New Age Islam
Wed Nov 25 2020, 07:44 PM

Islamic World News ( 17 Dec 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

ISIL Loyalist Proposes to Use Birds as Suicide Bombers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: The Syrian army annihilated ISIL strongholds and fortifications in two villages in the Eastern part of Aleppo province on Thursday, leaving a large group of militants dead.

 

Arab World

ISIL Loyalist Proposes to Use Birds as Suicide Bombers!

ISIL Strongholds Destroyed in Aleppo Villages

Terrorists Confirm Casualties in Syria

Universities confront extremist ideology

ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syria's Sweida

Syrian Warplanes Bomb ISIL Targets in Homs

Army Hits Terrorists Hard in Dara'a

Senior Ahrar Al-Sham Commander Killed in Syria

Clashes Intensify between Army, ISIL in Deir Ezzur

Russia ‘open to Assad’s ouster’ after transition

Education minister’s ‘doors open to all’

----------

 

India

Pune teen radicalised, prepared to become suicide bomber: ATS sources

Afghanistan to have India-built Parliament building by month end

At home of al-Qaeda’s India head, distraught father’s 20-year wait

Pakistan says Bajirao Mastani is anti-Islam, bans it

AMU team meets PM Narendra Modi, demands funds at par with other central varsities

A deified Muslim brigand, in a Hindu temple

----------

 

Mideast

'Turkey has been good to me' — Refugees, mosques and Christmas trees

Turkey detains 11 ISIS suspects over U.S. consulate plot

U.N. to meet on Turkish troops in Iraq

Yemen peace talks reach deal on aid for Taez

U.S. ‘considers response’ to Iran missile test

----------

 

Europe

U.K. won’t ban Muslim Brotherhood, despite finding extremism links

German state raids, shuts mosque for ‘backing IS’

Foreign experts to examine black box of Russian plane

----------

 

Pakistan

Khyber air strikes: At least six suspected militants killed, several injured

Rangers’ special powers not curtailed, Sindh governor tells ulema

Internal security, Afghanistan under discussion at high-level huddle

US engaged with Pakistan on tactical N-weapons: Olson

Rangers' powers: 'Will side with institutions if democracy endangered', says MQM's Waseem Akhtar

‘San Bernardino’ echoes in Supreme Court in Lal Masjid case proceedings

Terrorist with explosives arrested in Bannu

----------

 

South Asia

Bangladesh Imam advocates Fatwa by Islamic scholars to combat militancy

Sayyaf slams Taliban for defaming Islam while inaugurating new political council

Bangladeshi lawyer takes aim at sexual violence by religious edict

Afghan forces retaken control of Khanshin district in Helmand province

World Trade Organization approves Afghanistan’s terms of accession

----------

 

Southeast Asia

Islamophobia founded on slanders against Islam, PAS president says

No bashing, no fears as Muslims, Christians share stories of religion and activism

Sarawak court allows Muslim’s judicial review bid for apostasy

Indonesia Deploys 1,500 Officers to Guard Christian Churches During Christmas Season Amid Increased ISIS Threat

Minister says Malaysia has adopted comprehensive framework that criminalises terrorism financing

Najib to Pas: Let's be united as Muslims

Teresa talks turkey, wants price controlled for Christmas

Travel news: Festive island offers in the Maldives

Iran, North Korea come under fire at U.N. over human rights

----------

 

Africa

Nigeria: 49 Boko Haram killed in gun battles

Nigerian Army Buries, Burns Bodies of Killed Muslims in Mass Graves

U.S. special ops troops kicked out of Libya

Tunisian Nobel winners marking 5 years of Arab Spring

----------

 

North America

After terror attacks in Paris and California, crimes against Muslims increase sharply in US

U.S. cases targeting ISIS supporters move ahead

Sikh boy in US detained for 3 nights after bully says he has bomb

California shooters' ex-neighbour charged with supporting terrorists

U.N. adopts resolution to target ISIS finances

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

URL:

----------

 

Arab World

 

ISIL Loyalist Proposes to Use Birds as Suicide Bombers!

Dec 17, 2015

The comprehensive plan, called “A New Way to Down Warplanes,” was posted on an ISIL supporters’ group on the messaging app Telegram on Saturday night, the US-based Vocativ news website reported.

It looked like a trolling attempt at first, but at a second glance, it’s a detailed (and creative, albeit repulsive) plan on how to target the warplanes in Iraq and Syria. The guide offers suggestions about which birds and explosives would be best to use, and about how to smuggle the birds into a war zone.

“The Crusader and Shiite airstrikes are the biggest military obstacle to the soldiers of the caliphate and dealing with it is a big challenge,” the loyalist wrote. “This is why we have to put in effort and find solutions. An idea came to my mind and I am asking to pass it to the relevant Mujaheddin in the Islamic State (of Iraq and the Levant).”

But, by Sunday night, no one in the Telegram channel responded to the sympathizer’s calculated scheme.

The plan isn’t lacking in morbid enthusiasm. The idea is to strap a “lightweight” bomb to a bird with a so-called “suicide belt,” and train the bird in six (easy) steps to fly into a jet and detonate an explosive—effectively making the bird a suicide bomber. The ISIL loyalist suggested using a Urea bomb, which he theorizes was the explosive used by ISIL to down the Russian Metrojet plane that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 on board in late October.

After conducting the necessary research, the loyalist wrote, he found two species of birds that particularly fit his criteria for height and speed: the peregrine falcon and Rüppell’s vulture. The only problem with the vulture, though, is that it resides in Africa, although it “can be smuggled or found in zoos across Syria and Iraq,” the plan declares.

It all sounds incredibly unconventional. But it’s worth noting that militants have used animals to wage attacks in the past. Donkeys laden with explosives were sent to attack by terror groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. During World War II, the US experimented with using “bat bombs” and pigeon-guided missiles.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000089

----------

 

ISIL Strongholds Destroyed in Aleppo Villages

Dec 17, 2015

The Syrian army destroyed gathering centers and fortifications of ISIL terrorists in the villages of Najjara and al-Jaberiyeh in the Eastern part of Aleppo.

Tens of militants were killed in the army's attacks.

Militants' weapons and machine gun-equipped vehicles were also destroyed.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army fired missiles and artillery shells at Takfiri terrorists' positions in the Southern part of Aleppo province.

The Syrian army fired rockets and artillery shells at terrorists' positions in Tal Hobar (Hobar hill) in Southern Aleppo, informed sources said.

"A large group of terrorists were killed and injured in the army's attacks," the sources said.

The sources added, "The Takfiris' weapons and ammunition were also destroyed."

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000683

----------

 

Terrorists Confirm Casualties in Syria

Dec 17, 2015

The terrorist organizations said on their social media pages a group of their members were killed in Syrian military operations.

Mohammad Sheikh al-Jibb, a senior commander of the so-called "Thowar al-Sham Brigades", was identified among the dead terrorists.

Earlier reports said the so-called governor of Idlib and the senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group succumbed to his injuries in Syria on Thursday morning.

The terrorists groups said Moder Abdul Salam Hamdoun, a senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group who was appointed by his terrorist fellows as the governor of Idlib after they captured the city earlier this year, succumbed to injuries on Thursday morning.

The groups added that Hamdoun was shot in the head by the Syrian army during a fight in the Southern countryside of Aleppo a month ago, the terrorists said.

The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, backed by the country's warplanes and Russian airstrikes, intensified their military operations against the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in the Northern Province of Aleppo, and inflicted heavy losses on them and regained control of several key regions.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000862

----------

 

Universities confront extremist ideology

18 December 2015

HAIL: Saudi universities across the Kingdom are currently holding lectures and seminars in collaboration with Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center.

The lectures are delivered by former beneficiaries of the center's services and aim to confront extremist thoughts.

Hail University recently hosted an awareness seminar in this regard, addressed by a repentant extremist who frankly recounted his story with extremist thoughts. He said his experience included death threats when he refused to expiate and redress members of his family and some government officials.

The experience of the repentant, who benefited from Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center, is not one of its kind.

Since its opening in 2004, the center has organized more than 150,000 counseling sessions delivered by experts and specialists who addressed doubts concerning Shariah issues.

Nowadays, Saudi universities play a pivotal role in confronting extremist thoughts by holding awareness seminars and hosting experts from outside the Kingdom to meet male and female students.

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/852146

----------

 

ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syria's Sweida

Dec 17, 2015

A military source said the army killed and injured ISIL terrorists in Tal al-Bouthaina (al- Bouthaina hill), 35km Northeast of Sweida city.

The army also destroyed the terrorists' vehicles, weapons and ammunition.

The army, backed by the locals, has so far foiled several terrorists' attacks on the hill as the militants try to infiltrate into the villages and residential areas in the Northeastern countryside of Sweida.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000935

----------

 

Syrian Warplanes Bomb ISIL Targets in Homs

Dec 17, 2015

The Syrian warplanes destroyed ISIL command posts in the al-Hadath village in Homs.

The airstrikes also hit the terrorists' command posts in the vicinity of the ancient city of Palmyra, Al-Quaryatayn city and Maheen town in the province.

Senior ISIL commanders were killed in the air attacks, informed sources said. Terrorists' vehicles were also destroyed.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000785

----------

 

Army Hits Terrorists Hard in Dara'a

Dec 17, 2015

The army targeted positions of al-Nusra Front-linked terrorists to the Southeast of Bosra Square and to the North of al-Banin School in Dara'a al-Mahatta neighborhood in Dara'a city.

At least 10 militants were killed in the army's attacks.

