New Age Islam
Tue Nov 24 2020, 07:05 PM

Islamic World News ( 6 Sept 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

ISI's grand plan to bring Kashmiri militant outfits into mainstream politics










Members of FPI Klaten collecting donations to help Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Photo: Facebook / Front Pembela Islam

 

Indonesia’s Islamic Defenders Front hopes to deploy thousands to Myanmar to fight for the Rohingya

Islamic State and low-tech terrorism in Russia

Can We Have An Honest Conversation About Islam In American Politics?

India

ISI's grand plan to bring Kashmiri militant outfits into mainstream politics

India shares Myanmar’s concern over extremist violence, says Modi

Uniform code will hurt harmony, minorities argued to make a case for personal law

Protests foment against massacre of Rohingya people

Hurriyat insider nails brass for terror funding, to turn approver

Manmohan Singh's pledge to Jama Masjid Imam under HC Lens

Pakistan army chief slams US, India; says will continue to support Kashmir

Terror funding: NIA conducts raids in Delhi, Srinagar

Muslim artistes from Indonesia to stage Ram Leela in Ayodhya

Hindu-Muslim couple move HC alleging harassment by Bajrang Dal activists, Nagpur police

--------

Pakistan

The world must do more against terrorism: COAS Gen Bajwa at 52nd Defence Day tribute

World's role sought to end Muslims’ plight

Pakistan must change its approach to terrorism, says US

Pakistan is not a terrorist haven, says defense minister

Pakistan offers Afghanistan all-out help to ensure peace

BRICS declaration signifies no change in policy towards Pakistan: Chinese ambassador

Protest against killings of Rohingya Muslims

Two suspects 'linked to Izhar attackers' arrested in Balochistan

A.D. Khowaja to continue serving as Sindh police chief, rules SHC

Presence of terrorists' in Afghanistan causing problems for Pakistan: Aizaz

--------

Southeast Asia

Indonesia’s Islamic Defenders Front hopes to deploy thousands to Myanmar to fight for the Rohingya

Putrajaya applies to strike out suit against Zakir Naik

Myanmar flag burned by Muslim protesters in Jakarta

Indonesian school a launchpad for child fighters in Syria's Islamic State

Rioting video sparks anti-Muslim rage among China’s internet users

Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand must take lead in pushing for solution to Rohingya issue

Police nab suspects involved in Kota Damansara petrol bomb attack

Thousands of Muslims protest outside Myanmar embassy

--------

Europe

Islamic State and low-tech terrorism in Russia

Islamophobia holding back UK Muslims in workplace, study finds

Top EU court rules eastern states must take refugees

Hungarian PM Orban: ‘The Islamization of Europe Is Real’

Tribunal upholds ban on UK school director accused of promoting Islamist teaching

Spain and Morocco arrest six suspected of practicing beheadings

French police arrest 2 over bomb-making materials

--------

North America

Can We Have An Honest Conversation About Islam In American Politics?

Taliban attacks US Afghan base in retaliation for US leaflets

Trump Could Finally Be Forced To Take Action Against White Supremacists—Thanks To Republicans

US authorizes sending 3,500 more soldiers to Afghanistan: US official

US apologizes for Afghanistan leaflets that offended Muslims

How Muslim Americans are fighting Islamophobia and securing their civil rights

Iraqi student pilot killed in F-16 crash in Arizona

'Bigoted' signs in Pitt Meadows park used city's logo without permission

Is President Trump Stoking The Fires Of Right-Wing Extremism In Canada?

--------

Arab World

Myanmar killers ‘as bad as Daesh,’ Muslim World League says

Russia: Ending ISIL's Siege on Deir Ezzur Most Important Victory of Syrian Army in War on Terrorism

Syria govt behind sarin gas attack in April: UN probe

Russian Air Force Hits ISIL's Defense Lines Heavily in Eastern Syria

De Mistura: Syrian opposition must accept it has not won the war

Hama: Gov't Forces Tightening Noose on Terrorists in Central Syria

More Civilians Killed in US Air Raids in Northeastern Syria

Civilians Pay $300 to Terrorists to Cross Iraq's Border with Syria

Syrian Army Utilizing Tanks with Modern Equipment in Deir Ezzur

Iraqi student pilot killed in Arizona F-16 crash identified as Noor Al-Khazali

Lebanon identifies bodies of soldiers killed while in ISIS hands

Saudi King Salman to visit White House early next year

As Kurdistan referendum looms, Iraqi Christians redefine positions

The disappearing Christians of Iraq

Bahrain using violent tactic to repress dissidents amid West inaction: Amnesty

US coalition airstrikes endangering Syrian civilian population: UN

Russian military establishes 'de-confliction' zone in northern Syria

Iraqi army, allies to retake Hawijah from Daesh terrorists soon: Abadi

Prominent Bahraini human rights activist hospitalized with food poisoning

--------

South Asia

US concerned over violence in Myanmar

Bangladesh for peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis

US military apologizes for anti-Taliban leaflets containing offensive material

'And then they exploded': How Rohingya insurgents built support for assault

Taliban casualties toll rises to 78 amid ongoing operations in Kunduz

US angers Afghans with ‘offensive’ leaflet drop

7 killed as B’desh police raid extremist hideout

Poverty drives child soldiers into Afghanistan’s endless war

Pentagon awards new contract for Afghan Air Force worth over $1.3 billion

Suicide attack near Bagram airbase leaves four wounded

--------

Mideast

Iran will continue to support Syria in its anti-terror battle: Zarif

Islamic countries to form contact group for Rohingya crisis: Iran envoy

Turkish aid agency offers a lifeline to Rohingya Muslims

Israeli jets hit Syria army position in Hama Province, kill 2 soldiers

PLO slams Israel’s approval of 4,000 new settlements in East Jerusalem al-Quds

Erdogan compares anti-Turkey statements by Germany to ‘Nazism’

Turkish police kill would-be suicide bomber near police station

Nuclear deal allows Iran to become the next ‘North Korea,’ US envoy warns

Houthi spokesman calls on Yemen’s Saleh to implement 12 requests

Saudi warplanes attack civilian target in Yemen, kill five civilians

Netanyahu hails ‘tremendous change’ in boosted Israeli-Arab relations

Iran committed to JCPOA, will react to breaches: Rouhani

Rouhani calls on Myanmar to end ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims

Ankara reassured by EU foreign policy chief

--------

Africa

Kenya: Al-Shabaab beheads 4 people in coastal area

In eastern Somalia, US drone claims three lives

Cholera spreading among Nigeria’s IDPs

Tunisian PM declares cabinet reshuffle

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/the-world-must-do-more-against-terrorism--coas-gen-bajwa-at-52nd-defence-day-tribute/d/112460

--------

 

The world must do more against terrorism: COAS Gen Bajwa at 52nd Defence Day tribute

September 06, 2017

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa called on the world to "do more" against terrorism at a tribute to the martyrs of the 1965 war on Pakistan's 52nd Defence Day at General Headquarters on Wednesday.

"Despite all our efforts, our countless sacrifice and over decades of war, we are being told that we have not done enough against terrorism," the army chief said, referring to recent criticism by United States (US) President Donald Trump over Pakistan's alleged inaction against terrorist 'safe havens'.

"If Pakistan has not done enough in this war, then no country in the world has done anything," he asserted.

"Only Pakistan has seen this level of success with such limited resources. From Operation Sher Dil, to Rah-i-Rast, Rah-i-Nijat, Zarb-i-Azab and now Radd-ul-Fasaad, we have paid for each inch [of gains] with our blood."

"And now, I say that the world must do more."

"We don't want aid, we want your respect and confidence," the COAS said, responding to US claims that they had given "billions and billions of dollars" in aid to Pakistan. "Our actions and sacrifices should be appreciated."

"We will encourage actions by America and Nato that will bring peace to Afghanistan specifically and the region at large. But we also wish for our security concerns should also be resolved," he added.

"We have tried to help Afghanistan beyond our capabilities, but Afghanistan's war cannot be fought in Pakistan. We have made well-intentioned eforts for talks and peace in Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan is a self-sufficient country that is free to make its own decisions. If even today they veer towards war, then we cannot be a part of this war," the army chief maintained.

"We wish to have mutually respectful relations with all countries. If other countries cannot help us fight against terrorism then they should at least not hold us responsible for their own failings."

"Let us create a Pakistan where the use of strength is in accordance with the law and Constitution and is in the hands of the state."

"I would like tell misguided people that whatever you are doing is not jihad but fasaad. Your country and your people are being hurt the most by your actions," the army chief cautioned.

"Not only is the entire country paying the price of the fire of you have set, but our enemies are also taking advantage of the situation... A monopoly over violence should only be the prerogative of the state."

"We are keeping a close watch on the designs of our enemies especially as they attempt to destroy the peace in Balochistan," he cautioned.

"I would like to tell all anti-state elements that we are ready to combat their terrorism and malicious intentions. And whether we are Punjabi, Pathan, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Gilgiti or Balti, we are ready to sacrifice for Balochistan the way the sons of Balochistan have sacrificed for Pakistan. We have pride in the people of Balochistan who have rejected terrorism and separatism."

"Pakistan is a peace-loving country, and Pakistanis have, despite 40 continuous years of discord, retained their identity and unity. Larger countries with more resources than us have broken," he said.

"India should realise that the peaceful struggle of hundreds of thousands of youth in Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is in India's favour that they prioritise political and diplomatic solutions for sustainable resolution of the Kashmir issue instead of insulting Pakistan and using force against Kashmiris."

"Pakistan is a responsible nation. We did not bring nuclear weapons to South Asia. And even now these weapons are simply a guarantee of peace in answer to a neighbouring country which is high on power. It is this country which has brought unconventional war to the South Asian region," he said.

"Since 1971 Pakistan has remained a victim of terrorism. We have paid the price for the wars started by super powers in the form of terrorism, extremism and economic loss. We are abiding by our policy that we will not allow our soil to be used against any country, and expect the same of other countries."

"For our complete success in the war against terrorism, we need the nation's passion and cooperation," he told the audience.

"Although the army can end terrorism, to gain control over terrorism and extremism it is necessary that every citizen is a soldier of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad," he maintained.

He reminded the audience that the war against terrorism is also an ideological war.

"We are proud of both the green and the white of our flag. Our beliefs, our faith and our traditions don't need a stamp of approval from anyone. National unity is the need of the hour, and we will not tolerate anyone shaking our foundations on the basis of religious, sectarian or caste differences."

The army chief also paid tribute to Pakistan's martyrs and their families, and vowed to take the war against terrorism to its logical conclusion.

Former army chief Raheel Sharif was in attendance at the ceremony, alongside prominent politicians including Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, and Leader of the Opposition in the NA Khursheed Shah. Well-known athletes and entertainers were also present at the event.

Sheheryar Munawar, Sana Javed, Farooq Hassan and Sadia Afzal were among the celebrities hosting the event.

Singer Atif Aslam opened the ceremony with a patriotic song, as a video paying tribute to the armed forces played in the background.

A short film showing the families of martyred soldiers remembering their sons left members of the audience in tears. Activist and motivational speaker Muniba Mazari was among those who spoke at the ceremony.

Other entertainers also took the stage as the night progressed, and a series of short films and videos were shown to the audience.

Earlier today, Defence Day was commemorated with traditional fervour and solemnity across the country, beginning with special prayers for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

Change of guard ceremonies were held at the mausoleums of Allama Iqbal in Lahore and Quaid-i-Azam in Karachi, and a ceremony at the Pakistan Navy headquarters in Islamabad.

Former army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif reached Lahore's Miani Sahib graveyard, where he laid a floral wreath on the grave of his brother Maj Shabbir Sharif who lost his life during the 1971 war on Dec 6 in the Sulemanki Sector.

dawn.com/news/1356002/the-world-must-do-more-against-terrorism-coas-gen-bajwa-at-52nd-defence-day-tribute

--------

 

Indonesia’s Islamic Defenders Front hopes to deploy thousands to Myanmar to fight for the Rohingya

By Coconuts Yangon

Sep. 6, 2017

Officials from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), an Indonesian Islamist vigilante group that is notorious for hate crimes, say thousands of their members from across Indonesia have volunteered to travel to Rakhine State to fight for the Rohingya.

FPI spokesperson Slamet Maarif announced that 1,200 people volunteered to fight on behalf of the Rohingya in North Sumatra, plus 600 from Pasuruan, East Java, and 287 from Jakarta.

“So our members in seven areas have already opened up lists for volunteers to register, and now it is the duty of the FPI council to select which mujahideen (the Islamic term for one engaged in jihad) candidates we will dispatch,” Slamet said today as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

According to the FPI spokesperson, the group has four conditions for the registration of mujahideen volunteers: they must have their parents’ permission, be at least 21 years old, have “martial ability,” and be prepared to die in Rakhine State.

Slamet said registration for the first wave of volunteers would close on Wednesday, after which they will be dispatched. However, he did not say when the mujahideen would actually leave for Myanmar, as it would have to be coordinated with Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other countries.

The FPI representative also said that registration of volunteers was a form of Muslim solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Myanmar meant to make up for the absence of other meaningful action on behalf of the Rohingya.

“It means that if the international community’s armies cannot help our brothers there, we are ready to help. Whether in the form of humanitarian aid, assisting in negotiations or even, if we are ready, to take up arms,” Slamet said.

It remains highly unlikely that the Indonesian government will support thousands of FPI mujahideen in invading Myanmar. Furthermore, FPI estimates that it will cost between US$1,500 and US$2,300 to equip each volunteer and send them to Rakhine State. One FPI leader said he hoped a donor would finance the mission.

FPI are not the only people in Indonesia to be incensed by Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya. On Sunday, unidentified attackers threw a Molotov cocktail at the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta.

Today, thousands of Indonesians took to the streets in downtown Jakarta demanding an end to the violence against the Rohingya.

“I think this is not only a religion issue, but moreover a humanitarian issue. What is happening there is very cruel,” Tita Fatmawati, a teacher from nearby Bogor, told AFP.

A poster announcing the demonstration features a demonic Wirathu, a nationalist Buddhist monk who seen as is the spiritual leader of the anti-Muslim movement in Myanmar.

coconuts.co/yangon/news/indonesias-islamic-defenders-front-hopes-deploy-thousands-myanmar-fight-rohingya/

--------

 

Islamic State and low-tech terrorism in Russia

5 September, 2017

On August 19th in the city of Surgut, Russia, 19-year-old local Artur Gadzhiev, armed with a knife and an axe and wearing a fake suicide vest, injured seven people before being shot and killed by police. A video of his pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State surfaced shortly thereafter.

To western observers, this sort of low-tech terror attack is only too common. Many cities in Europe have seen individuals radicalised by the Islamic State use vehicles, hatchets and knives in various combinations to conduct rampages. While coordinated assaults involving explosives and firearms do still occur, the West has of late become more accustomed to the low-tech variety of mass murder by "home-grown" extremists.

This phenomenon is not technically new in transnational jihad. In 2010, for instance, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula published an article in its Inspire magazine entitled "The Ultimate Mowing Machine" on the subject of low-tech terror.

However, it was the Islamic State's then-spokesperson and head of its external operations branch Abu Muhammed al-Adnani who really breathed life into low-tech terrorism in a 2014 speech, urging followers to use any means at hand, including cars and knives, to inflict harm on disbelievers. It has since become the pervasive nightmare known throughout Europe today.

Curiously, this has not been the case in Russia. In fact, the attack in Surgut is the first Islamic State attack in Russia - completed or allegedly prevented - that did not involve firearms and explosives. The only similar prior Islamic State incident, in which two Chechens attacked traffic police in the city of Balashikha in August 2016 with axes, still involved a firearm.

Given the combination of complex and low-tech terrorism seen in the West, it is strange that Russia should be almost entirely devoid of the phenomenon.

The Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, reports it has become incredibly adept at preventing complex attacks and rounding up terrorist cells. FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov claimed in April that Russia had destroyed 46 "international terrorist cells" and prevented scores of attacks all across Russia.

The thwarted plans were apparently grand in scale and often involved coordinated attacks and Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, targeting large public gatherings, public transport or shopping centers. In nearly every prevented attack reported, IED components or laboratories have been discovered in raids along with firearms and other explosives.

Given the purported counterterrorism prowess of Russian security services and the successes in the West, it seems odd that not a single Russian has been inspired to vehicular terrorism or to use blades instead of firearms.

Not only would it be a way around FSB detection, but it would allow individuals who didn't know offhand how to build bombs or have access to guns, to wreak havoc as they have done, and continue to do, in the West.

The relationship between the Islamic State and Russia is a deeper rabbit hole than this discrepancy suggests.

For instance, the Russians have yet to officially acknowledge the attack in Surgut as terrorism, despite the Islamic State's claim of responsibility and the video demonstrating the allegiance of the attackers.

Even more surprising, at least four other attacks claimed by the Islamic State, including the axe assault in Balashikha, another on traffic police in Astrakhan, a shooting in Derbent in Dagestan, and a second knife attack on police in Dagestan last week were not investigated as terrorist incidents.

The cases were instead classified under other statutes in Russia's criminal code such as "attempt on the life of law enforcement officials" and "illegal possession of firearms and ammunition". Strikingly, the FSB claims to have foiled an attempted attack with a bladed weapon on August 31 after the suspect posted a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State online, and the attack is being investigated as a terrorism incident.

Inconsistencies in Russia's terrorism investigations might be an attempt to play down the extent to which the Islamic State has radicalised individuals or local groups, just as it occasionally plays up the significance of its counterterrorism successes.

By only referencing the Islamic State in thwarted attacks, the Kremlin can minimise the problem and continue talking about small groups and "psychiatric problems". Bangladesh, for instance, has a history of denying Islamic State attacks, instead blaming them on domestic organisations.

The Islamic State itself has added to the mess by claiming an attack in Khabarovsk in Russia's Far East, in which an attacker opened fire on the FSB headquarters, killing two. The FSB insists the attacker, Anton Konev, was in fact a member of the neo-Nazi group Stoltz Khabarovsk and had no connection to the Islamic State.

A study by Kyle Orton of the Henry Jackson Society, found that only 15 percent of attacks conducted by the Islamic State since 2002 have been true "lone wolf" attacks, while the rest were "either controlled or guided" by the group.

This pattern is likely to hold true in Russia as well, regardless of what the security services claim. Historically, too, the Islamic State is a much more reliable source of information on these claims than the FSB.

The fact that knives and cars are conspicuously absent from planned and completed attacks in a country overtly threatened by the Islamic State, especially given the plethora of radicalised individuals allegedly roaming the country and the capability of the FSB to thwart attacks, may simply be the result of Russia's long-standing insurgency throughout the North Caucasus.

This insurgency has bestowed a large cadre of radicals with the skills they need to carry out more complex attacks. On top of this, a massive foreign fighter contingent from Russia to Syria, estimated to be over 4,000, plus at least 5,000 from Central Asia, only adds to the number of individuals able to execute complex attacks.

The Islamic State may therefore be capitalising on this to urge and plan more impressive gestures, even if most are foiled. But with two stabbing attacks in as many weeks, this may be about to change.

Oved Lobel graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a bachelor's degree in Russian Language and Literature. He is currently completing his MA in Government, with a focus on diplomacy and conflict studies.

alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2017/9/6/islamic-state-and-low-tech-terrorism-in-russia

--------

 

Can We Have An Honest Conversation About Islam In American Politics?

By KIM JOHNSON & JAN ROSS PIEDAD

Sep 7, 2017

Why is Islam such a polarizing topic for many Americans? What is the connection between inflammatory political rhetoric and Islamophobia in the U.S.? What was it like for Muslim Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign, and have things changed post-election?

Students and faculty at Trinity started a summer research project last year asking the same questions. The inquiry led to over 170 interviews with a diverse spectrum of San Antonio residents about Islam-related rhetoric in politics.

Thursday night, these conversations and revelations will come to life in the form of a 70-minute one-act play.

The goal is to inspire honest dialogue by presenting an intimate, and perhaps at times, difficult examination of local perspectives on politics and Islam in America.

This production is made in partnership with Texas Public Radio's "Dare To Listen" campaign and the McNay Art Museum. For more information on event details, click here.

tpr.org/post/can-we-have-honest-conversation-about-islam-american-politics#stream/0

--------

 

 

India

India shares Myanmar’s concern over extremist violence, says Modi

Sep 7, 2017

NAY PYI TAW/NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday refused to join the chorus of criticism of the Myanmar government for its alleged mistreatment of Rohingyas and said that India empathises with Myanmar's concern over "extremist violence".

"Whether it is the larger peace process or finding a solution to a special issue, we hope that all stakeholders can work together towards finding a solution while respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar to ensure peace, justice and dignity for all," Modi said. "We fully appreciate the challenges you have been battling. We share your concern over the extremist violence in Rakhine state which has caused the loss of lives especially of security forces and innocents," said Modi in a statement issued with Myanmar's leader, state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. India said it shares Myanmar's concerns over "extremist violence" in the Rakhine state from where 125,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, with Modi urging all stakeholders to find a solution that respects the country's unity.

Modi's first bilateral visit here comes at a time when the Myanmarese government led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi is facing international pressure over the Rohingya Muslims who poured into Bangladesh in just two weeks after Myanmar's military launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state. The military offensive came after suspected Rohingya extremists launched a wave of attacks targeting military posts. Modi praised Suu Kyi for her leadership.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-shares-myanmars-concern-over-extremist-violence-says-modi/articleshow/60401121.cms

--------

 

Uniform code will hurt harmony, minorities argued to make a case for personal law

Vaibhav Purandare

Sep 7, 2017

A multi-community group in the Constituent Assembly that included a Dalit (B R Ambedkar), a devout Hindu (K M Munshi), a Parsi (Minoo Masani), a second-generation Sikh who converted to Christianity (Rajkumari Amrit Kaur) and a Gujarati Nagar Brahmin (Hansa Mehta) had hopes that a Uniform Civil Code would be incorporated in the Indian Constitution as a fundamental right and not merely as one of the non-justiciable Directive Principles of State Policy.

At the same time, another group, wholly Muslim, was determined to vigorously put forth its case for the exact opposite: it wanted personal laws to be treated as a fundamental right and therefore enforceable in any court of law. Soon after the Assembly started debating Ambedkar's Draft Constitution in November 1948, three amendments to the clause on the Code included in the Directives were tabled by five Muslim members — Mohammed Ismail Khan, Naziruddin Ahmad, Mahboob Ali Baig, B Pocker Sahib and KTM Ahmed — with a view to ensuring that no community would be made to give up its own laws if it didn't wish to. In what The Times of India of November 24, 1948, described as "a series of full-blooded speeches," these five (earlier part of the Muslim League Assembly Party), posing "as spokesmen of the minority community," denounced the provision of a common law as "tyrannical". Their refrain all through the impassioned debate was that if the British had not touched religious laws, especially those related to marriage and inheritance, "for 175 years," what was the need for the newly-independent Indian nation-state to do so?

One key argument they made was that Article 35 (related to the UCC) clashed with Article 19 that gave all citizens the right to practise religion and said if it were enacted, it would tantamount to "interfering" in the ways of living of communities. "The personal law was so much dear and near to certain religious communities," Mahboob Ali Baig said, and "as far as the Mussalmans are concerned, their laws of succession, inheritance, marriage and divorce are completely dependent on their religion." B Pocker Sahib said if these "religious rights and practices" were infringed upon, it would be "tyrannical."

Any uniformity in legislation would serve just one purpose, he stressed — it would "murder the consciences of people and make them feel they are being trampled upon." Mohammed Ismail Khan felt that though the Assembly's intention seemed to be "to secure harmony through uniformity," given the recent communal troubles and the Partition that India had gone through, it would actually "bring discontent" and hurt harmony. Agreeing with him fully, Naziruddin Ahmad warned of widening "misunderstanding and resentment" and echoed his co-religionist members' view that "what the British in 175 years failed to do or were afraid to do... we should not give power to the State to do all at once."

In a reply to a statement made by member M Ananthasayanam Ayyangar that marriage in Islam was in the nature of a contract, Baig underlined the primacy of religion, saying, "I know that very well, but this contract is enjoined on the Mussalmans by the Quran and if it is not followed, a marriage is not legal at all. For 1,350 years this law has been practised by Muslims and recognised by all authorities in all states. If today Mr Ayyangar is going to say that some other method of proving marriage is going to be introduced, we refuse to abide by it because it is not according to our religion. It is not according to the code laid down for us for all times." B Pocker Sahib sought to expand the ambit of the argument, saying that many Hindu groups too had objected to a common law and had used "stronger language" against it. But even if the majority community was in favour of Article 35, he emphasised, it had to be "condemned" because the majority could not ride roughshod over minority rights but had a duty "to secure the sacred rights of every minority."

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uniform-code-will-hurt-harmony-minorities-argued-to-make-a-case-for-personal-law/articleshow/60401219.cms

--------

 

Protests foment against massacre of Rohingya people

SEPTEMBER 06, 2017

Juma mosques in State to hold special prayers tomorrow

Two Sunni groups that constitute a major chunk of the Muslim population in the State have decried the systematic killing of Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.

Led by Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliar and K. Alikutty Musliar respectively, both the groups have chalked out a series of mass protests against the carnage.

All India Jamiyyathul Ulama general secretary Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliar described the massacre of Rohingya Muslims as a shame on humanity. He said the silence of global powers and international agencies that are signatories of different pacts on refugees was saddening.

“India’s decision to deport Rohingya refugees, who lived in our country for many years is even more saddening. Sending those refugees back to Myanmar is as good as throwing them out for execution,” said Mr. Kanthapuram, demanding that the Centre review its stand on the refugees.

Mr. Kanthapuram also condemned the attack on Rohingya Muslim families at Faridabad, Haryana, on the eve of Bakrid. He asked the authorities to initiate action against the guilty. He called upon the Muslim community to express their solidarity with the suffering brethren of Rohingya.

The Sunni youth wing, SYS, will take out rallies across the district on Friday in protest against the killings.

Special prayers

The Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, headquartered at Chelari, has called for special prayers for the Rohingya community during Friday Juma. Most Juma mosques across the State will conduct special prayers for the suffering people on Friday.

In a joint statement here on Wednesday, Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ualama president Sayed Mohammed Jifri Muthukoya Thangal and secretary Alikutty Musliar called upon nations not to turn a blind eye to the killings. “The world should intervene immediately to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of stateless people in Rohingya,” they said.

Full report at:

thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/protests-foment-against-massacre-of-rohingya-people/article19631226.ece

--------

 

Hurriyat insider nails brass for terror funding, to turn approver

Sep 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: Even as top Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik plan to stage a sit-in protest at the NIA headquarters here on September 9 and court arrest in J&K terror-funding probe, the investigation agency has achieved a breakthrough by getting one of the arrested accused in the case to record a confessional statement before a magistrate nailing the alleged role of the Hurriyat brass in channelising money sourced from Pakistan into subversive activities in J&K.

The statement has been recorded under Section 164 of CrPC, making it admissible in court. According to sources, the Hurriyat `insider' who agreed to turn `approver' has revealed how top Kashmiri separatists allegedly further agenda of Pakistan-based forces to keep the militancy fires burning in Kashmir.

The modus operandi includes receiving funds from Pakistani sources, including ISI, and routing them through Kashmiris having business interests in the Gulf.

