New Age Islam
Wed Oct 21 2020, 08:38 AM

Islamic World News ( 2 Nov 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islamic State Leader Confident In Victory, In First Message about Mosul Battle


















A recently displaced Iraqi woman weeps for her sick daughter inside her tent at Al Khazer camp near Hassan Sham, east of Mosul, Iraq November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

 

Islamic State Leader Confident In Victory, In First Message about Mosul Battle

Muslim and Christian Religious Leaders Call For Peaceful, Integrated World

How Islamic State Rebuilt Saddam’s ‘Republic Of Fear’

Cases of 8 Afghans Examined In Guantanamo as US Accused of Gross Errors

Pakistani Police Torture 9-Year-Old Christian Boy Accused of Burning Quran

 

Arab World

Islamic State Leader Confident In Victory, In First Message about Mosul Battle

Muslim and Christian Religious Leaders Call For Peaceful, Integrated World

Aid Agencies in Iraq on High Alert As Families Flee Mosul Offensive

Syrian Army Announces New 10-Hour Pause in Attacks against Militants in Aleppo

Neither Clinton, nor Trump popular in Arab world: poll

King Salman given Auditing Bureau report

Egyptian Officers Undergo Russian Military Training in Syria

Army, Allies Tightening Noose on Terrorists in Khan Al-Sheih

Syrian Troops Further Advance in Western Damascus

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Africa

How Islamic State Rebuilt Saddam’s ‘Republic Of Fear’

Cleric Advocates Inclusion of Islamic Calendar In School Curriculum

Mosque crisis ends, Sultan’s nominee steps down as Imam

Romanian held by al-Qaeda affiliate demands release

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South Asia

Cases of 8 Afghans Examined In Guantanamo as US Accused of Gross Errors

Airstrike Kill 6 ISIS Loyalists in Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan

Bangladesh Dismisses 'Mass Migration Rumours' After Brahmanbaria Violence

2 US soldier die of wounds sustained in Kunduz operations

Noor reacts to political agreement report with Ghani for leaving Balkh

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Pakistan

Pakistani Police Torture 9-Year-Old Christian Boy Accused of Burning Quran

Negative Politics Will Be Destructive, Nawaz Warns PTI Chief

4 terrorists killed in Gwadar

Nisar defends permission given to DPC for Islamabad event despite Section 144

Pakistan: Supreme Court Saves Face for Imran Khan, Sharif On Back Foot

PML-N ‘indifferent’ to Siraj’s efforts

Resign for fair probe into Panama: Imran to Nawaz

SC did not save PM, it saved democracy: Bilawal

Afghans’ repatriation suspended from 30 Nov

War over ‘spy diplomats’ escalates

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India

Share of Muslims in Jail Bigger Than In the Population, Show NCRB Data

SIMI Encounter Killings: Muslim Bodies Demand Judicial Probe

Aligarh Muslim University students’ union demand probe into Bhopal encounter

4 terror launch pads spotted along Pakistan border

Riots and encounter killing increases insecurity among Madhya Pradesh Muslims

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Police Brace for Hardline Islamic Protest

US Urges Humanitarian Access to Strife-Hit Myanmar Region

Lawyer Insists Endorsement for ‘Malay-Muslim’ Bar Council Candidates Not Racist

Islamic groups to hold parallel Nov. 4 rally in S. Sulawesi

Indonesia jails Uighur radical over IS-linked terror plots

More Muslim groups to join anti-Ahok rally

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Mideast

Turkey's Media Crackdown Seen Hurting Economy, Foreign Ties

Turkey-Backed Militants Withdraw from Villages near Al-Bab without Serious Clashes with ISIL

Three Saudis sentenced to jail for plotting in Iran

Abadi too weak to fight terror groups: Turkish FM

Tehran ex-prosecutor given 135 lashes for corruption

UN envoy to reach Sana’a for another round of talks

US talks to Turkey about role to recapture Raqqa

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North America

Muslim Americans Offended By Portrayals of Them by Presidential Candidates

Israel’s US Envoy to Be Honoured by Think Tank Accused of Islamophobia

American civil rights group brands atheist writers and UK government anti-terror adviser 'anti-Muslim extremists'

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Europe

Merkel Accuses Syrian Government of ‘Crimes against Humanity’

Starbucks Cups Controversy Prompts Bizarre Link to Islam

Greek hospitality is put to a religious test

With construction of a new mosque, Greek Muslims look to come out of the shadows

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-leader-confident-in-victory,-in-first-message-about-mosul-battle/d/109000

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Islamic State Leader Confident In Victory, In First Message about Mosul Battle

November 03, 2016

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi expressed confidence in victory, in his first message after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces started an offensive to take back Mosul, the last major city under control of his group in Iraq.

He also called on Islamic State fighters to invade Turkey.

"This raging battle and total war, and the great jihad that the state of Islam is fighting today only increases our firm belief, God willing, and our conviction that all this is a prelude to victory," he said in an audio recording released online by supporters on Thursday.

The authenticity of the 31-minute-long recording could not be verified.

The previous message purportedly coming from Baghdadi was from December 2015, an audio recording that reassured followers and supporters that airstrikes by Russia and the U.S.-led coalition had failed to weaken the group in Syria.

Baghdadi, an Iraqi whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai, called on the population of Mosul's Nineveh province ``not to weaken in the jihad'' against the "enemies of God."

He also called on the group's suicide fighters to "turn the nights of the unbelievers into days, to wreak havoc in their land and make their blood flow as rivers."

The battle that started on Oct. 17 with air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition is shaping up as the largest in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

Mosul still has a population of 1.5 million people, much more than any of the other cities captured by Islamic State two years ago in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Baghdadi told Islamic State's fighters to ``unleash the fire of their anger'' on Turkish troops fighting them in Syria, and to take the battle into Turkey.

``Turkey today entered your range of action and the aim of your jihad ... invade it and turn its safety into fear.''

Islamic State has been retreating since last year in both Iraq and Syria, in the face of a myriad of different forces.

In Iraq, it is fighting U.S.-backed Iraqi government and Kurdish forces, and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militias.

In Syria, it is fighting Turkish-backed Syrian rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters as well as Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian army units loyal to Assad and foreign Shi'ite militias.

Baghdadi told his followers to launch ``attack after attack'' in Saudi Arabia, targeting security forces, government officials, members of the ruling Al Saud family and media outlets, for ``siding with the infidel nations in the war on Islam and the Sunna (Sunni Muslims) in Iraq and Syria.''

Islamic State's leader also said ``the caliphate was not affected'' by the death of some of its senior commanders, mentioning Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and Abu Muhammad al-Furqan, both killed earlier this year in U.S. airstrikes.

http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Nov-2016/is-leader-confident-in-victory-in-first-message-about-mosul-battle

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Muslim and Christian Religious Leaders Call For Peaceful, Integrated World

Nov 03, 2016

Abu Dhabi: Religious leaders from the Muslim Council of Elders — an independent international body that aims to promote peace in Muslim societies — and the Anglican Church yesterday (Wednesday) called for setting up a peaceful and integrated world.

Dr Ahmad Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Egypt’s highest religious authority, called on Wednesday for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity, saying “as the very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake we Muslims and Christians should let the unpleasantness between us become a thing of the past”.

Stressing that if Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world will not be at peace, the Grand Imam quoted the Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Kung as saying: “No peace among the nations without peace among the religions.”

“I hope we are able to let bygones be bygones, forget hatred and bitter feelings of the past and look forward to a brighter future while assured that one day we will appear before Almighty Allah and answer our deeds towards Him and towards His creatures,” Dr Al Tayyeb said as he gave his keynote speech at a dialogue on integration, religious freedom and flourishing societies organised in Abu Dhabi by the Muslim Council of Elders and Christian leaders from the Anglican Communion.

Dr Al Tayyeb said Islam highly appreciates efforts to make people happy, have mercy on animals or protect plants and nonliving things. “So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works,” the Grand Imam of Al Azhar said.

Dr Al Tayyeb called for taking the opportunity of holding the first such meeting between Muslim elders and religious leaders from the Anglican church to take a new step on the road to building an integrated world of concerted action to mitigate the suffering of the people from horror, pain and blood and wars.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spiritual head of the Anglican Church, said it was fitting that the meeting is taking place in a country which has taken practical steps to enable religious minorities to meet, teach, worship and express themselves. It shows a confidence in granting freedom, and a self-confidence which is fitting and proper. “We can only be grateful for the clear thinking expressed here. This freedom cannot be taken for granted in a world currently beset by a crisis of confidence in the rights it pledged itself to uphold in the aftermath of the Second World War.

“Democracy without fundamental values around the value of the human being, and, I would say, without the understanding of God’s grace and love for the humanity God created, is a recipe for majority tyranny,” he said.

Stressing that God created us to respond freely, not by compulsion or coercion, but to be in relationships of love with Him by choice, the Archibishop said religious freedom is more than just freedom from persecution; it is the freedom to choose how to express our understanding of our relationship with God.

“Faith groups should be at the forefront of advocacy for human rights because we recognise that, ultimately, we are answerable and accountable to God alone who created individuals with dignity and integrity. This freedom is integral to the flourishing of our societies, but it does not emerge in a vacuum and neither does it come without responsibility.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury said the challenge then is “for all of us at this conference to make some serious progress in establishing not just the theological foundations for flourishing and integrated societies where freedom of religion and belief is a given, but to go much further and to establish practical steps to ensure this happens in the societies and countries we represent and live in.”

Shaikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, said conversation with other religions in Islam is religious duty and a human necessity. He quoted the Quran saying: “And do not argue with the followers of the Book except by what is best, save with those of them who act unjustly, and say we believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.”

Dr Mouneer Anis, Archbishop of the diocese of Egypt, said, “We who believe in the one and only God need to realise that God only, not us, is capable of guarding the truth in which we believe. The act of depriving people of religious freedom as a response to pluralism causes breakdown in communities, due to hurt and lack of respect on both sides. When force is used to guard religion and ‘truth wars’ arise, such as the bitter wars in Europe between Catholics and Protestants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, everyone suffers. In our world today, equivalent resort to extreme force to convince or convert others happens in the name of religion, as we all know.”

http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/religious-leaders-call-for-peaceful-integrated-world-1.1923258

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How Islamic State Rebuilt Saddam’s ‘Republic Of Fear’

November 2, 2016

Whenever members of Islamic State’s Mosul vice squad find a woman without gloves, they pull out a pair of pliers.

What follows is just one of a wide range of punishments that the group – known in Arabic by its enemies as Daesh – metes out in its northern Iraqi stronghold.

“Daesh would squeeze the pliers on the skin of the woman hard,” said Firdos, a 15-year-old girl who has fled from the city in the last week.

Firdos managed to escape such treatment herself, but she told Reuters that Islamic State has more ways of enforcing one of the many rules of its moral code – that women must not show their bare hands in public.

“The other penalty was we (women) would be whipped for not wearing gloves,” Firdos said in Al-Khazer, a town taken by Kurdish forces as part of an Iraqi offensive to regain Mosul.

She, like others who have fled Islamic State’s grip, declined to give her last name for fear of reprisals against relatives still in Mosul, about 27 km (17 miles) away.

When Islamic State captured Iraq’s second largest city in 2014, it promised that anyone who joined the Sunni militants’ cause would eventually earn a place in paradise.

It also told the people of predominantly Sunni Mosul it would eliminate Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi’ite who was then Iraqi prime minister and widely accused of sectarian policies.

This message appealed to some Sunnis, members of a minority which had dominated before the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 and who now complain they are marginalized by the government led by the majority Shi’ites.

But residents who have recently fled Islamic State’s last stronghold in Iraq say life quickly became unbearable in the city of about two million.

Men had to wear beards to lengths it saw as Islamic. Women had to cover up from head to toe. Sometimes their husbands would be whipped in their place for violations.

No one was allowed to leave Mosul without special permission and former residents said they feared being shot if they were caught trying to escape.

None of the people interviewed by Reuters said they had seen public executions by shooting or beheadings, Islamic State’s favourite method of creating mass terror.

But everyone knew they took place because the jihadists spread the word. This appeared to be straight out of the handbook of the “Republic of Fear”, Saddam’s former state built on cruelty, retribution and extreme violence.

