New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 10:15 PM

Islamic World News ( 25 Apr 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

ISIL Propagating Wahhabi and Takfiri Ideology in School Textbooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Islamic State leader Abdiqadir Mumin shown in a video promoting the “Commander Sheikh Abu Numan training camp.”

 

Masjid under Police Control Due to Sectarian Differences in Sanbhal, India

Islamic State Highlights ‘First Camp of the Caliphate in Somalia’

Canadian Man Beheaded By Islamic Extremist Captors in the Philippines

Politics of Radicalisation: How the Maldives Is Failing To Stem Violent Extremism

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Arab World

ISIL Propagating Wahhabi and Takfiri Ideology in School Textbooks

Saudi Arabia Launches “Kingdom Is Muslims’ Destination” Campaign

Terrorist Centres Destroyed in Syrian Airstrikes in Aleppo

52 Armed Groups Join Syrian Truce

Leader's Top Aide: US Seizure of Iran's Assets Instance of Theft

Iraqi Forces Arrive in ISIL's Last Base in Western Heet

Syrian Army, NDF Capture more Lands East of Damascus

Syria: Gov't Forces Continue to Advance in Eastern Homs Province

Arab coalition enters AQAP stronghold in port city of Mukalla, Yemen

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India

Masjid under Police Control Due to Sectarian Differences in Sanbhal, India

Paper Plates Made Of Holy Quran Sparks Trouble in Azamgarh

TS Govt pays honorarium to 551 Imams, Maozans

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Africa

Islamic State Highlights ‘First Camp of the Caliphate in Somalia’

Valhalla Mosque Fury Simmers

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North America

Canadian Man Beheaded By Islamic Extremist Captors in the Philippines

Plans for Muslim Cemeteries Face Backlash across the U.S

U.S., allies stage 14 strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria

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Southeast Asia

Politics of Radicalisation: How the Maldives Is Failing To Stem Violent Extremism

Elusive Peace in Islamic Enclaves of the Philippines

Defiant Yameen lashes out as concerns persist over jailing of opponents

Abu Sayyaf: Islamic Extremists or Profiteering Criminals?

Jokowi on terror threat, saving Indonesian hostages: It's difficult

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South Asia

8 Bombers Killed As Their Suicide Vests Went Off Prematurely In Kunduz

Ghani Orders NDS Directors to Use All Available Force against Terrorists

Militant identified as Hamdard Hasib planning attack in Kabul city: USFOR-A

Taliban delegation in Karachi city of Pakistan for talks with Afghan govt

Dostum is barred from entering US, reportedly for alleged mass killing of Taliban

Talks underway for the delivery of Mi-17s to Afghanistan: Russian Ambassador

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Pakistan

Facilitator of Afghan Daesh Commander Arrested From Peshawar: Police

Bringing Taliban on Table Not Sole Responsibility Of Pakistan: FO

Taliban delegation in Karachi for talks with Afghan govt: report

Rangers claim arrest of 'most wanted' hitman with links to MQM

Ghani asks Pakistan to take action against Taliban

Pakistan arrests six in Sikh leader killing, denies Taliban role

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 Mideast

Secularism Shouldn’t Be In Turkey’s New Constitution: Parliament Speaker

Turkey Reacts to Int’l Calls for Resumption of Talks with PKK

Turkey demands more effective use of Hellfire missiles in ISIL fight

A Middle Ground: On Nuance in Campus Israel-Palestine Discourse

Talks with Israel advancing toward final step, Turkey says

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Europe

Racial Tensions Leave London Mayor Campaign at ‘Disturbing Low’

Europe 'to have more Muslims than Christians

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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ISIL Propagating Wahhabi and Takfiri Ideology in School Textbooks

April 26, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL is trying to promote the Wahhabi and Takfiri ideology among the Syrian children in areas under its control in the school textbooks, media reports said.

The Syrian army and popular forces have gained access to a series of books that the ISIL used to propagate extremism in the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) that is now under ISIL's control, the Spanish-language ABC newspaper reported.

The newspaper also said that they have obtained texts which show the ISIL has invited the Syrian youth to join the terrorist group.

It reiterated that it is quite evident that the ISIL command has tried a lot to prepare plans for the future training programs of the terrorists.

In a relevant development earlier, Guardian newspaper in a 24-page document had disclosed terrorists' programs for training children and turning the children into religious fanatics and also the importance of the trainings in development of the ISIL's caliphate.

It said that after training the children the ISIL commanders force them to take part in execution of the people.

The ISIL is also engaged in similar operations in the city of Sirte in Libya; 100 children comprising Libyan and other nationalities have undergone a training program titled 'Caliphate's Lion Children', Libyan local media reported.

The age of the children graduating from 'Caliphate Lion Children' does not exceed 14. The children are used for carrying out horrible suicide attacks and driving the bomb-laden vehicles.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000536

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Masjid under Police Control Due to Sectarian Differences in Sanbhal, India

New Age Islam News Bureau: April 25, 2016

Police brought the fight for Masjid administration under control. Namaz and Azaan prohibited in the Masjid.  Ulema Mashaikh Board accuses administration of favouritism.

Sanbhal, 25 April 2016: According to a report published in “Inquilab”, Urdu, a tense situation created by the differences occurring between the two sectarian groups was brought under control by the police here, today. Naseela Wali Masjid has been a bone of contention between the two sectarian groups for their greed to control its administration.

Both the parties had gone to Lucknow Sunni Waqf Board to seek justice. However, in the meantime, one of them managed to achieve a guideline from the Rampur Tribunal Court which inflamed the ongoing tension and no consensus was achieved in the meeting held in the SDM, Sanbhal’s office.

Ulema Mashaikh Board held a meeting and passed a resolution, declaring that the administration concerned is taking parts in this case. It says, “After the Tribunal Court has given its judgement in our favour, the administration should have managed to take the administrative powers from the erring group and given it to us”. The resolution adopted by the Mashaikh Board also states, “How can any other party interfere in the judgement given by the Tribunal Court in which it has ordered to hand over the administrative powers to Dabeer Ahmad. It shows how the administration is taking sides. Therefore, Ulema Mashaikh Board has taken a decision to protest in case the administrative power of Naseela Wali Masjid is no handed over to it. 

Further investigation has revealed that, one Ghyasuddin,, Ziauddin and Badruddin s/o Reyazuddin have given this land to the Waqf for Masjid. Subsequently, some other people also donated their land for its development.

Mosque’s first Mutawalli was Badruddin and after his death, Nazaer ul Islam s/o Bakhtawar Husain was appointed its General Secretary and Treasurer (Mutawalli).

