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

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Isis Beheads ‘Recruiters’ For Pro-Baghdad Militia

 

 

 

Shafqat's mother Makhni Begum along with her daughter Samira bibi and others held a press conference during which she said that her son is innocent. - Photo by Abrar Haider

 

 

Arab World

Isis Beheads ‘Recruiters’ For Pro-Baghdad Militia

Truck Bombing Leaves 12 Killed In Iraq's' Basra: Officials

Six Killed In Apparent Gas Attack in Syria

Iraq’s Tikrit Offensive Stalled by ISIS Bombs

Court bars UK teen from travelling to Syria

U.S. ‘concerned’ if heavy Iranian arms used in Iraq

Three Iraqis dead in explosion near Kuwaiti border

Egypt to end on-arrival visas for lone travellers

Death toll climbed sharply in major 2014 conflicts: study

U.S. confirms losing contact with a drone in Syria

Iraq confident it can protect artefacts returned by U.S.

Syria claims to shoot down U.S. drone

Egypt tightening visa rule for individual visitors

Egypt charges Muslim Brotherhood, Ultras over football violence deaths

Int’l. community inactive in fighting terror: Syrian adviser

Stockholm ‘risks losing Arab allies’

Islamic rights system honours all human beings

Shoura approves defamation claims for cybercrimes

US Air Force veteran eyed IS service

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Southeast Asia

After Kelantan, Muslim Groups Want Hudud to Sweep Country

ISIS Video Draws Concern from Singapore Muslim Leaders

Malaysian move towards harsher Islamic law divides opposition

Don’t paint Islam negatively, Borders’ Nik Raina tells JAWI

Indonesia’s top clerics issue fatwa against gays

Moral policing may impact job market

Malay IS video targets Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia

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South Asia

Gunmen Kidnap Six Shia Muslims in Western Afghanistan

Bangladesh Court Indicts Islamist Group Head, 7 Students in Hacking Death of Atheist Blogger

Indians accused of using Afghan soil for heroin smuggling

Afghan president to hold talks at Camp David

Subhan challenges his death penalty

No more death in arson, violence

Handmade bombs recovered from Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan

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Pakistan

‘Muslims in Pakistan Are Still Seeking Their Identity’

Pakistan's Minorities Ponder Future in Suicide Bombing Aftermath

Shafqat Hussain's Mother Submits Mercy Appeal

Pakistan National Assembly Admits Religious Minorities Felt `Insecure`

MNA wants security plan for minorities’ places of worship

Pact of silence spares MQM in NA

PPP decides to invite MQM to join Sindh govt

Rangers file case against MQM Chief Altaf Hussain

PML-N local leader killed in Peshawar

Pakistani among 3 beheaded in Saudi Arabia

Pak court adjourns hearing on plea for cancelling Lakhvi bail

Nine more prisoners hanged in Punjab jails

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North America

First US Muslim College Aims To Stand Against Islamophobia

Invasion of Iraq Led To Rise Of IS, Says Obama

US Muslim tortured in UAE for 106 days struggles to prove FBI hand

American Muslim Family’s Home Attacked In The Middle Of the Night

U.S. opens up to Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Syria, and Iran

Muslim Activists Criticize Bobby Jindal Radical Islam Travel Ban As ‘Fear mongering’

US envoy: Almost every CAR mosque destroyed in war

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Africa

Libya General Promises to Take Benghazi within a Month

ISIL Fighters Enter the Fray in Libya

Nigerian cattle herders kill 82 in Christian village

Nigeria launches 'final onslaught' against Boko Haram

Tunisia open to discuss EU migration center plan

Senior ISIS commander killed in Libya

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Europe

Muslim Party Runs In Spain Elections

Copenhagen Modern Mosque Approved

Death toll climbed sharply in major 2014 conflicts, says study

French experts reaffirm Arafat was not poisoned

Wrestling with radical Islam is an uphill battle in France

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Mideast

Turkey, US Discuss Ways to Enhance Joint Anti-ISIL Fight

Netanyahu Cements Israeli Election Victory

Netanyahu’s last ploy: No Palestine!

Turkish PM says negotiating with Assad like shaking hands with Hitler

Houthis replace air force chief in power struggle: military sources

Israel’s Netanyahu and rival Herzog tied in exit polls

Recent vote not to change Israel aggressive policy: Iran

Iran praises Assad’s role in Middle East security: Deputy FM

Palestinians to step up campaign against Israel at ICC: Top official

Shots fired into a Muslim home in N. Carolina

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-beheads-‘recruiters’-for-pro-baghdad-militia/d/102005

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Arab World

 

ISIS beheads ‘recruiters’ for pro-Baghdad militia

17 March 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) posted pictures Tuesday of the beheadings of four men it said were recruiters for pro-government militia fighting its militants in northern Iraq.

The images show four men dressed in black kneeling in an empty street with knife-wielding militants standing behind them, after which they are pictured being beheaded.

Text accompanying the photographs said the beheadings were carried out in Salaheddin province, where Iraqi troops backed by militia are fighting to retake the provincial capital Tikrit from ISIS.

The exact location where the photos were taken was unclear, and their authenticity could not be independently confirmed.

ISIS spearheaded a sweeping offensive that overran large areas north and west of Baghdad last year.

It has carried out numerous atrocities in areas it controls ranging from public beheadings to enslavement and rape.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/ISIS-beheads-recruiters-for-pro-Baghdad-militia.html

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Truck bombing leaves 12 killed in Iraq's' Basra: Officials

 Mar 18, 2015

At least 12 people have been killed in a truck bombing attack in the Iraqi city of Basra, Iraqi security forces say.

According to the Iraqi security forces, at least 42 others sustained injuries in the truck bombing attack in the city on Wednesday, the Iraqi al-Forat news agency reported.

According to the news agency, a similar attack earlier in the day targeted a gathering of truck drivers near a water purification station at the road linking Umqasir and Safwan districts in Basra.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but such incidents are often attributed to the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.

According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a total of 1,103 Iraqis lost their lives last month, while 2,280 others were injured as a result of terrorist attacks across the country.

The UN mission said 611 civilians were among the fatalities. The number of civilians injured stood at 1,353. Violence also claimed the lives of a further 492 members of the Iraqi army, while 927 others sustained injuries.

A great portion of the casualties was recorded in Baghdad Province, where more than 320 civilians were killed and over 870 others hurt.

ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. Iraqi army soldiers, police units, Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen have been engaged in joint offensives against the terrorists.

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/18/402368/12-killed-in-Iraq-truck-bombing

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Six killed in apparent gas attack in Syria

17 March 2015

Six people, including three young children, were killed in an alleged regime gas attack in northwestern Syria late Monday, a monitoring group and opposition activists said.

“Three children, their mother and father, and their grandmother suffocated to death after regime barrel bomb attacks” on their village in the province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitoring group said doctors in the village of Sarmin, southeast of the city of Idlib, concluded that the manner of death indicated a gas, possibly chlorine, had been emitted from the barrel bombs.

A young man breathes with an oxygen mask on March 17, 2015 at a clinic in the village of Sarmin, southeast of Idlib, the capital of Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.(AFP)

Sarmin's local coordinating committee, an activist group, said chlorine gas had been used and published videos of a chaotic field hospital where disoriented victims coughed and held gas masks over their faces as children cried in the background.

It also published videos of people trying to revive three young children who lay motionless in the field hospital. They appeared pale and covered in sweat, with dark circles around their eyes and a clear liquid coming out of their noses and mouths.

The three children, who all appeared to be no older than three, were pronounced dead. Pictures of their tiny bodies wrapped in white cloth were shared widely on social media.

Activists have accused the Syrian regime of using chlorine -- a toxic agent that can be considered a chemical weapon -- on civilian areas in the past.

In January, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said chlorine gas had been used in attacks on three Syrian villages in 2014.

The watchdog said it had a “high degree of confidence” that the gas had been used and reported that at least 13 people had been killed in the attacks.

It did not however attribute responsibility for the attacks, though its report cited witnesses saying they heard helicopters, which only the regime possesses, before the bomb attacks occurred.

Syria's opposition National Coalition said the regime's use of chlorine violated a UN Security Council resolution adopted in March after the OPCW's report.

The resolution condemned use of chlorine in the conflict and threatened action if it was used again.

Opposition chief Khaled Khoja condemned the attack on Twitter, writing: “The psychopathic dictator (Bashar al-Assad) continues to kill by chemicals and challenges the international laws”.

Assad's regime has been criticised by human rights groups for using barrel bombs, crudely constructed weapons packed with explosives typically dropped by helicopter.

Ibrahim al-Idlibi, an activist from the area, confirmed that six civilians had died of suffocation after two rounds of barrel bombs were dropped on the village.

“In the second round, civil defence volunteers were trying to protect the civilians by splashing water on them. But this is when they started suffocating,” he said.

Damascus did not have to declare its stocks of chlorine under a 2013 agreement to dismantle its chemical arsenal as it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

But use of the gas for military purposes would be a breach of its undertakings under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which it signed as part of the deal.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Monitor-Syria-govt-forces-launch-deadly-poison-gas-attack-.html

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Iraq’s Tikrit offensive stalled by ISIS bombs

17 March 2015

Iraq's huge offensive to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State group is being stalled by bombs planted by the jihadists holding out in the city, a militia spokesman said Tuesday.

“The battle to retake Tikrit will be difficult because of the preparations (ISIS) made,” said Jawwad al-Etlebawi, spokesman for the Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a Shiite militia that is playing a major role in the operation alongside the regular army.

“They planted bombs on all the streets, buildings, bridges, everything. For this reason, our forces were stopped by these defensive preparations,” Etlebawi told AFP.

“We need forces trained in urban warfare to break in,” he said, adding that the jihadists are surrounded, “but any besieged person fights fiercely.”

The operation to recapture Tikrit, the capital of Salaheddin province, began on March 2.

While Iraqi forces succeeded in surrounding the city and retaking towns across the Tigris river to the east, gaining ground inside it has proved much more difficult.

Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, the top army commander for Salaheddin, told AFP on Sunday that the forces attacking Tikrit needed air support from the US-led coalition.

Saadi said that he had asked the defense ministry to make the request to the coalition, but that no air support had been forthcoming.

ISIS spearheaded a sweeping offensive that overran large areas north and west of Baghdad last June.

Iraqi forces backed by the U.S.-led coalition and Iran are battling to push the militants back.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Iraq-s-Tikrit-offensive-stalled-by-ISIS-bombs.html

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Court bars UK teen from travelling to Syria

March 18, 2015

LONDON - A High Court judge on Tuesday barred a 16-year-old boy from leaving Britain amid concerns that he might follow his three brothers in joining Al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Syria.

In an extraordinary move, Judge Anthony Hayden made the teenager a ward of court following a request by the boy’s local authority, saying he wanted to ‘keep this lad alive’.

The court heard that two of the boy’s teenaged brothers had been killed while fighting with Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, and a third had been injured.

Describing the family’s ‘extraordinary history’, Martin Downs, the lawyer for the local authority, said one of the boy’s friends had also been killed in Syria, while his uncle is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

The case was brought before the High Court after local authority staff learned that the boy’s relatives were planning to take him on a trip to Dubai next month.

The judge described the boy, who has joint Libyan and British nationality, as ‘a vulnerable young person’ and said the local authority was concerned that he ‘may wish to follow the path which his brothers have walked’.

‘He has grown up in modern Britain in an extraordinary family - a family where the male members are patently committed to waging jihad in war-torn Syria,’ Hayden said.

The boy is currently living with his mother, who the judge said was ‘exhausted with grief’, and there were concerns that she was unable to properly discipline him.