More than a decade after Saddam’s overthrow by the U.S.-led invasion, some of his former intelligence officers are senior members and strategists for Islamic State, according to Iraqi security officials.

Every Friday, the militants force people to go to mosques in Mosul to hear their sermons. Two years ago, Islamic State’s chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself the leader of all Muslims from a pulpit in the city, and the sermons remind residents that his words are sacred.

Islamic State also uses mosques to urge people to take up their cause and strike against what it called all enemies of Islam; from Maliki and his fellow Shi’ites to other Arab leaders, Israel and the United States.

Anyone who agreed to wage holy war was sent for training in neighboring Syria, part of its self-declared caliphate.

“I spoke to several people who went to Syria. They learned about strapping on suicide belts and beheading people,” said Abdul Kadir, one of the escapees who are sheltering in tents at a camp in Al-Khazer.

“They were there for three months or so. Some were young. Ten-year-old boys. Some were 15. Some of these people rejected all this but they had to pretend they supported Daesh or face consequences.”

Late one night, Islamic State raided his home, blindfolded him and threw him into a prison once run by Saddam’s security forces. After four days he appeared in a courtroom overflowing with detainees. His crime was trying to make ends meet by selling cigarettes.

The Islamic State judge showed no compassion.

“He asked me why I sell cigarettes. He said they are against Islam. I told him I was desperate to make a living because there were no jobs,” said Abdul Kadir, who was kept blindfolded throughout his ordeal.

“He said ‘take him away and whip him 55 times’. It was with a leather whip … I could not get out of bed for three days.”

Life under Islamic State was a far cry from the past, when communities lived side-by-side in the diverse trading city of Mosul. Besides the Sunni Arab majority, it had a large number of Christians, predominantly Assyrians. Kurds, Turkmens, Yazidis and Armenians made up the rest of the population. Most of the minority communities have fled.

Islamic State demolished shrines, mosques and churches and posted images of the destruction on internet sites.

Along with the terror came growing hardship. Many people lost their jobs as the local economy deteriorated.

Suleiman, 62, told Reuters he was at work when Islamic State arrived in Mosul. Returning to his neighborhood, he came face-to-face with militants dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes – a reminder of the group’s ability to recruit far and wide.

Soon, he was struggling to survive financially. “The money ran out eventually for a lot of people. Yet Daesh was squeezing everyone. You used to pay 500 dinars for a medical card. With them it was 2,000,” he said.

“The doctors charged a lot and the money went to them. Or they would tell you to give to charity under Islam and then gave the money to their relatives.”

Like many others, Suleiman was caught up in the struggle that pitted the militants against the Iraqi army and its Western allies. An airstrike hit his home but Islamic State offered little compensation. “My house collapsed and all they offered me was 30 kg of wheat,” he said.

A few tents away, Sahar Abed said she wanted to forget the hardship. “People were selling their cans of gasoline. I had to sell some of my clothes,” she said, as an aid worker took down names of the displaced.

Iraqi and Kurdish officials say that some Mosul residents have taken up arms against Islamic State recently, driven by discontent and encouraged by the advance of Iraqi forces, who have taken nearby villages and reached a section of Mosul.

History suggests the militants will respond to any discontent with brutality, especially after losing control of the cities of Falluja and Ramadi this year.

They have rigged Mosul with explosives and built elaborate tunnels, all of which could slow advances, leaving the population at their mercy.

“About a week ago we heard shooting at two in the morning. It was people who killed jihadists,” said Abu Said, also displaced at the camp.

“In these situations Daesh rounds a bunch of people up and makes an example out of them. They took people from their homes and made them watch two men lying on their stomach in the street while a car ran them over.”

http://newmail-ng.com/how-islamic-state-rebuilt-saddams-republic-of-fear/

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Cases of 8 Afghans Examined In Guantanamo as US Accused of Gross Errors

Nov 03 2016

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), an independent, non-profit research group, examined the cases of eight of the longest-serving Afghan detainees in Guantanamo, accusing US of ‘gross errors’.

According to the research group, the Afghans have been imprisoned for years on the basis of tenuous evidence, “fantastical allegations” and hearsay.

AAN in its report said the U.S. military had been unable to substantiate accusations against any of them, warning that their cases underlined the danger that arbitrary detention could lead to “gross miscarriages of justice”.

The report also added that the “obvious, multiple mistakes” the US committed have not only harmed the eight detainees, but have inadvertently provided fuel for the insurgency in Afghanistan, which the US has been unable to suppress after 15 years of war.

“None of these eight Afghans were captured on the battlefield,” said Kate Clark, the author of the study, titled Kafka in Cuba. “Six were handed over by Pakistan or Afghan forces and two were detained after tip-offs from unknown sources. The basis for their detentions is intelligence only and that intelligence is threadbare.”

Clark further added “Judges have accepted hearsay, debated whether testimony obtained from those who were tortured could be heard and allowed the state to present secret evidence and repeatedly delay proceedings. They have utterly failed to hold the executive to account.”

One of the detainees, Bostan Karim, for example, a seller of plastic flowers from Khost, was detained by the ISI as he crossed the border into Pakistan in 2003 and handed over to the US, according AAN. The ISI claimed he matched the description of an al Qaeda terrorist and the broken satellite phone in his possession was being used as a detonator for IEDs.

Karim’s judge in his habeas petition took this allegation at face value – as the US military had done before him. In those days, there was no landline or a mobile cell network in Karim’s province and satellite phones were in common use by those who could afford them. Yet the judge failed to question whether holding a satellite phone was indeed proof of terrorist intent, or indeed why a terrorist would be taking a ‘detonator’ out of Afghanistan.

Harun, court documents reveal, was a low-level Hezb-e Islami commander, with a maximum of 30 men under his command; it is not clear why he was taken to Cuba. Rahim was detained by the ISI and handed over to the CIA and was the last ‘participant’ in the agency’s global torture and rendition programme.

He was kept in a black site in Afghanistan and subject to sleep deprivation; on three occasions, he was forcibly kept awake for four days and once for almost six days. The CIA failed to get any useful intelligence from him, but still announced it had captured ‘Bin Laden’s translator’ when he was transferred to Guantanamo.

As Guantanamo is about to enter its fifteenth year of existence, AAN’s new study raises serious questions about the state of US intelligence and US justice. “Looking into the files of these Afghans was like being in a Kafka novel,” said Clark. “It’s been a puzzling, disturbing experience. After years of holding these men in detention, the US has yet to present a coherent case for holding any of them.”

http://www.khaama.com/cases-of-8-afghans-examined-in-guantanamo-as-us-accused-of-gross-errors-02203

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Pakistani Police Torture 9-Year-Old Christian Boy Accused of Burning Quran

2 Nov 2016

Police in Muslim-majority Pakistan tortured a 9-year-old Christian boy accused of burning the Quran while he and his mother were detained for four days, reveals the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).

In a move described as unprecedented by the charity, the Pakistani authorities dropped the blasphemy charges against them after some human rights activists and politicians in the country intervened and joined forces to secure their release four days after they were arrested on October 21.

They “narrowly escaped a blasphemy law death sentence,” notes the BPCA.

On October 21, the boy, identified as Izhan, “and his mother Shakil, who works as a nurse at a nearby hospital, were arrested without the police conducting an investigation into the allegations provided by a Muslim witness,”  reports the Christian Post (CP), citing the BPCA.

“A Muslim witness is given higher authority than non-Muslim testimonies under sharia law, these are Islamic laws that determine Pakistani law,” explains the London charity.

BPCA identifies the child and his mother by one name only. Pakistani police arrested Izhan soon after being accused of setting Islam’s holy book ablaze on October 20 in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

Terrorism experts have described the provincial capital as an Afghan Taliban stronghold in Pakistan. Balochistan borders southern Afghanistan, also a Taliban bastion.

BPCA reports that the mother and child “have expressed in no uncertain terms that they had been interrogated and suffered torture during their 4 day detainment.”

“However despite their treatment they both did not confess to the crime of blasphemy,” it adds. “Moreover, Police have confirmed that no evidence of any alleged [Quran] desecration was found.”

Pakistani lawmakers and the leadership of the Sunni political party Jamiat Ulema Islam (F) played a significant role in revoking the charges against the boy and his mother, reports the Pakistan Christian Post, securing their release.

Asiya Nasir, a Christian member of Pakistan’s National Assembly; William John Barkat, a member of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan; and activist Shahzad Kundan, also played an instrumental role in aiding the accused child and his mother.

In a statement, BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry told the Christian Post:

This is the first blasphemy charge, in my recollection, that has been dropped. The law states that bail does not apply for blasphemy charges and that crimes once registered should be [tried] in court. There is no room for the dropping of charges. This unusual situation is the result of serious campaigning by groups such as the BPCA and politicians such as Asiya Nasir and her Muslim colleagues.

Working with other human rights advocates, BPCA officers spent four days following the arrest of the boy and his mother on October 21 urging the police to release them, notes CP.

Chowdhry added:

The fact that Muslim politicians joined forces with Christians was influential because in Muslim society, the strength of a witness testimony from a Muslim has more authority than that of a Christian. There is no doubt in my mind that police were influenced by this. If more Muslim politicians were willing to support Christians in this way many lives could be saved from the ignominy of blasphemy charges. That said, the fervent support shown by Muslim politicians during this incident could be an indication of a seed change in the way that the Muslim community views the application of blasphemy laws.

Izhan could have faced the death penalty for blasphemy.

“As with many other blasphemy cases, news of the arrest stirred up tensions between the local Muslim and Christian communities,” points out the Christian Post, referring to Izhan and Shakil. “Fortunately, local police protected the Christian community from threats and the formation of a Muslim mob.”

“In Pakistan, law courts are known for their manipulation of laws which are used as a tool discriminate minorities,” noted the Pakistan Christian Post last month.

The persecution of the Christian minority in Pakistan, a U.S. ally, has intensified in recent weeks.

Last month, the government of Bahawalpur, one of the most populous cities in the country, banned Christians from gathering in houses to worship or pray. Meanwhile, mobs of Muslim extremists have called for the lynching of two imprisoned Christians accused of violating the country’s strict blasphemy law — Nabeel Masih, 16, and Asia Bibi, 46.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/11/02/pakistani-police-torture-9-year-old-christian-boy-allegedly-burning-quran/

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Arab World

 

Aid agencies in Iraq on high alert as families flee Mosul offensive

2 November 2016

Aid agencies said on Wednesday families who have fled Mosul and surrounding towns were starting to reach displacement camps away from the fighting, as Iraqi forces press on with an offensive to retake ISIS’s last major stronghold in Iraq.

The battle that started on Oct. 17 with air and ground support from a US-led coalition is shaping up as the largest in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003.

On Tuesday Iraqi forces battled ISIS fighters on the eastern edge of Mosul as the campaign entered a new phase of urban warfare.

The United Nations has said the Mosul offensive could trigger a humanitarian crisis and a possible refugee exodus if the civilians inside in Mosul seek to escape, with up to one million people fleeing in a worst-case scenario.

“People are starting to arrive now from the small towns around Mosul,” Joe Cropp of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“We’ve been aware that this has been coming up and the preparations have been going on for two months,” he said in a phone interview from northern Iraq.

IFRC said many people were arriving with only the clothes they were wearing and those who reached Khazer camp, east of Mosul, said they had to walk through the night.

“We were so worried the children would cry out during the night and we would be discovered,” IFRC quoted one of the mothers as saying.

Thousands more people are expected to arrive in the coming days and weeks as fighting around Mosul intensifies, IFRC said. Throughout the country, some 10 million Iraqis are in need of aid.

“Local communities across the country are sharing the responsibility, taking in millions of displaced people. But even with the greatest will in the world they cannot accommodate a million more,” Gyula Kadar, IFRC operations manager, said in a statement.

The International Organization for Migration said nearly 21,000 people have been displaced since the start of the campaign, excluding thousands of villagers taken into Mosul by retreating militants who used them as human shields.

The UN said in October a total of six camps had been built that can accommodate 50,000 people. Efforts were underway to construct 11 more.

Claire Mason, humanitarian policy and advocacy adviser at Save the Children said for security reasons the charity was unable to get too close to Mosul and was readying mobile child protection teams to assist people scattered outside the city.