Namazis present in the Masjid told the representative that there were some people who wanted to use the Masjid for their own profits. And that these people wanted the door of the Masjid to be kept open for the whole night so that they can take rest or sleep here.

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Islamic State highlights ‘first camp of the Caliphate in Somalia’

April 25, 2016

The Islamic State touted a small training camp and announced its first attack in Somalia as part of the its push establish a presence in the country. Islamic State followers in Somalia have been ruthlessly pursued by Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, thwarting their attempt to gain traction in Somalia.

The Islamic State released a video on April 14 of the “Commander Sheikh Abu Numan training camp,” which is likely located in the Puntland region in northwestern Somalia. The video, which was produced by the Islamic State’s Al Furat Media, featured former Shabaab commander Abdiqadir Mumin, who is known to be based in Puntland.

The video depicted just over a dozen fighters training in the camp, which is named after Bashir Abu Numan, a former commander who was killed by Shabaab’s Amniyat – the rival group’s internal security and intelligence branch – after he defected to the Islamic State in late 2015.

The Commander Sheikh Abu Numan camp does not appear to be a permanent facility. The fighters were shown undertaking physical and weapons exercises before listening to a speech from Abdiqadir Mumin, who likely holds a senior leadership position within the Islamic State’s fledgling branch in Somalia.

Mumin blessed the camp as the “first camp of the Caliphate in Somalia” before he and the fighters shown in the video renew their pledge of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Mumin originally defected to the Islamic State late last year with just 20 of the 300 jihadists based in the Galgala hills of Puntland. The other jihadists are said to have remained loyal to Shabaab. [See LWJ report, Shabaab’s leadership fights Islamic State’s attempted expansion in East Africa.]

In addition to promoting its camp, the Islamic State claimed its first attack inside Somalia. In a statement released on social media accounts today, the Islamic State claimed it detonated an IED against a “a Military Vehicle of the African Crusader Forces in Mogadishu,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

The Islamic State has struggled to gain a foothold in Somalia despite a concerted effort to woo Shabaab fighters into its ranks. Shabaab’s Amniyat has been tasked with hunting down and killing any members who seek to or have defected to the Islamic State. Last December, the Amniyat gunned down Mohammed Makkawi Ibrahim, a veteran jihadist who was responsible for killing a diplomat for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and his driver in Khartoum, Sudan in January 2008.

longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/04/islamic-state-highlights-first-camp-of-the-caliphate-in-somalia.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LongWarJournalSiteWide+%28The+Long+War+Journal+%28Site-Wide%29%29

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Canadian man beheaded by Islamic extremist captors in the Philippines

26 April 2016

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine military has come under increased pressure to rescue more than 20 foreign hostages after their Muslim extremist captors beheaded a Canadian man identified as former mining executive John Ridsdel.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the decapitated head recovered Monday night in the southern Philippines belongs to Ridsdel, the the Calgary, Alberta, resident who was on vacation when he and another Canadian were taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants in September.

Trudeau said his government will work with the government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this "heinous act."

Two men on a motorcycle left Ridsdel's head, placed inside a plastic bag, along a street in Jolo town in Sulu province and then fled, Jolo police chief Supt. Junpikar Sitin said.

Abu Sayyaf militants had threatened to behead one of three men — two Canadians and a Norwegian — they kidnapped last September from a marina on southern Samal Island if a large ransom was not paid by 3 p.m. Monday (0800 GMT).

Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin condemned the beheading, blaming Abu Sayyaf militants, who have been implicated in past kidnappings, beheadings and bombings.

"This is such a barbaric act by these people and one would be tempted to think that they should also meet the same fate," Amin said by telephone.

Philippine forces were moving to rescue the abductees, also including a Filipino woman who was kidnapped with them, as the Abu Sayyaf's deadline for the ransom payment lapsed, the military said.

The militants reportedly demanded 300 million pesos ($6.5 million) for each of the foreigners, a reduction from their earlier demands.

The hostages were believed to have been taken to Jolo Island in Sulu, a jungled province where the militants are thought to be holding a number of captives, including 14 Indonesian and four Malaysian crewmen who were abducted at gunpoint from three tugboats starting last month.

"Maximum efforts are being exerted ... to effect the rescue," the military and police said in a joint statement, without divulging details of the rescue operation, which was ordered by President Benigno Aquino III.

About 400 Abu Sayyaf militants were involved in the kidnappings, it said.

In militant videos posted online, Ridsdel and fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Marites Flor were shown sitting in a clearing with heavily armed militants standing behind them. In some of the videos, a militant positioned a long knife on Ridsdel's neck. Two black flags hung in the backdrop of lush foliage.

In Canada, Ridsdel was remembered as a brilliant, compassionate man with a talent for friendship.

"He could bridge many communities, many people, many situations and circumstances and environments in a very gentle way," said Gerald Thurston, a lifelong friend of the former mining executive and journalist who grew up with him in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

Thurston said Ridsdel is survived by two adult daughters from a former marriage.

The abductions highlight the long-running security problems hounding the southern Philippines, a region with bountiful resources that also suffers from poverty, lawlessness and decades-long Muslim and communist insurgencies.

The Abu Sayyaf began a series of large-scale abductions after it emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of a separatist rebellion by minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation's south.

It has been weakened by more than a decade of Philippine offensives but has endured largely as a result of large ransom and extortion earnings. The United States and the Philippines have both listed the group as a terrorist organization.

nydailynews.com/news/world/canadian-man-beheaded-islamic-extremist-captors-philippines-article-1.2614546

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Politics of radicalisation: how the Maldives is failing to stem violent extremism

April 25 ,2016

elve people related to one family from the Maldives left for Syria in December 2015, reportedly to join the ISIS. They included four sisters, three brothers, the wife of one of the brothers, two husbands of two of the four sisters, their two-year son and a six-month old daughter. The family of the eight siblings comes from the remote island of Kondey in Gaaf Alif Atoll with a population of just 544 people. This latter fact may not be significant, as they lived in the capital Malé.

This is just one of the latest reported cases of foreign fighters from the Maldives going to Syria. The Soufan Group, a think tank monitoring the flow of foreign fighters in Syria, says the official count – defined as count based on either government sources, or quoting government sources, or from the UN, or a research or an academic source – for the Maldives is 200.

However, the official Maldivian government count fluctuates between 20 and 100. This month, the country’s Counter-Terrorism Centre said the count was at most a two-digit figure.

Based on media reports of actual cases since 2014, there seems to be a steady flow of Maldivians going to Syria since at least mid 2013. The government has so far failed to stem this flow. But the flow itself does not necessarily show the government has not taken measures against violent extremism. After all, the numbers from other parts like the Western Europe also climbed between 2013 and 2016 despite international efforts to stem the flow.