In making the teenager a ward of court, effectively taking away the legal power of his parents, the judge confirmed that he could not now be taken out of England and Wales without judicial permission.

Addressing the issue of the teenager’s human rights, the judge concluded: ‘The balance falls clearly in protecting this young man, ultimately from himself.

He ruled that the boy could be named, although he allowed the local authority to be named as Brighton city council, on England’s southern coast.

An estimated 700 Britons are believed to have gone to Syria since the conflict there began, including young men hoping to fight with militant groups or women intending to marry jihadists.

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Mar-2015/court-bars-uk-teen-from-travelling-to-syria

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U.S. ‘concerned’ if heavy Iranian arms used in Iraq

18 March 2015

The United States is concerned about how heavy Iranian weaponry might be used inside Iraq in its latest criticism of the Islamic Republic’s involvement in the neighboring country, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Reuters has previously reported on the alleged presence of Iranian rockets inside Iraq.

But U.S. officials declined to comment on specific Iranian weaponry after The New York Times reported it might include Fajr-5 artillery rockets and Fateh-110 missiles.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the potential use of heavy Iranian weaponry would raise questions about the risk of civilian casualties.

He noted extensive U.S. efforts to ensure precision in its strikes.

“Our primary concern is how any weapons - artillery, rockets or other systems - are employed and the potential for civilian casualties or collateral damage,” a second U.S. official said, declining to comment specifically on Iranian weapons.

The United States has warned that civilian casualties or other abuses by Iraqi forces and Shiite militia against Sunni Iraqis could inflame sectarian tensions, which helped pave the way for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group’s advance through Iraq last summer.

U.S. officials are watching with concern as Iraqi militias and regular forces stage an offensive to retake Tikrit, the home city of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Last week, the U.S. military voiced concern over reports that Shiite militias have set fire to homes as they advance on the Iraqi city of Tikrit, although they have not yet confirmed cases of abuse.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/18/U-S-concerned-if-heavy-Iranian-arms-used-in-Iraq.html

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Three Iraqis dead in explosion near Kuwaiti border

18 March 2015

Three Iraqis were killed on Wednesday when a booby-trapped truck exploded in Iraq near the border with Kuwait, Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/18/Three-Iraqis-dead-in-explosion-near-Kuwaiti-border.html

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Egypt to end on-arrival visas for lone travelers

18 March 2015

Egypt will stop issuing on-arrival visas to lone travelers, officials said Tuesday, in a move aimed at bolstering border security but prompting fears that tourism revenues could be harmed.

For years, tourists arriving from Europe, the Americas and most Gulf countries could arrive at the airport, present their passport, pay a few Egyptian pounds and get their documents stamped with a visa.

But no more.

From May 15, groups travelling with tour operators will still be able to do so, but people travelling on their own will have to apply at consulates abroad, tourism and foreign ministry officials said.

Egypt is trying to woo back tourists after almost four years of unrest hit the once-thriving industry, which used to account for 11 percent of gross domestic product and employed some four million people.

About 10 million tourists visited in 2014, down sharply from a 2010 figure of almost 15 million people drawn to the country's archaeological sites and pristine Red Sea resorts.

Between five and seven percent of them arrived alone, tourism ministry spokeswoman Rasha al-Azayzi told AFP.

“It is certainly a decision related to security,” she said, confirming that only groups that have booked with tour operators may still receive the visas at airports.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/18/Egypt-to-end-on-arrival-visas-for-lone-travelers-.html

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Death toll climbed sharply in major 2014 conflicts: study

18 March 2015

The death toll in the world’s most brutal conflicts climbed by more than 28 percent last year from 2013 with bloodshed in Syria worse than all others for the second year running, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The Project for the Study of the 21st Century think tank analyzed data from sources including the United States military, the United Nations, the Syria Observatory for Human Rights and Iraqi Body Count which showed more than 76,000 people were killed in Syria last year, up from 73,447 in 2013.

Many of the most violent wars involved radical Islamist groups.

Around 21,000 lives were lost in Iraq as the government fought with ISIS, followed by Afghanistan with 14,638 and Nigeria on 11,529, according to the analysis which the think tank said could easily underestimate reality.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/18/Death-toll-climbed-sharply-in-major-2014-conflicts-study-.html

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U.S. confirms losing contact with a drone in Syria

18 March 2015

Syrian state media said on Tuesday the country's air defenses shot down a U.S. drone in a northwestern province along the Mediterranean coast.

Speaking to AFP news agency, a U.S. official said a U.S. Predator drone went down in Syria, but it's not clear whether it was shot down.

At about 1740 GMT, "U.S. military controllers lost contact with a US MQ-1 Predator unarmed remotely piloted aircraft operating over northwest Syria," a US defense official said in an email.

"At this time, we have no information to corroborate press reports that the aircraft was shot down. We are looking into the incident and will provide more details when available," the official said.

State television broadcast footage of what it said was the wreckage, including a wheel and electronic parts.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/18/Syria-claims-shooting-down-of-U-S-drone-over-Latakia.html

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Iraq confident it can protect artifacts returned by U.S.

18 March 2015

A U.S. decision to return more than 60 smuggled precious artifacts back to Iraq has been welcomed by Iraqi officials, who shrugged off concerns over the items’ safety in the midst of apparent systematic destruction of relics of Iraq’s cultural heritage by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The artifacts were handed over to the Iraqis at an event in Washington, DC, on Monday and will be moved to the Baghdad Museum. The cultural treasures ranged from the Assyrian antiquities to hardware lifted from Saddam Hussein’s private palace and airport. The Iraqis accepted their artifacts with confidence that they can care for them, and maintain their cultural heritage in the face of mounting terror threats.

Despite concerns, some Iraqi officials insist the artifacts will be safe in Baghdad. In a statement to Al Arabiya News, an official from the Iraqi embassy in Washington, DC, said that since the artifacts will be hosted by the museum in Baghdad, they will be safe from ISIS attacks, given its current re-opening, restructuring and Baghdad’s general safety from ISIS.

The official referred to an earlier statement made by Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States Lukman Faily.

Ambassdor Faily earlier said the transfer of the artifacts would “send a strong message to Daesh [ISIS] … that we are committed to defeating the terror, rebuilding our country and preserving its cultural heritage.” Daesh is the Arabic acronym used for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2015/03/18/Iraq-confident-it-can-protect-artifacts-returned-by-U-S-.html

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Syria claims to shoot down U.S. drone

17 March 2015

Syrian state media said the country’s air defenses shot down a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft Tuesday in a northwestern province along the Mediterranean coast.

U.S. officials said they were looking into the reports.

The SANA state news agency said the aircraft was downed north of the coastal city of Latakia. It provided no further details.

State television broadcast footage of what it said was the wreckage, including a wheel and electronic parts. Soldiers in camouflage could be seen loading some of the debris into the back of a truck.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Syria-claims-it-shot-down-U-S-surveillance-plane.html

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Egypt tightening visa rule for individual visitors

17 March 2015

Egypt is tightening rules for visas by requiring individual visitors to obtain them at embassies instead of on arrival at Egyptian airports, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, a move that may make it harder to revive the tourism industry.

Security sources, however, said the decision arose from a need to give intelligence services more time to assess individuals who want to visit Egypt, where security has suffered from an Islamist insurgency centred in the Sinai region.

"The system remains unchanged for tourist groups which can obtain visas at airports, but individuals have to get a prior visa from embassies," Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said.

The changes will take effect on May 15, said Rasha Azaizi, the tourism minister's media adviser. "The decision will have a small effect ... The industry depends on the large groups brought in by tour operators," she told Reuters.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Egypt-tightening-visa-rule-for-individual-visitors.html

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Egypt charges Muslim Brotherhood, Ultras over football violence deaths

17 March 2015

Egypt’s public prosecutor said on Tuesday 16 people, including members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, were charged with killing and inciting violence in connection with the deaths of 19 soccer fans who clashed with security forces last month.

The Brotherhood supporters and members of a fan group known as the Ultras were charged with carrying out the violence outside a stadium in order to create an image of instability before an investment summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh at the weekend.

Most of the dead were suffocated when the crowd stampeded after police used tear gas to clear the fans trying to force their way into a league match between two Cairo clubs, Zamalek and Enppi, doctors and witnesses said.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Egypt-charges-Muslim-Brotherhood-Ultras-over-football-violence-deaths.html

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Int’l. community inactive in fighting terror: Syrian adviser

March 18, 2015

Syrian presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban says the international community has been paying only lip service in the fight against terrorism in Syria.

The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's media adviser made the remarks in an interview with Al-Manar Website, adding the international community’s stances on fighting terror in Syria is only at media level.

She further noted in order to counter terrorism in the Arab country, the processes of funding and supporting the terrorist groups should be halted.

Shaaban called on the international community to fight terrorism within the framework of the United Nations Security Council resolutions pertaining to counterterrorism.

She also urged certain regional countries to stop providing support for the Takfiri militants operating in Syria and change their hostile policies toward the war-torn country.

A US-led military coalition began its so-called battle against the ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Syria in September 2014.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/18/402362/Fighting-terror-in-Syria-at-media-level

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Stockholm ‘risks losing Arab allies’

18 March 2015

Swedish political and business leaders have criticized Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s government for its standoff with Saudi Arabia, saying it would lead to the Scandinavian country losing more allies in the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia recalled its Ambassador to Sweden, Saad bin Ibrahim Al-Brahim, on March 11 after Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom attacked the Kingdom’s human rights record. Sweden then decided not to negotiate a fresh five-year defense-industrial trade agreement with Riyadh.

“The decision not to negotiate a new defense-industrial agreement has damaged Sweden’s reputation. This is about Sweden’s credibility as a contractual partner. That credibility is important to a relatively small country like Sweden. This whole situation is unfortunate,” Carl Bildt, a former foreign minister, was quoted as saying by Defense News.

The Lofven government’s decision will have serious implications for Swedish trade and political relations with Arab League countries, warned Leif Johansson, chairman of Swedish telecom giant LM Ericsson.

“Making oneself an enemy of the Arab League has the potential to cause very great damage. It will be several years before we know how this will play out, and it will depend entirely on what Sweden does to repair our relations with these countries,” said Johansson, a former CEO of Volvo Group.

The government’s action in canceling fresh agreement talks will “weaken Sweden’s voice globally,” said Anna Kinberg-Batra, leader of the Moderate Party. “It remains to be seen what effect this hasty decision will have on trade and jobs. We are a country that is dependent on exports,” she said.

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a UAE-based political scientist and analyst, said that pulling the Saudi ambassador may well be the boiling point of the crisis, but he expects it to start to cool off soon.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/news/719696

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Islamic rights system honors all human beings

18 March 2015

Centuries before the International Declaration of Human Rights was formulated, our Prophet (peace be upon him), spoke about the true and holy Islamic rights system, which honors all human beings.

Today we live in a Muslim nation in which the government’s administration is based on the solid foundation of Islamic law. It is therefore unacceptable for any organization or individual to use a human rights discourse to question our judicial system or understanding and application of the provisions of God.

The Kingdom’s leadership, as expressed in a statement a few days ago, condemned this criticism, which it said encroached on its sovereignty and attempted to undermine its judicial system.

We all know that such attacks on our social and political systems are a form of political maneuvering supported by actors with various hidden agendas.

These agendas, although ostensibly in support of human rights and justice, are in reality driven by a desire to undermine the sovereignty and independence of states, and damage the image and legitimacy of their judicial systems. The Kingdom has rejected these attempts, and said it would continue to defend the country’s laws and the impartiality of its judges.