Betsy Baldwin, Iraq response director from the charity Tearfund, said several hundred people arrived the previous night in one of the camps where the charity was helping.

Baldwin said her organization had been on standby since summer, preparing tents, stoves and winter clothes which it was planning to distribute this week.

“We are just hoping that we can safely access people in need, that the civilians can move safely out of the conflict zones,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Iraq.

International Rescue Committee said in a statement on Wednesday it had heard of people inside Mosul buying cloth to use as white flags when the army arrives.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/02/Aid-agencies-in-Iraq-on-high-alert-as-families-flee-Mosul-offensive.html

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Syrian Army Announces New 10-Hour Pause in Attacks against Militants in Aleppo

Nov 03, 2016

The pause, to be introduced from 9 am to 7 pm local time on Friday is aimed at paving the ground for the terrorists and ordinary people to leave Aleppo through the corridors which have earlier been opened to evacuate the civilians and militants from the city, the army said in a statement.

The Syrian army called on all the leaders of armed groups to cease hostilities and withdraw from Aleppo with their weapons through Castello corridor in the North and Soq al-Khair-al-Moshareqa corridor towards Idlib.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950813000276

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Neither Clinton, nor Trump popular in Arab world: poll

3 November 2016

Almost half the population of the Middle East and North Africa would abstain if given the right to vote in next week’s US presidential election, an opinion poll revealed Thursday. But Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton came far ahead of her Republican opponent Donald Trump as the preferred candidate to lead the United States, which plays a key role in the Arab world.

Out of 3,017 people polled across 18 countries, 47 percent “would snub both Clinton and Trump, if given chance to vote,” according to the survey carried out by Saudi daily Arab News and British pollster YouGov. Among those who would vote, 44 percent said they would opt for Clinton, while only nine percent said would choose Trump, showed the results of the online survey conducted on October 14-21.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/03/Neither-Clinton-nor-Trump-popular-in-Arab-world-poll.html

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King Salman given Auditing Bureau report

3 November 2016

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman received Wednesday a copy of the 56th annual report of the General Auditing Bureau for the Hijri year 1436/1437.

The report includes leading financial results of the audits and performance controls carried out by the bureau, as well as recommendations based on the nature and the areas of audit. The king received President of the General Auditing Bureau Hussam bin Abdulmohsen Al-Anqari at Al-Yamamah Palace on Wednesday, accompanied by senior officials of the bureau.

King Salman expressed his thanks to all employees of the bureau for their efforts and wished them success in their service to their religion and homeland.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1005796/saudi-arabia

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Egyptian Officers Undergo Russian Military Training in Syria

Nov 03, 2016

Al-Masdar News quoted local activists as saying that the Egyptian officers were accompanied by Russian military personnel upon their arrival in Tartous on Tuesday.

A social media activist, Ivan Sidorenko, wrote on his twitter page that a Syrian army officer has told him that the Egyptian officers came to gain experience in tunnels and guerrilla warfare, while another activist, Izat Savetheplanet, quoted a trustable source as claiming that secret coordination between the Syrian and Egyptian militaries will soon go formal.

No Syrian, Egyptian or Russian official has yet confirmed or dismissed the report.

Tensions were high in relations between Cairo and Riyadh in the past few weeks after the Egyptian envoy at the UN gave a yes vote to Russia's proposed plan on Aleppo.

The UN Security Council voted on two rival resolutions. One was drafted by France demanding an end to air strikes and the implementation of a no-fly zone, while the Russian resolution urged for a ceasefire but made no mention of the French clause.

Egypt was joined by Russia, China and Venezuela in its support for the Russian resolution.

Egypt also voted for the French resolution that demanded an end to all aerial bombardment and overflights of Aleppo by Russia and Syrian government aircraft.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950813000231

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Army, Allies Tightening Noose on Terrorists in Khan Al-Sheih

Nov 03, 2016

"After heavy clashes with the terrorists which killed and wounded dozens of them, the Syrian pro-government forces seized control of more regions near Khan al-Sheih," a military source said on Thursday.

"The army and its allies continued their operations to liberate Khan al-Sheih and regained control over 3 sq/km of nearby farms in al-Buwaizeh in the Southeastern parts of Damascus and tightened the noose on the terrorists," he added.

Noting that the final stage of operations to free Khan al-Sheih will start soon, the source said that the army soldiers could also defuse the militants' attempts to break the siege, and destroyed a tank and several military vehicles of the terrorists at the gates of Khan al-Sheih town.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950813000396

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Syrian Troops Further Advance in Western Damascus

Nov 03, 2016

According to a field commander, the army and popular forces also could advance in the Eastern parts of Khirbet al-Abbasieh region.

"After clashes with Ahrar al-Sham and Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front, the pro-government military forces regained control of Khirbet al-Abbasieh in Western Ghouta of Damascus, leaving a large number of terrorists dead and wounded," the commander said.

He added that tens of militants were also forced to flee the scene.

According to the commander, after liberation of the region, the army units started demining and defusing bombs planted by the terrorists in different areas.

In a relevant development on Tuesday, the Syrian army troops and National Defense Forces hit the positions of Fatah al-Sham Front in Western Ghouta, and Jeish al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta.

Syrian army and popular forces struck Fatah al-Sham's gatherings and communication lines Maqralmir crossroad, Farms of Beit Jen, Khan al-Sheih and Northeast of Darousha, leaving scores of militants dead and destroying their weapons.

Jeish al-Islam's bases in the town of Jisrin and its surroundings in Eastern Ghouta also came under massive attack by the Syrian soldiers.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950813000325

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Africa

 

Cleric Advocates Inclusion of Islamic Calendar in School Curriculum

2 NOVEMBER 2016

An Abuja-based Islamic Cleric, Yunus Suleiman, on Wednesday urged the Federal Ministry of Education to include Islamic Calendar in schools' curriculum, to enhance the knowledge of the Islamic months.

Mr. Suleiman, who is also the Deputy Ameer (leader), Abuja Chapter of El-BIRRU Muslim Association of Nigeria (EMAN) , made the call at an extraordinary prayer session and Hijra Calendar presentation in Abuja.

He advised Muslims to take cognisance of some important days and months in the Hijra calendar, saying "we use it to do our worship and we use the solar-based calendar to do our Monday life.

"So, there is wisdom in the two because the two are mentioned in the holy Qur'an."

The cleric describe hijrah as a very significant period in the history of Islam because it marked a milestone in the life of the Prophet Mohammad.

"We, therefore, call on the Federal Ministry of Education to include Islamic Calendar in schools' curriculum for citizens (both Muslims and non-Muslims) to know about it.

"Because we are all interacting in Nigeria; whether or not you are Muslims, our interactions affect one another and it is good to let non-Muslims know about its sensitivity.

"The reason why government had to come in is that we have seen cases where the West African Examination Council (WAEC) is fixed during Ramadan fast or promotion interview were conducted in the civil service during the period of Hajj.

"The implication of that is that you are trying to prevent some Muslims from performing things that are obligatory on them or for them doing it with hardship," Mr. Suleiman said.

The cleric explained that when non-Muslims are well informed about the Islamic calendar, it would help them to plan and take cognisance whenever they want to take decision on issues that affect Muslims.

"That is why the awareness has to be created by the government and we hope that with the help of the media and other stakeholders, our request will be granted, " he said.

The deputy leader said that the aim of the extraordinary prayer session was to seek for spiritual solutions to numerous problems confronting the nation such as unemployment and lack of good marital partners.

"We organise special prayer sessions from time to time because as you can see, many people have problems that can only be addressed through spiritual means.

" We also pray for our nation in general; we pray for good governance, prosperity, among others because these are the things that keep the human spirit alive."

In a remark, Hadiza Mamman, member, El-BIRRU Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (EMAN) pledged the determination of the association to reduce poverty among Muslim women through skills acquisition training programmes.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201611030117.html

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Mosque crisis ends, Sultan’s nominee steps down as Imam

November 2, 2016

The Secretary-General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Abubakar Khalid, has stepped down as interim Imam of Sultan Bello Mosque, following the intervention of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, in the leadership dispute rocking the mosque.

Mr. Khalid, in a text message to a PREMIUM TIMES correspondent early Wednesday in Kaduna, explained the reason he took the decision.

“After a deep thought on the Imamship of Sultan Bello Mosque imbroglio, for the sake of Allahu SWT, and for safeguarding the image of Islam, unity of the Ummah, and for the sake of peace, security, love and brotherhood, I have today stepped down as the Imam of the Sultan Bello Mosque after so being appointed,” Mr. Khalid said.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr. El-Rufai held a meeting with Mr. Khalid and another Islamic cleric, Ahmed Gumi, on Tuesday over the crisis.

A Kaduna Government House source had said the meeting was convened to reconcile the leaders of the two factions contesting the leadership (Imam) of the mosque.

While Mr. Khalid was appointed imam by the JNI, headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, Mr. Gumi, an influential cleric, insisted on the democratisation of the selection of a new imam after he sacked the former one.dr-khalid-abubakar-aliyu

The meeting with the governor, which was also attended by the Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, came after PREMIUM TIMES published interviews with the two Imams appointed by the contending factions.

However, when Mr. Gumi was contacted on Wednesday over Mr. Khalid’s stepping down, he said he was not aware of the development.

“Step down? No I am not aware of it.

“Whether he (Khalid) steps down or not, government is going to issue a press release on what transpired at the meeting. That is why we are waiting to hear from the government first then we will give our comment.

“But conclusion that can bring peace has been reached,” said Mr. Gumi, who had accused the police of supporting Mr. Khalid by using teargas to chase worshippers out of the mosque.

After meeting with stakeholders over the mosque leadership tussle, Governor El-Rufai said the state government would not tolerate any threat to law and order.

The governor’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the governor’s intervention was purely for security reasons.

Full report at:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/214286-mosque-crisis-ends-sultans-nominee-steps-imam.html

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Romanian held by al-Qaeda affiliate demands release

2 November 2016

A Romanian mineworker kidnapped by an al-Qaeda affiliate last year has appeared in a video urging his government to secure his release as soon as possible.

Iulian Ghergut, then a security officer, was taken on April 4, 2015, when five armed men attacked a manganese mine in Tambao in northeast Burkina Faso, officials said at the time.

Monday’s video is the first occasion in more than a year that Ghergut has appeared since being taken by al-Murabitoun, led by one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

The group, which has since affiliated itself with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has claimed responsibility for several spectacular and bloody attacks in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ghergut, heavily bearded and squinting slightly, says he is in good health in the video he dated to September 21 of this year.

Speaking in a thick accent in French, he says he thinks of his family, while pressing the Romanian government “to do everything possible to free me and get me back to my family and my country as soon as possible.”

The director of Al-Akhbar, the Mauritanian news agency which regularly carries jihadist statements, told AFP that as the new video was released by AQIM, the Romanian must be presumed to be in Belmokhtar’s hands.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2016/11/02/Romanian-held-by-al-Qaeda-affiliate-demands-release-.html

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South Asia

 

Airstrike kill 6 ISIS loyalists in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan

Nov 03 2016

At least 6 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrrist group were killed in an airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Thursday that the airstrike was carried out in Pacher Agam district.

The Defense Ministry further added that 6 loyalists of the terror group were also wounded in the airstrike without giving further information if the strike was carried out by the Afghan Air Force or the US forces based in Afghanistan.

Both the Afghan and US forces conduct regular airstrikes against the loyalists of the terror group in the districts of Nangarhar where ISIS fighters are conducting insurgency.

The provincial police commandment said Monday at least 11 loyalists of the terror group were killed after they were targeted by the foreing forces gunships in Achin distict.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as the Deputy House Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament, Wolesi Jirga, Zahir Qadir, earlier warned that the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group will establish the Khurasan Caliphate if they managed to seize Tora Bora.

The top US commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson also said earlier that the loyalists of the terrorist group are attempting to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan.

http://www.khaama.com/airstrike-kill-6-isis-loyalists-in-nangarhar-province-of-afghanistan-02204

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Bangladesh Dismisses 'Mass Migration Rumours' After Brahmanbaria Violence

November 2, 2016

After Sunday’s violent attacks in the Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh where around a 3,000-strong mob attacked over a dozen Hindu temples and hundreds of minority households, the Dhaka Tribune reported on Tuesday that the Hindu community in the area is now considering moving to India to save their lives.

