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Islamic World News ( 1 Dec 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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ISIS Shifts Focus to Softer Targets for Attacks in Europe









U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at a memorial outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, two weeks after the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

ISIS Shifts Focus to Softer Targets for Attacks in Europe

Furore As Floor Mats Found Stuffed With Quranic Verses in Central Malacca

PCC Criticize Muslim Religious Parties on Opposing Forced Conversion Bill

Kerala Youth Calls Up Mother, Says He Is In Afghanistan Following ‘True Islam’

 

Europe

ISIS Shifts Focus to Softer Targets for Attacks in Europe

One In Four British Muslims Does Not Believe In Extremism, Study Finds

Turkish Mosque in Germany Attacked By PKK Supporters

Slovakia Adopts Law to Block Islam from Becoming Official State Religion

Space cargo ship with 2.4 tonnes fuel burns up on way to ISS

UK Muslims Show Worrying Belief in Conspiracy Theories, Claims Think-tank

Chechen Mufti Denies Kadyrov Had To Apologize To Saudis for Grozny Fatwa

France jailed a man for visiting pro-ISIS websites

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Southeast Asia

Furore As Floor Mats Found Stuffed With Quranic Verses in Central Malacca

Rally May Force Jokowi to Cross the Rubicon of Political Islam

Islam and Malays would be undermined if DAP rules: Najib

Iran, Indonesia to Cooperate in Resolving Middle East, Islamic Conflicts

70,000 litters of water prepared for ablution at Muslim rally

Islamic Youth Alliance Says No More Anti-Ahok Rally after Friday

Malaysia's Najib Warns of 'Nightmares' if Ruling Party Loses Power

Three Muslim insurgents arrested in Thailand

Jakarta protests: Muslims turn out in force against Christian governor Ahok

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Pakistan

PCC Criticize Muslim Religious Parties on Opposing Forced Conversion Bill

Trump Team Takes Issue with Pakistani Version of Phone Talk

Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat's Karachi president detained by Rangers, says party official

Pakistan underscores need for settling Israeli-Palestinian conflict

US Congress seeks to condition portion of funding to Pakistan

Pakistan urged to raise Sikhs demand at India moot

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India

Kerala Youth Calls Up Mother, Says He Is In Afghanistan Following ‘True Islam’

No Talks amid Continued Terror: India

India has urged China to change stand on Masood Azhar: Govt

Hizbul Mujahideen to J&K cops: Think a thousand times before attacking our families

RSS agenda is not against any religion: Bhagwat

Terrorist killed in Army operation in Kashmir's Anantnag

Jammu and Kashmir: A university funded by religious faith is a centre of inclusive liberality

Afghan contact number found scribbled on Samba terrorist’s arm

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Arab World

Airstrikes Kill 54 Civilians in Iraq, Syria: US Military

Certified Curriculum for Teaching Arabic in China Issued

Islamic State tells supporters to quit messaging apps

26 ISIL Militants Killed by Iraqi Forces as another Mosul District Liberated

Syrian troops advance in Aleppo; Russia proposes aid corridors

Civil society groups urge UN General Assembly action on Syria

Gov't Troops Start New Operation to Make Aleppo Int'l Airport More Secure

Army Intensifies Clashes with Terrorists in Lattakia

Damascus: Over 2,000 Terrorists Leave Western Ghouta for Idlib

Aleppo City: Syrian Army Continues to Advance in Eastern, Southern Districts

Aleppo: Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Attack on Sheikh Saeed

Homs: Al-Nusra Front's Military Positions Come Under Heavy Artillery Attack by Syrian Army

Syrian Army, Air Force Destroy Terrorists' Positions in Hama, Idlib Provinces

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South Asia

Key District Fully Cleared Of ISIS Militants, Nangarhar Officials Claim

Bangladesh PM: No One to Be Allowed To Use Our Soil for Terrorism

Ghani pays tribute to top Afghan army General killed in helicopter crash

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Mideast

Turkey’s Dogan Rejects Executive's Links to Gulen

Gaza’s internally-Displaced Still Homeless

Report: Iranian arms sent to Yemen via Somalia

Rouhani says Iran stood strong at hard times

US, German Military Officers Killed in Turkish Airstrikes in Aleppo

Dutch join push for EU-Turkey accession talks freeze: diplomats

Bill to boost Erdogan's power heads to Turkey parliament

Iran intensified plane leasing talks with EU firms

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Africa

UN Rights Team Says ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Under Way in S. Sudan

Nigerian Army Closing In On Boko Haram Enclave

Tunisian President: “Islam is not incompatible with democracy”

Looking beyond first century of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria

Militia groups clash in Tripoli, seven reported dead

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North America

Almost A Third of British Muslims Think the US Government Was Behind the 9/11 Attacks

For Muslims in Trump’s America, There’s More to Fear Than Just the Proposed Ban

Horrifying letter threatening Muslims with genocide sent to more mosques across America

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-shifts-focus-to-softer-targets-for-attacks-in-europe/d/109263

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ISIS Shifts Focus to Softer Targets for Attacks in Europe

December 02, 2016

BRUSSELS—Europol, the European Union police agency, said Friday that Islamic State attackers have shifted focus to softer, more-random targets in Europe instead of the police or military in an effort to intimidate the public.

The militant group retains the will and capability to stage attacks in Europe in the near future, according to a report by Europol's European Counter Terrorism Centre. While attackers will continue to use guns, bombs, knives and vehicles, terrorism techniques used in Syria and Iraq, such as car bombs, could also be imported to Europe, the report said.

The EU faces threats from both networked groups and lone-wolf attackers, and is prone to attacks that are carefully planned as well as those that appear spontaneous, according to the report. While Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, is the main group threatening Europe, the report said al Qaeda and other jihadist groups remained a potential threat.

"We have to be vigilant, since the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State and returning foreign fighters is likely to persist in the coming years," said Gilles de Kerchove, the EU counterterrorism coordinator, in a news release. "These people are trained to use explosives and firearms and they have been indoctrinated by the jihadist ideology."

Jihadists, the report said, frequently aren't necessarily highly religious or strict in their practice of Islam. Instead, they are often people with a criminal past who feel discriminated or humiliated, and might have mental-health issues.

Islamic State militants have placed France "high on the target list," the report said, noting not only the November 2015 Paris attacks but also lone-wolf attacks this year. The report said there were a wide range of possible reasons that France has been targeted, including its role as a symbol of Western nations, the economic isolation of Muslims in the country and its involvement with Muslim countries such as Algeria, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

wsj.com/articles/islamic-state-shifts-focus-to-softer-targets-in-europe-europol-says-1480665373

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Furore As Floor Mats Found Stuffed With Quranic Verses in Central Malacca

December 2, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Malacca’s Islamic Religious Department (Jaim) had seized about 500 floor mats stuffed with papers with Quranic verses on them, following a raid at a warehouse in Krubong, in Central Malacca with the Home Ministry and police yesterday.

Malay daily Sinar Harian reported Jaim enforcement chief Rahimin Bani saying the floor mats, recently imported from Indonesia, were supplied to several premises in the state and neighbouring Johor.

“The warehouse is owned by a company who distributes home appliances including floor mats that were obtained from Semarang, Indonesia and it has been supplied to several premises including supermarkets in this state and Johor,” he was quoted saying in a press conference.

He said the company had given full cooperation to authorities and they even separated the floor mats during the inspection.

Malay daily Kosmo! Reported that the papers were printed with Quranic verses, Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, and prayers ― believed to be from used Indonesian school textbooks.

The mats were sold between RM1.80 to RM2 each, it said.

In a statement on its official Facebook page, the Eco Shop Sdn Bhd which runs the chain Eco Shop Malaysia, has apologised for the incident and clarified that the company will not be investigated by authorities.

“Deluxeware Trading clarifies that the floor mat with Quran sheet was originally supplied by their supplier at Indonesia ― CV Putra Abadi. The company has undergone a thorough investigation with Jabatan Agama Islam Melaka and will take all necessary actions on the supplier,” it said.

The chain will also offer product exchange with consumers who wish to return the mats.

Meanwhile in Terengganu, the state’s Islamic Affairs Department also had opened an investigation paper to identify perpetrators of floor mats with Quranic verses after the issue went viral on social media.

This comes after a buyer, who purchased the RM2 floor mat at a supermarket in Dungun, complained to the department, JHEAT commissioner Datuk Wan Mohd Wan Ibrahim said.

“We have conducted an investigation and found printed papers containing Quranic verses have been used by irresponsible quarters to make the floor mats thicker than the others,” he told reporters yesterday.

He said action will be taken under the Section 9 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/furore-as-floor-mats-found-stuffed-with-quranic-verses

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PCC criticize Muslim religious parties on opposing forced conversion bill

Dec 2, 2016

Karachi: December 1, 2016. (PCP) Pakistan Christian Congress PCC Central Secretariat leaders have criticized leaders of Muslim religious parties on opposing forced conversion bill passed by Sindh provincial assembly.

In a statement issued by Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC has expressed dismay on reaction of JI, JUI (F) and other Muslim political parties on forced conversion to Islam of religious minorities’ individuals’ legislation in Sindh Assembly.

Nazir Bhatti said “Religious minorities expected that Muslim leaders will present such bill in Senate of Pakistan and National Assembly of Pakistan to implement similar law in federation of Pakistan but opposition to enforcement on forced conversion in Sindh by them is unfortunate and double standard when it is claimed that Islam fully protects religious minorities”

Hundreds of Christian and Hindu girls are kidnapped and enforcedly converted to Islam every year in Pakistan who are later given as sex slave wives to influential and wealthy Muslims.

In Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Muslim kidnappers are fully protected when they kidnap and enforcedly convert Christian and Hindu women.

Meanwhile, addressing a news conference, Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Siraj-ul-Haq was of the opinion that the new bill adopted by the Sindh Assembly against forced conversions is un-Islamic. He said that Sindh government should take back the bill immediately as he also cleared to meet Zardari in personal capacity over the matter.

Nazir Bhatti urged Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif who leads Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group PML (N) to present forced conversion bill in National Assembly of Pakistan that religious minorities may feel secure in Pakistan.

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/detail.php?hnewsid=6202

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Kerala youth calls up mother, says he is in Afghanistan following ‘true Islam’

by Rashmi Rajput

December 2, 2016

Ashfaque Majeed, one of the 21 Kerala youths believed to have left the country to join the Islamic State (IS), has told his mother that he has not joined the organisation and has gone to Afghanistan, along with other Kerala-based youths, to follow ‘Salafi’ Islam, according to sources.

In a phone conversation which lasted for a little over five minutes, Ashfaque reportedly told his mother, Ayesha, last week that they were all safe and were following “true Islam”. He said a local contact was helping him to open a medical store, and he would not return to India.

The details of the phone conversation were communicated by his family to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), sources said.

“The call was received by his mother on her cellphone. Ashfaque told his mother not to believe news reports claiming that he has joined the IS… He told her that he was staying in a remote village in Afghanistan where the mobile network is weak and that he had travelled to a town just to speak to her. He also informed her that he and the others had fled India as they were unable to follow ‘true Islam’ back home. He claimed he had not joined any terrorist outfit but has become a Salafi and was about to start a medical store along with his cousin Dr Ijaz (who also left India with his wife and child),” said an official.

Days after leaving India earlier this year, Ashfaque had send a WhatsApp voice message to a relative, claiming that he had reached Afghanistan and had told his family not to approach the police. In his message, Ashfaque had told them to leave the “land of disbelief” and join him in the “land of Islam” to fight the “holy war”. Ashfaque’s father, Abdul Majeed, who runs a motel in Central Mumbai confirmed that they had received the call. “He is as good as dead for us. I have asked my wife never to receive calls from that number. Since the time he left, we have been harassed by multiple agencies and the media, who keep questioning us about his whereabouts,” he said.

In his statement to the NIA, Abdul Majeed said Arshi Qureshi, guest manager with Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation had funded Ashfaque and others for their visit to Sri Lanka. “Ashfaque’s father claimed that while leaving for Sri lanka in February this year, Ashfaque told him that Quershi was funding the tour. In all, 22 people were supposed to attend a course on ‘Learning Quran’ in Jakarta, which was funded by Qureshi, who allegedly received funds from IRF. Qureshi had also paid money for their passports,” said an official. “Qureshi is being questioned. So far, he hasn’t revealed much and has denied having met Ashfaque or the other alleged IS recruits,” said the official.

In August this year, Abdul Majeed had lodged a complaint with the Mumbai Police claiming that his son, Ashfaque, had left the country to join the IS. In his complaint, he had named Quershi, Al-Birr Foundation volunteer Rizwan Khan, Kerala-based Imam Mohammed Haneef and another alleged IS recruit Abdullah Rashid.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/nia-zakir-naik-kerala-youth-calls-up-mother-says-he-is-in-afghanistan-4406002/

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Europe

 

One in four British Muslims does not believe in extremism, study finds

Dec 2, 2016

British Muslims have a "deeply worrying" belief in conspiracy theories and almost half would not go to the police if they knew someone with links to Islamic State (IS), a major study has found.

Attitudes towards many issues, such as the NHS, unemployment and immigration, are broadly in line with the rest of the population, according to the Policy Exchange study.

But 31% of Muslims thought the United States government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks and 7% blamed Jews while just 4% believed al Qaida was responsible, the think-tank said.

