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Islamic World News ( 17 Jul 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Kerala Salafi Preacher of 'Extreme Salafism' Says Onam, Christmas Haram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Photo: Kerala salafi preacher says Onam, Christmas haram

 

Indians Are Joining Al Qaeda, Not Just ISIS, In West Asia

Saudi Foreign Minister Accused of Involvement in Turkish Coup Attempt by Former Qatari

Rise of Islamic Extremism as Number of Christians Soar In Bangladesh

ISIS Encourages African-Americans to Join Islam after Baton Rouge Attack

India

Kerala Salafi Preacher of 'Extreme Salafis' Says Onam, Christmas Haram

Indians Are Joining Al Qaeda, Not Just ISIS, In West Asia

Puja Shops to Pony Rides: Amarnath Yatra Route Is Full of Muslim Shopkeepers

Muslim outfits in Chennai protested in support of Zakir Naik

Kerala Youth Who Joined ISIS: “He Will Be Back After He Help IS”

Hindu monk's temple mission in India a headache for Modi

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Arab World

Saudi Foreign Minister Accused of Involvement in Turkish Coup Attempt by Former Qatari

Mosul Residents Revolt against ISIL, Kill Five

Over 10 Terrorists Killed in Missile Attack Northwest of Hama Province

Syrian Army Intensifies Sporadic Attacks on Terrorist Positions in Quneitra

ISIL, Al-Nusra Terrorists Suffer Heavy Casualties in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks

Terrorists Withdraw from more Lands in Northern Aleppo

Syrian Army Smashes Terrorists in Dara'a Neighbourhoods

Syrian Army Continues to Advance against Terrorists in Western Ghouta

ISIL's Strongholds Hit Heavily in Syrian Airstrikes in Deir Ezzur

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South Asia

Rise of Islamic Extremism as Number of Christians Soar In Bangladesh

9 Taliban Killed After Launching A Coordinated Attack In Badghis

Peace prospects to increase when Taliban realize no chance of win on battlefield: Dunford

Preacher linked to Dhaka terrorist under probe

Ramifications of terror attacks in Bangladesh

Teacher close to Dhaka cafe attacker arrested

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North America

ISIS Encourages African-Americans to Join Islam after Baton Rouge Attack

US Muslims, Turks Gather In Washington to Protest Attempted Coup In Turkey

The economy, not a ban on Muslims, is Trump’s strength

Kerry Rejects Hints of US Role in Turkish Coup

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Pakistan

Qandeel Baloch’s Murder a Lesson for Others: Mufti Abdul Qawi

We Don’t Need Potato, Onion Trade with India, Ban Bollywood Films, Hafiz Saeed to Pakistan Govt

Govt Asked To Remove ‘Controversial’ Lesson from Course Book

‘Pakistan must reform itself to be heard on Kashmir issue’

Sikh community pays tribute to Edhi

Qaim orders setting up of separate force for judges’ security

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Europe

Attack in Nice Turns Spotlight on City’s Religious Divisions

Attitudes towards Muslims in Europe

Latest attack fuels anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiments

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Southeast Asia

John Key to Talk Terror, Islamic State with Indonesia after Bastille Day Attack

Myanmar Divided As Student Activists’ Fight for Religious Freedom

Malaysia’s $30 Billion Fund Goes Long as Islamic Plan Progresses

Tyrant' Hadi Shakes: Signs of Second Pas Split As Deputy Tuan Ibrahim Urged To Leave Party

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Mideast

6,000 Detained From Turkish Army, Judiciary in Probe into Failed Coup Attempt

Turkey Suspends Islamic Lender Bank Asya's Activities

Erdoğan orders F-16 patrol flights across Turkey

EU pushes Turkey on rule of law after coup crackdown

Interior Ministry suspends 8,777 officials in wake of Turkey’s failed coup attempt

Deputy PM Şimşek says attempted coup's impact on Turkish economy will be ‘short-lived’

Turkish lira rallies after crashing in wake of coup

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Africa

Nigeria’s Struggles with a Conflict More Dangerous than the Boko Haram Insurgency

2 Boko Haram Militants Killed As Troops Intensify Onslaught In Borno

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/kerala-salafi-preacher-of--extreme-salafism--says-onam,-christmas-haram/d/108002

 

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Kerala Salafi Preacher of 'Extreme Salafis' Says Onam, Christmas Haram

Jul 18, 2016

Kozhikode: Shamsudheen Palath, a 45-year-old Salafi preacher, has recently changed his name to Shamsudheen Fareed as he thought his father's name was more Islamic than Palath, the name of his native village in Kozhikode.

He is the unofficial spokesperson of the outfit, known as 'extreme Salafis'. The outfit is suspected to have played a major role in radicalising Muslims in Kerala.

He refuses to be photographed, and believes that watching movies is haram, never trims his beard and asks Muslims not to participate in festivals of non-Muslims. Shamsudheen, who was a school teacher in Malappuram, represents the transformation that has happened to the Salafi movement in Kerala, once the driving force of reformation in the Muslim community in the state.

"Many Muslim organisations in the state are afraid of presenting the correct Islam, fearing that it may not be palatable to mainstream society. They are apologetic about many things in Islam. We have no problem in upholding Islam even if society frowns at it," says Shamsudheen.

"We don't participate in festivals like Onam and Christmas because they have the elements of shirk (polytheism). You may say that Onam is a harvest festival but at the core there is a Hindu myth. Similarly, believing that Allah had a child in the form of Christ is the most abhorrent belief in Islam," Shamsudheen said.

Shamsudheen denies his outfit has anything to do with the missing youth of Malabar, though he is not perturbed in acknowledging they may have been ideologically influenced by teachings similar to his.

"There is nothing wrong for a true Muslim to feel comfortable in a Muslim ambience than in the company of non-believers," he says.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/Kerala-salafi-preacher-says-Onam-Christmas-haram/articleshow/53260614.cms

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Indians Are Joining Al Qaeda, Not Just ISIS, In West Asia

Jul 18, 2016

Interactions between a Canada-based terrorism expert and jihadis fighting in Iraq and Syria have thrown up a hitherto unknown aspect of Indian fighters – many of them gravitate towards an al Qaeda affiliate and not the Islamic State, perceived as global jihad’s sexy beast.

Amarnath Amarasingam, a fellow with George Washington University’s Programme on Extremism, has contacted close to 100 jihadis in the conflict zone since late 2014.

Of those, he has interviewed nearly 40, and about half a dozen were from India.

Amarasingam found almost all the Indians he interviewed had joined the Jabhat al-Nusra, which is affiliated to al Qaed a and fell out with IS.

“IS is the sexy topic for most people who are watching this stuff. And anyone leaving their home country to go to Syria, people just assume they’ re going to join IS. But a lot of people are drawn to Nusra because it’s al Qaeda in Syria, it’s carrying the torch of Osama bin Laden and carrying the torch of the original movement,” Amarasingam told Hindustan Times.

There is also the sense that Nusra offers the “purest form” of jihad as against Islamic State, which is “a bit more theologically corrupted”. According to the latest estimates, nearly 50 Indians have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight with jihadi groups, including 21 cases that recently came to light in Kerala.

Read: Don’t be in denial, north Kerala is in the grip of radicalisation

At least six Indians have reportedly died. Another 25 were arrested while in Syria or on their way to the war-torn country.

“There are definitely Indians who have left to go fight with the IS. There are also very likely women and families who have left to go live under the so-called caliphate ,” Amarasingam said.

“But it’s important to recognise that just as many or around the same number have left to go fight with a variety of different organisations that are active in Syria, such as Jabhat ul-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa and a lot of these other smaller movements,” he pointed out.

There are even those like one Indian who is “independent” and works with whatever group in the region can utilise his services at a particular juncture.

A top official of the National Investigation Agency said his organisation’s findings did not reflect those of the Canada-based scholar.

“There are indeed many groups in Syria. But our experience has been that most people from India, who have travelled Syria or wanted to, had their eyes set on the Islamic State, not the other groups,” said the official, who did not want to be named as he wasn’t authorised to brief the media.

C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank, said his interactions with experts and members of the Indian Muslim community who had tracked the movement of Indians to Iraq and Syria had revealed a sense of revulsion and unease with the extreme violence associated with IS. “So some of these people who criticise the situation in Kashmir and Palestine and may be thinking of going to Iraq and Syria are also people who don’t subscribe to the extreme violence perpetrated by IS. It’ s like a dampener ,” Bhaskar said.

Amarasingam’s work offers a crucial insight into the mind sand motives of the jihadis in Iraq and Syria at a time when a growing number of Indian families are grappling with the radical is at ion of their sons and daughters and their decision to leave home to travel to the Middle East.

He is also part of the Canadian Network for Research into Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS).

He said ,“I do get the sense that more of them (Indians) are with Nusra than IS, I’m not sure why. I think a lot of this has to do with the networks they were involved with leaving Syria… Some of them were early enough that they did kind of spend sometime with IS and then leave.