The funds are channelised into Kashmir by the hawala route or through bank accounts of Kashmiri businessmen, before they reach Hurriyat.

The Hurriyat leaders, in turn, pass them on to terror commanders operating in J&K through trusted conduits. Not all of these funds reach the intended beneficiaries and a portion is allegedly pocketed by the Hurriyat brass, which NIA says explains the prime properties and real estate amassed by them over the years.

NIA says it has a strong case against the Hurriyat brass supported not only by the confessional statement of an arrested accused nailing their terror funding link but also electronic trail of their communication confirming disbursal of terror funds to stone-pelters through trusted

NIA has, so far, arrested eight Hurriyat men in the J&K terror funding case. It first arrested seven in July - Altaf Ahmad Shah 'Funtoosh' Geelani, son in law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani; Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Geelani's close aide and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesman; Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, former Hizbul Mujahideen militant who organises stone pelting/processions allegedly on instructions of Geelani; Peer Saifullah, key Tehreek-e-Hurriyat member often seen at Geelani's residence; Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesperson of moderate Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq; Nayeem Khan, a close aide of Shabir Shah who was later arrested by ED; and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias 'Bitta Karate', a former JKLF militant. The eighth arrest - that of prominent Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali - was made last month. NIA recovered a diary during raids at Watali's premises that reportedly records payments of alleged terror funds to top Hurriyat leaders

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hurriyat-insider-nails-brass-for-terror-funding-to-turn-approver/articleshow/60401004.cms

--------

 

Manmohan Singh's pledge to Jama Masjid Imam under HC Lens

Raghav Ohri

Sep 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s personal “assurance” to the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid in October 2004 that the mosque would not be declared a protected monument has come under Delhi High Court’s scanner. A protected monument cannot be used for meetings, receptions, parties, conferences or entertainment programmes except with special permission from the Centre.

Seeking to inquire into what led to Singh writing a letter to the Shahi Imam and UPA-1’s decision that the mosque will not be declared a protected monument, the High Court has summoned the entire record of the communication.

This is for the first time that the Delhi High Court has summoned the entire record from the Ministry of Culture, regarding the decision. The ministry has been directed to produce the original file in the court pertaining to the decision. The order passed by the Delhi High Court also specifically mentions the letter Sigh wrote to Shahi Imam on October 20, 2004.

The court’s directions were passed during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by one Suhail Ahmed Khan who has demanded that the masjid be declared a protected monument.

Referring to Singh’s letter, advocate Devinder Pal Singh, counsel for the petitioner, contended that Singh’s letter is clear evidence of the fact that the Congress had returned the favour to Imam who had announced support in favour of the Congress for the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

The counsel for Shahi Imam objected to this contention arguing that an attempt was being made to give it a political colour.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/manmohan-singhs-pledge-to-jama-masjid-imam-under-hc-lens/articleshow/60402836.cms

--------

 

Pakistan army chief slams US, India; says will continue to support Kashmir

Shailaja Neelakantan

Sep 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: Days after the BRICS declaration condemning Pakistan-based terror groups, the country's army chief Qamar Bajwa said Pakistan would "continue to extend political, moral, and diplomatic support for Kashmiris' right to self-determination", reported Pakistani media.

Bajwa said, on the one hand, that "Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan", and then on the other hand, that Pakistan would continue to support the people of the northern Indian state.

His comments came days after India issued a demarche to Pakistan over the infiltration of a group of Pakistan-based terrorists from the Jaish-e-Muhammed who killed eight security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district last month. The Jaish-e-Muhammed was one of the terror groups the BRICS countries named.

Still, Bajwa said Pakistan will continue to support Kashmir.

"India should realise that the peaceful struggle of hundreds of thousands of youth in Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is in India's favour that they prioritise political and diplomatic solutions for sustainable resolution of the Kashmir issue instead of insulting Pakistan and using force against Kashmiris," said Bajwa, in an address on Pakistan's Defence Day.

The Pakistan army chief then said, referring to India, that "a neighbouring country...is high on power". He also blamed India for going nuclear.

"Pakistan is a responsible nation. We did not bring nuclear weapons to South Asia. And even now these weapons are simply a guarantee of peace in answer to a neighbouring country which is high on power. It is this country which has brought unconventional war to the South Asian region," said Bajwa.

His tirade came two days after BRICS countries, in a first, named and shamed Pakistan-based terror groups in a 'declaration' at their annual summit. Pakistan has lately been at the receiving end of global condemnation. The BRICS declaration came after the US last month castigated Islamabad for providing "safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror."

The Pakistan army chief criticised the US, without naming it, for saying Pakistan isn't doing enough to fight terrorism. Pakistan, he said, has done more than any country in the fight against terrorism.

"Despite all our efforts, our countless sacrifice and over decades of war, we are being told that we have not done enough against terrorism. If Pakistan has not done enough in this war, then no country in the world has done anything," said Bajwa.

"We don't want aid, we want your respect and confidence," said Bajwa in a clear reference to US President Donald Trump's statement last month that the US had given "billions and billions of dollars" in aid to Pakistan.

Trump had threatened to cut off that aid.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-army-chief-slams-us-india-says-will-continue-to-support-kashmir/articleshow/60402572.cms

--------

 

Terror funding: NIA conducts raids in Delhi, Srinagar

Bharti Jain

Sep 6, 2017

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted searches at 27 locations in Srinagar and Delhi, including residential and business premises of traders and hawala operators whose names have cropped up during its investigation into the J&K terror funding and cross-LoC-trade cases.

NIA said the raids at 20 locations in Srinagar and 7 in Delhi, which continued through the day, led to the recovery of cash worth almost Rs 2.20 crore, apart from incriminating documents pertaining to financial transactions connected with cross-LoC trade as well as large number of digital devices including laptops, mobile phones and hard disks. Also, the diaries of traders and hawala operators containing their contacts and ledger books containing accounts of cross-border trade, were seized.

The traders subjected to the raids are alleged to have channelised funds to fuel trouble in the Valley by under-invoicing imports from across the border/LoC. NIA on Wednesday said the houses and business establishments of traders based in Srinagar and Mumbai were being searched till late in the evening.

"The traders, many of them based in Delhi, were allegedly under-invoicing cross-LoC imports and channelising the extra funds to fuel protests and unrest in the Valley, particularly in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. NIA had collected some papers from the trade facilitation centres of J&K last year and after examining them, found a mismatch in invoicing of goods, which led its sleuths to probe if the differential amount was being diverted to separatists to fund mob violence in the Valley," an NIA officer told TOI.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/terror-funding-nia-conducts-raids-in-delhi-srinagar/articleshow/60396109.cms

--------

 

Muslim artistes from Indonesia to stage Ram Leela in Ayodhya

Sep 06, 2017

Setting an example of communal harmony, a team of 12 Muslim artistes from Indonesia is set to stage Ram Leela at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University on the outskirts of Ayodhya.

An initiative of Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan, the programme will be organised at Swami Vivekanand auditorium of the university at 12.30 pm on September 15.

Director, Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan, Dr YP Singh said the artistes would also stage Ram Leela at Lucknow on September 13.

“The programme is a part of cultural exchange promotion policy of the Indian Council for Cultural Relation (ICCR) and Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan. Both the institutions work towards connecting the Indian culture that is dispersed globally,” he said.

“With financial support from ICCR, Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan organises Ram Leela by foreign artistes every year. Last year, artistes from Cambodia had presented Ram Leela at Ayodhya. An Ayodhya-based NGO Shri Saryu Avadh Balak Seva Samiti is supporting the programme,” Singh said.

Vice-chancellor of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University Prof Manoj Dixit said though the Ram Leela was an annual affair, it was for the first time that the programme, which reflected the global extension of Indian culture, was being organised at an educational institution.

“It will give an opportunity to academicians and scholars of the university to enhance the knowledge of the culture of Indian sub-continent,” he said.

“It will be a new experience for the people of Ayodhya and nearby areas as the programme is being presented by artistes from a country which has 86.10% Muslim population,” Prof Dixit said.

Asheesh Mishra, a local organiser who represents Shri Saryu Avadh Balak Seva Samiti, said Ayodhya was a major centre of religious harmony.

Full report at:

hindustantimes.com/lucknow/muslim-artistes-from-indonesia-to-stage-ram-leela-in-ayodhya/story-1y1nqC1ftIzcOHfUG1d3jM.html

--------

 

Hindu-Muslim couple move HC alleging harassment by Bajrang Dal activists, Nagpur police

By Vivek Deshpande

September 7, 2017

A Hindu-Muslim couple moved Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court alleging harassment by Bajrang Dal activist and Nagpur police despite having a legal marriage on August 17. A bench comprising Justice Vasanti Naik and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar has issued notices to Nagpur police and Principle Secretary (Home) and asked them to submit their replies within seven days.

The petitioner, Mohammad Arif Dosani, a resident of Vasmath in Hingoli district, has alleged in his petition that his marriage with Monica Ingle, now Aayat after conversion, had entered into wedlock following love-affair but the police officers from Imamwada police station PSI Amol Jadhav and PI Ramakant Dhurve constantly harassed them as well as his relatives at the instance of Bajrang Dal men, who had gheraoed the police station on September 1 calling the marriage as love jihad. The petitioner also alleged that the police would barge in the house of his aunt Akida Dosani, a resident of Hasanbagh locality of the city and brother-in-law Zakir Mohammad, a resident of Pinjar in Akola district and sought to harass them over the marriage.

Full report at:

indianexpress.com/article/india/hindu-muslim-couple-move-bombay-hc-alleging-harassment-by-bajrang-dal-activists-nagpur-police4832298/

--------

Pakistan

 

World's role sought to end Muslims’ plight

September 07, 2017

HAFIZABAD-Federal Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar has condemned the atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and sought international community’s role to solve the issue.

Talking to workers of Pakistan Muslim League-N at Hafizabad, she called upon International community to play their vital role to rid the Muslims of oppression and massacre. She said that Pakistani nation was supporting the oppressed Muslims.

Meanwhile, she said that present government was committed to eliminating polio disease completely from the country and special polio drives were continue in different parts of the country for this purpose. She said that government was taking result-oriented measures for provision of better healthcare facilities to the people at their doorsteps. She said that government would achieve the target of polio free Pakistan soon.

Three days anti-polio campaign would be launched in the district from 18th to 20th of this month, said the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Marzia Hussnain Changazi while addressing a meeting of District Anti-Polio Committee Hafizabad. The meeting was informed that 486 teams consisting of health workers have been constituted for administrating vaccine of Anti-Polio to more than two lace and six thousand children of the district while 87 Area incharge and 42 Zonal Supervisors would monitor the drive.

Marzia Changazi said that anti-polio teams would ensure to give drops of polio vaccine to hundred percent children of the district during the campaign. She said that called upon members of committee, social workers, parents, teachers, councilors, staff of revenue and police departments, religious scholars and civil society to cooperate with health workers to make the camping successful for making Pakistan polio free country completely. In view of reports of World Health Organization and other monitoring organizations, strict and punitive action would be initiated against work shirkers, negligent and those officers and officials showing poor performance, she warned.

nation.com.pk/national/07-Sep-2017/world-s-role-sought-to-end-muslims-plight

--------

 

Pakistan must change its approach to terrorism, says US

Anwar Iqbal

September 07, 2017

WASHINGTON: While encouraging members of the BRICS alliance to continue playing a constructive role in stabilising the world, the United States reminded Pakistan on Wednesday that it “must change its approach” to terrorism.

At a recent meeting leaders of members of the alliance — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — called for an immediate end to violence in Afghanistan.

For the first time, BRICS termed militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan a regional security concern and called for their patrons to be held to account.

“We encourage the BRICS Forum to contribute constructively to global governance and stability,” said a spokesperson for the US State Department when asked to comment on the BRICS statement.

The US official also welcomed BRICS’ condemnation of North Korea’s recent nuclear test and then reminded Pakistan of the need to fight all militant groups operating in the South Asian region, including those that Washington claims are based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

“As the (Trump) administration has said, Pakistan must change its approach. We look to the Pakistani government to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region,” the State Department added.

The groups mentioned in the BRICS statement included the Afghan Tali­ban, militant Islamic State group, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Teh­reek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Hizbut Tahrir.

Full report at:

dawn.com/news/1356118/pakistan-must-change-its-approach-to-terrorism-says-us

--------

 

Pakistan is not a terrorist haven, says defense minister

7 September 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has rejected claims that it harbors militant groups responsible for terrorism and extremism in South Asia.

Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir said there were no militant havens in Pakistan, and claimed that 40 percent of Afghanistan was controlled by terrorists. “Pakistan has taken action against all groups on its soil and only the remnants of some are left,” he said.

The minister was responding to a statement on regional security concerns issued on Monday at the BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, attended by delegates from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The statement identified several militant groups responsible for terrorism, and said some were based in Pakistan. Aside from the Taliban, they included the Haqqani network, considered a principal threat to US efforts to restore stability in Afghanistan; Jaish-e-Mohammad, a militant group fighting Indian forces in Kashmir; and Lashkar-e-Taiba, accused of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism, said foreign ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria. “Many terrorist groups based in the region, some in Afghanistan, such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and its associates like Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group from TTP, have been responsible for extreme acts of violence against Pakistani people.”

Zakaria said Pakistan supported the BRICS statement on “the presence of groups like Daesh, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan operating from ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan, which pose a threat to peace and security in the region.”

He said Pakistan was concerned “at the rise of extremist ideologies and intolerance in the region, encouraging social stratification and systematic targeting of minorities.”

An intelligence official, speaking to Arab News on condition of anonymity, dismissed the BRICS statement. “With an ongoing security operation, Rudd-ul Fassad, eliminating existing and potential threats, how can we be backing the same elements we are fighting? Share information if you believe the terrorists are here and we’ll take you to those locations.”

Pakistan provides the locations of terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan, but neither the Afghans nor the Americans act on the information, the official said. “Nearly every drone strike conducted by the US was shared, supported and approved by us because it’s our common goal to fight terrorists, but it’s not in their interest to go after militants harming our interest.” He said the international community had double standards and was trying to isolate Pakistan.

Indian foreign ministry official Preeti Saran said the phrasing of the declaration was a “very important development,” which recognized that the world could not have double standards when dealing with militant attacks.

“You cannot have good and bad terrorists, and it is a collective action,” she said. “Members of the BRICS countries have themselves been victims of terrorism, and I would say that what has come of today acknowledges the fact that we must work collectively in handling this.”

The BRICS declaration identifies “the same militants that the UN Security Council has declared a cause of concern for regional stability,” said foreign policy analyst Tariq Peerzada. “Pakistan is already concerned but will remain unaffected by this statement, which uses the word violence rather than terrorism to describe the militant activity.”

Full report at:

arabnews.com/node/1156996/world

--------

 

Pakistan offers Afghanistan all-out help to ensure peace

07-Sep-17

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is ready to work with Afghanistan in all fields including political, economic, trade and transit and security for the progress and prosperity of both the countries, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told his Afghan counterpart on Wednesday.

Asif spoke with Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani over the phone, informing him that Islamabad attaches great importance to its relationship with its western neighbour, according to a statement released by the Foreign Office.

Asif also underlined Pakistan’s support for the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process for bringing lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, the communiqué added.

They also agreed to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York later this month.

A day earlier, Pakistan’s envoys posted in key world capitals began consultations to prepare recommendations for the government to deal with the situation evolving in the wake of the new Afghan strategy the US President Donald Trump announced last month.

The conference was inaugurated by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who outlined the government’s approach on the Afghan situation. “The only viable option [for peace] is an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he added.

Many analysts agree that Trump administration may resort to tough measures – including political, diplomatic, economic and even military – to persuade Pakistan to stop its alleged support to groups including the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network.

Pakistan civil and military authorities as well as the parliament have unanimously rejected the allegations and reminded the US of its ‘enormous sacrifices’ in the fight against terrorism. The National Assembly and Senate in their resolutions even called for using the option of blocking the crucial supply lines Pakistan provide to the US and other foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/07-Sep-17/pakistan-offers-afghanistan-all-out-help-to-ensure-peace

--------

 

BRICS declaration signifies no change in policy towards Pakistan: Chinese ambassador

Naveed Siddiqui

September 07, 2017

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong on Wednesday assured Pakistan that nothing new has been demanded of it with respect to the recently-adopted BRICS declaration against terrorist groups.

The leaders of the five emerging market powers — Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa — named militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan, including the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-i-Taiba, as a regional security concern for the first time on Monday and called for their patrons to be held to account.

"The BRICS declaration mentioned organisations which are already banned," Weidong observed, adding, "There has been no change in Chinese policy regarding Pakistan."

Praising Pakistan's efforts against terrorism, Weidong said that China fully supports Pakistan's stance on terrorism. "Pakistan and China are in constant contact regarding regional challenges." he said.

Full report at:

dawn.com/news/1356065/brics-declaration-signifies-no-change-in-policy-towards-pakistan-chinese-ambassador

--------

 

Protest against killings of Rohingya Muslims

September 07, 2017

KARACHI - Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) on Wednesday staged a protest demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) to condemn massacre of Muslims by Myanmar‘s forces.

The speakers on the occasion urged the United Nation, human rights organizations to take effective steps for the protection of Rohingya Muslims and also demanded the PML-Nawaz ruling government to play its role in this regard.

PSP leaders including Waseem Aftab, Ashfaq Mangi and others were present on the occasion while PPP delegation led by Najmi Alam, PTI Imran Ismail, JUP leader Moulana Mohammad Israr, Burmi Bangali Committee representatives and others also attended the protest demonstration.

Addressing the participants of the protest demonstration, the speakers called upon the Muslims countries to take notice of the Buddhists‘ atrocities on Rohingya Muslim. They said that it is unfortunate that Rohingya Muslims were being killed and human rights organisation and international community had kept criminal silence on the matter.

The Speakers said that Myanmar‘s army was committing crimes against humanity and bloodshed in Myanmar had shocked the entire nation. UN should take immediate action to end this massacre, they demanded.

Further condemning the killing of Muslims, The speakers said that the Buddhists had no sympathies for mankind and were shedding the blood of innocent people. The Muslim Ummah across the world should stand up to protest against the genocide of Muslims and put pressure on United Nation to resolve matter.

JI URGES GOVT TO INVOLVE

REGIONAL POWERS

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chief Engr Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman has demanded of the government to approach the government of China to use its influence Myanmar so as to provide some relief to the affected Muslims of Myanmar.

Addressing a party meeting of office bearers at the JI Karachi headquarters Idara Noor-e-Haq, he said that the genocide of Muslims in Rohangia, Myanmar is unacceptable. It is the obligation of the entire Umma to raise its voice and support the oppressed Muslims in Myanmar. He said that the JI’s march in Karachi against the government of Myanmar would help highlighting the issue in media. He further said that unfortunately, no strong voice is being raised in the favor of oppressed Rohangia Muslims. We are trying to awake the international human rights institutions as well as the international powers, he said.

Engr. Naeem held the Britain responsible for the crises, saying that the British rulers purposely created the issue while they were leaving the sub continent. He said that since 1946, 14 army operations have been carried out against the Muslims in Myanmar.  He stressed the need of unity among Muslim Umma so as to protect vulnerable Muslim communities across the world.  JI leaders Dr. Usama Razi, Birjees Ahmed, Burmese Muslim Leader Abdul Rasheed and others also addressed the meeting.

KCCI CONDEMNS KILLINGS

The leadership of Businessmen Group and Office Bearers of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has strongly condemned the atrocities being once again committed against the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar (Burma).

In a statement, Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG and Former Presidents Tahir Khaliq, Zubair Motiwala, Haroon Farooki and Anjum Nisar, President KCCI, Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Senior Vice President KCCI Asif Nisar, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Younus Soomro and KCCI Managing Committee members, while expressing deep concern over widespread killings of Muslims in Myanmar, said that killings and persecution of Muslims in such a brutal manner is blatant violation of fundamental humanitarian principles.

They urged the Pakistani government to utilise diplomatic channels and vocally raise voice against the genocide of innocent Muslims in Myanmar.

BMG leadership and KCCI office bearers also urged the international community, particularly the United Nations and other international human rights organisations, to effectively pressurise the Burmese government for ending the massacre and take steps against the barbaric killings of Muslim in Myanmar as the situation was likely to fuel hatred.

They said that the growing crisis threatens Myanmar’s diplomatic relations Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia and many other Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia where there is profound public anger over the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims.

The Business and Industrial community of Karachi is totally shocked and deeply saddened to see the ongoing violence against the Rohingya Muslims and the situation calls for effective measures to prevent the recurrence of such violence against the Muslim minority, they added.

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/karachi/07-Sep-2017/protest-against-killings-of-rohingya-muslims

--------

 

Two suspects 'linked to Izhar attackers' arrested in Balochistan

September 07, 2017

Two people allegedly associated with the Ansar-ul-Shariah Pakistan (ASP) group tied to the attack on Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khwaja Izharul Hasan were arrested in Balochistan on Wednesday, a security official told DawnNews.

According to the official, the suspects were identified as Professor Mushtaq a teacher at the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) who was arrested in Quetta and Mufti Habibullah, who was arrested in Pishin district.

According to initial reports, Mushtaq allegedly ran an educational institute in Karachi, while Habibullah ran seminaries in Karachi and Hyderabad. They were allegedly involved in the brainwashing of students they came into contact with in Karachi.

They have been shifted to an undisclosed location, the official said.

Full report at:

dawn.com/news/1356022/two-suspects-linked-to-izhar-attackers-arrested-in-balochistan

--------

 

A.D. Khowaja to continue serving as Sindh police chief, rules SHC

Shafi Baloch

September 07, 2017

The Sindh High Court (SHC) ruled on Thursday that A.D. Khowaja will continue functioning as the provincial police chief, bringing to an end the legal wrangling between civil rights campaigners and the Sindh government over the IGP's posting.

The court in its judgement restored Inspector General Police (IGP) Khowaja's powers of transfers and postings within the police department. The Sindh government had in June withdrawn Khowaja's powers to decide the transfers and postings of senior police officials in the province.

The SHC ordered the provincial government to legislate in order to equip the IGP with the powers of transfers and postings.

In its short order, the bench dismissed the notification for removal of Khowaja from the IGP post, ruling that the provincial government could not remove an IGP without any justification.

The court also made it mandatory for the government to follow the judgement in the Anita Turab case under which an IGP could not be removed from his post before three years of his appointment.

Currently, IGP Khowaja was holding his office on a stay order granted by the SHC during the hearing of a set of petitions challenging the Sindh government's move to replace him.

Tug of war between Khowaja, Sindh govt

The provincial government and IGP Khowaja have been in a tug of war since last year, with one of the main bones of contention between them being the transfer and posting of police officials.

Headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, a two-judge bench had on May 30 reserved the verdict on a set of petitions against the government’s move to replace Khowaja after hearing final arguments from the petitioners’ lawyer and the provincial government’s chief law officer, Dawn newspaper reported.

The provincial government’s decision to remove Khowaja from his post had been seen by some as the PPP’s strategy for the upcoming general election.

In April, the Sindh government had sent Khowaja packing after it appointed another Grade-21 police officer, Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti, already working in the province, in his place.

The Sindh government had said it was “surrendering” Khowaja’s services to the federal government and appointed Additional IG Dasti as the IGP till “appointment/posting of [a] regular incumbent by the Establishment Division”.

However, the SHC on April 3 suspended the provincial government’s notification for Khowaja’s removal.

The Sindh government alleged that the petition being heard by the court was filed in collusion by the original petitioner, IGP Khowaja and the federal government “to show the provincial government in a bad light”.

During the hearings of the petitions, IGP Khowaja offered to leave his post, telling the SHC through his counsel that doing his job had become increasingly difficult under the current circumstances as he has been facing increasing hostility from political quarters, with the provincial government keen to send him packing as soon as possible.

However, the SHC refused to let Khowaja relinquish his post and maintained its stay on his removal till it deliberates the matter.

Earlier in December 2016, the IGP was sent on “forced leave” by the provincial government.

Civil rights campaigners moved the SHC against the decision and subsequently the SHC restrained the Sindh government from sending him on forced leave.

According to the petitioners, the IGP was sent on a “forced leave” on Dec 19 because the Sindh government was “unhappy” with him over several issues relating to the recruitment of constables and suspension of police officers.

Full report at:

dawn.com/news/1356172/ad-khowaja-to-continue-serving-as-sindh-police-chief-rules-shc

--------

 

Presence of terrorists' in Afghanistan causing problems for Pakistan: Aizaz

September 07, 2017

Pakistan's Ambassador to United States Aizaz Chaudhry has urged Afghanistan to cooperate with Pakistan for addressing the issue of terrorism, reported Radio Pakistan.   

Talking to PTV, he said Pakistan wants help and support of Afghanistan and the United States to  wipe out the  menace of terrorism and maintain peace in the region.      

He ruled out presence of terrorists' safe havens on the soil of Pakistan and said that terrorists' presence in Afghanistan is causing problems for Pakistan.

nation.com.pk/national/07-Sep-2017/presence-of-terrorists-in-afghanistan-causing-problems-for-pakistan-aizaz

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Putrajaya applies to strike out suit against Zakir Naik

Muzliza Mustafa

7 Sep 2017

THE hearing of a civil case against the government and preacher Dr Zakir Naik has been postponed to September 21 after a last-minute application by Putrajaya to strike out the suit yesterday.

Judge Azizah Nawawi made the decision today after receiving the notification yesterday. Both parties will now appear before the judge in chambers on September 21.

“I have not seen the application made by the government through the Attorney-General’s Chambers. But they say they are going to argue on points of law,” said lawyer S. Karthigesan, who is appearing for the plaintiffs.

He, however, questioned why it took Putrajaya so long to decide on attempting to strike out the suit.

“Why now after six months? We filed the case in March. They filed to strike it out just as the case was about to be heard,”  said Karthigesan.

In March, 19 Malaysians initiated legal proceedings against Putrajaya and four others to get a court order to declare preacher Zakir a threat to national security.

The plaintiffs are lawyers, human rights activists, businessmen and also former deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P. Waytha Moorthy, the chairman of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

Others include activist Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Sabah STAR (Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku) president Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and lawyer Siti Zabedah Kassim.

They are applying to the High Court to get a declaration that Zakir is a threat to public order, morals, the economy, social harmony and national education.

The plaintiffs are also seeking a court order to revoke Zakir’s permanent residency in Malaysia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi confirmed in April that the controversial Muslim preacher has been granted permanent resident status in Malaysia.

It was also reported that the Indian government had revoked the passport of the Islamic preacher, rendering him stateless.

Zakir’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was declared an unlawful organisation by India in November last year and a Mumbai court issued a non-bailable warrant against him in April.

He is accused of inciting terrorism through his speeches and teachings.

In Malaysia, however, Muslim rights group, Perkasa, is supportive of Zakir. Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali and several of his members were at the Jalan Duta court today to follow the hearing.

Perkasa, earlier through their lawyer Adnan Seman, submitted two legal points in its bid to be interveners in the suit – Zakir was not named as party in the legal suit and Section 59A of the Immigration Act which states that the court will not intervene in the decision made by Immigration unless there is violation in procedural process.

Ibrahim said Perkasa was merely upholding justice which is the responsibility of Muslims.

“Not once, after watching Zakir or listening to his speeches, do I believe that he promotes extremism. 