The Kingdom previously refused to take up a seat on the Security Council because it judged that the body had failed to live up to its mandate of maintaining international peace and security. This decision by the Kingdom is a clear sign that it refuses to accept the actions of any country, organization or media outlet that denies people their human rights.

I do not believe that human beings, especially Muslims and Arabs, can be deceived by organizations or actors claiming they support human rights for all, especially since they are the very same people disregarding the continual killing of Muslims, and the ongoing international tyranny and terrorism in the Arab and Muslim world.

Where are these human rights advocates when the blood is spilt of children in Syria, Iraq, Burma and other parts of the world? Where are their slogans when there is desecration of Islam’s mosques and sanctuaries? Who is speaking out about the insults aimed at our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

The Kingdom, which is fiercely independent and has a stable leadership, is not an easy target for such false allegations. It is supremely confident in the fairness and integrity of its judicial system, and will never retreat from applying the provisions of Islamic law. This is the law on which the state was built, and that has allowed it to remain stable politically, prosper economically, and avoid regional conflict and unrest.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/719711

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Shoura approves defamation claims for cybercrimes

18 March 2015

The Shoura Council agreed on Tuesday to add claims for defamation in the Kingdom’s anti-cybercrime regulations, meaning that any insult or baseless claim on the Internet could bring judicial penalties for the culprit.

The new amendment was made during the session when the council listened to a report prepared by the Committee of Transport, Telecom and IT, read out by Committee Chairman Jebreel Al-Arishi.

According to Article 6 of the Saudi Anti-Cyber Crime Law, any person who commits cybercrimes shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding SR3 million. This applies if the culprit produces, prepares, transmits, or stores material impinging on public order, religious values and public morals, through the information network or computers.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/719791

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US Air Force veteran eyed IS service

18 March 2015

NEW YORK: A US Air Force veteran has been charged on two counts for trying to join Islamic State terrorists in Syria after being sacked as a plane mechanic, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Tairod Pugh, 47, from New Jersey, traveled from Egypt to Turkey in January in an attempt to cross the border into Syria to join IS, but was intercepted and sent back to Egypt, prosecutors said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/world/news/719716

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Southeast Asia

 

After Kelantan, Muslim groups want hudud to sweep country

BY ZURAIRI AR AND MAYURI MEI LI

March 18, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Elated with Kelantan’s push for hudud, Muslim groups suggested the controversial Islamic penal law in the state will grow and spread to the rest of Malaysia once it is enforced.

Amid opposition from critics, the Muslim groups lauded Kelantan for going ahead with tabling its hudud Bill today, and hopeful that the Islamic law will ultimately be judged by its implementation and positive contribution towards the society.

“We hope [hudud] will get the support of all Muslims, because we do not want this to just be in Kelantan… I see that, God willing, the same wave will fall in Terengganu, and then maybe Pahang,” said Mohamed Hafiz Mohd Nordin, the chairman of Muslim groups coalition Pembela.

According to Hafiz, Terengganu has been “more advanced” in its implementation of Islamic laws, pointing to recent proposals to restrict tourists to cover up and to parade Muslims who skip Friday prayers in hearses.

Previously under PAS’ administration, Terengganu also passed the Criminal Law (Hudud and Qisas) Enactment back in 2003.

“I think the states where it would be easy to implement hudud are the ones with sultans. After Terengganu and Pahang, perhaps Johor and Perak,” added Hafiz.

The Malay sultans have the authority over Islamic affairs in their own states, while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of religion for those without Malay rulers.

Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman, the president of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), assured Malaysians that hudud is a means to protect the welfare of the country and guarantee a harmonious life as it guarantees the safety and security of citizens. “The impact [of hudud on Islam] is good... Maybe, people must see the impact of hudud that will make things from unsafe and not peaceful to safe and peaceful,” Abdullah told Malay Mail Online over phone.

“Rightly so,” Abdullah added, when asked whether he wishes to see hudud implemented in other states.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/after-kelantan-muslim-groups-want-hudud-to-sweep-country

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ISIS video draws concern from Singapore Muslim leaders

Mar 18, 2015

By Lim Yan Liang

The latest video by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) of children training with weapons, the first of its kind to be produced in Malay, yesterday drew concern from Muslim community leaders and observers in Singapore.

While they were not surprised by the latest push by the terrorist outfit to garner more support from this region, the community leaders said it highlighted the need for a more concerted effort to counter ISIS' radical rhetoric.

"They are going on the offensive and trying to make inroads into South-east Asia," said Mr Azmoon Ahmad, chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals.

To counter this, more groups can work together to educate young people about the dangers of ISIS' ideology, added Mr Azmoon, who also chairs the Inter-Agency Aftercare Group (ACG) that looks after the welfare of terror detainees' families and helps reintegrate the men into society upon their release. The ACG helped organise a seminar last Saturday to educate students about the dangers of extremist ideology.

The latest video shows a group of at least 20 boys studying, praying, eating and undergoing defence and weapons lessons in territory held by ISIS.

Muslim leaders say they find it worrying because even as the vast majority reject ISIS teachings, the way the group uses children to portray a radical view of what it means to be a model believer might influence some viewers.

"They may convince their supporters to carry out attacks at home, or in countries like Singapore," said veteran mosque leader M. Abdul Rahim, 49. "As citizens, we must quickly sound out any suspicious behaviour and bring it up to the authorities."

Associate Professor Bilveer Singh of the National University of Singapore said the video is part of ISIS' strategy to extend its global reach in a region with "ample opportunities due to the presence of many radical groups".

Full report at:

http://www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/asia-report/malaysia/story/isis-video-draws-concern-singapore-muslim-leaders-20150318

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Malaysian move towards harsher Islamic law divides opposition

BY AL-ZAQUAN AMER HAMZAH AND TRINNA LEONG

Mar 18, 2015

Islamist opposition party for strict Islamic law that includes amputations and stonings is symptomatic of a drift to more conservative Islam in politics and could further strain relations in the multi-ethnic country.

The push by the Islamist Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) for the laws, known as hudud, also threatens to split a fragile opposition coalition that has been challenging the long-ruling Muslim party and its allies.

The disparate three-party opposition alliance that includes PAS won the popular vote for the first time in Malaysia's history in a 2013 election.

While the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and its partners still won the most seats, they are more determined than ever to hold on to power which they have enjoyed since independence in 1957.

In February, the opposition alliance's leader, Anwar Ibrahim, was jailed for five years on a sodomy charge he said was cooked up to finish him politically and foil the opposition challenge.

Any lingering hope the alliance could hold together without Anwar looks doomed with the PAS bent on implementing hudud law in Kelantan state, which it controls.

Anwar's People's Justice Party and the allied ethnic-Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) have rejected the hudud proposal and warned that it could mean the end of their Pakatan Rakyat alliance.

"Pakatan would be pushed to a breaking point," DAP leader Lim Kit Siang told Reuters on Tuesday.

Most states in Malaysia implement sharia, the Islamic legal system, but its reach is restricted by federal law.

Full report at:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/18/uk-malaysia-islam-law-idUKKBN0ME0JN20150318

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Don’t paint Islam negatively, Borders’ Nik Raina tells JAWI

March 18, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 ― The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) should act more ethically to avoid painting Islam in a negative light, Borders’ bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz has said.

Nik Raina hopes that JAWI would change its attitude to find out the facts before punishing, saying that the religious body should not simply exercise its powers to do so without a proper investigation.

“I hope JAWI’s attitude can change. I feel they have to be more ethical while performing their duties. Not wrong to uphold Islam but let it be in the right way. Because the ends do not justify the means,” she told Astro Awani in an interview that was conducted in the Malay language yesterday.

Nik Raina claimed that JAWI’s actions appeared to show Islam as “evil”, saying that it was unfair if they come with the intention to penalise her, instead of providing advice that she would accept.

“It appears as if Islam is evil. Only knows to find faults. However, Islam is simple. I really hope that whatever JAWI’s course of action is in the future let it be more ethical. We respect their decision and advice,” she was quoted saying.

In an ordeal stretching almost three years for Nik Raina, JAWI had arrested her in 2012 well before a book was effectively banned, later charging her over the selling of the book it deemed had violated Islamic laws.

The civil High Court and the Court of Appeal have since ruled in Nik Raina’s favour, while the Shariah High Court discharged her last month from a charge that could have landed her in jail for up to two years or resulted in a RM3,000 fine.

But just when it seemed that Nik Raina was finally free from the Shariah criminal offence, JAWI filed for appeal in the Shariah Appeal Court on March 9.

She also questioned JAWI’s intentions in appealing against her release from the Shariah criminal offence, asking: “Do they enjoy seeing me imprisoned or being punished? Is that what they want from?

“I am just working in a bookstore. Is that such a big crime that they want to do this to me? I’m making an honest earning. If it is somewhere else where I was not supposed to be working then it is different,” she said in the same interview with Astro Awani.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/dont-paint-islam-negatively-borders-nik-raina-tells-jawi

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Indonesia’s top clerics issue fatwa against gays

3/17/15

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the most prominent Islamic clerical organization in the country, has issued a fatwa calling for the death penalty to be imposed for the crime of having gay sex.

The edict was issued earlier this month to “remind” the public that homosexuality is a “deviant sexual behavior” that the society should not tolerate, as it puts a “stain on the dignity of Indonesia.”

As Hasanuddin A.F., the head of the MUI’s fatwa commission, said, as quoted by the Jakarta Globe:

It doesn’t matter that they love each other…The law still prohibits it. In Islamic law, it’s a sexual act that must be heavily punished. It would be bad if the government allows same-sex marriage.

The fatwa is particularly worrisome given how influential MUI is in Indonesia, which is home to the world’s largest Muslim population. The organization was founded under Suharto’s New Order in 1975, and has since been the umbrella organization for Muslim clerics in the country. So when they tell believers in Indonesia that a certain group of people shouldn’t have the full protection of the law behind them, it carries quite a bit of weight. Prior fatwas issued by the MUI have been used to justify violence against the Ahmadiyah community, a sect of Islam branded as heretical by the MUI.

And given the already-high rate of violence against religious minorities in the country, the active incitement to religiously-motivated violence against the homosexuals, coming from the country’s most prominent religious body, has put Indonesia’s LGBT community on notice.

On paper, Indonesia is typically considered one of the world’s more progressive majority-Muslim countries. Its constitution officially grants its citizens freedom of religion (provided that you subscribe to one of the six religions recognized by the government) and, while same-sex marriage is prohibited, homosexuality is only officially criminalized in a few localities.

The country is also frequently held up as an example of how wrong critics of Islam are when they say that the religion is used to make life worse for those who don’t adhere to its principles. After all, only 16 percent of Indonesia’s Muslims believe that the death penalty should be assigned to apostates.

Full report at:

http://americablog.com/2015/03/indonesian-clerics-fatwa-gays.html

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Moral policing may impact job market

March 18, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: At a time when the country’s economy appears to be floundering and good jobs scarce, fears abound that the recent episode surrounding Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan’s (JAWI) continued efforts to prosecute Borders bookshop manager Nik Raina Abdul Aziz may have a wider impact on the nation’s economy.

On March 15, FMT reported that JAWI had served a notice of appeal on Nik Raina against the order of discharge not amounting to an acquittal issued by the Syariah High Court last month.

The appeal has served to prolong the Borders bookstore employee’s nightmare. She is presently fighting battles against JAWI both in the syariah courts and in the civil courts.

With an estimated 61.3% of the country’s population professing the religion of Islam, a large chunk of the workforce may be concerned that they may also be held personally liable for purported “religious offences” committed by their employers.

In Nik Raina’s case, she is being held accountable for the sale of a book by her employers deemed by JAWI to be “un-Islamic” because she is its highest ranking Muslim employee.