“I do get the sense a lot of them are drawn to the Nusra brand because they feel like Nusra is addressing the needs of the Syrians more than IS, which is killing Sunni Muslims, is after something very different. They feel like Nusra, to some extent, maintains grassroots support with Syrians.”

hindustantimes.com/world-newspaper/indians-joining-al-qaeda-not-is-in-mideast/story-CHQGfiWVSSgqwnh0UM0A0K.html

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Saudi Foreign Minister Accused of Involvement in Turkish Coup Attempt by Former Qatari Emir

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA) - Former Emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, harshly criticized Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir for his involvement in Friday’s coup attempt in Turkey while insisting the United States and another western country have orchestrated the abortive coup.

“Al-Jubeir remained silent even though he knew beforehand what was being plotted against the Turkish state,” the former Qatari emir said, Al Masdar reported.

He also strongly condemned the failed military coup, stressing his country’s solidarity with the legitimate Turkish government.

Al Thani, considered a former close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also commended the ‘positive and constructive’ role undertaken by Erdogan in the region. 

The accusations by the former Qatari emir aganist Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir come after an attempted Turkish military coup crumbled on Saturday after crowds answered President Tayyip Erdogan's call to take to the streets to support him and dozens of rebel soldiers abandoned their tanks in the main city of Istanbul.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000572

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Rise of Islamic extremism as number of Christians soar in Bangladesh

Monday, Jul 18, 2016

Some 22 people were killed in a deadly attack on a cafe in Dhaka on July 1 with the Government blaming local homegrown militants despite Islamic State (ISIS) reportedly claiming responsibility.

Local pastors say the attack is the latest in a string of targeted killings which have left Christians and religious minorities fearing for their lives.

The attack took place in Dhaka's diplomatic zone, Gulshan, causing widespread fear and concern about the rise in Islamic extremism in the country.

A worker or Christian advocacy charity Open Doors said: "Survivors of the attack said the killers made their hostages recite verses from the Koran.

"Those who could were spared, while those unable to were killed.

"This latest attack, however, is the first concerted attack on foreigners, marking a major escalation in a campaign by militants.”

So far, it's not clear if the plot was organised by ISIS in Syria, or developed locally in Bangladesh.

Over the last few years, Open Doors' World Watch researchers have been observing the rise of extremism and terrorism against minorities in Bangladesh, including Christians.

Of the country’s 162million, 89 per cent population are Muslim with just 828,000 Christians.

Believers have been targeted for their faith on numerous occasions by extremist groups - on June 5, a 72-year-old Christian was murdered in the village of Bonpara, and in March, Christian evangelist Habib Alam was killed by members of ISIS.

There have also been reports of banned Islamist groups threatening to kill people who do not conform to their rules which include having a copy of the Koran, not allowing women to work and removing Christian sacred images from shops.

Thomas Muller, persecution analyst at World Watch Research, warned: "The increasingly volatile situation remains dangerous for the Christian minority."

But despite the threat the Christian community is growing in size.

Pastor Faruk al Ahmed, a believer from a Muslim background, has been preaching the gospel in Kurigram in northern Bangladesh since the mid-1990s.

He said: ”When I began my ministry in Kurigram, there was only one traditional Christian family and one Muslim background family.

"Now, almost 1,500 believers from Muslim backgrounds are glorifying God in this area.”

But these Christians are beginning to attract danger from Islamist terrorists.

Since November 2015, dozens of Christian pastors in Bangladesh have received death threats from extremists - including recently murdered Habib Alam, who was Pastor Faruk's first convert.

Pastor Faruk said: ”Persecution will come more but the believers and I are ready to face it.”

Advocacy charities are now working with Christians and religious minorities in the Islamic country to provide support.

Secular bloggers have also been targeted as well as those who have spoken out about the dangers of fundamentalism.

A spokeswoman for the South Asia Team for Christian Solidarity Worldwide spoke to Express.co.uk about the dangerous situation.

She said: “I think even before the attack July 1, people were scared.

"There had been attacks on bloggers and a university professor had been killed.

“People are certainly very fearful and they are concerned about their future and they are concerned about going out.

“They are taking precuations, not going out after dark and are reconsidering how often they go out and where to. There’s a sense of insecurity and instability and certainly one of fear. People are disturbed.

“Targeted killings have focused on secular bloggers and people who have been outspoken about fundamentalism. I think now people are being much more careful about what they say.

"There seems to be confusion over who is responsible for the attacks, with the current government saying it is homegrown terrorists.

"But then you have groups such as Al-Quaeda and Daesh who have also claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.

"People need reassurance that the government knows who is responsible and has intelligence about these terrorists.

"I think part of the reason we have seen a rise in these attacks is some of these terror groups wanting to place their brand of Islam on Bangladesh.

"You also have to consider the political context and the party Jamaat-e-Islami has astrong allegiance with Pakistan and Islam.

"Some of this goes back to the 1970s and partition when seeds of radicalism were sown amongst youth and poorer communities and now these seeds are bearing fruit now.

"Partners we work with in Bangladesh said it is very hard to recognise Jamaat easily. They have infiltrated all areas of soceity and they are pushing for a more conservative version of Islam and that can account for some of this rise in extremism.

"Part of the problem is there is a real mistrust of the police. When attacks happen people do not want to hand over their persoanl details because they fear the police has been infiltrated by extremism.

"It means there's a real reluctance to go to the authorities and adds to people being fearful."

express.co.uk/news/world/690364/Islamic-extremism-on-rise-as-number-Christians-soar-Bangladesh

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India

Kerala Salafi Preacher of 'Extreme Salafis' Says Onam, Christmas Haram

Jul 18, 2016

Kozhikode: Shamsudheen Palath, a 45-year-old Salafi preacher, has recently changed his name to Shamsudheen Fareed as he thought his father's name was more Islamic than Palath, the name of his native village in Kozhikode.

He is the unofficial spokesperson of the outfit, known as 'extreme Salafis'. The outfit is suspected to have played a major role in radicalising Muslims in Kerala.

He refuses to be photographed, and believes that watching movies is haram, never trims his beard and asks Muslims not to participate in festivals of non-Muslims. Shamsudheen, who was a school teacher in Malappuram, represents the transformation that has happened to the Salafi movement in Kerala, once the driving force of reformation in the Muslim community in the state.

"Many Muslim organisations in the state are afraid of presenting the correct Islam, fearing that it may not be palatable to mainstream society. They are apologetic about many things in Islam. We have no problem in upholding Islam even if society frowns at it," says Shamsudheen.

"We don't participate in festivals like Onam and Christmas because they have the elements of shirk (polytheism). You may say that Onam is a harvest festival but at the core there is a Hindu myth. Similarly, believing that Allah had a child in the form of Christ is the most abhorrent belief in Islam," Shamsudheen said.

Shamsudheen denies his outfit has anything to do with the missing youth of Malabar, though he is not perturbed in acknowledging they may have been ideologically influenced by teachings similar to his.

"There is nothing wrong for a true Muslim to feel comfortable in a Muslim ambience than in the company of non-believers," he says.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/Kerala-salafi-preacher-says-Onam-Christmas-haram/articleshow/53260614.cms

--

 

Indians Are Joining Al Qaeda, Not Just ISIS, In West Asia

Jul 18, 2016

Interactions between a Canada-based terrorism expert and jihadis fighting in Iraq and Syria have thrown up a hitherto unknown aspect of Indian fighters – many of them gravitate towards an al Qaeda affiliate and not the Islamic State, perceived as global jihad’s sexy beast.

Amarnath Amarasingam, a fellow with George Washington University’s Programme on Extremism, has contacted close to 100 jihadis in the conflict zone since late 2014.

Of those, he has interviewed nearly 40, and about half a dozen were from India.

Amarasingam found almost all the Indians he interviewed had joined the Jabhat al-Nusra, which is affiliated to al Qaed a and fell out with IS.

“IS is the sexy topic for most people who are watching this stuff. And anyone leaving their home country to go to Syria, people just assume they’ re going to join IS. But a lot of people are drawn to Nusra because it’s al Qaeda in Syria, it’s carrying the torch of Osama bin Laden and carrying the torch of the original movement,” Amarasingam told Hindustan Times.

There is also the sense that Nusra offers the “purest form” of jihad as against Islamic State, which is “a bit more theologically corrupted”. According to the latest estimates, nearly 50 Indians have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight with jihadi groups, including 21 cases that recently came to light in Kerala.

Read: Don’t be in denial, north Kerala is in the grip of radicalisation

At least six Indians have reportedly died. Another 25 were arrested while in Syria or on their way to the war-torn country.

“There are definitely Indians who have left to go fight with the IS. There are also very likely women and families who have left to go live under the so-called caliphate ,” Amarasingam said.