“He is a Muslim preacher who is highly regarded in Malaysia, who has received a Maal Hijrah award from the Agong and also other awards from other countries, including Saudi Arabia,” said Ibrahim.

He also chided Putrajaya for its failure to file an application to strike out the case immediately after it was filed in March.

He added that Zakir’s problem was between him and India.

“We are not questioning laws in India, but we are championing Muslims who are being oppressed in Kashmir,” Ibrahim added. – September 7, 2017.

themalaysianinsight.com/s/13787/

--------

 

Myanmar flag burned by Muslim protesters in Jakarta

September 7, 2017

Muslim protesters set fire to a Myanmar flag outside the Myanmar Embassy in Central Jakarta on Wednesday during a demonstration urging an end to violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

After the flag was burned, the protesters threw rocks and mineral water bottles at the embassy and the police assigned to guard the embassy.

The protesters also attempted to get through barbed wire.

The heated condition de-escalated after the protesters chanted shalawat (devotional songs), kompas.com reported.

Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Suyudi Ario Seto said the police tried to maintain a peaceful atmosphere during the protest.

Full report at:

thejakartapost.com/news/2017/09/07/myanmar-flag-burned-by-muslim-protesters-in-jakarta.html

--------

 

Indonesian school a launchpad for child fighters in Syria's Islamic State

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017

SUKAJAYA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Hatf Saiful Rasul was 11 years old when he told his father, a convicted Islamic militant, that he wanted to leave school and go to Syria to fight for Islamic State.

The boy was visiting his father in a maximum security prison during a break from Ibnu Mas‘ud, his Islamic boarding school, Syaiful Anam said in a 12,000 word essay on his son and religion that was published online.

“At first, I did not respond and considered it just a child’s joke,” he wrote. “But it became different when Hatf stated his willingness over and over.”

Hatf told his father some of his friends and teachers from Ibnu Mas‘ud had gone to fight for Islamic State and “become martyrs there”, Anam wrote.

Anam agreed to let him go, noting in his essay that the school was managed by “comrades who share our ideology”. Hatf traveled to Syria with a group of relatives in 2015, joining a group of French fighters. Reuters spoke to three Indonesian counter-terrorism officials who confirmed the boy went to Syria.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and most of its people practice a moderate form of Islam. But there has been a recent resurgence in militancy and authorities believe Islamic State has more than 1,200 followers in Indonesia while about 500 Indonesians have left to join the group in Syria.

Drawing on court documents, registration filings and interviews with counter-terrorism police and former militants, Reuters has found that Hatf was one of at least 12 people from Ibnu Mas‘ud who went to the Middle East to fight for IS or attempted to go there between 2013 and 2016.  

Eight were teachers, four were students.

At least another 18 people linked to the school have been convicted, or are now under arrest, for militant plots and attacks in Indonesia, include the three deadliest attacks in the country in the past 20 months, according to counter-terrorism police and trial documents of convicted militants.

For details, click here: tmsnrt.rs/2wDwgPD

Jumadi, a spokesman for Ibnu Mas‘ud, denied the school supported IS or any other militant Islamist group, or taught any extreme or ultra-violent interpretation of Islam.

Ibnu Mas‘ud is one of about 30,000 Islamic boarding schools, or pesantren, across Indonesia. Most educate students in Islam and other subjects, but a handful are linked to extremism and act as centers for recruitment, Indonesian police and government officials say.

“NOT OUR DOMAIN”

Ibnu Mas‘ud has been in existence for a decade, despite its links to militants.

Irfan Idris, the head of deradicalization at Indonesia’s national counter-terrorism agency, blamed weak laws and bureaucracy for the lack of action against such schools.

“Basically, it’s not our domain, it’s the religious ministry,” he told Reuters. “We have informed the ministry that you have a problem with Ibnu Mas‘ud.”

Asked about the school’s links to militants and why it had not been shut down, Kamaruddin Amin, the director general of Islamic education at Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, said: “Ibnu Mas‘ud never registered as a pesantren.”

Jumadi confirmed the school was not registered with the ministry.

The local government, Amin added, “had requested an explanation regarding the status of their study but did not get a response.”

Jumadi confirmed recent discussions with local government officials about the school’s teaching. “We have no curriculum,” he said, a reference to the emphasis on teaching the Koran.

“We’re focused on the tahfiz, on memorizing the Koran, and the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad),” he said. “We teach students about the Arabic language, about faith and the history of Islam.”

Jumadi said Hatf studied at Ibnu Mas‘ud but he did not know the circumstances of his leaving. He said he was unaware of any staff or students traveling to Syria to join IS, other than three teachers and one student detained in Singapore last year.

Mustanah, a former student deported from Iraq in August, has told police several ex-students from Ibnu Mas‘ud had traveled to Syria, two counter-terrorism officials told Reuters.

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Salak, a dormant volcano, in the village of Sukajaya, 90 km (55 miles) south of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, Ibnu Mas‘ud is a ramshackle complex of classrooms, dormitories and prayer rooms that hosts up to 200 students from elementary school to junior high.

A Reuters team entered the school in June but was not allowed to tour the premises and was eventually asked to leave.

Inside a mosque that forms part of the complex, young boys dressed in Arabic tunics and skull caps could be seen sitting in a circle holding their Korans, smiling and fidgeting as they waited for their lessons. In a courtyard, young girls were scampering about. They looked no older than five or six and were wearing headscarves.

“FIGHTING FOR THE RELIGION”

In a video viewed by Reuters but later taken down from Youtube, principal Masyahadi outlines the institution’s adherence to Salafism, an ultra-conservative brand of Sunni Islam that urges followers to emulate the lives of the earliest disciples of Mohammad and embrace sharia law.

“Ibnu Mas‘ud ensures that Muslim children are preoccupied with efforts to understand their religion correctly so they become a generation that understands the religion and will fight for the religion,” he says.

Asked if fighting for the religion included taking up arms, Jumadi, the spokesman, said “it would need further discussion to answer that question” before declining to elaborate further.

According to documents presented in court, Ibnu Mas‘ud was founded in 2007 in Depok, a Jakarta satellite town, by Aman Abdurrahman, a jailed cleric and Indonesia’s leading Islamist ideologue.

The deed of establishment of the foundation that runs Ibnu Mas‘ud lists three people among its executives who were jailed with Abdurrahman for setting up a militant training base in the Indonesian province of Aceh in 2009.

Sofyan Tsauri, a former militant who said he has made donations to the school, told Reuters Ibnu Mas‘ud “was for the children of Ikhwan (Islamic fighters)” to study while also serving as the hub of safehouses for Islamist fugitives.

Dulmatin, who had a $10 million bounty on his head for taking part in a 2002 bombing on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in which 202 people were killed, prayed at Ibnu Mas‘ud while he was on the run, according to court documents related to the Aceh trials of Abdurrahman and the three foundation executives. Dulmatin was killed by police in 2010.

After the trials, Ibnu Mas‘ud moved from Depok in 2010 but it ran into problems at its current location as well when a teacher tried to set fire to bunting celebrating Indonesia’s independence day on August 17.

The incident was confirmed by police and local villagers.

People in the area were already suspicious about activities at the school, village chief Wahyudin Sumardi said.

“Every time there was a terrorist incident elsewhere, the authorities would come,” he told Reuters in July. “I‘m not comfortable with the whole situation.”

After complaints by villagers, local authorities have asked Ibnu Mas‘ud to leave by September 17, but Jumadi said this week that the school was negotiating to stay.

The school may look for a new location if forced to move, he said.

“MERRY LITTLE MUJAHID”

Pesantren have deep roots in Indonesia, harking back centuries, when they were the main form of education for most poor and rural people.

Even as Indonesia’s education system modernized and state-run secular schools were introduced, the overwhelmingly private Islamic boarding schools remain important.

Amin, at Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, told Reuters in July that the ministry was working on a new policy to standardize the curriculum in pesantren and assume control of their approval. No policies have yet been announced.

Anam, Hatf’s father, told Reuters in handwritten comments in response to questions during a court hearing in Jakarta in July that he was proud of his son.

Photos viewed by Reuters, which Anam said were taken in Syria and posted on social media by Hatf, showed the boy at a meal with older men and one in which the fresh-faced youngster is holding an AK-47 rifle almost as big as himself.

Hatf could disassemble the rifle in 32 seconds, Anam wrote.

He was also issued “a 9mm handgun, 2 hand grenades, a commando knife and compass.”

By his father’s account, citing messages sent by his son, Hatf survived one air strike, flying through the air from the force of an explosion and emerging with only a bloody ear and hearing loss.

On September 1, two months short of his 13th birthday, Hatf was hit by another air strike. Shortly thereafter, the death of three Indonesians near the Syrian city of Jarabulus was announced by IS.

The “merry little mujahid” was dead, wrote Anam in his essay, “his tattered little body crushed by the bomb”.

Full report at:

reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-militants-school-insight/indonesian-school-a-launchpad-for-child-fighters-in-syrias-islamic-state-idUSKCN1BI0A7

--------

 

Rioting video sparks anti-Muslim rage among China’s internet users

Sep 06, 2017

Chinese internet users bombarded government social media accounts Wednesday with thousands of anti-Islamic messages in response to unverified videos showing rioting involving Muslims.

Online attacks on Chinese Muslim minorities have surged in recent years, with commenters directing angry screeds at both the Hui and the Uighur minority groups in the country’s north and far west.

The alleged row that triggered the latest flood of invective took place in the city of Tangshan in northern China’s Hebei province on Monday.

According to unconfirmed reports, a group of Hui protesters clashed with police who were carrying shields and wearing uniforms that suggested they were part of a SWAT team, according to online videos.

In the clips filmed at night, the protesters appeared to punch their arms in the air, point their fingers and tell police to “kneel down”.

It was unclear whether one of the protesters threw a rock at the police, as was alleged in a report by the state-run Global Times.

The newspaper also quoted a Tangshan government employee as saying that “someone was beaten”, without giving further details.

In response to the reports, Chinese internet users directed a flood of abuse at the official social media account of the city’s public security bureau, accusing them of putting the interests of Muslims over those of the majority Han ethnic group.

“How can people ignore the law and police fail to act? What kind of place is this for Han Chinese? It is for minorities only!” one commenter wrote.

The commenters accused authorities of being overly lenient toward “violent” Muslim minorities and demanded swift punishment, in remarks that remained visible on Wednesday.

But elsewhere, searches for the term “Muslim Tangshan” and related phrases were blocked, with a message stating that the content violated community guidelines.

Calls to the Tangshan public security bureau went unanswered Wednesday.

In recent months, Chinese netizens have expressed fury over a variety of reports that they claim show preferential treatment for Muslims.

In July, an announcement by a popular food delivery app that it would start offering halal packaging provoked an explosive reaction from Internet users who complained of “positive discrimination”.

But the situation of Chinese Muslims is precarious, with Uighurs in particular coming under increasingly strict curbs on their religious freedoms following a series of deadly attacks across the country.

Northern China’s Hui Muslims, however, are mostly free to practise their religion.

Full report at:

hindustantimes.com/world-news/rioting-video-sparks-anti-muslim-rage-among-china-s-internet-users/story-VzHPcWSSvmR8yyzvjotSkK.html

--------

 

Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand must take lead in pushing for solution to Rohingya issue

By AINA NASA

September 6, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand must take the lead in pushing for a solution to the Rohingya issue in Myanmar, as they are currently the most active countries responding to the crisis, say foreign policy analysts.

Failure to do could potentially escalate the crisis into a bigger problem, such as those involving militants threatening the security of the region.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Malaysian and International Studies deputy director Dr Sufian Jusoh said the issue should not only be viewed as a humanitarian crisis, but a potential security crisis that is increasingly prevalent in a borderless world.

“The region as well as the international community must look at different angles of this crisis, including keeping an eye on Rohingya who take up arms and receive support from their compatriots in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other countries,” he told the New Straits Times.

The money network already exists among terror groups, he said, so it is possible for the Rakhine State to be used as another terror breeding ground on the sentiment of going against the Myanmar government.

Sufian said the Rohingya militant attack on government forces was tantamount to a terror attack committed without direct provocation. He however conceded that denial of basic human rights and decades-long lack of acknowledgement of the Rohingya people as Myanmar citizens could be seen as provocation by the government.

Myanmar security forces have launched a bloody operation on Rohingya villages, which began on Aug 25. The attacks have reportedly claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent Rohingya living in the Rakhine State.

“Indonesia has been very good in engaging with the Myanmar government on the issue after their foreign minister met with Aung San Suu Kyi recently.

“Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand need to step up their diplomatic approach and continue active engagement with the Myanmar government,” he said.

Universiti Utara Malaysia associate professor of International Affairs Dr Muhammad Fuad Othman said the recruitment of Rohingya in terror activities is always a possibility, but no apparent signs such as bombings have occurred.

“Even so, do not push people to the wall. The Rohingya have been fugitives for economic and humanitarian reasons and hopefully they will not resort to violence and terrorism.

“As of now, they are being neglected by everybody,” he said.

Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia vice-president Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Shamsudin said Malaysia, as a dominantly Muslim country, needs to be more proactive in taking action against the atrocities committed.

He suggested that relevant authorities reexamine the resolution adopted by the ‘Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the Situation of the Rohingya Muslim Minority in Myanmar’ on Jan 19 this year.

Full report at:

nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/09/276888/malaysia-indonesia-thailand-must-take-lead-pushing-solution-rohingya

--------

 

Police nab suspects involved in Kota Damansara petrol bomb attack

September 7, 2017

PETALING JAYA, Sept 7    Police have arrested two suspects believed to be involved in the petrol bomb attack at a pub in Kota Damansara.

Petaling Jaya police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Zani Che Din said the duo, in their 30s, were picked up from an undisclosed location here at 5.30pm on Tuesday.

“We can confirm the motive for the attack was a business feud. That is our angle of investigation now,” he said.

He said the motive was made known after further questioning the owner of the premises.

Police had believed that the attack was made by an extortion gang after the owner had claimed earlier that he had been threatened in the past.

“We believe the previous threats were also over business feud,” he said.

Mohd Zani said the two suspects have been remanded for four days to facilitate investigations.

On Monday, two unidentified men in their 30s were seen tossing the petrol bombs at the entrance of Club DK on the first floor of the Encorp Strand Garden Office around 4pm.

The suspects threw two improvised explosives — plastic bottles filled with petrol and a firecracker attached to them.

One ignited and struck a worker while another did not explode.

The suspects fled in a car but their act was captured by video surveillance cameras.

Full report at:

themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/petrol-bomb-attack-suspects-nabbed#hT0zTIXp2foVMp7t.97

--------

 

Thousands of Muslims protest outside Myanmar embassy

September 6, 2017

Thousands of Muslims protested outside the Myanmar embassy in Central Jakarta on Wednesday demanding an end to violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

The demonstrators, many in white Islamic robes and skullcaps, walked through the capital’s streets to converge outside the embassy in downtown Jakarta.

Persecution of the Rohingya, reviled as illegal immigrants and mostly denied citizenship in Myanmar, has been a lightning rod for anger in Indonesia and across the Muslim world.

Protesters shouting "God is greater" and holding banners that read "Stop killing Muslim Rohingyas" gathered to condemn the worsening humanitarian situation in Rakhine state.

"I think this is not only a religion issue, but moreover a humanitarian issue. What is happening there is very cruel," Tita Fatmawati, a teacher from Bogor, West Java, told AFP.

About 6,000 armed police and military officers were deployed to guard the embassy, which was cordoned off behind barbed wire, Jakarta's police spokesman told AFP.

Authorities have been on alert since Sunday after a molotov cocktail was thrown at the embassy.

Nearly 125,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have crossed the border to Bangladesh in recent weeks, fleeing a security sweep by Myanmar forces who have been torching villages in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on August 25.

Full report at:

thejakartapost.com/news/2017/09/06/-thousands-of-muslims-protest-outside-myanmar-embassy.html

--------

 

Europe

 

Islamophobia holding back UK Muslims in workplace, study finds

7 September 2017

Muslim men and women are being held back in the workplace by widespread Islamophobia, racism and discrimination, according to a study which finds that Muslim adults are far less likely to be in full-time work.

Research for the government’s social mobility watchdog, shared exclusively with the Guardian, found a strong work ethic and high resilience among Muslims that resulted in impressive results in education.

However, that was not translated into the workplace, with only 6% of Muslims breaking through into professional jobs, compared with 10% of the overall population in England and Wales.

The study found 19.8% of Muslims aged 16-to-74 were in full-time employment, compared with 34.9% of the overall population.

The research also found evidence of women being encouraged by their communities to focus on marriage and motherhood rather than gaining employment. Overall, 18% of Muslim women aged 16 to 74 were recorded as “looking after home and family”, compared with 6% of the overall female population.

Academics cited a number of barriers to success, including:

Students face stereotyping and low expectations from teachers and a lack of Muslim staff or other role models in the classroom.

Minority ethnic-sounding names reduce the likelihood of people being offered an interview.

Young Muslims routinely fear becoming targets of bullying and harassment and feel forced to work “10 times as hard” as their white counterparts to get on.

Women wearing headscarfs face particular discrimination once entering the workplace.

Alan Milburn, the former cabinet minister who now heads the government-sponsored Social Mobility Commission, said the research painted a disturbing picture.

“The British social mobility promise is that hard work will be rewarded. Unfortunately, for many young Muslims in Britain today this promise is being broken,” he said.

Calling for action by the government, communities, educators and employers, Milburn said: “Young Muslims themselves identify cultural barriers in their communities and discrimination in the education system and labour market as some of the principal obstacles that stand in their way. Young Muslim women face a specific challenge to maintain their identity while seeking to succeed in modern Britain.”

Prof Jacqueline Stevenson, of Sheffield Hallam University, which led the research, said: “Muslims are being excluded, discriminated against or failed at all stages of their transition from education to employment. Taken together, these contributory factors have profound implications for social mobility.”

Stevenson told the Guardian that the research highlighted routine examples of Muslim men and women failing to secure jobs that were commensurate with their skills and qualifications.

The research involved a series of in-depth focus groups across the country through which young Muslims shared their experiences. One woman in Liverpool said her father had suggested “changing her name to help get a job.

A female respondent in High Wycombe referred to hearing comments such as “he looked very Muslim” or “look at her, she’s got a scarf on”. Another said they felt that when white children went to school they might fear getting bullied but the thought would occur to all ethnic-minority children.

Farhana Ghaffar, a 25-year-old Muslim woman who acted as a researcher for the study, said she was “incredibly shocked” by the findings. “It ranged from assumptions that they were forced to wear the headscarf to jokes and casual comments in workplace about Muslims. Or every time there was a terror attack there was a feeling of a need to apologise and explain,” she said.

Ghaffar talked of difficulties within the workplace, including a culture of drinking alcohol that Muslims were unable to participate in.

Raised in London by parents who were economic migrants from Pakistan, Ghaffar said she had been strongly supported by her teachers and then at university, but the research often painted a different picture.

The research aimed to build on a previous report by the commission that found children of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin outperformed other ethnic groups in education but were much less likely to enter managerial or professional jobs. This study aimed to explain what was causing the trend through more in-depth focus groups and statistical analysis.

Another government-backed report, by Dame Louise Casey, previously raised the alarm over a lack of social integration in the UK.

theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/07/islamophobia-holding-back-uk-muslims-in-workplace-study-finds

--------

 

Top EU court rules eastern states must take refugees

September 06, 2017

“Time to work in unity and implement solidarity in full.”

The European Union’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that EU states must take in a share of refugees who reach Europe, dismissing complaints by Slovakia and Hungary and reigniting an angry row between east and west.

The government of Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Victor Orban was characteristically blunt about the European Court of Justice, calling its decision to uphold an EU policy drafted in the heat of the 2015 migrant crisis as “appalling” and denouncing a political “rape of European law and values”.

EU-MigrantsHowever, Germany, which took in the bulk of over a million people who landed in Greece two years ago, said it expected the formerly communist states, including Poland, which supported the complaint, to now fall in line and accept the ruling that the Union is entitled to impose quotas of asylum-seekers on states.

The Luxembourg-based ECJ rejected the Hungarian and Slovak claims that it was illegal for Brussels to order them to take in hundreds of mainly Muslim refugees from Syria, which they said threatened the security and stability of their societies.

“The mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate,” the court said in statement.

Italy, now the main destination for migrants risking the Mediterranean crossing, is prominent among wealthier, Western states in threatening their eastern neighbours with cutting their EU subsidies if they do show solidarity by taking people in. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he would still not take a quota but was ready to help in other ways.

A sharp decline in numbers arriving, partly a result of the effective closure of routes from Turkey to Greece and from Greece into Macedonia and towards northern Europe, has taken some of the heat out of the arguments and diplomats expect the EU executive, the European Commission, to propose new ideas.

The eurosceptic AfD party, which expects to win seats in the Berlin parliament at a national election on September 24, criticised the court ruling as proof that unelected “Brussels bureaucrats” were imposing on states – though in fact the Commission’s quota policy was backed by a majority of the member state governments.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos tweeted: “Time to work in unity and implement solidarity in full.”

‘Appalling and irresponsible’

Calling the court ruling ”appalling and irresponsible“, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said: ”This decision jeopardises the security and future of all of Europe.

“Politics has raped European law and values.”

EU asylum law states that people arriving in the bloc should claim asylum in the first member state they enter but that rule was exposed as unworkable when hundreds of thousands arrived in economically struggling Greece and Italy. Arguments over what to do struck at the heart of the Union’s cooperation and chaotic movements of people saw member states try to seal borders with each other, dealing a heavy blow to a key EU achievement.

The migration crisis came at a time of deep soul-searching about the Union’s future and some questioned its survival.

However, a drop in migrant numbers, to which cooperation on tightening the common external border has contributed, as well as an economic upturn and election defeats for anti-immigrant parties has steadied nerves in Brussels, despite the difficulty posed by Britain’s vote last year to exit the bloc.

The programme provided for the relocation of up to 120,000 people from Greece and Italy, but less than 30,000 have so far been moved, partly through difficulties in identifying suitable candidates. A further programme for resettling people directly from outside the EU has also struggled to hit targets.

Hungary and Poland have refused to host a single person under the 2015 sharing scheme, while Slovakia and the Czech Republic have each taken in only a dozen or so.

While the EU has sought in vain to come up with a compromise, the court ruling may just force Brussels’ hand.

Full report at:

dhakatribune.com/world/2017/09/06/top-eu-court-rules-eastern-states-must-take-refugees/

--------

 

Hungarian PM Orban: ‘The Islamization of Europe Is Real’

6 Sep 2017

In a powerful address this week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that Hungary’s “fiercest opponents” do not come from within but from abroad, and that Europe is falling victim to “Islamization.”

In his annual address to the Civic Picnic in Kötcse over the weekend, Orbán reiterated his opposition to heavy-handed outside influence in Hungarian affairs, as well as his conviction that Europeans have not yet come to grips with the real threat posed by Islam.

Citing studies which suggest that more than 60 million migrants will depart from Africa towards Europe during the next 20 years, increasing Western Europe’s Islamic population to above 20 percent by 2030, Orbán stated: “The Islamization of Europe is real,” whereas in China or the United States “it doesn’t stand a chance.”

Orbán has vigorously opposed the European Union’s imposition of migrant quotas on individual member states, insisting that such questions are matters of national sovereignty and must be decided by each country and its people.

This past June, Orbán expressed his opposition to transferring any further decision-making authority to Brussels, especially regarding areas that touch directly on Hungarian sovereignty, such as immigration, the fixing of taxes and wages, and Hungary’s border fence.

In his critique of “the Brussels bureaucrats,” he insisted that he is not “anti-Europe” but wishes merely to halt the EU’s creeping arrogation of further powers to itself and to maintain the current relationship as it is.

“So when we say, ‘Stop, no further,’ we’re simply defending the status quo,” he said.

“Hungarian voters have made it clear that they don’t wish to delegate this power to Brussels, and we wish to decide on who we should live alongside,” he added.

In July, the Prime Minister claimed that the European Union has embraced migration plans designed by left-wing billionaire George Soros to bring in a million migrants per year.

According to Orbán, many European leaders agree with Hungary’s immigration policy on migration but are afraid to say so publicly. He also said that due to the recent surge of migration into Italy, the southern European nation may soon join Hungary and others in looking to secure their national borders.

In this weekend’s address, Orbán played up Hungary’s achievements in the years since he took office, asserting that “thanks to the achievements of the last seven years, Hungary plays a central role in the region,” something it hadn’t done since 1920.

Full report at:

breitbart.com/london/2017/09/06/hungarian-pm-orban-the-islamization-of-europe-is-real/

--------

 

Tribunal upholds ban on UK school director accused of promoting Islamist teaching

Paul Peachey

September 6, 2017

A former schools director accused of orchestrating a plot to promote hardline Islamist religious teaching in British schools has lost his appeal against a government ban on holding leadership roles in mainstream education.

Tahir Alam was identified as a central figure in the so-called Trojan Horse affair, an alleged attempt to oust head teachers and introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into some schools in the city of Birmingham.

Mr Alam was banned from a management position at any independent school after the government found that he had undermined “fundamental British values”. Mr Alam, a former director of Park View Educational Trust which ran three schools in the city, was held responsible for inviting extremist speakers to address pupils, the use of unacceptable teaching materials and promoting intolerance, according to a Government notice.

Mr Alam appealed the ruling this year backed by £20,000 of public donations and a legal team working for free on his case. But a tribunal found against him in June in a ruling that was withheld from publication because of the “sensitivity of the evidence”, according to a government spokesman. Officials have declined to release the full conclusions of the tribunal to The National.

Mr Alam – who has worked in education for 20 years - laid out plans of how state schools should meet the needs of an estimated 400,000 Muslim pupils in a paper published by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in 2007, which included recommendations on foreign language teaching, collective religious worship and the nature of the curriculum. The Muslim Brotherhood played an important role in setting up and running the MCB, according to a report on the Brotherhood’s role in Britain ordered by then prime minister David Cameron in 2015.

Mr Alam says that he has been unjustly vilified by attempting to raise school standards by encouraging parents to hold leaders of failing schools to account in Birmingham. He will lodge an appeal in the next week, according to his lawyer. “He’s very much determined to pursue it to the highest court possible,” said the solicitor Talha Ahmad.

The affair was sparked by a letter leaked to a local authority which described Mr Alam as the prime mover in a five-point strategy to take over a number of schools in Birmingham by promoting like-minded parents on to governing bodies and to push out existing head teachers.

A succession of inquiries failed to discover who sent the letter in 2014 but the affair sparked a political furore, including a public dispute between two senior ministers in the government of David Cameron over who was to blame for failing to address extremism in UK schools.

A government-appointed inquiry found no evidence of terrorism or radicalisation at schools in Birmingham but concluded that there were people in positions of influence who “espouse, endorse or fail to challenge extremist views,” said Peter Clarke, who headed one government-appointed inquiry.

His inquiry was passed details of a social media group known as the “Park View Brotherhood” that included senior teaching staff from the schools under investigation. The all-male group’s discussions included “highly offensive” comments about British troops, disparagement of different strands of Islam and scepticism about the truth of reports surrounding the death of Lee Rigby, a British soldier run over and stabbed to death by two radicalised Britons in southeast London in 2013.