The Syrian forces also targeted Takfiri terrorists’ movements in al-Nazihin Camp and to the South of al-Manshiyeh neighborhood in Dara'a al-Balad area in Dara'a city.

The terrorists suffered heavy casualties in the military operations.

Militants' military equipment, including an armored vehicle, were also destroyed.

On Wednesday, the army destroyed a terrorists' position in al-Abbassiyeh neighborhood in Dara'a province, a military source said.

The army also killed eight terrorists in the neighborhoods of Dara'a al-Mahata and Dara'a al-Balad in Dara'a city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000763

----------

 

Senior Ahrar Al-Sham Commander Killed in Syria

Dec 17, 2015

The terrorists groups said Moder Abdul Salam Hamdoun, a senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group who was appointed by his terrorist fellows as the governor of Idlib after they captured the city earlier this year, succumbed to injuries on Thursday morning.

The groups added that Hamdoun was shot in the head by the Syrian army during a fight in the Southern countryside of Aleppo a month ago, the terrorists said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000627

----------

 

Clashes Intensify between Army, ISIL in Deir Ezzur

Dec 17, 2015

According the Arabic-language al-Alam news channel, a group of ISIL terrorists were killed in clashes with the Syrian army in the vicinity of al-Jafre village in Deir Ezzur on Thursday.

On Wednesday, reports said the Syrian army troops thwarted an ISIL attack on the strategic village of al-Jafre village.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000896

----------

 

Russia ‘open to Assad’s ouster’ after transition

18 December 2015

Russia has made clear to Western nations that it has no objection to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stepping down as part of a peace process, in a softening of its publicly stated staunch backing of Assad ahead of talks in New York, diplomats said.

Russia, like Iran, has been a firm ally of Assad and is intervening militarily on his behalf against anti-government forces in the five-year civil war that has claimed more than a quarter million lives. Both Russia and Iran have long insisted Assad’s fate should be decided in a nationwide vote.

Western powers, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others reluctantly agreed to allow Assad to remain in place during a transition period, a compromise that has opened the door to a shift on the part of Russia, Western diplomats said.

“What you’ve got is a move that will end up with Assad going,” a senior Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

“And the Russians have got to the point privately where they accept that Assad will have gone by the end of this transition, they’re just not prepared to say that publicly,” he added.

Several other Western officials confirmed the diplomat’s remarks.

The United States, Russia along with Iran, Saudi Arabia and major European and Arab powers have agreed on a road map for a nationwide ceasefire, to have six months of talks between Assad’s government and the opposition on forming a unity government to begin in January, and to have elections within 18 months.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/18/Russia-open-to-Assad-s-ouster-after-Syria-transition.html

----------

 

Education minister’s ‘doors open to all’

18 December 2015

RIYADH: Newly appointed Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa has promised that his doors would remain open to anyone wanting to raise concerns with him, and to ensure improved outcomes during his tenure.

Al-Issa made the comments Wednesday while meeting officials and citizens at the ministry’s office in Riyadh to mark his appointment to the position, according to a report in a local publication.

Al-Issa said the Tawasul portal and other social networking accounts would be used to receive feedback about the education system from the public. He said he was determined to improve education outcomes and added that poor performance reflected the attitude of ministry staff and officials.

He said there was need to get out of a “vicious and ineffective cycle” by improving the relationship between teachers and students, ensuring teachers have a heightened sense of responsibility in helping students become engaged in the learning process so that they become more productive.

He said the ministry has to ensure this happens because students are the country’s future workers and managers. If this was not done it would be “a failure on our part,” he was quoted as saying.

Teachers' demand

Teachers across the country meanwhile have called on Al-Issa to review their pay and work conditions, including providing health insurance, transport and opportunities for further education.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/852121

----------

 

India

 

Pune teen radicalised, prepared to become suicide bomber: ATS sources

Dec 18, 2015

The 16-year-old Muslim girl from Pune, who was questioned by sleuths of Pune anti-terrorism squad and is being counselled for her alleged connections with the Islamic State (IS), was radicalised to such an extent that she was mentally prepared to work as a suicide bomber, sources have revealed.

Read more: ATS grills ‘radicalised’ Pune school girl who ‘wants to join IS’

The girl, who was apparently radicalised by her ISIS contacts abroad and brainwashed to go to Syria, is being de-radicalised with the help of her parents and clerics, Pune ATS officer Bhanupratap Barge said. She could reveal an alarming network of the radical organisation spread across the country, ATS sources added.

The girl, a student of a prominent college in Pune, was put under surveillance after her name came up during the interrogation of Mohammed Sirajuddin an Indian Oil Corporation employee, who was arrested in Rajsthan last week for his alleged links with IS. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the girl was in connection with Sirajuddin and several other men from other parts of India including Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka. ATS sources said an alert has been sounded to the concerned police or ATS teams in these states.

The girl became curious about the activities of IS after watching some news reports about the radical organisation. She gathered information about the terror outfit on the internet and established contact through Facebook, ATS sources said.

Read more: Chatting away to jihad: Hyderabad becoming hub for cyber terrorists

She came into contact with a Sri Lankan national who was suspected to be an IS operative and had already been arrested by the police there. The girl then was diverted to Sirajuddin, according to ATS sources.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/ats-probe-reveals-pune-girl-was-prepared-to-work-as-suicide-bombe/story-iBX2z4OHDD7jMrcf9BhP9K.html

----------

 

Afghanistan to have India-built Parliament building by month end

Dec 18, 2015

New Delhi: Afghanistan will finally have its new Parliament building at Kabul, built by India's premier government-owned construction agency Central Public Works Department (CPWD), by this month end.

The work for this project started in December 2009 and the original schedule for completion was December 2011. Sources in the urban development ministry said CPWD has informed that the building and other facilities will be ready in the next fortnight. "It will be ready for inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon," a ministry source said.

Sources said that the pace of construction increased significantly during the past two years and it was decided not to extend the deadline further. "Since the focus was to complete it quickly and in a time-bound manner, urban developmement minister M Venkaiah Naidu reviewed the progress twice," said a ministry official.

The Indian government has provided Rs 710 crore aide for this project. It comprises of Parliament Block having two large assembly halls, with dome of 32 meters diameter and 14.5 meters height over main assembly hall, entrance hall, general purpose wing, a basement and a separate multi-purpose service block. The number of storeys in Parliament block varies from two to three above the artificially elevated ground level excluding basement.

The House of People, locally called as Wolesi Jirga, has a normal seating capacity of 256 and future provision of 38 seats. During joint session of both the Houses, the inner lobby of this block shall have additional space for provision of seating of members of Senate and others, presently 170 seats plus 20 future seats. Provision for press gallery and visitors gallery has also been kept.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Afghanistan-to-have-India-built-Parliament-building-by-month-end/articleshow/50226666.cms

----------

 

At home of al-Qaeda’s India head, distraught father’s 20-year wait

by Mahender Singh Manral

December 18, 2015

Around seven months ago, an 80-year-old man from a village in Uttar Pradesh received a chilling message from intelligence officials — his son who ran away from home more than 20 years ago was the head of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

“They came knocking at our door once again,” said Irfan-ul-Haq, seated outside his single-storey house at Mohalla Deepa Sarai village in Sambhal, 158 km from Delhi.

The Indian Express reported Thursday that security agencies had confirmed that Irfan’s son Sanaul Haq was the chief of AQIS, based on information provided by a Cuttack-based cleric, Abdul Rehman, following his arrest.

“It’s been 20 years since this family last saw him. For a long time, we did not know if he was dead or alive,” said Irfan.

“Some years after he left home, officers from the intelligence and CBI came looking for him, saying he was involved in terrorist activities. It was a harrowing time for us. We would get scared every time there was a knock on the door. But that died down. Then, around seven months ago, they came again to tell us that our son was alive. He was better dead for us,” said Irfan.

So why did Sanaul Haq run away from home? His mother, 72-year-old Rukaiya, standing behind a curtain, has the answer.

“After completing his education from the Dar-ul-Uloom seminary at Deoband, Sanaul asked his father for Rs 80,000 to go to Saudi Arabia for further studies. His father refused, leading to a quarrel that ended with Sanaul being slapped by his uncle for misbehaviour. My son left the house in anger and never came back. We can’t imagine how he would look like now,” she said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/at-home-of-al-qaedas-india-head-distraught-fathers-20-year-wait/

----------

 

 

Pakistan says Bajirao Mastani is anti-Islam, bans it

Dec 17, 2015

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Bajirao Mastani, starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, will not release in Pakistan, reports DNA. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) of Pakistan refused to issue a no objection certificate for the film which chronicles the love story of Maratha leader Peshwa Bajirao I and his second wife, Mastani, who was part Hindu and part Muslim.

Defending the board’s decision, Mobasher Hasan, chairman of CBFC told The Express Tribune: “Firstly, the film is in Hindi and our ordinance does not allow Hindi films to be screened. Secondly, it is a historical drama that is indirectly against Islam and Muslims.”

Read: Deepika, Ranveer are perfect Bajirao and Mastani, says Priyanka

Earlier, there were speculations that the film would be banned in Pakistan because of a few intimate scenes and dialogues. Mobasher, however, clarified the board’s stand, and added that Pakistan’s censor board has termed the film anti-Islamic and, hence, it cannot be allowed to release in Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/pakistan-to-ban-sanjay-leela-bhansali-s-bajirao-mastani/story-a7meBlNhnQJLkDe2ukjt0O.html

----------

 

AMU team meets PM Narendra Modi, demands funds at par with other central varsities

by Mohd Faisal Fareed

December 18, 2015

DEMANDING FINANCIAL support at par with other central universities, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah and Pro-Vice Chancellor Brigadier (retd) Syed Ahmed Ali met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday.