The Bangladesh daily also said the community is now being forced to resort to the India option, something they didn’t have to even in the face of the 1971 liberation war in Bangladesh with Pakistani Army on the rampage.

Speaking to News18 in New Delhi, Farid Hossain, Minister Press at Bangladesh High Commission, dismissed the report and said that these were ‘regular incidents’ and in no way would compel Bangladeshi citizens to leave their home country.

“This is a stray incident and it has happened in the past as well. The attackers in such cases have often been arrested by the ruling government and a delegation has been sent there to create peace in the disturbed area,” he said Hossain.

The Press Minister said Brahmanbaria was an area of ‘religious bigots’, and stressed that it was a violence prone zone.

The Brahmanbaria incident which was triggered by a social media post has again brought the atrocities committed towards the minorities in Bangladesh after of a series of murders of atheist bloggers.

Full report at:

http://www.news18.com/news/world/bangladesh-dismisses-mass-migration-rumours-after-brahmanbaria-violence-1307633.html

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2 US soldier die of wounds sustained in Kunduz operations

By GHANIZADA

Nov 03 2016

At least two US soldiers succumbed to their injuries they sustained during the operations in the restive Kunduz province of Afghanistan in the north.

“Two U.S. service members died as a result of wounds sustained during operations in Kunduz district, Kunduz province today. Two other U.S. service members were wounded in the operation,” the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) said in a statement.

“On behalf of all U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, today’s loss is heartbreaking and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of our service members who lost their lives today. Our wounded soldiers are receiving the best medical care possible and we are keeping them and their families in our thoughts today, as well,” said Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of USFOR-A. “Despite today’s tragic event, we are steadfast in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/2-us-soldier-die-of-wounds-sustained-in-kunduz-operations-02205

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Noor reacts to political agreement report with Ghani for leaving Balkh

Nov 02 2016

The provincial governor of northern Balkh province Ata Mohammad Noor has rejected reports of political agreement with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to leave Balkh and assume a key post in the capital.

Noor issued a statement after a report emerged on a local newspaper suggesting that the prominent political figure belonging to Jamiat-e-Islami has agreed to leave Balkh province.

Calling the report as baseless, Noor said he had discussions with President Ghani in consultation with the President of Jamiat-e-Islami regarding the power share of their team, insisting that respect to the share of their belongs to those who have stood with the party following a same path.

He said no agreement has been reached regarding his transfer from Balkh to capital Kabul as he emphasized that he serves for the nation.

In the meantime, sources close to Ata Mohammad Noor rejected the report as baseless and said the governor and chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami is currently in United Arab Emirates.

Munir Farhad, a spokesman for Ata Mohammad Noor said no political agreement has been concluded between Noor and President Ghani.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/noor-reacts-to-political-agreement-report-with-ghani-for-leaving-balkh-02202

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Pakistan

 

Negative politics will be destructive, Nawaz warns pti chief

November 03, 2016

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday warned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan to burry ‘negative politics’ as it would be destructive for the whole nation.

Addressing the federal cabinet meeting here, Sharif said the politics of sit-ins would ruin the future of Imran Khan and his party.

His comments came as Imran Khan led a ‘thanksgiving day’ in Islamabad a day after calling off the ‘Islamabad lockdown’ plan.

The Supreme Court earlier began hearing the Panama leaks case and offered to form a commission to investigate revelations that Sharif’s children had offshore accounts.

The ruling was applauded by Imran Khan who held a news conference at his home on the outskirts of Islamabad. “I am so happy that the Supreme Court has decided it will begin probing Nawaz Sharif,” he said. He added his supporters would hold a rally thanking the Supreme Court for its decision.

A cabinet member said Prime Minister Sharif was all-praise for Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for his efforts to curb deadlock with PTI and resolve the issue over November 2 protest.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan thanked the premier and said that his actions reflected the policy of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and directives of Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif said the people had rejected the politics of sit-ins and lockdowns which were detrimental to the country’s progress.

The premier said had there been no sit-ins, the economy would have progressed at even faster pace. “Imran Khan has yet to apologise to the nation over 126-day-long sit-in in 2014),” he added.

Nawaz Sharif said the people had rejected politics revolving around sit-ins and lauded the ruling party’s effective policies. He said the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund termed sit-ins and unnecessary demonstrations damaging for the country’s development.

Prime Minister Sharif said it was a matter of satisfaction for him that the issue of Panama Papers would be resolved in the Supreme Court. “I have been striving continuously for this and had already requested the Supreme Court to constitute a commission,” the premier said.

“A law was framed and a parliamentary committee was also constituted, but all our efforts remained unsuccessful. The objective of the agitators was to raise this issue on the streets alone. This issue has now come before the Supreme Court where it would be decided in accordance with the constitution and law,” he added.

In a clear reference to the PTI chief, he said: “Those who are now offering thanks should have been thankful much earlier.”

Prime Minister Sharif said: “Our stance is very much clear from the day one on the Panamagate commission.”

The prime minister said it was for the first time that the country had successfully completed macro-economic reforms programme. He expressed satisfaction over the economic performance of the country during the last three years. He said this performance had also been recognised by the world financial institutions.

He said Pakistan would have to work day and night to improve the economic conditions of the people and address their problems.

Nawaz Sharif said he had personally prayed to the court to form a commission on the issue.

For this purpose, a law was drafted and a parliamentary committee was also constituted, but these efforts could not bear fruits due to non-cooperation of the opposition.

The premier said he was ready to face accountability, but those accusing him of committing corruption should also be held accountable.

The cabinet deferred decisions on return of the Afghan refugees and matters relating to National Maritime Policy, 2015, for a broader consensus.

It, however, approved inter-governmental framework agreements for Sukkur-Multan section of Peshawar-Karachi Motorway and Havelian-Thakt section of Karakoram Highway.

It also cleared establishment of electronic data exchange under Pakistan-China free trade, understandings for cooperation between ministries of food of Pakistan and Belarus, understandings for cooperation for training of workforce between Pakistan and Oman and human development between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.

It endorsed Paris Agreement about climate change and the signing of regulations for defence cooperation between Pakistan and Czech Republic.

The federal cabinet constituted a committee, headed by Defence Production Minister Rana Tanvir Hussain, to investigate explosion at Gadani ship-breaking yard.

The meeting also prayed for the departed souls of Quetta police training tragedy victims and loss of lives in Gadani ship-breaking yard incident.

http://nation.com.pk/national/03-Nov-2016/negative-politics-will-be-destructive-nawaz-warns-pti-chief

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4 terrorists killed in Gwadar

November 03, 2016

Gwadar -  The security forces, in an operation, killed four alleged terrorists here in Bela Dasht area on Wednesday.

According to Frontier Corps (FC) spokesman, the law enforcment agencies eliminated four terrorists in Bela Dasht area of Gwadar district and confiscated a huge quantity of arms from their custody.

The FC spokesman said that four killed terrorists were associated with a banned organization.

Further investigation was underway.

Separately, unidentified armed men killed a Levies cop in the area of Wadh in Khuzdar district and managed a good escape.

The district administration took the dead body into custody and handed over to the relatives after completing necessary formalities.

SECURITY UP ACROSS BALOCHISTAN

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/03-Nov-2016/4-terrorists-killed-in-gwadar

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Nisar defends permission given to DPC for Islamabad event despite Section 144

November 3, 2016

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Thursday defended the government's decision to permit a Difaa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) gathering in the capital despite imposition of Section 144 in the run-up to the Nov 2 'lockdown'.

The interior minister, addressing a police function in Islamabad, said the organisation sought approval from the administration and adhered to conditions specified by the administration before it was permitted to do so.

Section 144, which permits gatherings of more than four people at a time, was imposed in the capital days before the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's planned Nov 2 'lockdown' of Islamabad.

"The administration imposes Section 144 when it thinks there is a law and order threat. It can be withdrawn partially or wholly," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1294017/nisar-defends-permission-given-to-dpc-for-islamabad-event-despite-section-144

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PAKISTAN: SUPREME COURT SAVES FACE FOR IMRAN KHAN, SHARIF ON BACK FOOT

Nov 3, 2016

Apex court bailed out former cricketer even as he dithered between wanting a complete lockdown of Islamabad and allowing essential services to function; commission to probe corruption charges against the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan’ five-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali saved face for Imran Khan on November 1by ruling that a Commission of Inquiry would be set up to look into the allegations of corruption against the family members of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the Panama Papers leak regarding the maintenance of offshore accounts.

The stage seemed otherwise set for aviolent confrontation between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party men converging for a ‘lockdown’ of Islamabad on November 2 and the Islamabad civil administration, which had been instructed to forcefully implement restrictions under Section 144 (unlawful assembly) of the Criminal Procedure Code to prevent a repeat of the 2015 imbroglio of unruly crowds descending on sensitive Red Zone of the city near the National Assembly and the Presidential estate complex.

Though Imran Khan had been bragging about getting together ten lakh followers on November 2, initial reports belied these expectations. Most of his political satraps like Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar and Jahangir Tareen remained cooped up in Imran’s Bani Gala home instead of leading the party faithful from pockets of strength in Multan and other parts of Punjab, towards Islamabad.

After the Islamabad High Court’s cautionary admonition, Imran had blown hot and cold between wanting to enforce a complete lockdown and allowing essential services like hospitals and schools to function. Only PTI’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak got carried away by engaging in dangerous rhetoric and using State machinery to join up with his cadres marching to Islamabad, before engaging in some skirmishes with the Punjab Police near Swabi. This clash had dangerous connotations for the future of Pakistan’s federal polity.

Full report at:

http://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/Pakistan-Supreme-Court-saves-face-for-Imran-Khan-Sharif-on-back-foot/articleshow/55216252.cms

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PML-N ‘indifferent’ to Siraj’s efforts

AMJAD MAHMOOD

November 3, 2016

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is ‘unresponsive’ to the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) efforts for submitting to the Supreme Court unanimous terms of reference (ToR) for the Panama Commission.

JI Emir Senator Sirajul Haq has been in contact with all parliamentary and other parties for framing joint ToR instead of leaving the task to the apex court.

Through a Lahore-based PML-N leader, the suggestion has also been forwarded to the government but the proposition has not even been discussed in the federal cabinet meeting held in Islamabad on Wednesday morning, an official told Dawn.

The government’s legal minds, says the official, believe that the ToR or course of action to be set by the apex court for the proposed commission will be more helpful in resolving the issue and advantageous for the ruling party (read the Sharifs) than the one to be framed out of court – whether through parliament or otherwise.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1293932/pml-n-indifferent-to-sirajs-efforts

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Resign for fair probe into Panama: Imran to Nawaz

03-Nov-16

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said he waits for the day when Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif would be in jail.

Kaptaan was addressing tens of thousands of his supporters at Parade Ground.

The PTI chief thanked his party lawmakers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for their bravery. He praised KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak as Pakistan’s hero.

He asked Nawaz Sharif if he was not ashamed on the manhandling of the PTI women.

“Nawaz has been inaugurating one road after another since the Panama leaks came to the forefront.”

“Fazlur Rehman, in past you were making money from diesel permits, now you are taking money from Nawaz Sharif,” said Kaptaan.

“Asif Zardari and Khursheed Shah are afraid of accountability as they are predicting its PPP term in the next elections.”

“This is not a solo flight and I am not going solo in this fight against corruption. I have millions of Pakistanis with me,” he said.

“I warn you Sharif brothers, do not use the police like you did in the past few days,” says Imran while referring to police actions taken in the run-up to the planned November 2 lockdown of the capital.

He questions the effectiveness of national institutions, including NAB. “Supreme Court asked NAB officials why they didn’t work on Nawaz Sharif’s accountability.”

Imran also referred to the Charter of Democracy as an instrument of compromise and corruption. He alleged that the charter has been used by both Nawaz and Zardari to indulge in wholesale corruption.

Earlier in the evening, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the party “only wanted to shut the practice of corruption”.

“They said we were coming to close Islamabad, but we don’t want to do so since it is not our manner of doing politics,” said Qureshi.

“If Imran Khan orders, we can close the federal capital tonight, but we will not do so.”

Qureshi also paid tribute to the arrested workers of PTI.

“We also salute our brothers and sisters who set off from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” said Qureshi.