“The numerous endorsements of hyperlinks to extremist speakers betray a collective mind-set that can fairly be described as an intolerant Islamist approach that denies the validity of alternative beliefs, lifestyles and value systems, including within Islam itself,” according to Mr Clarke’s 2015 report.

Mr Alam is only the second person to face lasting sanctions as a result of the inquiry. Five senior teachers who faced accusations of professional misconduct had the cases against them dropped because of flaws in the process earlier this year.

Two lifetime bans on teachers from one of the schools, Park View, were also overturned last year by the courts because of procedural failures in their case. The continuing fallout from the affair has raised questions that the education system remains ill-prepared to deal with similar allegations of such hard-line takeovers of schools.

A unit aimed at identifying extremism in schools was expanded after a 2015 government review found that education officials lacked “inquisitiveness” on issues relating to the infiltration by outside interests. Senior teaching sources told The National that they were not satisfied that adequate steps had been taken.

Ofsted inspected more than 20 schools in the city as a result of the allegations. The schools once under the control of the Park View Educational Trust were taken over by another schools group in 2015.

One of the schools, renamed as Rockwood Academy, launched a series of initiatives including an army cadet unit to “instil British pride in students and prevent them from being radicalised”, according to the school’s website.

Full report at:

thenational.ae/world/europe/tribunal-upholds-ban-on-uk-school-director-accused-of-promoting-islamist-teaching-1.626216

--------

 

Spain and Morocco arrest six suspected of practicing beheadings

6 September 2017

Spanish and Moroccan police have arrested five Moroccans and one Spaniard suspected of belonging to an extremist militant cell that simulated decapitations, the Spanish interior ministry said on Wednesday.

The arrests mark the first big raids since a double extremist attack in Catalonia in August that killed 16 people, most of whom were mown down by a van in Barcelona.

The cell was at an advanced stage of activity, the ministry said. It did not say whether those arrested were men or women.

The group held secret night meetings at which they planned large-scale attacks, and carried out physical training sessions in which they simulated cutting off victims’ heads, the ministry said.

Five of the arrested were Moroccan, one with Spanish residence rights. One was Spanish of Moroccan heritage. One was arrested in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, and the rest in Morocco.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/09/06/Spain-and-Morocco-arrest-six-suspected-of-practicing-beheadings.html

--------

 

French police arrest 2 over bomb-making materials

06 September 2017

Two people were arrested by French police on Wednesday after officers discovered materials which could be used to make explosives in an apartment in Villejuif, a commune in the southern suburbs of Paris.

The counter-terrorism section of the Paris public prosecutor's office said in a statement it took charge of the investigation with the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) without giving any further details.

The tenant of the apartment and a friend of his were arrested in a bar near the apartment, according to French broadcaster BFMTV.

Local media also shared footage from the flat showing gas bottles and other components which could be used to make explosives.

Full report at:

worldbulletin.net/europe/193719/french-police-arrest-2-over-bomb-making-materials

--------

 

North America

 

Taliban attacks US Afghan base in retaliation for US leaflets

By Jamie Crawford

September 6, 2017

Washington (CNN)A US citizen was wounded Wednesday following an apparent suicide attack at an entrance gate to Bagram Air Base in northern Afghanistan, US military officials tell CNN.

According to the officials, the attacker was riding a motorcycle and did not make it past any checkpoints.

Bagram District Governor Abdul Shukoor Qudosi told CNN the attacker detonated his explosives at the main entrance of the base, targeting truck suppliers.

It was not clear if the wounded US citizen was a military servicemember or a contractor.

"The explosion resulted in a small number of casualties. The casualties are being treated at Bagram medical facilities," US Forces Afghanistan said in a statement. The statement also said: "Bagram Airfield is secure and the incident is being investigated."

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message to media, saying it was carried out as revenge for leaflets distributed by US-led NATO forces in the area on Tuesday.

US forces apologized for dropping a leaflet in northern Afghanistan Tuesday depicting a dog with a Koranic verse across its body -- a highly offensive image to Muslims.

The leaflet was a call to Afghans to help security forces fight terrorist groups operating in that part of the country.

"On September 5, US forces conducted a leaflet drop in Parwan Province. The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam," Maj. Gen. James Linder, who heads US and NATO special forces in Afghanistan, said in a written statement. "I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide."

"There is no excuse for this mistake," Linder also said in the statement. "I am reviewing our procedures to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable. Furthermore, I will make appropriate changes so this never happens again."

The attack comes just weeks after President Donald Trump announced that the US would expand its presence and remain in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of a security vacuum in the country.

"The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable," Trump said during a nationally televised speech last month at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

Last week, the Pentagon announced there were 2,600 more US troops in Afghanistan than previously disclosed publicly due to a change in its accounting procedures, bringing the total up to approximately 11,000 troops from the previously announced number of 8,400.

While US and coalition casualties have fallen in recent years since the Afghan government assumed responsibility for combat operations in 2014, there have still been incidents that resulted in US fatalities or injuries.

Last month, an attack on a NATO mission convoy in Kandahar resulted in the deaths of two US service members. And in June, seven US service members were wounded in an insider attack at Camp Shaheen in northern Afghanistan.

Earlier in June, three US soldiers were killed, and another wounded during a joint US-Afghan military operation in Afghanistan's Achin district. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.

As they have taken the lead for combat operations in their country, Afghan soldiers have also lost many of their own in combat operations.

Dozens of Afghan soldiers were killed last month during a Taliban attack on an army camp in Kandahar province.

US forces in Afghanistan serve under two primary missions -- the most being assigned to train and advise Afghan security forces along with approximately 6,000 troops from other NATO countries involved in the mission.

The remainder of those US forces carry out counterterrorism missions against al Qaeda and ISIS affiliated groups operating inside Afghanistan and other militants.

US military bases and facility throughout the world are also on high alert with the upcoming anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

edition.cnn.com/2017/09/06/politics/taliban-attacks-afghan-retaliation-us-leaflets/index.html

--------

 

Trump Could Finally Be Forced To Take Action Against White Supremacists—Thanks To Republicans

By Jason Le Miere

9/6/17

President Donald Trump could finally be forced to unilaterally condemn and take action against white supremacist hate groups following last month’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. And it could end up being two Republicans who help force the president’s hand.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan resolution was introduced to the Senate condemning white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups, and calling upon the Trump administration to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups. In addition to Democratic Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, the resolution gained the sponsorship of two Republicans—Cory Gardner of Colorado and Georgia’s Johnny Isakson. As a joint resolution, it would, if it is passed by both chambers, be sent to Trump to sign into law, effectively backing the president into a corner.

One person was killed and 19 others injured when a car, allegedly driven by a white supremacist, was driven into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Trump sparked widespread criticism when he initially blamed the violence on “hatred. Bigotry and violence—on many sides.”

Two days later, following the backlash, he amended his statement to specifically call out those behind the racist violence and to condemn the hate groups by name. But the following day, in a wild, unscripted press conference, he backtracked, claiming that there were “very fine people on both sides” and equating the white supremacists with those protesting them.

Trump’s comments earned strong rebukes, including from members of his own party—notably those who introduced the resolution Wednesday. Gardner was one of the few Republicans to address Trump explicitly when tweeting: ”Mr. President—we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”

Isakson, meanwhile, said: “If something that rises to that level of horror takes place, it should be expeditiously and quickly addressed by the leader of that country.”

Despite showing no hesitation to label attacks by individuals professing extremist Islamic ideology as “terrorism,” Trump made no such designation for the attack in Charlottesville. The new Senate resolution specifically describes the incident as a “domestic terrorist attack.”

It also would require the administration to use all available resources to tackle white supremacist hate groups, something Trump has shown an unwillingness to do. For one, several high-profile white supremacists, including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, have supported Trump and cheered his response to Charlottesville.

Full report at:

newsweek.com/trump-charlottesville-white-supremacists-republicans-660661

--------

 

US authorizes sending 3,500 more soldiers to Afghanistan: US official

Sep 7, 2017

The United States has authorized deployment of 3,500 additional troops to war battered Afghanistan.

A US official confirmed to Reuters that Defense Secretary James Mattis has ordered the deployment while the Pentagon said it would not make any announcement until the general speaks out.

The Pentagon chief had reportedly sought to dispatch about 3,900 troops.

Known as “Mad Dog,” the general was awaiting the new presidential strategy before making a decision for Afghanistan.

Recently, the US military officially acknowledged that there are some 2,600 more troops in Afghanistan than the 8,400 previously reported. The additional forces would join the 11,000 troops already in the country.

In an executive order issued back in February, US President Donald Trump tasked Mattis with devising an Afghan strategy that was expected to be delivered in mid-July, but the timeline has reportedly been thrown off by the president’s demand for revisions. The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, and overthrew the Taliban regime. But US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Trump.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/07/534291/US-sending-3500-troops-to-Afghanistan

--------

 

US apologizes for Afghanistan leaflets that offended Muslims

September 6, 2017

A U.S. commander on Wednesday apologized for leaflets dropped in Afghanistan that were deemed offensive to Islam.

The leaflets dropped Monday night, which encouraged Afghans to cooperate with security forces, included an image of a dog carrying the Taliban flag, said Shah Wali Shahid, the deputy governor of Parwan province. The flag has Islamic verses inscribed on it, and dogs are seen as unclean in much of the Muslim world.

“Local people are very upset with this incident, and they want the perpetrators brought to justice,” Shahid said, adding that demonstrations were expected across the province.

Maj. Gen. James Linder apologized, acknowledging in a statement that “the design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.” He offered his “sincerest apologies for this error.”

Full report at:

indianexpress.com/article/world/us-apologizes-for-afghanistan-leaflets-that-offended-muslims-4831158/

--------

 

How Muslim Americans are fighting Islamophobia and securing their civil rights

SEP 7, 2017

The past year has been a difficult one for American Muslims.

According to a July 2017 Pew survey, 48 percent of Muslims report experiencing at least one incident of discrimination in the past 12 months. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and other Muslim advocacy organizations found these trends were particularly intense during the 2016 campaigns and the early months of the Trump presidency.

And while the survey shows that Americans report warmer feelings toward Muslims today than they did in 2014, Muslims continue to be the most negatively rated religious group — followed closely by atheists. In fact, about half of Americans (49 percent) believe that at least “some” Muslim Americans are anti-American.

As a scholar of religion and politics, I’ve studied how U.S. Muslim advocacy organizations have advanced their community’s integration in America. Their work reminds us that minorities in the U.S. are still struggling for civil rights.

Islamophobia in politics

Spikes in anti-Muslim sentiments and hate crimes appear to correlate with elections cycles. This is not a coincidence. In recent years, politicians have increasingly relied on anti-Muslim rhetoric to mobilize voters. What was once considered unacceptable discourse by members of both parties has gradually been normalized, particularly among Republican candidates.

During the 2016 presidential primaries, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz called for law enforcement to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.” Ben Carson claimed that Islam was incompatible with the Constitution. And former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned that some immigrants were trying to “change our fundamental culture and values and set up their own.”

Then, candidate Donald Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Many critics consider that statement the basis for his January 27 executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim majority countries.

Muslim Americans are responding through organizations that represent their interests, and are increasingly visible, engaged and assertive. At the grassroots level, their presence is seen through the work of activists like Linda Sarsour, a co-sponsor of the 2017 Women’s March. At the policy level, Muslim advocacy organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations also work to advance the community’s legislative agenda.

Advocating for Muslim Americans

There are an estimated 3.35 million Muslims in the U.S. A majority of them, 58 percent, are first-generation Americans who arrived in the U.S. after the passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. As these immigrants began to settle in the U.S., they established institutions. In fact, most Muslim advocacy groups were founded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but gained prominence in the post-9/11 era.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the more recently established U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations are among the largest at the national level.

By working on behalf of one of the most stigmatized religious minority groups, Muslim advocacy organizations aspire to uphold the most cherished of American ideals and values: liberty, equality and the inalienable rights of all citizens. They aim to make U.S. Muslims agents of their own narratives, fostering their civic engagement and strengthening the social fabric of our nation.

Muslim American advocacy today

For years, these organizations have encouraged and registered Muslim citizens to vote. More recently, they’ve begun encouraging them to run for office. These efforts are significant because many Muslims are not registered to vote, and only 44 percent of those who are voted during the 2016 elections.

Muslim advocacy organizations are also actively bringing their community’s concerns to the attention of elected officials. Some of their most recent lobbying efforts include calling on the House and Senate to support two bills. The No Religious Registry Act of 2017 (H.R. 489) would protect the constitutional rights of American Muslims. And Senate Bill 248 would block Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim majority countries.

They’ve also lobbied for the protection of immigrant communities and the cessation of religious and racial profiling. In particular, they have focused on building support for the BRIDGE Act, which would protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation, and the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (S.411), which would protect all Americans from discriminatory profiling by law enforcement.

Full report at:

salon.com/2017/09/06/how-muslim-americans-are-fighting-islamophobia-and-securing-their-civil-rights_partner/

--------

 

Iraqi student pilot killed in F-16 crash in Arizona

Sep 6, 2017

A Iraqi Air Force F-16 jet has crashed during a training mission in the US state of Arizona, leaving its Iraqi student pilot dead.

The Air Force has assigned a team to investigate the crash, First Lt. Lacey Roberts of the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Wing said on Wednesday.

Roberts said the US military is training Iraqi pilots to fly F-16s at the request of Iraqi government and the plane was on a routine training mission that was being conducted in conjunction with the 162nd Wing, which is based at Tucson International Airport when it crashed.

The pilot, whose identity was not released, died when his jet crashed about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northwest of Tucson on Tuesday.

His death was the second of an Iraqi pilot flying an F-16 that crashed in Arizona in recent years. In July 2015, an Iraqi brigadier general flying from the 162nd died when his F-16, a newer model recently delivered to the Iraqi air force, crashed during night training near Douglas.

In January 2016, a Taiwanese pilot on a training flight from Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix was killed when his F-16 went down in Yavapai County.

The 162nd Wing is the Air Guard's biggest F-16 training operation and conducts training missions across military ranges in southern and central Arizona.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534250/US-Air-Force-Iraqi-pilot-F16-Arizona-Tuscon

--------

 

'Bigoted' signs in Pitt Meadows park used city's logo without permission

Sep 06, 2017

A Muslim advocacy group says unauthorized notices found in a Pitt Meadows off-leash park bearing the city's logo are part of a bigoted effort to sow discord.

The signs, found at Hoffman Park earlier this week, say that dogs are considered "filthy" by Muslims and would offend Muslims living in the area. They ask for people to keep their dogs leashed and away from Muslims.

The black-and-white signs, printed on white copy paper and posted on trees and other visible areas, bore the logo of the City of Pitt Meadows and the URL of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' homepage but both groups say they had nothing to do with them.

"We see this on occasion where people try to be kind of an 'agent provocateur' and use these kinds of messages to promote hostility towards Muslims and Islam," Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper told Early Edition host Rick Cluff.

"Sometimes people use the direct bigoted approach — we see that all too often in America and Canada, unfortunately — but other times they try and be a little more sophisticated or subtle."

Hooper says Muslims are not forbidden from owning dogs and the prophet Muhammed spoke positively about them.

He says the only religious restriction on dogs is their saliva is considered ritually impure. If a Muslim has dog saliva on their person, they are to wash before praying.

In a statement, the City of Pitt Meadows says it does not endorse the notices' message and staff have removed them.

"Whether they were produced by a well-meaning member of the Muslim community or by someone wanting to cause contention, the fact remains that there are current bylaws in place that enforce areas for dogs to be on leash, except in designated off-leash areas," Mayor John Becker said in the statement.

Full report at:

cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/pitt-meadows-dog-park-signs-muslims-islamophobia-1.4278245

--------

 

Is President Trump Stoking The Fires Of Right-Wing Extremism In Canada?

By Andre Gagne

9/6/17

The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, sent shockwaves of horror across the United States and the world.

It seems neo-Nazi ideas are held by great numbers of people—including the president of the United States himself.

But white-nationalist rallies are hardly unique to the United States—several groups here in Canada have planned their own rallies in major cities including Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. In Québec City, La Meute held a rally on August 20 that was met with counterprotests by various anti-fascist and anti-racism groups.

What’s more, two Québec men also attended the white supremacist rally in Virginia in which a woman was killed.

A recent study on right-wing extremism in Canada has shown that there are about 100 active groups operating across the country, and that between 1985 and 2014, right-wing extremism was responsible for more than 120 violent incidents. Despite all of this activity, that’s nonetheless a small fraction compared to the 917 hate groups currently operating in the U.S., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Increase in hate?

The recent incidents in Canada follow a string of events over the years that suggest a disturbing increase in hate, particularly against Muslims.

Last January, a shooter killed six people and injured 17 at a mosque in Ste-Foy, Quebec. The social media activity of the accused shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, shows he admired Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen for their anti-immigration policies.

More recently, the request from a group of Muslims to purchase land for their own cemetery in St-Apollinaire, Quebec, was rejected by the town’s voters during a referendum. La Meute (the Wolf Pack in English) was reportedly involved in the “No” campaign against the establishment of the Muslim cemetery.

A few days following the referendum, in the town of St. Honoré, a racist sign with the words “Saguenay, ville blanche” (Saguenay, white city) was placed over the original Saguenay cemetery sign. At the same time, in Sherbrooke, a city near the U.S. border, anti-immigration stickers were posted by the Fédération des Québécois de Souche (FQS), a group that opposes mass immigration.

Just last week, a neo-Nazi flyer containing the statement “The World Defeated the Wrong Enemy” and promoting a pro-Hitler documentary was found in several mailboxes in Vancouver. Other right-wing organizations like the Soldiers of Odin, Pegida-Québec and Atalante are also quite active.

So why are we seeing more public manifestations of right-wing extremist groups here in Canada?

Blame Donald Trump.

The increase evidently coincides with the Trump presidency. Trump’s call for a ban of Muslim immigration to the U.S. during his campaign, his “Build the Wall” rhetoric and his recent “clash of civilizations” speech in Warsaw have clearly emboldened right-wing groups.

Most of Trump’s controversial statements revolve around issues related to immigration and the spectre of endangered Western values. This precisely aligns itself to right-wing fears of a “Great Replacement”, where some believe that Western civilization will disappear and be replaced by the values and culture of immigrants. Islam, sharia law, and people originating from Muslim countries are seen as the current threat.

Extremism breeds extremism

For example, here in Canada, a man was recently arrested on charges of hate crime due to his anti-Muslim comments and what he perceived as the threat of Islamization of Canada.

Recent terror attacks in Europe and North America have also contributed to the current climate of suspicion and fear, and have spurred debate about liberal values such as diversity, freedom of speech, multiculturalism and individual rights and freedoms.

But terror attacks have also created a bigger problem: the potential fracture of our societies, with individuals pitted against each other.

Extremism can often breed extremism. The polarization of ideas and divisions can worsen due to the perception of a clash of values. This state of affairs plays perfectly into the hands of groups like ISIS that promote the idea that the West is at war against Islam.

It’s therefore not surprising that ISIS sympathizers rejoiced when Trump called for a Muslim ban: the president’s rhetoric and actions exactly proved their point.

ISIS sympathizers also see Trump’s rhetoric as the fulfilment of a prediction from Anwar al-Awlaki, the deceased but still influential domestic terrorist and alleged Al-Qaeda recruiter who warned in 2010 that the West would turn against its Muslim citizens. That echoed similar warnings from the late al Qaeda mastermind, Osama bin Laden, and by Abu Bakr al-Bagdadhi, the current leader of the Islamic State.

In fact, there are ideological similarities between right-wing extremists and groups like ISIS. Both are fuelled by the negation of the “other;” both are intolerant and feel threatened by diversity; both believe in a clash of civilizations.

Extremist recruiters prey on the vulnerable

There are various routes leading to extremism that results in the types of rallies and racist incidents we’re seeing today on both sides of the border.

Some individuals slowly embrace extremist views. Others readily adopt such ideas as consequences of real or perceived grievances, frustrations, personal setbacks, failures or lack of purpose. People are more susceptible to extremist ideas when faced with an “identity crisis,” which plunges them into a state of vulnerability, doubt and fear.

Extremist ideas are purposely framed in a way that favours the construction of social identity. Social ideological markers naturally lead people into a process of self-categorization, where their identity progressively crystallizes into a collective “us” versus a collective “them” paradigm. It’s a kind of “in-group”/ “out-group” dynamic. The “us”/“in-group” is perceived positively, whereas “them”/“out-group” is seen negatively, as a social entity to be opposed and defeated.

The “individual” self becomes one with a larger “collective” self, where the values and actions of the group becomes the measure by which one begins to think and act.

We’re seeing this now in the clashes between white supremacist and anti-racist factions, where each group envisions its opponent as the “out-group.” Rivalry and competition between groups serve as a way to maintain influence on group members, as well as sustain their identity and need for purpose.

Having a better understanding of how extremist ideas impact individuals is one way to counter their negative effect on society.

Full report at:

newsweek.com/trump-stoking-fires-right-wing-extremism-canada-660147

--------

 

Arab World

 

Myanmar killers ‘as bad as Daesh,’ Muslim World League says

MOHAMMED AL-SULAMI

7 September 2017

JEDDAH: Brutal attacks and open genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar shame humanity and represent the death of ethical values in the international system, the Muslim World League said on Wednesday.

The bloodshed in Myanmar was no less criminal than the terrorism of Daesh and Al-Qaeda in its extremism and brutality, the MWL said. It warned that the credibility of the international community was at stake if it failed to stamp out such terrorism in all its forms.

The MWL called for immediate intervention and support for the Rohingya, at both local and international levels. Global peace was at stake unless those involved in the violence were held to account, it said.

It urged the international community to take firm and effective action to end the massacres in Myanmar, just as it had with Daesh and Al-Qaeda, and to show determination in the face of organized terror.

According to MWL figures, 6,334 people have died in Rakhine state since Aug. 25, and 8,349 have been injured; 500 women have been raped; 103 villages and 23,250 homes have been burned to the ground; and 335,000 people have been made homeless.

The MWL restated its condemnation of sectarian violence aimed at any community, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, and said it had repeatedly condemned attacks on people of all religions.

arabnews.com/node/1157091/saudi-arabia

--------

 

Russia: Ending ISIL's Siege on Deir Ezzur Most Important Victory of Syrian Army in War on Terrorism

Sep 06, 2017

Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said that the Syrian Army troops, assisted by Russian military aviation, have dealt a blow to the ISIL terrorist group in the Central and Eastern parts of the war-torn country.

"Over the past two weeks, the Syrian government troops, with the support of the Russian Air Force, have achieved important advances and dealt a decisive blow to ISIL's terrorists in Syria's East and Center," Rudskoy said.

He said that lifting ISIL's siege on Deir Ezzur by the Syrian troops is the most important victory of Damascus.

"We have won the battle over terrorist groups near Deir Ezzur city, which is superior in its significance and scale to all previous victories. The Syrian people had been waiting for this for more than three years," Rudskoy said.

One more Syrian army grouping, which approached the city from the direction of al-Sukhnah, is storming terrorists' stronghold at the gates of Deir Ezzur, the Russian general said.

The Syrian government forces are conducting an offensive on Deir Ezzur from the South along the Euphrates River, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

In the meantime, the Russian Armed Forces' group commander in Syria said that ISIL used about 50 vehicles with explosives during the clashes in Deir Ezzur area, while 28 of them were destroyed by government troops.

"The units of the Syrian army disoriented the enemy about the destination of the main attack by false maneuvers. During fierce clashes, the terrorists used about 50 vehicles with explosives and 28 of them were destroyed by government forces' units," Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin said.

The Russian military added that all the counterattacks carried out by terrorists had been repelled.

According to the commander of the Russian forces' group in Syria, during Tuesday's operation to break the siege of Deir Ezzur, the defense lines of ISIL terrorist group were disrupted along a 3-kilometer stretch, while at night the liberated territory was doubled.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier today that the Russian fighter jets and a warship destroyed ISIL's fortified areas, underground tunnels, artillery positions and ammunition depots near Deir Ezzur.

It added that the Russian strikes on ISIL terrorist group's positions, including frigate's strikes with cruise missiles from the Mediterranean, allowed the Syrian Armed Forces to break the 3-year-long siege of Deir Ezzur.

On Tuesday, the army troops entered the 137th Artillery Brigade Base in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city, lifting the ISIL terrorists' siege of the city after approximately 1,100 days.

The army soldiers, backed up by the country's Air Force and Russian fighter jets, prevailed over the last strongholds of ISIL in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city and reached positions of their comrades in the 137th Artillery Brigade Base, the sources said, adding that ISIL's siege of Deir Ezzur city has ended after more than three years.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960615001264

--------

 

Syria govt behind sarin gas attack in April: UN probe

Sep 7, 2017

GENEVA - United Nations war crimes investigators on Wednesday said they had evidence that Syrian government forces were behind a chemical attack that killed dozens of people in Khan Sheikhun in April.

In the first UN report to officially blame Damascus, the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria said it had gathered an "extensive body of information" showing the Syrian airforce was behind the horrific sarin gas attack on April 4.

"All evidence available leads the Commission to conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe Syrian forces dropped an aerial bomb dispersing sarin in Khan Sheikhun," the report said.

At least 83 people, a third of them children, were killed and nearly 300 wounded in the attack on Khan Sheikhun, a town in the opposition-held northern province of Idlib, it said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, has previously given a death toll of at least 87.

Syria's government has denied involvement and claims it no longer possesses chemical weapons after a 2013 agreement under which it pledged to surrender its chemical arsenal.

A fact-finding mission by the UN's chemical watchdog, the OPCW, concluded earlier this year that sarin gas was used in the attack, but did not assign blame.

A joint UN-OPCW panel is currently working to determine whether Syrian government forces were behind the attack. But Wednesday's report is the first from the UN to officially lay the blame for the attack on Damascus. The report also found the Syrian government responsible for at least 23 other chemical attacks in the war-ravaged country since March 2013.

The investigators, who have never been granted access to Syria, said they based their findings on photographs of bomb remnants, satellite imagery and eyewitness testimony.

They determined that a Su-22 fighter bomber, which is only operated by the Syrian air force, conducted four airstrikes in Khan Sheikhun at around 6:45 am on April 4.

"The Commission identified three of the bombs as likely OFAB-100-120 and one as a chemical bomb," the report said, adding that "photographs of weapon remnants depict a chemical aerial bomb of a type manufactured in the former Soviet Union."

The investigators said they had found no evidence supporting Syrian and Russian claims that the chemicals had been released when an air strike hit an opposition weapons depot in the area producing chemical munitions.

Their report, which covers the period from March 1 to July 7, also found that Syrian government forces had carried out chemical attacks on at least three other occasions since March - in Idlib, Hamah and eastern Ghouta - using weaponised chlorine.

The report is the 14th from the COI, which has been tasked with detailing atrocities in the Syrian conflict that has killed more than 330,000 people since 2011.

But despite documenting information about dozens of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, the commission's work has not yet led to any prosecutions.

That has fuelled criticism and questions about the panel's usefulness, including from commission member Carla Del Ponte, who announced last month she was quitting, citing the failure to secure indictments.

Reacting to Wednesday's finding, Human Rights Watch noted that "those responsible for chemical attacks in Syria have faced no real consequences."