It found that 26% of Muslims did not believe in extremism and 48% would not turn to the police if someone close to them became involved with people linked to Syrian terrorism, the research revealed.

Labour's Khalid Mahmood said the findings made clear that British Muslims were no different in their views in many areas to the rest of the population but raised concerns over the significant numbers who doubted the existence of extremism.

In a foreword to the report, the shadow Europe minister said: "Even more startling is the fact that so many British Muslims seem ready to entertain wild and outlandish conspiracy theories about the way the world works, believing that dark forces are at work to 'do us down' as Muslims.

"From the attacks of 9/11, down to the more recent conflict in Syria, too many people seem ready to believe that these events are being deliberately organised and manipulated - whether by the American Government, Jews, or some other force - with the express intention of damaging Muslims.

"Of course, there is no denying that for many British Muslims, problems of racism, harassment and Islamophobia are a serious cause of worry. But it is deeply troubling that this seems to have led a not-insignificant minority to believe that the world is at the mercy of the machinations of dark, anti-Muslim forces.

" This readiness to believe in conspiracy theories and the mentality of victimhood to which it speaks is having a pernicious effect on British Muslims and the way they see the world. It is holding us back - as a community - and ensuring that we remain locked in a paranoid and at times fearful world view."

The report, Unsettled Belonging: Britain's Muslim Communities, is based on research carried out by polling company ICM with mo re than 3,000 people.

It found 93% of respondents had a fairly strong or very strong attachment to Britain and more than half wanted to fully integrate with non-Muslims in all aspects of life.

More Muslims condemned terrorism than the rest of the population - 90% to 84% - and 55% wanted to see extra police on the streets.

But 43% supported the introduction of Sharia law and 1% said they favoured fully separate Islamic areas in Britain.

Martyn Frampton, head of security and counter extremism at Policy Exchange, said: "In nearly every walk of life, British Muslims are no different in their views and priorities to their non-Muslim neighbours.

"They believe the NHS, jobs and immigration to be the most pressing issues facing the country and worry deeply about the effect of drugs and drinking on their communities.

"However, the research found a deeply worrying belief in conspiracy theories such as 9/11. Unlike the general population, nearly a third of British Muslims believe the American government was responsible for the attacks on the Twin Towers, while a surprisingly tiny number attributed blame to al Qaeda."

The report found that the Muslim Council of Britain enjoys little support in the community, with just 9% of respondents backing it.

It also suggested the Government should not be "spooked" into abandoning or apologising for its controversial Prevent agenda, which tries to stop people being drawn into terrorism, because Muslim communities are " generally relaxed" about intervention to tackle extremism.

David Goodhart, head of Policy Exchange's demography, integration and immigration unit, said: "British Muslims as a whole continue to live somewhat more separately than other large ethno-cultural minorities - in neighbourhoods and schools, in terms of women not working and in terms of attitudes and religiosity.

"However, the promising news from this survey is that when it comes to everyday life, British Muslims, and their concerns and interests, are increasingly part of the mainstream and to a much greater extent than one would assume listening to many of the organisations that claim to speak for Muslims."

http://www.malverngazette.co.uk/news/national/14941825.One_in_four_British_Muslims_does_not_believe_in_extremism__study_finds/

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Turkish mosque in Germany attacked by PKK supporters

02 December 2016

Supporters of the PKK terror group attacked Turkish assets in Germany on Thursday, Anadolu Agency has learned.

A Turkish cultural center, local newspaper and the Turkiye Wilhelmsburg football club in Hamburg were among the targets.

Supporters took responsibility for the attack on the sports club and shared on social media images and videos of the vandalism that involved Molotov cocktails.

Officials at the sports club told Anadolu Agency a worker was sleeping in the building at the time of the attack and "could have died" if the fire had not extinguished spontaneously.

The terror group also attacked the Ali Pasa mosque located 30 kilometers (18 miles) outside of Hamburg.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/181042/austria-far-right-eyes-presidency-under-trump-shadow

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Slovakia adopts law to block Islam from becoming official state religion

Dec 2, 2016

Parliament in Bratislava has approved a bill that effectively prevents Islam from being registered as a state religion in the near future.

Sponsored by the Slovak National Party (SNS), which is a member in Prime Minister Robert Fico’s coalition, the legislation was passed Wednesday. The law was approved by a two-thirds majority in parliament, comprising both ruling and opposition parties.

The new law more than doubles the required number of a religion’s followers for it to qualify for state subsidies and run its own schools. At least 50,000 members, against the previous 20,000, has now been set as a threshold for gaining official status as a religion.

Currently, 62 percent of Slovakia’s 5.4 million population are declared Roman Catholics.

Slovakia’s far-right People’s Party-Our Slovakia wanted to raise the bar to 250,000, but their proposal was turned down by a majority of lawmakers.

Full report at:

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/12/01/foreign/slovakia-adopts-law-to-block-islam-from-becoming-official-state-religion/

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Space cargo ship with 2.4 tonnes fuel burns up on way to ISS

Dec 2, 2016

MOSCOW: An unmanned cargo ship travelling to the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere shortly after launching on Thursday, the Russian space agency said.

“According to preliminary information, as a result of an abnormal situation, the cargo ship’s loss occurred some 190 kilometres above the remote, unpopulated mountainous territory of (Russia’s) Tuva region, and most fragments burned up in dense layers of the atmosphere,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

Earlier, Russia’s space agency said it lost contact with an unmanned cargo ship shortly after it blasted off for the International Space Station, raising concerns after a failed launch under two years ago.

“Communication was lost today 383 seconds after the launch of the Soyuz-U carrier rocket with the cargo ship Progress MS-04,” space agency Roscosmos said in a statement, adding that its specialists were looking into the problem.

The ship, which was scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Saturday, was carrying 2.4 tonnes of fuel, food and equipment when it took off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Roscosmos said.

A Progress cargo ship launch failed in April 2015. The failure, which Russia blamed on a problem in a Soyuz rocket, saw the ship disintegrate as it plummeted to Earth.

The incident saw Russia put all space travel on hold for nearly three months and forced a group of astronauts to spend an extra month on the ISS.

Russia said at the time that because the same type of rocket is used for manned ships, all issues with Progress resupply missions needed to be thoroughly investigated before any manned vessels could be launched.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1299975/space-cargo-ship-with-24-tonnes-fuel-burns-up-on-way-to-iss

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UK Muslims show worrying belief in conspiracy theories, claims thinktank

2 December 2016

Britain’s Muslim communities have “separatist” tendencies and a “deeply worrying” belief in conspiracy theories, according to one of the government’s favourite centre-right thinktanks.

The controversial Policy Exchange report however does acknowledge that 93% of British Muslims have a strong attachment to Britain and their attitudes to many issues such as the NHS, unemployment and immigration are broadly in line with the rest of the population.

The report published on Friday comes out before a government-commissioned inquiry, chaired by Dame Louise Casey, into integration and community cohesion in Britain is due to be launched early next week.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) strongly criticised the thinktank’s report, saying it seemed to pursue an agenda to cast British Muslims as separate, dangerous and in need of saving, while the thinktank had “provided ample fodder to countless headlines demonising Muslims”.

The findings of the Policy Exchange report, Unsettled Belonging, are based upon an ICM poll which is described as the most comprehensive to date of British Muslim opinion based on interviews with 3,000 people.

Its findings say that Britain’s Muslims “live on average somewhat more separately than other significant minorities” but 53% show an appetite to integrate more with non-Muslims in all aspects of life.

However it also found that 31% believed the US government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks with a further 7% blaming the Jews and only 4% saying al-Qaida was responsible.

The thinktank also highlighted findings that British Muslims were more likely to condemn acts of political violence and terrorism than the rest of the population but that one in four British Muslims claimed that “extremist views do not exist”.

When asked what they would do if they became aware someone close to them was “getting involved with people who support terrorism in Syria” only 52% said they would report them to the police.

A foreword to the pamphlet by the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, Khalid Mahmood, said it was startling that so many British Muslims seemed ready to entertain wild and outlandish conspiracy theories about “dark forces” at work to “do down Muslims”.

He said that the poll found that organisations such as the MCB had very little support among British Muslims and were failing to reflect their views on issues such as Prevent. He suggested that the government needed to realise their views only represented “the sectional demands of those on the fringes of British Muslim life”.

David Goodhart, co-author of the report and head of the thinktank’s integration and immigration unit, said: “British Muslims as a whole continue to live somewhat more separately than other large ethno-cultural minorities – in neighbourhoods and schools, in terms of women not working, and in terms of attitudes and religiosity.

“However, the promising news from this survey is that when it comes to everyday life, British Muslims, and their concerns and interests, are increasingly part of the mainstream, and to a much greater extent than one would assume listening to many of the organisations that claim to speak for Muslims.”

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/02/uk-muslims-show-worrying-belief-in-conspiracy-theories-claims-thinktank

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Chechen Mufti Denies Kadyrov Had To Apologize To Saudis For Grozny Fatwa

December 01, 2016

Chechnya's leading Islamic cleric has formally rejected suggestions that Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov was made to travel recently to Saudi Arabia to apologize for a religious edict that was seen as a snub of Salafism.

Mufti Salakh-hadzhi Mezhiyev called "untrue and an outright lie" reports that the Kremlin-backed leader went to Jiddah to present his apologies for the fatwa, adopted at a conference in Grozny three months ago, that designated Salafism -- an ultraconservative strain of Islam widely professed in Saudi Arabia -- as "an aberrant sect."

Several media outlets in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had reported that Kadyrov did indeed offer apologies. Whether the anodyne remarks attributed to him constituted a genuine apology is a matter of interpretation, however.

The August conference of Islamic scholars in Grozny was pegged to the 65th birthday of Kadyrov's late father, Akhmed-hadzhi Kadyrov. Its stated purpose was to discuss the alleged abuse of Islamic ideas to propagate "extremism," and to establish the criteria for determining who qualifies as a true follower of the Sunna (the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad).

The conference ended with the adoption of a fatwa stipulating that the sole true adherents of traditional Islam are those who abide by Kalam scholastic theology, belong to one of the four "madhhabs" (legal schools), and follow the path of moral self-perfection espoused by the great teachers, primarily the Sufi sheikhs. It identifies the Salafi strain of Sunni Islam as a "dangerous and erroneous contemporary sect," along with the extremist militant group Islamic State (IS), Hizb ut-Tahrir, and the Habashis. Predictably, that controversial and categorical definition triggered widespread protests, both in Russia and abroad. The International Association of Islamic Scholars reportedly criticized the Grozny conference as "a shameful attempt to sow dissent within the Muslim community." Respected theologian Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Islamic University, who had attended the opening session of the conference, publicly distanced himself from the fatwa.

In late September, the Council of Muftis of Russia (SMR) issued a resolution saying the text of the fatwa should be fundamentally revised because it risks "causing a split within the country, and between the Muslim community in Russia and that abroad." It has become clear from a detailed analysis, the statement continued, that the fatwa "reflects primarily the situation in one of [Russia's] regions," meaning Chechnya, and does not constitute reliable guidance for Russia's Muslims with regard to those intrinsic hallmarks of true Islam that differentiate it from fallacies. Specifically, the resolution rejected the importance attached to "one single current of Islam -- Sufism" as the hallmark of true belief.

That resolution occasioned a bitter polemic between the Russian Council of Muftis chairman, Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, and Chechen mufti Mezhiyev.

Mezhiyev, together with Kadyrov's adviser on religious affairs, Adam Shakhidov, both accompanied Kadyrov on his tour of Persian Gulf states. On November 21, the day before Kadyrov and his entourage were reported to have arrived in the United Arab Emirates, a Daghestani blogger quoted the Arabic-language news portal Al-Sabaq as saying that Kadyrov had already extended apologies to the Saudi authorities, and that the purpose of his upcoming official visit to Saudi Arabia was to do so in person. Kadyrov was quoted as stressing the "strong, friendly ties between his country and Saudi Arabia" and as affirming that "the conference, which gave rise to numerous disputes, was directed against those who falsely pose as Salafis and use the slogans of those who follow the true path."

"We are not against the true Salafis who stand firmly on the path of their righteous predecessors," he reportedly added.

Full report at:

http://www.rferl.org/a/caucasus-report-kadyrov-salafism-fatwa-saudi-apology/28150361.html

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France jailed a man for visiting pro-ISIS websites

Dec 2, 2016

France's mercurial relationship with technology and the internet is in the news once again. This time it's because a man was going to pro-ISIS websites with regularity. Facing a two year sentence, the suspect said that he was simply curious and wanted to "tell the difference between real Islam and the false Islam," France Bleu reports.

As a stark contrast, the evidence doesn't support his claims. Local media says that the wallpaper on his COMPUTER was ISIS' Daesh flag, his password was a reference to the Paris shootings at an Eagles of Death Metal concert and ISIS-related images and videos were found on his PHONE. He'd also reportedly grown a beard, become "very irritable" when talking about religion with family and began wearing sarouel pants. He's been sentenced to two years in prison and hit with a €30,000 fine ($31,971) -- the maximum punishment for this type of offense.