“But it’s important to recognise that just as many or around the same number have left to go fight with a variety of different organisations that are active in Syria, such as Jabhat ul-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa and a lot of these other smaller movements,” he pointed out.

There are even those like one Indian who is “independent” and works with whatever group in the region can utilise his services at a particular juncture.

A top official of the National Investigation Agency said his organisation’s findings did not reflect those of the Canada-based scholar.

“There are indeed many groups in Syria. But our experience has been that most people from India, who have travelled Syria or wanted to, had their eyes set on the Islamic State, not the other groups,” said the official, who did not want to be named as he wasn’t authorised to brief the media.

C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank, said his interactions with experts and members of the Indian Muslim community who had tracked the movement of Indians to Iraq and Syria had revealed a sense of revulsion and unease with the extreme violence associated with IS. “So some of these people who criticise the situation in Kashmir and Palestine and may be thinking of going to Iraq and Syria are also people who don’t subscribe to the extreme violence perpetrated by IS. It’ s like a dampener ,” Bhaskar said.

Amarasingam’s work offers a crucial insight into the mind sand motives of the jihadis in Iraq and Syria at a time when a growing number of Indian families are grappling with the radical is at ion of their sons and daughters and their decision to leave home to travel to the Middle East.

He is also part of the Canadian Network for Research into Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS).

He said ,“I do get the sense that more of them (Indians) are with Nusra than IS, I’m not sure why. I think a lot of this has to do with the networks they were involved with leaving Syria… Some of them were early enough that they did kind of spend sometime with IS and then leave.

“I do get the sense a lot of them are drawn to the Nusra brand because they feel like Nusra is addressing the needs of the Syrians more than IS, which is killing Sunni Muslims, is after something very different. They feel like Nusra, to some extent, maintains grassroots support with Syrians.”

hindustantimes.com/world-newspaper/indians-joining-al-qaeda-not-is-in-mideast/story-CHQGfiWVSSgqwnh0UM0A0K.html

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Puja Shops To Pony Rides: Amarnath Yatra Route Is Full Of Muslim Shopkeepers

July 18, 2016

Be it the Kashmiri shawls sellers at the local shops near the Amarnath cave, or the men who run the pony rides, or the people who have made the temporary shops offering puja material--the Muslim community in the valley is just as involved in the 45-day Amarnath yatra as the Hindus.

The revered Hindu pilgrimage resumed on Saturday from Jammu amidst tight security after remaining suspended for two days for the second time in one week due to violent protests in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

However, despite the tensions over Wani's death in the valley, traditional yatra is mostly run by Muslims, reports The Indian Express.

Most Muslim traders and shopkeepers look forward to the event all year.

FAYAZ KABLI/REUTERS

File photo of an Indian police officer keeping guard as Hindu pilgrims on horses proceed to reach the holy cave of Lord Shiva in Amarnath.

"We wait for the Amarnath Yatra for the whole year, we want that the yatra to progress peacefully — our livelihood is dependent on it," Tariq Ahmad, a shopkeeper who sells traditional Kashmiri outfit to the yatris at Baltal, told NDTV. "It is not just a job, it also gives me satisfaction," he added.

Thousands of Muslims join the yatra each year, offering their services which range from — doing odd jobs, renting out their ponies, or working as palanquin-bearers.

"Many young people from the Chenab Valley have been coming to offer services for six years now. I help aged pilgrims in climbing the difficult track of Chandanwari up to the cave on a palanquin," Ajaz Ahmad, a palanquin owner, of Wardwan, Kishtwar, told The Hindu.

"Amarnath yatra has resumed from here. Around 100 vehicles left the Bagwati Nagar base camp for Baltal and Pahalgam," Deputy Commissioner of Jammu, Simrandeep Singh told PTI.

The yatra was first suspended on 9 July in the wake of violence in the Valley following the killing of the top Hizbul Mujahideen commander. It was again suspended on 14 July.

STRINGER INDIA/REUTERS

Kashmir Valley has seen violent protests in which 38 people have lost their lives after security forces gunned down the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit Wani in an encounter in South Kashmir on 8 July.

When asked about the pilgrims' buses being attacked in the area, Mohammed Rafi, a student from Pehalgam told IE, "What was the need to kill Burhan Wani? He was the one who promised pilgrims would not be attacked...."

huffingtonpost.in/2016/07/17/puja-shops-to-pony-rides-amarnath-yatra-route-is-full-of-muslim/

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Muslim outfits in Chennai protested in support of Zakir Naik

July 18, 2016

Chennai: Amid of growing demand for strict action against the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik Several Muslim outfits, including from Social Democratic Party of India, protested in his support in Chennai on Saturday and criticized the Centre and the Maharashtra government for trying to curb his voice.

They said that the launch of a probe against Naik was against the Constitution.

They said. “Don’t distort Article 25 of the Constitution,” the protesters said Article 25 provides one the right to profess, practise and propagate religion and it should not be infringed upon.

The protesters include women who displayed placards saying, “Dont distort the Constitution.” By raising slogans like “Don’t insult a world preacher,” “We support Zakir Naik,” and also displayed placards blaming the BJP -led Centre for “religious intolerance and prejudice.”

Zakir Naik, who is the subject of multiple inquiries in India over allegedly incendiary speeches, is now in Saudi Arabia,

He said in a Skype press conference on Friday that. “I am not running away”. He said that it was always his intent to spend most of this year abroad, and insisted that so far, no Indian official or agency has contacted him with queries.

Talking to media person in Mumbai via Skype from Medina,the Islamic preacher said it was “misinformation” that he had supported suicide bombings, asserting that he has always condemned them since innocent people get killed and it is “anti-Islam”.

“My statements were taken out of context… I am a messenger of peace,” he said, declining the allegation that his speeches have provoked terror.

siasat.com/news/muslim-outfits-chennai-protested-support-zakir-naik-987472/

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Kerala youth who joined ISIS: “He will be back after he help IS”

July 18, 2016

Mumbai: Mohammad Marwan, one of the 15 Kerala youths who allegedly traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State gave a message to his family through the communication app Telegram, by saying that he is in ISIS territory and added that he would come back only after he “finishes work with IS to help the persecuted Muslims in Kashmir, Gujarat and Muzaffarnagar”.

He also confirmed that he was not influenced by anyone to take up the journey, and explained that he was fully aware of what he was doing.

Marwan said. “No one has brainwashed me and recruited me to IS. I decided to leave for fighting for Islam after reading news about the developments in the Islamic State.”

“Here, Muslims, including little children, are killed in the bomb attack by the US and Russian forces. How can I sit comfortably at home when the Muslim ummah (community) is attacked,” he wrote. “People may call me a terrorist. If fighting in the path of Allah is terrorism, yes I am a terrorist,” he added.

Marwan also gives detail about the scenario in Syria, he said, “things are in bad shape in IS-controlled areas. You have facilities like palatial houses, fridge and car, but see the condition of the Muslims here. Here, they don’t have even have electricity as the enemies of Islam have blocked everything. However, the people are contended and happy as they believe that Allah is with them… Right now it is a 24-hour war here.”

He said he would be called as a martyr in afterlife if he dies in the battlefield, Marwan wrote, “The martyr who died fighting for Islam has the privilege of recommending 70 persons from family to the other world.”

siasat.com/news/kerala-youth-joined-isis-will-back-help-987438/

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Hindu monk's temple mission in India a headache for Modi

June 16, 2016.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was flying high in June, jetting from Afghanistan to Mexico in a whirlwind of red carpet diplomacy crowned by a speech to the U.S. Congress extolling democracy and investment opportunities in the subcontinent.

But when Modi returned home, he was reminded of the headwinds those ambitions face, as his hardline Hindu supporters agitate for a greater say in how the country is run.

The pressure on the leader of the world's fastest growing major economy is clearest in Ayodhya, a dilapidated outpost of muddy roads and open sewage where religious and political leaders from the Hindu right are pushing for the construction of a temple where a mosque was destroyed by a mob in 1992.

"We expect and hope that the temple will be constructed during his tenure," Nritya Gopal Das, the elderly, influential monk leading the Ayodhya temple campaign, said of Modi.

The disputed site, now ringed with guard towers and troops, is in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state, the setting of elections early next year that could make or break Modi's chances of gaining control of the upper house of parliament.

That would help the prime minister push through his economic reform agenda, which firebrands within his religious base do not always agree with.

It was a campaign of public insults by Hindu hardliners that helped push the highly respected head of India's central bank, Raghuram Rajan, to announce last month that he was stepping down, a shock move that disappointed foreign investors.

The prime minister's office has said it wants the temple issue kept completely out of electioneering.

The demolition of the mosque by Hindus in Ayodhya sparked some of the deadliest riots in India's independent history and deepened religious divisions that still exist today.

The town is becoming a defining test of Modi's ability to navigate a tension central to his administration: appeasing Hindu nationalist activists who corral votes for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while preventing them from derailing his pro-business growth agenda.