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/international/07-Sep-2017/syria-govt-behind-sarin-gas-attack-in-april-un-probe

--------

 

Russian Air Force Hits ISIL's Defense Lines Heavily in Eastern Syria

Sep 06, 2017

The Russian commander said that Su-34 strike fighters and Su-35 multirole jets are constantly destroying ISIL's targets, mainly armored vehicles including battle tanks, convoys with ammunition and artillery, preventing them from regrouping.

The Russian Aerospace Forces have killed or wounded over 1,200 terrorists, 83 armored vehicles and more than 200 cars over two weeks, Surovikin said.

The Russian jets have carried out more than 1,400 sorties delivering some 2,600 strikes against command posts, camps and groups of militants, he specified.

"Eighty-three vehicles, over 200 cars with mounted heavy machineguns, multiple launch rocket systems, artillery pieces and anti-aircraft weapons were destroyed and more than 1,200 terrorists were killed or injured," Surovikin said.

Russia's advanced Su-34 and Su-35 planes are attacking new targets thus preventing ISIL terrorists from regrouping and accomplishing their plans, he added.

Moscow has been conducting an operation against terrorists in Syria since September 30, 2015, at President Bashar Assad's request.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier today that the Russian fighter jets and a warship destroyed ISIL's fortified areas, underground tunnels, artillery positions and ammunition depots near Deir Ezzur.

It added that the Russian strikes on ISIL terrorist group's positions, including frigate's strikes with cruise missiles from the Mediterranean, allowed the Syrian Armed Forces to break the 3-year-long siege of Deir Ezzur.

On Tuesday, the army troops entered the 137th Artillery Brigade Base in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city, lifting the ISIL terrorists' siege of the city after approximately 1,100 days.

The army soldiers, backed up by the country's Air Force and Russian fighter jets, prevailed over the last strongholds of ISIL in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city and reached positions of their comrades in the 137th Artillery Brigade Base, the sources said, adding that ISIL's siege of Deir Ezzur city has ended after more than three years.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960615001168

--------

 

De Mistura: Syrian opposition must accept it has not won the war

7 September 2017

Syria’s opposition must accept that they have not won the six-and-a-half year war against President Bashar al-Assad, UN peace talks mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday.

De Mistura suggested the war was almost over because many countries had got involved principally to defeat ISIS in Syria, and a national ceasefire should follow soon after. The main rebel-held area, the city of Idlib would be “frozen”.

“For the opposition, the message is very clear: if they were planning to win the war, facts are proving that is not the case. So now it's time to win the peace,” he told reporters. Asked if he was implying that Assad had won, he said pro-government forces had avanced militarily, but nobody could actually claim to have won the war.

“Victory can only be if there is a sustainable political long-term solution. Otherwise instead of war, God forbid, we may see plenty of low intensity guerrilla (conflicts) going on for the next 10 years, and you will see no reconstruction, which is a very sad outcome of winning a war.”

De Mistura plans to join ceasefire talks in the Kazakh capital Astana next week, which he said should help resolve the fate of Idlib, a city of 2 million where rebels designated as terrorists by the United Nations are gaining influence.

Non-conflictual solution

“I am confident...there will be a non-conflictual solution – let’s say not a new Aleppo, that’s what we want to avoid at any cost, if we have learned from the past,” he said, referring to the greatest battle and humanitarian crisis of the war.

“If that takes place Idlib may become frozen in a way in order to avoid becoming a major tragic end to the conflict.” Meanwhile ISIS was facing imminent defeat in its two main zones of influence - in the city of Raqqa and around the city of Deir al-Zor. “The fact is that Deir al-Zor is almost liberated, in fact it is as far as we are concerned liberated, it’s a matter now of a few hours.”

Also read: UN sees ISIS defeats in Syria by October, elections possible in a year

Raqqa's fall would follow within days or weeks, leading to the “moment of truth” for a round of negotiations in October. Since early 2016, de Mistura has overseen a tortuous series of peace talks in Geneva that has made almost no visible progress. He said the next round could see an accelerated and more pragmatic approach.

“The issue is: is the government, after the liberation of Deir al-Zor and Raqqa, ready and prepared to genuinely negotiate and not simply announce victory, which we all know, and they know too, cannot be announced because it won't be sustainable

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/07/De-Mistura-Syrian-opposition-must-accept-it-has-not-won-the-war.html

--------

 

Hama: Gov't Forces Tightening Noose on Terrorists in Central Syria

Sep 06, 2017

The army units engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in remaining regions that are still under the control of the terrorists in Eastern Hama and seized control over the villages of Abu Ramal, al-Marami, Mas'oud and al-Tobileh.

ISIL suffered heavy casualties in the operation.

Reports said earlier today that the army troops repelled a heavy attack of Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) on several positions of the pro-government forces in Southeastern Hama, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists.

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra terrorists and fended off their attack on the Syrian government forces' positions in al-Satahiyat region, killing and wounding a number of militants.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960615001395

--------

 

More Civilians Killed in US Air Raids in Northeastern Syria

Sep 06, 2017

The sources said that a sum of 12 civilians, including 2 children and 4 women were killed and several more were wounded in the warplanes' attack on residential areas in Raqqa city.

Several missing cases have also been reported following the raid, they added.

Media activists reported on Tuesday that more than 22 civilians were killed and several more were wounded in the US-led collation warplanes' raids, including a case of poisonous-gas attack, in ISIL-held Raqqa city.

The Arabic-language al-Hadath news quoted media activists as saying that the coalition's fighter jets targeted al-Na'eim square, al-Atiq Grand Mosque and the neighborhoods of al-Badou and al-Ramileh in Raqqa city, killing over 22 civilians and wounding several more.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960615000652

--------

 

Civilians Pay $300 to Terrorists to Cross Iraq's Border with Syria

Sep 06, 2017

A local official in the town of al-Rutbah said that ISIL has set $300 for any civilian who intends to leave Ana, Raweh and al-Qa'em regions in Western Anbar.

Emad al-Deilami further said that ISIL terrorists do not allow anyone to leave the regions, but, civilians can receive permission to move towards al-Rutbah near the border with Jordan via a long desert after paying $300.

He said that the civilians are later transferred via a 18km-long way to a refugee camp West of al-Ramadi town.

Meantime, ISIL does not allow civilians to travel to regions under Iraqi forces' control.

Earlier reports said that Fifteen ISIL militants were killed in airstrikes conducted by Iraqi warplanes between Salahuddin and Diyala provinces.

“Army jets launched airstrikes on ISIL havens in al-Mayta and al-Boujumaa villages in Mutaibija,” a source said,  Baghdad Today reported.

The shelling, according to the source, “left four rest houses and five vehicles destroyed. More than fifteen members were killed.”

Iraqi jets carried out similar air raids targeting ISIL convoy and a rest house in Mutaibija, making these attacks the third in two days.

Occasional attacks have been witnessed in Mutaibija by ISIL against government and popular troops deployments since Iraqi forces, backed by their allies, launched a major offensive to retake areas occupied by ISIL since 2014.

Pivotal regions that link between each of Diyala, Salahuddin and Kirkuk, are still held by the militants which poses threats to the liberated regions. Iraqi troops are urged to prevent the militants infiltration between Salahuddin and Kirkuk provinces, especially the regions stretching along Hamreen mountains and Al-Azeem town.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960615001349

--------

 

Syrian Army Utilizing Tanks with Modern Equipment in Deir Ezzur

Sep 06, 2017

The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, Sputnik, reported that AMR-2 M Machinery, used by engineering units, can be mounted on Russia-made T-72 tanks, adding that the equipment was used in the Syrian Army troops' operation to destroy or push away barriers planted by ISIL terrorists in front of the pro-government forces in the Western outskirt of Deir Ezzur.

The tanks that carry equipment can travel at the speed of 60km/h, the report said, adding that the AMR-2 M Machinery enjoys one PKT 7.62mm machinegun and two operators.

Military experts reported in mid-August that the army recently started using the Russia-made MT-LB armored vehicles for the safe transfer of soldiers to the frontlines in the war-hit country.

The military experts said that MT-LB armored vehicles, manufactured in Russia, could boost the Syrian Army's strength for a safer dispatch of soldiers to the battlefields.

In the meantime, the Arabic-language page of the Russian news agency, Sputnik, reported that the MT-LB vehicles were used for transfer of cannons and their crew.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960615001027

--------

 

Iraqi student pilot killed in Arizona F-16 crash identified as Noor Al-Khazali

7 September 2017

An Iraqi student jet fighter pilot was killed when an F-16 jet crashed during a training mission in southeastern Arizona, authorities said Wednesday. The Iraqi air force identified the pilot as Capt. Noor Faleh Rassan Al-Khazali, but it didn’t list an age or hometown.

Al-Khazali was killed Tuesday when his Fighting Falcon jet went down in the southern Arizona desert during what an Arizona Air National Guard official called a routine training mission. The US Air Force has activated a team to investigate the crash about 129 kilometers northwest of Tucson, the Air Guard’s 1st Lt. Lacey Roberts of the 162nd Wing said.

The Iraqi defense ministry said it will join in the investigation. Roberts could not immediately say what type of training was being conducted. The F-16 is used in both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions. Al-Khazali’s death was the second involving an Iraqi pilot flying an F-16 in Arizona in recent years.

Training mission

Roberts said the plane belonged to the Iraqi air force and that the training mission was being conducted in conjunction with the 162nd Wing, which is based at Tucson International Airport. The jet crashed in desert terrain, leaving a crater and scattered debris, Graham County Undersheriff Carl “Jeff” McCormies said.

The US military is training Iraqi pilots to fly F-16s at the request of Iraq’s government, Roberts said. In July 2015, an Iraqi brigadier general flying from the 162nd died when his F-16, a newer model recently delivered to the Iraqi air force, crashed during night training near Douglas.

In January 2016, a Taiwanese pilot on a training flight from Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix was killed when his F-16 went down in Yavapai County. The 162nd Wing is the Air Guard’s biggest F-16 training operation and conducts training missions across southern and central Arizona military ranges.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/07/Iraqi-student-pilot-killed-in-Arizona-F-16-crash-identified.html

--------

 

Lebanon identifies bodies of soldiers killed while in ISIS hands

6 September 2017

Lebanon has identified the bodies of 10 of its soldiers found along the Syrian border in an area taken back from ISIS last week, the Lebanese National News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The army’s offensive against the ISIS-held enclave in eastern Lebanon ended with an evacuation of ISIS militants and their families to eastern Syria under a Hezbollah-brokered ceasefire deal.

Under the agreement ISIS militants identified where they had buried the soldiers, Lebanese army chief General Joseph Aoun said last week.

DNA tests confirmed that all 10 bodies found in the former ISIS-enclave were the missing Lebanese soldiers, security sources and local media reported on Wednesday.

ISIS militants had for years held territory along the border, and captured the Lebanese soldiers in 2014 when they briefly overran the town of Arsal, one of the worst spillovers of the Syrian conflict into Lebanon.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun last week called for an investigation into the responsibilities their capture.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/06/Lebanon-identifies-bodies-of-soldiers-killed-while-in-ISIS-hands.html

--------

 

Saudi King Salman to visit White House early next year

7 September 2017

On Wednesday King Salman bin Abdulaziz had a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

During the call, King Salman and President Trump agreed to a visit to the White House early next year, the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders reviewed the bilateral relations between the two countries and developments in the region and the world.

They also stressed the depth of the strategic relations between the two countries and strengthening them to serve their peoples.

In the phone call, the White House added, President Trump and King Salman also “discussed ways to continue advancing shared priorities, including enhancing security and prosperity in the Middle East”.

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/09/07/King-Salman-speaks-with-President-Donald-Trump.html

--------

 

As Kurdistan referendum looms, Iraqi Christians redefine positions

6 September 2017

Worshipers on Friday morning at the Holy Family Chaldean Catholic Church in the small Canadian city of Windsor can be heard praying in Arabic and, at times, in Chaldean, a neo-Aramaic language, still surviving in both Iraq and Syria.

In the church’s vicinity at Wyandotte Street, signs in Arabic on some grocery stores promise Canadian Iraqi customers – both Christians and Muslims – goodies, bread and other foodstuff that connect them to their motherland.

Far away, their country of origin, Iraq, might be on the verge of splitting off as the northern autonomous region of Kurdistan has scheduled a referendum on Sep. 25 to decide if it wants to secede.

Not all divorces are easy, particularly when it comes to the northern Nineveh Plain, a disputed region between Iraq’s Baghdad and Kurdistan’s Erbil among others, including the oil rich and mixed city of Kirkuk.

Baghdad considers the Nineveh Plains – heartland of Christianity in Iraq – where other minorities such as Yazidis and Shabaks live, as part of the northern Mosul governorate, while Erbil claims it after touting its Peshmerga troops as the main force behind the liberation of the area in late 2016 from ISIS militants, who seized the area in August 2014.

‘Every inch of my land’

“I am Father Sarmad, I am part of the Chaldean Catholic church, and we are the largest church in Iraq. I am part of Baghdad, I am part of [Iraqi southern city of] Basra, north of Iraq, and part of every inch of my land,” Father Sarmad Biloues from the church told Al Arabiya English when he was asked about the vote.

Father Biloues says the Chaldean church has three million followers outside Iraq and almost one million in the country. There is no recent official census but the number of Christians living in Iraq, who represented about seven percent of the population, fell from 1.4 million in 2003 to as low as 450,000 by 2013, due to ensuing violence following the US invasion.

Christians of the Iraqi original follow four churches – Chaldeans, who are Catholics, Assyrians, who follow Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox Church and Eastern Orthodox. By the look of things, they are in for a period of separation as well.

“All of Iraqi land lives in us. We are Iraqi citizens,” Father Biloues says. However, the Chaldean church leadership has not yet chosen an official position, he explained, highlighting Iraqi Christians’ caution over the messy business of impending separation.

“We are one heart with all of Iraq in Baghdad or Kurdistan,” he said. “We are waiting for our church leadership to choose the [final] stance. We always had Christians in Kurdistan and love Kurdistan, and we always had Christians in Baghdad and adore Baghdad.” He also urged everyone to be calm and asked “all Christians to pray for Iraq.”

“Peace must return, ISIS must be completely wiped, and reconciliation between all of Iraqis to be one heart and one land, and then we can sit on one table and decide,” he said, alluding that the separatist vote is way too early.

Oozing wounds

Juliana Taimoorazy, head of the Illinois-based Iraqi Christian Relief Council (ICRC), says they are having to lick their wounds, which are still oozing. “This is not the time for a referendum, she says”

“At ICRC we are doing our best to mobilize the Christian West and philanthropist to see the value to stand in unity and build their lives,” she says adding that they are a big fan of Iraq staying together. “Most of our people in Iraq and in the diaspora want Iraq to stay intact.”

One of the main reasons Christians feel part of Iraq is the country’s constitution article 125 of which mentions Assyrians and Chaldeans by their distinct ethnic names. The article also promises them their own province in the north even though these plans were stalled after ISIS ransacking, Taimoorazy says.

War nervousness

With Turkey and Iran already having large number of Kurdish separatists, Iran’s Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammed Bagheri, himself met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in August, urging Kurdistan to abandon the vote.

“We are nervous. Iran is not interested in this referendum, Turkey is trying to stop it, US is not supporting it, [President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud] Barazani is trying to force it,” she said. “We are worried, if this goes through, we will be subjected again to another war that will be by Turkey or Iran attacking the Kurds.”

On top of the regional lack of support, onlookers find the Kurds as not only divided but facing financial difficulties amid dwindling oil prices that affected the whole of Iraq, leaving government employees in quagmire. However, sources told Reuters that Iraq’s Kurdistan has borrowed funds from its oil buyers to help settle a $1 billion London court case ahead of the vote.

“It is a scandal and a project by Barzani to expand the [Kurdistan Regional Government] KRG, not make it independent,” Max J. Joseph, a London-based Assyrian artist and writer, told Al Arabiya. “The Barzani family knows independence will mean another Kurdish civil war as well as a wider regional conflict.”

Christian protesters warned

With Assyrians in Iraq, and in the diaspora, “overwhelmingly preferring to have a direct relationship with Baghdad,” they made their voice heard when they protested in late August at the mainly Christian village of Alqosh in the Ninveh Plain, Joseph said. However, they received a warning by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) dominated provincial council over their “illegal protests,’ Joseph shared on his Twitter account through his local sources whom he hid their names for security reasons.

“Assyrians in Alqosh have protested three times now waving Iraqi flags, but Baghdad is neglecting them so far and not helping. We’re desperate for Baghdad to play a more active role in our affairs but so far there has been very little,” he wrote.

In July, the Nineveh Council dismissed the mayor of Alqosh and replaced him with a local political leader close to the Barazani-led KDP. “The only ones who voice support for Kurdistan are the ones on the KDP payroll – and they are very few, but are strategically placed by the KRG in the media to voice that support which doesn’t exist on the ground.”

Nineveh Plain

There is also no concrete agreement among Christians on what is the best path to take particularly on the final status of their ancestral Nineveh Plain.

While the Chaldean Church does not have a firm position on upcoming referendum for its followers to adhere, it has agreed that Christians should not be “trapped” in the Nineveh Plain since violent past has taught Christians not to be in one place to be an easy prey,” said Father Biloues.

“We see it as conspiracy to put Christians in Nineveh Plain, in a country that has scared people. We are scared to be put in this prison,” he said. He recalled the Simele massacre in 1933. He also described a deceitful tactic by the British of encouraging Christian rebellion and later informing the Iraqi government to quell it. This led to the death of 3,000 Christians.

Father Biloues also rejects any calls for international protection or observation. “The Iraqi political situation is still not stable, and I expect the whole Iraqi nation to be in turmoil. If I say only Christians are facing persecution, yes I can say that but that’s not right because everyone is persecuted in Iraq,” he said.

Unlike him, Taimoorazy said: “We want an international observation to keep an eye both on Baghdad and Erbil to protect rights of minorities such as Christians, Yazidis and Turkmens.”

“Our issue is not so much as Christians but as nationality, as Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriac, we are all one nation, we are having an issue with KRG,” she said, further complicating the situation.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/09/06/As-Kurdistan-referendum-looms-Iraqi-Christians-redefine-positions.html

--------

 

The disappearing Christians of Iraq

6 September 2017

The liberation of Mosul was heralded as a new era for Iraqi Christians who could go back to their homes following the defeat of ISIS.

However, this much-publicized triumph overshadowed a significant defeat that seems to shed a more realistic light on the fate of Christians in Iraq.

The capital Baghdad was, meanwhile, witnessing the permanent closure of eight churches. After a delegation from the Catholic Church regional authority visited those churches and following investigations that showed that attendance, if any, kept dropping in the past seven years, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate announced that the churches will be closed for good. While such decision seemed to have made a lot of sense, it leaves little space for optimism as far Iraq’s Christian community is involved.

Journalist Elsy Melkonian argues that Baghdad is different from Mosul, where the latter was occupied by ISIS, hence placing Christians under a direct threat that forced them to leave. For Melkonian, the remarkable decline in the number of Christians in Baghdad can be attributed to other reasons.

“It is not related to ISIS, but to the fact that Christians have generally become targeted by different militias since 2003,” Melkonian wrote. “They always kidnap Christians and ask for ransom and at times they would just kill the kidnapped person right away.”

This led many to flee Baghdad whether to other parts of Iraq or to other countries, she added. Melkonian said that violence against Christians continues till the present time and was especially demonstrated in the case of an old Christian woman who lives alone in Baghdad. In the first week of August, this woman was brutally beaten by a group of armed men and robbed. “This was a message for Iraqi Christians who fled to Kurdistan or Lebanon or other neighboring areas never to come back,”

Melkonian quoted William Warda, coordinator Alliance of Iraqi Minorities Network, as saying. Warda added that Iraqi Christians who still live in Baghdad are under a lot of economic and social pressure. “For example, shop owners have to regularly pay money to armed groups in return for protection,” he said. “Christian girls are also not capable of walking alone in several neighborhoods in Baghdad.” The state, meanwhile, is incapable of securing the capital and protecting its minorities.

Kaldo Oghanna, member of the central committee of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, said that the decline in the number of Christians in Baghdad has been taking place since 2003, before which they constituted 20% of the capital’s population.

“Even though Baghdad has always been better than other parts of Iraq security-wise between 2003 and 2010, Christians remained the weak link that was targeted by different extremist groups,” he said. “The real turning point was the Our Lady of Salvation Church massacre in October 2010.”

According to Oghanna, this massacre drove a large number of Iraqi Christians to flee to Kurdistan or to the Nineveh Plain, having to flee the latter in 2014 when it was invaded by ISIS, while others made it to Western countries. “Christians realized that Baghdad is no longer a suitable place for them and that one group or another is always sending them a message to stay away.”

‘An easy target’

Journalist Sandra Elliot said that after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the main conflict in Baghdad was between Sunni and Shiite groups then starting 2005, Sunni extremist groups started targeting Christians in different neighborhoods across the capital. “It was commonplace for Christians to receive envelopes containing bullets and a threat from nearby extremists,” she wrote. “Messages promising bloodshed and death drove thousands of Christians from their homes in these neighborhoods.” Elliot explains that Christians were an easy target because most of them were unarmed and “with no help from a crumbling government, they had no choice but to flee their homes.”

Journalist Fadi Kamal Yusuf argued that the decision of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate came too late that it negatively affected the cause. “Churches have been empty of worshippers for years and the church should’ve taken such a step as soon as it noticed the decline in the number of Christians in the capital because then it would have alerted everyone to the problem,” he wrote.

“Now it is pointless and the issue is just a news story that no one paid attention to and the church can no longer ask people to stay.” For Yusuf, taking this step now will most likely lead to the migration of more Christians from the capital because they would feel they there is very few of them left already, but in the past they could have united to overcome the threats facing them and to keep the churches open.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/09/06/The-disappearing-Christians-The-closure-of-Baghdad-s-churches-in-Iraq-.html

--------

 

Bahrain using violent tactic to repress dissidents amid West inaction: Amnesty

Sep 7, 2017

Amnesty international has censured Bahrain for using “an array of repression tools,” including torture and sexual abuse, in its brutal crackdown on dissent, blaming the silence of the Western states, especially the US and the UK, for a sharp rise in Manama’s use of violence.

In a report, titled ‘No one can protect you’: Bahrain’s year of crushing dissent, the UK-based rights body elaborated on how Bahraini authorities embarked on a systematic campaign to eliminate freedom of speech and to “dramatically” crush dissidents and political activists in the country from June 2016 to June 2017.

“Using an array of tools of repression, including harassment, arbitrary detention and torture, the government of Bahrain has managed to crush a formerly thriving civil society and reduced it to a few lone voices who still dare to speak out,” said Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International Philip Luther.

“The majority of peaceful critics, whether they are human rights defenders or political activists, now feel the risks of expressing their views have become too high in Bahrain,” he noted.

The rights group said Bahrain has been “steadily backtracking on reform promises” it made after an iron fist response to the 2011 popular anti-regime uprising, calling on Manama to “immediately and unconditionally” release political prisoners and stop the persecution of critics and their relatives.

Luther further said Amnesty has received “horrific allegations of torture in Bahrain,” calling for a prompt and effective investigation into the reports.

In the report, Amnesty also urged the Al Khalifah regime to reverse its decision to dissolve two main opposition political movements, Waad and al-Wefaq.

A senior Bahraini court ordered the dissolution of Waad, the kingdom’s secular opposition group, in March 2017, less than a year after the regime dissolved the main Shia opposition bloc, the Wefaq National Islamic Society.

The report also shed light on Bahrain’s bloody clampdown on supporters of leading Shia spiritual leader Sheikh Isa Qassim, who was stripped of his nationality in 2016.

Supporters of Sheikh Qassim held almost daily sit-ins outside the cleric’s home in the village of Diraz for nearly a year.

“The failure of the UK, USA and other countries that have leverage over Bahrain to speak out in the face of the disastrous decline in human rights in the country over the past year has effectively emboldened the government to intensify its endeavor to silence the few remaining voices of dissent,” the Amnesty report said.

Amnesty said US President Donald Trump’s policy has shifted from that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who had criticized the authorities of the Persian Gulf state.

“In March 2017, President Trump told Bahrain’s King Hamad ‘there won’t be strain with this administration’: Bahrain appears to have interpreted this statement as a green light to pursue its repression,” the report said.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since the popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/07/534303/Amnesty-raps-Bahrain-crackdown

--------

 

US coalition airstrikes endangering Syrian civilian population: UN

Sep 6, 2017

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has voiced worries over the impact of US-led airstrikes on Syria’s civilian population. 

“The commission is gravely concerned about the impact of international coalition airstrikes on civilians,” said the council in a report on Wednesday.

The report adds that the US-led coalition also failed to take correct precautions to protect civilians during an airstrike in Aleppo earlier this year.

“Forces of the United States of America failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects when attacking a mosque, in violation of international humanitarian law,” it said.

On March 17, at least 42 people lost their lives in a US airstrike that is said to have targeted a mosque full of people in a village west of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Referring to the situation in Raqqah, the UN report said, “Investigations are ongoing into allegations that international coalition airstrikes, carried out as part of the ongoing offensive to repel Daesh from Raqqah, have resulted – and continue to result – in increasingly alarming numbers of civilian casualties.”

“The commission is gravely concerned that this offensive has led to the internal displacement of some 190,000 persons, with the fate of some 20,000 others precarious as they remain trapped Raqqah city, many of them civilians that Daesh reportedly forced to concentrate in areas under its control,” it added.

Last month, Amnesty International released a report confirming that US operations in Raqqah were greatly endangering civilians.

“Things will only get more dangerous as the battle reaches its final stages in the city center. More can and must be done to preserve the lives of civilians trapped in the conflict and to facilitate their safe passage away from the battleground,” said Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Response Adviser Donatella Rovera.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. It has also been involved in a similar campaign in neighboring Iraq.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534278/un-syria-us-coalition-airstrikes

--------

 

Russian military establishes 'de-confliction' zone in northern Syria

Sep 6, 2017

Russia's military says it has established a "de-confliction" zone north of the Syrian city of Aleppo in an attempt to prevent fighting between Kurdish fighters and militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

"To prevent provocations and possible clashes between the Free Syrian Army in northern Syria and Kurdish militia, a de-confliction zone was created in Tal Rifaat district," senior Russian military officer Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry headquarters in Moscow on Wednesday.

"Contingents of Syrian government forces have replaced Kurdish armed groups which have left this district" and "a contingent of Russian military police has been brought in to the area" and erected checkpoints, he added.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) said in August that under an agreement with Moscow, "Russian military observers" would "deploy along multiple points" in the area to monitor and provide security.

According to the Russian military, nearly 400 people have returned to their homes in Tal Rifaat since the zone was created.

Syrian army's 'serious success'

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rudskoi referred to the “serious success” the Syrian army had achieved in eastern and central Syria over the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, Syrian government forces broke the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group’s three-year siege on the city of Dayr al-Zawr.

Rudskoi said the forces had liberated 59 towns and villages from the control of the terrorists.

Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russian forces in Syria, said at the briefing, "The average speed of the advance by the government troops over the last three days was 15-20 kilometers (nine to 12 miles) a day."

