children’s names,” Jemal said. “Ismael and Issac are Christian and Muslim names so the kids will appeal to both religions and be what  they would be.“They are already Muslims, according to the teachings of Islam and our agreement.” Turning to his wife, he asked: “Is it not?”

“Hum,” she coughed and burst into merry laughter.

“This is a tradition in Ethiopia,” she said. “They have a religion that has accepted me wholeheartedly.”

In Ethiopia, which is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, Sunni Muslims make up around 34 percent of the estimated population of 97 million.

According to Islamic scholar Ahmed Abdurrahman, Ramadan in Ethiopia has always been marked by interaction between Muslims and Christians.

“Here there is no segregation,” he said. “No Christian- or Muslim-only neighborhoods. We have lived as one single indispensably linked community ever since Islam arrived in Ethiopia.

“Since then our Christian fellowmen join us during iftar [the evening fast-breaking meal] and all-night prayers. We are also together with them in their Lent season and have a good time  with them during holidays.”

worldbulletin.net/news/173514/ethiopias-christians-mark-ramadan-alongside-muslims

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South Africa Muslims fear for future of Ramadan traditions

07.06.2016

Monday’s sunset formed silhouettes of local Muslims congregating anxiously on Cape Town’s shores to glimpse the new moon which would signal the start of Ramadan in South Africa.

As the gathering’s silence grew with the winter chill, the pronouncement that Ramadan was starting was made by Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, chief arbitrator of the Crescent Observer

Society.

This gathering is a tradition dating back to the 17th century after Muslims from the Indonesian archipelago were brought in as slaves by the Dutch. It is a tradition that is in danger of  becoming a memory of what communities in South Africa once did to commemorate their beloved Ramadan.

Hendricks, speaking to Anadolu Agency, says: “It was only 60 years ago that we formally instituted an organization to manage the moon sighting, and it is sad to see that today we find a decreasing number attending it.

“Our forefathers had to sight the moon in secret, as Muslims were not initially allowed to publicly practice their religion.”

Agmat Davids has been attending Ramadan moon sightings since the age of 11. For him, the problem extends further than the decreased attendance. The traditions of Ramadan he  treasures and holds dear are being neglected or forgotten.

Davids, now 63, reflects upon how the traditions forming bonds between diverse ethnic populations are fading as younger generations displace their elders.

“I have seen the Ramadan of my grandparents and parents,” he said. “It is not the same as it was. There is a bridge broken between my generation and the ones that now follow.”

In 1960, the oppressive apartheid government introduced the Group Areas Act, which confined certain ethnic groups to specific localities. This led to clustered Muslim areas, promoting tradition as part of everyday life.

Davids says: “Ramadan was not a meal kept in one house but a meal [where] neighbors walked in and smiled over the table covered in food. Nowadays, this is considered strange and  rude.”

The loss of this tradition has closed off houses from their community. But in some areas the spirit of exchanging small meals with neighbors and friends still lingers.

“I go next door with pies in Ramadan. I get a lollipop and a plate of snacks to take home,” seven-year-old Hafeeza Moosa, says: “It lets me feel part of my neighbor’s house.”

Her father, Farouk, says that she is the only child in their area who still does this.

“Fifteen years ago the streets in Ramadan were full of neighbors’ children. I am trying to keep alive this tradition that brings social cohesion. I walked to the neighbors with food when I was a child,” he says.

Now little children are rarely seen energetically filling the streets, delivering food to neighbors; teenagers feel too embarrassed to knock on doors to pass on sweet treats or savory  meals.

Abdul Raaziq Ismail, 14, says: “I am not a bad Muslim if I don’t go. This is something little children can do. I can do other stuff. They [neighbors] have enough food already.”

The sentiments from Davids and Moosa are in line with research by Abdulkader Tayob, an Islamic studies professor at the University of Cape Town.

Tayob states that previous set areas, which were bound by law, are now porous, allowing for young newlyweds to move to areas that do not have an established Islamic culture.

This separates youths from their elders, who are the main community transmitters of traditions. These youths now determine the priority of those traditions practiced in their childhood to the importance of their adult lives.

“When I moved from home there was the gap in the religious spirit that I experienced as a child in Ramadan. It is not here, because this is not a Muslim community. This is an area I live  in for career convenience,” said Davids’ daughter Shafeeka, 22.

Tayob says that a particular stream of perceived Western modernization has individualized spirituality among young people, rather than making it community-based.

“It’s challenging to find that the youth consider Ramadan traditions to be something separate from themselves. So there’s this lack of effort to do it and instill it in their children,” says  Hendricks.

According to Tayob, the traditions in the holy month are more than religious culture being expressed but value practices that strengthened relations between Muslims.

Youth on traditions

Suleiman Bham, 28, has moved between cities in South Africa and agrees that Ramadan’s traditions are not being maintained properly by young people.

“Some of the special nights are catered with food after late evening Ramadan prayers at mosques. We would go there to be with our Muslim communities. Now, it has become events for people to attend and socialize over food. It is empty of that Ramadan spirit,” he complains.

The religious experiences of these traditions are still yearned by some youths, even though it is being neglected.

Kashiefa Solomons, a mother of three teenagers, says: “If I try to motivate them to go sight the moon or go next door with food or to help me make badam milk, there are always  excuses. They have no time for traditions but time for their phones.”

Hope for the future

Muslim refugees and expats that have settled in South Africa are upholding these traditions because of their universal values and similar practices in their home country.

Sudanese refugee Isa Salih says: “I don’t have much here but Ramadan is nicer when I share with my South African brothers in Islam. It’s like we are connected in our hearts.”

A Turkish mosque that opened four years ago in Johannesburg has revitalized the spirit of Ramadan for some locals.

“I have been to the Turkish-built mosque in Johannesburg in Ramadan and the environment was very welcoming. It was a community that let my spirit feel again what I thought was lost,” Bham said.

Although attendance has fallen for the moon sighting, Hendriks feels that this is only temporary.

“The relevance is there to sustain the Crescent Observer Society, because there is a formal institution to maintain it. These traditions of our beloved month need a solid platform to build on,” he said.

Hendricks recommends that the traditions should either be formalized or institutionalized in order to retain not only the spirit of Ramadan but heritage as well.

Davids thinks the solution is to reconnect the youth to the nostalgia of Ramadan’s traditions. He feels that social media should be used to maintain and promote traditions.

Even though he admits that he does not know how to use Facebook and other social media, he knows that his children are informed about it and should use it to compliment the  traditions of old.

Unless South African Muslims find a way to preserve their heritage, Ramadan traditions that instilled community values and strengthened societal bonds will be left to wither in the history of their elders.

aa.com.tr/en/africa/south-africa-muslims-fear-for-future-of-ramadan-traditions/585451

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No need to panic over terror alerts: Nhleko

06 June 2016

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko on Tuesday morning said there is no need to panic about a warning that there was an imminent terror attack by Islamic extremists in South Africa’s  major cities.

On Saturday‚ the United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa informed its citizens that its government had received information that terrorist groups were planning to carry out  attacks against places where US citizens congregate in South Africa‚ such as upscale shopping areas and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadan‚” the warning read.

Nhleko said the country’s intelligence operatives were working together to devise measures to deal with the threats.

“There is no reason why we should start to panic because of the work we are doing to follow through on those matters‚” Nhleko told Radio 702 on Tuesday morning.

Nhleko said the country’s intelligence operatives were working together to devise measures to deal with the threats.

He said that some shopping malls had tightened security measures but police would only be involved as part of a coordinated efforts with mall management.

“If a centre management decides to upgrade its security‚ it is their right to do so‚” Nhleko said.

Intelligence Minister David Mahlobo on Monday also noted the alert and said there was no need to panic.

“The security services of the country have liaised with the Americans on the concerns they have and these engagements will continue as part of the ongoing work‚” Mahlobo said in a

statement.

Mahlobo said it was the responsibility of the South African security forces to ensure that all people within South Africa were safe.

“We remain a strong and stable democratic country and there is no immediate danger posed by the alert‚” Mahlobo said.

timeslive.co.za/local/2016/06/07/No-need-to-panic-over-terror-alerts-Nhleko

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Terror warnings: Is South Africa really an Islamic State target?

06 JUN 2016

On Saturday, in a brief yet ominous message, the United States issued a warning to Americans in South Africa. Here it is, in full:

“The US Diplomatic Mission to South Africa informs US citizens that the US Government has received information that terrorist groups are planning to carry out near-term attacks against

places where US citizens congregate in South Africa, such as upscale shopping areas and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic

State of Iraq and the Levant’s public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadaan.”

As if to emphasise the threat, the UK has also updated its travel advice for citizens, warning: “There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places

visited by foreigners such as shopping areas in Johannesburg and Cape Town.” The UK warning came a week before the US warning.

A terror attack? In Joburg or Cape Town? The very idea may seem absurd. South Africa has plenty of problems, but, so far at least, violent Islamist extremism has not been among them.