But when it comes to states like the Maldives gripped by political turmoil, there is a politics of radicalisation that further aggravates the issue. In the Maldives, this politics includes: 1) “block thinking” that does not bother to understand complexities; 2) trivialising of the issue of violent extremism by the government; 3) instrumentalisation of religion by all political parties; and, 4) politics through radical gangs susceptible to “Islamisation”.

Religion’s big story in the Maldives: the context

As far as Islam is concerned, the really big story coming from the Maldives is the fragmentation of religious consciousness. Contrast this with the observation by anthropologist Clarence Maloney in the 1970s: Islam in the Maldives was limited to washing, fasting and praying. What he meant was that Islam was largely a practice. There was no talk. No conversation. No argumentation.

Enter the new millennium. Welcome to the phenomenon of some have called “objectification of Muslim consciousness”. Islam has by now become the contest of vigorous disagreements. Islam is an object of vigorous talk, dispute, and theorisation. It has become even more an object of conspiracy theories and sensationalist journalism.

Disagreements are not just between Salafists and non-Islamist Maldivians. Fragmentations exist within Islamists and Salafists, on issues of women, democracy, human rights, and violent jihad. In short, different groups envision different utopias for the country.

That is the broader sociological reality of religion in the country. We don’t yet know the precise implications of this reality for successful democratisation in the country. We, however, know that most Maldivians support democracy. Most associate it with such notions as freedom of expression and assembly. We also know Islamists have so far failed to translate whatever support their ideology has into votes.

But we also do not know the long-term implications of fragmentation of religious consciousness for broader security for the Maldives and even for other countries, including India. I take up here the story of the unhelpful politics surrounding radicalisation that further facilitates current violent extremism.

The politics of radicalisation

Block thinking and radicalisation

On September 29, 2007, a group of Maldivian violent extremists detonated a homemade bomb at Male Sultan Park, injuring 12 tourists. Since the Sultan Park terror attack, no act of terrorism has taken place inside the Maldives. Maldivians, however, have joined violent jihadi forces in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now increasingly Syria. It is not clear how, if at all, the people behind the 2007 attack in Malé are connected to today’s jihadists.

According to Maldivians who have joined Al Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, the Maldives is not a strategic priority for them. Instead, an Islamic state in the Indian subcontinent, they argue, can be a more fruitful goal. If such an endeavour can be successful, ‘conquering Maldives would be as simple as a blow from the mouth from a mountain of India’.

To be sure, for them, the Maldives is under jahiliyya/irreligious darkness (as in pre-Islamic Mecca), ruled under a taghut/idolatrous system. Maldivians, they believe, must refrain from participating in elections. The reality is: 90 percent voted in the 2013 presidential elections.

At least, then, the Maldivians who have joined al-Nusra don’t support any political party in the Maldives. They condemn President Abdulla Yameen’s government. It can hardly be true the Yameen government or his party, the Progressive Party of the Maldives, directly supports them either.

Moreover, there is an ideological disconnect between these Maldivians in Syria and the modernist Islam espoused by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of PPM. The non-religious modernism of the Maldivian generation educated at the American University in Beirut (which includes President Yameen) is a far cry from the religious ideologies of violent extremism. President Gayoom might have attended rallies by Sayyid Qutb in his student days in Egypt. But ideologically he is closer to the reformist Islam of Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani and Muhammed Abduh that aspired to show Islam was fully compatible with modernity.

The point is Maldivian actors like Jamiyyatul Salaf/Al Asr, Islamist Adhalath Party, PPM, Sharia4Maldives, Maldivians in ISIS and al-Nusra, are not ideologically of the same fold on all issues.

Yet some in the current opposition and sensationalist media reports do not bother to make these discriminations.

That is an outcome of the tendency to lump together all who do not support secularist ideologies in a single fold. That is an example of what Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor calls “block thinking”. Under block thinking, differences and discriminations do not matter. “Islam” is taken as a monolithic unit and seen as somehow antithetical to secular modernity and dangerous to politics. I think there are several dangers associated with this kind of thinking.

Consider for example a possible implication when we lump Maldivian foreign fighters in Syria together. We know that Maldivians who have joined al-Nusra or would desire to join al-Nusra would not necessarily like the ISIS. There is a pretty sophisticated treatise by one of the Maldivian fighters in al-Nusra (who has now died in Syria) decrying ISIS and its ideology of an Islamic State in the current mode. Maldivian fighters who are with al-Nusra continue to portray the ISIS as a deviant group. The implication of this is really huge if one is serious about understanding who may be behind the ISIS or al-Nusra recruitment from the Maldives. It may not be the same group.

Or consider another example. Sheikh Adam Shameem of the Salafi NGO Al Asr is accused of recruiting people for violent jihad without credible evidence. It is true he does not support secular democracy. He may condemn Western atrocities in Muslim countries, or even support jihad in principle. He also made a Facebook remark making a prayer for Muslim foreign fighters, including two Maldivians who died in Syria. But the reality is he has a complex view on jihad, including defensive violent jihad.

Shameem condemned the Sultan Park bomb attack, condemned Maldivians joining extremist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and reasoned the command by an amir as a condition of violent jihad, and argued jihad becomes an individual obligation upon citizens of a country only in cases of foreign aggression (or when commanded by their leader). In another piece he says people should go for violent jihad when requested by the people of a Muslim country under aggression and when the neighbouring countries are incapable of helping them.

Through the failure to make differences we may fail to differentiate between potential allies to stop radicalisation for violent extremism and the real culprits. That’s the first aspect of politics of radicalisation in the Maldives: block thinking, sometimes informed by secularist biases.

Trivialising radicalisation

President Yameen’s government does not of course appear to be seriously working to stem the foreign fighter flow from the Maldives. The fact that at different times, depending on the political platform, the government has said different things about the extent and reality of violent extremism, is a matter of grave concern.

The openness with which some jihadist fighters have operated in social media supporting violent jihad and their continued interaction with local people, is another indication of how radicalisation is trivialised. If an individual like myself (not even with primary focus on radicalisation) could know that an Ahmed Atheeq from Addu atoll went to Syria, and could find out his Facebook page by asking a friend in Addu who knows him personally, and for months could read his Facebook updates supporting violent jihad and encouraging violent jihad, to me, that is an indication of how government trivialises the issue.

This will not be surprising if one takes into account that the police force is disproportionately mobilised to meet the narrow political ends of the government of the day. A counter-terrorism centre was only established in February this year.

Political trivialising of the issue of radicalisation is then the second aspect of politics of radicalisation in the Maldives.

Instrumentalisation of religion

The third aspect of politics of radicalisation is political instrumentalisation of religion in general by all parties.

