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Islamic World News ( 30 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘Islam Zindabad’: Balloons with ‘Message’ In Urdu for Modi Found In Punjab















Boys play soccer on a field in west London in August. They are members of the counter-radicalization soccer club TUFF FC, which was originally founded to give children in the district of Southall an affordable opportunity to practice. (Rick Noack/The Washington Post)

 

India’s Islamic Seminaries Applaud Surgical Strikes in PoK

Moscow to Never Contact, Negotiate ISIL, Al-Nusra Front        

Gülen Movement No Different than ISIL, Turkish Army Chief’s Former Aide Says

Jeish Al-Fatah Pulls Forces Back From More Lands North of Aleppo City         

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India

‘Islam Zindabad’: Balloons with ‘Message’ In Urdu for Modi Found In Punjab

India’s Islamic Seminaries Applaud Surgical Strikes in PoK

Muslim Leaders Support Army’s Surgical Strikes

Tit For Tat: Pakistan Bans All Indian Channels

After Threatening Zee News, Hafiz Saeed Says PM Narendra Modi and Ajit Doval Staged `Surgical Strike Drama'

Retiring Pakistan army Chief Raheel Sharif may seek bloody hurrah

Delhi, 5 other states put on high alert over possible Pakistan revenge strike

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Europe

Moscow to Never Contact, Negotiate ISIL, Al-Nusra Front

How a London Soccer Club Tries To Save Kids from The Islamic State

Muslim liberals must speak up, says PKR’s Khalid

Polish Defense Minister Accuses Russia of Inventing Islamic

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Mideast

Gülen Movement No Different than ISIL, Turkish Army Chief’s Former Aide Says

Turkish Army Destroys 10 ISIL Targets in Syria

Parliament opens with coup attempt on agenda

NATO seeks long-term partnership with Iraq

CHP leader lashes out at Erdoğan’s Lausanne remarks

Palestinian citizens of Israel decry political suppression as police arrest Balad Party officials

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Arab World

Jeish Al-Fatah Pulls Forces Back From More Lands North of Aleppo City

Direct Aggression by US in Syria to Cause Tectonic Shift in Middle East

Hitting Damascus Forces Gift to Terrorists, Not Syrian-Russian Operations

French Bombers Take off on Mission against ISIL Stronghold in Iraq

Syrian Army Pushes ISIL Back From Key Position in Deir Ezzur

Tough Battle Underway between Syrian Army, Terrorists in Western Damascus

Yemeni Forces Destroy UAE Warship

Nearly 5,200 US Soldiers to Participate in Mosul Operation

Iran Defuses Several Terrorist Plots

Moscow Is Still Open for Dialogue with US on Syria

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Pakistan

At The Time of India’s Surgical Strikes, Mortar Shells Fired by Iran into Pakistan’s Balochistan

Every Pakistani Is Not Coward like Nawaz Sharif: Imran Khan to Modi

Biometric registration of over 100,216 Afghan refugees carried out

Punjab police save teenage Christian from lynching

CTD inactive in interior of Sindh for want of resources, says IGP

Misadventure by adversary to meet befitting response: COAS

Summary sent to Presidency for joint session of parliament

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North America

Michigan Township to Pay $1.7 Million to Islamic School for Banning Its Construction

Is America Ready For Hillary Clinton's 'Shariah Advisor' In The White House?

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South Asia

Karzai Endorses India for Conducting Surgical Strike on Militants

Commandos Likely Killed In Afghan Air Force Raid, Coalition Forces Reject Role

US airstrike allegedly claimed lives of 5 Afghan Special Forces

Angelina Jolie likely to star in Afghanistan drama ‘Shoot Like a Girl’

Speaker aims to unite faithful, raise awareness, heal division on local Reconciliation Day

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Africa

Somalia Accuses US over Airstrike That Killed 13 Soldiers

123 militants killed in joint military offensive by Chad and Niger forces

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Southeast Asia

Global Islamic Finance Awards 2016 Honour Joko Widodo as the 6th GIFA Laureate

Fulbright Scholar from Indonesia joins EMU faculty

Malaysian cop accused of hiding terror info

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/‘islam-zindabad’--balloons-with-‘message’-in-urdu-for-modi-found-in-punjab/d/108733

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‘Islam Zindabad’: Balloons with ‘Message’ In Urdu for Modi Found In Punjab

October 1, 2016

Gurdaspur: Two balloons with a message, written in Urdu and purportedly addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were found at Ghesal village in Dinanagar which had witnessed a terror attack last year, police said on Saturday.

Police got the message, written on a piece of paper and pasted on the yellow-coloured balloons, translated. It read: “Modiji, Ayubi ki talwaren abhi hamare paas hain. Islam zindabad.”

The balloons were first seen by a villager near his house yesterday and when he found the note written in Urdu, he handed them over to the police.

Notably, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was visiting the border districts of Gurdaspur and Pathankot today to monitor the arrangements made for the villagers who have been evacuated in the apprehension of retaliation from Pakistan to the Army’s surgical strikes on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) recently.

In July, the police had recovered a balloon from Jhande Chak village near Dinanagar. It had a picture of the Pakistani flag painted, along with ‘I love Pakistan’ written on it.

Source: siasat.com/news/islam-zindabad-balloons-message-urdu-modi-found-punjab-1032264/

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India’s Islamic Seminaries Applaud Surgical Strikes in PoK

Oct 1, 2016

MEERUT/BAREILLY: A day after surgical strikes were carried out across Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) by Indian Army; Islamic seminaries applauded the action while displaying solidarity with the nation. Darul Uloom Deoband spokesperson Ashraf Usmani said when it comes to matters related to national interests, they would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the government.

However, the Muhtamim (rector) of the seminary refused to make any comment stating that he had been travelling in rural areas for the last couple of days and had little knowledge of the matter.

"I have been travelling in rural parts for the last two days and am unaware of the latest development. Besides, I don't want to comment on the issue without going through it thoroughly. I will first learn about the matter after arriving in Deoband, and only then will I be able to make any comments," said Muhtamim Abul Qasim Nomani.

Meanwhile, spokesperson Usmani not only lauded the Army action but also supported any such acts in future. "There cannot be two opinions when it concerns national interest. We not only stand shoulder to shoulder with the central government, but also applaud the brave action taken by the Army. In future, if it needs to take such or even more stringent action against Pakistan, we will always give our full support to the government," he told TOI over the phone.

Bareilly seminaries also echoed the sentiment. "Pakistan is responsible for terror attacks regularly taking place in Kashmir. Muslims across India are elated with the surgical strikes carried out over LOC on Thursday," said Maulana Shahbudeen Razvi, national general secretary of the All-India Jamaat Raza-e-Mustafa.

Bareilly city qazi, Maulana Asjad Raza Khan, said, "I praise the decision of the government to carry out surgical strikes across LoC. It was necessary to give a lesson to terrorists."

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/Islamic-seminaries-applaud-surgical-strikes-in-PoK/articleshow/54614338.cms

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Moscow to Never Contact, Negotiate ISIL, Al-Nusra Front

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia said on Friday Moscow will not attempt to make any contacts or negotiate with terrorist groups of ISIL and al-Nusra Front (Fatah Al-Sham Front).

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said Moscow will not contact or negotiate with ISIL or al-Nusra, even if they lay down their arms, Al Manar TV reported.

“These are terrorist groups, we shall not make any contacts with them. There will never be a discussion on the rights of terrorists, on preconditions. Russia will not negotiate with them,” Syromolotov told RIA Novosti.

Syria has been mired in bloody war since March 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President fighting numerous terrorist groups, including the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000486

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Gülen movement no different than ISIL, Turkish army chief’s former aide says

October 1, 2016

The movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen is no different than the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Levent Türkkan, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar’s former top aide, has said, adding that both were “terrorist organizations.”

“For the first time in my life, I’m speaking with my own free will. I was a poor, smart kid. I was looked after; I didn’t realize that they [the Gülen movement] were deceiving me. I’m not a traitor. No person can shoot at their own soldiers, citizens and police officers. This is no different than ISIL. ISIL is a terrorist organization, so is this one,” said Türkkan, who was arrested among the plotters of the July 15 failed coup attempt, in his 40-page testimony in court.

Saying that the movement accepted Gülen as their Mahdi, Türkkan added that the Gülenists wanted him to enter a military high school.

“They gave me the questions before the exam. They were all the same with the ones in the real exam. I continued seeing the Gülenists in high school. Those Gülenists were not solders, they were civilians. They saw Gülen as Mahdi,” he said.

In his testimony, Türkkan said that the coup plotting soldiers assumed that Akar, who was held captive at Akıncı Air Base by putschist soldiers, would accept the coup bid and even direct it.

“The brothers [Gülenists] loved Hulusi Akar. They thought he would accept and direct the coup,” he said, adding that Adil Öksüz, the Gülenist organization’s “imam of the Air Force” and a suspected leader of the plot, had contacted him.

In addition, Türkkan also said the Turkish Chief of General Staff’s key advisor, Col. Orhan Yıkılkan, asked him several questions regarding the residences of top figures on July 13.

“’Do you know the houses of the president, prime minister, [former interior minister] Efkan Ala and MİT [National Intelligence Agency] leader?’ he asked me. I said ‘I know.’ He told me that a coup would take place and a total of 100 bureaucrats, including the president and prime minister, would be taken. He said, ‘Do your preparations. We will land in the commander’s [Akar] residence with a helicopter and he will be taken away,’” Türkkan added.

Saying that the planners of the coup attempt were officials who graduated in 1994, Türkkan noted that Akın Öztürk, who was among the organizers of the coup bid, was a “puppet” and not “at the top of the coup attempt.”

“Yıkılkan was talking to the colonels. He was receiving orders from someone and coordinating the coup attempt. He was talking to someone at Akıncı Air Base, but I don’t if it was Adil Öksüz,” he said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/gulen-movement-no-different-than-isil-turkish-army-chiefs-former-aide-says-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104439&NewsCatID=510

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Jeish Al-Fatah Pulls Forces Back From More Lands North of Aleppo City

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian government forces continued to advance against Jeish al-Fatah terrorists on the Northern outskirts of Aleppo city and captured a key hill there following hours of heavy fighting.

The Army soldiers and popular forces inflicted tens of casualties on the terrorists in continued attacks on Jeish al-Fatah positions and captured Um al-Shaqif hill overlooking al-Shaqif factory along the road to the Handarat Palestinian Refugee Camp.

Fierce clashes are also underway between the Syrian government forces and Jeish al-Fatah in Suleiman al-Halabi and Bostan al-Pasha districts in Eastern and Northeastern Aleppo.

The Syrian artillery and missile units continue to shell Jeish al-Fatah's positions in Suleiman al-Halabi and Bostan al-Pasha districts.

Reports said earlier today that Syrian Army troops and their popular allies beat back Jeish al-Fatah terrorist coalition from more positions in the Northeastern districts of Aleppo city, winning back several building blocks after hours of non-stop battle.

The Syrian government forces inflicted major losses and casualties on terrorists in Bostan al-Pasha and recaptured Zenobia building, Drug Prohibition building and several other building blocks.  

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710001059

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India

‘Islam Zindabad’: Balloons with ‘Message’ In Urdu for Modi Found In Punjab

October 1, 2016

Gurdaspur: Two balloons with a message, written in Urdu and purportedly addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were found at Ghesal village in Dinanagar which had witnessed a terror attack last year, police said on Saturday.

Police got the message, written on a piece of paper and pasted on the yellow-coloured balloons, translated. It read: “Modiji, Ayubi ki talwaren abhi hamare paas hain. Islam zindabad.”

The balloons were first seen by a villager near his house yesterday and when he found the note written in Urdu, he handed them over to the police.

Notably, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was visiting the border districts of Gurdaspur and Pathankot today to monitor the arrangements made for the villagers who have been evacuated in the apprehension of retaliation from Pakistan to the Army’s surgical strikes on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) recently.

In July, the police had recovered a balloon from Jhande Chak village near Dinanagar. It had a picture of the Pakistani flag painted, along with ‘I love Pakistan’ written on it.

Source: siasat.com/news/islam-zindabad-balloons-message-urdu-modi-found-punjab-1032264/

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India’s Islamic Seminaries Applaud Surgical Strikes in PoK

Oct 1, 2016

MEERUT/BAREILLY: A day after surgical strikes were carried out across Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) by Indian Army; Islamic seminaries applauded the action while displaying solidarity with the nation. Darul Uloom Deoband spokesperson Ashraf Usmani said when it comes to matters related to national interests, they would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the government.