“We highlighted our achievements before the PM and presented a comparative table of funding to other central universities like BHU, JNU, DU and Jamia Millia Islamia. The PM gave us a very patient hearing and assured us of full financial support in rectifying the anomaly and more funds to AMU,” Ali told The Indian Express after the meeting.

“We also discussed that due to paucity of funds, all our efforts go waste. Like, we are doing pioneering work in nanotechnology and we need financial support for it. We are quite satisfied with the meeting, which was very positive,” he added.

During the meeting, authorities presented before the PM AMU’s achievements, including its scientists being actively involved in the Clean Ganga and Yamuna projects and the university collaborating with the Ministry of Heavy Industries in harnessing solar power for automotive purposes.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/education/amu-team-meets-pm-narendra-modi-demands-funds-at-par-with-other-central-varsities/

----------

 

A deified Muslim brigand, in a Hindu temple

December 18, 2015

The devout from various Central Travancore districts who make a beeline to this shrine seldom think of it as a part of a unique manifestation of religious harmony.

This shrine is dedicated to the wandering soul of the 19th century Muslim brigand, Kayamkulam Kochunni, installed and venerated inside a popular Hindu temple, in Kerala’s highly literate Pathanamthitta district.

The shrine, drawing a significant crowd of the devout from neighbouring districts as well, is attached to the Edappara Maladevar Nada temple at Karamvely, near Kozhencherry. It is, perhaps, the only one of its kind in the country dedicated to a burglar’s spirit, Hindu or Muslim.

Kochunni lived in Central Travancore region of the erstwhile princely State of Travancore. Generations had believed him to be a crafty but lovable highwayman who revelled in robbing the rich to help the poor – a full-blooded local Robinhood. Over the centuries, the legends about his exploits had become part of folklore in God’s own country.

Finally caught and incarcerated for his deeds, Kochunni had died at the Poojapura jail in Thiruvanathapuram, in 1859.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-deified-muslim-brigand-in-a-hindu-temple/article8002958.ece

----------

 

Mideast

 

'Turkey has been good to me' — Refugees, mosques and Christmas trees

MURTAZA HAIDER

Dec 18, 2015

With Syria and Iraq at her southern border, given the current state of affairs, Turkey has the worst imaginable neighbours.

The war-torn states are pumping millions of refugees into Turkey. And that’s not all. Hiding among the bona fide refugees are Islamic militants determined to target civilians in Turkey and beyond.

With such chaos at her borders and over 2.2 million Syrian refugees within, Turkey presents a strikingly calm look.

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city of 14 million, is bustling with life on the streets. At the same time, a quaint calm prevails in and around the historic mosques punctuating the city’s skyline.

For me, the last 48 hours in Istanbul have been a revelation.

A different picture

I expected to be greeted by soldiers armed with sophisticated weaponry at the airport. In the mid-90s, I saw loads of French military police parading the airport and the streets.

I witnessed the same at the airports in New York after September 2001. Turkey, unlike France and the US, is no bastion of freedom and liberty. Yet, as she faces a grave crisis, she has not reacted with panic, and armed police and military are conspicuous in their absence in Istanbul.

If one were to rely on the leading western news outlets, a very different picture of Turkey emerges where the Syrian refugees are being ill-treated and their human rights violated.

Other sources tell a story of a different Turkey that has spent over $9 billion to look after refugees and has allowed registered Syrian refugees to work legally.

Many have started successful businesses in Istanbul and elsewhere, creating a microcosm of Syrian entrepreneurial enterprise in the diaspora.

Twenty-one years old Dua Al-Hussain is one such refugee who escaped the Syrian regime and found refuge in Istanbul. She set up a real estate business and sells properties to buyers in the Arabic-speaking countries.

“I have eight employees and three offices in Istanbul,” said Al-Hussain, who believes “Turkey has been good to me.”

Syrian entrepreneurs like Ms. Al-Hussain, though few in numbers relative to the large refugee population, have become a source of economic growth for Turkey. They are facilitating foreign investments in Syrian real estate and other businesses.

John Cassidy, writing for The New Yorker in November, noted that the challenge of hosting large refugees was not economic but social and political.

He observed that apart from the 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, another 1.1 million refugees are currently in Jordan and 630,000 in Lebanon. He quotes reports from OECD and the IMF to illustrate the fact that the three economies are likely to expand in the next year, partly because of increase in domestic consumption.

But, not all is well at Turkey’s border with Syria. Human Rights Watch, quoted by Al Jazeera, accuses Turkey of closing its borders to Syrian refugees. Also, the refugees told of beatings, detention, and expulsion by the Turkish border guards.

While Turkey gets the bad rap, the reality is that she is being forced by European countries to stop the influx of refugees from Syria, who would eventually like to end up in Western Europe as they transit through Turkey.

Her sustained, yet hitherto futile, quest to join the European Union could get a boost if she were to convince the EU that she could guard the European borders better by being a part of the EU.

The recent massacres in Paris and California have made Europe and North America realise the extended reach of the self-styled Islamic State (IS). Without formal recruitment, IS could still motivate lone wolves to commit mass murders of unarmed civilians.

The fear of IS trained and battle-hardened militants from Syria reaching the heart of Europe is a prospect most European leaders would rather avoid. Hence, the pressure on Turkey to restrict the flow of refugees to Europe by all means necessary.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226746/turkey-has-been-good-to-me-refugees-mosques-and-christmas-trees

----------

 

Turkey detains 11 ISIS suspects over U.S. consulate plot

18 December 2015

Turkey on Thursday detained 11 more suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on suspicion of planning an attack on the US consulate in Istanbul, the Dogan news agency reported.

Those arrested are all Syrians with fake passports and include a man described as the ringleader and named as 18-year-old Abdulaziz Amin Mojbil, the agency said. The arrests took place in early morning raids in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district.

Turkey earlier this week already arrested an alleged ISIS member suspected of planning a suicide attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

Intelligence about the planned attack prompted the partial closure of the consulate on December 9, when it offered only limited services with a scaled-down staffing.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/18/Turkey-detains-11-ISIS-suspects-over-U-S-consulate-plot.html

----------

 

U.N. to meet on Turkish troops in Iraq

18 December 2015

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss a complaint by Iraq over Turkish troops deployed to a camp near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Turkey deployed around 150 troops in the Bashiqa area this month with the stated aim of training an Iraqi militia to fight ISIS. The Iraqi government says they are not welcome and must withdraw.

Turkey withdrew some troops this week, moving them to another base inside Iraq’s Kurdistan region, but Baghdad said they should pull out completely.

In a Dec. 11 letter to the 15-member Security Council, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari complained that Turkey had violated his country’s sovereignty and territorial unity and integrity.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/18/U-N-Security-Council-to-meet-on-Turkish-troops-in-Iraq.html

----------

 

Yemen peace talks reach deal on aid for Taez

18 December 2015

A deal to immediately resume humanitarian aid to the flashpoint Yemeni city of Taez has been agreed at peace talks between the warring sides in Switzerland, the U.N. said on Thursday.

The U.N. envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, welcomed the agreement as “a major step forward that will ensure immediate action to alleviate the human suffering of the Yemeni people,” according to a statement from the United Nations, which is sponsoring the talks.

“A large U.N. convoy, carrying essential humanitarian supplies, reached the most affected districts of the city of (Taez) and will start distributing assistance to those in need in the coming days,” the statement said.

“It is expected that humanitarian assistance will also reach Hajja, Saada and other deprived Yemeni cities in the coming days.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/18/Yemen-peace-talks-reach-deal-on-aid-for-flashpoint-city-Taez.html

----------

 

U.S. ‘considers response’ to Iran missile test

18 December 2015

Barack Obama’s administration is considering how to respond to an Iranian ballistic missile launch that violated U.N. Security Council resolutions, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday, as senators pressed for a strong reaction.

“We are now actively considering the appropriate consequences to that launch in October,” Stephen Mull, the State Department’s lead coordinator for implementing an international nuclear deal with Iran, told a Senate committee hearing.

Almost every Republican U.S. lawmaker, as well as several of President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats, opposed the nuclear agreement announced in July, in which Iran agreed with major powers to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Concerns in the United States about the agreement have intensified since Iran’s rocket test on Oct. 10 and other events seen as hostile, including the conviction of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been held by Tehran for more than 500 days.

Many lawmakers criticize the Obama administration for what they see as an inadequate response to Tehran.

“One area that we all agree on is the need to be tough on any destabilizing or illegal action by Iran. With that view, I think the agreement is off to a really terrible start,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

As first reported by Reuters, a team of sanctions monitors in a report on Tuesday found that Iran violated a U.N. Security Council resolution by test-firing a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/18/U-S-considers-response-to-Iran-ballistic-missile-test.html

----------

 

Europe

 

U.K. won’t ban Muslim Brotherhood, despite finding extremism links

December 17, 2015

British review concluded that the Brotherhood’s form of political Islam is primarily "a political project," but that a minority of its supporters in Egypt "have engaged alongside other Islamists in violent acts."

Some members of the Muslim Brotherhood have supported violence and involvement with the group can be an indicator of extremism but it should not be banned in Britain, the government said on Thursday.

Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered Britain’s intelligence agencies to investigate the philosophy and activities of the Islamist group, amid reports the Brotherhood was using London as a base to plan militant activities after a crackdown in Egypt.

Claims it is a charitable outfit

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful charitable and political organization, but opponents accuse it of orchestrating attacks on Egyptian police and military targets. It is considered a terrorist organization by British ally Saudi Arabia and by Egypt, where Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was ousted as president in 2013.