The vague nature of the warnings issued doesn’t make things any clearer. While it is the legal duty of the US Embassy to warn its citizens about any impending threats, the lack of detail

makes it hard to assess just how credible the threat really is. Only the allusion to the Islamic State in the text of the statement suggests who might be responsible. Meanwhile, the

reference to the group’s “public call” to implement attacks during Ramadaan makes it hard to tell whether the threat is particular to South Africa, or global in nature.

This isn’t the first such warning issued by the US Embassy in South Africa. In September 2015, a similarly vague statement was issued. It should also be noted that, ever since the attack on

the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, US missions have been playing it safe by releasing public warnings at the merest suggestion of a threat.

Sources contacted by the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) suggest that there is no specific intelligence suggesting an attack in South Africa during Ramadaan.

Vulnerabilities

This does not mean, however, that South Africans can ignore the threat. Irrespective of the credibility or otherwise of these particular warnings, South Africa is becoming increasingly

vulnerable to terrorism on its soil.

TRAC has verified reports of Al-Shabaab supporters in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Roshnee, a suburb of Vereeniging; sympathisers of the Al Qaeda-aligned Jahbaht al-Nusra in Port  Elizabeth; and continuous recruitment efforts by the Islamic State in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Newcastle and Port Elizabeth.

In all these cases, active supporters have primarily been involved in recruitment and financial supply lines, rather than terrorist activity.

The relationship between Islamist militant groups and South African supporters is evolving, however. In particular, Islamic State recruitment is becoming less focused on “self- radicalisation” through digital engagement, prioritising face to face recruitment instead. Though there is as yet no suggestion of organised cells in South Africa engaged in planning terror attacks, this evolution mirrors the trend in places like Paris and Brussels where the group started by mobilising individuals before forming recruitment cells. It was these cells which eventually gained access to the weapons and explosives which allowed them to carry out high-profile attacks.

Support for the Islamic State in South Africa is evident in the estimated 20 to 50 people, including families, from South Africa that have moved to the group’s self-declared Caliphate in Iraq and Syria. In a document accessed by TRAC, a group of South Africans in the Caliphate are described as coming “from multiple educational backgrounds, from religious scholars to  workers”.

Reasons for South Africans moving to the Caliphate differ from North Americans or Europeans. South Africans are not driven by resentment against the South African state or government;

their motivation usually revolves around individuals seeking to prove themselves by joining the group’s calls for Jihad, or holy war.

This may change, however, thanks to the South African government’s Middle East policy, which prioritises relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia – both nations currently involved in the  fight against the Islamic State.

OpportunitiesIf Islamist extremist groups ever do decide to target South Africa, the nation is unprepared to protect itself.

Shopping malls and tourist destinations are areas that are particularly prone to terror attacks. In South Africa, security is usually outsourced to private security companies, primarily aimed

at preventing petty crimes such as theft. A lack in training, even basic, in how to respond to a terror attack, of identifying suspicious behaviour by suicide bombers aggravated by  questionable private screening and vetting processes, means that the opportunity for attacks increases.

South Africa also has a history of porous borders and ease of access to passports, which has previously been exploited by individuals with known links to terror groups. One example is the  so-called “white widow”, Samantha Lewthwaite, who used a South African passport under the name Natalie Faye Webb that gave her access to South Africa. Another is the senior al- Qaeda figure Fazul Abdullah Mohamed, who had a South African passport on him when he was killed in Mogadishu in 2011.

So far, terrorist groups have preferred to use South Africa as a kind of “cooling off” zone; a country whose lax laws and banking regulations allow terrorist groups to raise funds and  recruit with relative ease. Although vague on detail, the US and UK warnings highlight the risk that this could change. Should a group like the Islamic State wish to stage a major attack in  South Africa, the country is woefully unprepared to prevent it. It’s important to acknowledge and address these vulnerabilities now – before it is too late.

dailymaverick.co.za/article/2016-06-06-terror-warnings-is-south-africa-really-an-islamic-state-target/#.V1aWDDV97IU

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India

Bid to use zakat to fund defence of Muslims accused in terror cases

June 7, 2016

Zakat in Arabic means that which purifies. Now, a prominent Islamic group would like to use this 2.5 per cent annual tax, which every financially sound Muslim is supposed to distribute  among the needy, as a consolidated fund to help cleanse terror-accused Muslim men of that taint.

The Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, an organisation that has been financing the legal battles of several Muslim men arrested in terror cases across the country, has been urging Muslims, particularly  during Friday sermons at mosques, to contribute to that effort this year. Zakat, one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, is generally collected and distributed during the month of  Ramzan.

“The Quran and Hadees spell out eight ways in which zakat can be used,” said Gulzar Azmi, head of the legal cell of Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind. “One of these ways is to help those who are in  bondage and captivity. In today’s environment so many poor Muslims are getting caught in terror cases and languishing in jails for want of money to fight their cases. We are seeking zakat from the community to help fight the cases of such men. Earlier, we would spend zakat funds on providing medical help or education.”

The organisation last year spent over Rs 2 crore on the legal defence of 410 Muslims embroiled in 52 terror-related cases across India, he said, and added that 108 whose defence it had funded were acquitted of the charges.

n analysis done last year by the Association of Muslim Professionals found that even if 10 per cent of India’s 17.18 crore Muslims pay the bare minimum zakat, the total contribution would  be Rs 7,500 crore. Any Muslim who owns assets worth more than 75 gm gold after deducting his liabilities is expected to pay 2.5 per cent of his total income, assets and savings.

The zakat is given either to a needy person or to an organisation. As such, the amount is never a consolidated one. It is either distributed piecemeal to individuals or goes into madrasas to fund religious education. Numerous groups in India collect zakat and utilise it for community work.

Members of the Jamiat have now started going to Muslim localities and mosques and have been highlighting the need of raising money for the legal defence of Muslim men.

“We have two messages to the community. One is to ensure that they do not fall prey to subversive elements who want to take them away from the path of peace and harmony,” Azmi said. “The other message is that the community needs to be aware that it needs to set up this legal corpus to handle the injustice meted out to Muslim youth.”

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/charity-jamiat-ulama-i-hind-bid-to-use-zakat-to-fund-defence-of-muslims-accused-in-terror-cases-2838452/

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Islam means peace: Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

June 7, 2016

Minneapolis: “Islam means peace”, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has said as he decried the backlash against Muslims and made a strong call to nations to welcome refugees, particularly

children, and not generalise them based on the actions of a few who have “tarnished” the image of Islam.

“Islam means peace. There are hundreds of (references) in the Holy Quran where peace, justice, freedom and equality are taught,” Satyarthi said at the opening of the 2016 Nobel Peace

Prize Forum held under the auspices of the Norwegian Nobel Institute here yesterday.

Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani girls rights activist Malala Yousafzai, was asked by a young boy from Cyprus during a live global Q&A about the backlash

against Muslims and rhetoric used against them by some politicians as well as the subsequent resentment against refugees amid fears that terrorists could hide among the millions fleeing

conflict in countries like Syria and Iraq and seeking asylum in the western world.

Satyarthi, 62, accompanied at the forum by his wife Sumedha, said it was unfortunate that a “handful of people” were “manipulating” Islam and bringing a “bad name” to the religion for

their selfish “political” ends and sometimes “emotional” reasons when Muslims across the world have been ambassadors of humanity and peace and people from Muslim countries have  shown courage to speak out the truth.

“A handful of people are manipulating the religion…and even creating deep fundamentalism, brainwashing young people. We all know how ISIS and all these terror groups are functioning

under the garb and name of Islam,” he said.

“We oppose that kind of tendency and practice that is manipulating Islam,” he added.

With children being the worst sufferers in the unprecedented refugee crisis engulfing the world, the Nobel laureate stressed that “no child wants to be a refugee” and no child has ever been responsible for war, insurgency or conflict.

“But children are the worst victims. They are forced to be refugees. We should not victimise them further,” he said making a strong call to nations and its citizens to welcome refugees

and not generalise them based on the actions of a few who have “tarnished” the image of Islam.

“I categorically say that every single door, every single border, every single treasury and every single heart should be open for refugee children because all children are our children,

irrespective of religion, faith and countries,” he said to a round of applause from the audience.

When asked by a 15-year old girl in the audience what he would do if he were the Prime Minister of India, Satyarthi said with a laugh that he “never thought about it” and would not

take oath as Prime Minister “because I strongly feel that the power of ordinary people and the moral power of an ordinary person is million times more than any prime minister or any

politician in the world.”

siasat.com/news/islam-means-peace-nobel-laureate-kailash-satyarthi-967964/

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PM Modi greets Muslims on beginning of Ramzan

June 7, 2016

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today greeted the Muslim community on the beginning of Ramzan and hoped the holy month deepens the bond of brotherhood and the spirit of harmony in society

“As the holy month of Ramzan commences, I convey my greetings to the Muslim community,” he said in an official statement.