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534267/Russia-deconfliction-zone-Syria

--------

 

Iraqi army, allies to retake Hawijah from Daesh terrorists soon: Abadi

Sep 6, 2017

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says army troops, backed by allied Kurdish forces, will soon launch a multi-pronged operation to liberate Hawijah town in the oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk from Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

Addressing reporters during a weekly press briefing in the capital Baghdad on Wednesday, Abadi stated that government forces, in full cooperation with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, will eventually retake the town, located 45 kilometers west of the provincial capital city of Kirkuk, and drive Daesh militants out of the area, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.

He added that Iraqi army troops will then seek to recapture the still militant-held areas in the western province of Anbar.

Hawijah is one of four Iraqi towns still controlled by Daesh militants. The other three towns of al-Qa'im, located nearly 400 kilometers northwest of Baghdad near the Syrian border, Anah and Rawa are in Anbar province.

Daesh terrorists took control of Hawijah after capturing Mosul and several other Iraqi cities in mid-2014.

Kurdish referendum

Elsewhere in his remarks, Abadi touched on the forthcoming independence referendum in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

“Holding a referendum without paying attention to the forecast results translates as the deliberate deceit of people,” the Iraqi prime minister pointed out.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state-run TRT Haber television news network last month that the Iraqi Kurdistan region's plans to hold the independence referendum would lead to "civil war" in Iraq.

Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani, told Reuters on August 12 that Kurdish authorities were determined to hold the referendum on September 25 irrespective of all objections.

In June, Abadi described as untimely the decision by Barzani to hold the referendum.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534264/Iraqi-Prime-Minister-Haider-alAbadi-army-soldier-liberate-Hawijah-Kirkuk-Daesh-militants

--------

 

Prominent Bahraini human rights activist hospitalized with food poisoning

Sep 6, 2017

A Bahraini human rights group says the health condition of prominent Bahraini human rights advocate Ebtisam al-Saegh, who has repeatedly gone on hunger strike in protest at the torture and ill-treatment she has endured in prison, has deteriorated following a  mass food poisoning.

According to a Twitter account attributed to Nabeel Rajab, the chairman of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the pro-democracy campaigner had to be hospitalized after inmates at women's prison in the country’s north-central Isa Town suffered nausea and vomiting, Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.

Saegh, who works for the Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, was first arrested in May but was released later that month after being beaten and sexually assaulted by Bahraini regime forces.

The prominent human rights advocate went on an open-ended hunger strike on July 11 to express outrage at being tortured during interrogation at the notorious Criminal Investigation Building after her last arrest on July 3, and being denied the right to meet her family members or contact her lawyer.

Late last month, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders called on Manama to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of Saegh as well as Mohammed al-Shakhouri and Radhi al-Qatari.

The rights group called for the immediate and unconditional release of the trio, arguing that their continued detention was merely aimed at silencing voices speaking out against abuses in Bahrain.

It also urged the Al Khalifah regime to allow the jailed activists “unhindered access to their family, lawyers as well as proper medical treatment... and guarantee their right to due process and a fair trial.”

Rights group Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain has enumerated a list of restrictive measures that the Al Khalifah regime has taken against Saegh.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

In March, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.  

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534227/Top-Bahraini-rights-activist-Ebtisam-alSaegh-hospitalized-food-poisoning

--------

 

India

 

ISI's grand plan to bring Kashmiri militant outfits into mainstream politics

S.C. Kohli06

September, 2017

Indicators of Pakistan army-run ISI's grand plan to encourage anti-India Kashmiri terrorist organisations to get legitimacy through electoral process with the aim of easing Western world's pressure on Pakistan and placing the Kashmir issue permanently in Pakistan's politics have started appearing.

After the launching (August 8, 2017) of a mainstream political party Milli Muslim League (MML) by grandmaster of terrorism Hafiz Saeed's internationally banned outfit Jammt-ud-Dawa (JuD), founder of the Kashmiri militant outfit Harkatul Mujahideen (HuM), Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil also decided (August 25, 2017, Rawalpindi) to launch a political party of his own. Khalil disclosed that he had decided to launch a political party after getting the idea from Abdul Rehman Makki, who is an ISI stooge and the second in command of JuD.

Rawalpindi-based Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil revealed to the local press (August 25, 2017) his decision to form a political party by the name of "Islah-e-Watan Party" (IWP) inter alia to promote peace and tranquility in Pakistan. Khalil disclosed that the decision to take his banned organisation HuM into mainstream was taken considering that it was an appropriate time to get back all his "associates and friends" who had been sidelined due to the effective ban on their movement and activities. The IWP, as per Khalil, would also work for spreading awareness amongst masses to fight against corruption, violations of the Pakistani constitution, non-delivery of basic rights to the people at large and helping the suffering humanity in Pakistan.

While asserting that Pakistan had been facing isolation in the international and regional levels due to the inept political leadership, Khalil stated that his party would project Pakistan's case(s) strongly at "all forums". Khalil further disclosed that he was planning to approach all religious parties with a message of unity and his top priority would be to protect and promote the interest of Pakistan. He also criticised today's politics of Pakistan, which according to him, had become a tool in the hands of a few elite. Khalil also condemned US President Trump's warning to Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists and asserted that USA should understand that Pakistan was neither Syria nor Iraq and warned if any action is taken against Pakistan, country's land would be turned into a graveyard for "aggressive forces".

Maulana Fazlur Rehman graduated from Jamia Uloom-ul-Islamia Banuri, Karachi, which served as one of leading recruiting sources to the Taliban during Afghan war. He co-founded Harakat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami (HuJI) in 1980. In 1985, Khalil founded Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) as a splinter group of the anti-Soviet militant Islamic group HuJI, to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan with the support of Pakistan and the United States.

However, after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, HuM shifted its focus on Kashmir for so-called achieving the annexation of Jammu and Kashmir through jehad. Khalil, who resides in Rawalpindi with his family, played a key role in coordinating between the Taliban and Pakistani regime run by Benazir Bhutto in 1993 and had established close relations with the then Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Khalil and his HuM was supported by ISI and according to a CIA report of late 1990s, he used to receive at least $30,000 (and possibly as much as $60,000) per month from the ISI. According to a former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, Khalil led HuM was one of the oldest and closest allies of Al-Qaeda, and very close to the ISI. A veteran of the jihad against Soviet forces during Afghan war, Khalil was also part of Bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF).

In February 2000, Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down as HuM chief and was replaced by Maulana Farooq Kashmiri. He, however, actively remained associated with HuM. Khalil's journey to "jehad" was, however, not smooth as in May 2004, he was arrested by the Pakistani authorities for infiltrating Pakistani militants into Afghanistan. He was released after six months due to lack of evidence against him. Then in March 2006, an attempt was made on his life reportedly by Maulana Farooq Kashmiri, the then apparent heir to the HUM, with ISI's support, and at the behest of General Pervez Musharraf.

Muzaffarabad (POK) based HuM runs militant training camps and imparts training in Islamist doctrine and guerrilla warfare. It is primarily active in Kashmir and has been indulging in armed attacks on Indian army and security men, mainly since 1994. HuM's last prominent militant attack was carried out in December 2015 in Handwor and Poonch, in which five Indian army men were killed. HuM had also attacked US citizens and interests several times in Karachi and Lahore.

HuM, in an ISI supported operation against India, had staged the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC814 flying from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi on December 24, 1999. After touching down at Amritsar, the aircraft was finally taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan and the hijacking drama ended on 31 December 1999, after Taliban meditated between the five hijackers of HuM and the Indian government. The hijackers demanded release of three militants – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar from Indian jails, to which Indian government agreed.

Meanwhile, after getting banned by the USA on October 8, 1997, HuM changed its name yet again to Jamiat-ul-Ansar (JuA). Later, Pakistan banned the group under its new name in November 2003. However, the group did not stop its unlawful activities and kept on operating under new names such as Al-Faran, Al-Hadith, and Ansar-ul-Ummah.

HuM has been financing its anti-Indian operations in Kashmir through donations from wealthy Pakistanis and grassroots fundraising in Pakistan as well as by soliciting donations by distributing magazine ads and pamphlets. It also receives funds through front organizations and Islamic charities in the Gulf countries and the United Kingdom.

Although in the past HuM did not participate in the political activities in Pakistan, it however, had remained ideologically aligned with radical Islamic party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) and also strongly influenced by another religious political party of Pakistan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Samiul Haq (JUI-S).

In addition, HuM also came into notice for maintaining links with radical and terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban. HuM's main leader, Fazlur Rehman Khalil had a close relationship with Osama bin Laden. In February 1998, Khalil had signed Osama bin Laden's fatwa, declaring war on Americans and Western interests.

Some prominent Al-Qaeda militants, such Badr Mansoor, joined HuM and rose through the ranks as leaders. HuM had also allied with some other Pakistani militant groups like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. In addition to it, HuM is also a member of the United Jihad Council (UJC), which coordinates the communications and strategies of various groups within the global jehad movement and through UJC, HuM gets connected and integrated into the jehadi network.

Extent of ISI's support to HuM can be gauged from the fact it operates freely within Pakistani borders and has offices in various places in Pakistan and POK, prominently in Rawalpindi and Muzaffarabad, respectively. In addition to imparting training to militants in POK, Pakistan and Afghanistan, HuM had also reportedly taken part in militant activates outside Pakistan, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Tajikistan.

ISI which is supportive of Kashmiri militant groups like JuD and HuM, is now mainstreaming Kashmiri terror groups not only to dodge American pressure but also to keep the Kashmir issue alive permanently in the country's national politics.

Pakistani military rulers, in the past, had unsuccessfully tried Islamic rightest parties like Jammat-e-Islamic to counter popular national parties like PPP and PML(N), but henceforth with the Kashmiri militant groups' joining national politics, it would give an added advantage to the Pakistan army to maneuver national politics, as so-called liberation of Kashmir is the most preferred political subject of interest to the Pakistani masses.

By forming a political party, Pakistani Kashmiri militant groups would also get legal cover to indulge in unapparent activities more forcefully against India in the name of Kashmir issue. This trend further indicates of Kashmiri militant groups' efforts to increase their anti-Indian support base amongst Pakistani masses. Pakistan army would also get benefited as it would be in a position to increase its influence in national politics through such Kashmiri militant groups' political face.

Thus, Pakistan army's encouraging Kashmiri militant outfits like JuD and HuM, who are proactive in their terrorist activities in Kashmir with the active support of ISI, would lead to Pakistan army's more confrontational attitude towards India through such legitimised Kashmir-centric political parties of Pakistan.

merinews.com/article/isis-grand-plan-to-bring-kashmiri-militant-outfits-into-mainstream-politics/15927075.shtml

--------

 

India shares Myanmar’s concern over extremist violence, says Modi

Sep 7, 2017

NAY PYI TAW/NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday refused to join the chorus of criticism of the Myanmar government for its alleged mistreatment of Rohingyas and said that India empathises with Myanmar's concern over "extremist violence".

"Whether it is the larger peace process or finding a solution to a special issue, we hope that all stakeholders can work together towards finding a solution while respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar to ensure peace, justice and dignity for all," Modi said. "We fully appreciate the challenges you have been battling. We share your concern over the extremist violence in Rakhine state which has caused the loss of lives especially of security forces and innocents," said Modi in a statement issued with Myanmar's leader, state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. India said it shares Myanmar's concerns over "extremist violence" in the Rakhine state from where 125,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, with Modi urging all stakeholders to find a solution that respects the country's unity.

Modi's first bilateral visit here comes at a time when the Myanmarese government led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi is facing international pressure over the Rohingya Muslims who poured into Bangladesh in just two weeks after Myanmar's military launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state. The military offensive came after suspected Rohingya extremists launched a wave of attacks targeting military posts. Modi praised Suu Kyi for her leadership.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-shares-myanmars-concern-over-extremist-violence-says-modi/articleshow/60401121.cms

--------

 

Uniform code will hurt harmony, minorities argued to make a case for personal law

Vaibhav Purandare

Sep 7, 2017

A multi-community group in the Constituent Assembly that included a Dalit (B R Ambedkar), a devout Hindu (K M Munshi), a Parsi (Minoo Masani), a second-generation Sikh who converted to Christianity (Rajkumari Amrit Kaur) and a Gujarati Nagar Brahmin (Hansa Mehta) had hopes that a Uniform Civil Code would be incorporated in the Indian Constitution as a fundamental right and not merely as one of the non-justiciable Directive Principles of State Policy.

At the same time, another group, wholly Muslim, was determined to vigorously put forth its case for the exact opposite: it wanted personal laws to be treated as a fundamental right and therefore enforceable in any court of law. Soon after the Assembly started debating Ambedkar's Draft Constitution in November 1948, three amendments to the clause on the Code included in the Directives were tabled by five Muslim members — Mohammed Ismail Khan, Naziruddin Ahmad, Mahboob Ali Baig, B Pocker Sahib and KTM Ahmed — with a view to ensuring that no community would be made to give up its own laws if it didn't wish to. In what The Times of India of November 24, 1948, described as "a series of full-blooded speeches," these five (earlier part of the Muslim League Assembly Party), posing "as spokesmen of the minority community," denounced the provision of a common law as "tyrannical". Their refrain all through the impassioned debate was that if the British had not touched religious laws, especially those related to marriage and inheritance, "for 175 years," what was the need for the newly-independent Indian nation-state to do so?

One key argument they made was that Article 35 (related to the UCC) clashed with Article 19 that gave all citizens the right to practise religion and said if it were enacted, it would tantamount to "interfering" in the ways of living of communities. "The personal law was so much dear and near to certain religious communities," Mahboob Ali Baig said, and "as far as the Mussalmans are concerned, their laws of succession, inheritance, marriage and divorce are completely dependent on their religion." B Pocker Sahib said if these "religious rights and practices" were infringed upon, it would be "tyrannical."

Any uniformity in legislation would serve just one purpose, he stressed — it would "murder the consciences of people and make them feel they are being trampled upon." Mohammed Ismail Khan felt that though the Assembly's intention seemed to be "to secure harmony through uniformity," given the recent communal troubles and the Partition that India had gone through, it would actually "bring discontent" and hurt harmony. Agreeing with him fully, Naziruddin Ahmad warned of widening "misunderstanding and resentment" and echoed his co-religionist members' view that "what the British in 175 years failed to do or were afraid to do... we should not give power to the State to do all at once."

In a reply to a statement made by member M Ananthasayanam Ayyangar that marriage in Islam was in the nature of a contract, Baig underlined the primacy of religion, saying, "I know that very well, but this contract is enjoined on the Mussalmans by the Quran and if it is not followed, a marriage is not legal at all. For 1,350 years this law has been practised by Muslims and recognised by all authorities in all states. If today Mr Ayyangar is going to say that some other method of proving marriage is going to be introduced, we refuse to abide by it because it is not according to our religion. It is not according to the code laid down for us for all times." B Pocker Sahib sought to expand the ambit of the argument, saying that many Hindu groups too had objected to a common law and had used "stronger language" against it. But even if the majority community was in favour of Article 35, he emphasised, it had to be "condemned" because the majority could not ride roughshod over minority rights but had a duty "to secure the sacred rights of every minority."

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uniform-code-will-hurt-harmony-minorities-argued-to-make-a-case-for-personal-law/articleshow/60401219.cms

--------

 

Protests foment against massacre of Rohingya people

SEPTEMBER 06, 2017

Juma mosques in State to hold special prayers tomorrow

Two Sunni groups that constitute a major chunk of the Muslim population in the State have decried the systematic killing of Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.

Led by Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliar and K. Alikutty Musliar respectively, both the groups have chalked out a series of mass protests against the carnage.

All India Jamiyyathul Ulama general secretary Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliar described the massacre of Rohingya Muslims as a shame on humanity. He said the silence of global powers and international agencies that are signatories of different pacts on refugees was saddening.

“India’s decision to deport Rohingya refugees, who lived in our country for many years is even more saddening. Sending those refugees back to Myanmar is as good as throwing them out for execution,” said Mr. Kanthapuram, demanding that the Centre review its stand on the refugees.

Mr. Kanthapuram also condemned the attack on Rohingya Muslim families at Faridabad, Haryana, on the eve of Bakrid. He asked the authorities to initiate action against the guilty. He called upon the Muslim community to express their solidarity with the suffering brethren of Rohingya.

The Sunni youth wing, SYS, will take out rallies across the district on Friday in protest against the killings.

Special prayers

The Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, headquartered at Chelari, has called for special prayers for the Rohingya community during Friday Juma. Most Juma mosques across the State will conduct special prayers for the suffering people on Friday.

In a joint statement here on Wednesday, Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ualama president Sayed Mohammed Jifri Muthukoya Thangal and secretary Alikutty Musliar called upon nations not to turn a blind eye to the killings. “The world should intervene immediately to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of stateless people in Rohingya,” they said.

Full report at:

thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/protests-foment-against-massacre-of-rohingya-people/article19631226.ece

--------

 

Hurriyat insider nails brass for terror funding, to turn approver

Sep 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: Even as top Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik plan to stage a sit-in protest at the NIA headquarters here on September 9 and court arrest in J&K terror-funding probe, the investigation agency has achieved a breakthrough by getting one of the arrested accused in the case to record a confessional statement before a magistrate nailing the alleged role of the Hurriyat brass in channelising money sourced from Pakistan into subversive activities in J&K.

The statement has been recorded under Section 164 of CrPC, making it admissible in court. According to sources, the Hurriyat `insider' who agreed to turn `approver' has revealed how top Kashmiri separatists allegedly further agenda of Pakistan-based forces to keep the militancy fires burning in Kashmir.

The modus operandi includes receiving funds from Pakistani sources, including ISI, and routing them through Kashmiris having business interests in the Gulf.

The funds are channelised into Kashmir by the hawala route or through bank accounts of Kashmiri businessmen, before they reach Hurriyat.

The Hurriyat leaders, in turn, pass them on to terror commanders operating in J&K through trusted conduits. Not all of these funds reach the intended beneficiaries and a portion is allegedly pocketed by the Hurriyat brass, which NIA says explains the prime properties and real estate amassed by them over the years.

NIA says it has a strong case against the Hurriyat brass supported not only by the confessional statement of an arrested accused nailing their terror funding link but also electronic trail of their communication confirming disbursal of terror funds to stone-pelters through trusted

NIA has, so far, arrested eight Hurriyat men in the J&K terror funding case. It first arrested seven in July - Altaf Ahmad Shah 'Funtoosh' Geelani, son in law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani; Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Geelani's close aide and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesman; Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, former Hizbul Mujahideen militant who organises stone pelting/processions allegedly on instructions of Geelani; Peer Saifullah, key Tehreek-e-Hurriyat member often seen at Geelani's residence; Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesperson of moderate Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq; Nayeem Khan, a close aide of Shabir Shah who was later arrested by ED; and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias 'Bitta Karate', a former JKLF militant. The eighth arrest - that of prominent Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali - was made last month. NIA recovered a diary during raids at Watali's premises that reportedly records payments of alleged terror funds to top Hurriyat leaders

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hurriyat-insider-nails-brass-for-terror-funding-to-turn-approver/articleshow/60401004.cms

--------

 

Manmohan Singh's pledge to Jama Masjid Imam under HC Lens

Raghav Ohri

Sep 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s personal “assurance” to the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid in October 2004 that the mosque would not be declared a protected monument has come under Delhi High Court’s scanner. A protected monument cannot be used for meetings, receptions, parties, conferences or entertainment programmes except with special permission from the Centre.

Seeking to inquire into what led to Singh writing a letter to the Shahi Imam and UPA-1’s decision that the mosque will not be declared a protected monument, the High Court has summoned the entire record of the communication.

This is for the first time that the Delhi High Court has summoned the entire record from the Ministry of Culture, regarding the decision. The ministry has been directed to produce the original file in the court pertaining to the decision. The order passed by the Delhi High Court also specifically mentions the letter Sigh wrote to Shahi Imam on October 20, 2004.

The court’s directions were passed during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by one Suhail Ahmed Khan who has demanded that the masjid be declared a protected monument.

Referring to Singh’s letter, advocate Devinder Pal Singh, counsel for the petitioner, contended that Singh’s letter is clear evidence of the fact that the Congress had returned the favour to Imam who had announced support in favour of the Congress for the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

The counsel for Shahi Imam objected to this contention arguing that an attempt was being made to give it a political colour.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/manmohan-singhs-pledge-to-jama-masjid-imam-under-hc-lens/articleshow/60402836.cms

--------

 

Pakistan army chief slams US, India; says will continue to support Kashmir

Shailaja Neelakantan

Sep 7, 2017

NEW DELHI: Days after the BRICS declaration condemning Pakistan-based terror groups, the country's army chief Qamar Bajwa said Pakistan would "continue to extend political, moral, and diplomatic support for Kashmiris' right to self-determination", reported Pakistani media.

Bajwa said, on the one hand, that "Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan", and then on the other hand, that Pakistan would continue to support the people of the northern Indian state.

His comments came days after India issued a demarche to Pakistan over the infiltration of a group of Pakistan-based terrorists from the Jaish-e-Muhammed who killed eight security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district last month. The Jaish-e-Muhammed was one of the terror groups the BRICS countries named.

Still, Bajwa said Pakistan will continue to support Kashmir.

"India should realise that the peaceful struggle of hundreds of thousands of youth in Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is in India's favour that they prioritise political and diplomatic solutions for sustainable resolution of the Kashmir issue instead of insulting Pakistan and using force against Kashmiris," said Bajwa, in an address on Pakistan's Defence Day.

The Pakistan army chief then said, referring to India, that "a neighbouring country...is high on power". He also blamed India for going nuclear.

"Pakistan is a responsible nation. We did not bring nuclear weapons to South Asia. And even now these weapons are simply a guarantee of peace in answer to a neighbouring country which is high on power. It is this country which has brought unconventional war to the South Asian region," said Bajwa.

His tirade came two days after BRICS countries, in a first, named and shamed Pakistan-based terror groups in a 'declaration' at their annual summit. Pakistan has lately been at the receiving end of global condemnation. The BRICS declaration came after the US last month castigated Islamabad for providing "safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror."

The Pakistan army chief criticised the US, without naming it, for saying Pakistan isn't doing enough to fight terrorism. Pakistan, he said, has done more than any country in the fight against terrorism.

"Despite all our efforts, our countless sacrifice and over decades of war, we are being told that we have not done enough against terrorism. If Pakistan has not done enough in this war, then no country in the world has done anything," said Bajwa.

"We don't want aid, we want your respect and confidence," said Bajwa in a clear reference to US President Donald Trump's statement last month that the US had given "billions and billions of dollars" in aid to Pakistan.

Trump had threatened to cut off that aid.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-army-chief-slams-us-india-says-will-continue-to-support-kashmir/articleshow/60402572.cms

--------

 

Terror funding: NIA conducts raids in Delhi, Srinagar

Bharti Jain

Sep 6, 2017

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted searches at 27 locations in Srinagar and Delhi, including residential and business premises of traders and hawala operators whose names have cropped up during its investigation into the J&K terror funding and cross-LoC-trade cases.

NIA said the raids at 20 locations in Srinagar and 7 in Delhi, which continued through the day, led to the recovery of cash worth almost Rs 2.20 crore, apart from incriminating documents pertaining to financial transactions connected with cross-LoC trade as well as large number of digital devices including laptops, mobile phones and hard disks. Also, the diaries of traders and hawala operators containing their contacts and ledger books containing accounts of cross-border trade, were seized.

The traders subjected to the raids are alleged to have channelised funds to fuel trouble in the Valley by under-invoicing imports from across the border/LoC. NIA on Wednesday said the houses and business establishments of traders based in Srinagar and Mumbai were being searched till late in the evening.

"The traders, many of them based in Delhi, were allegedly under-invoicing cross-LoC imports and channelising the extra funds to fuel protests and unrest in the Valley, particularly in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. NIA had collected some papers from the trade facilitation centres of J&K last year and after examining them, found a mismatch in invoicing of goods, which led its sleuths to probe if the differential amount was being diverted to separatists to fund mob violence in the Valley," an NIA officer told TOI.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/terror-funding-nia-conducts-raids-in-delhi-srinagar/articleshow/60396109.cms

--------

 

Muslim artistes from Indonesia to stage Ram Leela in Ayodhya

Sep 06, 2017

Setting an example of communal harmony, a team of 12 Muslim artistes from Indonesia is set to stage Ram Leela at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University on the outskirts of Ayodhya.

An initiative of Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan, the programme will be organised at Swami Vivekanand auditorium of the university at 12.30 pm on September 15.

Director, Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan, Dr YP Singh said the artistes would also stage Ram Leela at Lucknow on September 13.

“The programme is a part of cultural exchange promotion policy of the Indian Council for Cultural Relation (ICCR) and Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan. Both the institutions work towards connecting the Indian culture that is dispersed globally,” he said.

“With financial support from ICCR, Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan organises Ram Leela by foreign artistes every year. Last year, artistes from Cambodia had presented Ram Leela at Ayodhya. An Ayodhya-based NGO Shri Saryu Avadh Balak Seva Samiti is supporting the programme,” Singh said.

Vice-chancellor of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University Prof Manoj Dixit said though the Ram Leela was an annual affair, it was for the first time that the programme, which reflected the global extension of Indian culture, was being organised at an educational institution.

“It will give an opportunity to academicians and scholars of the university to enhance the knowledge of the culture of Indian sub-continent,” he said.

“It will be a new experience for the people of Ayodhya and nearby areas as the programme is being presented by artistes from a country which has 86.10% Muslim population,” Prof Dixit said.

Asheesh Mishra, a local organiser who represents Shri Saryu Avadh Balak Seva Samiti, said Ayodhya was a major centre of religious harmony.

Full report at:

hindustantimes.com/lucknow/muslim-artistes-from-indonesia-to-stage-ram-leela-in-ayodhya/story-1y1nqC1ftIzcOHfUG1d3jM.html

--------

 

Hindu-Muslim couple move HC alleging harassment by Bajrang Dal activists, Nagpur police

By Vivek Deshpande

September 7, 2017

A Hindu-Muslim couple moved Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court alleging harassment by Bajrang Dal activist and Nagpur police despite having a legal marriage on August 17. A bench comprising Justice Vasanti Naik and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar has issued notices to Nagpur police and Principle Secretary (Home) and asked them to submit their replies within seven days.

The petitioner, Mohammad Arif Dosani, a resident of Vasmath in Hingoli district, has alleged in his petition that his marriage with Monica Ingle, now Aayat after conversion, had entered into wedlock following love-affair but the police officers from Imamwada police station PSI Amol Jadhav and PI Ramakant Dhurve constantly harassed them as well as his relatives at the instance of Bajrang Dal men, who had gheraoed the police station on September 1 calling the marriage as love jihad. The petitioner also alleged that the police would barge in the house of his aunt Akida Dosani, a resident of Hasanbagh locality of the city and brother-in-law Zakir Mohammad, a resident of Pinjar in Akola district and sought to harass them over the marriage.

Full report at:

indianexpress.com/article/india/hindu-muslim-couple-move-bombay-hc-alleging-harassment-by-bajrang-dal-activists-nagpur-police4832298/

--------

 

South Asia

 

US concerned over violence in Myanmar

September 07, 2017

US also urged Myanmar government to thoroughly investigate all cases of alleged abuses

The US Department of State has expressed concern over violence in the northern Rakhine State of Myanmar, which has resulted in displacement of large number of Rohingya Muslims.

“I know this is something that we’re monitoring closely,” the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday in reply to a question about the violence in Myanmar.