The British review concluded that the Brotherhood’s form of political Islam is primarily “a political project,” but that a minority of its supporters in Egypt “have engaged alongside other Islamists in violent acts.”

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/uk-wont-ban-muslim-brotherhood-despite-finding-extremism-links/article8000716.ece

----------

 

German state raids, shuts mosque for ‘backing IS’

Dec 18, 2015

BERLIN: German authorities on Thursday raided, shuttered and banned a Muslim association and mosque they accused of supporting the militant Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Police in the southwestern city of Stuttgart searched the site and delivered a notice that the centre had been disbanded and its property confiscated, said the interior minister of Baden-Wurttemberg state, Reinhold Gall.

“We do not tolerate associations that advocate the use of violence to promote religious concerns and collect donations for terrorist groups,” said Gall, without reporting any arrests.

He charged that radical preachers and fundamentalist Islamists, mainly from western Balkan states, had frequented the Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre Mesdschid Sahabe.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227036/german-state-raids-shuts-mosque-for-backing-is

----------

 

Foreign experts to examine black box of Russian plane

18 December 2015

Russian officials on Friday invited British, Chinese and Indian diplomats to witness the opening of the black box of a Russian warplane downed in Turkey last month.

Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24 on a bombing mission in Syria on Nov. 24 after it violated its airspace for 17 seconds. Russia insists that the plane never entered Turkish airspace.

The incident, in which one pilot and a Russian marine of the rescue party were killed, strained the traditionally warm relations between Russia and Turkey, and Russia promptly slapped economic sanctions on Turkey.

Deputy Commander of the Russian Air Force Lt. Gen. Sergei Dronov told reporters on Friday that Moscow has invited 14 countries to send their experts to examine the Su-24’s black box, which was recovered by Russian and Syrian forces from the area in rebel-controlled northern Syria where the plane was shot down. Only British and Chinese experts have agreed to examine the data.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/18/Foreign-experts-to-examine-black-box-of-Russian-warplane.html

----------

 

Pakistan

 

Khyber air strikes: At least six suspected militants killed, several injured

ALI AKBAR

Dec 18, 2015

PESHAWAR: At least six suspected militants were killed in air strikes carried out by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in the Rajgal area of Khyber Agency's Tirah Valley close to the Pak-Afghan border on Tueday.

“PAF jets struck hideouts of the militants in Tirah valley,” said a security source.

Several terrorists were also injured in the air strikes, the source added.

Khyber Agency and North Waziristan are among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and foreign militants.

The tribal area is off limits to journalists, making it difficult to verify the identity and the number of dead.

These areas have also been considered home to religious extremist organisations including Al Qaeda and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Military operation Zarb-i-Azb and the National Action Plan were launched against insurgents following attacks on Karachi's Jinnah International Airport and Peshawar's Army Public School in 2014.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227176/khyber-air-strikes-at-least-six-suspected-militants-killed-several-injured

----------

 

Rangers’ special powers not curtailed, Sindh governor tells ulema

AZFAR-UL-ASHFAQUE

Dec 18, 2015

KARACHI: While the Rangers director general sat silently in a meeting held at Governor House on Thursday, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad took pains to convince religious scholars of different schools of thought that the provincial government had not curtailed the powers of the paramilitary force.

During the meeting held to review the arrangements for the 12th Rabiul Awwal celebrations and maintenance of law and order on the day, the governor assured the ulema that the operation would continue “at all costs”.

The meeting took place a day after the Sindh Assembly conditionally ratified the Rangers’ stay in the province and curtailed their powers.

The ulema unanimously expressed their concerns over the curtailment of Rangers’ power and said that peace in the metropolis was only because of the Rangers-led operation.

Sunni Tehreek leader Shahid Ghori, who was one of the participants in the meeting, told Dawn that they demanded that the Rangers special powers be restored forthwith for maintaining peace and order.

He said that the governor replied that the Rangers-led operation against terrorism and crimes was like a motorway journey where no U-turns or signals were allowed. “The impression being given about curtailment of Rangers’ power is totally wrong,” the ST leader quoted the governor as telling the meeting. Mr Ghori said Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar did not speak during the meeting.

According to a statement issued from Governor House, Dr Ibad told the participants in the meeting that the implementation of the National Action Plan would continue, as the whole nation and the federal and provincial governments fully backed the security forces.

“We are facing an extraordinary situation and the political and military leadership wants to end the menace of terrorism ... We cannot afford to stop this operation and the provincial government will continue it, as no one wants instability in the province and the metropolis,” the governor said.

He paid tribute to the sacrifices of the security forces, which he said were fighting for the survival of the people.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227038/rangers-special-powers-not-curtailed-sindh-governor-tells-ulema

----------

 

Internal security, Afghanistan under discussion at high-level huddle

Dec 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: A high-level meeting on internal security and regional issues chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went underway in the capital on Friday.

Senior civil and military officials are in attendance, including Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, National Security Adviser Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua, Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Earlier this month, Pakistan hosted the 'Heart of Asia' conference in Islamabad which aimed at promoting regional cooperation for improving connectivity and tackling security threats.

Speaking at the conference, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had said that Pakistan's operations against militancy had "created unintended consequences, bringing about the displacement of a significant number of these [militant] groups onto our soil".

Take a look: Ghani thunders, Swaraj diplomatic at 'Heart of Asia' conference in capital

Ghani said the Taliban, which began as an Afghan phenomena, have become a regional phenomena. "The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan launched a vicious attack on children in Peshawar for which Pakistan robustly responded. But that very response brought them onto our country."

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227170/internal-security-afghanistan-under-discussion-at-high-level-huddle

----------

 

US engaged with Pakistan on tactical N-weapons: Olson

ANWAR IQBAL

Dec 18, 2015

WASHINGTON: A senior US official has told Congress that the United States has held candid discussions with Pakistan on its short-range nuclear weapons and Pakistan is willing to engage with the US on this issue.

Richard Olson, US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, also told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Obama administration was “not negotiating a one-two-three agreement — a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Pakistan.”

“We’ve had a very candid discussion with the Pakistanis about some of the concerns that we have, including about shorter-range nuclear systems. And Pakistan has been prepared to engage with us in those — in those discussions,” he added.

Take a look: ‘Pakistan has built low-yield nuclear weapons to counter Indian aggression’

Mr Olson said Pakistan was well aware of the extremist and insurgent threats to the security of its nuclear weapons and had a professional and dedicated security force to defend them.

“As with all nuclear-capable states, we have urged Pakistan to restrain its nuclear weapons and missile development,” he said.

“(We also) stressed the importance of avoiding any developments that might invite increased risk to nuclear safety, security, or strategic stability.”

Pakistani officials reject such concerns as unfounded and say that the country was forced to make tactical nuclear weapons to counter India’s so-called cold-start theory.

Mr Olson said that while the US and Pakistan did not always see eye to eye on every issue, this relationship was vital to the national security of the United States.

Mr Olson, who was the US ambassador in Islamabad before he moved back to Washington last month, said that despite many challenges, “Pakistan will continue to be an important partner for the United States for the foreseeable future, particularly in light of our enduring presence in Afghanistan.”

Mr Olson also urged US lawmakers not to overlook the significant progress made in the last few years. “During the past two years, we can point to progress, however imperfect, made across the economic and security sectors,” he said.

Mr Olson acknowledged that Pakistan had reasserted their sovereign authority over North Waziristan. “Miramshah, which was the headquarters of, amongst others, the Haqqani network and the Pakistani Taliban — completely cleared. I’ve been to downtown Miramshah,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227084/us-engaged-with-pakistan-on-tactical-n-weapons-olson

----------

 

Rangers' powers: 'Will side with institutions if democracy endangered', says MQM's Waseem Akhtar

Dec 18, 2015

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) mayoral candidate for Karachi Waseem Akhtar, while referring to the issue of extension of the Rangers' stay in Sindh, said he would side with democratic institutions if the situation turned to one where democracy was endangered.

While the MQM has reservations over the Rangers' operation, he said during an interview with BBC Urdu, those concerns have been delivered to those in the relevant corridors of power.

He said the Karachi operation, which was a demand of the MQM, should not solely be restricted to Karachi.

The MQM leader was reluctant to talk about the Rangers’ notice against him, saying that he did not want to look at the past, but is eager to focus on his new responsibilities.

When quizzed about his plan for Karachi, Akhtar said, "Before initiating any development and welfare activities, I have to struggle for acquiring the budget and powers for the LG institutions," adding that resolving the water shortage issue and restoring cleanliness were his top priorities.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227167/rangers-powers-will-side-with-institutions-if-democracy-endangered-says-mqms-waseem-akhtar

----------

 

‘San Bernardino’ echoes in Supreme Court in Lal Masjid case proceedings

NASIR IQBAL

Dec 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Umme Hasaan, the head of Lal Masjid’s Jamia Hafsa girl seminary, hotly denied to the Supreme Court on Thursday that she ever had any association with the Pakistan-origin Tashfeen Malik linked to the recent terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, much less have her as a student.

She appeared even more combative when she declared that she will file a damages suit against television anchorpersons for insinuating the same charge against her husband, Maulana Abdul Aziz.

“My husband has been photographed many times in the company of different people, including those anchorpersons who are now pointing fingers at us,” she said and asked: “Does that mean we have connections with all and sundry?” Agitated, she demanded why her husband was linked to “every incident”.

Indeed, a lawyer representing her husband soon informed the court that the suit had already been filed.

Jamia Hafsa’s Umme Hasaan denies any links with Tashfeen and sues TV channel for alleging that

Umme Hasaan spoke before a three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, which took up her husband’s plea for payment of blood money for those killed in the July 2007 military operation in Lal Masjid of which Jamia Hafsa was then a part.