“May Ramzan deepen the bond of brotherhood and the spirit of harmony in our society”, he said.The Prime Minister is currently in the US as part of his five-nation tour.

siasat.com/news/pm-modi-greets-muslims-beginning-ramzan-968065/

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Bail pleas of four accused in Malegaon 2006 blast case rejected

June 7, 2016

Mumbai: A special court here on on Monday rejected the bail applications of four accused in the Malegaon 2006 serial bomb blasts case.

The four – Manor Singh, Rajendra Chaudhary, Dhan Singh and Lokesh Sharma – had filed the bail plea after eight Muslims accused in the same case were discharged and all the charges  against them dropped in April.

Special NIA-MCOCA court Judge V. V. Patil rejected the bail pleas of the four who claimed that there was no evidence against them and they had been falsely implicated in the case.

Their lawyers argued that many of the things the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it had recovered from them are easily available in the market.

Opposing the bail pleas, the prosecution rejected the defence arguments and said there was sufficient evidence available against them which was of a serious nature.

“At this stage, it appears that prima facie the evidence collected by NIA shows that the accused, along with absconding accused, prepared bombs and planted them, and in the explosion more than 31 people died and another 312 innocent people were injured,” the judge noted.

Bearing in mind the nature of the crime and the charges levelled against them, the accused did not deserve bail, he added.

Two powerful bombs which were placed on bicycles exploded near the Hamidia Mosque in Malegaon on September 8, 2006 after the Friday afternoon prayers on the occasion of the

solemn ‘Shab-E-Barat’ when special prayers are offered for the departed souls.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had probed the case first and arrested nine Muslim youth, some of whom were allegedly linked to the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India.

They were Noor-ul Huda Samsudha, Raees Ahmed Rajabali Mansuri, Salman Farsi Abdul Latif Aimi, Farogh Iqbal Ahmed Magdumi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali Alam, Asif Bashir Khan, M. Zahid

Abdul Majid Ansari and Abrar Ahmed Ghulam Ahmed and had all spent minimum five years in jail after they were arrested, said advocate Shahid Nadeem Ansari who represented some of

the accused.

While one accused – Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah – died during the pendency of the trial, four others – including a Pakistani national – were declared as absconders, Ansari said.

The NI) stepped into the picture after Swami Aseemananda confessed in another case about the alleged involvement of Hindu right-wing groups in the Malegaon 2006 blast case.

Last April, the NIA informed the Special Designated Court that it had no evidences against the nine Muslim accused and thereafter the charges against them were dropped by the court.

Subseqeuntly, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra (Arshad Madni group) demanded action against officials of the state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) for “falsely implicating” innocent Muslim

youths in various terror cases.

Malegaon, a sensitive Muslim-dominated town around 300 km northeast of Mumbai, was rocked by another blast on September 29, 2008, allegedly masterminded by certain Hindu

fundamentalist groups.

siasat.com/news/bail-pleas-four-accused-malegaon-2006-blast-case-rejected-967988/

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Former SP minister Quereshi my political mentor: Pro-IS Mufti Abdul Sami Qasmi

June 7, 2016

economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52628161.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

NEW DELHI: Mufti Abdul Sami Qasmi , the fiery cleric arrested for being part of pan India Islamic State (IS) module has identified a former Samajwadi Party (SP) minister, Haji Yaqoob  Quereshi as his political mentor on whose request he also fought polls during the 2007 UP assembly elections.

Qasmi was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in February this year for giving provocative speeches in support of Abu Bark-al Baghdadi led caliphate.

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/former-sp-minister-quereshi-my-political-mentor-pro-is-mufti-abdul-sami-qasmi/articleshow/52628161.cms

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Europe

Islamic State Members From the West Seek Help Getting Home

June 6, 2016

Disenchanted Islamic State members recruited from the West have increasingly been contacting their governments and asking for help in getting home, according to diplomats and a Syrian network that aids defectors.

Some have turned up at diplomatic missions in Turkey, and others have sent furtive messages to their governments seeking assistance in escaping from territory the extremist group  controls in neighboring Syria, according to the diplomats, who represent six Western missions in Turkey.

The calls for help from Westerners come as Islamic State loses ground and faces fresh assaults on its Raqqa stronghold and on Fallujah, Iraq, where it has ruled for more than two years.

Some Westerners seeking to escape from Islamic State are fighters, and others are people who were enticed to move to the group’s so-called caliphate and declared their loyalty, and  now find themselves in dire straits, the diplomats said.

“Their troops are now starting to leave. There are a lot of French people who are coming back,” France’s national intelligence coordinator, Didier le Bret, said at a recent security  conference. “They’ve got a feeling it’s not going that well.” He said citizens of other European countries are also returning.

The Western diplomats said about 150 citizens from just their six countries have sought help to flee or did so on their own since the departures began to ramp up in the fall. The overall  number of Westerners who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and then returned home isn’t known, but Western officials have said several hundred fighters have come back to Europe.

The requests to return pose challenges for Western countries. Calls for help can come in the form of hushed phone calls or scraps of paper smuggled out of Syria, the diplomats said. But  people making the requests need to get themselves to Turkey, which can be a harrowing journey.

Once Westerners make it there, officials in Turkey and in their home countries then try to assess whether the defectors pose a threat—a risk driven home by deadly attacks in Paris and  Brussels linked to Islamic State.

In a sign of the persistent threat from the group, German officials said on Thursday that they had arrested three Islamic State members from Syria—including at least one who had arrived  as a refugee—on suspicion of plotting an attack.

Westerners who make it to Turkey are detained and interrogated by Turkish intelligence for at least a month before they are handed over to their embassies, diplomats said.

Then intelligence officials from their home countries interview defectors in Turkey—and in many cases have conflicting priorities. Agencies that focus on foreign intelligence want  information about Raqqa, said a European diplomat in Istanbul, while agencies concerned with domestic affairs want help uncovering any extremist networks back home.

“Internal intelligence tends to win out because everyone is worried about the next Paris,” the diplomat said.

Diplomats said they feel torn between the need to provide consular services to citizens who are trying to flee Islamic State and concerns over the likelihood that many of them fought  with the extremist group.

“They often say they were inside [Syria] giving humanitarian aid, and we think they were fighting. But we can’t say. We weren’t there. And they go free,” a European consular officer in Istanbul said.

Defections from Islamic State rose from a trickle to a steady stream in recent months as military operations against the group intensified, according to diplomats, Syrians who have fled and families trying to help relatives who joined the group and now want to escape.

A major escape route is under threat after Islamic State launched a multipronged assault recently on Azaz, a town in northern Syria controlled by antigovernment rebels where aid workers have helped defectors contact embassies in Turkey, diplomats said.

Unless a defector’s embassy is contacted, Turkish border officials will likely deny entry and the embassy will never know, a diplomat in Istanbul said. “They’ll be lost inside Syria,” the  diplomat said.

Westerners who joined Islamic State once enjoyed not only power and social status but also free food, housing and even cars. But that gave way to cowering in basements during air  raids, dwindling food stocks and scant medical care, according to Syrians who have fled and diplomats who debriefed defectors.

“Father, help me,” a teenager from Europe said about six months ago in a text message to her father. “I want to get out. But I now have a small child.”

The father, who declined to be identified, said he had previously made several attempts to persuade his daughter to return from Raqqa after she left to join Islamic State in late 2013.

Speaking by phone and Facebook messenger from his home in Scandinavia, the father said he asked his government for help but that there is little authorities can do. She would first  have to get to Turkey, according to government officials of her home country who corroborated the father’s story.

She remains in Raqqa, too scared to flee for fear of being caught, according to her father.

The ambassador for one European country said disheveled citizens are coming either to its embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara or its consulate in Istanbul about once a week and  asking to replace passports they claim were stolen. Islamic State confiscates passports of new recruits.

A former rebel who goes by the name Abu Shuja and who heads a network that helps defectors estimates that his group has helped about a hundred of them reach Turkey.

He said Islamic State members became particularly disenchanted when they saw the militants extorting fellow Muslims after airstrikes targeted the group’s economic infrastructure. “It’s  not like the propaganda Islamic State puts out,” he said.

Departures are believed to be contributing to wider Islamic State losses.

There are about 25,000 Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq—about 10,000 fewer than a year ago—due to attrition and battlefield deaths, Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism, estimated recently. At the peak, there were some 20,000 foreign fighters, including an estimated 4,500 from the West.

Islamic State militants have threatened to execute people who try to escape and paraded the severed heads of would-be defectors as a warning, according to Syrians who have fled. The  militants have also planted mines and erected checkpoints around Raqqa that act as further deterrents.

The journey out of the group’s territory can be long and dangerous. A young Syrian described how he recently escaped the city in a month-long journey to a Turkish border town 100  miles away. The man, who is 27, said he was under pressure from Islamic State to join the group but instead made his way toward the border by minibus and on foot.