Modi's success or failure will go a long way to defining his legacy.

ACTIONS LOUDER THAN WORDS?

And so, on a recent visit to Ayodhya, the words of the BJP's state chief in Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya, sometimes jarred with his actions.

As sweat streamed over the saffron-coloured tilak dot on his forehead, he smiled at reporters and described the BJP's electoral strategy: emphasize development, expose corruption.

Asked about demands to build the Hindu temple, he said the courts should decide.

"We respect every institution of democracy," said Maurya.

 Yet he had spent much of the day in the company of men who cheer the mosque's demise, and are increasingly restless to raise a temple in its place as an expression of Hindu supremacy.

morning, Maurya folded his hands in supplication and awaited blessings from the monk, whose self-described mission is to build the temple, a project that risks enraging India's Muslim minority of about 170 million people.

"I think Modi wants to win the UP (Uttar Pradesh) election by whatever means," said Ramachandra Guha, a historian who has written about the significance of the temple in Ayodhya as a galvanizing issue for the various factions of the Hindu right, including the BJP.

But, he said, there is a catch.

"Modi, given his intelligence, knows that constructing the temple will be disastrous for his image." Instead, Guha expects the BJP to "finesse the question" with proxy issues.

That may include clamping down further on cow slaughter, for example, as the animals are held sacred by Hindus. Critics say such concerns are signals to the Hindu majority that the nation is for them, not Muslims and Christians.

Tradition holds that Ayodhya was the birthplace of Lord Ram, a physical incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. Many Hindus believe that the exact spot of his inception was where the Babri Mosque was razed.

The call to build the Ram temple is a core tenet of the Hindu right. The BJP's manifesto says it is committed to "explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution" to make that happen.

As Modi heads to the halfway point of his term in office, Hindu activist groups who helped elect him in 2014, including the ideological parent organization of the BJP, are pushing for him to deliver.

MODI'S CALL

Modi faces a tough choice. Green light the laying of a cornerstone, and he would enthral supporters yet risk unrest.

After the mosque came down in 1992, rioting in Mumbai claimed some 1,000 lives; a day of revenge attacks that followed in that city killed 257 people and wounded hundreds.

Mohammad Hashim Ansari remembers the December morning in 1992 when the mobs swarmed the Babri Mosque; he could see its three domes crumpling from his small alleyway home in a Muslim quarter of Ayodhya.

The rail-thin 96-year-old, who can hardly hear and has many teeth missing, is the oldest litigant in a case seeking to preserve a Muslim claim on the land.

He is not confident of his chances in the face of an ascendant Hindu right: "I don't want the temple to be made, but they have a plan for building it. They've taken over the government, they're in power. They can do whatever they want."

An aide to Modi in New Delhi said the prime minister wants no talk of the temple in the Uttar Pradesh elections: "Development is the top priority."

It is not clear if that will satisfy Modi's doctrinal base in the runup to the state ballot.

During the festivities marking his 78th birthday in June, Das convened a private meeting with some of the country's most influential Hindu religious leaders.

His message, according to a person present, was that religious and political discourse on the subject of the temple should not be separated. Every monk in every city, Das was quoted as saying, should be talking about the importance of the Ram temple.

MAN OF DESTINY

The BJP's parent organization and a source of conservative activism and ideology, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), lobbied for an upper house seat this April for a firebrand politician named Subramanian Swamy.

Less than two weeks later, Swamy informed parliament that he had a point of order to raise. Amid cries of disbelief, Swamy rose from his seat and voiced frustration that the nation's attorney general had not done more to get a court verdict on the temple in Ayodhya.

In Ayodhya and across India, there are powerful men who have waited their entire lives for a Ram temple to be built.

They speak of Modi, a Hindu nationalist and former RSS volunteer brought to power in a landslide 2014 election victory, as a man of destiny with the power to bring major change after decades of mostly secular rule.

"It is the blessing of God that in this present environment and situation we have Modi," said Das, sitting cross-legged in his temple complex, as men and women, rich and poor, lined up to push bags of fruit and wads of rupee notes in his direction.

Down the road from the contested site, masons hunched over long pieces of sandstone, slowly etching out floral designs for what organizers say will be building blocks of the new temple.

Gesturing to the hundreds of pieces stacked high around him, Sharad Sharma, a spokesman for the hardline Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), or World Hindu Council, said that day might come sooner than people expect.

"Now, under Modi's leadership, we feel that this is the right time," Sharma said.

The next morning, Maurya, the official from Modi's party, was in town to see the old monk. Flanking him and guiding the prime minister's man through the crowds, leaning ever close to his side, was VHP's Sharma.

reuters.com/article/us-india-modi-temple-insight-idUSKCN0ZX105

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Arab World

Saudi Foreign Minister Accused of Involvement in Turkish Coup Attempt by Former Qatari Emir

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA) - Former Emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, harshly criticized Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir for his involvement in Friday’s coup attempt in Turkey while insisting the United States and another western country have orchestrated the abortive coup.

“Al-Jubeir remained silent even though he knew beforehand what was being plotted against the Turkish state,” the former Qatari emir said, Al Masdar reported.

He also strongly condemned the failed military coup, stressing his country’s solidarity with the legitimate Turkish government.

Al Thani, considered a former close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also commended the ‘positive and constructive’ role undertaken by Erdogan in the region. 

The accusations by the former Qatari emir aganist Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir come after an attempted Turkish military coup crumbled on Saturday after crowds answered President Tayyip Erdogan's call to take to the streets to support him and dozens of rebel soldiers abandoned their tanks in the main city of Istanbul.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000572

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Mosul Residents Revolt against ISIL, Kill Five

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Residents in several neighborhoods in the Iraqi city of Mosul reportedly staged an uprising against the ISIL terrorist group which holds the city, killing at least five militants.

Armed clashes erupted between the residents of the Bab al-Jadid neighborhood in central Mosul and ISIL terrorists, al-Sumeriya news reported.

The uprising has led to the expulsion of the ISIL militants from their positions in the area and the death of two terrorists.

Two vehicles belonging to the terrorists were also burned, according to the report.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, further said that the residents of Mosul’s southern district of Hammam al-Alil also clashed with ISIL in the center of the district, killing three terrorists.

The source added that the residents seek to take full control of the district and to purge it of the terrorists.

According to the report, the residents have already raised the Iraqi flag over a number of the district’s buildings.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000723

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Over 10 Terrorists Killed in Missile Attack Northwest of Hama Province

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Jund al-Aqsa terrorist group confirmed that it has lost, at least, 11 members in the Syrian Army missile attacks in Northwestern Hama.

"A vehicle, carrying 11 members of Jund al-Aqsa that had finished their guarding and were getting back to their camp, came under the precise attack of the Syrian Army's missile units," the sources said.

"A drone was flying over the region minutes before the attack," the sources said, adding, "The entire militants in the vehicle were killed right on the spot."

In the meantime, other sources said that the Syrian army's missile unis targeted an bomb-landed suicide vehicle of terrorist groups on a road near the small town of al-Mokafer and oil pipelines in the Eastern side of al-Salamiyah.   

Earlier reports said that the Syrian Army and Air Force struck the positions of the ISIL and al-Nusra Front in the Central and Eastern parts of Hama province, pinning the terrorist groups down behind their defense lines.

The Syrian fighter jets, in several combat flights, pounded ISIL's strongholds in Tabaret al-Deibeh, Abu Hanaya, Abu Hbeilat and al-Hardaneh in the Eastern side of Salamiyah, which ended in mass destruction of their military vehicles.

The Syrian army men, for their part, ambushed a group of al-Nusra fighters near Wadi al-Ezeib on Salamiyah-Ithriya road which ended in the killing of most of he group’s members.

In the meantime, large volume of RPJ shells, anti-tank mines, artillery shells and other types of ammunition, in addition to medium and heavy machine guns, were destroyed in the attacks.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000700

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Syrian Army Intensifies Sporadic Attacks on Terrorist Positions in Quneitra

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops launched repeated attacks on the gatherings of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in the Southwestern province of Quneitra, inflicting heavy casualties on the Takfiri terrorists.

Syrian soldiers stormed al-Nusra's concentration centers near the village of al-Hamidiyeh, which not only claimed the lives of several fighters there but destroyed their technical vehicles.r

Al-Nusra's positions also came under the heavy attack of the Syrian government forces neasr the main square of Quneitra, leaving scores of the militants dead or injured.

In relevant developments in the province on Friday, the terrorist groups' attack to break through the government forces' defense lines in the Southwestern province of Quneitra was successfully repelled by the Syrian Army troops.