Full report at:

https://www.engadget.com/2016/12/01/france-jailed-a-man-for-visiting-pro-isis-websites/

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Southeast Asia

 

Rally may force Jokowi to cross the Rubicon of political Islam

December 2, 2016

AMANDA HODGE

After last month’s Jakarta rally, when at least 100,000 people protested against an alleged blasphemy by the city’s ethnic Chinese Christian governor, no one is brave enough to contradict the claims of hardline Islamists that today’s will attract twice that number.

But few are more invested than Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in seeing a significant drop in turnout for the planned mass prayer to demand the governor’s incarceration, given his intensive lobbying to calm an issue that has exposed a key vulnerability of his presidency.

There is now wide acknowledgment the blasphemy charge against Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama — a key ally of Jokowi — is as much a politically motivated campaign as it is a conservative Islamic one.

With an eye on his own re-election in 2018, Jokowi has calculated he cannot stake his leadership and political capital on his former deputy governor.

For Ahok, this means a throwaway line on the campaign trail — that voters should not be fooled into believing clerics who say the Koran forbids Muslims voting for non-Muslims — could end his political career and his personal freedom.

Prosecutors confirmed this week he will stand trial within weeks on charges of insulting Islam. Such charges carry a maximum five-year jail term.

The person who stands most to benefit from Ahok’s downfall is Jokowi’s political rival and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), whose son Agus Harimurti is campaigning against Ahok for the governorship and is narrowly leading polls.

Conservative Islamic groups flourished under SBY, as did blasphemy cases.

Just as he did during his 10 years as president, SBY has found a politically expedient accommodation with Islamic hardliners such as the Islamic Defenders’ Front, a group that a decade ago was seen in moderate Indonesia as little more than a band of thugs but now leads the charge against Ahok and, by proxy, Jokowi.

That has caught the President off-guard.

Although he has made strides in consolidating his political power and enjoyed some successes in reforming the economy, critics say Jokowi has shown little confidence in addressing the growing influence of political Islam in Indonesia and is now paying the price for it.

Political Islam was largely repressed in Indonesia under former president Suharto but has been growing in strength and influence in the almost 20 years since the fall of his regime.

Jokowi’s reluctance to engage on the issue — either by taking on those that would have Indonesia lurch to the Islamic Right, speaking out against persecution of minorities or by spelling out his vision for the future of political Islam in Indonesia — is seen as born of a fear that opponents will seek to portray his moderate approach as anti-Islamic.

Thus far he has seen little benefit in spending his considerable political capital on an issue in which there is little to be gained.

But should today’s rally draw the kind of crowd — both in number and diversity — that flocked to central Jakarta last month, that calculation may have to change.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/rally-may-force-jokowi-to-cross-the-rubicon-of-political-islam/news-story/262aea4d03f106a1b86c5f9b4f2d9b20

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Islam and Malays would be undermined if DAP rules: Najib

1 December 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: The rights and status of Islam and the Malays would be undermined if DAP comes into power, warned Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

“Wouldn’t we Muslims be worried, irritated and angry if Islam and its practises are undermined if DAP rules the country.

“Even worse, if DAP’s constitution is reviewed and does not mention Islam as the federal religion, does not uphold the Malay royal institution and does not mention a single thing about safeguarding the rights of the Malays and Bumiputras.

“In fact, all Islam-Malay-related institutions like Lembaga Tabung Haji and the Lembaga Zakat will be ridiculed, and its existence challenged,” he told over 2,700 Umno delegates during the party president’s policy speech, here.

Full report at:

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2081028

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Iran, Indonesia to Cooperate in Resolving Middle East, Islamic Conflicts

Dec 2, 2016

Jakarta. Mohsen Araki, high counsel for the Iranian leadership, has proposed a cooperation between Indonesia and Iran in an effort to resolve the conflict among Islamic-majority countries which has led to a surge in migration to Europe during a meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla in Jakarta on Thursday (01/12).

The first proposal is to form an organization promoting unity among Islamic sectarian groups, Araki said, adding he believes most Middle Eastern conflicts are rooted in differences in practices and methods.

“Second is the idea to establish a university that teaches about various groups and sects in Islam by the best ulemas [Muslim scholar bodies]. We see that if these two ideas are successful, they may provide a good influence for Islam,” Araki said at the Vice President’s office in Jakarta.

He tipped cooperation with Indonesia as essential to implementation of his program and the eventual ending of ongoing conflict.

“We see that Islam is currently experiencing various issues. The partnerships between the two countries may be a solution for Islam in its respective [Middle Eastern] nations,” Araki said.

Vice President deputy secretary for politics Dewi Fortuna Anwar said Araki also highlighted several important issues, including the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the struggle for freedom in Palestine.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/iran-indonesia-cooperate-resolving-middle-east-islamic-conflicts/

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70,000 litters of water prepared for ablution at Muslim rally

December 2, 2016

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) has deployed 14 water trucks to the National Monument (Monas) square in Central Jakarta to accommodate a mass gathering by Muslim protesters to demand the arrest of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over alleged blasphemy.

The trucks will supply an additional 70,000 liters of water to allow protesters to perform the wudhu (ablution) ritual before joining the gathering, during which they will attend sermons, Friday prayers, and dzikir (mass chants to praise God).

“The PMI have readied 150 plastic containers and more than 70,000 liters of water for ablution during the mass dzikir event in Monas,” the Jakarta Police’s traffic management unit reported on its Twitter account @TMCPoldaMetro on Friday morning.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/12/02/70000-liters-of-water-prepared-for-ablution-at-muslim-rally.html

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Islamic Youth Alliance Says No More Anti-Ahok Rally After Friday

Dec 2, 2016

Jakarta. The Islamic Youth Alliance, or API Indonesia, expects the next protest rally against Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama planned for Friday, Dec. 2, by the so-called Guardians of the Indonesian Ulema Council's Fatwas, or GNPF-MUI, to be the last one in a while.

"We hope Friday's protest will be the last one. There's no need for any more rally. We should trust the law enforcers will handle the case professionally," Adin Jauharudin of API Indonesia said in Jakarta on Thursday (01/12).

Friday's protest continues on from the riotous Nov. 4 rally to demand that Ahok be arrested for alleged blasphemy. Protesters said they will hold a mass prayer at the National Monument, or Monas, in Central Jakarta on Friday afternoon.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/islamic-youth-alliance-says-no-anti-ahok-rally-friday/

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Malaysia's Najib Warns of 'Nightmares' if Ruling Party Loses Power

Dec 2, 2016

Kuala Lumpur. Scandal-tainted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed to fight to the end for Malays and Islam on Thursday (01/12), as he called on his ruling party to prepare for elections that are "coming soon."

Addressing the annual meeting of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Najib set the tone for early polls and warned of "nightmares" if the ethnic Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP) opposition group came to power.

"We pledge to fight to the end and to the last drop of blood, even if our lives are lost," Najib told a cheering crowd.

"Let us realize, my people, not to falter for even a moment as we are faced with challenges that we have never seen before."

The prime minister repeated his support for a bill promoting strict Islamic law, called hudud, adding that it would be taking up for discussion by the federal government.

Najib has been buffeted by graft allegations and faced the biggest challenge to his leadership last year after reports that hundreds of millions of dollars was misappropriated from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which he founded.

Lawsuits filed by the US Justice Department in July said more than $700 million of the misappropriated funds flowed into the accounts of "Malaysian Official 1," who US and Malaysian officials have identified as Najib.

Najib has denied wrongdoing.

He has shrugged off persistent attempts to unseat him, securing emphatic victories in a state election and two by-elections earlier this year.

But although he retains support of nearly all 200 powerful division chiefs of UMNO's 3.5 million-member organisation, frustration has been growing over graft and a slumping economy.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/international/malaysias-najib-warns-nightmares-ruling-party-loses-power/

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Three Muslim insurgents arrested in Thailand

December 1, 2016

Thai police have arrested three suspected Muslim insurgents who had allegedly planned to launch bomb attacks in Bangkok. The three suspects were earlier also detained by soldiers who invoked the emergency law but the Narathiwat Court freed them on Tuesday, Deputy Police Commissioner Sriwarah Rangsipramkul said. They were rearrested by police after a Criminal Court warrant was issued against them on last Friday, Sriwarah said, adding that they were charged with possessing illegal explosives and unlawful association, local media reported.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/three-muslim-insurgents-arrested-in-thailand-4404772/

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Jakarta protests: Muslims turn out in force against Christian governor Ahok

2 December 2016

A crowd of at least 200,000 Muslim protesters has descended on Jakarta to demand the Christian governor of the Indonesian capital be arrested for insulting Islam.

There was heavy security at the rally on Friday with authorities wary of the kind of violence that marred a similar demonstration in November.

People headed towards a massive park in downtown Jakarta to protest against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known by his nickname Ahok, who has become the target of widespread anger in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

Waving banners that read “Jail Ahok, the law must be fair”, demonstrators dressed in white Islamic skullcaps and robes marched through the streets. Many had travelled from outside the capital to take part.

“All we want is justice, and by justice I mean Ahok being detained,” said Ricky Subagia, 26, who had come 200km (120 miles) from the town of Garut.

Authorities did not have an immediate estimate of numbers although tens of thousands appeared to be on the streets. Police estimated 200,000 people were on the streets of the capital.

Purnama, Jakarta’s first non-Muslim governor in half a century, is already being prosecuted for allegedly committing blasphemy over comments he made about the Koran in an election campaign.

But he has not been detained and conservative Muslim groups are now pushing for his arrest.

Speaking on the main stage at the national monument, national police chief Tito Karnavian called for the protesters to support the legal process in the blasphemy case.

“We have worked to finalize the dossier and have handed over to the prosecutors. Therefore, I request support from all of you so that the legal process goes well,” he said as the crowd cheered “God is Great”.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/02/jakarta-protests-muslims-against-christian-governor-ahok''''''

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Pakistan

 

Trump team takes issue with Pakistani version of phone talk

ANWAR IQBAL

Dec 2, 2016

WASHINGTON: The Trump transition team has issued its own version of the Sharif-Trump telephone call, saying that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US president-elect Donald Trump did have a ‘productive conversation’ on Wednesday, but it lacked the “flowery language” included in the Pakistani version of this talk.

“President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke … had a productive conversation about how the United States and Pakistan will have a strong working relationship in the future,” said the Trump transition team in a rare readout of his conversation with a foreign leader.

“President-elect Trump also noted that he is looking forward to a lasting and strong personal relationship with Prime Minister Sharif,” the statement added.

An unidentified adviser to the Trump team said the Pakistani readout of the talk had “committed the president-elect to more than what he meant”.

Other members of the Trump team, quoted in media, pointed out that the Pakistanis overplayed Mr Trump’s offer to play “a role” in resolving Pakistan’s disputes with India.

See: Will President Trump be good or bad for Pakistan?

The most critical comment on the Pakistani readout, however, came from a former White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer: “It’s entirely inappropriate for the Pakistani government to release what an American president-elect says in the course of a phone call.”

Mr Fleischer, who was a member of former Republican president George Bush’s White House team and is close to the Trump transition team as well, noted that no government releases such readouts.

“We would never release what a foreign leader said to (ex-president) George W. Bush. We would talk about what George W. Bush said. But to release what somebody else says, I am not the spokesperson for Pakistan or any other nation,” he told CNN.

“So, for them to do it is an entire breach of diplomatic protocol and tradition. And if they had done that to me, I would be on the phone right now with their press secretary, chewing him out. The ambassador would be on the phone with their ambassador, chewing the ambassador out. And up and down the chain,” Mr Fleischer added.

Media criticial

The US media also criticised the Pakistani decision to release the readout, agreeing with Mr Fleischer that it was inappropriate.

“Readouts of phone calls between world leaders are usually written safely in order to protect leaders from incidental backlash — like the one the Trump team put out,” CNN noted.

“They’re dry and diplomatic statements summing up conversations using carefully chosen buzzwords.”

The Washington Post called the Pakistani release “a surprisingly candid read” and noted that it “focuses almost entirely on Trump’s contribution to the conversation, and reproduces them in a voice that is unmistakably his (Mr Trump’s)”.

The New York Times called it “a bizarre conversation”, noting that “while not exactly confirming the content, the Trump transition team did acknowledge the call”.

In a commentary on the conversation, the Forbes magazine described Mr Trump’s comments as “cozy, expansive, even flattering,” and warned that “his bluster is more likely to be taken as the initial signal of his administration’s position” on the Pakistan-India dispute.

“It matters that he uses words like ‘very good reputation’, ‘amazing work’, ‘visible in every way’, ‘the most intelligent’, ‘fantastic country’, ‘exceptional people’,” the magazine noted.

“One of the main messages it sends is that he shows no awareness of the issues between the United States, Pakistan and India,” Forbes added.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2016

http://www.dawn.com/news/1299914/trump-team-takes-issue-with-pakistani-version-of-phone-talk

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Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat's Karachi president detained by Rangers, says party official

IMTIAZ ALI

Dec 2, 2016

A leader of banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) was detained in Karachi on Thursday, according to party spokesperson.

ASWJ Karachi president Allama Rabnawaz Hanafi was apprehended by Pakistan Rangers Sindh from his residence in Khamosh Colony, Liaquatabad, said the party spokesperson Umer Mowavia.

There was no official confirmation of Hanafi’s detention by the paramilitary force.