However, the Muhtamim (rector) of the seminary refused to make any comment stating that he had been travelling in rural areas for the last couple of days and had little knowledge of the matter.

"I have been travelling in rural parts for the last two days and am unaware of the latest development. Besides, I don't want to comment on the issue without going through it thoroughly. I will first learn about the matter after arriving in Deoband, and only then will I be able to make any comments," said Muhtamim Abul Qasim Nomani.

Meanwhile, spokesperson Usmani not only lauded the Army action but also supported any such acts in future. "There cannot be two opinions when it concerns national interest. We not only stand shoulder to shoulder with the central government, but also applaud the brave action taken by the Army. In future, if it needs to take such or even more stringent action against Pakistan, we will always give our full support to the government," he told TOI over the phone.

Bareilly seminaries also echoed the sentiment. "Pakistan is responsible for terror attacks regularly taking place in Kashmir. Muslims across India are elated with the surgical strikes carried out over LOC on Thursday," said Maulana Shahbudeen Razvi, national general secretary of the All-India Jamaat Raza-e-Mustafa.

Bareilly city qazi, Maulana Asjad Raza Khan, said, "I praise the decision of the government to carry out surgical strikes across LoC. It was necessary to give a lesson to terrorists."

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/Islamic-seminaries-applaud-surgical-strikes-in-PoK/articleshow/54614338.cms

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Muslim leaders support Army’s surgical strikes

Oct 1, 2016

Chief Imam of India Maulana Umair Ilyasi and Shahi Imam of Punjab Maulana Habib-ur-Rahman today lent open support to the surgical strikes by the Indian Army on terrorists’ training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir saying though belated, it was a step in the right direction.

Addressing a news conference at Jama Masjid here today, Ilyasi, who heads the All India Imams’ Council, Delhi, said the Indian masses, irrespective of religion, caste and creed, were standing rock solid behind the bold initiative taken by the Armed forces, which was a befitting reply to nefarious anti-India and subversive activities of Pakistan.

Taking a bold stand against terrorism, Ilyasi made an appeal to all Imams across the country to refuse offering “janaze ki namaz” (prayer for the dead) for the terrorists and neither give such deceased persons space for burial in the common burial grounds. Going a step further, Habib-ur-Rahman demanded that those indulging in terrorism or any kind of anti-national activity be hanged publically without any trial.

Both Ilyasi and Habib-ur-Rahman claimed that members of the Muslim community were second to none as far as nationalism and patriotism were concerned. “We are prepared to make all kinds of sacrifices for the sake of unity and integrity of the country,” they said.

The leaders reiterated that Kashmir was an integral part of India and Pakistan ought to stop dreaming about dismembering India, which though peace-loving, was a nation which could guard its frontiers well.

Stop bus, rail services to and fro Pakistan

Phillaur: While congratulating the Army in carrying out successful surgical strikes, PPCC leaders Praminder Mehta and Amarjit Singh Tikka have urged the Union Government to stop bus and rail services plying between Delhi and Lahore. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Inderjit Karwal also praised the Army and demanded immediate cancellation of the Delhi-Lahore bus and Samjhauta Express train.

Source: tribuneindia.com/news/ludhiana/community/muslim-leaders-support-army-s-surgical-strikes/303058.html

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Tit for Tat: Pakistan bans all Indian channels

October 1, 2016

Islamabad: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Saturday announced its decision to ban all ‘illegal’ Indian channels across the nation from October 15th.

The PEMRA has warned that strict action would be taken according to law after October 15 if TV channels and distribution networks failed to follow the directions.

The authority further said it was receiving numerous complaints on illegal Indian content being aired on satellite TV channels.

The decision was taken after looking at the current situation of India and Pakistan, following which authorities have been urged to impose immediate ban on broadcast and distribution of illegal Indian content and illegal Indian DTH.

This development comes in the wake of Pakistani artistes and actors facing a ban from political parties in Mumbai.

Source: siasat.com/news/tit-tat-pakistan-bans-indian-channels-1032246/

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After threatening Zee News, Hafiz Saeed says PM Narendra Modi and Ajit Doval staged `surgical strike drama'

Saturday, October 1, 2016

New Delhi: Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed has said that India staged "surgical strike" drama following domestic pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to retaliate after 19 soldiers were killed in an attack on an Army base in Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18.

"They (some people in India) started asking that `you had said that you would attack Pakistan, you would do a surgical strike`. Everyone who was in grip of this fever started asking Modi and the Indian government. For this Ajit Doval staged a drama. He made up a surgical strike drama while sitting indoors," Saeed said.

The JuD chief was of the opinion that no raid was actually carried out by the Indian troops.

"The whole film was made in which this surgical drama was shown in which they said their 150 expert paratroopers, after crossing the control line and entering Pakistan, carried out a raid. Actually, no raid was carried out, neither in Bhimber nor in Lipa, Chamb, and Dudhnial," the 26/11 mastermind added.

On Friday, a video of Saeed surfaced in which he was heard threatening Zee News - India's biggest media house - over its fearless coverage of Indian para commandos' surgical strikes across the Line of Control during which they dismantled at least seven terror launch pads and killed several terrorists in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Source: zeenews.india.com/news/india/after-threatening-zee-news-hafiz-saeed-says-pm-narendra-modi-and-ajit-doval-staged-surgical-strike-drama_1935582.html

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Retiring Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif may seek bloody hurrah

Oct 1, 2016

NEW DELHI: India is keeping its guard up because of the assessment that Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif+ may unleash "some cross-border action-plan" in the run-up to his November end scheduled retirement.

The Indian security establishment feels Gen Sharif, who has a strong anti-India agenda, is unlikely to go home quietly+ after Thursday's "surgical strikes". Having projected himself as a crusader against terrorism and corruption, often overruling PM Nawaz Sharif on several issues, Gen Sharif is "capable" of going in for a strong counter-move against India+ to redeem his legacy, say officials.

Nawaz Sharif+ , of course, would like to see the back of Gen Sharif, with four Lt-Generals in the reckoning to succeed him. If Nawaz actually succeeds in this endeavour, Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday, commanding the 31 Corps at Bahalwalpur, could take over the reins of the Army .

"Ramday is third in seniority among the four. But his family has political links with Nawaz's Pakistan Muslim League (N)," an official said. The other three Lt Gens are Zubair Mahmood Hayat (chief of general staff), Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed (chief of the 2 Corps at Multan) and Qamar Javed Bajwa (I-G training and evaluation at the GHQ).

"Gen Sharif, who's become a bit of a megalomaniac and Nawaz Sharif hate each other.This aura of invincibility and greatness that Gen Sharif built for himself received a setback with this attack (India's surgical strikes)," said former ambassador to Pakistan G Parthasarathy .

"Given Gen Sharif 's unpredictability and India hatred (his uncle was killed in the 1965 war and brother in 1971), the threat is he might do something silly. India should be prepared," he added.

Nawaz Sharif has handpicked five Army chiefs during his stints as PM, including Gen Pervez Musharraf (1998) and Gen Sharif (2013). Musharraf went on to oust Nawaz Sharif in 1999, exiling him to Saudi Arabia.

The Pakistan Army has over the years been the prime driver behind Islamabad's Kashmir policy+ to "bleed'' India. But despite its history of interventions within and adventurism vis-a-vis India, it remains a motivated, force.

If there is a change in guard this November, India won't have much to cheer about. "Pakistan Army's professional hostility towards India will continue, though it may not be as visceral and personal as under Gen Sharif," said Parthasarathy.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Retiring-Pakistan-army-chief-Raheel-Sharif-may-seek-bloody-hurrah/articleshow/54620051.cms

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Delhi, 5 other states put on high alert over possible Pakistan revenge strike

Oct 1, 2016

NEW DELHI: Anticipating a strike by Pakistan-based terror outfits in the country, particularly the metros, in the aftermath of Army's surgical strikes+ in PoK, the home ministry on Friday issued an alert seeking stepped up vigil at strategic installations, industrial complexes, crowded places, airports, historical monuments and government buildings across the country.

The alert identified Delhi, along with Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra and Gujarat as possible targets.

Intelligence sources, citing credible inputs, said there was a strong possibility of Pakistan's ISI directing a highly motivated and heavily armed terror cell+ to carry out a strike in the capital. A hunt has been launched for suspected terrorists, pushed into J&K some time ago, who have now been asked to carry out a swift retaliatory strike against the Indian raid on terror launch pads in PoK+ .

Sources said the prospect of Pakistan's military-intelligence combine seeking to avenge the surgical strikes by India was reviewed at an hour-long meeting home minister Rajnath Singh held with the intelligence and security brass on Friday.

Home minister Rajnath Singh held a security review+ on Friday where intelligence inputs on the "serious" threat of a spectacular strike by fidayeen hiding in the country or likely to enter through the land borders or the sea route, was discussed. The home ministry advisory said Pakistan-backed terror outfits may try to execute a major "revenge" strike in the coming days.

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Sources said participants in the review meeting — national security advisor AK Doval, home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and chiefs of Intelligence Bureau and RAW — also examined the possibility of terrorists targeting private enterprises to avenge the Indian raids.

Besides fidayeen strikes involving Pakistani terrorists who have infiltrated, the meeting also took into account the possibility of attacks by jihadi cells comprising radicalised locals promoted by ISI as part of Pakistan's "proxy war" against India. The threat posed by these groups has decreased since some of their cells were neutralized while others switched their allegiance to Islamic State. But local sleeper cells which take their cue from ISI have not been totally eliminated and could be activated, the agencies fear.

The fact that October is packed with festivals was highlighted in the advisory which sought tighter police bandobast at crowded places and puja pandals. Apart from this, CISF has been tasked with tightening security at airports and monuments such as Taj Mahal and Red Fort. Tighter access control has been sought at all buildings housing key government offices, particularly in the national capital.

An intelligence officer said the state of high alert across the country may continue through October. "A retaliation by Pakistan to the surgical strikes is foreseen over the next 10-15 days. However, given that Diwali falls on October 30, the alert will last till then," he said.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Delhi-5-other-states-put-on-high-alert-over-possible-Pakistan-revenge-strike/articleshow/54616947.cms

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Europe

Moscow to Never Contact, Negotiate ISIL, Al-Nusra Front

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia said on Friday Moscow will not attempt to make any contacts or negotiate with terrorist groups of ISIL and al-Nusra Front (Fatah Al-Sham Front).

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said Moscow will not contact or negotiate with ISIL or al-Nusra, even if they lay down their arms, Al Manar TV reported.

“These are terrorist groups, we shall not make any contacts with them. There will never be a discussion on the rights of terrorists, on preconditions. Russia will not negotiate with them,” Syromolotov told RIA Novosti.

Syria has been mired in bloody war since March 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President fighting numerous terrorist groups, including the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000486

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How a London soccer club tries to save kids from the Islamic State

01.10.2016

LONDON — A 14-year-old girl received a photo on Snapchat that showed a man holding a black placard with the message: “Are you British, or are you Muslim?”

She eventually told a mentor on her soccer team, Shamender Talwar, who said the girl was being recruited by the Islamic State. He urged her to decide what was more important: soccer or the militant group. She picked soccer.

Weeks earlier, reports that three British schoolgirls had run away to Syria to join the Islamic State had stunned the country. Blurry surveillance video shows them carrying bags at Gatwick Airport in February 2015, the last time they were seen on British soil.

“I suddenly realized what threat we faced,” Talwar said, recalling his decision to turn a sports club into something bigger.

Launched in 2014, the club was founded to give children in the west London district of Southall an opportunity to play sports in a supportive environment and to prevent them from joining gangs.

But last year, Talwar and co-founder Anna Prior decided to turn the club into a counter-radicalization program, focused on teaching children about gender and religious equality to make them less susceptible to Islamic State propaganda. Sponsored by the Unity of Faiths Foundation, the club also trains volunteers to spot the first signs of radicalization among its members.

In total, 3,300 members nationally have played at the club since the project was established 18 months ago. Open to girls and boys ages 10 to 17, it has attracted boys and girls from across the British capital and has about 300 members.

At least once every week, the young players come to the club in Southall, a diverse area that is home to about 65,000 people. On the district’s vibrant main street, an Afghan bakery borders an English pub, and Bollywood advertisements hang next to a church. More than 150 languages are spoken in the schools in and around the area.