“I wish we had more days, they would have understood what we are made of,” said KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. “PTI had teams ready to continue the struggle.”

“They tried to use our Pashtun brothers against us, by having FC troops deployed to stop us,” added Khattak.

“I wish for the day you [Shahbaz Sharif] will be fired upon then I will ask you how it feels.”

Khattak said he does not care about his ‘chair’, as he has been a political prisoner and he “would have thrown out his ‘chair’ if Imran asked too”.

“I will resign from my post whenever Imran Khan asks me to.”

Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed, while addressing the gathering, expressed hope that “this Supreme Court of Pakistan will save the country from disaster”.

The AML chief also referred to the prime minister as a friend of Modi. “Nawaz Sharif wants to transform Pakistan Army into Punjab police,” alleged the veteran politician.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/03-Nov-16/resign-for-fair-probe-into-panama-imran-to-nawaz

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SC did not save PM, it saved democracy: Bilawal

03-Nov-16

KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has finalised three candidates for the posts of Provincial President and General Secretary for the Party in Central Punjab, South Punjab and Balochistan, General Secretary Sindh and Divisional President and General Secretary for Karachi.

Announcement in this regard was made at a Press Conference held at Sindh Secretariat and attended by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Political Secretary to the Chairman PPP Jameel Soomro and Advisor to Chief Minister for Information Maula Bux Chandio today.

It may be recalled that the provincial bodies of the PPP were dissolved by the Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Provincial Coordination Committees were formed to seek opinions from grass-root level workers at district levels in all the four provinces. After holding general workers meetings and consultations, the Coordination Committees submitted their recommendations to the PPP Chairman last month.

Three Party candidates finalised for each posts are: President Central Punjab – Raja Pervez Ashraf, Qamaruz Zaman Kaira and Rana Farooq Saeed Khan. General Secretary Punjab – Nadeem Afzal Chan, Asif Khan and Hassan Murtaza. President South Punjab – Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, Toochi Khan and Mureed Hussain Qureshi. President Balochistan – Bismillah Khan Kakar, Sardar Fateh Mohammad Mohammad Hasni and Ali Madad Jattak. General Secretary Balochistan – Sarbuland Khan, Senator Saifullah Magsi and Saadullah Shah. General Secretary Sindh – Rashid Rabbani, Waqar Mehdi and Saeed Ghani.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/03-Nov-16/sc-did-not-save-pm-it-saved-democracy-bilawal

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Afghans’ repatriation suspended from 30 Nov

02-Nov-16

ISLAMABAD: Process of repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan will be suspended from November 30 to February next year.

According to United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), the Afghan refugees possessing the proof of registration (POR) cards would be allowed to stay in Pakistan during this period and all facilities would be provided by them, a private news channel reported. According to details those refugees who have registered them for return in November will not be affected from this schedule and they may proceed according to their plans. However, the new registrations will be suspended from 7th November.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/02-Nov-16/afghans-repatriation-suspended-from-30-nov

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War over ‘spy diplomats’ escalates

November 03, 2016

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and India were withdrawing more than a dozen diplomats from the other country after a spike in spying allegations from the two sides, further vitiating the atmosphere in the nuclear-armed South Asia.

As many as six officials in the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi returned home yesterday, amid the ongoing diplomatic tussle and skirmishes along the Line of Control.

According to diplomatic sources, the decision was taken as the Indian government was allegedly ‘threatening and blackmailing’ Pakistani diplomats.

India, on the other hand, said it would withdraw eight of its diplomats from Pakistan after they were identified in local media reports and were accused of being part of spying network.

The two countries last week expelled one of each other’s diplomats over spying claims after declaring them personae non gratae.

“They have put in the public domain eight names (of diplomatic staff) and six of these people went today. We will eventually withdraw all eight,” Reuters reported Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup as saying yesterday.

He said the diplomats had been “completely compromised” after their names and pictures were put in the public domain.

Though there was no official confirmation on the number of Pakistani diplomats leaving India, according to people in the Pakistan High Commission, there were six mission officials who had left or were in the process of leaving.

“The decision has been taken after it became impossible for the officials to work in this vitiated atmosphere. Indian government is threatening and blackmailing our diplomats. So in this condition, it is impossible for us to stay in this country and work,” they alleged.

According to sources, those who have come back to Pakistan include Commercial Counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and First Secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal.

Relations between the arch rivals have been strained since the summer, when civil unrest erupted in held Kashmir, with Islamabad lobbying globally against India and New Delhi’s crackdown on Kashmiri activists.

Foreign ministry officials told The Nation yesterday that Pakistan was set to expel at least two Indian diplomats for spying, though some media reports said Islamabad may expel as many as five Indian diplomats.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/03-Nov-2016/war-over-spy-diplomats-escalates

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India

 

Share of Muslims in jail bigger than in the population, show NCRB data

November 3, 2016

Muslims make up 15.8% of all convicts and 20.9% of all undertrials in jails across the country. This is higher than their share in the country’s population, which is 14.2%. But in some states, this gap is far wider. According to latest data on prisons by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2015, in states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the percentage of Muslims in the incarcerated population was almost thrice the percentage of Muslims in the overall population.

Muslims, who are 11.5% of the population of Maharashtra, made up 30% of all undertrials in the state. The gap widened in 2015 from what it had been a year earlier — in 2014, Muslim undertrials made up 26% of all undertrials in Maharashtra.

In states such as West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan, Muslims have almost double the share of undertrial populations in prisons than their share in the populations of the states.

As per the 2011 Census, Muslims are 27% of the population of West Bengal. The NCRB data for 2015 show they account for 47% — almost half of the total — of undertrials in the state’s prisons. But West Bengal also has the maximum number of foreign prisoners, primarily Bangladeshis, who get counted in demographic categorisation by faith.

It is also important to compare these figures with those of Muslim convicts languishing in jails across states. A bigger gap between the two figures would show that while more Muslims are being booked in such states, they are not being convicted for lack of evidence.

In Maharashtra again, this gap is the widest. Muslim convicts make up only 20% of the convict population in Maharashtra’s jails. In all states, the share of Muslims among convicts is higher than their share of population, but lower than their share among undertrials. Tamil Nadu, where Muslims make up 17% of convicts, and Rajasthan, with 18% of such convicts, buck the trend. These two states have 16% Muslim undertrials each.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/muslims-daliots-undertrials-in-prison-ncrb-3734362/

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SIMI encounter killings: Muslim bodies demand judicial probe

November 3, 2016

Condemning the encounter killings of eight Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists near Bhopal, several Muslim organisations in the State have demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.

SC guidelines

They have also demanded that the inquiry be conducted by a high court judge as per the guidelines on encounter killings prescribed by the Supreme Court. Disciplinary action should be initiated against the police personnel involved in the killings.

A. Saeed, president of the Social Democratic Party of India, which is the political wing of the Popular Front of India, has said that the National Human Rights Commission and the National Minorities Commission should also conduct parallel inquiries into the whole episode beginning from the jail escape.

Contradictory versions

Indian National League president Muhammed Sulaiman and general secretary Ahammed Devarkovil said the Madhya Pradesh government and the police gave contradictory versions of the encounter killings. A comprehensive inquiry should be conducted as the fake encounters of Ishrat Jahan and those during the Gujarat riots had also created such distortion of facts.

Probe by sitting judge

A meeting of the Kerala Naduvathul Mujahideen - KNM (Markazuda’wa) attended by its general secretary M. Salahuddin and All India Islahi Movement general secretary Hussain Madavoor said that only a sitting judge could bring to light the truth as credibility of the National Investigation Agency was at stake.

‘Fabrication of stories’

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/simi-encounter-killings-muslim-bodies-demand-judicial-probe/article9298019.ece

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Aligarh Muslim University students’ union demand probe into Bhopal encounter

November 3, 2016

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students’ union staged a demonstration against the killing of eight SIMI activists after a jail break in Bhopal and demanded a judicial probe into the matter. In a memorandum to President Pranab Mukerjee, AMU students’ union demanded a Supreme Court-monitored judicial probe into the Bhopal encounter, an AMU office bearer said.

Anger had been brewing on the campus since the news broke out in the media on Monday but the authorities managed to prevent any public display of the mounting resentment in view of the annual convocation on Tuesday.

However, slogan-shouting students took out a procession on Wednesday which culminated into rally at the Sir Syed Gate.

Addressing the protestors, the students’ union President Faizul Hasan charged that ever since the NDA government came to power ‘Muslims were being wrongly targeted’.

“We are all against terrorists but the battle against terror has to be fought by uniting all sections and not by selectively targeting only a particular section of the people”, he said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/aligarh-muslim-university-students-union-demand-probe-into-bhopal-encounter-3734958/

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4 terror launch pads spotted along Pakistan border

Nov 3, 2016

JAMMU: The Army's military intelligence (MI) in Jammu and Kashmir has spotted at least four terror launch pads of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) across the international border (IB). The launch pads are less than five kilometres from border outposts in the Samba region, where heavy shelling by Pakistan's troops killed six people on Tuesday.

Sources said that, according to an MI report, the launch pads had been spotted at Masroor Bada Bhai, Sukhmal, Chapral and Looni. One of them is located just opposite the BSF BOP (border outpost) at Paharpur in Kathua's Hiranagar sector. According to the report, heavily armed men dressed in camouflage had been seen getting dropped at Pakistan's Nur-ul-Islam BOP via Masroor Bada Bhai.

It added that, after the Army's surgical strikes on September 29, terror commanders had changed their location from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) to the territory across the international border in the Jammu region. The aim was to avoid detection by India's thermal imagers and mini unmanned aerial vehicles.

MI sources said the four launch pads were set up by Lashkar-e-Taiba nearly two years ago, but were not operational as Lashkar did not send infiltrators to Jammu. Sources said the MI's disclosures were also corroborated in the interrogation report (IR) of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed's associate Abdul Qayoom, a resident of Sialkot district, who was arrested last month from the Jammu region.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/4-terror-launch-pads-spotted-along-Pakistan-border/articleshow/55215264.cms

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Riots and encounter killing increases insecurity among Madhya Pradesh Muslims

November 3, 2016

New Delhi: Just before the killing of eight Muslim young men in an alleged encounter near Bhopal on Monday, the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh witnessed a series of communal incidents raising the question about the security of Muslims in the state. In all these incidents Muslims were the main targets as the destruction scene of two villages in Dhar district is such as if it was the handiwork of army of an enemy country.

A fact-finding team of All India Secular Forum revealed that more than 40 houses and about the same number of shops owned by Muslims were set on fire. Besides destroying the houses and shops the culprits also looted the belongings in houses and various commodities stored in shops.

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The destruction was total. According to the report submitted to the Director General of Police,the scene in the burnt houses and shops was such as if it was the handiwork of army of an enemy country.

The two villages of Dhar district where arson and loot took place are Gandhwani and Pipalya. The incidents of arson and loot took place on October 12. The affected families related the sequence of events. According to villagers there was a disputed ground which was used by Hindu right wing organisations for religious activities. Some Muslims organisations objected to the misuse of the area. In order to close the controversy the administration in consultation with people belonging to both the communities a police chowki was set up on the land. Despite this the RSS, Bajrangdal installed Ganesh idol later Durga idol on the disputed land. Representatives of Muslim organisations objected recalling that the decision to set up a police chowki was taken at the meeting of “Shanti Samiti”. It was also pointed out that Ganesh and Durga idols were installed on a government land where police chowki was already set up. It was also violation of the unanimous decision taken at the meeting of “shanti samiti”.

The local administration ignored the objection and the misuse of the govt. land. On the Muharram day a tazia procession was taken out. The procession stopped near the chowki. During its stop, a rumour was spread that some Muslims insulted the “Havan Kund” which was still there. After this Hindu group started attacking the people of tazia procession. The other party retaliated. During the clash a Hindu young man received serious injuries on his hand. Some Muslim also received injuries.  After this clash thousands of Hindus belonging to the RSS affiliated groups started attacks on Muslims shops and houses. After setting shops on fire in Gandhwani the violent crowd entered Pipalya village and set many houses on fire.