The party official said that they would ‘cooperate’ with institutions and would ‘satisfy’ them as they have any reservations. However, he added that they had always condemned terrorism.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1299867/ahle-sunnat-wal-jamaats-karachi-president-detained-by-rangers-says-party-official

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Pakistan underscores need for settling Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Dec 2, 2016

Pakistan has underscored the need for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to accomplish peace in the Middle East and to deal with some of the drivers of extremism and terrorism.

This was stated by Ambassador of Pakistan to UN Maleeha Lodhi while speaking in a debate on Palestine in General Assembly in New York.

She said that this conflict has contributed most significantly to the anger and frustration in the Arab and Islamic world.

Maleeha Lodhi said, “The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential for peace and stability throughout the Middle East.”

Full report at:

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/12/01/national/pakistan-underscores-need-for-settling-israeli-palestinian-conflict/

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US Congress seeks to condition portion of funding to Pakistan

December 02, 2016

WASHINGTON - A top US Congressional panel has made a substantial portion of US funding to Pakistan conditional on Secretary of Defence's certification that the country was "taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistani territory."

The Congressional Conference Committee, which is made of senior members from the House of Representatives and the Senate, passed the the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 on Wednesday authorising up to US $900 million in coalition support funds for Pakistan.

Of this amount, US $ 400 million has been made contingent upon a Pentagon certification.

In a move that raised concerns, the Committee has asked the Pentagon to ensure that Pakistan does not use its military aid in persecution of minority groups in the country.

"The Committee remains concerned about the persecution of groups seeking political or religious freedom in Pakistan, including the Balochi, Sindhi, and Hazara ethnic groups, as well as religious groups, including Christian, Hindu, and Ahmadiyya," the Committee said in a 3000-page document.

"Consequently, the conferees believe that the Secretary of Defence should continue to closely monitor the provision of US security assistance to Pakistan and ensure that Pakistan is not using its military or any assistance provided by the United States to persecute minority groups."

Defence Secretary Ashton Carter refused to grant a similar certification to Pakistan this year as a result of which it was not given a $300 million under coalition support fund.

NDAA-2017 "refocuses security assistance to Pakistan on activities that directly support US national security interests and conditions a significant portion of funding on a certification from the Secretary of Defence that Pakistan is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistani territory," Republican Senator John McCain said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/02-Dec-2016/us-congress-seeks-to-condition-portion-of-funding-to-pakistan

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Pakistan urged to raise Sikhs demand at India moot

December 02, 2016

NEW YORK - A US-based Sikh rights group has called on Pakistan to raise the issue of Sikhs demand for Independence Referendum for liberating "Indian Occupied Punjab"  to create "Khalistan" during the upcoming Heart of Asia (HoA) Conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar.

"India is a country with 70 year history of persecuting Sikh, Muslim and Christian minorities and of crushing with violence the peaceful and democratic demand for 'right to self determination' of the Sikhs and Muslims of Indian Occupied Punjab and Kashmir, (respectively)", the Sikhs for Justice (SfJ) said in a letter to the Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, released on Wednesday. Aziz will represent Pakistan during the HoA Conference in Amritsar on December 3-4. "Ensuring the right to self-determination to the people of Indian Occupied Punjab and Kashmir is essential to the peace and stability of the region as it will put an end to State-sponsored violence against indigenous people in Indian Occupied territories of Kashmir and Punjab", the letter states.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/02-Dec-2016/pakistan-urged-to-raise-sikhs-demand-at-india-moot

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India

 

No talks amid continued terror: India

by Shubhajit Roy

December 2, 2016

'Ruling out any substantive bilateral talks between visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz and Indian leaders on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference, which begins in Amritsar on Sunday, India on Thursday said it will never accept continuing cross-border terrorism as the “new normal” in the relationship. “We have not received any request from Pakistan for a bilateral meeting. India has always been open to talks but obviously it cannot be that talks take place in an atmosphere of continued terrorism. India will never accept continued terrorism as the new normal of the bilateral relationship. Let me make that very clear,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Watch what else is making news:

Rs.1.20 crore old Indian currency recovered from two Thailand citizens

 On Donald Trump’s conversation with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, he said there was “sort of a rejoinder” to Pakistan’s statement by the US. He also said that terrorism is the “most outstanding of all outstanding issues” between India and Pakistan, and India would welcome a conversation between US and Pakistan on the issue. Two days after the Nagrota terror attack, he said, “We are awaiting detailed information on the specifics of the Nagrota attack before we decide on the next steps. But I do wish to emphasise that the government takes this incident very seriously and will do what it feels is required for our national security.”

Responding to questions on Pakistan’s role, the MEA spokesperson articulated India’s hardened position in the wake of the recent attacks. “Pakistan is a country which has a long record of carrying out cross-border terrorism which it regards as an instrument of state policy. This puts Pakistan at odds with the rest of the international community. Over the years, India has suffered many heinous terrorist attacks which have been supported and sponsored by Pakistan. ”

“The attack on the Indian Parliament, the Kaluchak massacre, the 2005 Delhi bombings, the attack on the CRPF camp in Rampur in 2008, the Mumbai terror attack, the attack on the Pathankot air base, and the attack on the Army camp in Uri are all reminders of the continuing complicity of Pakistan in sponsoring cross-border terrorism of which Nagrota is the latest example. So, it is evident that it is not a matter of a week or a month. It is in fact a challenge that we have faced over many years, indeed over many decades,” he said.

When asked about the surgical strikes, he said, “It was our assessment at that point in time there was an imminent threat based on hard intelligence about the location of armed terrorists who were ready to infiltrate across the LoC and carry out terrorist activities on our side. This imminent threat was successfully neutralised through the surgical strikes. We should not look only at what happened but also at what did not happen, what was prevented through successful neutralisation.”

On whether a new chapter will begin with change of guard at the helm of Pakistan Army, he said, “Change of Army Chief is internal matter of Pakistan, but we will judge Pakistan by its behaviour and its track record.” On Pakistan suggesting a joint probe in Uri strike, which India maintains was carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists, Swarup said this has happened in the past also and instead of acting on the evidence provided by India, Islamabad engages in “pure propaganda ploys”.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-pakistan-terrorism-sartaj-aziz-heart-of-asia-no-talks-amid-continued-terror-india-4405943/

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India has urged China to change stand on Masood Azhar: Govt

December 1, 2016

New Delhi: Government has urged China to reverse its technical hold on India’s request, which is co-sponsored by several prominent countries, to get Masood Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said today.

In a written reply in a question in the Rajya Sabha, Akbar said China has often repeated its concern on spread of terrorism and their desire to cooperate with India on this issue.

On several occasions, China has reiterated with India their resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with “zero tolerance”, and has agreed that there is no justification for terrorism.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/india-urged-china-change-stand-masood-azhar-govt-1077111/

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Hizbul Mujahideen to J&K cops: Think a thousand times before attacking our families

Dec 2, 2016

NEW DELHI: The new Hizbul Mujahideen chief, Zakir Rashid Bhat Musa, has threatened to attack Jammu and Kashmir police and their families if they don't stop harassing the families of militants in the state.

In a new video, being circulated on social media, Zakir has asked cops to stop attacking "our families in the valley or face dire consequences".

"You (cops) are committing a big mistake by harassing our families, by involving our families," he says in the video, adding, "This is a fight between us and you have involved families".

Bhat, the successor of slain Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, took over after Wani was killed during an encounter on July 8 this year.

Holding a machine gun, Bhat said in the video, "We are forgiving you (cops), thinking that this is your first and last mistake."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Hizbul-Mujahideen-to-JK-cops-Think-a-thousand-times-before-attacking-our-families/articleshow/55741742.cms

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RSS agenda is not against any religion: Bhagwat

Dec 2, 2016

NEW DELHI: Calling the RSS a unique organisation, its chief Mohan Bhagwat claimed on Thursday that the saffron fountainhead has survived various challenges due to its deep-rooted beliefs in tradition and with its sole agenda of shaping "good human beings".

"People often ask about Sangh agenda.... Sangh has no agenda, rather, we intend to groom good human beings with high moral values, that makes it different and unique in the world," Bhagwat said at the unveiling of a collector's edition of RSS-inspired weeklies "Organiser" and "Panchjanya" commemorating 90 years of the founding of the organisation.

He said that there were misconceptions about the Sangh that could be cleared only if people tried to understand it without any prejudice and with open minds. He clarified that the RSS agenda was not meant to subvert religions like Islam and Christianity but only to inculcate better virtues in Hindu society.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/RSS-agenda-is-not-against-any-religion-Bhagwat/articleshow/55738458.cms

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Terrorist killed in Army operation in Kashmir's Anantnag

Dec 1, 2016

SRINAGAR: An unidentified militant was killed in an anti-militancy operation in south Kashmir's Anantnag district on Thursday, Army said.

"In an anti-militancy operation in Dooru area of Anantnag, a terrorist has been killed," an Army official said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Terrorist-killed-in-Army-operation-in-Kashmirs-Anantnag/articleshow/55729740.cms

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Jammu and Kashmir: A university funded by religious faith is a centre of inclusive liberality

Dec 2, 2016

By David Devadas

Inside the large hall, two young men in jeans and a young woman in leotards take turns at the drum set. One of them is trying it for the first time. Another student toys with the synthesizer, while another two jam on electric guitars, one of them a bass. A large mixer stands on a table in the middle of the room, wired for sound.

Another student squats in a cozy corner just outside the music hall, to practice the tabla. He is obviously talented, and the pleasure on his face as he practises a fast rhythm is sublime.

This is the music society of the Sri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU), on the second floor of one of the academic buildings, on a normal late-semester evening. The University sprawls on what used to be rocky bushland between the highway and the little town of Katra. It is a 40-minute drive from Jammu on the national highway to the Kashmir Valley.

In the cool dark of the campus, a brilliantly lit basketball court looks like a scene from a Hollywood movie, as students practise in shorts and vests.

In just over a decade since it was established, this university has matured into a metaphor for the rounded development of young people. It is the only place in north India with a state-of-the-art biotechnology lab. And it has an outstanding architecture college, the only one in Jammu and Kashmir. Plus, of course, it buzzes with extracurricular activities.

At the University guest house, one bumps into extraordinary academics. Kishore Chakravarty, for instance, was professor of philosophy at Princeton, Duke and Berkeley before he retired as the vice-president for academics of a college in the US — though he insists on being introduced as a former Calcutta University lecturer.

Chakravarty enjoys being at the SMVDU enough to have returned to the University a third time — to deliver a series of lectures to the philosophy faculty and PhD candidates. "I am most impressed by the high quality of courses offered at this University, the attention and care which the faculty continually provides to their students, and the stunningly beautiful campus," he says, measuring his words carefully.

Hub of inclusivity

But perhaps far more important than all these is a less obviously noticeable aspect of this institution: It is a harmonious island of not only high achievement, but also of inclusiveness, in a generally troubled and divided state.

The state’s education minister Naeem Akhtar pointed out at a function at the University’s Matrika Auditorium on Wednesday evening that the institution, entirely funded by contributions by devout Hindus (at the Vaishno Devi shrine nearby), has opened its doors wide to students of every kind.

Indeed, one noticed during a visit to the University during Ramzan a few years ago that special arrangements had quietly been made in a hostel kitchen to provide Sehri and Iftar (pre-dawn and post-sunset) meals to Muslim students who wanted to keep the annual month-long fast. There was no propaganda projection of these arrangements; it was simply what the University did for students it considered its own. The University’s dynamic Vice-chancellor, Sanjeev Jain, says matter-of-factly: "We never differentiate on caste, creed and all that."

Tabligh preaching was the fashion in those days. So some students from the Kashmir Valley kept long beards, short pyjamas and skull caps. One of them noticeably averted his face when he passed a woman. Another sat with their girl friends of different backgrounds in the coffee shops and canteens. Neither seemed to attract a reaction.

Not only do students from various backgrounds seem to be readily included in the University’s life, several students and teachers go out of their way to make them feel at home. "Students tend to avoid loose talk (everyday abusive punctuation) among themselves when Kashmiris are around. They are aware that these come from a more refined culture," says Dr Varun Kumar Tripathi, who supervises cultural programmes as chair of the University’s cultural council.

"Teachers are also careful," he adds. "They make an effort to ensure that a Kashmiri student has no problems."

Full report at:

http://www.firstpost.com/india/jammu-and-kashmir-a-university-funded-by-religious-faith-is-a-centre-of-inclusive-liberality-3135588.html

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Afghan contact number found scribbled on Samba terrorist’s arm

Neeraj Chauhan & Bharti Jain

Dec 2, 2016

NEW DELHI: A careful examination of the bodies of the three terrorists killed by BSF personnel on Tuesday after they infiltrated into Jammu & Kashmir's Samba, using an 80-metre long tunnel, has led to the discovery of an Afghanistan mobile number scribbled on one of the slain suicide attacker's inner arm.

The revelation has left investigators wondering why the number of a contact based in a third country was given to the attacker, suspected to be a Pakistani, by his handler. Intelligence agencies suspect that the number was deliberately written on the terrorist's arm to mislead post-attack probe by disguising the Pakistani origins of the fidayeen.

"The terrorists who infiltrated Samba were obviously on a suicide mission. Now, to have an operational number written conspicuously on the body of a suicide attacker is rather unusual, as it would immediately give away his origins and contacts. Prima facie, the Afghanistan contact number seems to be a red herring for investigators," a top intelligence functionary told TOI.