More than half of its residents are of South Asian descent, most of them from India and Pakistan. About 16 percent are Muslim — three times the U.K. average.

Some of the younger residents struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness, and have questions about their identity, Prior said.

“These are confusing times for them,” she said.

Government counter-radicalization programs are often built on monitoring and surveillance. But Talwar says that trust and a sense of community are the best weapons against the Islamic State’s propaganda.

Britain’s governmental counter-radicalization approach, “Prevent,” also aims to identify young people who might be prone to radicalization, and to provide them with counseling and social support.

Full report at:washingtonpost.com/world/europe/how-a-london-soccer-club-tries-to-save-kids-from-the-islamic-state/2016/09/30/26a1d61a-5ff5-11e6-af8e-54aa2e849447_story.html

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Muslim liberals must speak up, says PKR’s Khalid

October 1, 2016

PETALING JAYA: If Malaysia ever turns into another Pakistan or Iran, where the Muslim extremists rule, blame it on the liberals for staying silent, says policy analyst Khalid Jaafar, a liberal advocate.

Khalid, executive director of the Institute of Policy Research, said “liberalists” must speak up against decisions and issues brought up and implemented by Islamists.

He said there had been a sense of revivalism in Islam since the 1980s. In the beginning, it was seen as a positive contribution to society, with Muslims returning to their roots.

“There were concerns about morality, ethics and religious hollowness, with many feeling education had failed to address the needs of religion. People in the 1980s felt they had got independence and Malaysia was already developing well, but that we were not keeping up with the needs of the religion. These feelings were not isolated to Malaysia, but felt the world over,” he told FMT.

However, he said the need to get in touch with the religion went in the other direction, heading towards extremism, which liberals and nationalists failed to discern. “From the start, they have been devoid of intellectual engagement.”

Khalid said liberalism had been in Malaysia’s DNA since independence, but the education system failed to counter Islamist thinking on freedom of expression, responsibility, rule of law and the Federal Constitution.

“The education system and leaders have not been able to address the issue sufficiently. There has been no contest of the ideas by the liberals.”

He said Muslims must understand there is no contradiction between Islam and liberalism because religion is not only about the wellbeing of this life and the hereafter.

“We are also talking about running the country. Countries which practise liberalism have prospered. People are less oppressed there.” He said liberals should be able to extol the success stories of countries such as those in Europe and America.

He said if these countries were not considered to be ideal places to live in, then liberals should ask Islamists why Muslims were moving to these countries and not to predominantly-Muslim countries.

“They realise some have tried to implement the vision of an Islamic state, like in Pakistan and Iran, but they see things are not getting any better, but are actually getting worse.

“There is no freedom of expression. They are not getting the type of economic and social development they want.”

Full report at:freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/10/01/muslim-liberals-must-speak-up-says-pkrs-khalid/

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Polish Defense Minister Accuses Russia of Inventing Islamic Terrorism © AP Photo/ Czarek Sokolowski

01.10.2016

Antoni Macierewicz, Poland’s Defense Minister, accused Russia of creating and supporting radical Islamic terrorism. Antoni Macierewicz, the Defense Minister of Poland, was set to be a headline speaker at the September 29 opening of the eighth annual Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) forum in Washington DC. He canceled his visit, ostensibly due to a government meeting in Warsaw, but was permitted to present his speech in the form of a letter read by a ministry aide. According to the text of Macierewicz's letter, pro-democratic aspirations in Ukraine were met with "brutal intervention" in 2014 on the part of Russia, which the minister described as a "clash of civilizations." The idea that the nuances of modern international relations can be explained as a clash of civilizations was touted in 1993 by US political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, and has been roundly debunked in academic circles as too simplistic. "The Western aspirations of the Ukrainian people were confronted with brutal force and eastern dictatorship. If we are seeing social turmoil in Western Europe associated with the wave of terrorism and the migration crisis — this is also a civilization clash," according to the letter. Macierewicz further linked the former Soviet Union's support of socialist movements in Europe during the Cold War-era to contemporary Islamic terrorism. Possibly unaware that prominent Islamic terrorist organizations, including Daesh, are outlawed in Russia, Macierewicz wrote, "We should ask ourselves… a question: is it possible that Russia now influences or even creates radical Islamic terrorism or jihadism of these days. The answer to this question can be fundamental for our civilization to survive." In May, Macierewicz accused Russia of "interventions" by using large amounts of aerial drones. Russian military expert Dmitri Safonov commented on the Polish minister's remarks by saying, "Antoni Macierewicz's statement should be taken with some skepticism since Poland is the main ‘provocateur' within NATO in terms of anti-Russian rhetoric." In March, Macierewicz accused Russia of the 2010 crash of the Polish president's airplane near the Russian city of Smolensk, an accident that resulted in the deaths of President Lech Kaczynski and many senior politicians. The aircraft, carrying Polish leaders visiting Russia to commemorate the 1940 Katyn massacre, crashed in dense fog and extremely low visibility.

Source: sputniknews.com/europe/20161001/1045893540/polish-defense-minister-russia-terrorism.html

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Mideast

Gülen movement no different than ISIL, Turkish army chief’s former aide says

October 1, 2016

The movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen is no different than the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Levent Türkkan, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar’s former top aide, has said, adding that both were “terrorist organizations.”

“For the first time in my life, I’m speaking with my own free will. I was a poor, smart kid. I was looked after; I didn’t realize that they [the Gülen movement] were deceiving me. I’m not a traitor. No person can shoot at their own soldiers, citizens and police officers. This is no different than ISIL. ISIL is a terrorist organization, so is this one,” said Türkkan, who was arrested among the plotters of the July 15 failed coup attempt, in his 40-page testimony in court.

Saying that the movement accepted Gülen as their Mahdi, Türkkan added that the Gülenists wanted him to enter a military high school.

“They gave me the questions before the exam. They were all the same with the ones in the real exam. I continued seeing the Gülenists in high school. Those Gülenists were not solders, they were civilians. They saw Gülen as Mahdi,” he said.

In his testimony, Türkkan said that the coup plotting soldiers assumed that Akar, who was held captive at Akıncı Air Base by putschist soldiers, would accept the coup bid and even direct it.

“The brothers [Gülenists] loved Hulusi Akar. They thought he would accept and direct the coup,” he said, adding that Adil Öksüz, the Gülenist organization’s “imam of the Air Force” and a suspected leader of the plot, had contacted him.

In addition, Türkkan also said the Turkish Chief of General Staff’s key advisor, Col. Orhan Yıkılkan, asked him several questions regarding the residences of top figures on July 13.

“’Do you know the houses of the president, prime minister, [former interior minister] Efkan Ala and MİT [National Intelligence Agency] leader?’ he asked me. I said ‘I know.’ He told me that a coup would take place and a total of 100 bureaucrats, including the president and prime minister, would be taken. He said, ‘Do your preparations. We will land in the commander’s [Akar] residence with a helicopter and he will be taken away,’” Türkkan added.

Saying that the planners of the coup attempt were officials who graduated in 1994, Türkkan noted that Akın Öztürk, who was among the organizers of the coup bid, was a “puppet” and not “at the top of the coup attempt.”

“Yıkılkan was talking to the colonels. He was receiving orders from someone and coordinating the coup attempt. He was talking to someone at Akıncı Air Base, but I don’t if it was Adil Öksüz,” he said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/gulen-movement-no-different-than-isil-turkish-army-chiefs-former-aide-says-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104439&NewsCatID=510

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Turkish army destroys 10 ISIL targets in Syria

October 1, 2016

The Turkish military said on Oct. 1 that it destroyed over 10 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in northern Syria with artillery and tank fire.

In a statement, the army said targets in the Uvaysiyah, Cubban and Tal-Atiyah regions were hit by dozens of rounds from howitzers, rocket launchers and tanks.

Almost 1,580 targets have been destroyed by over 6,000 rounds fired by Turkish Fırtına howitzers since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, the statement added.

Meanwhile, one ISIL militant was "neutralized" and two vehicles were destroyed during two air operations carried out by coalition forces in the Titanah region.

Three Free Syrian Army fighters were killed while seven others injured in the clashes on Oct. 1.

A total of 107 residential areas in 925 square kilometers of northern Syria has been cleared of terrorists since the beginning of the operation, according to the statement.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-army-destroys-10-isil-targets-in-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104465&NewsCatID=352

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Parliament opens with coup attempt on agenda

October 1, 2016

The new legislative year of the Turkish parliament is set to kick off on Oct. 1, as debate on decree laws issued under the state of emergency are expected to dominate the agenda.

The Turkish parliament, which has been on summer recess since Aug. 20, will convene at 3 p.m. under the leadership of Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman.     

After an opening speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the general assembly will discuss the extension of a mandate authorizing the deployment of the Turkish army into Iraq and Syria and allowing the deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil.

A mandate given to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) by parliament in 2014 was extended for another year in September 2015.

While the mandate is expected to be extended for another 12 months with the support of the majority of the opposition, things are expected to get tough when decrees issued by the government during the state of emergency are discussed in parliament.

According to a parliamentary bylaw, each and every decree law should be discussed within 30 days, but failure to do so has no sanctions. If a decree law brings amendments to articles of laws, they will be discussed in parliament, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ had said earlier. Dismissals in public service were not an issue of parliamentary discussion because they were practices implemented at one time by decree laws, he had said.

The first decree law, out of eight submitted to parliament, included state institutions that were closed after the July 15 failed coup attempt, while following decree laws included public service dismissals. If the Constitutional Court rules that post-coup decree laws which the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) applied to annul were not under its authority, then one will not be able to challenge decisions for discharges in national law. Therefore, methods for decree law discussions in parliament are expected to vary.

Meanwhile a new “mini package” for amendments to the constitution is expected to be another topic of discussion in parliament. Representatives from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have agreed on a seven-article constitutional amendment package, but the party leaders will finalize the package before it is discussed in parliament.

Parliament’s general assembly convenes on Oct. 1 without any prior call to start the new legislative year, according to the constitution. Erdoğan will be received by 160 honor escort soldiers from the General Staff and then address parliament in the first session.

Meanwhile, construction work at the parliament building, which was bombed by coup soldiers on the night of the July 15 coup attempt, were continuing. The opposition lobby has already been renewed, while the works on the prime minister’s office, which will turned into a museum, were ongoing.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/parliament-opens-with-coup-attempt-on-agenda.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104455&NewsCatID=338

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NATO seeks long-term partnership with Iraq

October 1, 2016

Only half-an-hour drive away from the city center of Amman, Jordan, a state-of-the-art center of excellence meets you in a secluded location on a vast terrain surrounded by high hills, specially equipped for the training of Special Forces and military units, particularly from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

This is the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, or KASOTC, which was established upon the instructions of King Abdullah II in 2009 and boasts over $200 million worth of training facilities and support structures.

But what makes this military training center important is not its capacity as a center of excellence but the fact that it trains hundreds of Iraqi security officers under NATO and American programs for the defense capacity building of various Iraqi defense structures.

These efforts will surely help Iraq better fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and re-capture Mosul and other cities from jihadists but also be strong enough to prevent ISIL, al-Qaeda or other terror organizations from terrorizing and storming the country in the future.

A was protocol signed between NATO and the Iraqi government this year after Iraq officially requested to benefit from NATO’s defense capacity building initiative. Until the end of October, 350 Iraqi officers are expected to be trained at KASOTC in NATO courses in three areas: Counter-improvised explosive devices (IED), military medicine and civil-military planning.

A more stable Iraq, a more secure NATO

But more is planned, as NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow explained at a meeting in Brussels on Sept. 26. “At [the] Warsaw Summit, we have decided to expand that program and capacity building into Iraq itself. We hope this expanded in-country effort will begin in 2017,” he said, vowing to scale-up assistance provided to Iraqi security institutions with the objective that they would be better equipped to fight against ISIL.

With the deterioration of the security conditions both in the east as a result of Russian factor and in the south due to ISIL’s growing presence and posing threat to the world, Vershbow recalled that the decision to upgrade assistance to Iraq was made “under the rubric of projecting stability beyond NATO borders, based on the notion that ‘when our neighbors are more stable, we’re more secure.’”