The man passed through checkpoints by claiming he needed to see a sick relative in the next town. At the end of the odyssey, he made a frenzied dash through a muddied field to  freedom.

wsj.com/articles/islamic-state-members-from-the-west-seek-help-getting-home-1465244878

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European Union Seeks U.N. Approval to Intercept Libya-Bound Arms

JUNE 6, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — A year after it received the United Nations Security Council’s approval to try to stop human smuggling out of Libya, Europe is seeking the Council’s authorization to  intercept illegal arms going into Libya.

Speaking to the Council on Monday, the European Union’s top foreign policy official, Federica Mogherini, urged members to authorize European naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea  “to enforce the U.N. arms embargo on the high seas, off the coast of Libya.”

That arms embargo, often violated, has been in place since 2011, during the revolt against Libya’s longtime ruler, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

The new European request would allow the existing naval effort, known as Operation Sophia, to expand its mandate in international waters, from intercepting migrant boats leaving  Libyan territory to intercepting weapons heading in.

Western diplomats on the Council have said they expect the measure to come up for a vote in mid-June.

“I can only hope that this Council will once again do the right thing,” Ms. Mogherini said, “and help us make the Mediterranean a safer place for everyone.”

It is a politically delicate request, complicated by disagreement among Libya’s rival factions on who rules the country. Enforcing the arms embargo would bolster the United Nations- backed government of Prime Minister Fayez Serraj. The arms that cross the Mediterranean often end up in the hands of militias beyond the prime minister’s control that rule eastern  Libya, according to the United Nations.

Martin Kobler, the United Nations mediator for Libya, told the Council on Monday afternoon that the number of weapons floating around in Libya was more than three times its population of six million. “These weapons do not fall from the sky, but come in increasingly through illegal shipments by sea and by land,” he said. “These shipments must end if there is to be any serious hope of bringing peace to Libya.”

The Libyan legislature has yet to give its approval to Mr. Serraj’s administration, and the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly I. Churkin, hinted at the difficulties on his way into Council chambers Monday morning. Mr. Churkin said he had “concerns” about how other groups in Libya would react to a Council measure.

Further complicating matters, Mr. Serraj’s government is expected to ask the Council separately to allow exemptions to the arms embargo to combat the Islamic State extremist group. The government has sought broad exemptions in the past and been denied.

But at a meeting of Western and Middle Eastern envoys in May in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States was prepared to “provide humanitarian, economic and  security support to the new Libyan government on their request” in its bid to destroy the Islamic State’s presence in Libya.

Europe began its operations to counter migrant smuggling last year after the Council adopted a resolution authorizing European naval forces to inspect suspicious vessels and render them  “inoperable” if necessary.

The effort has not stopped migrants desperate to reach Europe, however. Seven hundred people are believed to have drowned in three days in late May, one of the deadliest periods in  Mediterranean Sea trafficking.

nytimes.com/2016/06/07/world/europe/european-union-seeks-un-approval-to-intercept-libya-bound-arms.html

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British Army's Helmand bomb skills help Kurds face Islamic State

7 JUNE 2016

As the British soldiers looked on, the Kurdish troops hesitantly put one foot in front of the other and traced wide sweeps over the earth with their mine detectors.

Inching in single file over the terrain, the Kurdish trainees kept their eyes fixed intently on the ground directly in front of them, as if each step could be their last.

For many of the British troops watching the concentration of their new charges, the drill as the heat edged towards 104F (40C) may have bought back uncomfortable memories.

A few years ago British troops were using the same Vallon detectors in their own deadly battle with Taliban homemade bombs in the stifling alleyways, ditches and fields of Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Taliban improvised explosive devices (IEDs) killed and maimed scores of troops during British combat operations in the country, as the insurgents tried to make up for their lack of  firepower and technology by devising ingenious and deadly homemade bombs.

But more than a thousand miles from those bomb belts of Helmand, and two years after Britain left southern Afghanistan, IEDs are again proving to be a terrifying and potent weapon.

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria are using IEDs to turn whole towns and villages into minefields with as they attempt to slow  down Kurdish and Iraqi troops pushing them back.

So Kurdish and Iraqi forces who are effectively the international coalition’s “boots on the ground” against Isil, also called Daesh, are calling on British hard-won expertise to try to stem  the horrendous casualties inflicted by the bombs.

The Telegraph visited some of around 200 British soldiers in Iraq who are training Kurds and Iraqis in how to spot and avoid homemade bombs as well as other battlefield infantry and

medical skills.

In a sprawling training base on the outskirts of the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, soldiers from the Chepstow-based 1st Bn The Rifles said they hoped the skills they passed on would save  large numbers of lives.

“Many of the people I’ve got served in Afghanistan. We have taken our experiences from operating in this part of the world before, to give the Kurds help,” explained one British Army

officer conducting training.

“For them, this is life- saving training.”

Much like the Taliban, Isil have become increasingly ingenious in designing and creating bombs.

“Daesh spend their whole time coming up with ways to target Peshmerga. Once we see a device, they will make it more ingenious. We have seen them using Korans in bombs,”

explained the officer, who cannot be named because of security concerns.

At the height of the Afghanistan campaign, it was estimated that a thousand new IEDs were being planted each month across the country.

The bombs killed the majority of Britain's 454 casualties during the 13-year-long combat campaign.

The pressure plate bombs made from fertilizer might have cost little more than pennies to make, but they challenged an international military machine costing billions.

Bombs ranged from a few pounds of homemade explosive hidden in a plastic jug, that could take off a soldier's leg, to huge devices with charges weighing hundreds of pounds flip over a lumbering armoured vehicle.

British soldiers faced a constant arms race against the bomb makers. Each time troops came up with new tactics to defeat the bombs, the Taliban would step up their efforts. When the  armour on vehicles was improved, the bombs were made bigger. When jammers were fitted to vehicles to counter remote control detonations, the Taliban used more command wires to  trigger explosions. One of the biggest challenges was the development of bombs using few or no metal parts, which were difficult to spot with normal detectors.

The Kurdish Peshmerga are now in the same arms race with similarly inventive Isil bomb makers.

But while the devices may be similar to those laid by the Taliban, the scale of what Isil is doing far exceeds anything seen in Helmand.

The officer said the Kurds and Iraqi forces were finding thousands of homemade bombs and pressure plates. Casualties from the bombs far exceed those from direct battles with the  militants.

“We are seeing them on an industrial scale. We assess it’s almost factory level operations.”

In one Kurdish operation late last year to retake the town of Sinjar, the Peshmerga found some villages totally given over to bombs.

Where children had once played and residents had strolled were now hundreds of cruelly ingenious IEDs, each methodically placed to catch and kill the unwary.

Of 180 houses in the village, at least 140 had been booby-trapped.

“[Isil] use all the techniques you could imagine, they use any way they can to kill us,” recalled Lt Abdullah Mohammed Hassan.

“We have lost a lot of our comrades, more than we have lost in face-to-face fighting.”

Towns like Sinjar and the city of Ramadi which have been recaptured from Isil in recent months have become a grim warning for commanders planning the campaign to drive the

extremists from the rest of the country.

The number of bombs left in Ramadi, in schools and hospitals as well as homes, means it is likely to take months, if not years to clear the city.

“We will train the infantry to mark an IED, avoid it and crack on, but the operation to clear it will then take weeks afterwards,” the British officer said.

Lt Col Middleditch, a Royal Logistic Corps officer who was a bomb expert in Helmand and now leads the international coalition’s counter-IED trainers across Iraq, said the bombs could  persist for years.

He said: “Within Ramadi, we are seeing large numbers of IEDs still littering the ground, and many, many houses rigged with IEDs. People have been killed as they have returned to their  homes.

“Daesh were indiscriminate, they were sown throughout. They have rigged entire buildings such as the hospital in Ramadi.”

The Kurds estimate they have retaken more than 95 per cent to the territory they lost to Isil in the summer of 2014, as they push back the militants along a 600 mile front. The biggest  challenge may yet be to come though. Commanders fear Iraq’s second city of Mosul will have been seeded with more bombs than any place yet. One officer said: “The longer they have  been in a place, the longer they have to make preparations.”

Kurdish troops are being given the same Vallon sensors to detect bombs that were used by British patrols in Helmand.

As well as counter-IED training, British troops are also giving troops basic infantry training and lifesaving battlefield medicine courses. However it is the counter IED training that is the  most sought after, said British officers.

The training has already saved lives. As British soldiers trained the Kurds to clear Sinjar, the Peshmerga went from some units suffering 80 per cent casualties from IEDs to suffering none.

But other units, particularly Shia militiamen employed by the Baghdad government, are still facing horrendous casualties.

Col Nazar Muhamad Ahmad Murad, training manager of Sulaymaniyah 1st Brigade, said: “Daesh always depend on bombs for defence.