When TOI called the number *****607116 on Thursday, it rang but went unanswered. Investigators are trying to trace the person in whose name the number is registered in Afghanistan, apart from origins of the Motorola set recovered from the attackers. Senior counter-terrorism experts say that leaving behind slips with names or numbers, particularly ones describing attacks as "revenge" for hanging of Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru, has been a known modus operandi of Maulana Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

JeM terrorists had, in the January 3 attack on Mazar-e-Sharief consulate in Afghanistan, left behind graffiti in their own blood stating that their mission was intended to avenge Guru's execution. In the Pathankot attack too, a note was recovered from the car used by the attackers to access the airbase, stating that the purpose of the strike was to avenge Afzal's hanging. Recoveries from terrorists who attacked the Nagrota camp also include a similar note mentioning Afzal.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Afghan-contact-number-found-scribbled-on-Samba-terrorists-arm/articleshow/55739329.cms

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Arab World

 

Airstrikes kill 54 civilians in Iraq, Syria: US military

December 02, 2016

WASHINGTON -  The US-led coalition killed 54 civilians between March 31 and Oct. 22 while carrying out Airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, the US military said in a statement on Thursday.

Up to 24 civilians were killed in one strike in mid-July near the Syrian city of Manbij, the statement said.

At the time the opposition Syrian National Coalition called for a suspension of the air campaign against Islamic State in Syria while reports of the Manbij strike were investigated and US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said reports of those civilian casualties would be investigated.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had said at least 56 civilians were killed in Airstrikes north of Manbij.

On July 18, about 100 Islamic State fighters were preparing for a counter attack against Syrian Democratic Forces near Manbij, the statement said.

"Unknown to coalition planners, civilians were moving around within the military staging area, even as other civilians in the nearby village had departed over the previous days," the statement said.

It throws light on the challenges in coalition Airstrikes against Islamic State in parts of Iraq and Syria where the United States does not have ground forces or reliable informants within the population.

This brings the total number of civilians killed by the Coalition to 173 since strikes started in 2014, which is significantly lower than estimates from other groups. In October, Amnesty International said the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State had not taken enough precautions to avoid civilian casualties in Syria and that as many as 300 civilians have been killed in 11 attacks conducted by the coalition since September 2014.

The United States has conducted 12,633 Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as of Nov. 17, according to US military data.

The operation against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has cost $10 billion since 2014.

http://nation.com.pk/international/02-Dec-2016/airstrikes-kill-54-civilians-in-iraq-syria-us-military

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Certified Curriculum for Teaching Arabic In China Issued

2 December 2016

JEDDAH: Nasreen Kawas, a Saudi writer and activist who introduced Saudi culture in China through her writings, said that Saudi Arabia is interested in enhancing the status of Arab culture in East Asia by issuing the first certified curriculum for Arabic teaching in China.

She explained that the curriculum adopted from the competent authorities is a complete curriculum that includes several levels, books, and CDs that support and help in enhancing listening and speaking power.

She said that the approach has been adopted after research and studies were conducted by the OSAS International Foundation for Culture and Creativity for bridging cultural gaps.

She further added that after conducting studies and research specialized in educational aspects of Chinese culture for seven years, she concluded that there are things that should be taken into account when developing educational books; they should have a special curriculum along with different ways of teaching, and learning methods.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1018401/saudi-arabia

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Islamic State tells supporters to quit messaging apps

Ali Abdelaty, Reuters

Dec 02 2016

CAIRO - Islamic state has told its members to stop using internet-based communication apps like WhatsApp and Telegram on smartphones, suspecting they are being used by the U.S.-led coalition to track and kill its commanders.

Until recently, the hardline group used such apps to chat with members and supporters outside its main areas of control in Syria, Iraq and Libya -- including, say French officials, the assailants who staged attacks across Paris a year ago, killing at least 130 people.

A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State positions since 2014, when the group proclaimed a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Twenty commanders of the group were killed this year, including spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani.

"If you get onto the programs like WhatsApp and Telegram or others from Mosul, and get in touch with a person being tracked, the crusaders will start thinking about you ... assessing your importance and identifying the locations of the (Islamic State) centres by following you," said an article in the group's weekly newspaper, Al-Naba, published online.

The new instructions came as the group tries to fight off a U.S.-backed offensive on Mosul, its last major stronghold in Iraq, by far the biggest city it controls.

Islamic State members already avoid communicating directly with each other on Twitter, which they used 2-3 years ago to spread their ideology and attract new followers.

The group has used Telegram, a messaging service, but its account has become a lot less active. While Telegram offers private messaging, its main use to Islamic militants has been as a distribution tool to share propaganda with backers to repost on Twitter for the wider world.

Pro-IS sites on Telegram frequently remind readers that Telegram is for sharing messages only among supporters, and "not a media platform for (preaching) to all Muslims and the West", in other words for recruiting sympathisers to join their cause.

Dozens more alternative messaging apps exist, offering various degrees of anonymity and security, but the phones required to use them are seen as increasingly risky possessions.

Al-Naba called on the militants to shut down their mobile phones before entering any of the group's bases to avoid exposing them to air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition.

"Switch off your phone after you finish your communication and beware of the greatest disobedience of all - switching it on when your are in one of the offices," it said. "As long as it has power, the phone is spying on you."

Full report at:

http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/11/28/16/isis-now-connected-with-maute-group-duterte

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26 ISIL Militants Killed by Iraqi Forces as Another Mosul District Liberated

Dec 01, 2016

According to a statement by Iraq's Joint Operations Command (JOC), cited by Al Forat News, Iraqi Counter Terrorism Forces retook Mosul's al-Ikha al-Thaniyeh district after inflicting great losses in lives and EQUIPMENT on the ISIL terrorists.

The statement added that the Iraqi forces have raised the country's flag on buildings in the liberated neighborhood.

The command center said the Iraqi federal police have also freed Tal al-Romman village just outside Mosul on the city's Southwestern flanks.

During their offensive on the village, the Iraqi federal police's artillery units bombed an ISIL safe haven in Tal al-Romman village, destroying two booby-trapped cars that tried to impede the advance of the Iraqi forces.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000668

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Syrian troops advance in Aleppo; Russia proposes aid corridors

Dec 2, 2016

ALEPPO: Elite Syrian troops moved into east Aleppo on Thursday ahead of a push into the most densely populated areas, as regime ally Russia called for corridors to bring in aid and evacuate wounded.

Despite global criticism including the UN warning Aleppo risked becoming a “giant graveyard”, government forces have pressed an assault to retake control of the divided city.

The offensive — backed by artillery — has spurred an exodus of tens of thousands of residents from the rebel-held east.

It has left Aleppo’s streets strewn with the bodies of men, women and children, many lying next to the suitcases they had packed to escape.

Artillery fire continued on Thursday but subsided as heavy rainfall hit the city.

The assault has seen President Bashar al-Assad’s forces make significant gains in the last week.

After overrunning the city’s northeast, they were in control of 40 per cent of the territory once held by opposition forces in Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“The regime is tightening the noose on the remaining section of east Aleppo under rebel control,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

He said hundreds of fighters from the elite Republican Guard and Fourth Division arrived in Aleppo on Thursday “in preparation for street battles” in the densely populated southeast.

“They are moving in on the ground, but they are afraid of ambushes because of the density of both residents and fighters,” he said.

The violence in Aleppo has sparked widespread outrage at the regime, but also at its steadfast supporter Moscow.

On Thursday, Russia proposed setting up four humanitarian corridors into east Aleppo to bring in aid and evacuate severely wounded people.

Russia announced “they want to sit down in Aleppo with our people there to discuss how we can use the four (humanitarian) corridors to evacuate people out,” Jan Egeland, head of the UN-backed humanitarian taskforce for Syria, told reporters in Geneva.

He said Russia has pledged to respect the corridors, and that “we (the UN) now feel confident that the armed opposition groups will do the same.” Moscow has announced several humanitarian pauses in Aleppo to allow civilians to flee, but until the recent military escalation, only a handful did so.

In Turkey on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had used every opportunity to help civilians, but accused rebels of threatening “to prevent passage of humanitarian convoys and fire on them.” Russia was criticised at Wednesday’s UN Security Council meeting on Syria, with British ambassador Matthew Rycroft accusing Moscow of supporting “a deliberate act of starvation and a deliberate withholding of medical care.” Since Saturday more than 50,000 people have poured out of east Aleppo into territory controlled by government forces or local Kurdish authorities, according to the Observatory.

Thousands more have sought refuge in the remaining rebel-held neighbourhoods in southeastern Aleppo, arriving with overpacked suitcases or sometimes just the clothes on their backs.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1299968/syrian-troops-advance-in-aleppo-russia-proposes-aid-corridors

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Civil society groups urge UN General Assembly action on Syria

2 December 2016

More than 200 humanitarian and human rights groups called Thursday for the UN General Assembly to address Syria’s deadly conflict, citing the Security Council’s paralysis in dealing with the crisis.

In a declaration published in New York, the 223 signatories said the Security Council “has failed Syrians” and particularly pointed out its inability to stop the Syrian regime’s offensive against east Aleppo.

They called for the 193 member nations of the United Nations “to request an emergency special session of the UN General Assembly to demand an end to all unlawful attacks in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, and immediate and unhindered humanitarian access” to besieged civilians.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/12/02/Civil-society-groups-urge-UN-General-Assembly-action-on-Syria.html

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Gov't Troops Start New Operation to Make Aleppo Int'l Airport More Secure

Dec 01, 2016

he Syrian army troops who had managed to take control of Sheikh Saeed region in the Southern part of the Aleppo city and the Youth Housing Complex to the East started moving towards the city's international airport from two different directions.

The Syrian army men and Hezbollah fighters managed to enter Karam al-Jazmani and Karam al-Tarab regions to the Northwest of International Aleppo Airport from the direction of al-Sakan al-Shababi (Youth Housing Complex).

The government troops have already earned control over several housing complexes in the region.

The Syrian army's missile and artillery units also severely targeted the terrorists' military bases in Bab al-Nairab region in the Northeastern part of Sheikh Saeed and Southwest of the Aleppo City's International Airport.

Battlefield sources had disclosed that the Syrian army planned to expand the security RING along the airport road by purging terrorists from the surrounding areas of Aleppo International Airport to pave the ground for the airport to resume its operation after a four-year hiatus and also tighten the siege of the terrorists deep into the Central parts of Eastern Aleppo and in the surrounding areas of Old Aleppo.

The Syrian army troops are trying to besiege the terrorists in the surrounding areas of the airport. Moreover, the Syrian army intends to also exert pressure on the terrorists in the Southern countryside of the city.

The Syrian army troops and popular forces that earned sweeping victories over the terrorists in 16 districts in a matter of only 72 hours and captured the Northern half of the Eastern Aleppo shifted Southward and gained strategic districts in the city.

The army and popular forces captured al-Sakan al-Shababi (Youth Housing Complex) in the Southern parts of Eastern Aleppo on Wednesday to continue their unexpected high speed advances that herald a complete clampdown on terrorists in the war-ravaged city.

The terrorist groups had relocated tens of their fighters from other fronts to al-Sakan al-Shababi, al-Halwaniyeh and al-Sha'ar districts that are the gates to the South, but failed to block or slow down the momentum of the pro-government troops' rapid advance that has just gathered pace.

As pro-government forces advanced in militant-held regions of al-Halwaniyeh and al-Sha'ar regions, a large number of terrorists retreated in chaos, requesting Damascus amnesty or safe relocation to Idlib.

The army men and Hezbollah fighters started a fresh round of military operation on Tuesday to move towards the Southern part of Eastern Aleppo after capturing al-Sakhour, Jabal al-Badrou and Arz al-Hamra regions.

Local sources say militants are deeply fearful of being trapped in the Syrian army's tightening siege and retreat from regions under their control in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city even with BRIEF clashes in a number of cases.

The new victory for the Damascus troops came only a few hours after the army and its allies pushed Jeish Al-Fatah terrorists from the strategic district of Sheikh Saeed Southeast of Aleppo city.

The Syrian army, supported by the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi al-Nujaba forces, had started a new phase of operations in Sheikh Saeed a few days ago but made slow advances due to the deployment of hundreds of terrorists in the region.

The Syrian forces could seize back control of the strategic district on Wednesday after hours of continued clashes with the militants and pushed them back from the region.

A battlefield source had earlier said that al-Sheikh Saeed "is the Southern gate to the Aleppo city's Eastern districts", adding that recapturing al-Sheikh Saeed will result in new military developments in the Eastern part of the city the most important of which will be preparing the ground for starting new military operations to take control of Aleppo castle and end the decisive battle of Aleppo.

A Syrian Army commander had informed earlier on Wednesday that the Army and its allies were to start a comprehensive military campaign to liberate the Southern districts of the Eastern Aleppo.

The commander told Al Masdar's Arabic-language service that the countdown had started to the beginning of the army offensive to win back the Southern districts of East Aleppo from the militant groups.

The high-ranking Syrian Army official who demanded anonymity further said that the operation to liberate the Southern districts would start with simultaneous attacks from nine directions, the same strategy that was employed by the Syrian army to drive back militants from the Northern neighborhoods of the battleground city's East.