Building the Iraqi defense structure

Efforts to train the Iraqi army and other security bodies are not merely the concern and interest of NATO alone. The anti-ISIL coalition and some individual members of the alliance also provide assistance to the Iraqi forces through bilateral agreements, but they differ from the NATO programs as they are either short- or medium-term projects with the objective of rapidly preparing relevant Iraqi security institutions to push ISIL from Iraq after liberating its key city, Mosul.

Full report at:hurriyetdailynews.com/nato-seeks-long-term-partnership-with-iraq.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104428&NewsCatID=359

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CHP leader lashes out at Erdoğan’s Lausanne remarks

October 1, 2016

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has harshly criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent remarks deriding the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, which was the cornerstone of the modern Turkish republic, saying that “no one has the right to betray his/her history.”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks came as he answered press questions after a meeting in Istanbul with foreign press representatives.

The CHP leader also questioned why this issue was being brought up while there was “this much unemployment, corruption and people chasing after their lives, and in all 81 provinces of Turkey and all its districts victims are looking for an exit.”

“Lausanne is Turkey’s deed. We defend Lausanne, they defended Sevres,” said Kılıçdaroğlu, calling on Erdoğan to answer the question of whether he defended the Treaty of Sevres, which marked the beginning of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire.

“We defend Ankara, they defend Istanbul. We defend republic, they defend caliphate. We defend the citizens, they defend being subjects,” he said, calling on the president to remember that he “sat on that seat [the Presidency] thanks to the republic and the Lausanne [Treaty].”

“Nobody has the right to betray his/her history... If you do not know history, call a historian and talk with him... One sitting on the presidential seat cannot betray his/her country,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu also warned against speculations against him accusing him of giving up on the “Yenikapı spirit,” referring to the political solidarity environment which emerged after the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey. “If this is what you understand from ‘Yenikapı spirit,’ we are against this spirit,” he said.

“We love our country. We love our history. We are proud of our history. We are proud of our republic. We did not betray our history and will not,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-leader-lashes-out-at-erdogans-lausanne-remarks-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104453&NewsCatID=338

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Palestinian citizens of Israel decry political suppression as police arrest Balad Party officials

September 30, 2016

Over 30 activists and senior officials from the Arab National Democratic Assembly, or Balad party, have been arrested in recent weeks on charges ranging from money laundering to mishandling campaign contributions, in what many in the Palestinian community are calling a new wave of political persecution. As part of the Joint List in the Knesset, Balad is one of the main political parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“The arrests are being used to scare Palestinians by using false information,” said Balad Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka. “They are a means to stop Palestinians wanting to change their situation.”

On the night of September 18, police arrested many of the party’s leaders at their homes, including party Chairman Awad Abdelfattah and staff from Fasl Al Maqal, the party’s newspaper. While further arrests followed four days later, all party members who were jailed have now been released on home arrest.

The investigation centers around allegations that the party falsified the origins of millions of shekels in campaign contributions, from both domestic and international donors, and involves hundreds of party members.

The specifics of the charges are being withheld from the public, those arrested and their attorneys, but according to police statements, the charges include “fraud, falsifying corporate documents, forgery, use of forged documents, money laundering and violations of the Party Financing Law, the Local Authorities Law and others.”

While Palestinian leaders across Israel are condemning the arrests as a threat to Israeli democracy, activists and politicians also view the investigation as a part of a larger campaign of suppression.

“The state is gradually but systematically implementing a strategy intended to eliminate all political opposition,” said Balad officials in an official statement rejecting the charges against its leadership.

“These offenses are dealt with by imposing fines. The real intention is to eliminate the assembly and political project of Balad,” said Maria Zahran, a member of Balad’s legal staff. “We see this attack on Balad as a continuation of all the political persecution [from] which the Arab masses suffer, inside Israel.”

Two days after the initial arrests, the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens in Israel organized a demonstration in Nazareth to call for an end to this persecution. Members of the Arab community also organized demonstrations in Haifa, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Sakhnin, Majd al-Krum and Rishon LeZion.

Analysts have suggested that the party may be targeted primarily because of worries about the influence of foreign financial contributions to political parties, citing specific references in the media to “money that came in suitcases Qatar.” This would not be the first time that concerns about the role of foreign finances in Israeli politics would be used to go after Palestinian or leftist policial organizations. Israeli politicians cited similar concerns earlier this year in support of a new “NGO Law,” a measure requiring civil society groups that receive more than half of their funding from foreign contributions to identify themselves as such upon entering the parliament.

But Balad has often been at the center of controversy. The party’s three Knesset Members were temporarily suspended from the parliament earlier this year for visiting the families of Palestinians in Jerusalem who were involved in attacks on Jewish Israelis. Azmi Bishara, a former Balad Chairman, was accused of collaborating with Lebanese militants in 2006. Saeed Nafa, a former Balad MK, was sentenced to one year in prison for a trip to Syria.

As evidence of the broader political suppression, Balad members are citing the government’s move to outlaw the Northern Wing of the Islamic Movement earlier this year, which resulted in the shutdown of 17 associated civil society groups. Shekh Raed Salah, the head of the organization, was convicted of incitement to violence and racism and sentenced to nine months in jail.

Balad members also point to the passage of a new “Expulsion Law” in the Knesset. The new law, passed in July, grants the parliament the power to expel Knesset Members with a three-quarters majority if they are found to have incited to racism or supported armed struggle against the state. The Joint List condemned the law and vowed to appeal the law in the Supreme Court, while Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Human Rights Association in Nazareth, claimed that the law “violates all rules of democracy.”

Activists in the Palestinian community have also cited how Balad is not the only political party in Israel to be accused of mishandling finances. Former top officials from Yisrael Beiteinu, the party of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, are being indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. Those under investigation include Stas Misezhnikov, a former Minister of Tourism, and Faina Kirschenbaum, a former Deputy Minister of the Interior.

Balad’s stated mission is to push Israel to become a democracy for all citizens, “irrespective of national or ethnic identity.” The party has held three seats in the Knesset since 2003 and supports a binational solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Despite the arrests, Balad has continued operations on the national and local levels, including organizing demonstrations in the Arab community to commemorate the lives of 13 civilians killed by police in October 2000.

Source: mondoweiss.net/2016/09/palestinian-political-suppression/

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Arab World

Jeish Al-Fatah Pulls Forces Back From More Lands North of Aleppo City

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian government forces continued to advance against Jeish al-Fatah terrorists on the Northern outskirts of Aleppo city and captured a key hill there following hours of heavy fighting.

The Army soldiers and popular forces inflicted tens of casualties on the terrorists in continued attacks on Jeish al-Fatah positions and captured Um al-Shaqif hill overlooking al-Shaqif factory along the road to the Handarat Palestinian Refugee Camp.

Fierce clashes are also underway between the Syrian government forces and Jeish al-Fatah in Suleiman al-Halabi and Bostan al-Pasha districts in Eastern and Northeastern Aleppo.

The Syrian artillery and missile units continue to shell Jeish al-Fatah's positions in Suleiman al-Halabi and Bostan al-Pasha districts.

Reports said earlier today that Syrian Army troops and their popular allies beat back Jeish al-Fatah terrorist coalition from more positions in the Northeastern districts of Aleppo city, winning back several building blocks after hours of non-stop battle.

The Syrian government forces inflicted major losses and casualties on terrorists in Bostan al-Pasha and recaptured Zenobia building, Drug Prohibition building and several other building blocks.  

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710001059

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Direct Aggression by US in Syria to Cause Tectonic Shift in Middle East

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova warned on Saturday that If the US launches a military campaign to oust the Syrian government, it would further fracture the country and have tremendous negative long-term consequence for the entire region.

“If the US launches a direct aggression against Damascus and the Syrian Army, it would cause a terrible, tectonic shift not only in the country, but in the entire region,” Maria Zakharova said during a talk show, which is to be aired fully later on Saturday and has been cited by RIA.

With no government in Damascus, there will be a power vacuum in Syria, which “so-called moderates, who are, in reality, not moderate at all but just terrorists of all flavors, would fill; and there will be no dealing with them,” the diplomat predicted.

“And later it would be aggravated the way it happened in Iraq. We know that [Saddam Hussein’s] Iraqi Army became the basis of the ISIL. Everything that both the [US-led] coalition and Russia are fighting now stems from it,” Zakharova added.

Russia and the US are accusing each other over the collapse of the ceasefire which was signed last month, but has failed. The US says Moscow did not do enough to win the trust of militants and to prevent the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from attacking his opponents. Russia says Washington was incapable of separating moderate rebels from terrorist groups and keeping them in check for the truce to take hold.

On September 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new peace plan to address the conflict in Syria that called for a ceasefire and anti-terrorism cooperation among other clauses of the treaty.

The Syrian Army, on September 19, declared end of ceasefire, regretting that militants did not adhere to any of the provisions stated in the truce agreement.

The Syrian army reaffirmed commitment to fight against terror after the end of truce, and did not add whether the truce will be reinstated any time in future.

According to the Russian General Staff, the terrorist groups in Syria have violated the ceasefire over 300 times since it took effect.

"The militants have violated the truce 302 times since the ceasefire was enforced, and killed 153 Syrian military men and 63 civilians," Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said.

He noted that over 250 civilians have also been wounded in the terrorists' attacks that came in violation of the ceasefire.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710001089

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Hitting Damascus Forces Gift to Terrorists, Not Syrian-Russian Operations

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova once again rebuked the US envoy to the UN Samantha Power after the American side described the actions of the Syrian and Russian forces as a gift to the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front (Fatah Al-Sham).

"If we talk about ‘gifts to terrorists’, they certainly include the merger of al-Nusra with the ‘moderate opposition’; the delivery of relief aid to the militants and the bombardments of the Syrian army, which is fighting against the ISIL," Zakharova wrote on her page in Facebook.

"But Washington’s refusal to interact with Russia on the Syrian settlement will be the best gift of all. If Washington carries its current threats into concrete decisions, there will be no doubt left that the White House has taken the militants under its wing and that the sun is shining down the terrorists’ street," the diplomat stressed.

Earlier, the US Ambassador to the United Nations had described the actions of Syrian and Russian forces in Syria as a gift to the ISIL and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups. According to Power, these actions will provoke a huge flow of refugees and will radicalize the terrorists group, which Russia wants to stop, even more.

"Washington categorically denied the presence of terrorists in Syria for a long time. According to our US colleagues, there were no terrorists in Syria. The world learnt about the ISIL and other extremist movements in Syria from Russian representatives. US experts are operating with these names all the time and are accusing Russia of playing into the hands of terrorists," the Russian spokesperson underlined.

Power had also blasted Russia at a Security Council meeting last week, accusing Moscow of civilian deaths in Aleppo in the wake of the collapse of the ceasefire negotiated by the US and Russia, saying that "What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter-terrorism, it is barbarism."

In a fiery reaction, then, Zakharova said that the US envoy to the UN is hypocritical, because nothing in modern history is more barbaric than what the US has done in Iraq and Libya.

Syria has been mired in bloody war since March 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President fighting numerous terrorist groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000857

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French Bombers Take off on Mission against ISIL Stronghold in Iraq

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least eight fighter jets began flying off French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in anti-terrorism operations in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul.

The jets took off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier on Friday in the Eastern Mediterranean for a mission against the ISIL, RT reported.

An AFP photographer on the flight deck said he saw as many as eight jets taking off from the carrier.

It was not, however, immediately clear whether the French Rafale jets were deployed to conduct military airstrikes or to carry out surveillance operations.

Despite reports of France planning to launch airstrikes, a French defense official told AP that the mission “in no way” marked the start of an offensive in Mosul, stressing that the ministry would not give further details for security reasons.

The offensive aimed at recapturing Mosul is to begin soon, France's defense minister said after French fighter jets took off from the aircraft carrier.

"The battle for Mosul has not started yet. [The operations today] are the extension of our support for the coalition," Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters at a naval shipyard in northwestern France.

"There will soon be the main attack," he added.

Meanwhile, French radio station RTL reported that as many as 24 warplanes will participate in Friday’s operations with sorties every three minutes. Each of the aircraft is supplied with four 250kg (551lb) laser-guided bombs, it said.

Over the past week, French planes carried out as many as 32 missions and destroyed four terrorist targets with airstrikes and ground support from Iraqi forces, AP reported citing French military.