Politicians instrumentalise Islam in selfish ways. PPM and the Gayooms portray political opponents in the Maldivian Democratic Party as Christian missionaries or anti-Islamic secularists. This is done to incite local religious sentiments.

But MDP, in turn, portrays the Maldives as a hotbed of fundamentalism, encouraged by PPM and/or Islamist Adhaalath Party depending the time and shifting alliances. MDP no doubt uses this approach to solicit international support. This appeals to some Indian and western audiences that see the Muslim world through the War on Terror.

In reality, both PPM and MDP have been ready to make alliances and flirt with puritan Salafists.

Part of this instrumentalisation is to do with the nature of the electoral system. The Maldives has a majoritarian electoral system that requires 50 percent +1 votes to win the presidential election. The winner-takes-all system for parliamentary system also encourages tactical partnerships. This, together with the competitive nature of elections since 2008, have meant that otherwise non-religious parties have a strong incentive to solicit support of every segment of the political and religious spectrum.

The Islamist Adhaalath Party became part of every government not because of popular votes but because of their coalition with major political parties. But parties have also solicited support from more puritan Salafi end of this spectrum that in principle supports violent jihad and portrays Muslim issues in a Manichean worldview of Good (Muslims) vs. Evil (West/Israel).

The outcome of the free reign given to puritan Salafists over the state resources, and other funds and facilitation in exchange of political support, is that Salafi activism and outreach have grown at mindboggling levels.

We do not know the extent of public support for Salafist ideologies. But if one subscribes to some of the Salafist views, even though one may not be a violent extremist, one may be more sympathetic to violent jihad, or one may be more susceptible to religion-based recruitment for violent jihad.

That is, at a minimum, how political instrumentalisation of Islam is related to radicalisation.

Islamisation of gang members

The fourth aspect of politics of radicalisation is related to the rise of gang politics. “Islamisation” of gang members may be the most significant route to the journey to Syria.

An assessment on gangs in 2012 suggests that all political parties use gangs for politics ends. Partly as a result, no government has seriously tackled the issues of youth delinquency and their radicalisation in gangs. But in recent years, gangs are believed to have become dangerous political instruments. It is suspected that politicians sponsored gang members in the murder of parliament member Dr Afrasheem Ali in 2013 (ahead of presidential election primaries) and the abduction of journalist Ahmed Rilwan in 2014.

But this dangerous connection of gangs to politics and related political failure to address the issue, have opened gangs to a totally different and new phenomenon. The concept of “Islamisation of radicalism” explains this: a lot of today’s violent extremists joining groups like the ISIS are already radicals, before they get “Islamised”.

Several Maldivians who have joined the ISIS come from backgrounds of past (non-religious) radicalism, crimes, and gangs. These people were already radicals before they were “Islamised” to become foreign fighters.

The 2012 gang assessment also indicates there were no links between religious figures and gangs (who in fact distrusted the country’s religious scholars). This suggests “Islamisation” of gang members is a more recent phenomenon.

These facets of the politics of radicalisation may not be surprising in a state gripped by deep political turmoil since 2003. But unless this politics of radicalisation is managed, it will be difficult to address the real issue of religious radicalisation and “Islamisation” of non-religious radicals.

maldivesindependent.com/feature-comment/politics-of-radicalisation-how-the-maldives-is-failing-to-stem-violent-extremism-123782

 

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Arab World

ISIL Propagating Wahhabi and Takfiri Ideology in School Textbooks

April 26, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL is trying to promote the Wahhabi and Takfiri ideology among the Syrian children in areas under its control in the school textbooks, media reports said.

The Syrian army and popular forces have gained access to a series of books that the ISIL used to propagate extremism in the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) that is now under ISIL's control, the Spanish-language ABC newspaper reported.

The newspaper also said that they have obtained texts which show the ISIL has invited the Syrian youth to join the terrorist group.

Full Report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000536

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Saudi Arabia launches “Kingdom is Muslims’ Destination” campaign

April 25, 2016

Riyadh: President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Prince Sultan Bin Salman, launched the Post-Umrah Program, an initiative which allows Umrah pilgrims to convert their visas into tourist visas.

This is a key channel of “The Kingdom is Muslims’ Destination” initiative.

According to the news published in Ummid.com, in a press statement, Prince Sultan said the program aims to provide opportunity to Umrah pilgrims to see the Islamic historical sites.

He also said that the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage is carrying out the program in cooperation with the ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Hajj.

Business visa holders and GCC citizens can also avail this opportunity, he added.

siasat.com/news/saudi-arabia-launches-kingdom-muslims-destination-campaign-umrah-pilgrims-can-convert-their-visas-tourist-visas-951120/

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Terrorist Centers Destroyed in Syrian Airstrikes in Aleppo

April 26, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army aircraft, in several combat flights, targeted the terrorist groups' positions on the Western outskirts of Aleppo city, pinning the militants down behind their strongholds.

The Syrian fighter jets struck the terrorists' lines of defense in Rashedeen 4 and 4 in the Western part of Aleppo city, which ended in the destruction of the militants' military and logistic vehicles.

Full Report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000740

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52 Armed Groups Join Syrian Truce

April 26, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The number of armed groups complying with ceasefire terms in Syria has grown to 52, Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

With another armed group active in Syrian Homs province joined Syrian ceasefire agreement in the past 24 hours, the number of groups complying with the reconciliation process has reached to 52, an information bulletin of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said, TASS reported.

"An agreement to join the cessation of hostilities was signed with the presence of the group's representative in Damascus. The number of armed groups stating their commitment to accepting and complying with ceasefire terms now is 52," said the report posted on the website of the Russian Defense Ministry.

Full Report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000747

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Leader's Top Aide: US Seizure of Iran's Assets Instance of Theft

April 26, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Supreme Leader's Top Advisor for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati condemned the recent ruling by the US Supreme Court which authorized the transfer of $2 billion of Tehran's frozen assets to the families of the victims of a 1983 bombing in Beirut, describing the act as a blatant instance of theft and "international robbery".

"The measure shows the US officials' contradictory remarks that they stress their commitment to undertakings and removal of sanctions in talks with the Iranian foreign minister on one hand and impose sanctions in other forms and rock the boat on the way of legal and free trade relations between Iran and other countries on the other hand," Velayati told reporters after meeting Swiss Deputy Foreign Minister Yves Rossier in Tehran on Tuesday.

"No doubt, this action is an international robbery and the Islamic Republic of Iran will insist on restoring its rights and will take its right from the Americans," he added.

Velayati underscored that the only way to confront the Americans is resistance against their excessive demands.