In order to escape the fury of the violent crowd residents left their houses to the destiny. This gave freehand to the crowd which burnt everything in the houses and took away T.V. set, refrigerators and other valuable things like ornaments, food grains, clothes, beddings, children’s, books, furniture, Quran Sharif. In fact nothing was left. Valuable clothes and ornaments stored for the forthcoming marriages of young girls were either looted or destroyed.The most interesting thing is all this happened in the presence of police. The team noted that Hindu organisations have adopted a unique method to collect crowd at a short notice. A siren was installed in a multi-storey building.

That night also siren was blown thrice which alerted residents of the nearby villages. The team was informed that night a poet-gathering was on in a nearly village. Hundreds of people were enjoying the Kavi Sammelan. The moment they heard siren they rushed to Pipalya and Gandhwani and started attacking Muslim houses and shops. Many women and children, who were still under shock told the team sordid stories of the violent mood of the crowd. The crowd attacked every Muslim they came across. One woman told that it War like situation.Members of the crowd were hurling choicest abuses like “why you are here go to Pakistan, you traitors”.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/riots-encounter-killing-increases-insecurity-among-madhya-pradesh-muslims-1056546/

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia police brace for hardline Islamic protest

November 3, 2016

JAKARTA: Thousands of hardline Muslims are expected to take to the streets on Friday to protest against the governor of Jakarta, a Christian and the first ethnic Chinese in the job, over claims he insulted the Koran.

Jakarta police said dozens of social media accounts were discovered “publishing provocative statements and images” and urging people to take violent action in the name of Islam against governor Basuki Tjahja Purnama, better known by his nickname “Ahok”, including calls to kill him.

“We have seen racially and ethnically divisive statements being spread online and there are indications many of them are anti-Chinese,” said Jakarta police spokesman Awi Setiyono.

He added police are stepping up patrols and online monitoring in a “show of force” ahead of Friday’s rally. About 18,000 police and military personnel will be deployed on the day of the protest.

Critics, however, slammed Indonesia’s government for doing little to contain the hardline Muslim groups that have fueled religious and ethnic tensions ahead of next year’s election for Jakarta’s governor, which Ahok is contesting.

“Indonesia’s spineless political leaders have allowed extremists to seize the momentum and foment religious hatred against the governor…for more than a month without challenging the substance or methods of their arguments,” security expert Sidney Jones said in an online column.

Police are investigating Ahok for alleged religious defamation, after he said his opponents had deceived voters by attacking him using a verse from the Koran. Ahok has apologized for the remarks.

A spiritual leader for the protest organizer, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), insisted its actions on Friday would be peaceful.

“This is not anti-Christian or anti-Chinese action,” Habib Riziek said.

The group has had a history of vigilante attacks against religious minorities since it was formed in 1999. It has also frequently protested against Ahok.

Anti-Chinese sentiment

Indonesia’s population of 250 million people includes 3 million ethnic Chinese, many of whom are Christian. The community has faced persecution and violence in the past, most recently during the political and social turmoil that gripped the capital as authoritarian ruler Suharto was toppled in 1998.

Hundreds of people were killed and thousands of ethnic Chinese fled the country as mobs rampaged through Jakarta, looting and burning Chinese-owned shops and houses.

Some fear anti-Chinese sentiment and religious tensions are once again on the rise ahead of the Jakarta governor election in February.

The government has shied away from addressing the rising tensions head on, saying instead it is committed to protecting freedom of expression and assembly alongside Indonesia’s diversity.

Earlier this week, President Joko Widodo, whose ruling party backs Ahok, met with party leaders backing the two other candidates in the race, whose camps have been accused of using hardline Muslim groups to fan tensions.

In joint statements, these political and religious leaders urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

Communications Minister Rudiantara said the government is working to counter the online “hate speech”.

“Indeed, social media is contributing to the current situation,” he said. “The president has made it clear Indonesia’s unity is non-negotiable.”

The race to lead the sprawling capital of 10 million is often hotly contested, with top political parties jostling to get their candidates elected to a job that is seen as a stepping stone to higher political office.

President Widodo served as Jakarta governor for 1-1/2 years before running for, and winning, the presidency in 2014. His rise brought back to power the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which had spent a decade in opposition.

One of his rivals in the governor’s race is the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Ahok, who took over from Widodo as governor, has gained a reputation as a tough reformer, and remains a frontrunner in opinion polls.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2016/11/03/indonesia-police-brace-for-hardline-islamic-protest/

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US urges humanitarian access to strife-hit Myanmar region

November 3, 2016

The US called Wednesday for restoration of full humanitarian access in a strife-hit region of western Myanmar where the United Nations says more than 150,000 people, including 3,000 malnourished children, are being denied aid.

The State Department said US Ambassador Scot Marciel joined the UN resident coordinator for Myanmar and other chiefs of mission on a two-day visit to villages in the northern part of Rakhine state.

Human rights groups have raised alarm over a three-week surge in violence by security forces, prompted by the killings of nine police officers at border posts on Oct. 9 in Rakhine, home to many displaced Rohingya Muslims.

Reports that government forces have been killing, raping and burning homes of the persecuted minority have increased pressure on new civilian administration of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which took office five months ago in a historic democratic transition supported by the Obama administration. The military, which ran the country also known as Burma for five decades, remains powerful and controls access to sensitive border regions.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the visit was an "initial step" in what the US hopes will be a continued assessment of the situation in Rakhine by the government and international community. He said abuses are widely reported to have taken place against residents, including Rohingya. He said Marciel called for protection of all residents and a thorough investigation.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/seasia/2016/11/03/us-urges-humanitarian-access-to-strife-hit-myanmar-region-.html

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Lawyer insists endorsement for ‘Malay-Muslim’ Bar Council candidates not racist

November 3, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — A lawyer has endorsed five candidates for the upcoming Bar Council election on the basis that they allegedly support the “Malay-Muslim cause”, but denied this was racist in nature.

Aidil Khalid confirmed that he made the endorsement in a WhatsApp message intended for a private group, explaining that he wanted greater diversity in the Bar Council and stressed that fighting for the Malay-Muslim cause did not mean leaving out the fight for others.

“What I said was that I think those five are the candidates that might be good for the Malay-Muslim cause. I did not mention anything against the Chinese, Indian communities to marginalise them and so on. So in no way can my message be construed to be racist.

“And the reason that I sent out the message is because I think there needs to be more diverse representation in the Bar Council, so as to balance the current trend in the Bar Council where there seems to be a bit [of] opposition against attempts to strengthen Shariah (law and courts) within the constitutional legal framework, including like Act 355 and hudud,” the lawyer told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.

Act 355 refers to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965. PAS is trying to push through a private member’s Bill to amend Act 355 in order to expand the limit of punishments that Shariah courts can impose.

Aidil said he did not mean that there were not enough Malays and Muslims in the Bar Council, but that their stand may not be in favour of Shariah laws.

Aidil’s WhatsApp message, which has since been circulated online, urges other lawyers to vote for five Bar Council candidates whom he claimed “supports the Malay-Muslim cause”:  Abu Daud Abd Rahim, Faidhur Rahman Abd Hadi, Kee Mohd Thariq K Zainal Abidin, Mohd Amir Sharil Bahari and Muhammad Faisal Moideen.

He conceded that he does not know their viewpoints on issues such as hudud, but said he suggested their names based on their profile and the identity of those who had proposed them.

Aidil is the campaign coordinator for the Concerned Lawyers for Justice (CLJ) group, but said he made the endorsement in his personal capacity, and clarified that none of the five lawyers instructed him to do so or knew that he would be endorsing them.

He also claimed none of the five are currently members of the CLJ.

Lawyer Muhammad Faisal, who was one of the five endorsed, said he was independent and clarified that he is standing for the Bar Council election to “represent all members irrespective of their religion and race”.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/lawyer-insists-endorsement-for-malay-muslim-bar-council-candidates-not-raci

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Islamic groups to hold parallel Nov. 4 rally in S. Sulawesi

November 2, 2016

Islamic organizations in Makassar, South Sulawesi, are set to hold a rally on Nov. 4 against religious defamation allegedly committed by inactive Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama. A large-scale rally is also expected in Jakarta on the same day.

Participants of the rally initiated by the South Sulawesi chapter of the United Muslim Forum’s (FUIB) Petition 51 are scheduled to gather after Friday prayers. Departing from Al Markaz Al Islami Mosque in Makassar, they will march to the South Sulawesi governor’s office, which is around 3 kilometres away.

FUIB South Sulawesi secretary-general Hidayatullah said around 3,000 people had registered to participate and the number was expected to increase. “We estimate the number of rally participants will reach up to 5,000 people,” he said on Wednesday.

Members and supporters of the forum, which groups around 60 mass organizations, from other cities across South Sulawesi are reportedly ready to participate.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/11/02/islamic-groups-to-hold-parallel-nov-4-rally-in-s-sulawesi.html

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Indonesia jails Uighur radical over IS-linked terror plots

Nov 02, 2016

A Uighur radical with links to an Islamic State militant was jailed for six years on Wednesday for planning bomb attacks in Indonesia against a Shia mosque and a top-ranking policeman.

Nur Muhammet Abdullah Al Faris was arrested last December on the outskirts of Jakarta and charged over his part in plotting the planned assaults.

Al Faris had planned to assassinate Jakarta’s police chief and orchestrate a suicide bombing at a mosque used by members of the Muslim Shia minority, a court heard. Neither of the intended attacks went ahead.

“The defendant is declared to be convincingly guilty of committing an evil conspiracy and assisting terrorism offences,” Judge Novry Tammy Oroh told a Jakarta court.

The court heard that Al Faris -- a member of China’s mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority -- hatched the plots under the guidance of Bahrun Naim, a leading Indonesian militant fighting with the Islamic State group.

Naim has been linked to several botched attacks in his homeland, ranging from a plot to fire a rocket at Singapore to a suicide attack on a police station.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/indonesia-jails-uighur-radical-over-is-linked-terror-plots/story-I5xiOUppnriHXiOosc2oLN.html

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More Muslim groups to join anti-Ahok rally

November 3, 2016

As hundreds of Islamic hard-liners leave their hometowns to join a planned rally in Jakarta on Friday, the police and military have flexed their muscles, showing off thousands of personnel ready to secure the demonstration.

Protesters in some regions, however, decided to hold simultaneous demonstrations in nearby cities, expanding the scale of the tensions to the national level, with security concerns raised across the archipelago.

Hundreds of people reportedly left Bandung, West Java, on Wednesday to join the Nov. 4 rally in Jakarta, which is aimed at demanding the prosecution of gubernatorial candidate and incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.

West Java Islamic Movement Alliance head Asep Syaripudin said 11 buses and 23 cars had left for Jakarta so far.

He said the demonstrators came from different groups, such as the Indonesian Muslim Student Action Union, the Greater Bandung Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the Islamic Reform Movement.

He added that they came from areas across the province, including Sumedang, Garut, Tasikmalaya, Ciamis and Pangandaran regencies.

Separately, the leader of the FPI’s Karawang chapter, Ade Dahyar, said the organization would send at least 400 of its members.

FPI members from Jambi will also join the rally in Jakarta. “As many as 162 FPI members from Jambi will depart on Thursday to join FPI members from all over Indonesia,” Jambi FPI regional representative board secretary Abdullah Hamid said on Wednesday.

In Pekanbaru, Riau, thousands of hard-liners claimed they would hold a rally in the provincial capital.

The Pekanbaru Police said they had received a proposal from Islamic organizations to stage a rally that could see over 2,000 demonstrators hit the city’s streets.

Pekanbaru Police chief Sr. Comr. Toni Hermawan said some 500 personnel would secure the rally.

Separately, head of the Religious Affairs Ministry’s Riau office, Ahmad Supardi Hasibuan, said he had gathered all executives of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) from across the province to discuss the planned rally, as he had heard that hundreds of Muslims from Riau would also depart for Jakarta.

Pekanbaru city councilor Mulyadi was among those intending to join the peaceful rally in Jakarta. “I am already in Jakarta. We are not being paid for the rally. This is purely my personal intent,” the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician said.

Similar rallies are reportedly set to take place in other cities, such as Makassar and Surabaya.

In Jakarta, some 5,000 personnel from the National Police, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) gathered at the National Monument in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. They were part of 18,000 personnel being readied ahead of the rally.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian and TNI commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo attended the briefing to signal the level of attention they are giving the issue, as the threat of violence continues to loom.