The 38,000-tonne Charles de Gaulle aircraft was sent to the region earlier in September. Powered by two nuclear reactors, it has more than 1,900 crew members. This is the third time the ship has taken part in military operations since February 2015 providing support to the US-led anti-terrorism coalition.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000613

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Syrian Army Pushes ISIL Back From Key Position in Deir Ezzur

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military forces stormed ISIL's strongholds in Southwestern Deir Ezzur and drove the terrorists out from a strategic hill in the region after hours of fierce clashes.

ISIL suffered a heavy death toll and retreated from Um Aboud hill after its positions came under the heavy offensive of the Syrian army soldiers.

In the meantime, Syrian army soldiers repelled ISIL's attacks to prevail over government positions in Deir Ezzur airbase, al-Thardah mountain, al-Maqaber and al-Orfi neighborhoods, inflicting major losses on the terrorists. 

On Thursday, field sources in Deir Ezzur said that the Syrian army units repelled a heavy offensive of the ISIL in al-Sina'ah district.

"The offensive started from Huweija al-Sakar region which is repeatedly attacked by terrorists and is one of the ISIL's supply routes," the source said

"The army inflicted heavy damage on the militants, forcing them to retreat after leaving a number of casualties," he added.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the ISIL positions near al-Thardah mountain, Deir Ezzur airbase, Regiment 137 and al-Baliliyeh, al-Janiniyeh, al-Hosseiniyeh and Tal al-Sanouf villages.

Also, the army's airstrikes inflicted heavy damage on the ISIL in al-Jafrah village, forcing the remaining terrorists to flee the region.

The ISIL has laid a siege on the residential areas of Deir Ezzur and the people of this region are supplied with food and other needs by the Syrian and Russian planes.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000934

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Tough Battle Underway between Syrian Army, Terrorists in Western Damascus

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers have launched a large-scale operation in Western Ghouta to take back a key town in the region and restore security to more territories at the country's border with Lebanon.

Syrian soldiers, backed up by the country's fighter jets and artillery units, have stormed the defense lines of Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in Kahn al-Sheih and are resolved to take back the town from the terrorists.

Fatah al-Sham's positions in Deir Khabiyeh and Zakiyeh in Western Ghouta have been also under heavy bombardments by the Syrian fighter jets.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the Jeish al-Islam terrorists stationed in Eastern Damascus were taken by surprise after the Syrian army intensified attacks and started rapid advance towards their bases in Douma in Damascus province.

As the Syrian army deployed its forces 3km of Jeish al-Islam's largest and most vital military base in Douma, the terrorists were reported by the local sources as fortifying their positions, battlefield reports said.

The terrorist groups have attempted to remove fences and walls between different parts of Eastern Ghouta region to unite and destroyed an iron wall separating Saqba and Hamouriya towns in the region after the army retook their strongholds between Arabayn and Zamalka regions.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000788

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Yemeni Forces Destroy UAE Warship

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Yemen's army and popular forces targeted and destroyed an Emirati warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait on Saturday.

The UAE warship was targeted with Yemeni missiles in the Al-Mukha coastal waters in the province of Ta'iz today.

The sunken ship had repeatedly fired rockets at residential areas in Ta'iz province, inflicting casualties and destruction there.

Other Saudi-led battleships that were approaching Yemen's coasts retreated fast following the attack.

The coast of Al-Mukha is located in Bab al-Mandab strait and the Saudi-led forces have been trying hard for several months now to win control over the coastal regions near the waterway.

On February 24, the Yemeni army missiles targeted and destroyed another Saudi-led warship in the Red Sea in al-Mukha coastal waters.

"The missile fired by the army and popular forces destroyed the Saudi warship in al-Mukha coastal waters as it was heading towards the al-Faza coastal region in al-Hudayda province," Arabic-language media outlets quoted a military source as saying.

The military source reiterated that the Saudi vessel was the 10th of its kind sinking in waters offshore Yemen in the last six months.

On December 28, the Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi-led coalition warship in al-Mukha coast.

On December 11, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

On December 5, the Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi-led coalition warship in al-Mukha coast.

On November 25, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait.

On November 15, Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi-led coalition warship in al-Mukha coast.

On November 7, Yemeni forces fired rockets at a Saudi-led coalition warship and destroyed it near al-Mukha coast.

On October 25, the Yemeni forces hit and destroyed another Saudi warship in Bab al-Mandab Strait

On October 11, another ship which belonged to the Egyptian army and named al-Mahrousa was destroyed by Yemeni missiles in the coastal waters near al-Mukha coast.

On October 9, Yemeni army and popular forces also fired missiles at a Saudi warship, and destroyed it in Bab al-Mandab Strait.

The warship was wrecked off the Southwestern coast of Yemen, in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000721

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Nearly 5,200 US Soldiers to Participate in Mosul Operation

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The addition of more than 600 troops in the coming weeks will bring the force management level to 5,262 US troops that will participate in the upcoming battle to capture the strategic city of Mosul in Nineveh province from the ISIL group.

Some 5,262 US troops will be in place to support Iraqi forces in the upcoming battle to capture the city of Mosul from the ISIL, the US Army said in a press release on Friday.

"The addition of more than 600 additional troops in the coming weeks will bring the force management level to 5,262 US troops," Director of US Department of Defense Press Operations Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.

The US official, while most specific locations cannot be released for security reasons, identified two air bases, Al-Asad Air Base and Qayyarah Air Base, where the American troops will be sent with specific missions.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Friday that his country's armed forces are now in the final stage of the operation for liberating the city of Mosul.

He reiterated that Iraq's joint military forces are in full coordination with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, has been controlled by the ISIL group since 2014. Iraqi forces backed by popular forces are currently preparing an assault to liberate the strategic city.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000274

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Iran Defuses Several Terrorist Plots

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of Iran's Law Enforcement Police Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari said his forces have foiled plans by the Takfiri terrorists and anti-revolutionaries to stir insecurity in the Eastern parts of the country.

"Police has so far foiled attempts by Takfiri terrorists and counterrevolutionary groups to infiltrate into the country by trespassing the Eastern borders," Ashtari said on Saturday.

He underlined that there had been some terrorist moves along the country's borders, which had been defused by the country's border guards vigilantly.

The police chief declined to reveal any further detail.

On Thursday, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli blasted Saudi Arabia for sponsoring terrorists in the Eastern parts of Iran.

"The arrogant powers are looking for unpleasant incidents in Iran and they spend a lot of money in this regard; Saudi Arabia is providing financial, logistic and intelligence support for terrorists in Eastern Iran," Rahmani Fazli said.

Over the past several months, the Iranian security forces have engaged in clashes with terrorist groups and while foiling their terrorist plots along the borders and inside the country killed several of them and arrested many others, confiscating large amounts of explosives and bomb-making materials.

In June, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said members of a terrorist group captured in the city of Khash in the country’s Sistan and Balouchestan Province had acknowledged to receiving the US and Saudi support.

Commander of IRGC Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said at the time that Washington and Riyadh were attempting to organize and reinforce terrorist groups and counter-revolutionary elements in Iran.

In early September, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi blasted Saudi Arabia for spreading the Wahhabism ideology in a bid to increase the terrorist and extremist activities in the Middle East.

"The world has come to learn that Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism, the radical ideology freely preached in the Arab country, are to blame for the violent acts of extremism in the Middle East region and elsewhere," Qassemi said.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman reiterated that Saudi Arabia’s attempts to cover up its role in the spread of terrorism and extremism in the region have failed.

"Despite Saudi Arabia’s constant attempts to hide such realities as its involvement in the world’s most horrific terrorist operation and child-killing in Yemen by using petrodollars, today, the world has well learned that the source of these scourges is the Saudi regime and the fake ideology of Wahhabism, which is the basis for the country’s political livelihood,” Qassemi added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000803

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Moscow Is Still Open for Dialogue with US on Syria

October 1, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry by telephone on Friday that Russia was ready to consider additional possibilities to normalize the situation in Aleppo.

The Russian side stressed its readiness to consider additional possibilities of normalizing the situation in Aleppo jointly with the US partners, Tass reported.

In response to the (US) Secretary of State’s call to stop the counter terrorism operation in Aleppo with an aim to resume the cessation of military hostilities regime, Lavrov said that the rebels entrenched in the Eastern part of the city, who were controlled by Jebhat al-Nusra [Fatah Al-Sham Front] had violated the truce, which was established by the September 12 Russian-US ceasefire deal, many times. They are hindering the delivery of relief aid threatening to attack UN convoys, Lavrov added.

It was emphasized that numerous two-day or three-day pauses in fighting which used to be announced in the past had been used by the al-Nusra Front to regroup its forces.

"A week ago, the Russian side urged the United States to live up to its commitment, which Washington undertook as early as in February this year, to separate ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition from terrorist units but that has not been done over the past seven months," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The inaction on this thorny issue allows the Jebhat al-Nusra Front to cover itself with armed opposition units with whom Washington cooperates. But in reality, many of these opposition units have never accepted the Russian-US ceasefire agreements and have practically merged with terrorists.

"The need to make the opposition stop sabotaging the United Nations decision to hold the inter-Syrian talks was re-emphasized once again," the Russian Foreign Ministry said after the Lavrov-Kerry conversation.

Lavrov added that Russia remained open to dialogue with the United States on key problems of the Syrian settlement.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950710000440

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Pakistan

At the time of India’s surgical strikes, mortar shells fired by Iran into Pakistan’s Balochistan

October 1, 2016

Islamabad: Iran border guards on Thursday fired three mortar shells into Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, triggering panic among the local population.

“Mortar shells fired by Iranian border guards landed in the district of Panjgoor,” a provincial government official said.

Two of the shells landed near Frontier Corps check-post, while the third landed at Killi Karim Dad, the Dawn quoted the official as saying.

No property or human loss was reported in the shelling.

Locals panicked as a result of the attack, and Frontier Corps personnel reached the site to initiate investigations.

Security forces tightened security at the border after the incident.

Pakistan shares a 900-kilometre porous border with Iran and the two countries in 2014 decided to boost intelligence coordination to wipe out terrorists from the border region.

Source: siasat.com/news/time-indias-surgical-strikes-mortar-shells-fired-iran-pakistans-balochistan-1032013/

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Every Pakistani is not coward like Nawaz Sharif: Imran Khan to Modi

October 1, 2016

Lahore: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Friday night offered an olive branch to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying Pakistanis are ready for friendship as war between two nuclear powers is no solution to any problem.

“We want peace. We are ready for friendship if you (Modi) are willing. I offer you peace as war is no solution to problems,” Imran said while addressing a big rally here.

When I met Modi in India I told him that a small group of people may try to derail peace process between India and Pakistan. But When Uri incident took place, India blamed Pakistan without investigation and Modi started hurling threats at Pakistan,” the Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf chief said.

Imran called on Modi not to talk about stopping water and surgical strikes, saying Pakistan is united and standing behind its army against any aggression.

Addressing Modi, Imran said every Pakistani is not coward like Nawaz Sharif.

“Nawaz Sharif has great love for money. In United Nations General Assembly Sharif reluctantly made pro-Kashmiri speech. Modi said Nawaz Sharif had not wanted to make that speech but he did so on the pressure of army chief Gen Raheel Sharif,” Imran said.

Imran warned that India would bear more loss and stated that Modi’s dream of “shining India” might never be fulfilled if it chooses war over peace with Pakistan.

“We will continue our moral and political support to Kashmiris for their freedom struggle. We will raise our voice even for Hindus and Christians if they are denied their rights,” he said.

Taking about Sharif, Imran said he would not allow the Premier to run the government after the month of Muharram if his and his family off-shore holdings are not probed.

“The time of Nawaz Sharif is over. He has to go. It is our misfortune that Nawaz Sharif is our Prime Minister. Make him Britain’s premier he will destroy Britain in five years as he destroys institutions first,” he said.

Imran said this was his last rally to pressure Sharif to present himself for accountability in his corruption revealed in Panama Papers.

“Now after (Islamic month of) Muharram we will block Islamabad and will not allow Nawaz Sharif to run his government. Corruption money has weakened Nawaz Sharif. Sharif has committed four crimes — corruptions, onceal assets, tax evasion and money laundering. He should be made accountable for looting Pakistan and transferring huge money abroad,” Imran said.

Source: siasat.com/news/every-pakistani-not-coward-nawaz-sharif-imran-khan-modi-1032220/

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Biometric registration of over 100,216 Afghan refugees carried out

Oct 1, 2016

RAWALPINDI: The biometric registration of over 100,216 Afghan refugees has been completed in Punjab under the National Action Plan (NAP), and law enforcement agencies are continuing further work in this regard.