Full Report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000707

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Iraqi Forces Arrive in ISIL's Last Base in Western Heet

April 26, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi army continued their advances in Anbar province and managed to enter a strategic area in the Western part of the city of Heet on Tuesday after several days of clashes with the Takfiri terrorists.

The Iraqi army advanced in al-Doulab region, the last base of the ISIL terrorists in Western Heet.

The Iraqi government troops also purged the terrorists from the village of Dolieh in the Western outskirts of Heet city.

Full Report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000442

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Syrian Army, NDF Capture more Lands East of Damascus

April 26, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and popular forces are pushing the ISIL back from more positions East of Homs province and are advancing rapidly against the terrorists along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzur highway, military sources said.

"The Syrian soldiers and the National Defense Forces have deployed their units to a region only 10 kilometers to the strategic town of Arak along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzur highway," the sources said.

Full Report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000540

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Syria: Gov't Forces Continue to Advance in Eastern Homs Province

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and the National Defense Forces (NDF) pushed terrorists back from more territories in Eastern Ghouta and restored security to a vast region after hours of non-stop battle.

The terrorists of Jeish al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman left behind tens of the dead or wounded members and fled the battlefield near the region of Bala al-Kadhima under the heavy offensives of the Syrian government forces.

Bala al-Kadhima is now under the full control of the Syrian army and popular forces.

The Syrian soldiers and NDF further pushed towards Harasta al-Qantara and deployed their forced to its outskirts.

Full Report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950207000428

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Arab coalition enters AQAP stronghold in port city of Mukalla, Yemen

April 25, 2016

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia has entered the southern Yemeni port city of Mukalla, which has been a major hub of operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since early April 2015. Airstrikes helped pave the way for ground forces from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Yemeni government to enter Mukalla in the past 24 hours.

Citing Yemeni officials and “local residents,” Reuters reports that “2,000 Yemeni and Emirati troops” have taken control of the “port and airport” and are “setting up checkpoints throughout” Mukalla, which is the capital of Yemen’s Hadramout province.

Some of the reports coming out of Mukalla are highly questionable. For example, Saudi Arabia’s official press agency claims that “the operation resulted in its first hours in the killing of more than 800 elements of Al Qaeda and a number of their leaders and that the rest of them fled.”

Full Report at: longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/04/arab-coalition-enters-aqap-stronghold-in-port-city-of-mukalla-yemen.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LongWarJournalSiteWide+%28The+Long+War+Journal+%28Site-Wide%29%29

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India

Masjid under Police Control Due to Sectarian Differences in Sanbhal, India

New Age Islam News Bureau: April 25, 2016

Police brought the fight for Masjid administration under control. Namaz and Azaan prohibited in the Masjid.  Ulema Mashaikh Board accuses administration of favouritism.

Sanbhal, 25 April 2016: According to a report published in “Inquilab”, Urdu, a tense situation created by the differences occurring between the two sectarian groups was brought under control by the police here, today. Naseela Wali Masjid has been a bone of contention between the two sectarian groups for their greed to control its administration.

Both the parties had gone to Lucknow Sunni Waqf Board to seek justice. However, in the meantime, one of them managed to achieve a guideline from the Rampur Tribunal Court which inflamed the ongoing tension and no consensus was achieved in the meeting held in the SDM, Sanbhal’s office.

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Paper Plates Made Of Holy Quran Sparks Trouble in Azamgarh

April 25, 2016

Varanasi: Tension was witnessed in Azamgarh’s Mubarakpur after a youth noticed paper plates of Holy Quran at sweet shop.

According to a report published in Patrika, the incident happened on late Friday afternoon when a young man came to shop and placed an order for Chaat (snack). The plates on which the shopkeeper served the snacks have religious text written in Arabic.

The man noticed the writing and expressed his strong objection. As the news spread, enraged locals gathered and set the shop selling plate on fire.

They staged a protest to lodged a complaint against the shopkeeper for selling paper plate of Holy Quran’s pages.

Full Report at: siasat.com/news/paper-plates-made-holy-quran-sparks-trouble-azamgarh-951115/

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TS Govt pays honorarium to 551 Imams, Maozans

April 25, 2016

The Telangana Government on Monday launched the schemed for payment of monthly honorarium of Rs. 1,000 to Imams and Maozans of 551 mosques across the State.

Since the announcement for payment of honorarium was made by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on 9th July 2015, the Imams and Maozans were paid honorariums with effect from July 2015. Speaking on the occasion at Haj House in Nampally, Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali informed that a total of 8,901 applications were received from Imams and Maozans of different mosque for honorarium. They include 1493 applications from Hyderabad alone. Of them, 551 have been finalised after verification. He said remaining applications too would be cleared after verification.

Full Report at: siasat.com/news/ts-govt-pays-honorarium-551-imams-maozans-951153/

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Africa

Islamic State highlights ‘first camp of the Caliphate in Somalia’

April 25, 2016

The Islamic State touted a small training camp and announced its first attack in Somalia as part of the its push establish a presence in the country. Islamic State followers in Somalia have been ruthlessly pursued by Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, thwarting their attempt to gain traction in Somalia.

The Islamic State released a video on April 14 of the “Commander Sheikh Abu Numan training camp,” which is likely located in the Puntland region in northwestern Somalia. The video, which was produced by the Islamic State’s Al Furat Media, featured former Shabaab commander Abdiqadir Mumin, who is known to be based in Puntland.

The video depicted just over a dozen fighters training in the camp, which is named after Bashir Abu Numan, a former commander who was killed by Shabaab’s Amniyat – the rival group’s internal security and intelligence branch – after he defected to the Islamic State in late 2015.

Full Report at: longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/04/islamic-state-highlights-first-camp-of-the-caliphate-in-somalia.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LongWarJournalSiteWide+%28The+Long+War+Journal+%28Site-Wide%29%29

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Valhalla mosque fury simmers

25 April 2016

Pretoria News - Tensions over the erection of a mosque for the Muslim community in Valhalla have continued to grow following the donation of a piece of land by the City of Tshwane.

This is less than two weeks since the signing over ceremony of the land to the Thaba Tshwane Islamic Centre Trust on April 12 at the Vallies Park Primary School. Social media has been inundated with comments of people decrying the planned erection of a mosque, alleging the community was not consulted about the donation of the land to the trust.

Yet despite the growing tensions over this donation, mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa announced in his State of the Capital Address on Thursday that the council was in full support of the donation of the 10 000m² piece of land valued at R2.9 million.

To foster social cohesion and undermine the effects of the Natives’ Land Act and Group Areas Act, the city had “thus far donated over 170 parcels of land measuring in excess of 861 000m² to religious communities as an important stakeholder in the fight against moral degeneration, drug and substance abuse, crime and corruption”.