Ratna Osman of Sisters in Islam believes that JAWI’s actions are bound to put fear into Muslim employees in every organisation.

“Definitely Muslims will be very wary, not knowing when and where they can be arrested,” she said, as reported by the Malay Mail Online.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/03/18/moral-policing-may-impact-job-market/

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Malay IS video targets Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia

FMT Reporters |       March 18, 2015

SINGAPORE: The Islamic State (IS) video of its Malay-speaking child recruits released last weekend will likely attract more Malay-speaking Muslims in Malaysia and the region to take up arms in Syria.

The video, which features the lives of 20 Malay-speaking boys now in IS territory, will do more “damage” to Malaysian youths, said Kuala Lumpur’s International Islamic University Malaysia lecturer Ahmad El-Muhammady in a report in The Straits Times.

“IS (Islamic State) has been targeting youngsters who can speak rudimentary English. But the majority of the youngsters in the rural towns cannot understand English or what is posted online,” said Ahmad who is a member of the Royal Malaysia Police Rehabilitation Programme for terrorist detainees.

“Videos in Malay are going to do much more damage to the youngsters here. They now see our people in Syria and would like to go there and find out themselves.”

Many Malaysians have already joined the IS struggle in Syria, with at least 50 identified so far by local authorities.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/03/18/malay-is-video-targets-malaysia-singapore-and-indonesia/

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South Asia

 

Gunmen kidnap six Shia Muslims in western Afghanistan

Mar 17, 2015

Armed men have abducted six Shia Muslims from the Hazara ethnic community on a highway linking Afghanistan’s western province of Farah to neighboring Herat Province.

Commander of the Second Unit of 207th Zafar Military Corps, Sayed Hassanullah, said on Tuesday that the incident took place in the Kanisk area of Farah.

A search operation has started to rescue the abducted people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping, but abductions for ransom regularly happen in Afghanistan by bandits, local militias, and the Taliban militants.

On February 23, masked gunmen kidnapped 30 Shia Muslims as they were traveling on two buses in central Afghanistan.

The incident took place in the southern province of Zabul on the road between the western city of Herat and the capital, Kabul.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/17/402245/Gunmen-abduct-6-Shias-in-Afghanistan

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Bangladesh court indicts Islamist group head, 7 students in hacking death of atheist blogger

March 18, 2015

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A court in Bangladesh's capital has indicted a leader of a hard-line Islamist group and seven students in the hacking death of an atheist blogger two years ago.

The court issued the indictments Wednesday after accepting the police investigation into the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in front of his house in Dhaka's Mirpur area.

The indictments mean a trial will begin for Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, head of the Ansarullah Bangla Team, and the seven students at a private university who have confessed involvement in the killing.

The investigation report says Rahmani incited the students to kill Haider in sermons at two mosques in which he said all atheist bloggers should be killed to protect Islam.

Haider had criticized the Prophet Muhammad and Islam in his blog.

http://www.startribune.com/world/296693461.html

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Indians accused of using Afghan soil for heroin smuggling

March 18, 2015

KABUL: UN officials recorded a sharp spike this year in the amount of heroin being seized from passengers trying to fly from Afghanistan to India, a worrying trend since the Taliban insurgency lines its pockets on the illegal drug trade.

A lack of coordination is hampering efforts to clamp down on the route, officials said, with India blaming Afghanistan for poor cooperation in helping to track smugglers.

In January alone, officials intercepted 44 kilograms of heroin from Afghan airports in eight separate cases, compared to 50 kilograms of heroin and hashish seized during the whole of last year, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime data.

Most of the cases have involved passengers trying to board flights bound for the Indian capital New Delhi after swallowing as much 2 kg of the illegal opiate in capsules, like condoms.

The spike is an “alarming trend”, said Mark Colhoun, deputy representative to the UNODC in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170223/indians-accused-of-using-afghan-soil-for-heroin-smuggling

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Afghan president to hold talks at Camp David

March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON: Afgh­ani­stan’s new president Ashraf Ghani will hold talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter at Camp David next week, the State Department announced on Tuesday.

President Ghani is expected to meet the two US leaders on March 23 to discuss the continued presence of US troops in Afghanistan.

President Ghani has asked US President Barack Obama to extend the stay of the 10,000 troops currently in Afghanistan through 2016.

President Obama had originally planned to bring half of those troops by the end of this year. White House officials have indicated that President Obama may accept the Afghan request and announce his decision during a meeting with President Ghani on March 24.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said that Secretary Carter has provided the White House several alternative options.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170251/afghan-president-to-hold-talks-at-camp-david

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Subhan challenges his death penalty

March 18, 2015

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdus Subhan today challenged the death penalty awarded to him by a war crimes tribunal for his crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.

Subhan’s counsel submitted an 89-page appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court around 12:30pm, seeking acquittal of all the charges brought against him.

He also attached 1,182 pages of documents with his appeal mentioning 92 grounds on which the apex court may consider his prayer.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/subhan-challenges-his-death-penalty-72319

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No more death in arson, violence

March 18, 2015

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to turn Bangladesh into a peaceful abode for all, and voiced hope that no more people would be burnt to death in the name of hartal and blockade.

"We don't want people, including children and expectant mothers, to be burnt to death. We don't want children to fall victims to such vengeance. We want a beautiful future and peaceful environment for all," she said.

Hasina made the remarks while addressing a children's rally at Bangabandhu Mausoleum complex premises in Tungipara yesterday.

The women and children affairs ministry and Gopalganj district administration jointly organised the rally, marking the 96th birthday of the Father of the Nation and National Children's Day.

The PM urged the children, teenagers and the youth to become true human being after getting a proper education, obtaining knowledge about rich tradition and taking part in sports and cultural activities.

"You'll groom up yourselves in such a way so that we could move ahead at the global stage keeping our head high," she told the rally.

The country's future leadership would come from the children and the youth as someone from among them would become the prime minister, minister and assume positions             in various important fields, Hasina said.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/no-more-death-arson-violence-72218

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Handmade bombs recovered from Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan

2015-03-18

Eighteen of them were spotted near the mausoleum of the three national leaders at the Suhrawardy Udyan in the early hours of Wednesday, said RAB-3 Operations Officer Md Saiful Islam.

Full report at:

http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2015/03/18/handmade-bombs-recovered-from-dhakas-suhrawardy-udyan

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Pakistan

 

‘Muslims in Pakistan Are Still Seeking Their Identity’

Mar 18, 2015,

HYDERABAD: Muslims in India are different from those in Pakistan, journalists from Pakistan observed on Tuesday.

Speaking exclusively to TOI on the sidelines of the two-day international conference 'Muslims, Democracy and the Media: Prospects and Challenges' at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Pakistani journalist Mehmal Sarfraz said that the representation of women in Pakistani Parliament was more than that in India. "While India is still debating representation of women in Parliament, Pakistan has a law which gives 33% reservation to women," she said.

She said that the number of women who observe the hijab or wear the burqa is "not very common" in Pakistan. "The burqa is largely worn in tribal areas, more for cultural reasons than religious. Though it is still not very popular in urban areas, the trend is slowly changing. Women have begun wearing it now," Sarfraz said. She pegged this rise to the teachings of Islamic evangelist Farhat Hashmi.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Muslims-in-Pakistan-are-still-seeking-their-identity/articleshow/46603202.cms

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Pakistan's minorities ponder future in suicide bombing aftermath

18 Mar 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s minority Christian community came under attack when a pair of suicide bombers targeted two churches in the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday (Mar 15).

Dozens of worshippers were praying when the militants blew themselves up, killing 15 people and injuring many more. This gruesome attack has renewed fears that minority communities are being targeted by militant groups in the country.

The bombing led to mass protests on the streets of Lahore, and most of the demonstrators belonged to the minority Christian community targeted by the militants.

“There are intelligence reports that the militants have Lahore in their crosshairs,” said defence analyst Ejaz Haider. “This is, of course, part of the reprisals that we are going to see following the military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, and the National Action Plan.”

Lahore is the bastion of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party that has launched a crackdown on militants - and any failure to ensure security is likely to prove politically costly. However, the city offers hundreds of soft targets to terror groups.

But security operations against the militants have diminished their ability to strike. That may explain targeting Pakistan’s religious minorities.

Full report at:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/pakistan-s-minorities/1723624.html

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Shafqat Hussain's Mother Submits Mercy Appeal

ABRAR HAIDER — PUBLISHED MAR 18, 2015

MUZAFFARABAD: The family of Shafqat Hussain on Wednesday appealed to the government and judiciary to save the death row convict from his execution which is scheduled to take place on March 19.

In 2001, Shafqat had allegedly murdered a child named Umair, and was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in 2004. He was 14-years-old at the time. Mercy appeals for Shafqat were rejected by the high court in 2006, Supreme Court in 2007 and the presidency in 2012.

Shafqat's mother Makhni Begum, along with her daughter Samira bibi, held a press conference today, during which she alleged that her son was innocent. She said three suspects had been arrested in the case, but only her son was convicted while the other two were let go.

Makhni Begum further said that no one was fighting her son's case which is why he was set to be executed.

She reiterated that Shafqat was a minor at the time when he was sentenced to death, and that according to the law, a minor cannot be sentenced to a death penalty.

She added that if her son was executed, it would be a great injustice. She called on human rights organisations and other institutions to play a role in saving her son.

'No proof of age'

The question regarding Shafqat being a juvenile was not raised during any of the court proceedings, but after his mercy appeals were rejected by the presidency and various courts, the point regarding Shafqat being a minor was raised.

Pakistan's Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday said the Sindh government had turned down his proposal to conduct a DNA test of condemned prisoner Shafqat Hussain to determine his age.

“When he was sent to jail in Karachi, as per the available record, the jail doctor had determined his age as 25 years and the jail authorities as 23 years. All these things are on record,” said Chaudhry Nisar.

Shafqat's mother said the police had noted his age as 23 years old and since he had no ID documents, neither the court nor his defense lawyer ever challenged that.

“Shafqat, too scared and suffering from a learning disability, did not find it in himself to disagree with anything that the police had told him to say, for fear of being tortured again,” she said.

Pakistan has executed 48 convicts since the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted following the horrific terrorist attacks on the Army Public School in Peshawar last year.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170376/shafqat-hussains-mother-submits-mercy-appeal

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Pakistan National Assembly admits religious minorities felt `insecure`

18 03 2015

Karachi:  Days after two suicide bombers blew themselves up near two separate churches in Lahore, members of opposition and treasury benches in Pakistan's National Assembly have reportedly admitted that religious minorities in the country felt insecure due to the deteriorating law and order situation.

People from Christian community attend a protest to condemn suicide bombings AFP

Days after two suicide bombers blew themselves up near two separate churches in Lahore, members of opposition and treasury benches in Pakistan's National Assembly have reportedly admitted that religious minorities in the country felt insecure due to the deteriorating law and order situation.

Full report at:

http://www.dailykashmirimages.com/news-pakistan-national-assembly-admits-religious-minorities-felt-insecure-74625.aspx

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MNA wants security plan for minorities’ places of worship

March 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: A leader of Hindu community has called upon the government to devise a security plan for minorities’ places of worship.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament House, Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council and a member of the National Assembly, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, also called for implementation of the June 19, 2014 decision of the Supreme Court about protection of rights of minority communities.

Condemning Sunday’s suicide attacks on two churches in Lahore, he said the aim of terrorists behind such bloody attacks was to tarnish the image of the country in international community.

Also read: Call to implement SC judgement on protection of non-Muslims’ rights

He termed the reaction of violent mob to burn two suspects to death as “unjustified murder” and called for stern action against the culprits.