Sanders, however, did not provide further details regarding the matter.

An official of the State Department told Bangla Tribune: “We are deeply concerned by the sustained reports of significant violence and the impact on civilian populations in northern Rakhine State subsequent to the August 25 Arakan Rakhine Salvation Army (ARSA) attacks on security posts.

“These reports include allegations of violence conducted by security forces and civilians, as well as additional attacks by ARSA.”

Stating that the US Embassy is following developments closely, the official said: “It is difficult to verify reports in light of the current security situation and restrictions on media and NGO access to affected areas.”

Replying to a query, the official said: “We are in close contact with Burma’s [Myanmar] government regarding the situation in Rakhine and have publicly and privately discussed this issue at the highest levels.

“We are also in touch with Burma’s [Myanmar’s] neighbours and other international partners.”

US also urged Myanmar government to thoroughly investigate all cases of alleged abuses, including those by security forces.

“We also strongly urge the government and security forces to prevent civilians from joining any security operations. The US Embassy stands ready to support Burma’s [Myanmar] government in ensuring that members of all communities are protected and assisted,” said the State Department official.

The official also said US has welcomed the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State released on August 24 and offered support to the Myanmar government as it is working to address the long-term challenges addressed in the report.

In a statement, Canada Global Affairs also joined US in condemning the violence in Myanmar.

Regarding refugees fleeing to Bangladesh, the statement said: “We call on the security forces to ensure the safety and protection of all civilians.

“Canada remains very alarmed by the allegations of serious human rights abuses by security forces against the Rohingya population.”

According to the United Nations, nearly 125,00 Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh from Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state since the violence began on August 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people.

dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2017/09/07/us-concerned-violence-myanmar/

--------

 

Bangladesh for peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis

September 07, 2017

Sheltering thousands of Myanmar nationals for the last three decades has been a big burden for Bangladesh

Bangladesh is seeking a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis without getting involved in conflicts, maintaining friendly relations with Myanmar.

Sheltering thousands of Myanmar nationals for the last three decades has been a big burden for Bangladesh.

A senior government official, refusing to be named, said Dhaka was being extra cautious since Naypyidaw was its neighbour. The policymakers have a negative attitude towards applying any sort of force.

The government has taken two types steps to solve the Rohingya crisis, the official said.

The first one is to raise the matter with Myanmar bilaterally and secondly, to sensitise international organisations and various countries.

“Our goal is to ensure a stable, peaceful and safe environment in the Rakhine state so that people of all religion, colour and community can live there in harmony, and we are holding discussions at various places to this end,” the official said.

If it can be done, the repatriation of Rohingyas will be easier and those going back to Myanmar will not come back to Bangladesh, the official added.

“We have seen in the past that Rohingyas who went back to Mynamar returned to Bangladesh after the start of military operations or communal violence,” the official said.

There were an estimated 300,000 unregistered and 33,000 registered Rohingyas in Bangladesh until October last year. An estimated 75,000 people arrived in Bangladesh since violence began in October.

Besides, the latest spell of violence has forced an estimated 125,000 Rohingyas to flee into Bangladesh since August 25.

Thousands more are stranded on the no-man’s land along the border.

Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted communities in the world. They are denied citizenship and basic rights in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Naypyidaw calls the Rohingyas ‘Bengalis’ and claim that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Security and border cooperation

Another senior government official said Myanmar conducts military operations in the pretext of rooting out extremists. Bangladesh has given several proposals on securing the border and suppressing extremists.

The government is interested in giving this relation an institutional form.

Bangladesh has proposed setting up border liaison office, security cooperation agreements, joint border patrol and joint operations against militants.

“Unfortunately, Myanmar has not given us any concrete answer to any of our proposals,” the official said.

International communication

Various organisations like the UN, EU, OIC are working to solve the Rohingya crisis. Bangladesh provides them all sorts of assistance and holds talks with them whenever they approach the government, the official said.

Another official said the UN security council had discussed the Rohingya issue and hoped that elaborate discussions would be held on the matter during the general assembly.

Bangladesh supports creating a safe zone for Rohingyas inside the Rakhine, the official said.

Full report at:

dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2017/09/07/bangladesh-peaceful-solution-rohingya-crisis/

--------

 

US military apologizes for anti-Taliban leaflets containing offensive material

Sep 06 2017

The United States military in Afghanistan has apologized for the anti-Taliban leaflets distributed among the people which contain offensive material desecrating the Islam religion.

The leaflets were distributed via air drop in northern Parwan province of Afghanistan which sparked furor among the people as the leaflets contained image of a dog along with the Taliban flag which contain holy Islamic verses.

The local officials informed regarding the outspread of furor among the people in Parwan as they called for a thorough investigation into the incident.

In the meantime, a US military official Gen. James Linder in a statement said “The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.”

Gen. James further added “I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide.”

He said an investigation would be held “to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable.”

Full report at:

khaama.com/us-military-apologizes-for-anti-taliban-leaflets-containing-offensive-material-03381

--------

 

'And then they exploded': How Rohingya insurgents built support for assault

Sep 7, 2017

When the former U.N. chief Kofi Annan wrapped up his year-long probe into Myanmar’s troubled northwest on Aug. 24, he publicly warned that an excessive army response to violence would only make a simmering conflict between Rohingya insurgents and Myanmar security forces worse.

Just three hours later, shortly after 8 p.m., Rohingya insurgent leader Ata Ullah sent a message to his supporters urging them to head to the foot of the remote Mayu mountain range with metal objects to use as weapons.

A little after midnight, 600 km northwest of the country’s largest city Yangon, a rag-tag army of Rohingya militants, wielding knives, sticks, small weapons and crude bombs, attacked 30 police posts and an army base.

“If 200 or 300 people come out, 50 will die. God willing, the remaining 150 can kill them with knives,” said Ata Ullah in a separate voice message to his supporters. It was circulated around the time of the offensive on mobile messaging apps and a recording was subsequently reviewed by Reuters.

The assault by Ata Ullah’s group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), was its biggest yet. Last October, when the group first surfaced, it attacked just three police border posts using about 400 fighters, according to Myanmar government estimates. The Myanmar army is now estimating up to 6,500 people took part in the August offensive.

Its ability to mount a much more ambitious assault indicates that many young Rohingya men have been galvanized into supporting ARSA following the army crackdown after the October attacks, according to interviews with more than a dozen Rohingya and Rakhine villagers, members of the security forces and local administrators. The brutal October response led to allegations that troops burned down villages and killed and raped civilians.

The crisis in ethnically-riven Rakhine state is the biggest to face Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and her handling of it has been a source of disillusionment among the democracy champion’s former supporters in the West. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to Myanmar authorities on Tuesday to end violence against Rohingya Muslims, warning of the risk of ethnic cleansing, a possible humanitarian catastrophe, and regional destabilization.

Rohingya leaders and some policy analysts say Suu Kyi’s failure to tackle the grievances of the Muslim minority, who have lived under apartheid-like conditions for generations, has bolstered support for the militants.

MAJOR COUNTEROFFENSIVE

The fledgling militia has been transformed into a network of cells in dozens of villages, capable of staging a widespread offensive.

Myanmar’s government has declared ARSA a terrorist organization. It has also accused it of killing Muslim civilians to prevent them from cooperating with the authorities, and of torching Rohingya villages, allegations the group denies.

The latest assault has provoked a major counteroffensive in which the military says it killed almost 400 insurgents and in which 13 members of the security forces have died.

Rohingya villagers and human rights groups say the military has also attacked villages indiscriminately and torched homes. Myanmar government says it is carrying out a lawful counter-terrorism operation and that the troops have been instructed not to harm civilians.

Nearly 150,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, leading to fears of a humanitarian crisis. Some 26,750 non-Muslim villagers have also been displaced inside Myanmar.

Suu Kyi has said she would adopt recommendations of Kofi Annan’s panel that encouraged more integration. She has also previously appealed for understanding of her nation’s ethnic complexities.

In a statement on Wednesday, she blamed “terrorists” for “a huge iceberg of misinformation” on the strife in Rakhine. She made no mention of the Rohingya who have fled.

Suu Kyi’s spokesman, Zaw Htay, could not be immediately reached for comment.

On Monday, however, he told Reuters Myanmar was carrying out a counterterrorism operation and taking care of “the safety of civilians, including Muslims and non-Muslims.”

“NOT HOW HUMANS LIVE”

In an interview with Reuters in March, Ata Ullah linked the creation of the group to communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine in 2012, when nearly 200 people were killed and 140,000, mostly Rohingya, displaced.

“We can’t turn the lights on at night. We can’t move from one place to another during the day,” he told Reuters in previously unpublished remarks, referring to restrictions placed on the Rohingya population’s behavior and movements.

“Everywhere checkpoints: every entry and every exit. That’s not how humans live.”

A Rohingya community leader who has stayed in northern Rakhine said that, while the rest of Myanmar enjoyed new freedoms under Suu Kyi after decades of military rule, the Muslim minority have been increasingly marginalized.

Support for the insurgents grew after the military operation last year, he said.

“When the security forces came to our village, all of the villagers apologized and asked them not to set the houses on fire - but they shot the people who made that request,” he said.

“People suffered because their sons got killed in front of them even though they begged for mercy, their daughters, sisters were raped - how could they live without constantly thinking about it, that they want to fight against it, whether they die or not.”

Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the villagers’ accounts.

Last month, a Myanmar government probe - led by former head of military intelligence and now Vice President, Myint Swe - rejected allegations of crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing during the crackdown last year.

CELL NETWORK

Villagers and police officers in the area say that ARSA had since last October established cells in dozens of villages, where local activists then recruited others.

“People shared their feelings with others from the community, they talked to each other, they told their friends or acquaintances from different regions – and then they exploded,” said the Rohingya community leader.

Rohi Mullarah, a village elder from the Kyee Hnoke Thee village in northern Buthidaung, said the leaders sent their followers regular and frequent messages via apps like WhatsApp and WeChat, encouraging them to fight for freedom and human rights and enabling them to mobilize many people without the risk of being caught going into the heavily militarized areas to recruit.

“They mainly sent phone messages to the villagers, they didn’t ... move people from place to place,” he said. He said his village was not involved in the insurgency and even posted a signboard in front of it that said any militants would be attacked by the villagers if they attempt to recruit people.

Many Rohingya elders have for decades rejected violence and sought dialogue with the government. While ARSA has now gained some influence, especially among young, disaffected men, many Rohingya elders have condemned the group’s violent tactics.

CAMPAIGN OF TERROR

In recent months there had been reports of killings of local administrators, government informers and village chiefs in the Rakhine region, leading to speculation the insurgents were adopting brutal tactics to stop information on their activities from leaking to the security forces.

“They cut out the government communication by instigating a campaign of fear and took charge in the region,” said Sein Lwin, police chief in Rakhine. .

An army source directly involved in operations in northern Rakhine also said it was now much more difficult to get information on ARSA’s plans.

The strategy resulted in the “shut down of government mechanisms” in some places “because no government servants dared to stay there”, the army source said.

A village head from northern Buthidaung township, who asked not to be named, said the insurgents called him several times pressing him to allow some young villagers to take part in their training - an offer he refused.

“I tried to stay safe and sometimes I had to sleep at the police station and local administrator’s house,” he said.

INTERCEPTED MESSAGES

Despite the largely successful clamp down on information by the insurgents, it was a tip off by an informer that stopped the Aug. 25 attacks from being much worse for the Myanmar security services, the army source said.

About an hour after Ata Ullah’s men headed for the jungle in the evening of Aug. 25, the army received a signal from the Rohingya informer saying the attack was coming.

The 9 p.m. message mentioned imminent multiple attacks, but it did not say where they would occur. The warning was enough for the security forces to withdraw some troops to larger stations and to reinforce strategic locations, saving many lives on the government side, the military source said.

The raids by the insurgents came in waves from around 1 a.m. until sunrise, and took place mostly in Maungdaw township where Ata Ullah staged his three attacks in October. This time, though, the distance between the northern- and southern-most points was as long as 100 km (60 miles). The Rohingya also struck in the north of the neighboring Buthidaung township, including an audacious bid to storm an army base.

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/international/07-Sep-2017/and-then-they-exploded-how-rohingya-insurgents-built-support-for-assault

--------

 

Taliban casualties toll rises to 78 amid ongoing operations in Kunduz

Sep 06 2017

The casualties toll of the Taliban insurgents has further increased and has reached to at least 78 people amid ongoing operations in northern Kunduz province.

The 10th Pamir Battalion of the Afghan national army in the North said the operations are underway in Chardara district since the last few days.

A statement by the Pamir Battalion said at least 50 insurgents have been killed during the operations so far and at least 28 others have been wounded.

The statement further added that several key local commanders of the group are also among those killed which includes Qari Hayatullah, Qari Mohammad Sajad, Imamuddin, Zulfiqar, Mullah Asadullah, and Qari Abdulhai.

According to the Pamir Battalion of the Afghan armed forces, several weapons, ammunition, explosives, and other military kits and equipment were also seized during the operations.

The equipment and weapons seized during the operations include two Ford Ranger type vehicles, a hatchback vehicle, 3 AK-47 rifles, 68 improvised explosive devices, 10 motorcycles, 3 hand grenades, 3 caches of ammunition, 15 mortar rounds, 4 SPG-9 rockets, 3 boxes of PKM machine gun ammunition, one box of M4 rifle ammunition, 5 suicide bombing vests, 21 military uniforms, and other type of equipment.

Full report at:

khaama.com/taliban-casualties-toll-rises-to-78-amid-ongoing-operations-in-kunduz-03383

--------

 

US angers Afghans with ‘offensive’ leaflet drop

Sep 7, 2017

KABUL - US forces apologised Wednesday for dropping leaflets in northern Afghanistan depicting a dog with a Quranic verse written across its body - an image highly offensive to Muslims.

A photo of the alleged leaflet circulating on social media shows a lion chasing a white dog - the same colour as the Taliban’s flag - with the holy verse “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah” superimposed on its body.

Dogs are seen as unclean creatures by some Muslims and the association of Islam with a canine in deeply religious Afghanistan has angered many people. “Take back your freedom from these dogs. Help the security forces eliminate these enemies. Take back your freedom and ensure your security,” the leaflet says. NATO forces frequently drop leaflets over large swathes of Afghanistan in an effort to persuade locals against supporting insurgents.

Social media users condemned the disrespectful design on the leaflets, which were dropped in Parwan province. “Death to infidels, death to their servants,” one user posted on Facebook.

Another wrote: “They do this in a country with a 99.9% Muslim population. We will see how the (insurgents)... react.”

Major General James Linder, who heads the US and NATO special operations forces in Afghanistan, apologised for the leaflet design which he said was an “error”. “The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam,” Linder said in a statement.

“I sincerely apologise. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide.”

An investigation into the incident is under way, said a spokesman for the special operations forces at Bagram Airbase in Parwan, America’s largest base in Afghanistan. He refused to release a copy of the leaflet.  Hassiba Efat, a member of the Parwan provincial council, told AFP: “The leaflets are very offensive to Islam”. “The people in the villages are angry about it but so far we have had no reports of any demonstrations.“They (foreign forces) have apologised and promised to collect as many of the leaflets as possible.” It is not the first time US forces have caused offense in Afghanistan where they have spent the past 16 years waging war against the Taliban.  In 2012 US troops set fire to copies of the Quran, sparking days of protests in which about 40 people died.

Later, a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle blew himself up outside an American base in Afghanistan on Wednesday, Afghan officials said, in an attack the Taliban claimed was revenge for the US leaflet. US and Afghan authorities confirmed several people were wounded in the late afternoon attack at Bagram Airfield, America’s largest base in the country. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said it was in retaliation for “their insult to the Islamic creed”.

A spokeswoman for the Parwan provincial governor said “a suicide attacker on a motorbike detonated himself at the third gate of Bagram airbase”.

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/international/07-Sep-2017/us-angers-afghans-with-offensive-leaflet-drop

--------

 

7 killed as B’desh police raid extremist hideout

Sep 7, 2017

DHAKA - At least seven people including two children were killed in an explosion after Bangladesh government forces raided the suspected hideout of a top extremist, police said Wednesday.

Two women were also among those killed in the blast at a five-storey building that was raided by the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) early Tuesday after a tip-off that a top extremist was holed up there. “Seven bodies were found. They are all burnt,” RAB spokesman Mufti Mahmud told AFP, adding that the bodies were too damaged to be identified.

He said the hideout at Dhaka’s Mirpur area belonged to Abdullah, a “daring extremist of JMB (Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh)”, the homegrown outfit blamed for a wave of deadly attacks in recent years.

“There was a explosion in his room. Seven people who were in the room died in the explosion,” he said. The RAB is tasked with tackling extremism in Muslim majority Bangladesh.

Officers cordoned off the building for nearly 24 hours and gave the alleged extremist the chance to surrender, they said.

The Bangladesh government blames the JMB for a series of attacks in recent years on foreigners, atheist bloggers, rights activists and religious minorities.

In the deadliest of these attacks, five gunmen stormed an upscale Dhaka cafe in July 2016, killing 22 people including 18 foreigners.

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/international/07-Sep-2017/7-killed-as-b-desh-police-raid-extremist-hideout

--------

 

Poverty drives child soldiers into Afghanistan’s endless war

Zakria Hashimi

Sep 7, 2017

The rescue this summer of dozens of Afghan youths destined to be trained as Taliban fighters has spotlighted how entrenched poverty is fuelling a renewable supply of child soldiers to endlessly replenish the insurgents’ ranks.

Afghan forces freed almost 40 children during multiple raids near the Pakistani border. Officials said traffickers working with the Taliban had recruited the boys, some as young as four, from poor families by promising to provide them with a religious education.

“Our parents always wanted us to learn Islamic studies but we didn’t know that we would be fooled and brainwashed to become suicide bombers,” nine-year-old Shafiullah told AFP after being rescued by police.

The use of child soldiers by all sides in the Afghan conflict is well documented, including in pro-government security forces, where child sex slavery, is said to be institutionalised.

But the incidents this summer in southeastern Ghazni province illustrated a practice the Afghan government and rights groups have long accused the Taliban of kidnapping children to indoctrinate as fighters at madrassas.

In a recent speech charting US strategy in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump vowed, among other things, to “dry up” militant recruitment.

But experts say poverty is a significant driving factor, with parents unable to provide for their children delivering them, often unknowingly, into the hands of abusers and extremists.

AFP spoke recently with several of the children rescued at an orphanage in southeastern Ghazni province, where they had been placed as officials tried to track down their parents.

“They talked to my father and he had no objection,” said nine-year-old Nabiullah, sobbing as he recalled being taken from his home by recruiters.

Indoctrination, step by step

The children were “given drugs by their abductors that made them dizzy and confused”, provincial police chief Mohammad Mustafa Mayar told AFP, adding that among those freed were 13 youngsters allegedly trained as suicide bombers.

They were later paraded in front of media, with many crying as they stood beside the traffickers.

Afghan elders have denied they intentionally send youngsters to join the Taliban’s nearly 16-year insurgency.

“I admit that children are being sent for religious studies in Pakistani madrassas, but I don’t think they are trained to become suicide bombers,” Haji Mohammad Sharif, a tribal elder from Paktika province which borders Ghazni, told AFP.

The insurgents also deny the claims. But Afghan authorities routinely report intercepting child soldiers, and Human Rights Watch issued an extensive report on the issue last year, stating that indoctrination begins as young as six.

“According to relatives of boys recruited by the Taliban, by the time they are 13, Taliban-educated children have learned military skills including use of firearms, and the production and deployment of IEDs,” the report said.

For Ahmad Shaheer, an expert on Pakistani madrassas at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, poverty is the tinder.

“Many poor families hand over their children to strangers to be trained in Pakistani madrassas because they can’t afford to pay for their education,” he told AFP.

The HRW report noted the poverty-driven trend has also been increasing at madrassas in Afghanistan, particularly in Kunduz province, and said the Taliban refuses to return children once the parents figure out what is going on.

In June this year officials in Kunduz said they had detained an 11-year-old boy who intended to attack police after being taught at a local madrassa that government forces were a legitimate target as they were either “infidels or serving the infidels”.

In his speech last month, Trump said the US was “not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists”, and placed responsibility for Afghan society squarely on Afghans.

But absolute poverty in the country is increasing, according to a report issued by the World Bank and the Afghan government in May this year, which said that 39 percent of Afghans are unable to meet their basic needs.

That suggests the trend noted by Shaheer and HRW could continue.

Shaheer estimates that 10,000-20,000 Afghan children have passed through Pakistani religious schools. Once they are cut off from their families the indoctrination begins.

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/international/07-Sep-2017/poverty-drives-child-soldiers-into-afghanistan-s-endless-war

--------

 

Pentagon awards new contract for Afghan Air Force worth over $1.3 billion

Sep 07 2017

The United States Department of Defense or Pentagon on Tuesday informed regarding the award of a new contract for the Afghan Air Force worth more than $1.3 billion.

“MD Helicopters Inc.,* Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $1,385,497,987 firm-fixed-price foreign military sales (Afghanistan) contract for procurement of an estimated quantity of 150 MD 530F aircraft and required production support services to include program management, delivery support, pilot training and maintenance,” Pentagon said in a notification of award.

The Department of Defense further added “One bid was solicited, with one bid received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2022.”

This comes as the Afghan government with the support of the NATO and the United States has stepped efforts to boost the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force.

The United States Department of Defense during the recent weeks informed regarding the award of at least two contracts worth $727 million and $69.3 million.

The commander of the United States Central Command General Joseph L. Votel requested the US Congress to approve the budget for the Afghan forces Blackhawk program.

In his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in March this year, Gen. Votel informed regarding the significant capability gaps in Afghan Air Force and said “The DoD-request of $814.5M for FY17 for the first year of our plan to recapitalize the Afghan fleet provides funding to procure 53 UH-60s, with refurbishment and modification of the first 18; 30 additional armed MD-530F helicopters; 6 additional A-29 attack aircraft; and five AC-208s.”

Full report at:

khaama.com/pentagon-awards-new-contract-for-afghan-air-force-worth-over-1-3-billion-03385

--------

 

Suicide attack near Bagram airbase leaves four wounded

Sep 07 2017

A suicide attack near the US forces base in Bagram left at least four people wounded, hours after the distribution of highly offensive leaflets which were apparently distributed in mistake.

According to the officials, the incident near one of the entrance gates of Bagram airfield took place late on Wednesday evening.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Najib Danish said at least three people were wounded in the suicide attack, citing preliminary reports received regarding the incident by the security authorities.

However, the officials in Parwan province, said at least four people were wounded in the attack with the health condition of two of them reported as critical.

The US forces in Afghanistan also confirmed the incident and said the attack incurred a small number of casualties.

The Taliban group however claims that several US soldiers were killed or wounded in the suicide attack which was carried out to avenge the desecration of the holy verses of Islam printed on their flag.

A US military official Gen. James Linder in a statement said Wednesday “The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.”

Gen. James further added “I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide.”

Full report at:

khaama.com/suicide-attack-near-bagram-airbase-leaves-four-wounded-03384

--------

 

Mideast

 

Iran will continue to support Syria in its anti-terror battle: Zarif

Sep 6, 2017

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated Tehran’s support for Syria in its battle against terrorism.

“Iran will continue to back Syria in its battle against terrorism,” Zarif said during a Wednesday phone conversation with Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem.

The Iranian foreign minister also congratulated Muallem for the Syrian army’s breaking of years-long Daesh siege of the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr.

He also highlighted the significance of boosting the Tehran-Damascus relations in all fields.

For his part, Muallem voiced his country’s gratitude for Iran’s continued support, and vowed that the Syrian army would not rest until the country is liberated from the scourge of Takfiri terrorism.

On Tuesday, Syrian army forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, reached the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr and broke a nearly three-year-long siege imposed by Daesh.

Shortly after breaking the siege, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad extended his congratulations to government troops on the major breakthrough against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Daesh overran large parts of Dayr al-Zawr province, including its many oil fields, in mid-2014 as it seized areas in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

By early 2015, the Takfiri terrorists were in control of parts of Dayr al-Zawr city, and besieged the remaining parts of it under government control.

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534284/syria-iran-zarif-muallem

--------

 

Islamic countries to form contact group for Rohingya crisis: Iran envoy

Sep 7, 2017

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is set to form a contact group to help put an end to the ongoing atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Iran’s ambassador to the UN says.

“Over the past days, I have made several contacts with the envoys of Muslim countries, and a group named ‘the contact group of Islamic countries’ was agreed to be formed at the level of ministers and ambassadors,” Gholam-Ali Khoshrou said in a Wednesday interview with IRNA.

Meanwhile, the Islamic countries have started one-on-one contacts with the parties to the conflict, Khoshrou pointed out.

The Iranian envoy condemned the ongoing crimes against Rohingya Muslims, saying, “Everyone should devote efforts to prevent this human catastrophe.”

Khoshrou underlined the need to end the pressure on Rohingya Muslims and deliver humanitarian assistance to them as the first immediate steps in the conflict resolution process, adding that the next step should be efforts towards the recognition of Rohingya Muslims’ right to have a “dignified life” in their homeland.

Myanmar’s forces have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine State since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state.

The country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Ky has ignored international demands to call off the operation.

The Rohingya have also been subject to communal violence by extremist Buddhists for years, forcing large groups of Muslims to flee their homeland to take refuge in Bangladesh and other neighboring countries.

The latest eruption of violence in Rakhine has killed more than 400 people and triggered an exodus of the Rohingya to Bangladesh.

Human Rights Watch earlier said satellite imagery showed 700 buildings were burned in the Rohingya village of Chein Khar Li, just one of the 17 locations in Rakhine where the rights group has documented burning of homes and property. It blamed Myanmarese forces for the fires.

UN warns of exodus of 300,000 Rohingya

On Wednesday, Dipayan Bhattacharyya, who is Bangladesh spokesman for the World Food Program (WFP), said the UN officials have raised their estimate of the total expected Rohingya refugees fleeing to Bangladesh from 120,000 to 300,000.

“They are coming in nutritionally deprived, they have been cut off from a normal flow of food for possibly more than a month. They were definitely visibly hungry, traumatized,” Reuters quoted Bhattacharyya as saying.

According to UN workers in Bangladesh’s border region of Cox’s Bazar, arrivals have already reached 146,000 over the past 12 days.

The refugees who are fleeing Myanmar’s army operations are arriving by boat as well as crossing the land border at numerous points, Bhattacharyya said.

On Tuesday UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council that the ongoing violence in Myanmar could spiral into a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

The WFP estimates that it would need $13.3 million in additional funding to provide basic food rations for four months.

Bhattacharyya urged the donors to urgently provide the fund, noting, “If they do not come forward now, we may see that these people would be fighting for food among themselves, the crime rate would go up, violence against women and on children would go up.”

Myanmar’s government brands more than one million Rohingya Muslims in the country as “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh. Rohingya Muslims, however, have had roots in the country that go back centuries. They are considered by the UN the “most persecuted minority group in the world.”

There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks by the military since the crackdown against the minority group began.