Full Report at: iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/valhalla-mosque-fury-simmers-2014117

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North America

Canadian man beheaded by Islamic extremist captors in the Philippines

26 April 2016

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine military has come under increased pressure to rescue more than 20 foreign hostages after their Muslim extremist captors beheaded a Canadian man identified as former mining executive John Ridsdel.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the decapitated head recovered Monday night in the southern Philippines belongs to Ridsdel, the the Calgary, Alberta, resident who was on vacation when he and another Canadian were taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants in September.

Full Report at: nydailynews.com/news/world/canadian-man-beheaded-islamic-extremist-captors-philippines-article-1.2614546

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Plans for Muslim cemeteries face backlash across the U.S.

26 April 2016

On the site of a long-idle dairy farm, leaders of a local mosque hope to build a final resting place for about 500 Muslim families -- to the dismay of many residents of this quaint town in central Massachusetts.

In arguments cemetery developers and activists decry as thinly veiled bigotry, neighbors say they fear burial practices could contaminate groundwater because Muslims traditionally do not embalm bodies and bury their dead without coffins. They also cite concerns about noise, vandalism and increased traffic on the narrow road where the cemetery would be built. One resident said he worried he would have to put up with "crazy music" like the Islamic call to prayer.

Full Report at: cbsnews.com/news/plans-for-muslim-cemeteries-face-backlash-across-the-us/

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U.S., allies stage 14 strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria

26 April 2016

The United States and its allies conducted 14 strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, the coalition leading the operations said.

In a statement released on Monday, the Combined Joint Task Force said three strikes near two cities in Syria hit two tactical units and destroyed four fighting positions, a supply cache and a vehicle borne improvised explosive device.

In Iraq, 11 strikes near six cities hit a staging area, several tactical units and destroyed a tunnel system, three anti-air artillery pieces, three bed down locations and a staging area, among other targets, the statement said.

reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-usa-airstrikes-idUSKCN0XM160

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Southeast Asia

Politics of radicalisation: how the Maldives is failing to stem violent extremism

April 25 ,2016

elve people related to one family from the Maldives left for Syria in December 2015, reportedly to join the ISIS. They included four sisters, three brothers, the wife of one of the brothers, two husbands of two of the four sisters, their two-year son and a six-month old daughter. The family of the eight siblings comes from the remote island of Kondey in Gaaf Alif Atoll with a population of just 544 people. This latter fact may not be significant, as they lived in the capital Malé.

Full Report at: maldivesindependent.com/feature-comment/politics-of-radicalisation-how-the-maldives-is-failing-to-stem-violent-extremism-123782

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Elusive Peace in Islamic Enclaves of the Philippines

April 26, 2016

The brutal murder of Canadian mining executive John Ridsdel in the Philippines this week is yet another sobering reminder that Southeast Asia’s most literate country (over 95% literacy), with a population of over a hundred million has many challenges ahead. As a major election approaches this tragedy will likely strengthen the case of hard-line politicians who want to crack down further on militants. One of the leading candidates is Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao, the city from where Mr. Ridsdel and his associates were kidnapped in September 2015.  The mayor has gained prominence for his tough tactics on criminals and also notoriety for his crass jokes about violence in the country. Yet he remains the leading candidate as Filipinos consider his candor as a welcome departure from the entrenched business aristocracy that has wielded power in the country for much of its democratic history.

Full Report at: voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/26/elusive-peace-in-islamic-enclaves-of-the-philippines/

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Defiant Yameen lashes out as concerns persist over jailing of opponents

April 25,2016

The Maldives’ embattled president, Abdulla Yameen, has lashed out at persisting international scrutiny over the jailing of his opponents, days after cabinet ministers promised to follow recommendations for reform by the Commonwealth.

“There are traitors among us,” Yameen said at a ceremony to mark the Maldivian army’s 124th anniversary on Sunday. He urged soldiers to reflect on the jailing of former President Mohamed Nasheed and two former defence ministers, as well as the alleged role played by former and incumbent soldiers in the multiple crises that has besieged his administration.

Soldiers must stand ready for ideological attacks, too, he said, revealing plans to introduce military courts to try army officers for criminal offences.

Several top-ranking officers and Yameen’s former deputy are on trial over a blast on his speedboat last September.

Full Report at: maldivesindependent.com/politics/defiant-yameen-defends-jailing-of-opponents-despite-persisting-international-concern-123836

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Abu Sayyaf: Islamic extremists or profiteering criminals?

Apr 26, 2016

HONG KONG (CNN) -- Philippines-based Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf have made international headlines with the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Canadian national John Ridsdel, whose remains were found the day after a ransom demand deadline expired.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to work with the Philippines and international partners "to pursue those responsible for this heinous act and to bring them to justice."

Who are Abu Sayyaf?

Formed by Islamic fundamentalist Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, who trained in the Middle East -- and reportedly met with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- Abu Sayyaf is a violent extremist group who split from established Philippines separatist movement Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1991.

Full Report at: kitv.com/story/31814909/abu-sayyaf-islamic-extremists-or-profiteering-criminals

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Jokowi on terror threat, saving Indonesian hostages: It's difficult

Apr 26, 2016

JAKARTA, Indonesia – A day after a Canadian hostage was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, admitted the situation was not easy but said he is coordinating closely with his neighbors to save the 14 Indonesians held hostage by group which has turned kidnapping-for-ransom into a cottage industry.

On Tuesday, April 26, Jokowi met in the Palace with a small group of media owners and news chiefs from 9 of the 10 countries of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ending a two-day conference organized by the Jakarta Post.

"How did you react after the beheading of their Canadian hostage yesterday?" asked Rappler's Maria Ressa. "They hold 14 Indonesians and 4 Malaysians hostage. How are you dealing with the threat today?"

Full Report at: rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/bahasa/englishedition/130850-terrorism-jokowi-hostages

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South Asia

8 bombers killed as their suicide vests went off prematurely in Kunduz

Tue Apr 26 2016

At least 9 would-be suicide bombers were killed after their suicide vests went off prematurely in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said all 8 would-be bombers were fully equipped with the suicide vests and were looking to carry out coordinated attack in Kunduz before their explosives went off.

Full Report at: khaama.com/8-bombers-killed-as-their-suicide-vests-went-off-prematurely-in-kunduz-0760

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Ghani orders NDS directors to use all available force against terrorists

Tue Apr 26 2016

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has ordered the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), specifically the National Directorate of Security (NDS) directors, to use all force against the terrorists fighting in the country.

During a meeting with a number of the provincial NDS directors, President Ghani said the government did its best to bring peace and stability through reconciliation process but the militants rejected the proposed talks and martyred the security personnel in Kabul attack last week.