According to a senior police official, the biometric verification of Afghan refugees began in January 2015, after new legislation was promulgated by the government, and further work is still underway.

Under the biometric system, an individual’s fingerprints are obtained in order to verify his or her identity and information.

“Under the biometric system, which is linked to Nadra, it is easier to verify the identity of an individual or any foreign national who has been residing in the country illegally,” the senior police official said.

He said in addition to the Federal Investigation Agency, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab and the police department also use biometrics to verify a person’s identity.

“During search operations, which are continuing in various parts of the province under NAP, individuals’ identities are verified by the police and CTD, and reports are sent to the concerned authorities on a regular basis.

If anybody is found with a fake ID or an illegal immigrant is staying in Pakistan, the relevant authorities take appropriate action against him,” he said.

He claimed hundreds of Afghan nationals were staying in parts of the Rawalpindi division illegally, including in Attock district.

He said a number of people with fake identification were located during search operations and reports were sent to the concerned authorities.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287229/biometric-registration-of-over-100216-afghan-refugees-carried-out

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Punjab police save teenage Christian from lynching

Saturday, 1 October 2016

PAKISTAN: Punjab police save teenage Christian from lynching

Though incidents of accusation of blasphemy are on the rise, it is heartening to note that the police attitude has improved remarkably in handling such cases. Thanks to the incessant and relentless lobbying and advocacy by civil society and rights organizations, the tide has begun to turn in favor of marginalized religious minorities, especially in cases where blasphemy is alleged. In a recent example, the police in Kasur District have taken a 16-year boy in safe custody to protect him from mob violence, customary in almost all cases where blasphemy is alleged. The teenage Christian boy, Nabeel Masih, has been accused of sharing and liking a blasphemous picture of Islam’s holiest site Khan-e Kaaba, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Masih, resident of Chak 66, Dina Nath Village, Kasur District of Punjab Province, 48 km southwest of Lahore, was friends with a Muslim, Mr. Akhtat Ali. On September 18, Ali, along with his friends Bakht Khan and Saddam opened Nabeel Masih's Facebook profile; there was a picture therein, allegedly posted and liked by Nabeel, where the Kaaba was defamed and disrespected. The picture was photo-shopped to show the picture of a pig atop Khan-e Kaaba. Ali immediately filed a case of blasphemy at Police Station Bhai Pheru.

On the same day, Nabeel was arrested and charged under Pakistan’s infamous Blasphemy law, under Section 295/ 295A of Pakistan’s Penal Code. The police at Bhai Peru have not submitted the Initial Investigation Report to the Magistrate’s Court while Masih has been in custody. Muhammad Hussain, the investigating police officer (IO), confirmed the arrest and told media that Masih was lodged in a police cell.

According to the Inspector Shahbaz Ahmad Dogar, Station House Officer (SHO) of the Police Station in Phoolnagar, Masih has been sent to judicial remand right away, in order to save him from the extrajudicial killing or any harm. Incidentally, the police have taken down the offensive image from the Facebook page to stem escalation of violence in the area.

According to a team investigating the matter it is a mischief of Masih’s friends that shared a derogatory picture of Holy Kabba with his friends, to show them that what somebody has done to the sacred place, whereas some of Masih’s friends have held him responsible.

Massih works at a local cooking oil factory; his father is a worker at a poultry farm and is about to retire. One of Nabeel’s brothers, Wakeel, got seriously injured few months ago in the monsoon season. He was suffered burns due to electric shock at his workplace. Muslim co-workers and the in-charge forced him to clean an area under the transformers and he got severe shock and is lucky to have survived.

The team investigating the case has also observed that Masih is a reasonable boy; a teenager, he is well behaved and respectful when compared to boys of his age. He never mocked or made fun of anyone’s religion or even otherwise he has never done any mischief to hurt the feelings of others.

In the absence of the rule of law, mob violence in cases of blasphemy is sadly a common occurrence in Pakistan. In 2014, a mob in Gujranwala District of Punjab burned down houses of the Ahmadi community after blasphemous material was allegedly posted by an Ahmadi youth on the social networking website Facebook. A woman and her two children were burnt to death by the charged mob. As of now, Pakistan has 19 convicts on death row for blasphemy.

Extremist vigilantes see it as their duty to punish the person suspected of blasphemy. Extremists have murdered over fifty people accused of blasphemy on their release from custody (at least 15 of them Christians). Two judges have also been murdered. Even lawyers who defend those accused of blasphemy face threats.

Minority Rights Group International, a watchdog organization, has ranked Pakistan as the world’s top country for major increase in threats to minorities since 2007. The Group also lists Pakistan as seventh on the list of 10 most dangerous countries for minorities, after Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, and Congo.

The civil society and rights organizations have played an active role in calling for the repeal of the draconian blasphemy law and have been proactively highlighting cases of abuse of the law. In several cases, the law has been used as an excuse to deprive the minority community of their property and assets. Several NGOs are working for the uplift and protection of the minority in Pakistan. They also hold sensitization workshops specifically designed for the law enforcement agencies particularly the police. The results in Punjab Province, where most of the cases of blasphemy occur, are encouraging.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) sees the change in police attitude as a step in the right direction by the State to ensure rights, liberty and lives of minorities are protected and is pleased to see that the hard work of civil society in this regard has finally borne fruit.

The investigation officials of Punjab police should be applauded for their effort in controlling the potentially lethal situation while ensuring that the victim’s live is saved. It is hoped that the police shall continue to act responsibly and neutrally in all such cases.

It is also hoped that one day the accused in such cases can be protected without their having to be imprisoned. This, however, will take a transformation in the operation of justice institutions. Once institutions begin to uphold justice, mob violence will naturally die down.

Source: scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1610/S00004/pakistan-punjab-police-save-teenage-christian-from-lynching.htm

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CTD inactive in interior of Sindh for want of resources, says IGP

Oct 1, 2016

HYDERABAD: Sindh Inspector General of Police A. D. Khowaja has said that counter-terrorism department (CTD) could not be activated in the interior of Sindh for want of resources and logistics. The process of recruiting ASIs and constables for the department was, however, under way, he said.He was briefing journalists about the proceedings of a meeting of senior police officers he chaired in the office of the Hyderabad traffic DIG on Friday. The meeing reviewed the arrangements being made for peace and security in Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas divisions during Muharram, he said.

“The CTD is not active in the interior of Sindh because its units have not been established there. We don’t have accommodations and the staff available to us,” he told a questioner when his attention was drawn to the practice of sending CTD investigators from Karachi whenever an act of terrorism would occur in the interior of Sindh. Now, he said, 1,000 constables and 500 ASIs are to be appointed and with this additional strength, CTD units would be activated there.

The IGP rated Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Jacobabad and Shikarpur as the “highly sensitive” and a few more “sensitive” areas from the point of view of terrorism during Muharram, and said the rating was based on intelligence reports as well as the interrogation and profile of arrested suspects.

He said that various intelligence agencies used to share the information received by them to ensure coordinated efforts against terrorism. In the identified districts, personnel of police and other law-enforcement agencies might also be targeted by terrorists.

“Rangers will be there to assist the Sindh police as per the Muharram security plan while the army will also remain standby and may be called in on the provincial government’s request,” he said.

Regarding the Sept 13 [Eidul Azha] incident in Khanpur town of Shikarpur district, where a suicide bomber blew himself up after being noticed and and another one was arrested, the IGP said that their handlers/facilitators were believed to be in Afghanistan and Balochistan. “That’s why the Sindh government is in touch with the Balochistan chief minister,” he said, adding that the Sindh police were fully prepared to face any eventuality.

IGP Khowaja told journalists that the Sindh government was considering a scheme of installing CCTV cameras in a phased manner at a cost of Rs10 billion for which technical assistance was being sought.

He said the Sindh police did not have adequate strength, and suggested that around 20,000 personnel were required to be recruited.

Meanwhile, the IGP met Ali Hassan Solangi — a policeman who was brutalised by some people in 2008 in Hyderabad in the backdrop of a dispute relating to the 2005 local bodies election. The Sindh police chief promised Rs500,000 assistance for him in addition to Rs300,000 incurred on his medical treatment.

Solangi’s tormentors had thrown acid in eyes, cut his both hands from wrist-joint and fired a burst on his legs. He is bed-ridden and has become blind.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287138/ctd-inactive-in-interior-of-sindh-for-want-of-resources-says-igp

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Misadventure by adversary to meet befitting response: COAS

Oct 1, 2016

LAHORE: Expressing satisfaction over preparedness of the army, Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif said on Friday that the highest state of vigil was being maintained along the Line of Control (LoC), Working Boun­d­ary and the international border.

“Any misadventure by our adversary will meet the most befitting response from Pakistan. Pakistan can’t be coerced through any amount of malicious propaganda,” he said during a visit to the Combat Reaction Training facility, established recently in the vicinity of Lahore Garrison.

Gen Sharif’s statement came amid heightening tensions between Pakistan and India that seem to have peaked in the wake of claims of cross-LoC surgical strikes by India. Pakistan has rejected the claims.

According to an ISPR press release issued here, the army chief exhorted all formation commanders to lay more emphasis on combat readiness, saying that training in peacetime is the only guarantor of winning a war, if imposed.

Earlier, accompanied by Lahore Corps Commander Lt Gen Sadiq Ali, the COAS inaugurated the junior campus of the Lahore Garrison Academy, and attended its first assembly.

It was a special occasion as Gen Sharif had studied at the same school from 1967 to 1972.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287277/misadventure-by-adversary-to-meet-befitting-response-coas

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Summary sent to Presidency for joint session of parliament

Oct 1, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The government has sent a summary to the Presidency seeking President Mamnoon Hussain’s approval for holding a joint session of parliament to discuss the issue of ‘surgical strikes’ by Indian forces across the Line of Control (LoC).

“The Presidency has been intimated about the joint session through a summary sent by the Prime Minister Office,” a source in the Presidency told Dawn on Friday.

Although Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has categorically denied any surgical strike by Indian forces, escalating tension on the LoC compelled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce that the joint session of parliament would be held on Wednesday.

“The Joint session of Parliament will be convened on Wednesday to reaffirm the national resolve for safeguarding the sovereignty and preserving the territorial integrity of the motherland against any external or internal threat as well as reiterating the moral, political, and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir,” Prime Minister Sharif said.

A day before the joint session, a meeting of the National Security Committee will be held in which all chief ministers will take part to discuss the emerging scenario across the LoC and also in Kashmir.

Talking to Dawn, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah said that not only the violation of LoC by Indian forces would be discussed in the joint session the opposition would also raise the issue of what he called complete failure of the government’s foreign policy which had left Pakistan isolated across the world.

“We believe that the government’s foreign policy has completely failed and it should be revisited,” the opposition leader said.

He said the postponement of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) conference was actually the failure of the government’s foreign policy.

It has already been questioned in political circles why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has kept the charge of the foreign ministry and why the portfolio of a foreign minister has not been given to any of his cabinet member.

Replying to this question, Information Minister Pervez Rashid told a private TV channel that seasoned politician Sartaj Aziz had been performing this duty as adviser to the prime minister on foreign affairs. Besides, he said, another foreign affairs expert Tariq Fatemi was serving the prime minister as his special assistant.

He said that both Mr Aziz and Mr Fatemi were part of the prime minister’s foreign policy team which always took decisions after a thorough discussion and after reviewing the overall external situation.

Source: dawn.com/news/1287286/summary-sent-to-presidency-for-joint-session-of-parliament

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North America

Michigan Township to Pay $1.7 Million to Islamic School for Banning Its Construction

01.10.2016

A Michigan township will pay an Islamic school $1.7 million as part of a settlement reached after a majority of the planning commission voted against a Muslim group's request to build the facility.

Earlier this week, Pittsfield Township agreed to pay the sum of $1.7 million and allow the Michigan Islamic Academy to begin construction of a 70,000-square-foot school.

Pittsfield agreed to the settlement which was reached after two lawsuits were filed against it by the U.S. Justice Department and the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In a statement released Thursday, CAIR-MI said the settlement is one of the largest ever settled based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.

"We welcome the settlement with Pittsfield Township and hope the outcome of this case will serve as a deterrent to other municipalities throughout the country seeking to deny Muslim institutions the right to build or expand their facilities on the basis of religion," stated CAIR-MI Legal Director Lena Masri.

In August 2011, the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission rejected in a vote of 3-2 a request by the Islamic Academy to build a school in the area.