The military official also revealed that army forces had deployed EQUIPMENT and fresh forces to launch the large-scale offensive on the terrorists, while popular forces stationed in several positions in and around the city to help liberate the remaining districts still under the grip of the militant groups.

The Syrian army started special operations in Aleppo after several humanitarian pauses declared by Damascus and Moscow to give a chance to the civilian population as well as the militants to leave the Eastern parts of the city through 8 corridors, and managed to impose full control over the Northern flank of the Aleppo city's Eastern districts only in the last three days.

Thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children and newborn babies, have also left the Eastern part of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, while a total number of 647 militants have left Eastern Aleppo over the past few days.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000473

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Army Intensifies Clashes with Terrorists in Lattakia

Dec 01, 2016

The army units and the terrorists are now engaged in fierce clashes in Kabani region in Northern Lattakia province.

Meantime, the Syrian army's artillery and missile units have been pounding terrorists' military positions in Kabani region for the last several hours.

A number of terrorists were also killed and others were injured in air assaults carried out by the Syrian Air Force against their gatherings and positions in the Northern countryside of Lattakia province.

The airstrikes targeted the terrorists in the villages of Kabaneh, Ruweiset al-Alliyeh, Dahret al-Dighleh, Ba’arbayia and Hallouz in the Northern part of the province.

Also a number of their vehicles were destroyed in the raid.

Early in November, the Turkish army launched heavy artillery fire on the Syrian army and its Desert Hawks forces in Northern and Northeastern Lattakia and pushed them back before they could strike a major victory and win control of Jeish al-Fatah's most important stronghold in the province.

Witnessing a massive disorganized escape of tens of terrorists towards their country's borders, the Turkish army forces deployed near the border with Lattakia province conducted a heavy shelling and rocket fire attack on the Syrian army positions in Navarah, Borj al-Hayat, Ain Issa and Heights 616.

The Syrian armed forces had made a major advance in Jabal al-Rae'i, Navarah and Borj al-Hayat but they were forced to retreat after facing the Turkish army's fierce artillery attacks. Minutes later, the terrorists returned again to the regions which had earlier been liberated by the army, battlefield reports said on Thursday.

A large number of terrorist snipers were deployed in the region to prevent any possible RENEWED attack by the army.

Meantime, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorists and the Turkish-affiliated forces as well as Ankara's fighter jets and artillery units blocked the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) passage between Afrin and Kobani in Aleppo province and launched similar heavy attacks on their positions.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000877

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Damascus: Over 2,000 Terrorists Leave Western Ghouta for Idlib

Dec 01, 2016

Nearly all the terrorists who had demanded to leave Western Ghouta were relocated together with their families from Khan al-Sheih, Zakiya, al-Moqilbeh and al-Tayeba towns to Idlib province.

The terrorists also destroyed all their military bases in these regions and after defusing the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that they had planted in these regions handed over their heavy weapons and military vehicles to the government troops and moved towards Idlib.

The Syrian army's devastating attacks and advances in Western Ghouta had forced the terrorist groups in Khan al-Sheih region to ask the government forces for a revival of the negotiations after they pushed the last round of peace talks into failure.

As ceasefire talks was in final stages to give the terrorist groups an opportunity to surrender in return for amnesty or relocate to Idlib province similar to other militant groups in Damascus province, the militants, mainly from the Al-Nusra Front, launched attacks to lift the army siege of Khan al-Sheih town irrespective of the truce and pushed the talks into failure.

After repelling terrorists' large-scale attacks to lift the army siege in the town of Khan al-Sheih that pushed the peace talks into failure, the government forces intensified their attacks on militants' defense lines in and outside the town and took full control of more regions.

The terrorists were forced to accept the terms of the truce after they lost over 100 fighters in the Syrian army's recent anti-terrorism operations in Khan al-Sheih that ended up in the army's tightening siege of the town.

Informed sources also disclosed on Tuesday that the Syrian army and peace committees of the town of al-Tal in the Northern parts of Damascus have struck an agreement according to which the government troops would stop targeting the terrorists there after the army receives a list of the militants who are planning to lay down their arms and leave the town.

The agreement comes as the terrorists affiliated to al-Nusra Front (that has recently changed name to Fatah al-Sham Front) have already violated the ceasefire in al-Tal town and the Syrian army has targeted their military positions and made further advances in the region.

Terrorists in al-Tal gave in to the Syrian government's terms for a peace plan that would include their surrender or relocation from the town after people staged massive protest rallies against them and the army laid siege on the town.

In recent days, a large number of civilians took to the streets in the town of al-Tal and called on the militants to join the peace agreement with the Syrian government or leave the town.

The demonstrators gathered in front of Jameh (grand) mosque in the town and chanted slogans against the militant groups, including "No to War and Yes to Peace" and called for the complete pullout of the militants from their town.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000375

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Aleppo City: Syrian Army Continues to Advance in Eastern, Southern Districts

Dec 01, 2016

The Syrian government troops moved towards the neighborhoods of Sheikh Saeed in the Southern part of Aleppo after recapturing the strategic district and managed to seize back several locations in the surrounding areas of al-Sokri district after engaging in fierce clashes with the terrorists.

"After seizing back Sheikh Saeed district, the Syrian army has paved its way towards the nearby districts most importantly al-Sokri district; once captured, Jasr al-Haj and Bustan al-Zahreh which is now controlled by the army from the direction of al-Mashareqeh district, will become the targets of the army's next offensives," a military source said.

The military source noted that if the Syrian army takes control of this route, it will lay siege on al-Zobeidiyeh, al-Mashhad, al-Ameriyeh and the areas that are under the terrorists' control in Seif al-Dolet and Salahuddin regions.

"The Syrian army also engaged in fresh round of fierce clashes with the terrorists in al-Ameriyeh district that is the main bastion of Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement in the Southern part of Aleppo city and near the strategic al-Ramoussiyeh district and managed to penetrate into al-Ameriyeh district and take control of a large portion of that district," the source added.

Meantime, another battlefield source said that al-Ameriyeh region will soon be seized back Tal al-Zarazir which is close to this region will also collapse in military terms; this will also pave the way for the fall of al-Sokri district and the Syrian army will take control of vast areas in the Southeastern districts of Aleppo city.

"By seizing back the Southeastern districts of Aleppo city, the Aleppo Airport Highway which extends from Ramoussiyeh to Sheikh Saeed and to the airport will come under the full control of the Syrian army," the source added.

He noted that the Syrian army troops also advanced further in the surrounding areas of al-Sakan al-Shababi (Youth Housing Complex) after recapturing it and also took control of several areas in the surrounding areas of Karam al-Tarab and Karam al-Jazmani districts.

Meantime, another battlefield source said that the Syrian army troops will also reach Karam Meysar and Karam al-Qaterji districts that are the defense lines of the old districts of the city which are only a few hundred meters away from the ancient castle. --------

The Syrian army also continued its advances in al-Halwaniyeh and Tariq al-Bab districts as well as al-Shaar in the Northern side of Southeastern Aleppo and managed to advance in these regions.

The Syrian army troops and popular forces that earned sweeping victories over the terrorists in 16 districts in a matter of only 72 hours and captured the Northern half of the Eastern Aleppo shifted Southward and gained strategic districts in the city.

The army and popular forces captured al-Sakan al-Shababi (Youth Housing Complex) in the Southern parts of Eastern Aleppo on Wednesday to continue their unexpected high speed advances that herald a complete clampdown on terrorists in the war-ravaged city.

The terrorist groups had relocated tens of their fighters from other fronts to al-Sakan al-Shababi, al-Halwaniyeh and al-Sha'ar districts that are the gates to the South, but failed to block or slow down the momentum of the pro-government troops' rapid advance that has just gathered pace.

As pro-government forces advanced in militant-held regions of al-Halwaniyeh and al-Sha'ar regions, a large number of terrorists retreated in chaos, requesting Damascus amnesty or safe relocation to Idlib.

The army men and Hezbollah fighters started a fresh round of military operation on Tuesday to move towards the Southern part of Eastern Aleppo after capturing al-Sakhour, Jabal al-Badrou and Arz al-Hamra regions.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000757

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Aleppo: Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Attack on Sheikh Saeed

Dec 01, 2016

The invading terrorists were pushed back from their positions near Sheikh Saeed by the Syrian army after several hours of tough battle on Wednesday night.

The Syrian army troops managed to restore full security to Sheikh Saeed, the Arabic-language al-Manar television channel reported.

The Syrian army and its allies pushed Jeish Al-Fatah terrorists from the strategic district of Sheikh Saeed Southeast of Aleppo city on Wednesday.

The army soldiers, supported by the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi al-Nujaba forces, had started a new phase of operations in Sheikh Saeed a few days ago but made slow advances due to the deployment of hundreds of terrorists in the region.

The Syrian forces could seize back control of the strategic district on Wednesday after hours of continued clashes with the militants and pushed them back from the region.

A battlefield source had earlier said that al-Sheikh Saeed "is the Southern gate to the Aleppo city's Eastern districts", adding that recapturing al-Sheikh Saeed will result in new military developments in the Eastern part of the city the most important of which will be preparing the ground for starting new military operations to take control of Aleppo castle and end the decisive battle of Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000844

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Homs: Al-Nusra Front's Military Positions Come Under Heavy Artillery Attack by Syrian Army

Dec 01, 2016

Several Fatah al-Sham terrorists were killed while their ammunition and fortifications were also destroyed as a result of the artillery attacks.

The Syrian army also killed a number of the ISIL terrorists, injured others and destroyed their vehicles in Talit al-Awamid and the area to the North of al-Qariatin dam Southeast of Homs province.

Army units, operating in the Northern part of the province, directed strikes on the gatherings of al-Nusra Front in al-Ghanto and al-Sam’alil village, destroying a number of their vehicles as well as killing and injuring a number of terrorists.

The Syrian air force hit hard the military positions and gathering centers of al-Nusra Front terrorists in Talbisa, al-Rastan and Teir Ma'ala in the Northern part of Homs province.

Two sites and a number of vehicles of the al-Nusra Front were destroyed and a number of its members were also killed.

The Syrian Air Force also destroyed a number of ISIL vehicles and killed a number of terrorists in Rasm al-Saba'a village East of Homs city.

In a relevant development on Monday, informed military sources said that the Syrian warplanes struck an important meeting of Ahrar al-Sham commanders in the Northern part of Homs province.

"Ahrar al-Sham commanders had a gathered in a military base near the terrorist-controlled Al-Rastan region in Northern Homs province when their meeting came under the Syrian airstrikes," a Syrian military source said.

The source noted that as a result of the Syrian fighter jets' raids at least five terrorist commanders were killed and 15 others were wounded.

Several notorious terrorists, including Muhammad Al-Hosn from Iraq, Bilal Al-Daher, and Muhammad Al-Mahmoud were among the terrorists killed in Northern Homs province. A military vehicle parked outside the building was also destroyed in the air raid.

On Sunday, the Syrian Army troops and Air Force targeted ISIL's positions in Eastern Homs and gatherings of Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in the Northern territories of the province, inflicting a heavy death toll on the militants.

Syrian bombers targeted the gatherings and positions of the ISIL terrorists in the Southeastern side of the town of al-Quaryatayn and in the surroundings of al-Sha'er gas field East of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and the village of Rasm Hamida, killing a number of ISIL commanders and destroying one of their command posts and a number of their vehicles.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000690

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Syrian Army, Air Force Destroy Terrorists' Positions in Hama, Idlib Provinces

Dec 01, 2016

The army units hit hard the terrorists' gathering centers in Kafr Zira, al-Latamina, Wadi al-Ees and al-Sayyad regions in the Northern part of Hama province, destroying four military vehicles, artillery units and several of their military positions.

Several terrorists, including Tarek Khattab who was in charge of the artillery unit of Jaysh al-Izza terrorist group, were killed in the army offensive in Northern Hama.

Meantime, the terrorists' gathering centers and fortification came under heavy offensive by the Syrian army in the regions of Mourek, Atshan, Skeak, North of Ma'an and Taibet al-Imam as well as the farms located between al-Zakat and Kafr Zita.

A large number of terrorists were killed in the operations and a number of their military vehicles were also destroyed.

The Syrian air force, meantime, targeted the terrorists’ gatherings in Mourek, al-Quneitrat, al-Araba’en area, North of Souran, Skaik towns and Tal Tarae in the Northern part of Hama province, destroying the terrorists’ weapons and ammunition depots, positions, military vehicles in addition to inflicting at least 40 casualties on the militants.

In the Southern part of Idlib, Syrian bombers destroyed a large number of terrorists’ vehicles, killing a number of terrorists and injuring others in the villages and towns of Abdin, Kafr Ain, Kafr Sajna, Khan Sheikhoun, Kfromeh and al-Taman’a.

The Syrian air force also conducted airstrikes on Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorists in the Northern parts of Hama on Wednesday, destroying their bases and military EQUIPMENT and inflicting heavy casualties on them.

The Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes on the gathering centers and moves of Fatah al-Sham and other affiliated groups in Taybat al-Imam, al-Lataminah, Jeni al-Albawi, Sakik, Northern al-Ma'an, North of Kafar Zita and al-Sayyad in the Northern parts of Hama.