“Without the training, we would lose a lot of people.”

telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/07/british-armys-helmand-bomb-skills-help-kurds-face-islamic-state/

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Mideast

Turkish gov’t shakes up judiciary with decree shifting more than 3,700 judges, prosecutors

June/07/2016

Turkey has witnessed a wave of resuhuffle in the judiciary, one of the most extensive decrees in the history of the modern Turkish Republic, with the government replacing more than

3,700 judges and prosecutors, at a time when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has yet to ratify a bill stripping scores of lawmakers of their legislative immunity from prosecution.

With the decree, the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) has completed the 2016 Civil and Administrative Judiciary Main Decree. The enactment consisted of the

relocation of 3,228 judges and prosecutors in the civil jurisdiction and 518 judges and prosecutors in the administrative jurisdiction.

In an announcement posted on the HSYK’s website yesterday, it was stated that the decree was announced in accordance with the declared calendar. Those who requested an enquiry

were asked to submit their requests by June 16.

With the decree, Murat Aydın, who appealed to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, the article on insulting the president, as

well as his spouse, Gülay Aydın, have been exiled.

“I have been exiled to the Trabzon Office of Judges by the HSYK due to rulings I made, views that I expressed and the stance that I have displayed. Since exiling me was not sufficient to

dampen their schadenfreude, they have exiled my spouse, Judge Gülay Aydın too. Discretion belongs to my nation on behalf of whom I use the authority of the judiciary,” Aydın said.

While the judge in Gemerek, Sivas, was assigned to Sungurlu, Çorum, the head of the 6th Ankara Heavy Penal Court who ruled the case into killing of Ethem Sarısülük and the case into

assassination of Musa Anter was downgraded to the Sincan magistracy.

Sarısülük was shot and killed by police officer Ahmet Şahbaz when police moved in on protesters in Ankara’s central Kızılay Square on June 1, 2013, during the Gezi Park unrest.

Kurdish author Anter was murdered in an armed attack in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in 1992.

One of the darkest unsolved murders in Turkey’s history, another author, Orhan Miroğlu, now a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was also seriously wounded in

the attack.

While Bakırköy Deputy Public Prosecutor Engin Uçak who sued the prosecutors that initiated the now-dropped Dec.17, 2013, and the Dec. 25, 2013, graft cases was assigned to the

Istanbul Regional Courthouse Prosecution Office.

A prosecutor in Istanbul, Mehmet Demir, who had at the time called in main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to give his testimony, also got a

promotion and was assigned as the deputy chief prosecutor in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district.

In 2014, the CHP filed a complaint to the HSYK concerning Demir, who “mistakenly” invited the main opposition leader to testify as a suspect in an undisclosed investigation.

At the time, in late April 2014, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued a written statement after the invitation was made public, saying the document was sent to the CHP

headquarters “by mistake.”

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Investigation Bureau of Press Offences incumbent public prosecutor Cevat İşlek became the Ankara deputy chief public prosecutor.

According to the enactment, the head of Ankara Heavy Penal Court, Afak İlleez, became the Ankara West Courthouse judge; Istanbul judge Vedat Yılmazabdurrahmanoğlu became the

head of the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court; the head of the Balıkesir Heavy Penal Court, Kemal Yılmaz became the head of the Bursa Heavy Penal Court; Ankara judge Dursun Yalçınkaya

became the head of the Ankara Heavy Penal Court; Bursa judge Yahya Kemal Akbaş became the head of the İzmir Heavy Penal Court; the head of the Sakarya Heavy Penal Court, Şükrü

Onat Tekinalp, became the head of Ankara Heavy Penal Court; the head of the Konya Heavy Penal Court, Hüsamettin Otçu, became the head of the Ankara Heavy Penal Court; and finally

the head of the Trabzon Heavy Penal Court, Turan Ahmet Taşkaya, became the head of the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court.

With the enactment, the chief prosecutors of some cities also changed. Niğde Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Tekne became the Elazığ Chief Public Prosecutor; Nazilli Chief Public

Prosecutor İlker Yazıcı became the Kahramanmaraş Chief Public Prosecutor; Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor Ramazan Solmaz became the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor; Düzce Chief

Public Prosecutor Kamil Erkut Güre became the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor; Erzurum Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Çiçekli became the Ordu Chief Public Prosecutor; Giresun

Chief Public Prosecutor Ömer Karişit became the Van Chief Public Prosecutor; Yozgat Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Yavuz became the Samsun Chief Public Prosecutor; and Kilis Chief 

Public Prosecutor Halil İnal became the Erzurum Chief Public Prosecutor.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-govt-shakes-up-judiciary-with-decree-shifting-more-than-3700-judges-prosecutors.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100164&NewsCatID=338

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11 killed, 36 wounded in car bomb attack on police vehicle in Istanbul

June/06/2016

Eleven people, seven of whom were police officers, were killed while 36 others were wounded in an attack targeting a police vehicle in Istanbul's Vezneciler neighborhood at around 8:35 a.m. on June 7. A bomb-laden car was detonated as the police bus was passing near a police station, according to Istanbul Gov. Vasip Şahin.

Ambulances and bomb disposal teams were sent to the scene, while security measures were increased in the area.

Gunshots were heard after the explosion, according to Anadolu Agency.

hurriyetdailynews.com/11-killed-in-attack-on-police-vehicle-in-istanbul.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100166&NewsCatID=509

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Israel ‘keeps the status quo on the Temple Mount,’ Netanyahu assures Muslims on Ramadan eve

June/06/2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to thwart any attempt to use the Temple Mount to spark violence during the Ramadan holiday by assuring Muslims that no changes had been made to the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound there.

‘I want to clarify, we strictly keep to the status quo on the Temple Mount,” said Netanyahu of the al-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock that are the third holiest sites for Islam.

That compound is under the control of the Islamic Wakf and only Muslims are allowed to pray there, but others including Jews can visit.

“To my sorrow, this year again extremist elements are trying to stir up tensions in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

“They are inciting violence and spreading lies about Jews, the Temple Mount and our intentions regarding the al-Aksa mosque,” Netanyahu said.

“It is all lies,” he added.

“We make sure that Muslims have the right to freedom of worship. We will not allow any element to disturb the order and cause unrest and violence at the holy sites,” Netanyahu said.

“Muslim citizens of Israel, citizens of Arab states, I wish to bless you in honor of the month of Ramadan. Happy New Year,” the prime minister said in a short video he shot in honor of 

the holiday.

“Jews, Muslims and Druse, we all live here together in the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

“Israel is a true lighthouse of coexistence and religious tolerance. We are very proud of this,” the prime minister said.

“Jerusalem is open to who ever wants to pray and visit,” Netanyahu said and ended with, “I wish you all happy Ramadan.”

jpost.com/Israel-News/Watch-Netanyahu-wishes-Muslims-a-happy-Ramadan-456059

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Turkish President Erdoğan to attend Muhammad Ali’s funeral

June/06/2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will attend the funeral of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Erdoğan will depart from Turkey late on June 8, according to information obtained from Turkish Presidency sources.

He will attend the funeral prayer which will be performed by Imam Zaid Shakir on June 9. Erdoğan will also participate in the commemoration and farewell ceremonies and was asked to speak, family spokesman Bob Gunnell said.

Former world heavyweight champion Ali, whose record-setting boxing career, flair for showmanship and political stands made him one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died on June 3 aged 74.

Ali, who had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body, died a day after he was admitted  to a Phoenix-area hospital with a respiratory ailment.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and comedian Billy Crystal are among those due to speak June 10 at the public memorial in a sports arena in the Kentucky hometown of Ali - a three- time world heavyweight champion.

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a name shared with a 19th century slavery abolitionist. He changed his name after his conversion to Islam.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-president-erdogan-to-attend-muhammad-alis-funeral.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100154&NewsCatID=371

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AKP MP prepares legislative motion to label German killings of Nama people ‘genocide’

June/06/2016

A deputy from the ruling Justice and the Development (AKP) has prepared a legislative proposal over the German killings of locals in Namibia in the early 1900’s to be described as  “genocide,” following the German parliament’s approval of a resolution that described the 1915-16 killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as “genocide.”

AKP Istanbul deputy Metin Külünk noted that the population of Nama people in Africa decreased during clashes with Germans in the early 1900’s in Namibia, vowing that he would propose parliament approve of the killings as “genocide.”

“Germans led three out of four of the population to perish and the withdrawal of those who left behind to their current living spaces during the struggle against exploitation efforts of

the region in the early 1900’s. Therefore, Nama people and Herero people here were sacrificed to the exploitation mentality of the Germans. With the bill I will submit to the Grand National Assembly [TBMM], I will propose the German genocide of Herero and Nama [people] in Namibia to be described as ‘genocide,’” Külünk said.