Shahid Orakzai, one of the petitioners in the Lal masjid case, was the first to mention Tashfeen’s name in courtroom No 2 while inviting the court’s attention to the San Bernardino terror attack as a serious security issue for Pakistan.

“It is evident from the policy debate between 13 aspirants in the race for US presidency in Las Vegas on Thursday that the next presidential elections will revolve around the internal security of America,” said Orakzai.

Though the Republican candidates never mentioned the name of Pakistan, he said, all were unanimous that the biggest threat to US internal security will come from the Islamic radicalised terrorists and referred to Tashfeen many times in this regard.

“All I could pick up from the tenor of the debate is that the US internal security is going to have a direct fallout on Pakistan,” he said.

Advocate Tariq Asad, representing Maulana Aziz in the Lal Masjid case, informed the court that he had instituted a damages suit against the private television channel which first connected Tashfeen with his client.

Orakzai took strong exception when the advocate stated that “everybody understands on whose behest Orakzai is appearing.” However, the court asked Orakzai to submit a separate application highlighting what he had stated.

At the moment the court was not concerned about what Tashfeen was up to, or who was she, from where she had come or what was her origin was.

About Maulana Aziz’s application seeking an order for the federal government to implement the Oct 2 2007 judgment for the payment of ‘diyat’ blood money to heirs of Lal Masjid victims, the court ordered Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt to inform it on the next hearing as to what the government had done to implement its verdict.

Advocate Asad then pleaded for access to certain documents so as to reach the truth regarding the 2007 military operation against Lal Masjid. These documents were declared classified by the Supreme Court on April 18, 2013, while ordering that the Lal Masjid Commission Report be made public.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227147/san-bernardino-echoes-in-supreme-court-in-lal-masjid-case-proceedings

----------

 

Terrorist with explosives arrested in Bannu

December 18, 2015

BANNU :The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested a suspected terrorist and recovered explosives during a crackdown here on Thursday. According to details, the CTD team responding to a secret information conducted raid in Kaski Akhwandan area of district Bannu during which a terrorist Sadaqatullah, belonging to an outlawed organisation was apprehended. The CTD also recovered three kilograms of explosive material from the nabbed terrorist and he was shifted to an undisclosed location for further interrogation.

http://nation.com.pk/national/18-Dec-2015/terrorist-with-explosives-arrested-in-bannu

----------

 

South Asia

 

Bangladesh Imam advocates Fatwa by Islamic scholars to combat militancy

2015-12-17

He made the suggestion at a joint meeting of top law-enforcers and religious leaders at the Police Headquarters in Dhaka on Thursday.

Speaking at the meeting, Maolana Masud said the sermon signed by 100,000 Islamic scholars should be publicisd to tackle militancy and religious extremism.

Apparently convinced about the effectiveness of the move, Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque requested Masud, a former director of Islamic Foundation, to take initiative to form a committee to this effect.

Masud said, “Those who are killing people and carrying out terrorist acts in the name of religion are not on the right path. In no way does Islam support murders.”

That’s why a common fatwa, signed by 100,000 Islamic scholars, will be publicised to make the people aware (of the religious teaching),” he added.

The Imam said, “Youths get involved in militancy by mistake. Now (following the circulation of the fatwa) youths will distance themselves from it.”

Referring to a recent query of a foreign journalist on the presence of Islamic State operatives in Bangladesh, he said, “I answered the question in the negative.”

“There are no IS operatives officially in Bangladesh. However, I don’t think IS needs to remain active where there is a political party like the Jamaat-e-Islami,” he said.

Masud thinks the brutality of the Jamaat in 1971 was more horrendous than those of the IS now.

Full report at:

http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2015/12/17/bangladesh-imam-advocates-fatwa-by-islamic-scholars-to-combat-militancy

----------

 

Sayyaf slams Taliban for defaming Islam while inaugurating new political council

Dec 18 2015

A prominent jihadi leader and former member of the Afghan parliament on Friday slammed Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group for defaming Islam.

This is not the first Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf has taken a hard stance against the militant groups, specifically the Taliban group.

In his speech during the inauguration of ‘Afghanistan Protection and Stability Council’, Sayyaf raised a question regarding the motive behind Taliban’s dispute, saying the group has defamed Islam and the religion.

He said the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan is not due to conflict between Muslims and Kufars but the war is waged by paid criminal and murderers.

He welcomed the ongoing peace efforts however he said the main side involved in the dispute has not been ascertained so far, insisting that the dispute should be clarified whether it is Pakistan, Taliban or al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Sayyaf also called on the government to use the former Mujahid commanders in fight against the emergent ISIS terrorist group.

In regards to the formation of the new council – Afghanistan Protection and Stability Council, Sayyaf said the main aim of the council is to unite the Afghan people for the survival of Afghanistan and dignity of the Afghan people.

Sayyaf further added that the council members are not in favor of the collapse of the current political system and they have shared their concerns regarding the deteriorating situation of the country with President Ghani.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/sayyaf-slams-taliban-for-defaming-islam-while-inaugurating-new-political-council-1823

----------

 

Bangladeshi lawyer takes aim at sexual violence by religious edict

18 December 2015

Lipika Pelham

Hena Akhter was 14 when she was whipped to death for allegedly having an affair with a married man. There was uproar in local and international media at the time of her death in 2011, followed by a fervent call to outlaw so-called fatwa violence in Bangladesh.

The high court ruled that Hena’s body should be exhumed to determine the extent of the violence to which the young girl was subjected. A second post-mortem examination found that she died of septicaemia due to severe internal injuries. The court ordered an investigation, which led to several arrests, including that of the Muslim cleric who issued the fatwa.

That outcome was only made possible by the pioneering work of Sara Hossain, a prominent barrister in the supreme court of Bangladesh. Her campaign to challenge punishments handed out by village shalish courts under fatwas – religious orders inspired by sharia law – has led to groundbreaking rulings based on secular rather than Muslim values.

“When a fatwa is issued, such as in Hena’s case, the victims’ families are not even aware that such practices are illegal under Bangladeshi constitution,” said Hossain, who was in London recently to attend the Trust Women conference.

“Fundamentalists come to court and say that they have the right to use the religious decree, thereby following one part of the constitution which is Islam, but not the other part, which is secularism.”

Fatwa violence is largely used against women who are accused of defying religious assumptions on sexuality. Punishments can include public lashing, forced veiling, shaving heads, or forcing the accused to walk through the village wearing a garland of shoes around the neck.

The Bangladesh constitution is a peculiar one, with Islam and secularism standing side by side. The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, made a 15th amendment to the constitution in 2011, introducing a separate provision under which Islam was afforded special status as a “state religion”. Paradoxically, this was done even as an older article prohibiting “granting by the state of political status in favour of any religion” was reinstated.

The judicial system has repeatedly found itself challenged by Islamist elements. However, the secular courts have consistently maintained that adultery or pre-marital sex is not illegal in Bangladesh.

“Fatwa is an opinion, not a decision – it cannot be used to criminalise acts that are not criminal under the existing law,” said Hossain.

Through her work with Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Blast), of which she is the honorary executive director, Hossain has also questioned the lingering British colonial practice of subjecting rape victims to degrading physical examinations, and discriminatory personal family laws.

One of her cases involved a school headteacher who was cautioned by an education officer for not being veiled. The court eventually held the officer responsible for unlawful intimidation, ruling that “attempts to coerce or impose a dress code on women clearly amount to a form of sexual harassment”.

Hossain has also challenged the “two-finger test”, another British colonial law still practised in the Indian sub-continent. The test entails examining “the laxity of the vagina” of a girl or woman who has been raped, without seeking her consent, to establish if she was having sex. If the test proved she was, the court could rule that she was not raped. These tests have been performed on girls as young as nine.

Following Hossain’s intervention, the high court asked the health ministry to review case studies presented to the court by Blast to evaluate legal approaches that call into question the character or integrity of women in rape cases. A ruling is expected soon.

“Because most people are not going to know about these court rulings, they must be incorporated into school textbooks,” said Hossain.

Sharia law punishment was outlawed by the high court in 2010. Blast now aims to raise nationwide awareness that fatwas lack legal authority.

“It is the duty of the legal bodies to challenge even isolated cases and reinstitute secularism, an integral part of Bangladesh’s constitution,” said Hossain.

Blast’s projects aim to establish a national legal framework on areas including disability rights, the elimination of child marriage, the recognition of women’s rights to consent and choice, and an increased female presence in the justice system.

Hossain’s work has also brought some important breakthroughs in personal family law for Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Codified during colonial rule, these laws often leave women in dire poverty in the event of divorce or separation. About 80% of Blast’s cases deal with family law.

Full report at:

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/dec/18/bangladesh-violence-women-fatwa-barrister-sara-hosssain

----------

 

Afghan forces retaken control of Khanshin district in Helmand province

Dec 18 2015

The Afghan national security forces have retaken control of Khanshin district in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, security officials said Friday.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) officials announced earlier today that the Afghan forces seized control of Khanshin district from Taliban militants this morning.

According to the local government officials, the control of the district was retaken following heavy clashes between the Afghan security forces and Taliban militants.

The officials further added that the Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, Afghan National Police (ANP) forces together with the Afghan Public Order and Border Protection forces managed to enter into Khanshin district late on Thursday amid heavy clash.

There are no reports regarding the casualties incurred to Taliban militants and the Afghan forces during the gun battle.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-retaken-control-of-khanshin-district-in-helmand-province-1824

----------

 

World Trade Organization approves Afghanistan’s terms of accession

Dec 17 2015

Afghanistan formally gained accession to World Trade Organization (WTO) during the Ministerial Conference of WTO on Thursday.