During the operations, tens of terrorists, including their commanders, were killed and wounded and their hideouts and military vehicles were smashed.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000624

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South Asia

 

Key district fully cleared of ISIS militants, Nangarhar officials claim

Dec 02 2016

The key Pacher Agam district has been fully cleared of the loyalists of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group, the local officials said.

The officials further added that the operations were jointly conducted by the Afghan National Police, Public Order Police, Local Police, Border Police, and the Afghan intelligence operatives.

The Afghan forces also confiscated various types of light and heavy weapons including rockets, rocket launchers, and landmines during the operations, the officials added.

The local security officials said the clearance operations will continue until Nangarhar province is fully cleared of ISIS militants.

The loyalists of the terror group have not commented regarding the report so far.

The operations were launched amid concerns that the ISIS loyalists have been attempting to gain foothold in the strategic Pacher Agam district in a bid to expand their presence and operations in this province.

The deputy house speaker of the Afghan parliament Zahir Qadir earlier warned that the loyalists of the terror group are attempting to establish the Khurasan Caliphate in Afghanistan and are busy expanding their presence in some of the difficult terrains of the country.

Speaking during a session of the parliament late in the month of October, Qadir warned that the group will become successful in establishing the caliphate if they managed to seize control of Tora Bora in Nangarhar.

He said the loyalists of the terror group have managed to take control of a strategic area in Pacher Agam district.

According to Qadir, the area is a few hundred meters away from Tora Bora and the loyalists of the terror group will become successful if their attempts if they managed to expand foothold in Tora Bora.

http://www.khaama.com/key-district-fully-cleared-of-isis-militants-nangarhar-officials-claim-02407

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Bangladesh PM: No One to Be Allowed To Use Our Soil for Terrorism

December 01, 2016

Sheikh Hasina recalled with gratitude the contributions of Indian armed forces to Bangladesh's Liberation War in 1971.

Reiterating her government’s “zero tolerance policy” against terrorism and militancy, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said no one will be allowed to use Bangladesh’s soil for terrorist acts against any country.

“We won’t tolerate any sort of terrorism and militancy and won’t allow our land to be used for carrying out terrorist acts against any country,” she told visiting Indian Defence Minister Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar who met Hasina at her official residence Ganabhaban on Thursday in the afternoon.

After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

Sheikh Hasina recalled with gratitude the contributions of Indian armed forces to Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.

The prime minister said she would honour those valiant Indian armed forces personnel who embraced martyrdom in the Liberation War during her upcoming visit to India.

In reply, the Indian defence minister said: “It was our moral responsibility to extend help to Bangladesh during the Liberation War as a friendly country and we provided that assistance.”

Sheikh Hasina thanked the Indian Coast Guards for rescuing Bangladeshi fishermen and handing over them to Bangladesh authorities recently.

The Indian defence minister offered training for Bangladesh Coast Guard personnel for increasing their capability further.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2016/12/01/pm-no-one-allowed-use-bd-soil-terrorism/

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Ghani pays tribute to top Afghan army General killed in helicopter crash

Dec 01 2016

The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani paid tribute to top Afghan army General Muhiuddin Ghori who was killed in a helicopter crash in West of Afghanistan.

President Ghani attended the funeral ceremony of Gen. Ghori in wetern Herat province of Afghanistan.

A number of other high level officials, including the Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior, and the intelligence chief attended the funeral ceremony.

Calling Gen. Ghori a brave general of the Afghan National Army, President Ghani said it was a sad day for the country.

Gen. Ghori was the commander of the 207th Corps of the Afghan National Army who lost his life in helicopter crash which took place due to technical issues in Mori Chaq district.

According to the local officials, the incident took place as the helicopter was landing in the area, leaving the General dead and some other high level officials wounded.

He was a prominent army general who had major achievements in counter-terrorism operations including for his role in the fight against the Taliban insurgents in Kunduz city last year.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/ghani-pays-tribute-to-top-afghan-army-general-killed-in-helicopter-crash-02405

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Mideast

 

Turkey’s Dogan rejects executive's links to Gulen

Dec 1, 2016

Turkey’s Dogan news agency has ruled out that a government probe launched against an executive of its holding company could be linked to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of masterminding a mid-July coup attempt.

Dogan confirmed in a statement on Thursday that one of its executives was under investigation, but said it was clear that the case was not linked to Gulen’s movement.

The statement comes against the backdrop of other reports in state media, which suggested that Dogan’s Ankara representative had been detained in an investigation related to the July 15 coup attempt.

Turkey has arrested more than 37,000 on suspicions of having played a role in the abortive attempt. More than 100,000 have also been fired or suspended from their jobs in the army and other public institutions.

Ankara says the suspected plotters are members of Gulen’s network. The cleric, who runs a network of educational and cultural institutions in Turkey and other countries, has denied the charges altogether.

Many journalists and media staffers have also been subject to Turkey’s post-coup crackdown. The move has been met with huge international ire and has undermined Turkey’s relations with the West.

Key members of the European Union, including Germany and Austria, have repeatedly censured Ankara’s targeting of journalists, saying the crackdown would affect Turkey’s stalled bid to join the EU.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/01/496012/Turkey-Dogan-Gulen-postcoup-probe

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Gaza’s internally-displaced still homeless

Dec 1, 2016

Displaced families in the Gaza Strip who lost their homes during the Israeli war of 2014 are still living in make-shift homes. They had a hot summer in metal containers and now with winter arriving, they see their problems getting worse. Press TV’s Ashraf Shanon has visited some of the Palestinian families and sent us this report.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/01/496019/Gaza-Strip-internallydisplaced-Israeli-war

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Report: Iranian arms sent to Yemen via Somalia

1 December 2016

A newly-released report by independent research group Conflict Armament Research (CAR) “suggests” that there is an arms “pipeline” that extends from Iran to Somalia and Yemen.

The UK-based CAR released its analysis Wednesday, after US officials claimed in October that they had seized five shipments of Iranian weapons bound for Yemen.

“CAR’s analysis of the seized materiel … suggests the existence of a weapon pipeline extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles,” the report said.

CAR also said in its report that after analysis of the caches of anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers and other light and small arms from the dhows that were heading to Somalia, they believe the arms were “probably supplied with the complicity of Iranian security forces.”

Iran has denied US and Gulf claims that it supplies Houthi militias with arms, saying its support to the Houthis is merely diplomatic.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/12/01/Report-Iranian-arms-sent-to-Yemen-via-Somalia-.html

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Rouhani says Iran stood strong at hard times

Dec 1, 2016

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says the country has stood strong in the face of severe plunges in international prices of oil over the past two years.

Rouhani emphasized that Iran despite difficulties had been doing well enough that it never had to tap into its reserve funds TO MAKE UP for any budget shortfalls “as some key oil producers were eventually forced to”.

“All oil-producing countries came across problems [as a result of falling oil prices] and even Saudi Arabia had to withdraw about $100 billion from its reserve funds to support its spending,” he told a ceremony to inaugurate a main water supply project in Iran’s northeastern city of Mashhad.

“However, Iran for the first time in its history not only withdrew nothing from its emergency reserve funds but also deposited 20 percent of its petrodollars into its National Development Fund over the past two years.”

Rouhani said Iran’s ability to double its crude oil exports to 2 million barrels per day (mb/d) as well as its successful steps to answer the rising domestic demand for NATURAL gas – specifically during winters – had been among the country’s most notable achievements. 

“These manifest the strength of the nation and the government of Iran,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/01/495987/Rouhani-says-Iran-stood-strong-at-hard-times--

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US, German Military Officers Killed in Turkish Airstrikes in Aleppo

Dec 01, 2016

"Michel Israel from the US state of California, also known as Robin Akri, and Antoun Lesjek, also known as Vazana Juan, from Germany were killed in the Turkish air raids on Kurdish positions in the Western part of Manbij city on November 26," the council announced.

The council declined to reveal any further detail about the two, including their mission in Northern Syria. Both the US and German armies have deployed spies and military trainers in Northern Syria.

In late November, Spokesman of Manbij Military Council Sherfan Dervish voiced his forces' readiness to fight against the ISIL terrorists and Turkish army in Aleppo province in Northern Syria.

"After the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) left Manbij, the city's military council is ready to repel any possible attack by the ISIL and Turkey," Dervish told FNA.

He noted that the SDF's mission in Manbij ended as per an agreement signed by the two sides, adding that the SDF forces have returned to their previous positions.

"The armed groups present in Manbij now are all under the auspices of Manbij military council because the council can thwart any possible attack by the ISIL and Turkey and combat aggressors to maintain stability and security in the city," Dervish added.

In early August, the SDF pushed ISIL back from the entire neighborhoods of Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo after over 70 days of non-stop bloody clashes with the terrorists.

Also in August, he Military Council of Manbij in Aleppo province announced that over 4,000 terrorists had been killed in tough battle with the SDF since the beginning of Manbij liberation operations.

"A sum of  4,180 terrorists have been killed in the battle over Manbij and the dead bodies of 1,724 of them are with the Kurdish forces," the military council said.

The council said that 112 ISIL terrorists were in custody of the Kurdish forces and 144 different kinds of military vehicles had also been destroyed in Manbij battle.

In late August, a Turkish-backed terrorist ringleader said that his militants intended to head towards Manbij to take the city from the Kurdish forces who could drive out the ISIL in early August.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950911000854

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Dutch join push for EU-Turkey accession talks freeze: diplomats

Dec 1, 2016

The Dutch government has lent its weight to calls for the EU to freeze Turkey's membership talks, diplomats said on Thursday, raising the prospect of European leaders making such a move at a summit in two weeks.

A Dutch suggestion that the Union consider suspending the accession process for six months in protest at President Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown following July's coup attempt was discussed at a weekly meeting of national envoys in Brussels. There will be further consultations before the Dec. 15 summit.

Any such move, which would satisfy a call from the European Parliament last week, would be a political signal to Ankara but a largely symbolic one that would reflect the fact that accession talks have been de facto on hold for months already.

The EU executive, the European Commission, and most member states including Germany had hitherto rejected pressure to halt the membership talks, saying they preferred to keep dialogue open with Turkey, a key strategic partner, despite concern over rights abuses.

But diplomats said the intervention of the Netherlands, a founding member of the EU, added substantial weight to those favoring an official freeze, something already advocated by Austria.

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-turkey-idUSKBN13Q5ID

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Bill to boost Erdogan's power heads to Turkey parliament

1 Dec 2016

A bill expanding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's power will be submitted to parliament next week, just months after he survived a coup attempt that led to a massive crackdown on his opponents.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), co-founded by Erdogan, proposes to change Turkey's parliamentary system to create an executive-style presidency, like that of the United States or France.

"We will submit our proposal for constitutional reform to the Turkish national assembly next week," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told journalists in Ankara on Thursday, without giving a precise date.

Turkey is still reeling from the failed July coup blamed on US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his alleged supporters from all state institutions.

Gulen denies the accusations and the United States has so far rejected Turkish calls for his extradition.

Yildirim said the constitutional changes would be put to the people in a referendum in the early summer if "everything goes well" and it is approved by parliament.

Erdogan became Muslim-majority Turkey's first directly elected president in August 2014, having been prime minister since 2003.

During his time as president, he has dramatically transformed what was usually a more ceremonial post, concentrating powers in what opponents have said is a violation of the existing constitution.

Although Erdogan rallied for the Islamist-leaning AKP during the last elections in November 2015, the constitution does not allow the president to be tied to a party.

But Yildirim suggested the new constitution -- aimed at replacing the basic law drawn up by the then junta after the 1980 coup -- would allow Erdogan to maintain party links.

Officials often say the bill would legalise what has become a de facto situation while Yildirim said it would provide for "Turkey's stability".

But critics fear that an even more powerful president will crack down harder on the opposition and critical media outlets.

Since the attempted putsch during which a rogue military faction tried to oust Erdogan, over 100,000 people have been detained, dismissed or suspended from the judiciary, military, police, media and the education sector.

The Turkish currency headed lower after Yildirim's comments, heading towards 3.5 lira to the US dollar, raising concerns that the constitutional changes will create more instability for the already fragile economy.

The changes to the constitution require 330 votes, or two thirds of the 550-seat assembly, to be put to a public vote.

While a so-called super-majority of 367 votes is needed to approve the changes without public consultation, the government has repeatedly said it would hold a referendum even if it has the required support in parliament.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/251178/World/Region/Bill-to-boost-Erdogans-power-heads-to-Turkey-parli.aspx

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Iran intensified plane leasing talks with EU firms

Dec 2, 2016

Iran says it has intensified efforts to acquire airplanes from international supplies under leasing contracts.

Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), has been quoted by media as saying that discussions were currently underway with companies from Germany, Italy, Ireland and France.

Abedzadeh added that acquiring planes under leasing deals was one of the TOP priorities of CAO. This would be specifically important given that it would open a gate for Iran’s key airlines to purchase their required planes, he said. Leasing planes would also eventually lead to the renovation of Iran’s air fleet, the official added.

Abedzadeh further emphasized that Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development would try to prepare the conditions for Iranian airlines to purchase planes through leasing contracts. He added that international companies could have a satisfactory performance on that front thanks to their “vast experience” on the same area.

“Negotiations have been carried out with companies from Ireland, Germany, France and Italy over cooperating and investing in the area of leasing planes,” said the official. “Companies from those countries are interested in cooperating with Iran.” 