He also said that global powers wanted to take over Turkey and used the Armenian issue as a tool in this cause.

Külünk also claimed that Europe was the homeland of genocide.

“If historians want to learn how genocide is done, they will look at Norway, Germany and England. They will look at what happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 90’s. When they look,  they will see the culture of genocide was born, grown up and realized in Europe. Because it is at the center of the European culture to liken humanity to itself, not to accept as it is,”  Külünk said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-mp-prepares-legislative-motion-to-label-german-killings-of-nama-people-genocide.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100152&NewsCatID=338

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Israeli Court Rejects Petition to Ban Zionist March from Entering Muslim Quarter

June 6, 2016

The Israeli High Court in Jerusalem, on Sunday, has rejected a petition demanding that the Zionist “Jerusalem Day” march, which celebrates the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, be barred from the Muslim Quarter in the old city of Jerusalem.

The annual march, which will be held by Zionist religious youth, this year, coincides with the beginning of Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims, which will be confirmed by Saudi Arabia  at around 7:43.

Last year’s march saw violent clashes, according to the PNN, where “racist insults were hurled by marchers at Arabs, as well as cases of vandalism.”

According to Haaretz,  the court approved an agreement, between the state and the parade’s organizers, that the march would start 15 minutes earlier, so that “no Jewish marchers will  be present at the Muslim Quarter if Ramadan begins Sunday.”

Haaretz also reported that the court’s ruling says that that the last of the marchers will be allowed to enter the Muslim Quarter through Damascus Gate at 6:15 P.M., adding that by 7 P.M. the Quarter’s main street will be clear.

The judges ordered police to make sure there will be “minimal friction with the Muslim residents” and reiterated an instruction from last year to show “zero tolerance to verbal and  physical violence.”

On Thursday, an urgent petition was filed with the High Court by the Ir Amim non-profit group and Amir Cheshin, a former Arab affairs adviser to Jerusalem’s mayor. The petitioners  demanded that the court instruct the police to ban the march from the Muslim Quarter.

The Israeli “Jerusalem Day” holiday commemorates the day when Israel took hold of the West Bank and Gaza following the Six Day War in 1967.

imemc.org/article/israeli-court-rejects-petition-to-ban-zionist-march-from-entering-muslim-quarter/

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Palestinians enlist the willing United Nations to threaten the Israeli economy

Monday, June 6, 2016

The word “Orwellian” was coined by George Orwell in his masterwork “1984” to describe the propaganda society, where up is down and down is up, and anyone who notices the  absurdity is politically incorrect. Some people have noticed, however, that the present day resembles 1984. The Orwellians are the masters of deceit, often enforced by violence that  cowers those it does not kill.

Last week a coalition of Palestinians and their supporters held a “Global Day of Action” to urge Fidelity Investments of Boston to divest its portfolios from the Internet-based rental  properties firm Airbnb unless Airbnb agrees to no longer list rental properties in “illegal” Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Calling themselves the “StolenHomes Coalition,”  demonstrators at a rally at Fidelity’s Boston headquarters included members of CodePink, SumofUs and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. Similar protests were held at other  Fidelity offices in Dublin, where organizers delivered petitions declaring that “through earning fees from settlement vacation rentals, Airbnb is directly profiting from the continuing  occupation and dispossession of Palestinians.”

Fidelity, a global financial giant with more than $5 trillion in customer assets, values its stake in Airbnb at $69.2 million. Protesters demand that Fidelity withdraw its money out of Airbnb  or be blacklisted on a new United Nations database of companies complicit in Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

The database was approved in March by the U.N. Human Rights Council, a reliably pliant tool of the Palestinian war against the state of Israel. The blacklisting of companies doing business  with Israel could boost the BDS movement, which encourages (or more to the point, “intimidates” and “threatens”) companies to “boycott, divest and sanction” Israeli companies — or else.

A Sodastream factory established in a West Bank industrial zone is a recent victim of the economic terror campaign. When it closed those hurt worst were the Palestinians who lost their jobs.

washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/6/editorial-palestinians-enlist-un-to-threaten-israe/

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South Asia

Dostum: Haibatullah is symbolic, Haqqanis, ISI key player in ongoing violence

Tue Jun 07 2016

The First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum has said the newly-appointed chief of the Taliban group Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada is a symbolic leader together with Mullah

Omar’s son.

Gen. Dostum has said the other deputy of Haibatullah, the son of Sirajuddin Haqqani is the key player who involved in the ongoing violence with the support of neighboring intelligence,

apparently pointing towards Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

He vowed revenge for the anti-Islamic movements of the group which are aimed at killing the innocent civilians.

According to a statement by the Office of The First Vice President, the Taliban group suffered heavy casualties during the operations led by General Abdul Rashid Dostum as dozens of

them were killed over 100 others have surrendered in Sar-e-Pul, Jawzjan and Faryab provinces.

Gen. Dostum warned the Taliban fighters would be killed if they did not surrender to the Afghan security forces.

The remarks by Gen. Dostum comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistani, specifically the country’s military intelligence for supporting the anti-government armed militant groups who are using the Pakistani soil to plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.

The former Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in an airstrike in Balochistan province of Pakistan last month which followed by the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar in  Pakistan.

Mullah Mansoor was appointed as the new Taliban chief following the confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death in July last year.

khaama.com/dostum-haibatullah-is-symbolic-haqqanis-isi-key-player-in-ongoing-violence-01183

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11 ISIS militants killed, 14 wounded in Nangarhar operations

Mon Jun 06 2016

At least 11 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed during the military operations in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the militants were killed during the operation, Shaheen-13, led by 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces.

According to a statement by MoD, the operations were conducted in Kot district where various villages have been cleared so far.

The statement further added that 14 ISIS militants were also wounded during the operations and a vehicle belonging to the loyalists of the terror group was also damaged.

MoD also added that the operations are still underway in different parts of Kot district to clear the area from the militants presence.

No further details were given regarding the casualties of the Afghan security personnel during the operations.

This comes as the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Sunday at least 18 loyalists of the terror group were killed and 11 others were wounded during an airstrike in Kot district.

Earlier, at least 9 ISIS loyalists were killed and 7 others were wounded during an operation in Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province.

khaama.com/11-isis-militants-killed-14-wounded-in-nangarhar-operations-01181

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MoD: 14 terrorists killed in an airstrike in Ghazni province

Tue Jun 07 2016

At least 14 militants were killed in an airstrike in the restive Ghazni province located in southeastern part of the country.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said “In an airstrike carried out by the Afghan Air Force in the vicinity of Nawa district of Ghazni province, at least 14 terrorists were killed.”

In a separate statement, MoD said at least 7 terrorists were killed during a clearance operation in Charkh district of Logar province.

MoD further added that another militant was arrested and various types of weapons, ammunitions and explosives were cofiscated.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.

The Afghan forces have stepped up operations against the militant groups across the country which comes amid deteriorating security situation as a result of the Taliban-led insurgency.

The Taliban group announced its spring offensive earlier in the month of April and vowed to carry out more attacks across the country.

The announcement of the spring offensive followed amid ongoing efforts to end the violence through reconciliation process which forced the Afgha government to change stance and

increase counter-terrorism operations against the militant groups.

khaama.com/mod-14-terrorists-killed-in-an-airstrike-in-ghazni-province-01184

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Senior security official killed in North of Afghanistan

Tue Jun 07 2016

A senior security official was killed in an attack by the Taliban militants in northern Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Zabiullah Amani said Syed Ashrafuddin was killed along with the other security personnel accompanying him in Sancharak district.

According to Amani, Sharafuddin was the district security chief of Sancharak and was killed in the attack that took place in langar area.

He said three security personnel and two civilians including a child were also killed in the attack.

The Taliban group claimed responsibility behind the incident and said the district security chief of Sancharak was killed with his five security guards.

Sar-e-Pul is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in a number of its districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

In the meantime, the Taliban militants are attempting to destabilize the northern provinces and have increased their insurgency activities in a number of the provinces including Sar-e- Pul, Faryab and Kunduz.

The group launched a major offensive late in April this year in Kunduz province with an aim to recapture the control of the strategic Kunduz city but the attack was repulsed by the

Afghan security forces.

khaama.com/senior-security-official-killed-in-north-of-afghanistan-01187

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Fight against ISIS topped Mansoor’s agenda during his visit to Iran

Tue Jun 07 2016

The Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor visited Iran to discuss with the country’s authorities regarding the growing issue of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist

group in Afghanistan.

According to the local media reports in Iran, Mansoor spent around 2 months in Iran and reached to an agreement on a number of issues of bilateral interest with the Iranian authorities.

One of the agreements Mansoor reached with Iran was to help counter the issue of dissident Taliban groups joining ISIS ranks in Afghanistan.

Mansoor had also agreed with the Iranian authorities to prevent the expansion of ISIS loyalists in northern bordering regions of the country and Afghanistan-Tajikistan border.