Ghani ordered the NDS directors to take all steps necessary to narrow the field of activities of the terrorists, create fear in their hearts, close their movement routes, halt their finance sources and suppress their activities through air and ground raids.

Full Report at: khaama.com/ghani-orders-nds-directors-to-use-all-available-force-against-terrorists-0761

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Militant identified as Hamdard Hasib planning attack in Kabul city: USFOR-A

Tue Apr 26 2016

The United States Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) released identities of possible attackers planning attacks in Kabul and other provinces.

“Insurgents from the Haqqani and Taliban networks are known to be planning attacks on the Afghan people in the Parwan, Khost, Kabul, and Logar Provinces, Afghanistan,” a statement by United States Forces in Afghanistan said.

The statement further added that the possible attacker in Kabul has been identified as Hamdard Hasib.

Full Report at: khaama.com/militant-identified-as-hamdard-hasib-planning-attack-in-kabul-city-usfor-a-0763

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Taliban delegation in Karachi city of Pakistan for talks with Afghan govt

Tue Apr 26 2016

A delegation of the Afghan Taliban group has arrived in Karachi city of Pakistan, reportedly for peace talks with the Afghan government, a day after President Ghani ordered military actions against the militants pursuing violence and warned Pakistan to take actions against the group’s leadership based in Peshawar and Quetta.

According to diplomatic sources quoted in a report by BBC Urdu, the delegation has arrived to Karachi city from Qatar where the Taliban has a liaison office.

The sources have further added that the representatives of the Taliban group will join the Afghan government at the table during the negotiating process.

Full Report at: khaama.com/taliban-delegation-in-karachi-city-of-pakistan-for-talks-with-afghan-govt-0759

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Dostum is barred from entering US, reportedly for alleged mass killing of Taliban

Tue Apr 26 2016

The United States has reportedly denied to issue a visa to the First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum to visit New York and Washington to discuss the situation of the country with the American officials, it has been reported.

The step was reportedly taken for Gen. Dostum’s alleged involvement in the mass killing of the Taliban insurgents in late 2001 as he was fighting alongside Central Intelligence Agency operatives and Special Operations forces to oust the Taliban.

The message to deny entry to Gen. Dostum to United States was passed to the Afghan government days before his departure, the New York Times quoting multiple Afghan and American officials reported.

Full Report at: khaama.com/dostum-is-barred-from-entering-us-reportedly-for-alleged-mass-killing-of-taliban-0757

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Talks underway for the delivery of Mi-17s to Afghanistan: Russian Ambassador

Mon Apr 25 2016

The Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Alexander Mantytskiy said negotiations are underway for the delivery of Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan.

Mantytskiy was speaking to reporters in capital Kabul to brief regarding the bilateral ties between Kabul and Moscow.

He said Moscow has agreed to deliver helicopters to the Afghan army following the recent meeting between President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Full Report at: khaama.com/talks-underway-for-the-delivery-of-mi-17s-to-afghanistan-russian-ambassador-0756

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Pakistan

Facilitator of Afghan Daesh commander arrested from Peshawar: police

April 26, 2016

PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: An alleged facilitator of a commander of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan was arrested from Regi Lalma area here, police said Tuesday.

The suspect, Musa, has close links with Afghanistan-based Abdullah alias Cheeta, a commander of Daesh (the Arabic acronym for IS), said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Saifullah as he produced the suspect before media.

The officer said the suspect was wanted by the local police for various crimes and was arrested during a search operation in Regi Lalma on Monday night.

The alleged criminal belonged to an inter-provincial criminal organisation, said the DSP, adding that further investigation about the suspect is underway.

The director general of the Intel­ligence Bureau, Aftab Sultan, informed the Senate Standing Committee on Interior earlier in February this year that IS was emerging as a threat in the country because several militant groups had a soft corner for it. He named Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan as examples.

Full Report at: dawn.com/news/1254537/facilitator-of-afghan-daesh-commander-arrested-from-peshawar-police

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Bringing Taliban on table not sole responsibility of Pakistan: FO

April 26, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Tuesday that Pakistan is making serious efforts for peace in Afghanistan but the country alone is not responsible to bring the Afghan Taliban on the table for dialogue.

In an apparent response to Afghan president's recent speech, in which he said Afghanistan "no longer expects Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table", FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria clarified that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all forms and does not differentiate between terrorist groups, adding that peace in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan.

Zakria reminded the world that Pakistan itself is the biggest victim of terrorism as thousands of its citizens and security forces personnel have laid down their lives in the war against terror.

Full Report at: dawn.com/news/1254527/bringing-taliban-on-table-not-sole-responsibility-of-pakistan-fo

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Taliban delegation in Karachi for talks with Afghan govt: report

April 26, 2016

An Afghan Taliban delegation based in Qatar is in Karachi for direct talks with the Afghan government, BBC Urdu reported, citing diplomatic sources in Islamabad.

The Foreign Office has denied knowledge of the delegation's visit.

Following a deadly insurgent attack targeting a security services office in the heart of Kabul one of the deadliest attacks in the Afghan capital since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 observers have said Pakistan is pressuring the Taliban to join peace talks, BBC Urdu reported.

Taliban representatives in Pakistan will join the Afghan government at the table during the negotiating process.

The development comes as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani threatened diplomatic reprisals against Pakistan if it refuses to take action against the Taliban, in a new hard-line stance after the Kabul attack left 64 people dead.

The attack cast a pall over international efforts in recent months to jumpstart Pakistan-brokered peace talks, which stalled last summer after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their leader Mullah Omar.

Full Report at: dawn.com/news/1254526/taliban-delegation-in-karachi-for-talks-with-afghan-govt-report

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Rangers claim arrest of 'most wanted' hitman with links to MQM

April 26, 2016

KARACHI: Pakistan Rangers Sindh claimed to have arrested a target killer associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) during a search operation in Karachi's Azizabad area early Tuesday.

"Mohammad Kashif alias David, who belongs to the MQM, is a most wanted criminal in multiple targeted killing and terrorism incidents," Rangers official Colonel Faisal told media representatives.

He said the operation was carried out on a tip-off close to MQM's Nine Zero headquarters.

A cache of weapons and ammunition, including Kalashnikovs, light machine guns (LMGs) and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG-7), and Rangers uniforms were recovered during the operation, in which several houses were searched.

Full Report at: dawn.com/news/1254523/rangers-claim-arrest-of-most-wanted-hitman-with-links-to-mqm

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Ghani asks Pakistan to take action against Taliban

April 26, 2016

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has asked Pakistan to take military action against the Taliban militant group.

Ghani on Monday threatened diplomatic reprisals against Pakistan if it does not take an action against the Taliban.