"About 125 residents attended and about 50 spoke during public comment. Most of those opposed to the plan stressed that they have no issue with the school being Islamic, but said their concerns centered around traffic, children's safety and the school being inconsistent with the master plan," the Ann Arbor News reported in 2011.

Later in October 2011, the Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to affirm the recommendation from the planning commission to reject the rezoning request of the Islamic Academy.

In February 2012, the Islamic Academy and CAIR filed a lawsuit against Pittsfield in district court, accusing the Township of violating their religious liberty under RLUIPA.

The Justice Department eventually filed a suit against Pittsfield in October 2015, with U.S. District Attorney Barbara McQuade writing in a statement that they filed the lawsuit "to protect the right of all Americans to practice their religion and receive the religious instruction and education of their choice."

"This complaint alleges that Pittsfield Township denied the Michigan Islamic Academy's request to build a school in violation of that law," continued McQuade.

"The law prohibits the government from imposing land use regulations that substantially burden religious exercise unless there is a compelling government interest and uses the least restrictive means of doing so."

Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal said in a statement earlier this week that the board's decision to reach a settlement on the two lawsuits does not mean that the Township admits to wrongdoing.

"The township and the board of trustees emphatically deny any wrongdoing, discrimination or violation of law," stated Grewal, as published Thursday by the Detroit News.

"The township's position from the beginning was and continues to be about protecting existing residents in this region from land uses that were not originally envisioned when they purchased their homes."

Source: christianpost.com/news/michigan-township-pay-1-7-million-islamic-school-banning-construction-170313/

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Is America Ready For Hillary Clinton's 'Shariah Advisor' In The White House?

01.10.2016

Some have expressed concern that Bill Clinton might be back in the White House, this time as the first gentleman.

But as worried as they might be, at least Bill isn't a supporter of Shariah law. We wonder if we can say the same thing about the person who will be one of Hillary's chief, if not top, advisor.

Huma Abedin has been called Hillary's "shadow" by Politico. Hillary has said if she had a second daughter, it would be Abedin. She has been with the Democratic presidential candidate since 1996, when Hillary was first lady.

Abedin has followed Clinton through her years as a U.S. senator from New York and was by her side when Hillary was wrecking America's foreign relations and making a mess in the Middle East as secretary of state. While deputy chief of staff to Clinton at State, Abedin also worked for the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm that does business with international business titans.

Today, Abedin is ranked third in the Clinton presidential campaign hierarchy. If Hillary is elected, Abedin will surely have an office in the West Wing where she will use her formidable influence on Clinton to shape administration policy.

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Just as Abedin has trailed Clinton for two decades, a serious question has trailed Abedin: Is she sympathetic to radical Islamists and a proponent of Shariah law in the U.S.? This question isn't asked because she's a practicing Muslim and speaks fluent Arabic. It's due to her family ties.

Four years ago, five congressman sent a letter to the State Department inspector general, charging that Abedin's father, mother and brother were associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered a terrorist organization by several nations, though not the U.S. The letter cited "a personal intervention by Secretary Clinton that allowed a prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader, Tariq Ramadan, to enter the United States — overturning a policy of the previous administration that precluded him from doing so."

A former federal prosecutor also noticed that U.S. policy "radically shifted in the Brotherhood's favor" while Abedin was in the State Department.

For their efforts, the five U.S. lawmakers were treated as cranks by the Democrats and media. But were they on to something? That's unknown. The story essentially died. The legacy media couldn't be expected to dig into it because it might cast one of their own — a Democrat — in a poor light.

We do know some things, though, and one of them is that Abedin's late father, Syed Abedin, was a firm defender of Shariah law. A video from a 1971 interview that has recently surfaced shows Syed, a Muslim scholar, discussing Islam's "hostile" response to the West's involvement in the Middle East. He seems to also argue that Shariah law must be enforced by national governments in Muslim countries.

Huma's mother, Saleha Abedin, also has an interesting history. She was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a Shariah law periodical, from 1995 to 2008. Paul Sperry, a former IBD bureau chief, reported last month in the New York Post that Huma worked "for her mother's journal through 2008. She is listed as 'assistant editor' on the masthead of the 2002 issue in which her mother suggested the U.S. was doomed to be attacked on 9/11 because of 'sanctions' it leveled against Iraq and other 'injustices' allegedly heaped on the Muslim world."

Huma's brother, Hassan, is also an editor at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.

Huma's mother's sketchy ties don't end on those pages. Kenneth R. Timmerman, a former Republican congressional candidate and current Donald Trump supporter, wrote last month in The Hill that Saleha "sits on the Presidency Staff Council of the International Islamic Council for Da'wa and Relief, a group that is chaired by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi."

Huma's father had his own Muslim Brotherhood connection, says former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. And it wasn't tenuous.

"There is persuasive evidence," he wrote in 2012 in PJ Media, "that her father was a member of the Brotherhood."

One can imagine the shape of the conversations around the Abedin dinner table. Huma must be steeped in the twisted ideas that drive Islam's hostility toward the West. Could it plausibly be any other way?

Of course the mainstream media don't care much. They see it as their job to get Clinton elected, no matter who she has hitched herself to.

Imagine, though, the media response if it turned out that the mother of one of Trump's high-ranking advisors had been a member of a group of harmless old ladies who met now and then to honor the Confederate dead and tend to their graves. There would be an inquisition. That person would be drummed out of her position and have to go into hiding. The issue would become a truncheon used to club Trump whenever the campaign-media complex needed it.

But anyone associated with Hillary Clinton is an angel who should never be held up to scrutiny, no matter what their family ties are.

Source: investors.com/politics/commentary/is-america-ready-for-hillary-clintons-shariah-advisor-in-the-white-house/

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South Asia

Karzai endorses India for conducting surgical strike on militants

Sat Oct 01 2016

hamid-karzaiThe former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has endorsed India’s step to conduct surgica strike on militants hideouts which was reportedly conducted in Pakistan administered Kashmir.

During a meeting with the Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra, the former Afghan President said the strike was justified in a bid to defend their country.

Karzai further added that Afghanistan understands the value of such strikes more than anyone else since Afghanistan has been victim of terrorism for long.

He slammed the United States for the lack of action to Afghanistan’s pleas to target the terrorists hideouts located outside the country, emphasizing that no action was taken by US to eliminate terror safe havens.

India on Thursday claimed that a surgical strike was carried out by the Indian forces in Pakistan adiministered Kashmir to eliminate the launch pads of terrorists.

The strike followed days after a deadly attack on an Indian military base in Kashmir that left at least 18 Indian soldiers dead.

The Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for remaining reckless to act against the Afghan militants based in Pakistan.

The officials are saying that the Taliban group leadership as well as the leadership council of the notorious Haqqani terrorist network are based in Pakistan from where they plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com/karzai-endorses-india-for-conducting-surgical-strike-on-militants-01980

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Commandos likely killed in Afghan Air Force raid, coalition forces reject role

Sat Oct 01 2016

The commandos of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces were likely killed in an airstrike conducted by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) as the coalition forces rejected role in the raid.

A security source said the airstrike was likely conducted by the Afghan Air Force in Bala Bolok district that claimed lives of 5 commandos and a policeman.

“I can confirm that there were no U.S. airstrikes in Farah province in the last seven days,” a source in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said.

Earlier a security official in Farah province said the commando forces were killed in an airstrike conducted by the US forces in Afghanistan.

The alleged remark by the provincial security source came as the US forces conducted a US airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province last week, leaving at least 15 civilians dead.

The airstrike was conducted to eliminate the loyalists of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) terrorist group operating in Nangarhar.

The US forces in Afghanistan slammed the loyalists of the terror group for using the civilians as shield and disguising in women’s dress in a bid to escape the raids.

The US forces in Afghanistan resumed airstrikes against the Taliban militants and ISIS loyalists earlier in this year after the Obama administration granted broader role to the US forces to target the militants amid deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com/commandos-likely-killed-in-afghan-air-force-raid-coalition-forces-reject-role-01985

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US airstrike allegedly claimed lives of 5 Afghan special forces

Sat Oct 01 2016

At least five soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) commando forces lost their lives in an airstrike allegedly carried out by the US forces in Afghanistan.

The airstrike was reportedly carried out in western Farah province of Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the other insurgent groups are actively operating.

A security official speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed that 4 Afghan commandos were martyred in the airstrike conducted in Bala Bolok district.

The source further added that the commandos were busy planning an operation against the militants when they were targeted in the airstrike.

The district administrative chief Mullah Syed Mohammad confirmed the airstrike but did not elaborate further regarding the casualties of the Afghan commandos.

The latest airstrike allegedly claiming lives of 5 Afghan commandos comes as at least 15 civilians were killed in a similar airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) confirmed the civilian casualties and condemned it while calling on involved parties to take necessary measures to ensure protection of civilians.

The United States Forces in Afghanistan in however blamed the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group for using the civilians as shield and disguising themselves among the ordinary civilians besides hiding in women’s dressing to escape the counter-terrorism operations.

Source: khaama.com/us-airstrike-allegedly-claimed-lives-of-5-afghan-special-forces-01983

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Angelina Jolie likely to star in Afghanistan drama ‘Shoot Like a Girl’

Sat Oct 01 2016

The famous American film star Angelina Jolie is likely to star in a movie based on the story of a female US Air Force Major who served for three tours in Afghanistan, it has been reported.

The actress is in early talks for the film ‘Shoot Like a Girl’ which is an adaptation of Air Force Major Mary Jennings Hegar’s “Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front.”

The book follows Hegar’s experience as a member of the armed forces, serving three tours as a helicopter rescue pilot conducting search and rescue missions in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, which earned her a Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross, according to the local newspaper, the Wrap.

Back at home, she successfully took on the Department of Defense and helped overturn the Combat Exclusion Policy, which banned women from combat positions.

The book is scheduled to be released on March 7, 2017 by Berkley Caliber, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Jolie is in negotiations to play Hegar in the film.

This will be the second film for Angelina Jolie based on Afghanistan after ‘The Breadwinner’ film depict the life of a young Afghan girl which putss into the screen the courage of the girl who disguises herself as a boy to become the breadwinner of her family.

The Breadwinner movie will be based on the novel of Deborah Ellis and will be titled “The Breadwinner” which will tell the story of a young girl named Parvana, who lives in the reign of Taliban in Afghanistan.

Source: khaama.com/angelina-jolie-likely-to-star-in-afghanistan-drama-shoot-like-a-girl-01979

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Speaker aims to unite faithful, raise awareness, heal division on local Reconciliation Day

9/30/16

The refrain is painfully too familiar today to one peacemaker committed to some sense of unity.

So the Rev. Shanta Premawardhana cringes when he sees or hears a perspective of exclusivity that says, “My belief is right. And yours is wrong.”

Bringing together people at polar opposite ends of an issue into a spirit of reconciliation is the specialty and the mission of the 64-year-old, Chicago-based Christian seminaries leader. He will aim to do precisely that when he opens the local 2016 Reconciliation Day observance from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Donner Center, 739 22nd St. in Columbus.

“What we try to do, for example, is bring the issue of religion to its roots,” Premawardhana said, speaking by phone while traveling in New York. “We have to realize that, when it comes to Christianity, the values of Jesus were very different than the values that many Christians espouse today.”       

He last spoke in Columbus in 2006.

“This is not necessarily about solutions,” said Christine Lemley, among the leaders of Interfaith Forum of Columbus, which organized the event with the support of IUPUC. “This is about process and becoming more aware (of problems) to better take responsibility.

“So I think there will be consciousness raised.”

She outlined those challenges as racism, political polarity, tension between various faiths, struggles of groups such as the local LGBT population and social justice issues, obstacles created by growing poverty and related issues.

Premawardhana, an Alliance of Baptists member, is president of Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education. Previously, he served as director for interreligious dialogue and cooperation at the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, and as associate general secretary for interfaith relations at the National Council of Churches of Christ in New York.

In his post with the national council, he became familiar with the efforts of J. Irwin Miller, Columbus native and former Cummins Engine Co. executive who helped found the organization and also served as its first lay president in the early 1960s. Among other issues, Miller openly fought racism and segregation nationally and internationally even when it might have cost Cummins business.

“What a great example of reconciliation,” Premawardhana said emphatically. “He provided large support for the civil rights movement. We still hold him in very high regard.”