The PML-N MNA said the Hindu community of the country supported brave armed forces in their fight against terrorism.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170281/mna-wants-security-plan-for-minorities-places-of-worship

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Pact of silence spares MQM in NA

RAJA ASGHAR

March 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: An apparent pact of silence won the Muttahida Qaumi Movement a reprieve in the National Assembly on Tuesday though the embattled party’s lawmakers boycotted the house while Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan spoke without referring to last week’s security raid on their political nerve centre in Karachi.

In what seemed to be the result of some behind-the-scene contacts between the two sides, the interior minister had put off a promised policy statement in the house on the opening day of the session on Monday to explain the March 11 raid at the party’s ‘Nine Zero’ headquarters by paramilitary Rangers and possibly to respond to a harsh criticism of the military by MQM’s self-exiled leader Altaf Hussain.

Know more: Govt, MQM hold off fire in National Assembly

And now when he spoke on Tuesday, the minister talked of some other issues, mainly Sunday’s deadly suicide attacks on two churches in Lahore, avoiding any mention of the Karachi raid in which Rangers said they had seized a large quantity of illegal weapons and detained dozens of party activists, including some wanted convicts.

In the trade-off, the MQM lawmakers stayed away from the house and were reportedly preparing to leave for Karachi, for likely consultations with other party leaders, without pressing an adjournment motion they had submitted to the house secretariat for a debate on the raid.

Also read: Rangers raid MQM HQ in Karachi, detain member of Rabita Committee

That left everybody guessing whether the parliamentary ceasefire would reflect in Karachi as well, where Rangers filed a criminal complaint with a police station against the MQM leader’s outbursts against it.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170294/pact-of-silence-spares-mqm-in-na

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PPP decides to invite MQM to join Sindh govt

HABIB KHAN GHORI

March 18, 2015

KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party has decided to include Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the Sindh government and has given the task to Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to hold talks with the MQM leadership for the purpose.

PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zar­dari made a telephone call to MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London and informed him about the PPP’s decision taken on Tues­day at the Bilawal House meeting of PPP Sindh Parliamentary Party.

Know more: The case against Altaf: Reactions and politics

The two leaders exchanged views on the overall political situation, the PPP-MQM working relationship and matters of mutual interest.

Mr Zardari said that PPP and MQM were elected parties of the people of Sindh and both should work jointly for the progress and prosperity of the country and welfare of the people, says an MQM press release.

Both leaders agreed that better working relationship between MQM and PPP augured well for the country, especially Sindh.

Mr Hussain said that the MQM would continue its peaceful struggle for attaining the fundamental rights of people. The two leaders agreed to continue their contacts in future also.

Asif Zardari and Altaf Hussain expressed concern over the Yohannaabad tragedy in Lahore and offered condolences to the bereaved Christian families.

PPP MEETING: The Sindh Ass­embly Parliamentary Party endor­sed the decision of PPP Co-Chair­man Asif Ali Zardari to include the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the Sindh government.

It also decided to continue its reconciliation policy in the run-up to local government elections and asked party leaders and workers to mobilise the party from district to ward level and arrange corner meetings.

The meeting, attended by PPP Women Wing’s President Faryal Talpur, Senior Vice President Sherry Rahman and ministers, reviewed the political situation, law and order in Karachi and preparations being made for observing the death anniversary of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 4. It also discussed strategy for contesting local government elections.

Asif Zardari congratulated party lawmakers for standing by the party’s decision and voting in a disciplined and dignified manner in Senate elections. Mr Zardari also took them on board on the party’s strategy during the Senate elections which saw election of six PPP candidates to the upper house from Sindh and unopposed election of PPP leader Raza Rabbani as the Senate Chairman.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170299/ppp-decides-to-invite-mqm-to-join-sindh-govt

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Rangers file case against MQM Chief Altaf Hussain

March 18, 2015

KARACHI: Rangers officials on Tuesday filed a case against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain for threatening the paramilitary force, DIG South Abdul Khaliq Sheikh said.

The case has been registered under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Civil Lines police station in the metropolis on the request of the paramilitary force, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

Rangers spokesperson Col Tahir Mehmood has filed the case against the political party.

The Rangers official maintained that following the raid on MQM Headquarters, Altaf – in an interview on Geo News – threatened members of the paramilitary force who were involved in the operation.

"Woh the [past tense] ho jain ge," Hussain had told show host Shahzeb Khanzada on GeoNews, in an apparent veiled threat to the paramilitary force personnel involved in the raid.

A large number of criminal cases registered against Altaf Hussain were wiped out in 2009, following the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) issued by former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in 2007. After the NRO, this is the first criminal case registered against Altaf Hussain in the country.

Last week, Rangers officials conducted an unprecedented raid on the MQM's headquarters located in Karachi's Azizabad neighbourhood. A number of party workers, including MQM's Rabita Committee member Amir Khan, were detained during the raid.

Two convicted criminals were also recovered during the raid, Rangers asserted.

Also read | MQM reiterates stance on Rangers raid

TV footage showed Rangers personnel in masks conducting a search operation at the headquarters, where arms and ammunition were also recovered.

Altaf Hussain had condemned the Rangers’ raid on the party’s headquarters and claimed that personnel of the paramilitary force brought the weapons and ammunition ‘wrapped in blankets’ with them and then claimed the recovery to frame the party.

Addressing workers gathered at the party’s headquarters after the Rangers raid on Wednesday, the MQM chief said the ‘establishment’ had never accepted him and for that he could step down from active politics to look after the party’s welfare wing.

The raid was ‘staged’ by Rangers, he had added.

Also read | Zardari stopped Rangers-like raid on ‘Nine Zero’: Mirza

ATA Section 6, sub-section (2), clause (m)

"In this Act, terrorism means the use or threat of action where an action involves serious coercion or intimidation of a public servant in order to force him to discharge or to refrain from discharging his lawful duties."

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170213/targeting-reporter-in-conflict-zone-makes-it-difficult-to-cover-both-sides

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PML-N, PPP eyeing key Senate committees

AMIR WASIM

March 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Now that the excitement over the elections of Senate chairman and deputy chairman has died down, the two major parties –PML-N and PPP – are eyeing the chairmanship of key standing committees.

Background interviews with leaders of both parties reveal that there seems to be an understanding between the government and opposition parties over the number of the committees and the distribution of chairmanship duties among them, but the allocation of committees still needs to be sorted out.

Take a look: PML-N makes the best of a bad bargain

Raja Zafarul Haq, Leader of the House in the Senate and PML-N chairman, expressed the hope that as in the past, they would have no problems as far as the distribution of standing committees between the government and the opposition was concerned.

Mr Haq, however, said that government and opposition parties were yet to discuss the formula in this regard. “It is obvious and natural that everyone wants chairmanship of the choice committees.”

Govt, opposition yet to agree on formula for committee chairmen

Mr Haq said the chairmanship of committees was given to parties in accordance with the number of their seats in the 104-member upper house of parliament. Given the total number of standing and functional committees of the house, he said, each party was to get the chairmanship of a committee for every three senators.

Agreeing with the formula outlined by Mr Haq, the newly-appointed parliamentary leader of the PPP, Saeed Ghani, also expressed hope that there would be no problems in the allocation when the time came.

Mr Ghani said the process of committee formation could take at least a month as in the first phase, the Senate secretariat had asked members to submit their choices and preferences for the committees.

The PPP leader said that under the rules, committee members were required to be elected from the Senate. However, to avoid complications, the house, normally in its first sitting, through a resolution authorised the Senate chairman to constitute committees in view of the members’ preferences.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170313/pml-n-ppp-eyeing-key-senate-committees

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Pakistani among 3 beheaded in Saudi Arabia

March 18, 2015

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia beheaded a Pakistani and two Saudis on Tuesday, bringing to 48 the number of death sentences carried out this year. Mumtaz Hussein Deen Ahmed, of Pakistan, was executed in Medina after his conviction for smuggling heroin. Najr bin Faraj al-Azmi al-Otaibi, a Saudi, was put to death in Taif for stoning and caning to death another man. Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/18-Mar-2015/pakistani-among-3-beheaded-in-saudi-arabia

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Pak court adjourns hearing on plea for cancelling Lakhvi bail

March 17, 201

A Pakistani court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the government’s plea for cancellation of bail to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind, till March 26 as his counsel did not turn up.

“The Islamabad High Court today adjourned the hearing till March 26 as Lakhvi’s counsel did not turn up. His counsel filed an application in the court, saying he was not well,” a prosecution official said after the hearing on Tuesday. He added that Lakhvi was adopting ‘delaying tactics’ in the case. “Lakhvi is buying more time in the bail cancellation case, in order to get relief in his detention case,” he said.

High Court judge Noorul Haq Qureshi on March 13 suspended the government’s detention order of Lakhvi for the second time and ordered his immediate release. Lakhvi’s lawyer, Raja Rizwan Abbasi said that the Punjab government had issued the order in violation of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/pak-court-adjourns-hearing-on-plea-for-cancelling-lakhvi-bail/

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Nine more prisoners hanged in Punjab jails

March 18, 2015

LAHORE/JHANG/RAWALPINDI/FAISALABAD/MIANWALI/ATTOCK: Nine more death row prisoners have been executed in various jails across the Punjab province on Wednesday morning.

With the recent hangings, so far 48 convicts have been hanged across the country, after the deadly attack on the Army Public School on December 16, 2014.

Take a look: Twelve convicts executed in various jails across Pakistan

Lahore

Tahir Shabir, a resident of Sabzazar area, has been hanged to death at the Kot Lakhpat Central Jail for killing a man in 2002.

An anti terrorism court (ATC) had awarded him death sentence under the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA). He had shot a man, Irshad Ali, dead over a petty issue of placing a signboard at a shop.

Jhang

Two convicts Ghulam Muhammad and Zakir Hussain were hanged in the District Jail Jhang.

Ghulam Muhammad had killed his brother-in-law in 2000 over a family dispute. The victim was supporting his sister in an earlier case against the culprit.

Zakir Hussain had killed a man Zulfiqar, who was a custodian of a shrine in 1998. Both the offender and the victim were engaged in a dispute over the custodianship of the shrine.

Both the murderers had been awarded death sentences by the district and sessions court Jhang.

Faisalabad

Two more condemned prisoners, Shafqat and Saeed, were executed in Central Jail Faisalabad over a dual murder charge, established against them.

They had killed two siblings — Arshed and Anwar — in 1998 due to an old rivalry.

A district court had awarded death sentences to both the culprits in 2001.

Rawalpindi

Prisoners Shaukat Ali and Muhammad Shabir have been hanged to death in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi.

They were convicted by a sessions court against charges of murders and attempt to murder.

Furthermore two other death row prisoners, Talib Hussain and Rab Nawaz, are also likely to be executed, in the next few hours.

Mianwali

Another death row prisoner Ahmed Nawaz has been executed in the Mianwali Jail. He was awarded death sentence by a district court for killing a man, Jawed Iqbal, in 1998.

Nawaz and Hashmat Khan were convicted for the murder of Iqbal, however Hashmat had died in the jail custody.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170342/nine-more-prisoners-hanged-in-punjab-jails

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North America

 

First US Muslim college aims to stand against Islamophobia

17 March 2015

By M. Bilal Kenasari

WASHINGTON

The first officially recognized Islamic institution of higher education in the U.S. aims to educate future leaders to challenge the structured Islamophobia faced by Muslims.

Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, has no intention of becoming an educational institution where Islam or Muslims are classified as good or bad, but it wants to have a deeper critique of societal structures to understand Muslims and Islam.