The terms of accession by Afghanistan to World Trade Organization was formally adopted during the 10th Ministerial of WTO organized in Nairabi, the capital city of Kenya.

Afghanistan will become the 164th Member of the World Trade Organization once it ratifies today’s decision by the Ministerial Conference of WTO until 30 June 2016.

The World Trade Organization is a global trading organization that accounts for about 95 percent of the commerce of the world and the membership of WTO is expected to provide a number of rights for the country including the critical right to transit besides opening lucrative markets.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/world-trade-organization-approves-afghanistans-terms-of-accession-1822

----------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Islamophobia founded on slanders against Islam, PAS president says

BY HASBULLAH AWANG CHIK

December 17, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Islamophobia, the term used to describe dislike or fear of Muslims and Islam, is based on misconceptions and slanders created to mask the true beauty of the religion, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said today.

The PAS president said the ongoing war in Western Asia has clearly shown that Islam is the real victim although the religion is repeatedly demonised as being synonymous with acts of terrorism.

“This so-called Islamophobia today is really slanders against Islam.

“It is not the priests who are being killed but the mosques that are being bombed,” he said in his speech at the opening of Multaqa Serantau Alumni Al-Azhar Malaysia 2015, a forum on Muslim unity held at the Grand Seasons hotel here.

Hadi added that Islam prescribes clear guidelines that forbid the killing of innocent people during war.

He said that there are many stories that there are many examples in the Islamic faith that shows the religion is not one to be feared.

“The hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad prohibits the murder of women, children and the elderly.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/islamophobia-founded-on-slanders-against-islam-pas-president-says

----------

 

No bashing, no fears as Muslims, Christians share stories of religion and activism

BY ANISAH SHUKRY

18 December 2015

By Amalina’s side were her four other children, ranging from eight to 18 years old, whom the 42-year-old brought along to the talk in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday, titled “Exchange Verses: A night of exchange between Christians and Muslims”.

The talk was promoted as an intimate gathering for people to listen to four activists – two Christians and two Muslims – share how their respective religions inspired them to embark on volunteerism.

“I used to work at a public relations agency, handling luxury accounts like expensive watches, with no care for the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalised,” activist Debbie Loh shared with the enrapt audience.

“One day, I was reading the Bible, and a particular verse struck me: ‘God raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap’.

“At that point of time, I was thinking, this is my God, who cares about the poor, and I am so far from that. So I began to pray to God, and that made me care more for the people.”

Not a single Muslim in the audience flinched at Loh’s deeply Christian story. On the contrary, her anecdote was met with encouraging applause, even from the small children who were there with their parents.

The warm, peaceful scene was a stark contrast to the controversy from last weekend’s seminar at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Malacca, titled “Ancaman gerakan pemurtadan Kristianisasi” (Threat of the Christian proselytisation movement).

The seminar had purportedly touched upon attempts to convert Muslims to other religions, and to strengthen the “akidah” (faith) of Muslims.

It has seen the likes of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar defending the participation of a Special Branch officer at the forum.

It was also not the first anti-Christian seminar UiTM hosted.

In May last year, UiTM was criticised for holding a seminar at its Shah Alam campus, where participants were told that undercover Christian preachers were sent to Malaysia to convert Muslims.

While Muslim authorities do not seem to think such a seminar is an issue, for people like Amalina, they are the exact antithesis to what she thinks Muslims like her children should be learning.

“I don’t agree with any sort of anti-Christian forum,” the tudung-wearing, English-speaking housewife told The Malaysian Insider.

“Have you met any Christians who have tried to propagate their religion? I haven’t.”

The diminutive mother, who was educated in Australia, said she regularly exposed her children to the teachings of other faiths, and has taken them to temples and churches in order to turn them into “global citizens”.

It was why Amalina was not perturbed by Loh and Friends of Kota Damansara chairman Jeffrey Phang’s anecdotes of their Christian-inspired activism at the forum.

“My children are used to it. I expose them to different faiths because I want my children to grow up not only as proud Muslims, but to be able function normally no matter where they end up in the world.

“I don’t see how it conflicts with my religion. After all, Allah created people into different groups so that they can learn from one another,” said Amalina, referring to Chapter 49, Verse 13 of the Quran.

Lecturer Shahreen Nayan, 40, an attendee at the forum, said the anti-Christian seminar made such interfaith programmes even more necessary.

Like Amalina, she disapproved of any seminar targeting other religions in a negative manner, and stressed that those who believed in such methods did not represent the entire Muslim community.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/no-bashing-no-fears-as-muslims-christians-share-religion-and-activism

----------

 

Sarawak court allows Muslim’s judicial review bid for apostasy

December 18, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — A Sarawakian Muslim seeking to renounce his religion for Christianity has been granted leave by a Kuching High Court for judicial review of his conversion to Islam over three decades ago.

News portal Borneo Post Online also reported that Justice Datuk Yew Jen Kie fixed yesterday an inter partes hearing on January 15 next year.

The news portal reported that the applicant, Azmi Mohamad Azam Shah @ Roneey Rebit, is a Bidayuh who was converted to Islam at the age of eight after his parents, initially Bidayuh Christians, embraced the faith.

The Kuching High Court reportedly granted the applicant, who was born 40 years ago in 1975, his leave application for judicial review because his conversion was not made on his own accord as he had no choice but to follow his parents as a child.

The court also reportedly ruled that as the conversion was not of his volition, Roneey could not be considered a Muslim and hence, was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Shariah court.

According to the Sarawakian court, Roneey’s case was not bound by the Federal Court’s decision in the Lina Joy case as argued by the National Registration Department (NRD), where the apex court had ruled in 2007 that only the Shariah court could allow Joy, born Azlina Jailani, to remove the word “Islam” from her identity card.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/sarawak-court-allows-muslims-judicial-review-bid-for-apostasy

----------

 

Indonesia Deploys 1,500 Officers to Guard Christian Churches During Christmas Season Amid Increased ISIS Threat

Dec 17, 2015

Muslim extremists torched a church and killed one Christian man in Aceh, Indonesia in October 2015. <br/>Reuters

Muslim extremists torched a church and killed one Christian man in Aceh, Indonesia in October 2015.

In a sobering turn of events, the government of Indonesia has announced it will deploy nearly 1,500 officers to guard Christian churches this coming Christmas season due to the increased number of ISIS terror attacks in the region.

According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, the officers have been dispatched across Indonesia's North Sumatra province, seeking to protect churches, embassies and shopping malls during the upcoming holiday celebrations.

"The security operation has already started at every church," said Commissioner Hamam Wahyudi of the Medan Police. "We're also coordinating with the Mobile Brigade (riot police unit)."

Terrorism expert Sidney Jones, Director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, announced that the decision to deploy officers came amid escalating violence in the region, with the Islamic State calling especially for more kidnappings.

Over the past year, the predominantly Muslim country has seen growing support for the extremist group: Thousands of Indonesians are believed to have taken the oath of devotion to IS, while between 300 and 700 Indonesians have travelled to Syria to join jihadists and the self-proclaimed caliphate, according to Reuters.

Like Us on Facebook

In August, an Indonesian fighter in Syria - who goes by the name Abu Karimah Indonesia - released a video urging supporters of radical Islam to target "non-believers" and "followers of the cross" living in the country.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that in an exchange with a fellow jihadist apparently frustrated by his inability to travel to Syria, Abu Karimah gave advice on "jihad made easy".

Asked by an Indonesian-based jihadist if weapons are needed, he replied: "Our leader makes jihad easy for you. Kill any salibis (followers of the cross) you can find. Salibis can be easily found."

He added, "Process your target. The bigger the better. But if it's difficult, it's more important in jihad to simplify and do it sooner...You can use anything. For example, a car. Video the process ... run them over while passing."

Open Doors placed Indonesia in 47th place on its 2015 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience severe persecution, noting that believers are targeted both from radical Islamic groups, and in government church closings.

In October, Islamic leaders tore down a number of churches, warning that Christians are "Allah's enemies," while local authorities have failed to bring the attackers to justice, according to a report from the Gatestone Institute.

Full report at:

http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/60716/20151217/indonesia-deploys-1-500-officers-to-guard-christian-churches-during-christmas-season-amid-increased-isis-threat.htm

----------

 

Minister says Malaysia has adopted comprehensive framework that criminalises terrorism financing

December 18, 2015

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 18 — Malaysia has adopted a comprehensive framework that criminalises terrorism financing and money laundering, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah told a United Nations meeting in New York.

Addressing the UN Council Meeting of Finance Ministers on Countering the Financing of Terorrism yesterday, Ahmad Husni said punishment for terrorism financing under Section 130N of the Penal Code carries severe penalties, among others, of up to 30 years of imprisonment. 

The offence of terrorism financing was also contained in the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, he said.

He said Malaysia underwent the Mutual Evaluation Exercise in June this year, among others, and highlighted Malaysia’s commitment to the Financial Action Task Force standards with its strong legal and regulatory framework for combating terrorism financing. “Malaysia’s legal framework for targeted financial sanctions against terrorism provides strong tools to identify terrorist networks and take steps to freeze terrorist assets,” he said in a statement, which was made available here.

Ahmad Husni said the regime against terrorism was administered robustly and well implemented to a large extent for United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1267. 

Malaysia, he said, welcomed the comprehensive coverage of the new resolution to further focus the UN’s longstanding 1267/1989 Al-Qaeda sanctions regime on the evolving terrorist threat.