The native of Sri Lanka understands pluralism enough that he earned a doctorate in phenomenology of religions, with a specialty in Hinduism and Christianity. He said people today must learn to view issues at least briefly from others’ perspective in order to build bridges of understanding.

“For me, reconciliation means the ability to listen to and hear the other person’s values and be able to suspend judgment while standing in their shoes to look at something from their perspective.”

— The Rev. Premawardhana Shanta Premawardhana, president of Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education

Premawardhana knows how challenging this can be. He and a team of people are working now in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the wake of a police shooting and killing of a black resident. They also have done the same work in places such as Nigeria, where militant Islamists have pushed to try to create an Islamic state.

“I do not want to appear unduly optimistic or unrealistic,” he said, emphasizing that he encourages people to practice listening skills in small group settings. “The best learning happens when you allow others to teach people in a small-group setting.”

He has closely followed growing national figures showing an increasing percentage of Americans affiliated with no church — and seems hardly surprised. Figures from agencies such as the Barna Group and also Pew Research bear out this trend.

“Often, people today are fed up with organized religion,” he said. “They feel alienated and disconnected from religion. Often, people think about religion now as bigoted, and relating more to the past century than in this century. And they feel it no longer makes sense anymore.

“And it seems that many of those still pursuing religion are going to extreme religions, whether that’s in the fundamentalist Christian tradition or the radical Islamic tradition. So, then a huge divide is developing.

“Sadly, we are losing the middle group, the moderate religious institutions.”

Source:therepublic.com/2016/10/01/minister_speaker_to_help_heal_division_on_local_reconciliation_day_oct_4/

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Africa

Somalia accuses US over airstrike that killed 13 soldiers

September 30, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The Somali government has accused U.S. forces of carrying out an airstrike earlier this week which killed 13 Somali soldiers.

The Somali government on Thursday demanded an explanation from the U.S. for the airstrike, expressing concerns that American forces may have acted on a false tipoff from the rival, semi-autonomous Puntland state.

The confusion over who launched the attack in the early hours of Wednesday deepened after the Pentagon denied it targeted Somali forces but said it did carry out an airstrike in the same area that killed nine Islamic extremist fighters from al-Shabab.

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Photos of the aftermath of the attack showed the burned out shells of two armored vehicles and bodies burned beyond recognition. The bodies, covered in white shrouds, were later buried outside Galkayo town, as hundreds of mourners protested the attack and vowed retaliation for the soldiers' deaths. Galkayo is a town divided between the rival states of Puntland and Galmudug.

"We believe that such behavior will not serve the positive spirit and energy of fighting terrorism," said a statement from the Galmudug administration. It asked the U.S. for an apology and compensation for the victims. The Galmudug state also warned that the strike would divert attention from fighting Islamic extremism to a political rivalry, apparently with its rival Puntland state.

In an earlier airstrike the U.S. killed four al-Shabab extremists on Monday. The attack was conducted after extremists launched attacks on Somali troops and their U.S. advisers on Monday near the port city of Kismayo, the U.S. Africa command said in a statement.

U.S. forces have carried out several airstrikes in Somalia in recent years, killing many al-Shabab leaders. The extremist group is now mostly active in rural regions but continues to launch lethal attacks in many parts of this Horn of Africa nation, including the capital.

Source: stripes.com/news/middle-east/2.1198/somalia-accuses-us-over-airstrike-that-killed-13-soldiers-1.431810

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123 militants killed in joint military offensive by Chad and Niger forces

October 1, 2016

At least 123 Boko Haram militants are reported to be killed during a three-month operation by Chad and Niger military forces. Niger's defence ministry said on Friday (30 September) that it also recovered a significant number of weapons from the militants. The offensive against the Islamist group was launched by the two African countries in July after a surprise attack by the militants killed at least 30 Niger troops in June. It was dubbed as Boko Haram's deadliest-ever attack in the country.

Colonel Moustapha Ledru, Niger's defence ministry spokesperson told the country's state television on Friday that "123 terrorists had been killed, two fighters were captured and a large quantity of arms recovered from the insurgents."

He added that in their operation to combat the Nigerian insurgent group, 14 troops from the Chad and Niger military were also killed and 39 suffered injuries between July and September.

In a separate offensive involving forces from the Nigerian army, the troops have reportedly recaptured four strategic localities from the Boko Haram militant group. One of it is Nigeria's north-eastern Borno State. Its insurgency in the African nation is thought to have killed thousands of civilians, and left more than 2.4 million displaced since 2009.

The eliminated militants are reported to have infiltrated into Diffa region on the north-eastern border of Nigeria. According to the Nigerian website Naij.com, refugees from Nigeria who had to flee the Boko Haram insurgency, take shelter in the Diffa region. It cited a UN report as saying that the local population of Diffa are the poorest people on earth living in the least developed region in Africa.

Boko Haram rebranded itself as Islamic State's West African Province (Iswap) and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis) terror group in 2015. It is said to be waging a guerrilla war to form a separate Islamic caliphate in the African countries around the Lake Chad region, where Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad meet.

Nigeria Borno malnutrition Lake Chad

On 25 September, a man purported to be the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, released a video on social media in which he reportedly taunted the Nigerian army for claiming it fatally shot him during its offensive in August. Shekau asserted he was in good health and issued threats against Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and asked him to release the captured militants in exchange for Chibok school girls.

Over 200 girls were kidnapped by the terror group two years ago. Nigeria has asked for the UN to help in negotiating the release of these girls.

A UN coordinator for humanitarian aid for the region said on Friday (30 September) that tens of thousands of people in Nigeria are dying of hunger as insecurity among farmers has reportedly resulted in them not farming their land.

Source: ibtimes.co.uk/boko-haram-123-militants-killed-joint-military-offensive-by-chad-niger-forces-1584276

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Southeast Asia

Global Islamic Finance Awards 2016 Honour Joko Widodo as the 6th GIFA Laureate

01 October, 2016

Edbiz Consulting organised 6th Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) at Fairmont Hotel, Jakarta, on September 29. President Joko Widodo was the guest of honour and received the prestigious Global Islamic Finance Leadership Award 2016 for his championship role in promoting Islamic banking and finance in Indonesia. “There are only a few leaders in the Muslim world, who have shown 100% commitment to providing Islamic banking and finance a level playing field in their respective countries, and President Jokowi is one of them,” said Professor Humayon Dar, Chairman of GIFA.

The award was presented to President Joko Widodo by Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II of Kano who himself was installed as GIFA Laureate 2015 in Bahrain last year. Since 2011, Edbiz Consulting has honoured heads of governments and states for their leadership roles in Islamic banking and finance. The previous GIFA Laureates include Tun Abdullah Badawi (former Prime Minister of Malaysia), Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, Shaukat Aziz (former Prime Minister of Pakistan), Nursultan Nazarbayev (President of Kazakhstan), and Emir Muhammadu Sanusi of Kano, Nigeria.

Speaking on the occasion, President Joko Widodo reaffirmed his support for Islamic banking and finance and stated, “There are ample opportunities for Islamic finance to play a role in Shari’a tourism and halal industry in Indonesia.” He also informed the delegates that his government would like to make Indonesia as a global hub of Shari’a tourism in which Islamic finance has to play a lead role.

Besides, there were 66 awards presented to Islamic financial institutions and individuals coming from 15 countries of the world. Six market leadership awards were presented to market leaders in different segments. Most notable of these was Market Leadership Award presented to Dubai Islamic Bank. Dr Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank received the award. “We have already committed ourselves to Indonesia by investing in Bank Panin and will continue to develop Islamic banking worldwide,” he stated in a buoyant mood.

There were numerous award winners from the GCC, including Kuwait Finance House, Al Baraka Islamic Bank Bahrain, Mitsubishi UFG Bank Dubai, Deloitte & Touche Middle East, Moody’s Dubai, Islamic Research & Training Institute (a member of the IDB Group), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), and Raqaba.

“The coverage of GIFA is comprehensive, as we include all the industry stakeholders from politicians to academicians that have played leadership roles in their respective fields,” said Dr Sofiza Azmi, CEO of Edbiz Consulting. “Since 2011 when GIFA was founded, the awards programme has come a long way to become the number one Islamic finance awards programme in the world.” She continued.

The awards ceremony was supported by Bank Syariah Mandiri and Omarco, a UK-based group promoting financial inclusion through innovative Islamic financial products. The official host was Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK), which also co-organised with Edbiz Consulting a half-day international conference on Islamic finance.  

Source:zawya.com/mena/en/story/Global_Islamic_Finance_Awards_2016_honour_President_Joko_Widodo_as_the_6th_GIFA_Laureate-ZAWYA20161001073140/

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Fulbright Scholar from Indonesia joins EMU faculty

Friday, Sep. 30, 2016

EMU logoEastern Mennonite University and the Center for Interfaith Engagement welcomes Fulbright Scholar Dr. Syafaatun Almirzanah for the 2016-17 academic year. She is on the faculty of theology in the Department of Religious Studies of State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

An expert in interfaith dialogue and Muslim-Christian relations, Almirzanah has a PhD and master’s degrees in theology from the Lutheran School of Theology, as well as a DMin degree from Catholic Theological Union, all located in Chicago, Illinois. She earned an MA in philosophy and a BA in comparative religions at State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Read Dr. Almirzanah’s op-ed on the true meaning of Eid.

Almirzanah is also sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation, the William and Mary Greve Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Almirzanah was carefully selected to meet the center’s objectives, says CIE Interim Director Trina Trotter Nussbaum, who coordinated the logistics of the year-long application process with former director Ed Martin. CIE administrators sought a scholar of unique qualifications from Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world.

CIE and EMU last hosted visiting scholars in the 2014-5 academic year. Professor Amir Akrami, of Iran, arrived in September 2012, and his wife, Professor Sedigheh (Sheida) Shakouri Rad came the next year. That three-year visiting scholar program was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation of New York City.

Expert in interfaith dialogue

Almirzanah was highly recommended by Professor Emeritus Lawrence Yoder, with whom she had taught a class at her home university in Indonesia, as well as Georgetown University professor John Esposito, founding director of thePrince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Full report at:augustafreepress.com/fulbright-scholar-indonesia-joins-emu-faculty/

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Malaysian cop accused of hiding terror info

OCT 1, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR • The High Court in Kuala Lumpur has ordered a policewoman to enter a defence on a charge of intentionally hiding information related to terrorist activities from the authorities.

The policewoman in question, Corporal Jusninawati Abdul Gani, 35, had knowledge of terrorist activities, a fact established by the prosecution, who proved that she was in the know about a suspicious individual leaving for Syria on Nov 12, 2014, reported Bernama news agency.

However, Jusninawati, who is attached to the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters, did not provide that information, nor subsequent information that she came across, to the police.

She has now been charged with intentional omission of information relating to terrorist acts at the police headquarters between August 2015 and March this year.

"The police's role is to maintain peace and uphold the law. This is clear that as a member of the police force, the accused is bound by law to inform such information to the authorities," observed High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan at yesterday's hearing of the charges.

He subsequently set Nov 10 for Jusninawati to enter her defence.

She has been charged under Section 130M of the Penal Code and faces imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine, or both if found guilty.

Deputy public prosecutor Ezrene Zakariah is the prosecutor in the case. Jusninawati was represented by lawyers Nik Zarith Nik Moustpha and Adi Zulkarnain Zulkafli.

It is not the first incident where Malaysian security personnel have been accused of aiding and abetting terror activities.

According to Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, armed forces personnel suspected to be involved with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) make up 1 per cent of the militants in the country identified by the authorities so far.

Mr Hishammuddin, who was speaking to reporters after launching the 40th Pacific Armies Management Seminar on Monday, did not reveal the exact number of soldiers who have been identified.

In another revelation, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Wednesday that officers of the Eastern Sabah Security Command may have leaked vital information to the Abu Sayyaf terror group in the Philippines, allowing them to launch kidnap-for-ransom attacks in the waters off Sabah.

"We believe money obtained from kidnappings is then channelled to Katibah Nusantara to strengthen its position in South-east Asia and to finance terror activities," he said in reference to a group of Indonesian and Malaysian ISIS-affiliated fighters.

Malaysia's battle against terror heightened last year after it was revealed that national leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Razak, were being targeted.

In April last year, Malaysia enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which gives the authorities the power to detain suspects without trial for two years. In all, 240 suspected terrorists have been detained in Malaysia since late 2013.

Source: straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysian-cop-accused-of-hiding-terror-info

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