"We will graduate future leaders who are able to embody Islam in their own life and with their actions while they have all the needed skills to counter the structured Islamophobia deployed against Muslims in America and around the globe," said the school’s co-founder Hatem Bazian, who also teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

The college intends to teach Islam with sophistication and the highest moral and ethical values. It offers courses in Islamic law and theology but also provides studies in economics, the U.S. Constitution, science, comparative religion, history and astronomy.

"We believe that Islam calls us to knowledge, learning and understanding which are the opposite of ignorance and narrow mindedness that produces violence and terrorism," said the Berkeley academic who argued that the school now allow Muslims to point to an academic address in the U.S. that can begin to authoritatively answer all their difficult question, and where they can feel they have a group of scholars who are able to guide and navigate community needs at the highest levels of discourse.

President, co-founder and renowned scholar Hamza Yusuf said Muslims need spaces where devotion and academia are not mutually exclusive.

"In secular colleges, Muslims as well as other believers feel repressed and often ridiculed for belief,” he said. "Islam is a religion rooted in and sustained by the preservation and advancement of knowledge. Despite that, Muslims have been absent from the knowledge table for far too long," he said.

"In the current climate of confusion, misunderstanding, and retaliatory violence on all sides, usually against innocents, Muslims need an academic address where their religion can be accurately represented for all sincere seekers of truth," he added.

Zaytuna College became the first officially recognized Islamic College in the United States after receiving formal academic initial accreditation last week.

The private liberal-arts college was launched in 2009 by Bazian, Yusuf and Zaid Shakir as a summer Arabic intensive language course.

The undergraduate program welcomed its inaugural freshman class in the fall 2010 semester, and graduated its first students last year.

Princeton University professor Robert P. George, who is also vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, commended the school in a tweet. "Congratulations to Zaytuna College on its accreditation. It combines traditional Western liberal arts study with classical Islamic learning."

The U.S. is home to a number of religiously-affiliated schools, including the University of Notre Dame, American Jewish University and Buddha Dharma University.

As part of its objective, Zaytuna College said "clarity and intentionality are the most vital elements" and these two terms are derived from the Arabic word adab, which contains a complex set of meanings that includes decency, comportment, etiquette, manners, morals and humaneness.

Zaytuna College adapts the meaning of adab from contemporary Muslim philosopher Naquib al-Attas, who said, “The fundamental element inherent in the concept of education in Islam is the inculcation of adab.”

Instructors begin their classes with a du’a, or prayer, and try to foster an environment where adab is present before, during and after the lesson, said Bazian.

"We have a major responsibility to transform the world into something better and in it we have to be ready to critique ourselves first and foremost and the world that is around us, but doing so in a constructive manner so it leads to building rather than further destruction," he added.

Full report at:

http://www.aa.com.tr/en/news/479873--first-us-muslim-college-aims-to-stand-against-islamophobia

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Invasion of Iraq led to rise of IS, says Obama

March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has said that the rise of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group was an unintended outcome of the US invasion of Iraq, ordered by his predecessor George W. Bush in 2003.

The IS was a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq that “grew out of our invasion”. He described it as an example of “unintended consequences”. “Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot,” he warned.

President Obama explained that instead of following his predecessor, he was building a coalition of 60 nations, which he was “confident” would slowly push back IS out of Iraq.

Take a look: More war powers?

This marks the first time a US president has acknowledged a link between the rise of extremism in the Middle East and the US invasion of Iraq.

The president’s Republican opponents, however, argue that Mr Obama caused the rise of extremism in the region by withdrawing US troops from Iraq in 2011. The rapid withdrawal created space for groups like the IS to grow, they claim.

They also blame the Shia-dominated central government of Iraq for creating the present situation by refusing to bring the country’s Sunni minority into the governing process.

President Obama referred to this issue as well, saying that the fundamental problem in the Middle East today was that of “millions of young disaffected Sunnis” who had been handed a religious basis to channel their frustration.

The best way to deal with them was to provide them with the opportunity to acquire education and professional skills to build a better life, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170279/invasion-of-iraq-led-to-rise-of-is-says-obama

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US Muslim tortured in UAE for 106 days struggles to prove FBI hand

March 18, 2015

A US citizen, who was put on a no-fly list, declared a threat to national security and tortured in an UAE prison after refusing to become an FBI informant, is having a hard time proving it happened at the behest of the US authorities, his lawyer told RT.

Yonas Fikre is an Eritrean born American citizen who immigrated as a refugee to the US when he was 13 from neighboring Sudan. He became a US citizen and in 2006 settled in Portland, Oregon. His problems began soon after 2010 when he went back to Khartoum, where he still had relatives, to start an electronics import business.

In Sudan he was summoned to the US Embassy on false pretenses and was told by two FBI agents from Oregon that they wanted to ask him a few questions about his mosque in Portland. When Fikre demanded a lawyer and hesitated to answer questions about people he had prayed at the mosque with but barely knew – the agents told him he was placed on a no-fly list. Although there was “absolutely no factual justification” for that, his lawyer, Thomas Nelson, told RT.

Full report at:

http://rt.com/usa/241677-uae-torture-fbi-informant/

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American Muslim Family’s Home Attacked In The Middle Of The Night

BY JACK JENKINS POSTED

MARCH 17, 2015

The home of a Muslim family in North Carolina was hit with a hail of gunfire early Tuesday morning, injuring one occupant and raising questions about the motive of the shooters.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the attack took place in eastern Mecklenburg County, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. The home of Abdul, a Muslim man who asked the paper not to publish his last name, was riddled by as many as 18 bullets in the middle of the night. Most of the shots hit the fence, but one bullet traveled through Abdul’s bedroom window and struck his wife in the thigh while she was sleeping. Abdul said she woke up bleeding and screaming before being taken to a nearby hospital, where she is currently awaiting surgery while recovering in the intensive care unit. None of the other occupants of the house — which included Abdul, his mother, and his two children — were injured in the attack.

Police are looking for multiple suspects near the neighborhood, which reportedly has only had infrequent break-ins in recent years. Officers initially reported that the incident was being treated as a random shooting, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Chuck Henson noted at a news conference Tuesday morning that police won’t know if it was hate crime until they make an arrest.

Full report at:

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/03/17/3634954/18-shots-fired-home-muslim-family-north-carolina-putting-woman-hospital/

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U.S. opens up to Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Syria, and Iran

March 18, 2015

The appointment of Malley indicates one conclusion: that the U.S. is heading towards a new initiative to resume negotiations between the PLO and the Israeli occupying power without making any changes to its references. If the PLO interacts and deals with the “European initiative” then it is likely to deal and interact with any new U.S. initiative, according to all indications in this regard.

by Nicola Nasser*

( March 18, 2015, Birzeit – West Bank, Sri Lanka Guardian) The appointment of Robert Malley as White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region is not considered a sufficient indicator that there will be any radical change in U.S. strategy despite the campaign launched against the U.S. by the Zionists due to its openness to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Syria and Iran.

On 6 March, President Barack Obama’s administration appointed Robert Malley, the former senior director of the National Security Council who dealt with the Iraqi, Iranian, and Gulf issues, and a member of the delegation negotiating the Iranian nuclear programme, as the Special White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf region. Malley is scheduled to assume his new position on 6 April, succeeding Philip Gordon.

Edward Abington, former U.S. consul general in occupied Jerusalem, described the lawyer specialised in “conflict resolution” as being an “American Jewish” and that his appointment is a “positive development”. He was also described by U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice as “one of our country’s most respected experts on the Middle East, since February 2014 Rob has played a critical role in forming our policy on Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf.”

However, the Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA) opposed the appointment of Malley for several reasons, stating that Malley is an “Israel-basher, advocate of U.S. recognition of major, unreconstructed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and proponent of containment of Iran (i.e., not preventing them from attaining nuclear weapons) and proponent of negotiating with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad (i.e. not changing his regime).”

He also believes that working with the Muslim Brotherhood is “not a bad idea” and called Israel’s settlements located in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 “colonies”. He also called for abandoning the Road Map for Peace approved by the international Quartet in 2003 and replacing it with a comprehensive settlement plan to be imposed on the parties with the backing of the international community, including Arab and Muslim states. He did so before the Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. Senate in 2004. He also continues to urge the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, Palestinian Authority and Hamas “to unite”.

Malley also called for “involving” Hamas in the PLO’s negotiations with the occupation, explaining his statement by saying that the PLO must include Hamas because it has become “antiquated, worn out, barely functioning, and is no longer considered the Palestinian people’s sole legitimate representative.” He also called for the resumption of negotiations between the Arabs and Israel “on all levels on the basis of the Arab peace initiative.”

The ZOA did not fail to mention his father, Simon Malley who was born and worked in Egypt as a journalist for Al-Goumhouria newspaper before moving with his family to France and founding Afrique-Asie magazine. The ZOA said that Simon Malley was “a virulently anti-Israel member of the Egyptian Communist Party, a close confidante of Yasser Arafat, and an enthusiast for violent Third World ‘liberation’ movements.” As for his mother, Barbara Malley, she worked with the United Nations delegation of the National Liberation Front (NLF), the Algerian independence group.

Full report at:

http://www.slguardian.org/?p=27223

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Muslim Activists Criticize Bobby Jindal Radical Islam Travel Ban As ‘Fearmongering’

By  Lora Moftah

March 17 2015

Muslim American groups are rejecting Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s suggestion that people espousing radical Islamic views be barred from entering the United States, calling it a move to promote himself for the presidential campaign. The remarks are only the most recent in a series of misguided attempts to burnish Jindal's 2016 credentials at the expense of the Muslim community, activists said.

“What he is doing is fearmongering,” said Haris Tarin, the director of the Washington office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “This is another one of those issues where he is using fear to garner votes and the latest in a line of remarks he has made over the past few months to try to seem relevant for the 2016 elections.”

Jindal previously sparked controversy during the aftermath of the January attacks in Paris with claims that certain areas around Europe had become “no-go zones” where non-Muslims were not allowed. The politician also warned of “dangerous” Muslims “who want to come to our country but not adopt our values,” in a speech on Jan. 19, prompting some to criticize him for promoting anti-Muslim views.

While speaking to a conservative think tank on Monday, Jindal made the suggestion that the government should not permit entry to the U.S. to anyone who would “use the freedoms we give them to undermine the freedoms we grant to everyone. So in other words we shouldn’t tolerate those who want to come and try to impose some variant of, some version of Shariah law,” he said.

Jindal’s office has not yet responded to a request for further comment on the proposal.

Jindal is attempting to exploit a “common fear of Muslims” in the U.S. with an eye toward the elections, said Corey Saylor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Do we want to protect our country from people who want to do us harm? Absolutely. But you look at criminal activity, not thought,” he said. “It's an unfortunate reality that some politicians will pick on minorities rather than offer solutions to the economic and real national security issues our country faces.”

Full report at:

http://www.ibtimes.com/muslim-activists-criticize-bobby-jindal-radical-islam-travel-ban-fearmongering-1850246

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US envoy: Almost every CAR mosque destroyed in war

18 Mar 2015

Almost all of the 436 mosques in the Central African Republic have been destroyed by months of vicious fighting between Christians and Muslims, the US ambassador to the United Nations said.

Samantha Power spoke to reporters on Tuesday after a Security Council visit last week to the country, calling the devastation "kind of crazy, chilling".

She expressed concern about an upcoming possible security vacuum as European Union and French forces pull out and a UN peacekeeping force is still not at full strength.

At least 5,000 people have been killed since Central African Republic exploded into unprecedented violence in December 2013.

Nearly one million of the country's 4.5 million residents have been displaced. Many of those who have fled are Muslim.