Several personnel from the West Java Police were also seen at the ceremony wearing white Muslim caps and clothing over their police attire. They are to be deployed at the forefront of the rally.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/11/03/more-muslim-groups-to-join-anti-ahok-rally.html

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Mideast

 

Turkey's media crackdown seen hurting economy, foreign ties

November 3, 2016

ISTANBUL -- The Erdogan government's suppression of free speech is expanding to Turkey's left-leaning media outlets and those for minority Kurds. But Ankara's continuing use of the post-coup state of emergency to crack down on dissenting voices could backfire, damaging the country's relationship with the West and spurring a capital exodus.

Police raided the homes of a cartoonist and other staff of the left-leaning Cumhuriyet daily newspaper here early Monday morning, detaining 15 people including the editor-in-chief by Wednesday. Those detained are accused of supporting terrorists.

The newspaper was defiant the day after the raids, stating "we won't give in" on the front page and publishing the blank spaces of the columns of the detained journalists.

Following the coup attempt in July, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government declared a state of emergency and began clamping down on media organizations supporting U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of masterminding the failed coup.

But the crackdown has widened beyond Gulen supporters in recent weeks. Police have detained secular novelists and shut down newspaper publishers and news agencies thought to have links to the Kurdish anti-government movement and even a TV broadcaster airing children's animations in Kurdish.

In Turkey's southeast, home to a big Kurdish population, key city Diyarbakir experienced a six-day internet shutdown as the government attempted to repress protests against the detention of co-mayors. The internet blackout forced local reporters to drive hundreds of kilometers to send stories and photos.

Erdogan is intensifying the crackdown against free expression amid the emergence of a proposal to amend Turkey's constitution to increase his presidential powers. With calls for a referendum on a constitutional amendment next spring, his regime apparently seeks to strip left-leaning critics and Kurdish leaders of influence and please his right-wing support base.

But the push to bolster government power in the name of fighting terrorism presents a double-edged sword. The campaign to oppress media and dismiss civil servants without clear evidence appears to the international community as violating the rule of law.

The media crackdown is alarming, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Wednesday. Turkey's widening distance with the West on freedom of expression is sure to erode cooperation in the Syrian refugee crisis and the two sides' fight against the Islamic State.

Turkey has seen an exodus of money after its sovereign rating was cut to junk status and the nation extended the state of emergency, while the lira slid to its weakest against the dollar. Foreign direct investment has tumbled as well. Cooling investor sentiment might slow growth as a result.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Turkey-s-media-crackdown-seen-hurting-economy-foreign-ties

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Turkey-Backed Militants Withdraw from Villages Near Al-Bab without Serious Clashes with ISIL

Nov 02, 2016

According to the Lebanese al-Safir newspaper, the ISIL occupied Bor'an, al-Wash, Tanouza, Salsana, Job al-Asi, Dawir al-Hawa, Houmad, Salasina, al-Barouza and a number of other villages in a surprise attack on Tuesday following a rapid withdrawal of the Euphrates Shield operation forces.

A large number of media activists reported that no real clashes happened between the ISIL and the Turkey-backed militants, and the Euphrates Shield operation forces fled the scene en masse.

Hawar news agency, close to the Kurdish forces, accused Turkey of ordering his forces to retreat from the villages in the South of Akhtarin region near al-Bab.

The agency said the move by Turkey was part of a joint operational plan with the ISIL against the Kurdish troops in the regions under their control.

Meantime, analysts believe that Turkey is trying to derail attention and project the source of its numerous internal problems by military intervention in Iraq and Syria.

"What Turkey is doing in Syria and Iraq can merely be described as a risk," Colonel Reza Shariqi told FNA on Wednesday.

"Turkey seeks to export its internal problems to outside its borders by misusing the conditions ruling Iraq and Syria," he added.

Noting that Ankara's acts will not change the situation on the ground, Shariqi said the allies of Damascus will not allow any foreign side to intervene in Syria and disintegrate it.

His remarks came after al-Safir wrote on Tuesday that Turkey, supported by the US, continues occupation of lands in Northern Syria within the framework of the Euphrates Shield operation, disclosing that Ankara is setting up a military base in the region.

According to the newspaper, Turkey is implementing the scenario played in Iraq's Bashiqa now in a village in Northern Aleppo.

The suspicious moves of certain Turkish army units near al-Zareh village in the Southern parts of al-Rae'i town (near the Syrian-Turkish border) show that Ankara is seriously pursuing establishment of a military base in Northern Syria.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950812000983

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Three Saudis sentenced to jail for plotting in Iran

3 November 2016

The Saudi Specialized Criminal Court issued sentences against three Saudis who were involved in different cases, giving them varying prison terms.

The cases included the involvement of one of them in a deal with wanted criminals, who he met in Iran, to destabilize security in Saudi Arabia.

The second one received training in Iraq and supported ISIS while the third showed support for Houthi militias and questioned religious principles and the validity of the hadiths of the Prophet and his companions.

Two citizens received 10 years each for having traveled to Iran, where they met with a criminal, wanted for carrying out terrorist acts in the Eastern Province.

The criminal, currently detained, had instructed the two Saudis to undergo military training in an effort to later act to destabilize the security of the Kingdom.

The two defendants also traveled to Iraq, at the request of the said criminal, and joined training camps where they learned how to assemble machine guns and pistols. They then returned to the Kingdom, where they were apprehended.

The court sentence starts from the date of arrest; after being released, the two will be forbidden from traveling abroad for another 10 years.

Another verdict was issued against a Saudi national who fell under the influence of terrorist organizations and wanted to go to Syria to join ISIS.

He was indicted based on online statements critical of the state and its policies, as well as for consuming drugs.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/03/Three-Saudis-sentenced-to-jail-for-plotting-in-Iran.html

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Abadi too weak to fight terror groups: Turkish FM

3 November 2016

ANKARA: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu denounced Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi as “weak” on Wednesday, further escalating tensions after Baghdad warned Ankara about provoking a confrontation through deploying tanks near Iraq.

Abadi’s remarks were made on Tuesday after Turkey sent a 30-vehicle convoy including artillery to the southeastern district of Silopi, with the Iraqi leader warning that any Turkish “invasion” would prompt a fierce response.

The two countries traded barbs last month over Ankara’s military presence in Iraq’s north and its insistence on playing a role in the offensive to retake second city Mosul from Daesh extremists.

“If you have the strength, why did you surrender Mosul to terror organizations?

“If you are so strong, why has the PKK occupied your lands for years?” Cavusoglu jeered, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party which is waging an insurgency inside Turkey and has bases in northern Iraq.

“You cannot even fight against a terror organization, you are weak,” he said in televised comments.

More than a million civilians in Mosul are in grave danger and aid workers are “bracing for the worst,” a relief group said Wednesday, after Iraqi forces reached the city.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus on Wednesday suggested Ankara had sent in the convoy as a precautionary measure because of the “fires raging (there)... and this neighboring fire can spread to us.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was ready to take on more responsibility in the region even as it was facing threats from the ongoing volatility along its borders.

“Some people give us lessons, they say ‘do not get so involved in Iraq’... well, what are we going to do?” he asked in a speech in Istanbul.

“It is us that has a 350-kilometer (220-mile) border with Iraq.”

The future was far from clear in Mosul, Kirkuk, Tal Afar and Sinjar, he said.

“What happens next is unknown,” he added, saying Turkey was preparing to deal with any situation.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1005701/middle-east

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Tehran ex-prosecutor given 135 lashes for corruption

November 03, 2016

TEHRAN - Tehran’s notorious former chief prosecutor, Said Mortazavi, has been sentenced to 135 lashes for misappropriation and waste of public money while head of Iran’s welfare programme, Iranian media reported Wednesday.

Mortazavi “was sentenced to 70 lashes for misappropriation of public goods and 65 lashes for negligence and waste of public goods,” said Mostafa Torkhamedani, lawyer for workers at the Social Security Organisation who brought the case against him, according to IRIB news agency.

A close ally of hardline former president Mahmud Ahmedinejad, Mortazavi became a hate figure among Iranian reformists during his six years as chief prosecutor for shutting down dozens of reformist publications and jailing journalists.

He was suspended in 2010 after parliament held him responsible for the deaths of at least three anti-government protesters during the previous year’s mass demonstrations against Ahmedinejad’s controversial re-election.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/03-Nov-2016/tehran-ex-prosecutor-given-135-lashes-for-corruption

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UN envoy to reach Sana’a for another round of talks

3 November 2016

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is expected to arrive in Sanaa on Thursday to meet with the rebels’ delegation as part of a new a round of negotiations, Yemeni sources said. Ould Cheikh visited Sanaa last week to push negotiations forward and proposed a plan, which has since been stalled.

According to sources, discussions will be held on the reservations the rebels’ delegation had voiced about the UN plan after they agreed on it in principle and considered it as a foundation for discussions. They will also discuss militias’ withdrawal from cities and forming of military committees. Militias are demanding similar measures in areas controlled by the government.

Trip to Riyadh

Ould Cheikh will then head to Riyadh to meet with Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi and the government delegation. A presidential source said the delegation will receive the UN plan from Ould Cheikh.

Other sources said there are international efforts to save Ould Cheikh’s proposal to end the conflict in Yemen before US President Barack Obama’s term ends. Meanwhile, western diplomatic sources said there is intensified diplomatic activity in New York and Riyadh to resolve the Yemeni crisis and revive the efforts of the UN settlement after Yemeni parties rejected the Ould Cheikh plan.

UNSC and ceasefire

Diplomatic efforts, particularly those being carried out by the United States and Britain, are focused on trying to reach a draft that can be submitted to the UN Security Council in order to agree on a ceasefire resolution in the upcoming days.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/03/UN-envoy-to-reach-Sanaa-for-another-round-of-negotiations.html

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US talks to Turkey about role to recapture Raqqa

3 November 2016

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said on Wednesday the plan to envelope Raqqa, ISIS’s main stronghold in Syria, would take place soon with the forces available and that talks continued with Turkey on the role it could play “further down the road.”

“We intend to go there soon with the force that is capable of doing that and enveloping the city of Raqqa ... the final seizure of Raqqa, we continue to talk to Turkey about that and a possible role for Turkey in that further down the road,” Carter said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, Turkey said on Monday that it wants the operation on Raqqa to start after Mosul and Euphrates Shield operations have been completed.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/11/03/US-talks-to-Turkey-about-role-to-recapture-Raqqa.html

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North America

 

Muslim Americans offended by portrayals of them by presidential candidates

Nov. 2, 2016

NEW YORK—Many Muslim Americans cringe at the way they have been portrayed by candidates during the U.S. presidential campaign: either as potential terrorists, or as eyes and ears who can help the government’s counterterrorism efforts.

Those descriptions, offered by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively, are troubling to Muslims who complain they are being pigeonholed and their concerns on other issues ignored.

“I think that there is some level of dismissiveness about Arab-Americans and American Muslims that allows candidates to talk about us, not really to us,” said Omar Baddar, a political analyst and media producer based in Washington.

Chaumtoli Huq, a lawyer from the New York City suburb of Yonkers, agreed.

“We’re not able to talk about issues that impact us as citizens: education, jobs, things that any other voter would care about,” she said. “It’s a really demoralizing way to be seen to be part of this country.”

One of the campaign’s more memorable moments for Muslim Americans unfolded at the Democratic National Convention in July, when a grieving Khizr Khan addressed delegates about his son, Humayun, an American soldier who was killed in Iraq.

The GOP candidate soon pushed back against Khan’s anti-Trump comments, setting up an almost unprecedented episode in which a presidential nominee criticized a military family that had lost a loved one in a war zone.

Huq and others said Trump’s campaign has clearly been the more negative one, starting with the Republican candidate’s call to ban foreign Muslims from entering the United States as an anti-terrorism measure.

In the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Trump answered a question about how to stop Islamophobia in America by saying American Muslims must report other Muslims who are engaging in dangerous behaviour.

He also repeated the false claim that neighbours of the San Bernardino, California, shooters saw bombs all over the floor in the shooters’ home last year but did not report it.

That led to a widely retweeted comment from Brooklyn College professor Moustafa Bayoumi, who posted, “I’m a Muslim, and I would like to report a crazy man threatening a woman on a stage in Missouri.”