The Syrian soldiers and popular forces fended off terrorist groups' offensives near Tal Qarin and Tal Ayoun Alaq in death triangle near the border with Dara'a, which left tens of the militants dead or wounded and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000655

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ISIL, Al-Nusra Terrorists Suffer Heavy Casualties in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army and Air Force struck the positions of the ISIL and al-Nusra Front in the Central and Eastern parts of Hama province, pinning the terrorist groups down behind their defense lines.

The Syrian fighter jets, in several combat flights, pounded ISIL's strongholds in Tabaret al-Deibeh, Abu Hanaya, Abu Hbeilat and al-Hardaneh in the Eastern side of Salamiyah, which ended in mass destruction of their military vehicles.

The Syrian army men, for their part, ambushed a group of al-Nusra fighters near Wadi al-Ezeib on Salamiyah-Ithriya road which ended in the killing of most of he group’s members.

In the meantime, large volume of RPJ shells, anti-tank mines, artillery shells and other types of ammunition, in addition to medium and heavy machine guns, were destroyed in the attacks.

In relevant developments in the province on Sunday, Syrian Army troops' anti-terrorism offensive on the positions of terrorist groups in Southern Hama's provincial border with Northern Homs left several militants dead and several more wounded.

The Syrian soldiers struck militant concentration centers and gatherings near the small town of Hirbnafsa, which not only killed six and wounded several terrorists but slowed their military movements down in the region.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000485

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Terrorists Withdraw from more Lands in Northern Aleppo

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and popular forces, in several hours of non-stop battle, beat back the militant groups from large farms in the Northern side of Aleppo city and reinvigorated the government forces' military situation there.

The Syrian army's artillery and missile units shelled the militant groups' defense lines, which pave the ground for the country's soldiers and popular forces to speed up their advances against the terrorists.

The Syrian pro-government forces captured three vast farms in the Western side of al-Jorf al-Sakhri along Castillo highway.

The Syrian army and its allies had previously won back Beit al-Mari'a heights.

In relevant development in the province on Sunday, the Syrian military forces, backed up by the Russian warplanes, beat back militants from their positions along the road connecting al-Lairamoun square to Castillo and finally deployed their forces along the last supply line of the terrorists in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city.

"The Syrian government forces have prevailed over the militants' positions in al-Lairamoun square and accesses the first kilometers of Castillo highway from its Western side, which means in addition to fire-control over the highway, the army has now captured it," military sources said.

"With the capture of Castillo highway to al-Lairamoun square, the entire terrorist-held districts in Eastern part of Aleppo city have been encircled by the Syrian military forces," the source added.

"The Russian fighter jets played a crucial role in the Syrian soldiers' advances," the sources underlined, adding, "There is no way out for the terrorists in Eastern part of Aleppo city."

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000763

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Syrian Army Smashes Terrorists in Dara'a Neighborhoods

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian soldiers, in a fresh round of anti-terrorism offensives, hit the strongholds of the militant groups hard in three main districts of the Southern city of Dara'a, slowing down the militants' military-logistic movements across the city.

The Syrian soldiers struck al-Nusra Front's positions in Southeastern side of Busra square in Dara'a al-Balad, which claimed the lives of several militant fighters.

The army men also targeted militants' vehicles near al-Jamrouk al-Qadeem (old customs), which left several militants dead and several more wounded.

Several members of a terrorist group affiliated to al-Nusra Front were killed in army's ambush in Dara'a al-Mahatta.

Also on Sunday, Syrian military forces continued to smash terrorists of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in different districts of the Southern city of Dara'a, informed sources said, adding that militants' bases sustained major damage in the attacks.

The Syrian Army troops, in a fresh round of attacks, targeted al-Nusra gatherings in Dara'a al-Mahatta, which ended in destruction of militants' vehicles near electricity company.

The Syrian soldiers also attacked al-Nusra bases in Western side of Raba'ei crossroad with the road to refugee camp and in al-Hamadin neighborhood in Dara'a al-Balad, which also claimed the lives of several terrorists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000617

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Syrian Army Continues to Advance against Terrorists in Western Ghouta

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian military forces, backed up by the country's warplanes, pushed militants back from more positions in Darayya in Southwestern Damascus, taking control of more building blocks in the key town.

The Syrian fighter jets bombed strongholds of the militant groups in Southern part of Darayya and pave the way for the rapid advances of the Syrian army and popular forces, whose offensives ended in the killing or wounding of dozens of the militants and capture of more residential building blocks 300 meters to the Southeast of Shahid Nouralddeen Mosque.

The Army's artillery units also played a crucial role in army's advances. 

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian Army troops engaged in fierce clashes with the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Eastern Ghouta, inflicting major losses on the militants.

The Syrian soldiers repelled al-Nusra offensive on the government forces' positions in Beit Saber, al-Khazrajiyeh and Hassno near Saasaa town, which ended in the killing or wounding of several militants.

Al-Nusra machinegun-equipped vehicles also sustained major damage in the failed attacks.

In the meantime, the Syrian military forces and National Defense Forces fended off al-Nusra's attacks from directions of Beit Jinn and al-Tuloul al-Homr on the government positions near the village of Harfa village, which not only claimed the lives of several terrorists but destroyed their military hardware.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000577

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ISIL's Strongholds Hit Heavily in Syrian Airstrikes in Deir Ezzur

July 18,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian warplanes carried out several combat flights over ISIL's concentration centers and gatherings in eight different regions, leaving scores of the terrorists dead or wounded.

The Syrian fighter jets bombed ISIL's positions in al-Baqaliyeh West of Deir Ezzur, near al-Jafreh, in al-Kassarat region, along al-Thardah mountain in Southern Deir Ezzur and areas near the village of Shola Southwest of Deir Ezzur city, the Southern parts of Deir Ezzur Airbase, near Panorama and near the village of al-Mura'yeh East of Deir Ezzur and the Southern banks of the Euphrates River, inflicting large casualties on the terrorists and destroying their military vehicles, mainly those equipped with machienguns. 

Also on Sunday, Syrian military forces shot down two spy drones of the ISIL terrorist group flying over their positions in Deir Ezzur's districts.

The two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were brought down after they were intercepted over government forces' positions in the neighborhoods of al-Sina'ah and al-Jabaliyeh.

The ISIL's drones were equipped with imaging devices.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950428000521

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South Asia

Rise of Islamic extremism as number of Christians soar in Bangladesh

Monday, Jul 18, 2016

Some 22 people were killed in a deadly attack on a cafe in Dhaka on July 1 with the Government blaming local homegrown militants despite Islamic State (ISIS) reportedly claiming responsibility.

Local pastors say the attack is the latest in a string of targeted killings which have left Christians and religious minorities fearing for their lives.

The attack took place in Dhaka's diplomatic zone, Gulshan, causing widespread fear and concern about the rise in Islamic extremism in the country.

A worker or Christian advocacy charity Open Doors said: "Survivors of the attack said the killers made their hostages recite verses from the Koran.

"Those who could were spared, while those unable to were killed.

"This latest attack, however, is the first concerted attack on foreigners, marking a major escalation in a campaign by militants.”

So far, it's not clear if the plot was organised by ISIS in Syria, or developed locally in Bangladesh.

Over the last few years, Open Doors' World Watch researchers have been observing the rise of extremism and terrorism against minorities in Bangladesh, including Christians.

Of the country’s 162million, 89 per cent population are Muslim with just 828,000 Christians.

Believers have been targeted for their faith on numerous occasions by extremist groups - on June 5, a 72-year-old Christian was murdered in the village of Bonpara, and in March, Christian evangelist Habib Alam was killed by members of ISIS.

There have also been reports of banned Islamist groups threatening to kill people who do not conform to their rules which include having a copy of the Koran, not allowing women to work and removing Christian sacred images from shops.

Thomas Muller, persecution analyst at World Watch Research, warned: "The increasingly volatile situation remains dangerous for the Christian minority."

But despite the threat the Christian community is growing in size.

Pastor Faruk al Ahmed, a believer from a Muslim background, has been preaching the gospel in Kurigram in northern Bangladesh since the mid-1990s.

He said: ”When I began my ministry in Kurigram, there was only one traditional Christian family and one Muslim background family.

"Now, almost 1,500 believers from Muslim backgrounds are glorifying God in this area.”

But these Christians are beginning to attract danger from Islamist terrorists.

Since November 2015, dozens of Christian pastors in Bangladesh have received death threats from extremists - including recently murdered Habib Alam, who was Pastor Faruk's first convert.

Pastor Faruk said: ”Persecution will come more but the believers and I are ready to face it.”

Advocacy charities are now working with Christians and religious minorities in the Islamic country to provide support.

Secular bloggers have also been targeted as well as those who have spoken out about the dangers of fundamentalism.

A spokeswoman for the South Asia Team for Christian Solidarity Worldwide spoke to Express.co.uk about the dangerous situation.

She said: “I think even before the attack July 1, people were scared.

"There had been attacks on bloggers and a university professor had been killed.

“People are certainly very fearful and they are concerned about their future and they are concerned about going out.