"I want to make it clear that we no longer expect Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table," Ghani said.

"But we want Pakistan to fulfil its promises ... and take military action against their sanctuaries and leadership based on its soil. If they can't target them, they should hand them over to our judiciary," he said.

Full Report at: business-standard.com/article/news-ians/ghani-asks-pakistan-to-take-action-against-taliban-116042600296_1.html

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Pakistan arrests six in Sikh leader killing, denies Taliban role

April 26, 2016

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Police in northwestern Pakistan on Monday arrested six people accused of gunning down a Sikh political figure, attributing the killing to rivalry rather than a Taliban attack, as the militants had claimed.

Gunmen shot and killed Soran Singh, a prominent leader of Pakistan's tiny Sikh religious minority and a lawmaker from cricket legend Imran Khan's opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, outside his home in the town of Buner on Friday.

"We arrested six people, including a member of the Sikh community, Buldev Singh," Azad Khan, a senior police official, told reporters in Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Full Report at: businessinsider.com/r-pakistan-arrests-six-in-sikh-leader-killing-denies-taliban-role-2016-4?IR=T

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Mideast

Secularism shouldn’t be in Turkey’s new constitution: Parliament speaker

April/26/2016

Secularism must not feature in the new constitution, Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman said on April 25, drawing criticism from the opposition parties as well as his own party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“As a Muslim country, why should we be in a situation where we are retreating from religion? We are a Muslim country. So we must have a religious constitution,” Kahraman said in a conference titled “New Turkey and New Constitution” in Istanbul, stressing that “as a Muslim country” Turkey’s constitution should be religious.

“A description of secularism shouldn’t be in the new constitution. France, Ireland and Turkey have constitutions that include a description of secularism. But everyone interprets it the way they want to. That shouldn’t be the case,” he added, suggesting that the charter should “cohere with society.”

Full Report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/secularism-shouldnt-be-in-turkeys-new-constitution-parliament-speaker.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98341&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey reacts to int’l calls for resumption of talks with PKK

April/26/2016

A senior Turkish government member has refuted international calls for Turkey to return to the negotiation table with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), asking whether these countries could guarantee that militants would lay down their arms.

“These countries should see whether they can guarantee us that the PKK would drop their arms, instead of giving advice to us for the resumption of talks. We took this political risk [in the past]. We sincerely continued the process our president launched,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a group of journalists traveling with him to the United Arab Emirates on April 25.

Full Report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-reacts-to-intl-calls-for-resumption-of-talks-with-pkk.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98316&NewsCatID=510

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Turkey demands more effective use of Hellfire missiles in ISIL fight

April/26/2016

Turkish government has demanded the U.S. Army use its unmanned aerial vehicles loaded with Hellfire missiles more effectively against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a part of a new strategy to end deadly rocket hits in the border province of Kilis.

Ankara has demanded U.S. predators with two Hellfire missiles at the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana be used more effectively as well as the deployment of High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket launchers in the Syria borderline, according to the strategy.

According to Turkish sources, such moves would push ISIL militants southwards, leaving the border province out of battery ranges.

Currently Turkish fighter jets are inactive over Syrian skies following the downing of Russian jet on Nov. 24, 2015 for violating Turkish airspace.

Full Report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-demands-more-effective-use-of-hellfire-missiles-in-isil-fight.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98339&NewsCatID=352

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A Middle Ground: On Nuance in Campus Israel-Palestine Discourse

April 25, 2016

There are nuances within the umbrella category of anti-Israel sentiment. I’ve talked with people who think that Israel is a white, European colonialist nation but who still believe that a Jewish state should exist; I’ve talked to Jews who think the idea of a Jewish state is ridiculous; I’ve talked with people who love Israel but hate what it’s doing, and I’ve talked with people who hate everything about the state.

Anti-Zionists and Zionists alike come in many shapes and sizes. However, at the end of the day the loudest opinion on campus falls under the umbrella category of anti-Zionist or anti-Israel. In addition to being independently anti-Zionist, campus activists tend to lump divestment from Israel along with important issues such as divestment from the American prison system and the fossil fuel industry, which means that to support one of those issues is often to support all three. Although the latter two are undeniably contentious and important issues, their importance does not make them equivalent and it certainly does not place them in the same category as the highly complex state of Israel.

Full Report at: wesleyanargus.com/2016/04/25/a-middle-ground-on-nuance-in-campus-israel-palestine-discourse/

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Talks with Israel advancing toward final step, Turkey says

April 25, 2016

The normalization of relations with Israel is expected to begin as negotiations between the two countries advance toward the final step, Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said April 25.

“We are reaching the last period of negotiations that have been continuing with Israel. There is a negotiation being carried out in line with the conditions laid out by Turkey. Now we are reaching its end. A new contact is being planned in the near future. After a final agreement is made on the last two articles about reparations and the blockade [on Gaza], the signing of the deal and the process for normalization of relations are expected,” said Kalın, adding that the steps for the “improvement of humanitarian conditions in Gaza and Palestinian soil that are crucial” to Turkey are also expected to be taken rapidly in this regard.

Full Report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/talks-with-israel-advancing-toward-final-step-turkey-says.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98305&NewsCatID=510

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Europe

Racial tensions leave London mayor campaign at ‘disturbing low’

April 26, 2016

The race to be the next mayor of London has sunk to “disturbing lows”, according to Muslim groups, as the Conservatives were accused to trying to create racial tensions in order to help Zac Goldsmith win.

Customised leaflets addressed to Hindu, Sikh and Tamil voters mention sensitive subjects such as India’s Hindu-nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi, a 1984 battle over a Sikh temple in India that left hundreds dead and the Sri Lankan civil war.

Full Report at: ft.com/cms/s/0/e52d78e0-0a5b-11e6-9cd4-2be898308be3.html#axzz46vJqYtqd

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Europe 'to have more Muslims than Christians': Belgian minister warns Brussels attacks hearing that the continent should not 'make an enemy of Islam'

April 26, 2016

Muslims will ‘very soon’ outnumber practising Christians in Europe, a Belgian minister claimed yesterday.

Koen Geens, the justice minister, told the European Parliament the continent ‘does not realise this, but this is the reality’.

At a hearing by MEPs into the Brussels attacks, the Belgian deputy prime minister Jan Jambon added that ‘the worst thing we can do is to make an enemy of Islam’.

The remarks follow claims by Mr Jambon in the wake of the suicide bombings that ‘a significant section of the Muslim community danced when attacks took place’.

Speaking before the Parliament’s justice and home affairs committee yesterday, Mr Koens said the EU needed to realise a shift in population was taking place.

Full Report at: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3558706/Europe-Muslims-Christians.html

 

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