The new resolution covers all aspects of member states’ obligations with regard to establishing the necessary legal framework for criminalising of terrorism financing and to operationalise terrorism financing sanctions through the listing and delisting process.

Ahmad Husni said Malaysia was well placed to adopt and implement the proposals contained in the new resolution.

“Our comprehensive National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Act Strategic Plan includes measures such as engaging with the private sector on terrorism financing issues, and implementing necessary measures,” he said.

He said Malaysia’s financial regulators and compliance officers constantly exchange views and share information on issues relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism with its regional and international counterparts.

“We constantly work to identify key Daesh (IS) threats, including the trends and modus operandi of terrorism financing, enhance investigation techniques as well as conduct specialised training in relation to typologies, investigations and new areas,” he said.

Malaysia, he said, joined other council members in urging all member states to continue to take appropriate measures to counter radicalisation and violent terrorism in all forms and manifestations that lead to terrorism, financing, recruitment and mobilisation of individuals into terrorist groups.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/minister-says-malaysia-has-adopted-comprehensive-framework-that-criminalise

----------

 

Najib to Pas: Let's be united as Muslims

17 DECEMBER 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today called on Pas to foster closer ties with Muslims including those from the other side of the political divide. Sharing the same stage with Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang at the Al-Azhar Alumni's Regional Conference (Multaqa Serantau) here, Najib in his keynote address, invited Hadi to work together for better unity among Muslims. "Well, here I am, from a different kabilah (clan). And you, tok guru (Hadi), from a different kabilah.

Full report at:

http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/12/117741/najib-pas-lets-be-united-muslims

----------

 

Teresa talks turkey, wants price controlled for Christmas

Nawar Firdaws

December 18, 2015

PETALING JAYA: Turkey is a must for Christmas dinner and should by right be listed as a price-controlled item, said DAP lawmaker Teresa Kok.

“Turkey is the traditional Christmas dinner menu for many Christian families.

“It is therefore insensitive and inconsiderate on the part of the government not to place turkey in the list of price-controlled items,” she said in a statement today.

The MP for Seputeh also asked that Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Hamzah Zainuddin give due consideration to her request as the excuses provided by his Ministry in the past could not be accepted.

“Last year, then Minister Hasan Malek said turkey was not in the list of items under the festive price control scheme due to some technical problems.”

She said that due to this omission, there was a shortage of turkey last year. She noted however that once again, turkey had been left out of the list, with the reason of “poor demand and supply” being cited by Hamzah.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/18/teresa-talks-turkey-wants-price-controlled-for-christmas/

----------

 

Travel news: Festive island offers in the Maldives

Ashley Lane

December 17, 2015

The Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, Dhonakulhi, Maldives, can help you start your Christmas celebrations with its seasonal package. The experience kicks off with a Christmas Eve dinner at Matheefaru restaurant, featuring a festive menu and a traditional drumming show from the resort’s in-house band. Those with children can sign them up for the Santa’s Little Helpers programme, which includes a treasure hunt aboard a traditional Maldivian dhoni boat, a visit from Santa on Christmas day – including toys and treats – and snorkelling lessons. When families book in for seven days, from December 22 to 29, they’ll receive a stay in a deluxe water villa with a pool, on a half-board basis. The package cost from Dh57,555 for two adults and two children, including return flights with FlyDubai, return seaplane transfers to the resort, the Christmas Eve dinner and taxes.

Indonesia launches Muslim tourist guide

To help Muslim tourists travelling through Indonesia, the country’s Ministry of Tourism has launched a new interactive visitors’ guide. The 70-page directory, entitled Wonderful Indonesia: Many Lands. Timeless Culture. One Journey, is part of a campaign to make the country a top destination for Muslim tourists. It includes suggestions on where to shop, what attractions to see, the best halal restaurants and hotels to visit and places to pray throughout the country. The guide is published in English and Arabic, and can be downloaded here.

Boogie into the new year in Malta

Get your dancing shoes on in the Mediterranean to see in 2016. The Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa, Malta, is holding a 1940s-themed “Swing Around the Clock” New Year’s Eve party, featuring savoury snacks, sweet desserts and drinks at the Villa Corinthia restaurant. Visitors will then spend the evening kicking up their heels to the sound of a live jazz band, before counting down to the new year. The party costs €210 (Dh848) per person. The hotel is also offering a special overnight rate for the month of December, starting from €143 (Dh577) per person, including taxes, but excluding breakfast.

Full report at:

http://www.thenational.ae/arts-life/travel/travel-news-festive-island-offers-in-the-maldives

----------

 

Iran, North Korea come under fire at U.N. over human rights

18 December 2015

The U.N. General Assembly criticized Iran and condemned North Korea over human rights violations in resolutions adopted by the 193-nation body.

A total of 119 countries voted in favor of the resolution condemning “gross” violations in North Korea and encouraging the Security Council to refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court.

The measure drafted by the European Union and Japan was opposed by 19 countries including Pyongyang ally China, Russia, Sudan, Cuba, Iran, Egypt, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Forty-eight countries abstained.

The vote showed stronger condemnation of North Korea compared to last year, when a similar resolution was adopted by a vote of 116 to 20, with 53 abstentions.

The resolution demands that a vast network of prison camps in North Korea thought to be holding 100,000 inmates living in appalling conditions be shut down.

North Korea has reacted angrily to the measure, calling it a “product of political confrontation” by the United States and its allies.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/18/Iran-North-Korea-come-under-fire-at-UN-over-human-rights.html

----------

 

Africa

 

Nigeria: 49 Boko Haram killed in gun battles

18 December 2015

At least 49 Boko Haram militia have been killed in two days of sustained battle with Nigeria’s military in northeast Borno state, an army commander has said.

Nigerian troops engaged Boko Haram fighters at two locations in shootout during an ambush in the volatile northeast region, Theatre Commander of the Counter-Insurgency Operation in the northeast, Major General Abubakar Yasha'u said on Thursday.

"The Boko Haram insurgents ambushed our soldiers along the Pulka, Bama, Maiduguri axis where they swiftly repelled the attack, killing 15 insurgents," the general told reporters.

Elsewhere at Alagarno, a notorious Boko Haram hideout in southwestern Borno, the army claimed to have killed 34 insurgents in another gun battle, losing two soldiers.

At least 154 civilian hostages were rescued after the two encounters in a region that already has about 2.5 million displaced persons from Boko Haram-related attacks, according to a recent report by UNICEF.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167519/zambia-plans-to-establish-export-import-bank

----------

 

Nigerian Army Buries, Burns Bodies of Killed Muslims in Mass Graves

Dec 17, 2015

"The Nigerian army has buried in mass graves and burnt a large number of dead bodies of those Muslims who have been massacred in the recent army forces' attacks," the activists revealed.

They said that the army is attempting to destroy every evidences of its crimes against the suppressed Muslim community, adding that if it had any convincing reason for the mass-killing, it wouldn’t resort to such methods to conceal its crimes.

The Nigerian army attacked two religious centers of the country's Shiite community on Saturday, killing hundreds of defenseless civilians there. A few hours later on Sunday, the military wounded and arrested Leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky after raiding his house and killing his son, assistants and hundreds of followers.

The Saturday and Sunday crackdown on the Shiite community by the Nigerian army that ended in the massacre of the Shiites in several raids has caused serious concerns in many countries.

The Nigerian army staged several raids on three Shiite religious centers and killed 1,000 defenseless citizens in the city of Zaria on Saturday and Sunday.

"The Army forces opened fire at those present in Zakzaky's house, killing and wounding a large number of people," a member of the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) told FNA on Sunday.

According to him, the soldiers opened fire on local residents who were trying to protect the Shiite cleric.

A local resident told FNA that Sheikh Zakzaky's wife, Zinat Ibrahim, and his fourth son, Ali, were killed in the last raid on his house on Sunday.

Ali's three elder brothers were all martyred by the Nigerian army in their raid on the last year's Tasoua and Ashoura mourning ceremonies marking the martyrdom anniversary of Shiite Islam's third Imam, Hossein Ibn-e Ali (AS). Ali was taken by plain clothes regime forces and kept in an unknown place for some time during the last year raid.

Also, eyewitnesses said that Sheikh Mahmoud Mohammad Touri and Dr. Mostafa Saeed, the Nigerian leader's deputy and physician, respectively, as well as Osman Ibrahim and Jemi Glima were among those killed in the raid.

Witnesses also said that the army surrounded the Leader's house after multiple raids Sunday.

"All those inside the house were killed and Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested and taken away by the soldier," they added.

According to the locals, soldiers returned to the house and killed all those inside who had been wounded in previous raids. "No one is alive now," they said, adding that tens of people have been killed in the army raids on the Sheikh's house and two other Shiite religious center that started Saturday night through Sunday morning (local time).

The army raids followed its clampdown on Shiite Muslims in the country’s city of Zaria, Kaduna State, in which at least 1,000 people were killed and many more injured.

“At noon today (Saturday) armed soldiers were seen in the precincts of Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria, where members of the Islamic Movement were to hoist flag to usher in the new month of Maulud, the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam," Islamic Movement Spokesman Ibrahim Usman said in a statement.

“Similar occasion was previously carried out on the same spot with free traffic flow under the supervision of the Movement’s traffic warders," he added.

“When some brothers met the soldiers to ask for their mission, they took position and opened fire indiscriminately, killed many and took away seven of the casualties to an unknown location," Usman said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940926000392

----------

 

U.S. special ops troops kicked out of Libya

18 December 2015

A group of U.S. special operations troops who had traveled to Libya to “foster relationships” was kicked out of the conflict-torn country soon after they arrived, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

A Facebook page belonging to the Libyan air force posted photographs of the men, who were dressed in rugged civilian clothing, including plaid shirts, and were carrying assault rifles.