“They are taking precuations, not going out after dark and are reconsidering how often they go out and where to. There’s a sense of insecurity and instability and certainly one of fear. People are disturbed.

“Targeted killings have focused on secular bloggers and people who have been outspoken about fundamentalism. I think now people are being much more careful about what they say.

"There seems to be confusion over who is responsible for the attacks, with the current government saying it is homegrown terrorists.

"But then you have groups such as Al-Quaeda and Daesh who have also claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.

"People need reassurance that the government knows who is responsible and has intelligence about these terrorists.

"I think part of the reason we have seen a rise in these attacks is some of these terror groups wanting to place their brand of Islam on Bangladesh.

"You also have to consider the political context and the party Jamaat-e-Islami has astrong allegiance with Pakistan and Islam.

"Some of this goes back to the 1970s and partition when seeds of radicalism were sown amongst youth and poorer communities and now these seeds are bearing fruit now.

"Partners we work with in Bangladesh said it is very hard to recognise Jamaat easily. They have infiltrated all areas of soceity and they are pushing for a more conservative version of Islam and that can account for some of this rise in extremism.

"Part of the problem is there is a real mistrust of the police. When attacks happen people do not want to hand over their persoanl details because they fear the police has been infiltrated by extremism.

"It means there's a real reluctance to go to the authorities and adds to people being fearful."

express.co.uk/news/world/690364/Islamic-extremism-on-rise-as-number-Christians-soar-Bangladesh

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9 Taliban killed after launching a coordinated attack in Badghis

Mon Jul 18 2016

At least 9 Taliban insurgents were killed after they launched a coordinated attack on a police check in Badghis province located in northwestern part of the country.

Provincial police chief Abdul Rauf Taj said clashes between the police forces the Taliban insurgents started on Sunday afternoon and continued for several hours.

He said scores of Taliban militants launched the attack on the police check post in Jund district.

Taj further added that the Taliban insurgents were forced to retreat after their attack was repulsed, leaving at least 9 of them dead.

He did not disclose further information regarding the possible casualties incurred to the police forces during the clash.

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

Badghis is among the relatively peaceful provinces in northwestern part of the country but the Taliban insurgents are

attempting to destabilize the province as part of their spring offensive.

khaama.com/9-taliban-killed-after-launching-a-coordinated-attack-in-badghis-01505

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Peace prospects to increase when Taliban realize no chance of win on battlefield: Dunford

Mon Jul 18 2016

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen Joe Dunford has said peace prospects will increase when Taliban realize they have no chance of win on the battlefield.

Speaking to reporters after returning to Europe by concluding three days visit in Afghanistan. Gen. Dunford said the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have significantly increased their capabilities and made important gains by going on the offensive.

Gen. Dunford further added the Afghan forces went to the enemy first rathern than waiting for this year’s fighting season.

Dunford cited the Afghan forces’ offensive posture and improved capabilities, notably in air power, as possible reasons why the level of violence since the Ramadan observance ended earlier this month has been lower than anticipated.

“I think there’s a degree of optimism that the Afghan forces have the momentum this summer,” he said, “but I think the Taliban have proven to be resilient in the past, and I think there’s still a fair amount of fighting ahead.”

He met with the senior U.S. and Afghan leaders to assess progress in NATO’s Resolute Support mission. In the Afghan capital of Kabul today, he attended talks with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Defense Minister Abdullah Khan Habibi, and Chief of Defense Gen. Qadam Shah Shahim.

The chairman described the meetings as “very positive,” with a focus on reforms of the Afghan security forces and continued support for the Afghan security forces to 2020 and beyond.

While Afghans previously were uncertain about their future, they now are looking out for the next several years, Dunford said. “It seems this time, their horizon is pushed out a little bit further, and they seem to have some confidence,” he told reporters.

But despite the positive developments, serious work remains, Dunford said, adding he is a realist in terms of the challenges ahead for Afghanistan.

“We’ve seen peaks and valleys in the Taliban before, but certainly on the ground right now, the Afghan forces have the

momentum,” he said, noting the Afghans have a “very good” plan this year, applying lessons learned in 2015.

“We’ll keep pressing ahead on the battlefield, we’ll keep supporting the Afghan forces, [and] we’ll keep making sure that the governance continues to mature,” the general said.

When all of those things align and the Taliban figure out that they have no chance of winning on the battlefield, the chairman told reporters, “then the prospects of reconciliation will increase.”

khaama.com/peace-prospects-to-increase-when-taliban-realize-no-chance-of-win-on-battlefield-dunford-01504

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Preacher linked to Dhaka terrorist under probe

Monday, Jul 18, 2016

Dr Naik speaking to the media in Mumbai via a video conference from Saudi Arabia on Friday. He has denied allegations that his speeches were inflammatory, but Bangladesh has banned his Peace Television channel.

An Indian Islamic preacher, Dr Zakir Naik, whose teachings were popular with one of the terrorists in the Dhaka cafe attack, has denied advocating terrorism as the authorities in India and Bangladesh investigate whether his sermons could radicalise South Asians.

Bangladesh has banned Dr Naik's Peace Television - a 24-hour Islamic channel that broadcasts in English and Urdu, while India is poring over the contents of his sermons and the funding of his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation.

At least one Indian government minister said his speeches "were a matter of concern".

The preacher has come under intense scrutiny since it was revealed that Rohan Imtiaz, one of the five gunmen behind the Dhaka cafe attack in which 20 hostages were killed, had quoted from Dr Naik's sermons on Facebook last year.

"I did not inspire any terrorist... I am a messenger of peace," Dr Naik said during a press conference last Friday via Skype from Saudi Arabia. He denied allegations that his speeches were inflammatory. "I have been branded a hatemonger without an iota of evidence."

Earlier in a YouTube response, he had said: "Every Muslim should be a terrorist to anti-social elements like rapists and murderers."

Dr Naik, who was born and raised in Mumbai, founded the Islamic Research Foundation in the early 1990s. He claims to have more than 100 million followers and his lectures are reportedly seen in more than 125 countries.

Last year, he launched Peace Television in China and was awarded the King Faisal International Prize in March last year for "service to Islam" awarded by Saudi Arabia.

But he has also faced controversy. In 2010, he was banned from entering Britain for making inflammatory remarks that "seek to provoke others to terrorist acts".

Asked whether Dr Naik would be allowed to enter Singapore to preach, a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman said it could not comment on specific cases.

But the MHA said the Government needed to "guard against foreign religious speakers, regardless of the faith they represent, who propagate divisive doctrines that advocate exclusivism, disrespect to other religions, or cause members of a particular faith to live apart from others in society".

Dr Naik's Peace Television, which is broadcast from Dubai and hosts Islamic scholars and preachers, was first denied permission to air in India in 2008. The government is asking cable operators to ensure they do not transmit the channel.

Dr Naik, who quotes from the Quran in his speeches, has appeared to support suicide bombers. But at the press conference last Friday, he said the footage of that particular speech had been doctored.

In other lectures, he has criticised the United States and described gay people as "patients suffering from a sinful mental problem".

His supporters say his teaching was being misrepresented and maintained he was the target of a witch-hunt, even as critics have accused him of belittling the Shi'ite and Ahmadi Muslim sects.

Without naming Dr Naik specifically, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted earlier this month that "preachers of hate and violence are threatening the fabric of our society".

Security experts said his sermons must be studied to see if they contained any inflammatory messages.

"His speeches are problematic. But it is a matter of judicial assessment whether it is incitement, advocacy or a provocation to other communities. There are legal standards,"' said Dr Ajai Sahni, the executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management.

Associates of Dr Naik said he would present himself for questioning by the Indian authorities if asked.

"When agencies summon him, he will come down. He spends six months out of India. He is ready to join any investigation," said Mr Mohsin Khan, one of Dr Naik's supporters and a volunteer at the All India Dawah Centres Association.

news.asiaone.com/news/asia/preacher-linked-dhaka-terrorist-under-probe

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Ramifications of terror attacks in Bangladesh

Dr Fahmida Khatun

Monday, Jul 18, 2016

At a time when Bangladesh has broken the 6 percent growth trap and has begun its journey towards achieving a faster growth of about 7 percent, and at a time when Bangladesh has achieved the status of a lower middle income country with a per capita income of USD1314 in 2015, it experiences the greatest shock in recent times. This has suddenly changed the perspective on Bangladesh. The ruthless killing of 20 lives, including 17 foreigners at the Holey Artisan Bakery of Gulshan in Dhaka on July 1, 2016, by terrorists has brought new realities for Bangladesh. A country which boasts to be a moderately Islamic country, holding the values of Islam yet being tolerant to other religions and a country that is reputed for its warmth and  hospitality towards foreign nationals, has come under the global radar due to the brutality of recent terror attacks. While the grief for the lost lives is going to make a permanent place in our hearts, the implications of this painful episode on other spheres of lives cannot be ignored either.