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/02/496100/Iran-intensified-plane-leasing-talks-with-EU-firms

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Africa

 

UN rights team says ‘ethnic cleansing’ under way in S. Sudan

Dec 2, 2016

JUBA: UN human rights experts on Thursday said “ethnic cleansing” was under way in South Sudan after visiting the country where violence has soared since a peace deal collapsed in July.

“There is already a steady process of ethnic cleansing underway in several areas of South Sudan using starvation, gang rape and the burning of villages; everywhere we went across this country we heard villagers saying they are ready to shed blood to get their land back,” said Yasmin Sooka of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. “Many told us it’s already reached a point of no return.” Sooka was part of a three-member team which travelled to battleground towns including Bentiu, Malakal and Wau to gather facts about the situation in the world’s youngest country.

Jarring testimony gathered by the team during their 10-day visit shows a nation on the brink of “catastrophe”, said a statement issued by the commission.

“The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda and the international community is under an obligation to prevent it,” said Sooka.

At a press conference in Juba on Wednesday, Sooka warned of “unprecedented levels of violence and ethnic tension” without using the term ethnic cleansing, a war crime closely related to genocide which refers more to groups being forcibly removed from a particular area.

South Sudan’s current conflict began nearly three years ago when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy and political rival, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.

Hopes that an August 2015 peace deal would bring peace to the young nation were dashed when fighting erupted in Juba in July, leading to a surge of violence around the country characterised by divisions between the country’s 64 tribes.

Sooka said on Wednesday that government and rebel armies were both forcibly recruiting soldiers — including children — and warned that “renewed recruitment is an indicator that all the parties are preparing for the next conflict”.

She said fighting was expected to get worse as the dry season settles in.

Keith Harper, the US ambassador to the UN rights council warned that the government appeared to be preparing for large scale attacks, and had in the past two weeks mobilised at least 4,000 militia fighters to the southern Equatoria region.

Among the atrocities reported to the commission was widespread gang rape, with some women unable to receive medical treatment for the complications suffered after sexual attacks.

“The scale of rape of women and girls perpetrated by all armed groups in South Sudan is utterly unacceptable and is frankly mind boggling,” said Sooka.

“Aid workers describe gang rape as so prevalent that it’s become ‘normal’ in this warped environment.”

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2016

http://www.dawn.com/news/1299970/un-rights-team-says-ethnic-cleansing-under-way-in-s-sudan

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Nigerian army closing in on Boko Haram enclave

01/12/2016

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has said that troops have begun to advance into the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram stronghold of Sambisa Forest.

Buratai said the offensive is to remove the terrorist from one of their last enclaves in Nigeria and rescue people who have been abducted into the forest.

“This year, the whole Army Headquarters will be moving into the North East to celebrate Christmas and New Year with our troops,’’ he said.

Buratai also revealed an effort to boost army morale by unveiling bottles of water to show appreciation for their war effort.

He said: “The scheme involves branding 50cl bottle water with the image of the Nigerian soldier.

Full report at:

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/nigerian-army-closing-boko-haram-enclave/

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Tunisian President: “Islam is not incompatible with democracy”

30 November 2016

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, visited today the European Parliament in Brussels, where he was welcomed by Parliament President Martin Schulz. They had a meeting during which they discussed developments in Tunisia and EU-Tunisia relations. Essebsi called the visit is a “historic and highly symbolic moment” and addressed MEPs on his country’s commitment to democracy and freedom.

“Tunisia is determined to prove that Islam is not incompatible with democracy,” said Essebsi, who became president in late 2014 after winning the country’s first free elections,

This year is the 40th anniversary of the first cooperation agreement between Tunisia and the EU, Essebsi told MEPS during today’s plenary session in Brussels: “Tunisia and Europe destiny have been closely linked. We have had harmonious links and these are the links to build a strong relationship on.”

Full report at:

http://africanbusinessmagazine.com/latest/tunisian-president-islam-is-not-incompatible-with-democracy/

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Looking beyond first century of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria

02 December 2016

was brought to the newly amalgamated Northern and Southern protectorates in Nigeria. Ahmadiyya took its root in 1889 in Qadian, now Pakistan while its flame has since spread the message of peace across all corners of the world.

The 64th annual convention (Jalsa Salana) that marks our 100 years anniversary celebration calls for a deep reflection on the contributions of the Jamaat to Nigeria’s development. Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat has contributed immeasurably to the spread of Islamic teachings and moral parsimony in the most populous black nation since its debut in a century. With 493 branches across all states in the federation, the Jamaat has widespread acceptance and highest membership in Africa and ‘Top Ten’ among other nations across the world.

Ahmadiyya has scored first in many areas of human endeavours in Nigeria. The Truth, the first Muslim newspaper established by the Jamaat in 1966 still publishes regularly till date. Muslim elementary and secondary institutions were pioneered for western, moral and Islamic teachings. In the area of healthcare, Ahmadiyya has contributed in no small measure with the establishment of hospitals, yet the first by any Muslim organization in Nigeria. Ahmadiyya youth has fully participated in virtually all youth programmes in Nigeria. Our members have excelled in all spheres of human endeavour.

However, the theme of this convention, “Redefining Moral Revolution for Sustainable Peace and Development: Post-Hundred Years of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria” is a reflection of the current events in our ever-changing world replete with corruption, violence/terrorism and moral decadence. Without moral regeneration in our society today, there will be no meaningful development. Ahmadiyya Jamaat will continue to support efforts to redefine our moral revolution, including creating and maintaining sustainable peace and development.

Ahmadiyya has taken giant leap in our quest to creating a nation devoid of vices inimical to our nation’s growth through the training of our youth on moral principles in our schools. We have sponsored radio and television programmes including periodic programmes organized for Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, political and religious affiliations to impart moral teachings. Our members are ambassadors who carry the message of peace in their daily endeavour, living up to our principle of “Love for All, Hatred for None”.

Full report at:

http://guardian.ng/features/friday-worship/looking-beyond-first-century-of-ahmadiyya-in-nigeria/

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Militia groups clash in Tripoli, seven reported dead

2 December 2016

Rival militias clashed in Tripoli leaving at least seven people dead, Libyan media said, as AFP journalists reported hearing gunshots and explosions in the south of the capital.

Tanks, trucks and heavy weapons were seen on the streets but the cause of the conflict was not immediately clear.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the death toll.

Tripoli is controlled by a loose alliance of militias of different political and religious factions, and clashes between them are an almost daily occurrence.

Five years after Libya’s 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, the country is embroiled in violence and political chaos as the militias and two rival governments vie for power.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2016/12/02/Militia-groups-clash-in-Tripoli-seven-reported-dead.html

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North America

 

Almost A Third of British Muslims Think the US Government Was Behind the 9/11 Attacks

1st December 2016

ONLY ONE in 25 British Muslims believe Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were responsible for the 9-11 attacks – a staggering new survey reveals.

A Policy Exchange poll last night claimed nearly eight times as many – 31 per cent – believe the US Government was behind the atrocity than the terrorists – 4 per cent.

The survey – dubbed the biggest ever of its kind – also found that just 26 per cent of Britain’s Muslims do not believe “extremist views exist”.

And only half would go to the police if they knew someone was close to supporting terrorism in Syria.

But the survey claimed that in nearly every walk of life the British Muslim community was no different in their views and priorities to their non-Muslim neighbours.

The vast majority condemned terrorism, backed more police on the beat and listed the NHS, economy and immigration at the TOP of their concerns about the country.

Policy Exchange added that 93 per cent of the thousands polled had a “fairly” or “very” strong attachment to Britain.

Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP and co-author of the report, said it proved that British Muslims were “loyal and patriotic”. But he said it was clear there was still a sense of “victimhood” that allowed conspiracy theories to flourish.

And he said it was “deeply troubling” that so many denied extremism appeared to be an issue.

He said: “It is obviously a cause of concern that so many should doubt the very existence of this phenomenon, even as we face an ongoing terrorist threat.”

The report, Unsettled Belonging: Britain’s Muslim Communities, is based on research carried out by polling company ICM with more than 3,000 people.

It found that more Muslims condemned terrorism than the rest of the population – 90% to 84% – and 55% wanted to see extra police on the streets.

But 43% supported the introduction of Sharia law and 1% said they favoured fully separate Islamic areas in Britain.

Martyn Frampton, head of security and counter extremism at Policy Exchange, said: “In nearly every walk of life, British Muslims are no different in their views and priorities to their non-Muslim neighbours.

“They believe the NHS, jobs and immigration to be the most pressing issues facing the country and worry deeply about the effect of drugs and drinking on their communities.

“However, the research found a deeply worrying belief in conspiracy theories such as 9/11.

“Unlike the general population, nearly a third of British Muslims believe the American government was responsible for the attacks on the Twin Towers, while a surprisingly tiny number attributed blame to al Qaeda.”

The report found that the Muslim Council of Britain enjoys little support in the community, with just 9% of respondents backing it.

It also suggested the Government should not be “spooked” into abandoning or apologising for its controversial Prevent agenda, which tries to stop people being drawn into terrorism, because Muslim communities are “generally relaxed” about intervention to tackle extremism.

David Goodhart, head of Policy Exchange’s demography, integration and immigration unit, said: “British Muslims as a whole continue to live somewhat more separately than other large ethno-cultural minorities – in neighbourhoods and schools, in terms of women not working and in terms of attitudes and religiosity.

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/249749/almost-a-third-of-british-muslims-think-the-us-government-was-behind-the-911-attacks/

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For Muslims in Trump’s America, There’s More to Fear Than Just the Proposed Ban

December 1, 2016

er the past week, several mosques in California, Rhode Island, South Florida and Georgia have received a hateful letter praising President-elect Donald Trump and urging an ethnic cleanse of Muslims in the United States.

“There’s a new sheriff in town—President Donald Trump,” the letter reads in part. “He’s going to do with you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” It ends with the words, “Long live President Trump and God Bless the USA.”

The Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday that it has “some very good leads” on the location of the person who sent the letters. “This isn’t appropriate,” Deputy Chief Michael Downing told the Huffington Post. “We don’t tolerate it.”

But Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council of American-Islamic Relations, told The Root that anti-Muslim hate has spiked since the election of Trump.

“The election has empowered not only Islamophobes but bigots of all stripes,” Hooper says. “We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of hate incidents targeting Muslims, blacks, women—you name it—across the spectrum.”

Last December, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. Then, in July, he said that he instead wanted to stop immigration from “any nation that has been compromised by terrorism,” telling NBC’s Meet the Press that it was an expansion of his original proposal. Trump makes a similar point on his campaign website, vowing to suspend “on a temporary basis” immigration from “some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.” But the president-elect doesn’t use the word “Muslim” here; nor did he in his Nov. 21 update of his policy plan for his first 100 days in office, in which he said that he would direct the Department of Labor to “investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”

But CAIR’s Hooper isn’t sure this means that Trump has backed off his call for a complete ban on Muslim immigration.

“It depends on who talked to him last. The thing we are concerned about is that whatever he says, he has surrounded himself now with hard-core Islamophobes,” Hooper says.

Hooper points to Trump’s choice of retired Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser, a man who has described Islam as a “cancer” and has said that he is “at war with Islam, or a component of Islam.” Flynn is an adviser to the board of directors of Act for America, which calls itself the National Rifle Association of national security. But the Southern Poverty Law Center describes Act for America as the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the nation.

Hooper and other Muslim advocates have also expressed concern over Trump’s choice of Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as CIA director, because of his false comments that Muslims don’t speak out against terrorism, and of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)—who supported Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country—as U.S. attorney general.

“Whatever the president-elect is saying or not saying, what he is doing is very disturbing,” Hooper says, adding that he and other Muslim advocates are very concerned about the future, particularly for young people. “Consider growing up in your formative years in a society where your faith is vilified on a daily basis.”

Full report at:

http://www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2016/12/for-muslims-in-trumps-america-theres-more-to-fear-than-just-the-proposed-ban/

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Horrifying letter threatening Muslims with genocide sent to more mosques across America

Dec 2, 2016

Several more mosques across the US have reported receiving a hate-filled letter from California that warns Muslims to leave the country or face genocide.

The identical letters postmarked from the Los Angeles area have now shown up at mosques throughout California and in Ohio, Michigan, Rhode Island, Indiana, Colorado and Georgia.

Los Angeles police have been investigating the letters addressed to “the children of Satan” as a hate incident, but not a crime because it does not contain a specific threat.

The letters appeared to be photocopies of a handwritten note referring to Muslims as “vile and filthy people” and saying that President-elect Donald Trump would do to Muslims what Hitler did to Jews.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked the FBI to investigate.

The FBI said the threats, while inflammatory and awful, do not pose a threat specific enough to investigate at this point, but they're monitoring the situation and urged anyone to report such incidents.

Police in Providence, Rhode Island, said they would increase patrols after one of the letters was received at Masjid Al-Kareem.

Faissal Elansari of the Islamic Center of Rhode Island said he feels a wave of hate at his doorstep, WPRI-TV reported.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-mosques-muslim-more-holocaust-letters-nationwide-us-police-investigation-hate-crime-a7449301.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-shifts-focus-to-softer-targets-for-attacks-in-europe/d/109263

 

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