A U.S. defense official confirmed that the men in the photo were indeed U.S. troops in Libya on Monday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the troops were in Libya “with the concurrence of Libyan officials.”

“U.S. military personnel traveled to Libya on 14 December to foster relationships and enhance communication with their counterparts in the Libyan National Army,” the official said.

“While in Libya, members of a local militia demanded that the U.S. personnel depart. In an effort to avoid conflict, they did leave, without incident.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/18/U-S-special-ops-troops-kicked-out-of-Libya.html

----------

 

Tunisian Nobel winners marking 5 years of Arab Spring

17 December 2015

Tunisians who won the Nobel Peace Prize are joining with townspeople in the country's beleaguered heartland to mark five years since a desperate street vendor set himself on fire, unwittingly setting in motion upheaval across the Arab world.

Tunisia is the only country to have emerged with a budding democracy, but it is grappling with the threat of violent Islamist extremism, now ravaging the region from neighboring Libya to Syria.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/17/Tunisian-Nobel-winners-marking-5-years-of-Arab-Spring.html

----------

 

North America

 

After terror attacks in Paris and California, crimes against Muslims increase sharply in US

Dec 18, 2015

WASHINGTON: Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and mosques across the United States have tripled in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, with dozens occurring within just a month, according to new data.

The spike includes assaults on hijab-wearing students; arsons and vandalism at mosques; and shootings and death threats at Islamic-owned businesses, an analysis by a California State University research group has found.

President Barack Obama and civil rights leaders have warned about anecdotal evidence of a recent Muslim backlash, particularly in California. But the analysis is the first to document the rise, amid a crescendo of anti-Islamic statements from politicians. "The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger," said Brian Levin, a criminologist at California State University, San Bernardino.

Levin runs a hate-crimes research group at the university, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, which produced the analysis and provided the results to the New York Times.

In recent years, there has been an average of 12.6 suspected hate crimes against Muslims in the United States a month, based on FBI data analyzed by the research group.

But the rate of attacks has tripled since the attacks in Paris on November 13 by Islamic State operatives, with 38 attacks regarded as anti-Islamic in nature, according to the analysis, which was based on reports from the news media and civil rights groups.

Eighteen of the episodes have come since the shooting in San Bernardino on December 2 by a Muslim couple who were supporters of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which left 14 people dead.

The frequency of the recent attacks has not reached the levels seen in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when there were hundreds of attacks on Muslims, and some Sikhs mistaken for Muslims, but Levin said they were similar types of hate-crime attacks.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/After-terror-attacks-in-Paris-and-California-crimes-against-Muslims-increase-sharply-in-US/articleshow/50228392.cms

----------

 

U.S. cases targeting ISIS supporters move ahead

18 December 2015

The U.S. Justice Department’s wide-ranging effort to prosecute so-called “lone wolf” individuals seeking to support ISIS moved ahead on Thursday in Pennsylvania, New York, Kansas and San Bernardino, California, where 14 people were killed this month.

A Pennsylvania teenager was arrested after investigators said he tried to help individuals travel to the Middle East to join the militant group.

Meanwhile, a New York man pleaded guilty in a separate case to terrorism-related charges, admitting that he also tried to recruit individuals to travel abroad to fight for ISIS, which controls territory in both Syria and Iraq.

In a third case, a Kansas man appears set to plead guilty after being charged with plotting to set off a suicide car bomb at a U.S. Army installation, according to court records.

Federal authorities have arrested more than 70 people since 2014 for planning to aid ISIS.

The couple who carried out the deadly Dec. 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino were inspired by the militant group, authorities said.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles on Thursday charged Enrique Marquez, a longtime friend of one of the shooters, Syed Farook, with plotting attacks in 2011 and 2012 and with illegally buying the rifles the couple used in their assault.

The Pennsylvania and New York cases highlight Islamic State’s aggressive use of social media to inspire followers.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/18/U-S-cases-targeting-ISIS-supporters-move-ahead-.html

----------

 

Sikh boy in US detained for 3 nights after bully says he has bomb

December 18, 2015

Barely three months after the arrest of a Muslim boy on the suspicion that he brought a bomb to school in US invited widespread condemnation, a similar incident is reported to have taken place in Texas.

A Sikh boy, aged 12, was arrested by police officials after a bully in his class reportedly accused him of having a bomb. But police officials maintained that the boy joked about blowing the school up and that they arrested the boy because ‘making a terroristic threat’ is a felony in the US.

The police told the Dallas Morning News that after arresting the boy, they handed him over to the Juvenile Justice Department after finding that the bomb claim was indeed a joke.

An emotional post shared on Facebook by the boy’s cousin describes a narrative that’s becoming increasingly common and scary in the US.

Ginee Haer recounts in her Facebook post, that’s gone rapidly viral over the last two days, how her 12-year-old cousin, Armaan Singh Sarai, was whisked away by police officials after a bully in his class made a bomb allegation.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/sikh-boy-arrested-in-us-after-bully-in-class-accuses-him-of-having-a-bomb/

----------

 

California shooters' ex-neighbour charged with supporting terrorists

Dec 18, 2015

WASHINGTON: A former neighbour accused of supplying assault rifles to the couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino, California, appeared in court on Thursday charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

Enrique Marquez, 24, a friend of Syed Rizwan Farook, also told investigators he and Farook plotted earlier mass casualty attacks, prosecutors said.

Read: Suspects Syed Farook, Tashfeen Malik kill 14 in California shooting: authorities

United States (US) Attorney Eileen Decker said the two men conspired to commit "vicious" assaults on targets including a California community college and a state highway during rush hour.

"Even though these plans were not carried out, Mr. Marquez's criminal conduct deeply affected San Bernardino, and the entire US when the guns purchased by Marquez were used to kill 14 innocent people and wound many others," Decker said in a written statement.

Decker said there was no evidence that Marquez took part in the December 2 attack or had prior knowledge of it.

Wearing handcuffs and beige T-shirt, Marquez appeared in federal court in Riverside, California for a brief hearing on Thursday. He did not enter a plea.

The possibility of bail will be discussed on December 21, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for January 4.

Marquez faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted on three separate counts.

According to an FBI affidavit, the two men met in 2005 when Marquez became Farook's neighbour in Riverside, California.

Farook introduced Marquez to radical Islamist ideology, prosecutors said, and by 2011 Marquez was spending most of his time at Farook's home listening to lectures and watching videos with extremist content.

At that point, the pair began planning gun and bomb attacks, the affidavit said, and Marquez told investigators their targets included the library or cafeteria at Riverside Community College, where they had both been students.

He and Farook also planned to detonate pipe bombs on State Route 91 during afternoon rush hour, and then to shoot at law enforcement and emergency crews as they arrived, according to the affidavit.

Prosecutors said the pair bought guns, ammunition and tactical gear, and Marquez told investigators he agreed to purchase the weapons because "his appearance was Caucasian," while Farook, the US-born son of Pakistani immigrants, "looked Middle Eastern."

He bought a Smith and Wesson M&P-15 Sport rifle in November 2011 and a DPMS model A-15 rifle in February 2012, each costing about $750, according to the affidavit.

Marquez also purchased explosives, specifically smokeless powder, as part of the pair's plans "to create bombs and commit mass killings," the affidavit said.

Early in 2012, the two men continued to prepare by visiting shooting ranges. After that year, prosecutors said, Marquez distanced himself from Farook and ceased plotting with him.

Marquez called 911 after massacre

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) affidavit provided more details on how investigators believe Farook and his wife's rampage unfolded.

According to prosecutors, Farook went to his co-workers' holiday party and placed a bag containing a pipe bomb on a table, before the couple returned and opened fire.

It never went off, but a remote control detonator was found in their car after they were killed in a shootout with police.

The affidavit said Marquez told investigators he and Farook learned to make improvised explosive devices from Inspire Magazine, the official publication of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1227171/california-shooters-ex-neighbour-charged-with-supporting-terrorists

----------

 

U.N. adopts resolution to target ISIS finances

18 December 2015

Finance ministers from the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted on Thursday a wide-ranging resolution aimed at ramping up sanctions against ISIS and cutting off its revenue flows.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew led the council’s first-ever meeting of finance ministers, shoring up a major diplomatic push to end the war in Syria, where ISIS control a large swathe of territory and have installed their de facto capital.

The resolution calls on governments to ensure they have adopted laws that make the financing of ISIS and of foreign fighters who join its ranks a serious criminal offense.

Drafted by the United States and Syrian ally Russia, the measure updates a previous resolution that set up an Al-Qaeda blacklist, which will be renamed the "ISIL (Daesh) and Al-Qaeda sanctions list” to signal the U.N.’s stronger focus on the ISIS extremists.

It urges countries to “move vigorously and decisively to cut the flow of funds, and other financial assets and economic resources” including oil and antiquities to ISIS, and to “more actively” submit names to the sanctions list.

A Russian-drafted resolution on cutting off the extremists’ revenue streams was adopted in February, but countries have been slow to take action to choke off funding channels.

“While we are making progress to financially isolate ISIL, if we are to succeed we all must intensify our efforts, on our own and together at the international level,” said Lew.

The latest measure would require all countries to report within 120 days on steps taken to target ISIS financing.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/12/18/U-N-adopts-resolution-targeting-is-finances-.html

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isil-loyalist-proposes-to-use-birds-as-suicide-bombers!/d/105654

 

New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Womens in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Womens In Arab, Islamphobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Loading..

Loading..