Economic development of Bangladesh is apprehended to bear the brunt of this incident. Countries which lost their citizens on that horrifying night - Japan, Italy and India - are all important partners of Bangladesh's development. Japan is the largest bilateral donor for Bangladesh. In 2015, the country disbursed USD366 million as foreign aid. Recently, Japan signed its 37th Official Development Assistance Loan Package for Bangladesh, which amounts to USD 1.65 billion, the largest ever in the history of Japan's ODA to Bangladesh, at an interest rate of 0.01 percent and repayment period of 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. About 230 Japanese companies have invested in Bangladesh, mostly in export processing zones; the investment amount is equivalent to USD 250 million. Japanese support and investment are in sectors such as disaster management, infrastructural development including power plants, deep sea port and metro rail. Tragically, the seven Japanese who were killed during the Dhaka terror attack were working for Bangladesh's metro-rail development project. Bangladesh's exports to Japan were worth USD 615 million in 2015, of which the share of RMG was USD 448 million.

As for Italy, it is one of the important export destinations for Bangladeshi products, particularly readymade garments. In 2015, Bangladesh exported goods worth USD 1,170 million, of which USD 1,070 million constituted of apparels. Italy is also a source of remittance for Bangladesh. On the other hand, India's aid disbursement amounted to about USD 93 million, while exports from Bangladesh to India were worth USD 542 million in 2015. Bangladesh expects these countries to continue supporting its efforts in achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation in the coming days. The assurance of the prime ministers of the respective countries to work together towards counter-terrorism is the recognition of the fact that terrorism is now a global phenomenon which kills people across the globe – Dhaka, Istanbul, Paris, Nice, Iraq.

On its part, Bangladesh has to work hard in bringing back the confidence of investors, development partners and the foreign community. The damage has already been done through worldwide media coverage. Now Bangladesh needs to reassure foreigners working here about their safety. The government has beefed up the security of the diplomatic zone in Gulshan and Baridhara, and other important places, including the Dhaka airport. But there are also foreign consultants and officials involved with projects, who are working at the field level. Their safety should also be ensured. We should also be careful in sending out our messages to the global community. While the Prime Minister fears more terror attacks in the country, some ministers are probably trying to show a brave face, dispelling possible negative impacts of the recent terror attacks in Bangladesh.

But the terror attack at Holey Artisan Bakery has been taken very seriously by the diplomatic community and development partners working in Dhaka. Some of them have given their officials the option to send their families to their respective countries, and many officials have already started to move their families out of Dhaka. Some are considering continuing their operation through regional offices, such as Delhi or Bangkok. We hope that this will not have any negative impact on the size of their operation in Bangladesh. But this obviously is an indication of the insecurity felt by foreigners in Bangladesh. This will have an impact on prospective investors and visitors to Bangladesh. As an important sourcing destination of apparels, the country may face new challenges if buyers do not feel secure to come to Bangladesh, and if they place their orders in other countries.

The shocking revelation of the terrorists' social background has prompted us to reflect on our education system, particularly that of the private universities where some of these terrorists studied. Run like private banks, some of these universities have made education a commodity, through which they can mint money. Many of these universities do not have a registrar or a proctor, and the Vice Chancellor has no say at the board room. Several of these universities have mushroomed through high profile connections without any plans for human resources and curriculum. Borrowed teachers from public universities often find no reason to be an integral part of the university. The curriculum of these universities does not include holistic education that helps students to become enlightened human beings. Instead, they try to cater to the need of the corporate world, sprinkling a bit of everything in the syllabus. It is time to bring an overall change in the education system. 

Globally, the impact of terrorism has been manifested through reduced growth, mainly due to higher government expenditure for actions against counter-terrorism and loss of investment. The new reality dictates that Bangladesh has to strategise its security measures with the help of its friends so that its growth momentum can continue.

thedailystar.net/op-ed/politics/ramifications-terror-attacks-bangladesh-1255117

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Teacher close to Dhaka cafe attacker arrested

July 18, 2016

Bangladesh police arrested a college teacher close to Shafiqul Islam Ujjal, one of those who attacked a Dhaka cafe on July 1 leaving over 20 dead, officials confirmed on Monday.

Milon Hossain, a teacher of Piyar Ali School and College, was whisked away on Saturday night, bdnews24 reported.

Milon was produced before a court that granted police five days to investigate him in custody, a police officer said.

Milon, who hails from Lalmonirhat, worked at Madbar Memorial School in Ashulia area near Dhaka.

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Milon had helped Ujjal get a job as a teacher at the school, the officer said.

Ujjal was among six attackers killed by security forces to free the cafe siege hostages.

The Islamic State terrorist group published photos of five gunmen and claimed they killed over 20 persons in the cafe, bdnews24 reported.

Ujjal, a madrasa student from Bogra, was among the five “IS fighters”.

He had left home six months before the attack, his family said.

At least 22 persons, including an Indian women were brutally killed during the siege on July 1 in the popular hangout, Holey Artisan Bakery and O’Kitchen Restaurant, in Dhaka’s Gulshan area.

financialexpress.com/world-news/teacher-close-dhaka-cafe-attacker-arrested/320217/

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North America

ISIS Encourages African-Americans to Join Islam After Baton Rouge Attack

July 17, 2016

Jihadists on pro-Islamic State terrorist channels are encouraging “the black community” to join their version of Islam to help wage war on the US government after today’s attack by Gavin Eugene Long in Louisiana. Two Baton Rouge Police Department officers and one East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy were killed in a shooting Sunday morning in the Louisiana capital, police said.

Two other deputies and a Baton Rouge officer were wounded in the shooting, police said at a press conference. One of the deputies is in critical condition, the sheriff said.

The gunman was killed at the scene by police. The officers were shot on Airline Highway about 8:40 a.m. in a commercial area on Airline Highway, police said.

Police said there is no active shooter situation in Baton Rouge and they believe the Long is the man killed at the scene.

Following the attack, ISIS terrorist communication channels celebrated. International terrorism watchdog group Site Intel reports:

Similar statements appeared on ISIS channels following the Dallas police sniping by Micah Xavier Johnson, where jihadists advocated for a race war in the United States.

heavy.com/news/2016/07/baton-rouge-police-officers-cops-killed-shot-shooting-dead-blm-black-lives-matter-isis-islamic-state-amaq-news-race-war-united-states-america/

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US Muslims, Turks gather in Washington to protest attempted coup in Turkey

July/18/2016

Hundreds of Turks and U.S. Muslims gathered outside of the White House on July 17 to rally against a recent coup attempt in Turkey by a faction in the Turkish military.

“Why are we here today? Because we respect the will of the people,” Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said amid a sea of Turkish flags and demonstrators from across the U.S. who were clad in Turkish apparel.

The Turkish government said the failed coup was organized by followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the government through supporters within the Turkish state, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations Secretary General Oussama Jamal said the coup attempt “was the beginning of turning the entire region into chaos.”

“Thanks to the Turkish people, to the honorable men and women who went out to the streets to protect the Turkish democracy,” he said.

At least 164 people lost their lives fighting against the attempted coup late on July 15 in Turkey’s capital Ankara as well as Istanbul, according to preliminary reports as analyzed by Anadolu Agency.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been detained, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government.

hurriyetdailynews.com/us-muslims-turks-gather-in-washington-to-protest-attempted-coup-in-turkey--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101739&NewsCatID=358

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The economy, not a ban on Muslims, is Trump’s strength

JULY 18, 2016

The conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump is more likely to end up as US president if global events, such as terror in Nice and coups and purges in Turkey, lead America’s voters to think they need a strongman in the White House. But is Mr Trump wise to focus on his ban on Muslim immigrants or his wall across the US-Mexico border during the Republican Convention that begins in Ohio tomorrow?

Some Republicans certainly want Mr Trump to double-down on his strong anti-Muslim rhetoric. Franklin Graham, the son of the evangelist Billy but not so much of a peacemaker as his father, explained to readers of USA Today that he was terrified by the 100,000 or so US Muslims who, according to polling, were ready to countenance violence against civilians. Eager to address the fears of voters such as Graham, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, advocated deportation for any US Muslim who wouldn’t renounce Sharia. He didn’t say where to. Neither had he considered that potential terrorists might evade his cunning scheme by not telling the whole truth about their religious beliefs.

This ill-thought-through “Gingrich test” was interpreted as a desperate, last-ditch attempt by the former speaker to become Mr Trump’s running-mate — but Mr Trump has dodged that bullet by choosing the much more sensible Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana.

But what issues should Mr Trump choose to focus on this week and in the time before election day? With so many Americans frightened to go to a nightclub, a public square or a beachfront promenade after the horrors of Orlando, Dallas and Nice, no American politician would dare to mimic the French prime minister’s defeatist talk of needing to learn to “live with terrorism”. The temptation for Mr Trump will be to roll out more hard line policies such as the Muslim ban. While this would rally his supporters, it would intensify concerns among most Americans that a Trump presidency would worsen already perilous community and racial tensions.