The report also adds that Mansoor had reached to an agreement regarding the smuggling of opium and illicit drugs.

According to the report, accurate information regarding the movement of Mullah Mansoor was provided to the US forces as he was targeted while he was on his way in Balochistan

province of Pakistan.

Mullah Mansoor was killed in an airstrike on 21st May as he was travelling in a vehicle with a Pakistani passport.

The report by the Iranian local newspaper meanwhile adds that Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence could have disclosed information regarding Mansoor to US forces, noting his

deteriorating relations with Pakistan.

The growing threats posed by the loyalists of ISIS terror group in Afghanistan have not been a source of tension to the Afghan authorities but Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, including

Iran and Central Asian countries are worried that the terror group further expand foothold in the region.

Attempts by ISIS terrorist group to expand foothold in Afghanistan and in the region has also sparked concerns among the Taliban leadership as the two groups have entered into bloody

clashes for several times in some parts of the country.

The supporters of the two groups also declared Jihad against each other earlier last year.

khaama.com/fight-against-isis-topped-mansoors-agenda-during-his-visit-to-iran-01186

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NATO offers condolences after death of US and Afghan journalists

Mon Jun 06 2016

The NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan offered condolences after the death of an American photojournalist and his Afghan colleague in a Taliban ambush.

“To the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. David Gilkey and Mr. Zabihulla Tamanna, the entire Resolute Support Mission offers their heartfelt condolences,” a statement by RS said.

Resolute Support Commander John W. Nicholson said “The efforts of professional journalists such as these, on behalf of the Afghan people and audiences worldwide, remain a critical

part of creating peace and stability in this region.”

“David and Zabihulla, in particular, spent years in Afghanistan tirelessly endeavoring to tell the story of the Afghan people,” Gen. Nicholson added.

“We have the utmost respect for their work as well as those others that endure the hardships that come with reporting from conflict zones. These men and women risk their personal

safety in order to tell the world the stories we might not otherwise hear. We remain grateful for what they have done and for what they continue to do,” said Nicholson.

The two journalists were killed as they were travelling with an Afghan army unit that came under fire in southern Helmand province, their employer National Public Radio said.

Mr Gilkey received an Emmy award in 2007 for the video series Band of Brothers, about Michigan marines in Iraq, while his role in an NPR investigation on veteran medical care helped the outlet earn a 2010 George Polk Award, Society for News Design’s 2011 Award of Excellence and a 2011 Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage.

Last year, he was honoured with the Edward R Murrow Award for his coverage of international breaking news, military conflicts and natural disasters, the first time the Corporation for

Public Broadcasting presented the prize to a multimedia journalist.

khaama.com/nato-offers-condolences-after-death-of-us-and-afghan-journalists-01182

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North America

Striving to Find Foster Parents in America’s Largest Muslim Community

Jun 06, 2016

Nuzhat Jawed is a Muslim woman who moved from Pakistan to Sterling Heights, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. She has two adopted children, both Muslim, and has acted as a foster parent for dozens more, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

Dearborn is home to the largest concentration of Muslims in North America, and Jawed is one of only about a dozen Muslim foster parents in the area. Since child welfare agencies don’t typically record religious affiliation of children in foster care, the precise number of Muslim children in care is unknown. But the existence of Muslim Family Services – an organization that provides mental health and other support services, including foster parent certification, to Muslim families – combined with the numbers of Muslim orphans entering the U.S. as refugees suggests that there may be a growing need for these homes.

Muhammad, the prophet and founder of Islam, was an adopted child and became an adoptive parent. But in the U.S., Islamic communities in areas like Dearborn have been hesitant to join the ranks of foster and adoptive parents. The lack of Muslim foster homes complicates the already challenging task of ensuring a child’s mental and physical well-being when she is removed from her parents’ care.

“There is no doubt that in the Muslim community there is a need for foster parents,” said Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, the spiritual father of Dearborn’s Islamic House of Wisdom, a mosque and community centre for the region’s Shia Muslim community.

If other Muslim families can’t take care of kids, he said, “we don’t know where they will end up. We will lose them to families who don’t know about the faith of the kids, about the values of the families.”

At Starr Commonwealth, a provider offering community-based early intervention and other family services in Michigan, counsellor John Dodge worked with a Muslim mother whose  children were placed with a non-Muslim foster family.

“The mother wanted to dictate all the things that went on in the foster home, but it just can’t work out that way,” Dodge said.

The foster family made attempts to respect the children’s culture and religion, like preparing meals without pork, which Islam considers haram (forbidden), “but then the mom made  bacon for her biological children, and the Muslim kids tried it and loved it. The biological mother complained, and it made it very difficult for the relationship.”

Similarly, Dodge says that there are “very few foster homes willing to take children to a mosque” and that children may not want to go to a mosque.

“Going to services of any religion is often a family thing to do,” Dodge said, “so when you have children telling a foster parent they don’t want to go to mosque, the foster parent won’t take them. That’s why having a Muslim foster parent is important – going to a mosque is a family activity they’re already familiar with.”

Elahi has invited a number of foster agencies to speak at the mosque, and the events were well-attended. But because of certain religious and cultural concerns, he said, recruitment  numbers have remained low.

“There are some families who are very interested,” Elahi said, “but they are trying to fix these challenges that they have.”

Adoption has been and remains problematic in the Muslim community, partly because of the requirements for raising a non-biological child in a Muslim home – requirements that translate  to foster parents and children as well. Once the child reaches puberty, they become what is known as non-Mahram, meaning Islamic rules of modesty between strangers take effect.

Adoptive fathers are forbidden from being alone with their adopted daughters after the girls reach puberty, at which point the girls are also required to wear a hijab.

Adoptive mothers, likewise, are required to wear hijabs in front of their adopted post-puberty sons, and are forbidden from being alone with them.

But it is precisely because of these religious requirements and practices, advocates say, that recruiting Muslim foster parents is so important.

“Islam is not just a religion, it’s a lifestyle,” says Tahira Khalidi, head counselor for the Detroit-based Muslim Family Services. She’s also a Muslim.

Imagine, she says, a Muslim girl, who, to emulate mom, decided to wear a hijab at a young age. Now consider what happens if this child is sent to a non-Muslim foster home. “It’s already a difficult transition, and now you have a child going from wearing a hijab to shorts.”

Khalidi, who has spoken at the Islamic House of Wisdom, tells the community that these are just some of the reasons why they should consider becoming licensed foster parents.

“One of the most difficult experiences is to be taken from your home and family, no matter how negative that situation may have been,” Khalidi said. “You’re snatched from everything  you love – even smells you’re used to – and put into an alien situation. It’s traumatic for anyone. Muslims going to non-Muslim homes erodes everything the child’s used to, from clothes to diet,”Bob Wheaton, the public information officer for the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, which oversees Metro Detroit’s foster care services, echoes Elahi’s concerns about cultural preservation:“Children going to a home with a foster family of their own religion helps in providing stability, and we want to keep everything as stable as possible. It’s an upheaval of life to go into foster care. Which is why we try to find a relative’s home to maintain stability, or, at times, other community members [the children] already have a relationship with – from the church, synagogue, or mosque.

It’s extremely valuable, really valuable, to have partners in the faith community.”

Compounding the cultural issues is the fact that many potential Muslim foster parents are immigrants and bring their own cultural understandings to the new family table. “Foster care is a relatively new concept to many Muslim immigrants,” Khalidi said.

Jawed, one of the few Muslim foster parents in the Metro Detroit community, hadn’t even heard of foster care when she first arrived in North America from Pakistan in 1994.

“Where I come from, the family just takes them,” she said, then mentioned kafala, the Islamic concept closest to fostering. Translating as sponsorship, it almost exclusively refers to  family members raising nephews and cousins.

“I never imagined a stranger taking them,” said Jawed. “From the culture I came from, I could never conceive of my child being given away to someone else.”

Jawed currently has two children she adopted, and has acted as a foster parent for dozens more, both Muslim and non-Muslim. “This is why spreading the word about the possibilities for fostering and adoption are so important in the [Muslim] community. People need to understand how it works.”

But even if the immigrants from Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan understand the concept of kafala, there is a more subtle – but still potent – hurdle that Muslim families in America  may face: anti-Islamic sentiment. Muslims hear calls in the media for a database of those practicing Islam, or a ban on Muslim immigrants, then are told that if they want to be foster  parents, they need to undergo a “house investigation.”

“We’re talking about communities with lots of immigrants,” Khalidi said of Metro Detroit, which is home to people all of the nationalities mentioned above. “Immigrants are often  concerned about running afoul of the law, and now they find they’re required to submit to an investigation of their house.”

“Sometimes,” Khalidi said, “they just don’t want to take a chance.”

Privacy is a concern is challenging foster parent recruitment “across the board,” said Dodge, of Starr Commonwealth.