Power said 417 of the country's mosques have been destroyed. She visited the one remaining Muslim neighbourhood in the capital, Bangui, and described the residents as "a terrified population".

Spent day in Burundi. Told Pres. Nkurunziza that frightened Muslim pop in CAR's PK5 praised Burundian peacekeepers for strong protection.

— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) March 13, 2015

Some Muslim women, afraid of leaving the community while wearing their veils, are choosing to give birth in their homes instead of hospitals, the ambassador said.

UN peacekeepers, French forces and a European Union military operation have tried to calm the violence.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/03/envoy-car-mosque-destroyed-war-150318072200714.html

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Africa

 

Libya general promises to take Benghazi within a month

17 March 2015

Libya’s new army chief Khalifa Haftar on Monday promised his forces would take control of second city Benghazi from Islamist militias within a month.

“We will end in very little time the presence of the enemy in the region,” he told AFP at his military compound in Al-Marj, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Benghazi.

“Operations in the city of Benghazi will end before the middle of next month,” he said.

Haftar, 72, was sworn in on March 9 as the new army chief in conflict-ridden Libya and promoted to general, a week after his nomination by the elected parliament.

He said the offensive in Benghazi, which he has dubbed Operation Dignity, was to “answer the repeated calls of the Libyan people for the return of the army to combat terrorism in the region”.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Libya-general-promises-to-take-Benghazi-within-a-month-.html

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ISIL fighters enter the fray in Libya

18 Mar 2015

Sirte/Misrata, Libya - A new battlefront in Libya emerged last weekend, when fighters loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) clashed with armed groups from the city of Misrata loyal to the Islamist "Libya Dawn" alliance.

After detaining four ISIL fighters in the central coastal city of Sirte, Misratan officials say ISIL erected a checkpoint east of the city on the highway to oil-rich Sidra. While on their way to dismantle it, Misratan forces were ambushed in a deadly firefight.

"We were driving in our cars with our guns ready," said Faisal Harish, a wounded fighter from his hospital bed in Misrata. He is part of Brigade 166, which was deployed to Sirte to address the ISIL threat. "There were at least a hundred that attacked us from the side of the road."

Misratan forces from the Libya Dawn alliance arrived on Saturday to seal off the highway leading into Sirte from both the east and west, and to reinforce their military clout along its southern edge.

The Misratan officials estimated that around 500 ISIL fighters are inside Sirte, the hometown of toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his small Gaddafa tribe.

OPINION: What is not being discussed about Libya?

On Sunday, ambulances and fighters in pickup trucks, loaded with weapons, massed along the road next to the western front line. Armed men at checkpoints were turning back the few civilian cars trying to enter the tense and dangerous city. "A group of ex-Gaddafi loyalists are in there with Daesh," explained Adel Ben Guzy, the military leader for Brigade 166, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/03/isil-fighters-enter-fray-libya-150317083634387.html

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Nigerian cattle herders kill 82 in Christian village

March 18, 2015

ABUJA - Cattle herders killed 82 people and wounded 25 in a village in central Nigeria over grazing rights, police said on Tuesday, less than two weeks before a national election in which political and ethnic tensions are running high.

Police went on Monday to investigate the attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen on the mostly Christian Egba ethnic group at the weekend in the remote village Agatu Iga in Benue state, in the flashpoint ‘Middle Belt’ of Africa’s most populous nation. Hundreds have been killed in the past year in clashes between the semi-nomadic, cattle-herding Fulani and the more settled communities that practice a mix of farming and cattle rearing.

There was no indication the attack had anything to do with Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in a six-year insurgency mostly in the far north of Nigeria. ‘It is the longstanding issue over grazing rights and cattle rustling between Egba and Fulani people,’ police spokesman Ezeala Austin said by telephone.

Fears are that tensions in the Middle Belt could be exploited by politicians if the presidential election on March 28 is disputed, triggering deadly unrest, as happened in 2011. The vote pits incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south, against former military leader Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim.

However, Interior Minister Abba Moro told national radio on Tuesday, ‘The killings in Egba have nothing to do with the upcoming elections.’ ‘From the latest report available to the police command, 82 people were killed in the attack on Egba village by suspected Fulani herdsmen’, Austin Ezeani told AFP.

‘Twenty-five people were also injured and are receiving treatment in hospital. ‘Initially 45 people were reported to have been killed in the violence but the death toll kept mounting as rescue search progressed,’ he added.

No arrests have been made following the violence on Sunday, which saw large numbers of gunmen storm the village armed with AK47 assault rifles. A local lawmaker from the area, Audu Sule, previously said that some 50 people were killed, including women and children, before the gunmen fled into the bush.

Violence over grazing rights is common in Nigeria, pitting herdsmen against farmers and frequently resulting in deadly clashes and reprisal attacks. Benue state falls in Nigeria’s so-called ‘Middle Belt’, where the mainly Christian south meets the majority Muslim north, and has been the site of waves of sectarian violence in recent years.

Moreover, The Nigerian army said on Tuesday it had repelled Boko Haram from all but three local government districts in the northeast, claiming victory for its offensive against the Islamist insurgents less than two weeks before a presidential election. At the start of this year, Boko Haram controlled around 20 local government areas, a territory the size of Belgium, in its bloody six-year-old campaign to carve out an Islamic state in religiously mixed Nigeria.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Mar-2015/nigerian-cattle-herders-kill-82-in-christian-village

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Nigeria launches 'final onslaught' against Boko Haram

17 Mar 2015

Nigeria has begun the "final onslaught" against Boko Haram, the country's national security spokesperson has said, after the armed group was thrown out of the strategic town of Bama.

On a visit to London, Mike Omeri said on Tuesday that "significant strategic military successes and gains" had been made against Boko Haram in recent weeks.

"Bama was retaken yesterday and we have Abadam, Gwoza and Askira as part of the remaining areas where we still have this presence," he said was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

Abadam, Gwoza and Askira are also in Borno state, which has been worst hit by six years of violence and was under emergency rule from May 2013 to November last year with neighbouring Yobe and Adamawa.

The military announced that Adawama was "cleared" last Friday and that Yobe was retaken on Monday from Boko Haram, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Boko Haram is fighting to form an Islamic state encompassing several states of northern Nigeria.

There was no independent verification of the claimed successes, which followed the deployment last month of troops from Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as well as foreign mercenaries.

Voting postponed

The operation not only aims at reducing the regional threat from the group, after several cross-border attacks in recent months, but also to secure the northeast for elections to be held.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2015/03/nigeria-final-onslaught-launched-boko-haram-150317175256149.html

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Tunisia open to discuss EU migration center plan

17 March 2015

Tunisia is open to discuss a European Union request to step up migrant reception centers in the country as part of a wider EU initiative to cope with an influx of asylum seekers.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday the EU plan “will have to be discussed, to see how it could be put in place, and to what degree it might be applicable.”

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Tunisia-open-to-discuss-EU-migration-center-plan.html

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Senior ISIS commander killed in Libya

18 March 2015

One of Tunisia’s most wanted men, a senior commander of ISIS militants in Libya, has been killed fighting with Libyan forces near the city of Sirte, Tunisian security sources said on Tuesday.

The death of Tunisian militant Ahmed Rouissi, who was fighting in Libya’s ISIS ranks, confirms the growing importance of foreign fighters in the Libyan conflict, where two rival governments and armed forces battle for control.

Western governments and Libya’s North African neighbors are increasingly worried about Islamist militants, especially ISIS allies, extending their foothold in the chaotic country just across the Mediterranean from Europe.

“According to the information we have, we can say Rouissi has been killed in the most recent fighting in Sirte,” a Tunisian security source said.

Libya is in chaos with two rival governments - one internationally recognized, the other set up in Tripoli after its forces took over the capital - that are fighting for control four years after a civil war ousted Muammar Qaddafi.

In the turmoil, militants allied to ISIS this year have claimed a string of high-profile attacks targeting foreigners, including an assault on a luxury hotel in Tripoli, the storming of oilfields and kidnapping of oil workers.

Rouissi was a top member of Tunisia's Ansar al-Sharia extremist group branded as terrorists by Washington.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/03/18/Senior-ISIS-commander-from-Tunisia-killed-in-Libya.html

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Europe

 

Muslim Party Runs In Spain Elections

17 March 2015

MADRID – Seeking a larger place in political life, Spain’s first Muslim-oriented party has announced its decision to run in upcoming early elections, as well as municipal and regional elections in Andalusia.

"Our objective is to carry the voice of our people as high as possible, whether they are gypsies, foreigners, Muslims or Jews," one of the party's promoters, Manuel Bugeiro, a Spaniard who reverted to Islam, told ANSA on Monday, March 16.

"We fight against racism, discrimination and Islamophobia," Bugeiro continued.

From the headquarters in Asturias, the Partido Renacimiento y Union de Espana (PRUNE) has opened branches with the goal of further growth in Madrid, Valencia, Toledo, Cadiz and Ceuta.

PRUNE has already tried to present itself at prior elections, but failed to formalize its candidacy.

The party seeks to show up on ballots at the upcoming early elections in Andalusia, March 22, as well as in the municipal and regional elections on May 24.

Party leaders hope to gain the support of roughly 1.7 million Muslims estimated to currently reside on Spanish territory.

They also assure that the party "is aimed at all minorities, both ethnic and religious", and not just at Muslims.

Bugeiro confirmed that the party’s activities were financed by its promoters.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/484037-muslim-party-runs-in-spain-elections.html

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Copenhagen Modern Mosque Approved

17 March 2015

CAIRO –Copenhagen municipality has approved plans for a new mosque, to be designed by a renowned Danish architect, offering the Muslim community a modern-looking house of worship.

”With the proposal being designed by Henning Larsen Architects, the mosque will become more accessible to the city, while one of Copenhagen's slightly forgotten districts receives a new architectonic pearl,” Morten Kabell, the city's deputy mayor for technical and environmental issues, told the Copenhagen Post on Tuesday, March 17.

Proposed by the Muslim faith group, Islamisk Trossamfund, the new mosque will replace a current mosque located on the corner of Dortheavej and Tomsgårdsvej in the Nordvest district of the city.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/484043-copenhagen-modern-mosque-approved.html

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Death toll climbed sharply in major 2014 conflicts, says study

March 18, 2015

LONDON: The death toll in the world's most brutal conflicts climbed by more than 28 per cent last year from 2013 with bloodshed in Syria worse than all others for the second year running, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The Project for the Study of the 21st Century think tank analysed data from sources including the United States military, the United Nations, the Syria Observatory for Human Rights and Iraqi Body Count which showed more than 76,000 people were killed in Syria last year, up from 73,447 in 2013.

Many of the most violent wars involved radical Islamist groups.

Around 21,000 lives were lost in Iraq as the government fought with Islamic State, followed by Afghanistan with 14,638 and Nigeria on 11,529, according to the analysis which the think tank said could easily underestimate reality.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1170343/death-toll-climbed-sharply-in-major-2014-conflicts-says-study

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French experts reaffirm Arafat was not poisoned

March 18, 2015

NANTERRE - French experts reexamining evidence have confirmed their earlier conclusion that the 2004 death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was not the result of poisoning, a prosecutor told AFP Monday.

The prosecutor for the western Paris suburb of Nanterre said the experts found there was no foul play in Arafat’s death, which sparked immediate and enduring conspiracy rumours.

A centre in the Swiss city of Lausanne had tested biological samples taken from Arafat’s personal belongings given to his widow after his death, and found ‘abnormal levels of polonium’ - an extremely radioactive toxin, but stopped short of saying that he had been poisoned by polonium.

French experts ‘maintain that the polonium-210 and lead-210 found in Arafat’s grave and in the samples are of an environmental nature,’ Nanterre prosecutor Catherine Denis said.