By the time the debate ended, his retort had been retweeted more than 32,000 times and “liked” more than 43,000 times.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Bayoumi said Muslim Americans “get exceptionalized to such a degree that their average Americanness disappears in the wind.”

Hillary Clinton did not escape censure from Muslim Americans, who said that the Democratic nominee’s public remarks have primarily revolved around recognizing them for what they could do to support counterterrorism efforts.

At that second debate, in answering the same question as Trump, Clinton said: “We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines. I’ve worked with a lot of different Muslim groups around America. I’ve met with a lot of them, and I’ve heard how important it is for them to feel that they are wanted and included and part of our country, part of our homeland security, and that’s what I want to see.”

Nour Eidy, a freshman at the University of Michigan, grew up in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, which is heavily Arab and Muslim. She was troubled by the call to root out radicals, mainly because she has not come across any.

“I don’t know anything about terrorism. I don’t know their game plans, their strategies,” she said. “We’re just as victimized by them as anybody else.”

Hussien Kazwini does not object to calls for Muslims to identify dangerous extremists. The college student in Toledo, Ohio, whose parents were born in Lebanon, said it’s what every U.S. citizen should do.

“We, at the end of the day, are around more Muslims at a mosque or an event,” Kazwini said. “Maybe we do have an ability to more easily see if someone is going over to the extreme side.”

Frustration with the race is enough to make Ramah Kudaimi want to skip voting altogether.

“People are so shocked by what Trump is saying, that he’s — and he’s so openly racist — that they are giving Hillary Clinton a pass,” the Washington, D.C., organizer said. “The Democrats, frankly, have not necessarily done what is needed to also earn my vote as a Muslim American.”

In New York, Ahsia Badi said the campaign rhetoric had also affected how non-Muslims interact with Muslims. “This sort of dialogue . . . is forcing people to sit there and see their friends who happen to be Muslim, to be their ‘Muslim friends.’ ”

The 44-year-old health professional has two children, ages 10 and 8.

Because of the constant linkage between Muslims and terrorism issues, she said,: “I’m worried about how my children see their own opportunities and what their role is” as Americans.

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/11/02/muslim-americans-offended-by-portrayals-of-them-by-presidential-candidates.html

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Israel’s US Envoy to Be Honoured by Think Tank Accused of Islamophobia

November 3, 2016,

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer has been criticized for agreeing to accept an award from a think tank which openly espouses anti-Islamic views and conspiracy theories.

Dermer will be guest of honor, along with president of the Zionist Organization of America Morton Klein, at the Center for Security Policy’s annual Freedom Flame award dinner to be held on December 13.

The civil rights group Southern Poverty Law Center described the Center for Security Policy as a promoter of conspiracy theories. “In recent years the CSP has gone from a hawkish think tank on foreign affairs to a promoter of baseless conspiracy theories and groundless accusations,” it wrote in its Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.

SPLC claimed that by accepting the award, Dermer gives legitimacy to the right-wing organization and that his attendance “could be read as an endorsement of anti-Muslim hate by the Israeli government.”

The Anti-Defamation League has also criticized the Center as a promoter of anti-Islamic conspiracy theories..

Frank Gaffney, the founder and president of the Center, was a top Pentagon official during the Reagan administration. He has made it his mission, he says, to expose creeping Islamism in the American establishment. He also has ties to conservative pro-Israel groups and websites.

In December, GOP nominee Donald Trump cited a poll of Muslims conducted by the Center showing that “25 percent of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad, and 51 percent of those polled agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.” Politifact described that claim as “mostly false.”

In response to the criticism, the Israeli embassy in Washington said Wednesday that “as somebody who strongly believes that Israel is an outpost of democracy and freedom in a Middle East that largely rejects both, Ambassador Dermer is honored to receive this year’s ‘Freedom Flame Award,’ whose former recipients include Margaret Thatcher and former US Perm. Rep. to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick. The Ambassador also greatly appreciates the Center for Security Policy’s longtime support for a strong and secure Israel.”

Full report at:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-us-envoy-to-be-honored-by-think-tank-accused-of-islamophobia/

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American civil rights group brands atheist writers and UK government anti-terror adviser 'anti-Muslim extremists'

November 3, 2016

Atheists have hit out at an American civil rights advocacy organisation who published a list of “anti-Muslim extremist” authors.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), specialising in civil rights and public interest litigation, published the report earlier this month which included Christian conservatives and two high-profile campaigners credited for their work in the Muslim community.

Critics called the SPLC’s decision “dangerous” and “disgraceful”, and a petition has been launched for the organisation to remove certain members of the list.

"By including liberal reformists and human rights activists in its list of 'anti-Muslim' extremists, the SPLC has effectively chosen to silence and ignore many very important voices from whole groups of marginalized people,” explains the petition.

“In doing so, it is inadvertently accepting the most hardline and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam which chooses to remain divorced from liberal and humanitarian values.”

The change.org movement specifically calls for the removal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz from the list.

Ms Ali, a Somali-born human rights activist and former Dutch MP, is an an ex-Muslim atheist who has publicly criticised fundamentalist Islamic practices such as female genital mutilation - of which she was a victim.

Mr Nawaz is a practicing Muslim and former recruiter for Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir. He has since launched the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank based in Britain which focuses on issues of anti-extremism, deradicalisation, and counter terrorism.

Heidi Beirich, SPLC’s intelligence project director, said her concern with figures such as Mr Nawaz was the way they "misrepresent" America's Muslim community.

"Our concern specifically with Mr Nawaz is he has spread conspiracy theories about Muslims infiltrating universities and law enforcement, and that kind of conspiracy- mongering to us is not sane discussion on Muslim America," she told The Independent.

"If we're going to talk about Muslims, we want to stay away from that kind of rhetoric, it's a false representation of a community so we are using our free speech to expose that. He can call himself a Muslim reformer but his communications about the community have been absurd - just because he's a Muslim, that doesn't exempt him."

However Mr Nawaz claimed the "regressive left" had issued a "fatwa" against him as a "Muslim reformer".

"I have survived violent neo-Nazi racism and served as a former War on Terror political prisoner in Egypt, witnessing torture," he told the Daily Beast.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/atheists-anti-muslim-extemists-civil-rights-advocacy-group-a7392771.html

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Europe

 

Merkel accuses Syrian government of ‘crimes against humanity’

2 November 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused Syrian government troops of committing “crimes against humanity” that could not be overlooked.

Human rights groups and Western countries have previously accused Syria’s army, backed by Russia’s air force, of targeting hospitals, bakeries and other civilian areas when bombarding rebel areas, including eastern Aleppo.

“The use of barrel bombs and incendiary bombs, and even chemical weapons, is not being shied away from,” Merkel said as she received the Seoul Peace Prize in Berlin.

“The civilian population is being starved, medical institutes are being attacked, doctors are dying and hospitals are being destroyed,” she said, adding that not even United Nations aid convoys were safe from bombardment.

“These are serious crimes against humanity. We mustn’t overlook that,” Merkel said.

On Tuesday, a UN human rights spokeswoman said all sides fighting over the Syrian city of Aleppo may be committing war crimes through indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas.

The UN Human Rights Council said late last month it would identify the perpetrators of war crimes in Aleppo, and it launched a special inquiry into the use of starvation and air strikes there.

Merkel also urged Europeans to think about crises further afield. On North Korea’s nuclear programme and tensions in the East and South China Sea, she said: “Everyone involved has a duty to stick to the internationally agreed rules and to cooperate.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2016/11/02/Merkel-accuses-Syrian-government-of-crimes-against-humanity-.html

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Starbucks Cups Controversy Prompts Bizarre Link To Islam

02/11/2016

The revelation that the latest Starbucks cup will be green has led some people to suggest the global coffee chain is promoting Islam.

Starbucks revealed its new design on Tuesday with the title “a symbol of unity”.

But the bizarre religious association came as a flurry of voices criticised the coffee giant, including former Ukip leadership candidate Raheem Kassam.

The revelation that the latest Starbucks cup will be green has led some people to suggest the global coffee chain is promoting Islam.

Starbucks revealed its new design on Tuesday with the title “a symbol of unity”.

But the bizarre religious association came as a flurry of voices criticised the coffee giant, including former Ukip leadership candidate Raheem Kassam.

The revelation that the latest Starbucks cup will be green has led some people to suggest the global coffee chain is promoting Islam.

Starbucks revealed its new design on Tuesday with the title “a symbol of unity”.

But the bizarre religious association came as a flurry of voices criticised the coffee giant, including former Ukip leadership candidate Raheem Kassam.

The revelation that the latest Starbucks cup will be green has led some people to suggest the global coffee chain is promoting Islam.

Starbucks revealed its new design on Tuesday with the title “a symbol of unity”.

But the bizarre religious association came as a flurry of voices criticised the coffee giant, including former Ukip leadership candidate Raheem Kassam.

Some went further, suggesting the cups were linked to the so-called Islamic State.

William Hicks wrote on Heat Street: “The giant coffee chain is calling this year’s monstrosity the “unity” cup... Hmm, what else is unified…. ISIS!!?! The unified caliphate of the Islamic State!”

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/starbucks-cups-controversy_uk_5819c4b0e4b0a4d17c49fa40

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Greek hospitality is put to a religious test

November 3, 2016

ATHENS, Greece (RNS) Abdul rose just before sundown on one of the last days of the holy month of Ramadan. The 17-year-old refugee from Afghanistan was keeping odd hours, eating breakfast in place of dinner and passing the day in slumber.

Abdul, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy as a juvenile, lives in a shelter for underage refugees who arrived in Greece without parents. For many, this was their first Ramadan away from their families, and it was a lonely one.

“In Afghanistan, our father, mother, sister all fast. All people are doing it. Here, it’s different,” Abdul said. “It will be difficult for us, but we will not forget our religion.”

Abdul and his friends find themselves in one of the most homogeneous Christian nations in the world. Greece, which is 98 percent Orthodox Christian, hosted 1 million migrants on their way to other European countries. The vast majority of those passing through were Muslim.

Greece has won high praise for its hospitality toward the migrants. Some islanders on the front lines were even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Greeks take pride in this and point to their history to explain this reception.

A population exchange with Turkey after World War I brought in over a million ethnic Greeks as refugees. When the new migration crisis began last year, there was empathy for the new arrivals, with many Greeks recalling what their grandparents went through.

But even given that proud history, academics and volunteers fear that the warm welcome of the last year could wear thin when the refugees start to integrate in a nation that has long resisted a multifaith identity.

“I’m afraid it’s not going to last,” Alexis Papahelas said of the current cordial relations. Papahelas is executive editor of Kathimerini, Greece’s premier newspaper, and perhaps the nation’s best-known journalist.

Another, more challenging historical legacy is under the surface — a modern state that has defined itself in opposition to the Islamic world it borders.

“Historically, modern Greek national identity has been built against the other, and the other was Turkey,” said Anna Triandafyllidou, a professor at the European University Institute who specializes in Muslim integration. Before its independence, Greece endured 400 years of Ottoman rule. “Islam was the enemy,” she said.

Today, 57,000 refugees like Abdul remain stuck in Greece after Europe closed its internal borders, and many are likely to be forced to remain indefinitely. The European Union’s plan to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers has been moving glacially, to date relocating only 2,213 refugees.

Angeliki Dimitriadi, a research fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy and a specialist in irregular migration, said that, although the situation remains fluid, she expects that significant numbers of migrants will find themselves living in Greece for the long run.

Full report at:

http://religionnews.com/2016/11/02/greek-hospitality-is-put-to-a-religious-test/

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With construction of a new mosque, Greek Muslims look to come out of the shadows

By Umar Farooq

November 3, 2016

ATHENS, Greece (RNS) Shah Malik ducks to enter a space that, from the street, looks like any other storefront in the central Omonia district.

The neighbourhood — with blocks of shops offering imported spices, halal meat or the milky tea popular in South Asia — is home to immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It’s time for evening prayers, and Malik, who came to Greece from Pakistan 14 years ago, heads to the local mosque.

“It’s like not having a set place to live, when you don’t have a mosque for people to gather,” he said.

Full report at:

http://religionnews.com/2016/11/02/with-construction-of-a-new-mosque-greek-muslims-look-to-come-out-of-the-shadows/

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