Myanmar’s forces have reportedly been putting landmines in their territory along the barbed-wire fence between a series of border pillars over the past three days in an attempt to prevent the return of the Rohingya who have already fled to Bangladesh.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/07/534294/Iran-Rohingya-OIC

--------

 

Turkish aid agency offers a lifeline to Rohingya Muslims

7 September 2017

ANKARA: As nearly 150,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh and tens of thousands were internally displaced due to a risk of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, Turkey extends a helping hand to the Muslim minority on humanitarian and diplomatic platforms.

Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s telephon conversation with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Su Kyi on Monday, Myanmar allowed Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), a Turkish aid agency, to distribute 1,000 tons of aid to Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin announced. Kalin also said that Turkey plans to deliver aid initially to 100,000 families in coordination with the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh.

TIKA will be the first foreign agency to distribute aid to the Rohingya despite the Myanmar government’s doubts about the international aid organizations that were accused by Kyi of helping terrorism in the country.

On the diplomatic front, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdogan are expected to visit Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar on Sept. 6-8 to observe the on-site situation of thousands of Rohingya who have taken shelter there. In a speech in Istanbul at the weekend, Erdogan accused Myanmar of committing genocide against Muslims.

Dr. Altay Atli, a research associate specializing on the Asia-Pacific region at Sabanci University's Istanbul Policy Center, said humanitarian aid has become a crucial instrument of Turkish foreign policy and a major source of Turkey’s normative power abroad.

“In 2016, Turkey was the second largest source of humanitarian aid in the world, with a total of $6 billion distributed to various regions in need,” Atli told Arab News. According to Atli, Turkey’s leading role in the Rohingya issue has two components: Humanitarian aid, including an open check offered to Bangladesh to cover the costs of the refugees, and diplomatic initiatives, such as taking the issue to the UN and mobilizing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “These two components, implemented together, can be effective,” he said.

Turkey also brought the Myanmar issue to the agenda of Asian Parliamentary Assembly’s Standing Committee meeting on Social and Cultural Affairs that was held through Aug. 31–Sept. 2, and was attended by various delegations including UAE. On the insistence of the Turkish delegation, Myanmar is included in the list of countries on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe, besides Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

But, Atli underlined, Turkey cannot solve the problem on its own, as the Myanmar government needs to change the way it treats the Rohingya, and this requires coordinated action from the international community.

“The international community needs to show the Myanmar government that they need to solve this problem, otherwise there will be consequences including economic ones,” he said. Moreover, Atli believes Turkey’s aid to the region is perceived well by regional actors.

“Turkey is not seen as a rival or competitor in this region, but rather as a contributor, especially since Turkey’s expansive aid to the region after the tsunami disaster of 2004,” he said.

It is not the first time that Turkey is involved in humanitarian relief for Rohingya Muslims. Since 2012, when communal violence broke out between Buddhist and Muslim populations, Turkish aid agencies, NGOs and the government were very active in terms of humanitarian assistance, with high-level politicians visiting refugee camps and mediating with the government in Myanmar for the resolution of the crisis.

“Since the eruption of violence in Myanmar, Turkey used various platforms to draw attention to the plight of Rohingya Muslims. However, it is very hard to say at this point whether Turkey was single handedly able to mobilize the international community,” Senem Cevik, expert on political communication from University of California Irvine, told Arab News.

According to Cevik, the effects of Turkey’s efforts in mobilizing the international community will depend on Rohingya’s place in global agenda and news coverage.

“In the Myanmar case, the regime has blocked all UN aid to civilians with an exception of Turkey,” she said.

Full report at:

arabnews.com/node/1157041/middle-east

--------

 

Israeli jets hit Syria army position in Hama Province, kill 2 soldiers

Sep 7, 2017

At least two Syrian soldiers have been killed after intruding Israeli fighter jets targeted an army position in the west-central province of Hama, in yet another act of aggression against the Arab country

“Israeli warplanes at 2:42 a.m. today fired a number of missiles from Lebanese air space, targeting one of our military positions near Masyaf, which led to material damage and the deaths of two members of the site,” the army said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement further warned against the “dangerous repercussions of this aggressive action to the security and stability of the region.”

“This aggression comes in a desperate attempt to raise the collapsed morale of the ISIS (Daesh) terrorists after the sweeping victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism at more than one front, and it affirms the direct support provided by the Israeli entity to the ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” it added.

Masyaf is located approximately 60 kilometers east of the coastal city of Tartus, where Russia holds a naval base.

Earlier media reports said the Israeli military had struck a scientific research facility in Masyaf.

Citing pro-government activists, Al-Masdar News, a pan-Arab news and commentary website, said Thursday that Israeli warplanes targeted the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in Masyaf in Hama.

Meanwhile the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two facilities were hit, a scientific research center and a nearby military base. It said the Israeli assault also wounded five people.

“Many explosions were heard in the area after the air raid,” said the group’s head, Rami Abdulrahman, adding that some of the blasts may have been secondary explosions from a missile storage facility being hit.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/07/534295/Israel-Syria-Attack

--------

 

PLO slams Israel’s approval of 4,000 new settlements in East Jerusalem al-Quds

Sep 7, 2017

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) says the Tel Aviv regime’s approval of plans to construct over 4,000 new settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories shows it does not believe in a so-called two-state solution.

On Wednesday, a senior PLO executive committee member, Ahmad Majdalani, said Tel Aviv's approval of the plans are another attempt to sabotage any chances of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He stressed that Israel is “trying to escalate settlements both in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds to completely eliminate the vision of a two-state solution and any chances of establishing a contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state."

The Palestinian Information Center news website reported on Tuesday that Israel’s Planning and Construction Committee approved the construction of 4,000 settlement units in a 600-hectare-area located in the occupied Palestinian territories.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/07/534285/palestine-tel-aviv-plo-settlements

--------

 

Erdogan compares anti-Turkey statements by Germany to ‘Nazism’

7 September 2017

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday compared anti-Turkey statements by German politicians to “Nazism” after Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would seek to end talks on Ankara’s accession to the EU.

“I’m not saying you’re a Nazi, a fascist. I am explaining the incident... This incident is Nazism. This is fascism,” Erdogan said, reacting to comments made by Merkel and Martin Schulz, her Social Democratic rival, during a televised debate ahead of elections on Sept. 24.

“You have entered into the election campaign in a competition for this title,” he told local ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials in Ankara.

Meanwhile, Germany has issued a travel advisory warning its citizens visiting Turkey about the risk of arbitrary detention even at tourism destinations. The move might affect the flow of German tourists to Turkey, which has already been undermined by terrorist attacks in major cities over recent years, including assaults on German tourists in Istanbul’s historical sites.

The reason behind Berlin’s advisory is the detention of two German citizens at Antalya airport last week.

Germany, which once made up the largest group of visitors to Turkey, has posted a 20 percent decline this year compared to 2016.

“I tell Merkel: If you cannot tolerate the EU’s relationship with Turkey, bravely say it and do what’s necessary!” Erdogan said.

He repeated his call for ethnic Turks in Germany not to “give your vote to Turkey enemies,” which last month infuriated German politicians.

Erdogan called the EU’s stance toward Ankara’s accession bid “hypocrisy and political immorality,” and urged Brussels to make a clear decision “at once” on the process.

“We didn’t have any problem with the EU. You’ve kept Turkey waiting. Turkey has complied with all its commitments. It’s the EU that should take a step. They must either keep their word ... or come out and say ‘we don’t want to continue on this path’.”

Full report at:

arabnews.com/node/1157051/middle-east

--------

 

Turkish police kill would-be suicide bomber near police station

6 September 2017

Turkish police shot dead an ISIS militant who was set to carry out a suicide bomb attack on a police station in the Mediterranean city of Mersin on Wednesday, the interior ministry said.

The assailant, wearing a vest packed with explosives, was killed outside the police station in the Yenisehir district, which security sources said is located next to the regional headquarters of Turkey’s MIT national intelligence agency.

“One member of the Daesh terrorist organization, wearing a suicide bomb vest, was captured dead in front of the Mersin Yenisehir district’s ... central police station,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

Police officers spotted the suspect behaving suspiciously some 50 meters (55 yards) from the police station at around 8:15 a.m. (0515 GMT), the Mersin governor’s office said.

The man ignored an order to stop and continued to move toward the police station. He was shot when his hand reached for a cable hanging down from his shoulder, the governor’s office said.

ISIS militants have previously carried out gun and bomb attacks in Turkey. Many foreign fighters have also passed through Turkey in recent years on their way to join the militant group in its self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

Ankara has detained more than 5,000 ISIS suspects and deported some 3,290 foreign militants from 95 different countries in recent years, according to Turkish officials.

The Dogan news agency identified the would-be attacker as a 20-year-old Syrian national who lived in an apartment block near the police station. It said bomb disposal experts defused the explosive device.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/06/Turkish-police-kill-would-be-suicide-bomber-near-police-station.html

--------

 

Nuclear deal allows Iran to become the next ‘North Korea,’ US envoy warns

6 September 2017

Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations warned Tuesday that, if left unchanged, the Iran nuclear deal could allow Tehran to pose the same kind of missile threat to US cities as North Korea.

President Donald Trump is due to decide in the middle of next month whether he believes Iran is living up to its commitments or whether to seek new US sanctions that could torpedo the accord.

His ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, would not say explicitly what her advice has been — but left little room for doubt that she believes it is time to re-examine the “flawed” deal.

“I’m not making the case for decertifying. What I am saying is that, should he decide to decertify he has grounds to stand on,” she told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute.

“What I am doing is just trying to lay out the options of what’s out there, what we need to be looking at and knowing that the end result has to be the national security of the United States.

“We should at no time be beholden to any agreement and sacrifice the security of the United States to say that we’ll do it.”

Under a 2015 deal signed by Iran and six world powers, Tehran is supposed to roll back its nuclear program and submit to inspections in return for Washington and its allies lifting some sanctions.

Thus far, the IAEA UN nuclear watchdog and the US State Department have reported that Tehran has complied with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the core of the deal.

But Haley, and other influential figures in Trump’s Washington, argue that Iran’s continuing alleged breaches of limits placed on its ballistic missile program violate the spirit of the deal.

The previous missile sanctions were listed in an annex to UN Security Council Resolution 2231, under which the world body adopted the JCPOA into international law.

Therefore, Haley argues, Tehran’s ongoing development of ballistic missiles and alleged support for global terrorism should be taken into account when Trump judges the success of the deal.

And she warned that the terms of the JCPOA begin to expire in ten years’ time — opening the way for them to resume weapons research.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/06/Nuclear-deal-allows-Iran-to-become-the-next-North-Korea-US-envoy-warns.html

--------

 

Houthi spokesman calls on Yemen’s Saleh to implement 12 requests

6 September 2017

The head of the so-called Supreme Revolutionary Council of the Houthis, Mohamed Ali Al Houthi, admitted, in response to remarks made by ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, that there were discrepancies in the institutions under their control.

The spokesman of the militias, Mohammed Abdul Salam, recalled the twelve points earlier put forward by their leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi. The major clause within these points is the activation of the emergency law to confront the so-called “fifth column” and the opening of recruitment in the army.

On the other hand, Saleh had denied in his statements the existence of any differences with the Houthis. However, it is clear to many observers that the debates between the deposed president and some of the leaders of Houthi militias have returned.

According to Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, Houthi leaders responded to Saleh and stressed the existence of imbalances in the institutions of the “state of Sanaa,” but also called him to remedy to these predicaments through what they called a committee of scholars.

Saleh interview

Saleh had said the country's Houthi militias feared a "coup" but that there were no longer any tensions with them, despite strains in the past fortnight.

"There is no crisis and conflict at the moment," the 75-year-old strongman said late Monday in an interview on Al-Yemen Al-Yom television, which his party controls.

On August 24, hundreds of thousands put on a show of force for Saleh at a rally marking the 35th anniversary of his Arab nationalist General People's Congress (GPC) party.

"There were fears and suspicions that the rally would be a coup" against the Iran-backed Huthis, and "this is what their leaders told us," said the former president.

Saleh said Houthi leaders told him there had been "an operation" against them and a GPC plot to "take control of state institutions".

In response, Saleh said he had sent two letters to Abdel Malek al-Houthi, head of the militia group, to reassure him.

"I asked him not to believe the suspicions, and he reacted positively," he added.

Cracks emerged in the alliance between Saleh and Houthis after the two publicly accused each other of treason and back-stabbing.

In an unprecedented outbreak of violence between the allies on August 26, a colonel loyal to Saleh and two militias were killed.

Saleh ruled Yemen with an iron fist for more than three decades before stepping down in 2012 after a bloody, year-long uprising.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/09/06/Houthi-spokesman-calls-on-Yemen-s-Saleh-to-implement-12-requests.html

--------

 

Saudi warplanes attack civilian target in Yemen, kill five civilians

Sep 6, 2017

At least five civilians have been killed when Saudi military aircraft carried out an airstrike against a residential area in Yemen as the Saudi regime presses ahead with an atrocious military campaign against its crisis-hit southern neighbor.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said five people lost their lives and as many sustained injuries on Wednesday, when Saudi fighter jets bombarded a residential building in al-Sadat village of Hayran district in the northwestern province of Hajjah, Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network reported. 

The source added that the airstrike also inflicted damage to adjacent buildings in the targeted area.

Later in the day, Yemeni army soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, thwarted an infiltration attempt by Saudi-sponsored mercenaries into Wadi al-Safra region in the south-central Yemeni province of Shabwah, killing 10 of them.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime.

More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of the campaign more than two and a half years ago. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due the war.

The Saudi war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen.

According to data provided by the World Health Organization and Yemen’s Health Ministry, the country’s cholera outbreak, the worst on record in terms of its rapid spread, has infected 612,703 people and killed 2,048 since it began in April, with some districts still reporting sharp rises in new cases.

The United Nations says the Saudi war has left some 17 million Yemenis hungry, nearly seven million facing famine, and about 16 million almost without access to water or sanitation.

The United States and Britain have been providing the bulk of the military ordnance used by Saudi Arabia in the war. London has licensed 3.3 billion pounds worth of weapons since the beginning of the war.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534252/Saudi-airstrikes-kill-civilians-residential-building-Hajjah-Yemen

--------

 

Netanyahu hails ‘tremendous change’ in boosted Israeli-Arab relations

Sep 6, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed the regime’s "breakthrough" in its ties with Arab countries, claiming "many levels of cooperation" exist that cannot yet be exposed to the public.

Netanyahu said on Wednesday that those ties have not yet reached a level for the Arab states to acknowledge in public.

“What is actually happening with [the Arab states] has never happened in our history, even when we signed agreements,” Netanyahu told Israeli diplomats at a Jewish New Year gathering at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem al-Quds.

Cooperation between Israel and Arab states exists “in various ways and different levels,” though it still is not visible above the surface, he said, adding that away from the public eye, “there is much more than during any other period in the history of Israel. This is a tremendous change. The entire world is changing.”

The Israeli prime minister had said earlier this year that Arab countries did not consider Israel their enemy anymore.

Most Arab governments have no official diplomatic relations with Israel. Even so, reports have indicated that several of them, including Saudi Arabia, have had secret relations with Tel Aviv.

Citing unnamed Arab and American sources, The Times reported in June that Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime were in clandestine talks to establish official economic relations for the first time since the entity was created on the Palestinian territories some 69 years ago.

Forming economic connections between the two sides, which would be gradual, could begin by allowing Israeli companies to open shops in the Arab kingdom, or granting El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. permission to fly over Saudi airspace, the report said.

On June 22, Israel's Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz urged Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to invite Netanyahu to Riyadh to establish full diplomatic relations, and called for creating “an access vis-a-vis Iran” jointly with the Saudis.

Katz also described Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud as a “dynamic person” and “initiator,” who needed to be sent to the occupied territories for talks with Israel.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534247/Israel-Netanyahu-Zionist-Regime

--------

 

Iran committed to JCPOA, will react to breaches: Rouhani

Sep 6, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reiterated the Islamic Republic's commitment to its 2015 nuclear deal with the six world powers, yet vowing "proper response" in case the other parties fail to live up to their end of the deal.

Speaking to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s special envoy, Masahiko Komura, in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani thanked Japan for the role it played in the marathon talks that preceded the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Today, after the successful negotiations and the JCPOA’s implementation, we should not allow the deal to be undermined and the parties to infringe on their commitments,” Rouhani said.

The JCPOA was inked between Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain plus Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016.

Noting that the US has not been fully committed to the deal’s provisions, Rouhani warned, “Iran will never take the first step in breaching the agreement but would give a proper response to any violation by the other parties.”

Delivering the Japanese PM’s written message to Rouhani, Komura said that all signatories to the nuclear agreement had to respect it.

“Iran has always played a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the region, and we believe all sides have to live up to their commitments under the deal,” said the Japanese politician.

Access to Iran's military sites

US President Donald Trump, who had made no secret of opposing the deal in his election campaign, has threatened to “tear up” the agreement, calling it “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

Last week, the Trump administration sent its UN envoy Nikki Haley to Vienna, Austria, to lobby with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to request access to Iranian military sites as part of what Washington claimed was the deal's implementation. Iran views such demands illegitimate and has dismissed them as an attempt by the US to politicize the JCPOA. Tehran has made it clear that issues pertaining to its defense capabilities are non-negotiable.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said in a statement on Wednesday that “nobody was allowed to inspect Iran’s military sites” because they were part of the Islamic Republic’s “national security.”

Iran-Japan ties

Elsewhere in his meeting with Komura, Rouhani called for boosting ties with Tokyo in trade and other fields.

“Today, there are numerous areas in Iran that both sides can use to make investments or expand current cooperation,” Rouhani said, naming Iran’s energy sector, including oil, gas and dam building industries, and port development as examples of profitable markets for Japanese companies.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534261/Iran-Rouhani-Japan-Kumora-JCPOA-US-Trump

--------

 

Rouhani calls on Myanmar to end ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims

Sep 6, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has condemned Myanmar’s “brutal crimes” against Rohingya Muslims, calling on the Southeast Asian country’s leaders to immediately end the “inconceivable ethnic cleansing” of the religious minority.

“We are all aware of the plight of Rohingya Muslims,” the Iranian president told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “Tens of thousands—nearly 100,000— of people are either displaced or killed; their corpses are set on fire and so are their homes.”

“We call on the Myanmar government to end these brutal crimes and stop the army’s ongoing rampage,” Rouhani (pictured below) said.

Asking Myanmar’s neighboring countries to take action and be more welcoming to Rohingya refugees, the president also underscored the United Nations' role in resolving the crisis.

Myanmar's security forces have long been attacking Rohingyas and torching their villages since October 2016, in a bid to push them out of the western state of Rakhine. The attacks have been intensified since August 25, with State Counselor Aung San Suu Ky ignoring international demands to call off the operation.

Thousands of Rohingyas have already fled their homeland to take refuge in Bangladesh. Many people have been killed during the perilous boat journeys on the Naf River, which separates the two neighboring countries.

The refugees have also tried to cross the border into Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

'Iran ready to organize international efforts'

During the cabinet meeting, the Iranian president highlighted the responsibilities of Islamic nations in the face of such crises plaguing the Muslim world, and said Tehran was ready to bring together Islamic governments and other Asian countries and take on a central role at the UN in order to help Rohingyas break free from the violence.

“As Muslims, and as a revolutionary country, we should feel obligated to support the oppressed everywhere even if they are non-Muslims,” he added.

We are ready "to provide Rohingyas with diplomatic and humanitarian support,” Rouhani added. “Our Red Crescent Society is also prepared to help them.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani doubled down on Tehran’s stance and condemned the “dreadful” display of silence by “self-proclaimed defenders of human rights” and some international organizations.

He also called on the UN to send a fact-finding mission to Myanmar and establish a channel for much-needed humanitarian aid.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already discussed the situation with Turkish, Malaysian and Indonesian leaders and is planning more meetings with his counterparts in other Islamic countries.

Threatening North Korea with war 'dangerous game'

Rouhani also spoke to his ministers about the simmering tensions between North Korea and the US, and warned Washington against threatening Pyongyang with war.

He said supports peace and stability in the region, as it does so with regard to the Korean Peninsula and in Asia as a whole.

Referring to North Korea's latest nuclear test, Rouhani said the country's actions were a direct response to Washington's hostile policies and de-escalation was only possible if all “existential threats” against North Korea were withdrawn.

In an indirect jab at US President Donald Trump, who has time and again threatened the North with military action over its missile and nuclear tests, Rouhani said, “Threatening nuclear-armed countries is a dangerous game that puts the whole world at risk; thus we think dialogue should be the basis for resolving differences.”

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534231/Iran-Rouhani-Rohingya-Zarif-North-Korea-US-nuclear

--------

 

Ankara reassured by EU foreign policy chief

7 September 2017

ANKARA: EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday underlined the bloc’s determination to maintain membership talks with Turkey.

She also pointed to EU-Turkish partnership in various areas, from counterterrorism to Cyprus and Syria.

Her statements followed Sunday’s televised debate over Turkey between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center-left rival Martin Schulz.

During the debate, Schulz suggested pausing EU membership talks with Turkey and freezing its pre-accession funds worth €4 billion ($4.68 billion).

For years, Merkel has supported a “privileged” partnership model for Turkey without granting membership.

Although the membership process for Turkey has been stalled for years, the EU ending accession talks with a candidate country would be unprecedented.

“Sometimes we tend to forget that Turkey is a key player in a region that is strategically important for us: The Middle East, the Mediterranean,” said Mogherini.

“So we will continue talks. It will be up to the internal discussions we will have, and most of all to the discussions we will have together with them to define the future of our relations,” she added, assuring proponents of Turkish membership.

“We are not always agreeing on everything. There are some issues… that are taking our positions very much apart, but talks continue.”

Cigdem Nas, secretary-general of the Economic Development Foundation in Istanbul, underlined the need to separate Turkey’s accession talks from wider Turkey-EU relations.

“While Merkel and Schulz mostly emphasize the accession talks and customs union modernization, Mogherini has a more strategic perspective,” Nas told Arab News.

“Mogherini focuses on Turkey’s role as a partner of the EU in dealing with common problems such as terrorism, migration, foreign policy crises and so on.”

Nas said Mogherini knows that the EU needs Turkey as a willing partner to fend off threats from nearby regions, so she avoids antagonizing Ankara as much as possible. “Mogherini acts more as a mediator in this regard,” she said.

On Turkish-German relations, Nas said: “The looming German elections, the existence of a considerable population of citizens and migrants of Turkish origin in Germany, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments about them and about German politics, all had a role in the tense relationship between the two countries.”

German leaders see themselves as defenders of Europe and European values, and see Turkey as the other and a threat to what Europe stands for, she added.

Aylin Noi, non-resident senior fellow at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, said Mogherini’s statements should be examined in the context of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which she presented last year.

EU support for Turkey’s accession process is mainly based on this strategy, which upholds cooperation in key areas, Noi added.

“With this strategy, the EU is now built on a principled pragmatism in its international relations, including with candidate countries like Turkey,” she told Arab News.

“It’s an approach that supports a realistic policy by understanding interests and power politics while maintaining democratic leverage,” Noi said. 

Full report at:

arabnews.com/node/1157056/middle-east

--------

 

Africa

 

Kenya: Al-Shabaab beheads 4 people in coastal area

06 September 2017

Four Kenyans from a coastal province bordering Somalia were beheaded by al-Shabaab militants on Wednesday morning, police have confirmed.

The four people “were killed early on Wednesday morning when the militants attacked” in Lamu County in the Coast Province of the East African nation, a police officer speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions to speaking to the media told Anadolu Agency.

He added that the four were from the villages of Bobo and Silini in Hindi Lamu.

Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo also confirmed the attack to local media.

Hundreds of locals on Wednesday went to the streets to protest the killing, burning tires and blocking roads with boulders, crippling traffic in protest of both the murders and the slow response by Kenyan security forces.

Due to its close proximity to the porous Kenya-Somali border, Lamu County has witnessed numerous attacks from the Somali based al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab militant group, which has claimed more than 20 lives in the past three weeks.

On July 8, the militants beheaded nine Kenyans in the Jima Area close to the scene of Wednesday’s attack.

worldbulletin.net/africa/193712/kenya-al-shabaab-beheads-4-people-in-coastal-area

--------

 

In eastern Somalia, US drone claims three lives

Sep 6, 2017

US military officials in Africa have claimed that a drone strike has killed three militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in eastern Somalia.

A statement issued by the US Africa Command on Wednesday said the airstrike had been carried out Tuesday morning local time about 75 kilometers (45 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu in the Bay region.

“We assess no civilians were anywhere near the site,” said Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo, a spokesman of the command, without elaborating on the identity of the suspected militants.

US drones are quite notorious across the world for inflicting casualties on civilians in areas they operate against suspected enemies. Such attacks in Somalia increased after US President Donald Trump allowed expanded military operations against al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes in southern Somalia, where the group has more presence. That has sparked an increase in counterattacks by al-Shabab on civilians and security forces.

Falvo said the drone attack was carried out in an area where al-Shabab members were operating “in close proximity to” Somali army forces and African Union troops. He said the militants were considered as a “credible threat,” without elaborating on details of the surveillance mission that preceded the airstrike.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534245/Somalia-US-drone-Shabaab

--------

 

Cholera spreading among Nigeria’s IDPs

Sep 6, 2017

Cholera is spreading fast through camps housing people displaced by Boko Haram militants in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Most deaths were recorded in Muna Garage camp on the outskirts of state capital Maiduguri, the epicenter of the extremist insurgency that has also destabilized neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

A UN report said more than 530 suspected cases of cholera had been registered by Tuesday - more than three times the number reported five days earlier.

Twenty-three people had died, it added, up from 11 reported on Aug. 31.

The outbreak began late last month, and aid workers had already warned that Nigeria's rainy season could spread disease in already unsanitary displacement camps.

About 1.8 million people have abandoned their homes because of violence or food shortages during the conflict, UN agencies say.

As well as Muna Garage, the nearby camps of Custom House, Ruwan Zafi and Bolori II also had cholera cases, and there were reports of outbreaks in the areas of Moguno and Dikwa, northeast and east of Maiduguri, the UN note said.

In Dikwa, 80 km (50 miles) from Maiduguri, there were 103 suspected cholera cases, 17 of which had been confirmed with a rapid screening test at the local hospital, but no outbreak had been officially declared.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection spread by contaminated food and water. It can be easily treated with oral rehydration solution if caught early, but the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534258/Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Cholera-

--------

 

Tunisian PM declares cabinet reshuffle

Sep 6, 2017

Tunisia's Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday named a new cabinet, including the newly created post of economic reforms minister, after reaching a deal with political parties following weeks of infighting over posts, the government said.

A compromise over the cabinet should give Chahed, in power for just over a year, initiative to push ahead with tough public wage bill reforms and a pension system overhaul meant to improve Tunisia's public spending and deficits in line with IMF demands.

Chahed appointed Ridha Chalgoum, a former finance minister close to ruling Nidaa Tounes party, as finance minister, and Lotfi Braham, another Nidaa Tounes ally, as interior minister, according to a statement from the premier's office.

Chahed named one of his economic advisors, Taoufik Rajhi, who is a member of Islamist Ennahda party, to the new post of economic reforms minister, the statement said.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/06/534240/Tunisia-Cabinet-Reshuffle-

--------

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/the-world-must-do-more-against-terrorism--coas-gen-bajwa-at-52nd-defence-day-tribute/d/112460

 

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism

Loading..

Loading..