The reevaluation of earlier data ‘disproves the hypothesis of an acute ingestion of polonium-210 in the days preceeding the appearance of symptoms,’ she said.

This confirmed French findings from 2013, which also matched those of a Russian team.

However, a Swiss probe has said that the poisoning theory is ‘more consistent’ with its test results.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Mar-2015/french-experts-reaffirm-arafat-was-not-poisoned

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Wrestling with radical Islam is an uphill battle in France

March 18, 2015

French authorities are counting on the country’s Muslim establishment to combat extremism in their community.

In a speech to the National Assembly following attacks that killed 17 people at Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in January, prime minister Manuel Valls said “tolerant, univeral Islam” must be prevented from tipping into “obscurantism and the temptation of jihad”.

The debate, Valls said, “is not between Islam and society. It is a debate that the Islam of France must have within itself, relying on religious leaders, theologians and intellectuals”.

Tareq Oubrou is exactly the sort of person whom Valls had in mind. The Moroccan-born rector of France’s largest mosque, in Bordeaux, and former president of the Association of Imams of France, wears an elegant suit and tie and uses words like “acculturation”, “hermeneutics” and “ontology” in conversation. When he was interior minister, Valls made Oubrou a chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Oubrou’s sermons on the need for French Muslims to adapt to their secular surroundings are music to French ears. When the latest outrages occurred, Oubrou was the first Muslim leader to call on his co-religionists to “go massively into the streets to express their disgust”. It was time, Oubrou added, for Muslims to shed their “I don’t need to justify myself complex”.

Sorely mistaken

But if the French government believes Oubrou and other establishment imams can stem the tide of radical Islam, they’re sorely mistaken. “I can’t convince them,” Oubrou told members of the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris. “One has no hold over youths who are ready to do anything . . . They should be in psychiatric clinics.”

The French, Oubrou says, “want diversity but on condition that others resemble them”. In contrast with the US, where immigrants are seen as a component of the nation, in France “the immigrant must assimilate, disappear”.

Radical youths feel excluded from French society and want to reclaim what they see as their Arab Muslim identity. Oubrou says that, on the contrary, they must “get rid of these social, anthropological envelopes, retain a spiritual dimension that survives in the west, like other religions . . . When one’s culture changes, one’s relationship with religion must change. The culture of French Muslims is western. Europe is the most secular continent in the world and France is the most secular country in Europe.” It’s an uphill battle, Oubrou admits . “We’ve launched a lot of slogans for a republican Islam but we’ve failed at translating these slogans into reality.”

Full report at:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/wrestling-with-radical-islam-is-an-uphill-battle-in-france-1.2142982

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Mideast

 

Turkey, US discuss ways to enhance joint anti-ISIL fight

March 18, 2015

Senior Turkish and U.S. diplomats have discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the U.S. Embassy to Ankara has stated, reiterating that Washington does not foresee a role for Bashar al-Assad in the future of Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy General John Allen and his deputy Ambassador Brett McGurk were in Ankara to hold talks with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, read the statement issued by the embassy. Describing the talks as constructive, the statement quoted General Allen as welcoming Turkey’s support in training vetted Syrian opposition, noting recent Turkish actions to increase border security and restrict the flow of foreign fighters, and thanking Turkey for its generosity in hosting Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-discuss-ways-to-enhance-joint-anti-isil-fight-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79829&NewsCatID=359

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Netanyahu cements Israeli election victory

18 March 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a come-from-behind victory in Israel's election on Wednesday after tacking hard to the right in the final days of campaigning, including abandoning a commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state.

In a four-day pre-election blitz, Netanyahu made a series of promises designed to shore up his Likud base and draw voters from other right-wing and nationalist parties, including a pledge to go on building settlements on occupied land and saying that there would be no Palestinian state if he is re-elected.

With 99.5 percent of votes counted, Likud had won 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, comfortably defeating the Zionist Union opposition on 24 seats, Israeli media said.

Netanyahu had earlier claimed victory in elections Tuesday and the initial results seemed to ensure him a third straight term, likely to further strain relations with the Palestinians.

Difficult coalition talks still lie ahead, in a politically divided country where no one party has ever won an outright majority in parliament.

Isaac Herzog, Netanyahu’s chief opponent and head of the center-left Zionist Union, said “everything is still open” and that he already had spoken to party leaders about forming a government.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/18/Preliminary-vote-count-shows-Netanyahu-in-lead-.html

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Netanyahu’s last ploy: No Palestine!

18 March 2015

JERUSALEM: Israelis voted Tuesday in a close-fought election pitting the center left against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ruled out a Palestinian state in a last-ditch appeal to the far-right.

The outcome of the vote, in which polls indicate the center-left Zionist Union will win the most seats, is likely to help determine the prospects for new Middle East peace talks and Israel’s troubled relations with its US ally.

Some 5.8 million people are eligible to vote in the election for Israel’s 20th Knesset, or Parliament, which has 120 seats.

Voters have until 10 p.m. (2000 GMT) to cast their ballots and three hours into the voting, turnout stood at 13.7 percent.

Exit polls giving the first indications of the outcome are to be published just minutes after polling stations close.

On a cold but sunny morning, a handful of early voters turned up to cast their ballots at a polling station in Jerusalem which had bunting and the blue-and-white flag of the Zionist Union draped outside.

“I’d like to see Netanyahu disappear for many, many years. The most important issue is relations with the Palestinians,” said Shulamit Laron, a woman in her fifties.

“I hope for change, of course, but I doubt things will change.”

In the mixed Jewish-Arab port city of Haifa, some 50 people were queuing at a polling station in Ahmediya school where pictures of candidates from the Joint Arab List were hanging on the walls outside.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/719596

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Turkish PM says negotiating with Assad like shaking hands with Hitler

17 March 2015

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday negotiating with President Bashar al-Assad would be like shaking hands with Adolf Hitler, highlighting Turkey’s differences with Washington over dealing with the Syrian leader.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the U.S. would have to negotiate with Assad, though the State Department later said he was not specifically referring to the Syrian leader and that Washington would never bargain with him.

Speaking at an AK Party meeting in Ankara, Davutoglu said voices in the West which say there is a need to negotiate with Assad “make us question our human values”.

“Despite all these massacres, despite the use of chemical weapons that crossed the red line, if you still shake the hand of Assad, that handshake will be remembered throughout history,” he said in a speech broadcast live.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Turkish-PM-says-negotiating-with-Assad-like-shaking-hands-with-Hitler.html

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Houthis replace air force chief in power struggle: military sources

17 March 2015

The Shi'ite Muslim Houthis, who control much of Yemen, have removed the air force chief for refusing to provide them with air support and replaced him with a general who is closer to their group, military officials said.

The move shines a light on the divisions in Yemen's shattered military as the Iran-backed Houthis and embattled

President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi vie for control.

Hadi fled Houthi house arrest last month and re-established his presidency in the southern port of Aden, while the Houthis control Sanaa. The United Nations, which is brokering talks between the two sides, has warned of imminent civil war.

Major General Rashid al-Jund along with the air force's chief of staff was dismissed on Monday and placed under

investigation by the Supreme Security Council, a body formed by the Houthis after they seized Sanaa, the military sources said.

He was replaced by Brigadier General Khader Salem, whom the officials said was more sympathetic to the Houthis.

Houthi officials did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for a comment.

The advance of the group into the capital in September and to other regions, mainly in central and eastern Yemen, has been met with resistance from armed Sunni tribes, some of whom are backed by al Qaeda militants.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Houthis-replace-air-force-chief-in-power-struggle-military-sources.html

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Israel’s Netanyahu and rival Herzog tied in exit polls

17 March 2015

Exit polls by Israel’s leading television channels showed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party drew even with Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union in the election on Tuesday, making the formation of the next government a serious challenge for both candidates.

Channel 10 and Channel 1 said Likud and the Zionist Union had secured 27 seats each in the 120-member Knesset, while Channel 2 said that Netanyahu had eked out a narrow victory, winning 28 seats to 27 for Herzog.

All polls showed the centrist newcomer Moshe Kahlon with enough seats to determine who will be the next prime minister. Kahlon, a Likud breakaway, has not said which side he would favor.

Final results are not expected until early on Wednesday morning.

Benjamin Netanyahu casts his vote (Photo: Reuters)

Final fights

Dubbed “King Bibi” by Time magazine just three years ago, Netanyahu, 65, has cast the threat to his reign as a foreign-orchestrated campaign to install an Israeli leader who might yield to Palestinian statehood or nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

“This is a fateful and difficult campaign,” he said in a speech on Monday aimed at rallying religious-nationalist voters to his troubled Likud party. “We do not have the privilege of staying at home, because we will lose our home.”

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/17/Israel-goes-to-the-polls.html

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Recent vote not to change Israel aggressive policy: Iran

Mar 18, 2015

Iran says it expects no change in Israel’s policies following the recent general elections as all the regime’s parties follow the same aggressive approach.

Speaking at her weekly press conference on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said the Israeli parties all had an “aggressive nature.”

“The Israeli parties are the same and they are all accomplices in their crimes against the Palestinians and in their acts of aggression,” she added.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/18/402364/No-change-expected-in-Israel-policy

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Iran praises Assad’s role in Middle East security: Deputy FM

Mar 18, 2015

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says President Bashar al-Assad plays an undeniable role in maintaining unity among the Syrian people in their fight against terrorism.

During an interview with IRIB late on Tuesday, Amir-Abdollahian hailed Assad’s role in the country’s fight against the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, saying, “Terrorism has failed in Syria and is nearing its end.”

He also emphasized that Tehran will keep supporting the people of Syria, adding, “I am proud to announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran is standing by the Syrian people and did not permit Syria to turn into another Somalia or Libya.”

The Iranian diplomat also noted that the security of the region is intertwined with the security of Syria, and that the Arab country’s security is of significant importance for Iran and all other countries of the region.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by the Takfiri terrorist groups has so far claimed the lives of over 215,000 people, according to reports.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/18/402333/Assad-important-to-fighting-terrorism

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Palestinians to step up campaign against Israel at ICC: Top official

Mar 18, 2015

Palestinians will step up their efforts at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to pursue war crime charges against Israeli authorities, says a top Palestinian official.

“We say clearly that we will go to the Hague Tribunal, we will accelerate, continue and intensify” efforts against Israel, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Erekat also said that the Palestinians will step up their diplomatic campaign for statehood.

Erekat’s comments came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party claimed victory in general elections. With nearly all counts voted, Netanyahu’s Likud party has now secured 30 seats in the 120-member parliament.  Netanyahu had said before the elections he would block any Palestinian statehood if re-elected as prime minister.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian unity government, has issued a decree for the formation of a new committee to follow through Palestine’s bid to prosecute Israel at the ICC. The committee will be tasked with preparing the legal documents that Palestine needs to present to the ICC. Palestine officially joined the ICC in January, but the statute will enter into force on April 1.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/18/402366/Palestinians-to-up-legal-efforts-at-ICC

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Shots fired into a muslim home in N. Carolina

18 March 2015

The gunman or gunmen fired as many as 18 bullets into his fence and home early Tuesday, wounding his wife, in eastern Mecklenburg County. The man who name is Abdul, said he hopes the gunman or gunmen didn’t target them because the family is Muslim.

“We don’t know if it was a random shooting” or the family was targeted because of their faith, the homeowner said outside his house in Shiny Meadow Lane. “We hope it’s not the second case.”

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/world/156708/shots-fired-into-a-muslim-home-in-n-carolina

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-beheads-‘recruiters’-for-pro-baghdad-militia/d/102005

 

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