“Fewer and fewer families want to go through the intense scrutiny that’s required to become licensed,” said Dodge. “It’s a great turn-off opening your life to stranger, and telling them  everything about yourself, all your past issues. I would think [this intrusiveness] is even more of a turn-off in the Muslim community, especially the immigrant community.”

It is becoming increasingly important for Muslims to endure being scrutinized by the state if they want to help children who need homes. Khalidi, Elahi, and Nuzhat, though speaking separately, all stressed that foreign wars will only heighten the need for Muslim foster parents. In 2014, the United Nations Children’s Fund reported that the number of children who fled Syria without their parents was around 8,000 – a number that has only grown as violence in the region has intensified. The vast majority of these orphans are Muslim.

“It’s easy to write a check, but these children are traumatized,” Khalidi said. “And they’re often bringing dynamics that families are not willing to deal with – but they must. They’re coming out of a [terrible] situation and need extra support. Fostering these children, you’d know that you saved a child from a life of trauma.”

Jawed is not licensed for refugee children because the certification is different than the standard foster-parent certification, but “when there’s a need, I might change it,” she said. It’s something she’s willing to do, she said, because, based on her experiences, she believes that it doesn’t matter where the children are from, or their culture, nationality, or even religion – it’s where they call their new home that’s important.

Jawed agrees that “foster care takes away your privacy – and Arabs and Muslims, in general, are private people.” She appreciates these concerns, and doesn’t shy away from warning potential foster parents that they can expect everything, “down to the inside of their fridge,” to be examined.

But Jawed also tells them that the process to become a licensed foster parent is not overly vexing; there’s a 13-week training, lectures to attend, paperwork. “And yes, your house is looked at, but I’ve never had any problem.”

She tells potential Muslim foster parents that privacy and cultural difficulties should not outweigh the need to keep Muslim children in the community.

“Yes, there are challenges to raising non-Mahram children, but I’m willing to wear a hijab around my son because I love him that much,” said Jawed. “My children are the best thing to happen to me – I can’t thank Allah enough. They talk like me, act like me – they’re my kids. They know they’re adopted, they know all the Islamic laws, but they’re ok with it, because they know I’m their mom.”

newamericamedia.org/2016/06/striving-to-find-foster-parents-in-americas-largest-muslim-community.php

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Why Muhammad Ali was 'the greatest' American Muslim

June 7, 2016

It was a fitting end to this country's most famous Muslim life: Family and friends around the bed of Muhammad Ali, the boxer whose conversion to Islam decades ago sent countless seekers and sportswriters scrambling in search of a Quran.

Whispering good-byes into his ears, the family recited a series of prayers and passages in Arabic from the Muslim holy book, including the well-known invocation in Al-Fatiha, the Quran's first chapter.

"It was a very smooth and somber transition from this world," said Imam Zaid Shakir, a prominent Muslim scholar who ministered to Ali and his family for the past six years, including the boxer's final hours. "It was a moment that united his family and his children."

Before he died at age 74 last Friday, Ali composed a last message to be read this week at a memorial in Louisville, Kentucky, said Shakir, who will deliver funeral prayers at an interfaith  service there on Thursday.

Ali's death after a long battle with Parkinson's disease did more than unite his large family. It also connected the diverse and often discordant American Muslim community.

Islam is the only religion in America without a majority ethnic group, which can be a source of friction and infighting. But in the days since Ali's death, South Asians and Arabs, white  converts and African-Americans, not to mention Sunnis and Shias, hailed Ali as a hero.

Ali pioneered a new path in this country's religious life, they said, marrying an all-American bravado with an unapologetic embrace of Islam.

"There is no denying that Muhammad Ali is the most famous and influential American Muslim, ever," wrote Yasir Qadhi, a respected Muslim-American scholar and cleric, on a Facebook post  that garnered 58,000 "likes."

"If the only good that he brought was to bring a positive image of Islam, and to spread the name of our beloved prophet in every household and on every tongue in the world, it is a life  that is indeed enviable."

In an unprecedented sign of respect, a coalition of national groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslim Public Affairs Council and Islamic Society of North America, have urged Muslims to honor the late boxer this week with special prayers at local mosques.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, said Muslim Americans have launched national campaigns over civil rights cases and humanitarian crises, but never before over a death like Ali's.

"It's an indication of his impact and his legacy. He is a symbol of Islam in America -- and in a positive sense," Hooper said. At a time when Islam is the subject of so much bad press, some  Muslims said it was a rare pleasure to hear newscasters pronounced the name "Muhammad" with "care and reverence" in the days after Ali's death.

Sherman Jackson, one of country's pre-eminent African-American Muslim scholars, said Ali demonstrated "a new way of being black," a courage backed by religious conviction, a swagger  infused with faith.

"It is my hope that the passing of Muhammad Ali will not mark the end of an era in the United States," wrote Jackson in a column this week, "an era in which Islam in America is  represented not by the deeds or misdeeds of actors in far off places but by the accomplishments and contributions, the resolve and courage of American Muslims themselves."

'Beloved of God'The media struck quite a different tone when Ali revealed his conversion to the Nation of Islam in 1964, soon after winning the heavyweight title. Rumors were spreading about the boxer's close friendship with Malcolm X, a leader in the controversial sect. Was it true, a reporter asked the new champ, that he was a "card-carrying member of the Black Muslims?""'Card-carrying.' What does that mean?" replied Ali, then still known as Cassius Clay. "I believe in Allah and in peace. ... I was baptized when I was 12, but I didn't know what I was doing.  I'm not a Christian anymore. I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."

It was a defiant stance at a time when Muslims and black athletes were expected to keep quiet and blend in. Ali would have none of it. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali, explaining that it means "beloved of God," and insisted that people use it.

Biographer David Remnick wrote that Ali was attracted to the Nation of Islam's message of racial pride, self-sufficiency and almost militant sense of manhood. In public, Ali defended the Nation of Islam's racially charged doctrines, telling one incredulous interviewer, for example, that he really did believe that all white people are devils, one of many beliefs that separate the sect from mainstream Islam.

Ali later recanted, writing in his 2004 biography, "The Nation of Islam taught that white people were devils. I don't believe that now; in fact, I never really believed that. But when I was young, I had seen and heard so many horrible stories about the white man that this made me stop and listen."

In 1966, citing his faith, Ali filed for conscientious objector status, refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. "War is against the teachings of the holy Quran," Ali said at the time. "I'm not  trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or his messenger."

The ensuing legal battle cost Ali millions in boxing revenue and nearly landed him in jail before the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. But what he lost in athletic accolades, Ali gained in street cred. From then on, he was counted among the rarest of religious objectors: those who fought the law, and won.

Silenced by GodIn the 1970s, Ali followed some Nation of Islam leaders into the mainstream of Sunni Islam, the sect encompassing about 85% of Muslims worldwide.

He later completed the full transition from militancy to mysticism through Sufism, a strand of Islam that emphasizes a direct, personal connection to God. That connection is sometimes  accompanied by an openness to other religions, as demonstrated in Ali's request that Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and other religious leaders take part in an interfaith prayer service on Thursday in Louisville.

"Muhammad Ali was a person who respected other faiths," said Shakir. "He understood at this critical juncture of human history, when faith is under attack, that we need a critical mass  of moral and spiritual energy to overcome our obstacles, and our challenges can't be overcome by Muslims alone."

Despite his peaceful personality in later years, Ali could still land a verbal jab. In December, he slammed Donald Trump's proposal to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the United  States.

"We as Muslims have to stand up against those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda," Ali said. "They have alienated many from learning about Islam."

He was equally critical of terrorists, saying days after 9/11 that "Islam is peace, and against murder and killing, and the people doing that in the name of Islam are wrong. And if I had the  chance, I would do something about it."

By then Parkinson's had taken a notable toll on Ali, as it had on another beloved religious figure, St. John Paul II. Men who became famous for their physical prowess and eloquence now had trouble moving and speaking. But like the late pontiff, the boxer endured his ailments gracefully, friends and family said.

"I ran my mouth like nobody else and now God has silenced me," he told his friend Shakir. "And I'm good with that. I've done my talking."

In the mid-1990s, Ali told journalist Remnick that he thought constantly about death, especially during his five daily prayers. "Thinking about after," Ali said. "Thinking about paradise."

Ali's legacy will continue, and his star will burn especially bright this week, as kings and presidents, comedians and celebrities, sports stars and spiritual gurus gather for memorial services this week in Louisville.

"All of them will be there to honor and celebrate the life of this great man," said Jackson, the scholar. "And not one of them will be able to separate Muhammad Ali's greatness as an

American from his commitment as a Muslim. Ali emphatically put the question of whether one can be a Muslim and an American to rest. Let that question now be interred permanently

with his noble remains."

edition.cnn.com/2016/06/06/us/muhammad-ali-american-muslim/

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/iraqi-commander--saudi-arabia,-mother-of-terrorists’-ideology/d/107562

 

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