Most opinion polling suggests that Mr Trump’s strongest card is the economy. A survey at the end of last week suggested that he is much more trusted than Hillary Clinton to create jobs. By focusing on living standards, rather than terror, the billionaire businessman is more likely to win this election — and to do so without inciting the clash of civilisations that Isis prays he will.

theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/the-economy-not-a-ban-on-muslims-is-trumps-strength/news-story/6b43cd7a21ab45db9ed6d05c8b00e126

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Kerry Rejects Hints of US Role in Turkish Coup

JULY 18, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has denounced suggestions that Washington was involved in Friday's failed coup in Turkey.

"We think it's irresponsible to have accusations of American involvement," Kerry told CNN on Sunday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric now living in Pennsylvania, of orchestrating the violence and demanded that Gulen be extradited.

Erdogan frequently refers to "masterminds" who he says are bent on breaking up Turkey, in what appears a veiled reference to the West in general, and more specifically, the United States. On Saturday, Labor Minister Suleyman Soylu accused Washington of being behind the coup attempt.

In a phone call on Saturday Kerry told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu “public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations,” according to a report of the call released by the State Department.

Kerry also told CNN that Turkey has made no formal request for Gulen's extradition, and that he'd asked the country's foreign minister to make the official request, saying that "the United States is not harboring anybody."

Gulen has denied being behind the failed coup and denied knowledge of who might be responsible.

Crackdown continues

Meanwhile in Turkey, Erdogan promised to rid Turkey of people involved in the coup attempt.  "At every level of government, the period of cleaning this virus will continue," said Erdogan.  "Like the cancer virus, it spreads all around the government."

Around 6,000 people have been detained.  State-run media reports an aide to Erdogan is among those in custody, and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Erdogan's top military aide, Colonel Ali Yazici.  It was not immediately clear what role, if any, Yazici had in the failed coup attempt.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag says Turkish authorities are accelerating arrests of people, which have included judges, military officers and soldiers.  Those in custody include the commander of the Third Army Corps, General Erdal Ozturk, who could face charges of treason.

Other high-ranking military officials flew to neighboring Greece by helicopter and requested political asylum.  Turkish media reports say some of those who fled are believed to be among the architects of the coup.

European leaders have expressed concern over the wide number of detentions, warning against actions that would damage constitutional order. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the rule of law "needs to be protected for the sake of the country," at a meeting with other EU foreign ministers in Brussels Monday.

Death penalty considered

Speaking Sunday to people who called for the death penalty outside his home in Istanbul, Erdogan said the use of capital punishment cannot be delayed, saying "We cannot ignore this demand." 

His speech was punctuated by frequent calls of "we want the death penalty'' from the large crowd, to which Erdogan responded: "We hear your request. In a democracy, whatever the people want they will get.''

Erdogan said he would discuss it with opposition parties but that "We will not delay this decision for long. Because those who attempt a coup in this country must pay.''

Turkey hasn't executed anyone since 1984, and capital punishment was legally abolished in 2004 as part of its bid to join the European Union.

Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said the reintroduction of the death penalty would be "absolutely unacceptable" in an interview with state media ahead of his meeting with his European counterparts Monday.

Funerals

Meanwhile, thousands of people attended funerals Sunday in Istanbul and Ankara for those killed.  Prayers were read simultaneously from Turkey's 85,000 mosques at noon to honor those who died.

Erdogan openly wept on Sunday at the funeral for his top campaign manager and his teenage son who were killed when renegade soldiers opened fire on protesters at the Bosporus bridge in Istanbul on Friday night.

The president was overpowered by emotions and cried. He used a handkerchief to wipe away the tears and turned around as he continued to weep.

Reports about how many people were killed in clashes during the coup attempt varied, but by Sunday 265 were reported dead, including many civilians.  Conditions remained tense in Istanbul, Ankara and some other provincial cities, and there were reports of sporadic violence.

US military operations

Turkey on Sunday also reopened its airspace to military aircraft, allowing the U.S.-led coalition to resume air operations against Islamic State militants.

Turkey had closed its airspace following the attempted coup. 

Turkey, a NATO member, is a key partner in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the Islamic State group and has allowed American jets to use its Incirlik air base to fly missions against the extremists in nearby Syria and Iraq.

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Pakistan

Qandeel Baloch’s murder a lesson for others: Mufti Abdul Qawi

July 18, 2016

Lahore: A Pakistani cleric, who got suspended from the membership of a top religious body after selfies with Qandeel Baloch, the Internet sensation murdered by her brother in a case of honour killing, today said the incident is a lesson for others.

“Those who intend to or humiliate clerics must learn from Qandeel Baloch’s fate,” Mufti Abdul Qawi said. Qawi was last month embroiled in a scandal with Qandeel after she uploaded her pictures with him during a meeting.

Qandeel, 26, was killed yesterday by her brother for what he said was “dishonouring” the family by posting risque videos and posts on Facebook.

Reacting on the killing of social media celebrity, Qawi, who was suspended from government’s Ruet-e-Hilal Committee membership following the selfie controversy with Qandeel, said: “Those who have humiliated clerics must seek repentance and should ask forgiveness from clerics as well as Almighty Allah.

“I had forgiven Qandeel for what she had done against me. I have never had any hatred for her,” he told Express Tribune newspaper. Qandeel had ridiculed Qawi on various TV channels and tried to imply that he was crazy about herself.

Qawi said: “I had met Qandeel in an effort to bring her the path of righteousness. I was asked by some people why you met Qandeel. I told them we should hate sin but not a sinner.”

The cleric further said: “People should realise that religious clerics are the pious face of Islam and they should not dare to play with their reputation or try to malign them otherwise they will face the curse of God.

“I had convinced Qandeel to repent on her sins and asked her to come towards the right path. I had even offered her a marriage proposal in her new life,” Qawi said.

Qandeel had received threats from the supporters of Mufti Qawi for allegedly trying to disgrace him. Following that she had requested security from the interior ministry which she was denied.

Meanwhile, members of the civil society today held a demonstration at Liberty Chowk Lahore and condemned her killing.

Demonstrators raised slogans like ‘Stop Violence against Women’. Some of the slogans read: ‘We Failed You Qandeel’, ‘No Country for Bold Women’, ‘No Honour in Killing’.

The protesters demanded exemplary punishment for the killer, action by the media regulatory authority against TV channels who assassinated her character and posthumously disrespected her by broadcasting images of her body.

Awami Workers Party General Secretary Farooq Tariq said Qandeel joined thousands of women in Pakistan and around the world who were raped, mutilated and murdered by men.

He said Qandeel was punished for transgressing the norms that were fundamental to a patriarchal order. Some 1,100 women were killed in Pakistan last year in the name of honour.

siasat.com/news/qandeel-balochs-murder-lesson-others-mufti-abdul-qawi-987370/

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We don’t need potato, onion trade with India, ban Bollywood films, Hafiz Saeed to Pakistan govt

July 17, 2016

Lahore: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed on Saturday demanded Pakistan government to immediately suspend foreign and trade relations with India in the wake of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

“We don’t need potato and onion trade with India,” he told a press conference at maat-ud-Dawah (JuD) headquarters in Chauburji here.

“Pakistan should call its ambassador back from India and expel its from Islamabad,” the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder said, claiming Pakistan is an advocate of Kashmiris and this gesture will give Kashmiris a boost.

Saeed, on whose head the US has put a bounty of $10 million, also said “screening of Indian movies in Pakistan should be banned forthwith as these are hurting the sentiments of people of Pakistan in the wake of killings in Kashmir.”

siasat.com/news/dont-need-potato-onion-trade-india-ban-bollywood-films-hafiz-saeed-pakistan-govt-986940/

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Govt asked to remove ‘controversial’ lesson from course book

Jul 18, 2016

SWABI: Political and civil society activists have threatened that if the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board doesn’t remove a controversial lesson about Pakhtun hero Malik Kalu Khan from the ninth grade English book, then they would take the case to court.

Addressing a convention on ‘Kalu Khan, a hero of Pakhtuns’, at Haqqani Library Hall here on Sunday, they maintained that Yousafzai Action Committee (YAC), formed for this purpose by political parties, would move court against the textbook board officials and the book’s writer if the ‘insulting’ lesson was not removed.

It was decided that members of the action committee would meet KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, officials of the textbook board and provincial education minister soon in Peshawar to discuss the matter.

The action committee has a member from each political party and literary organisation.

On the occasion, Mohammad Jamil Advocate, a columnist and founder of the drive to get the lesson removed from the book, said Kalu Khan fought against Mughal Emperor Akbar so bravely that the latter was forced to build the Attock Fort at the edge of the Indus for his defence.

Leaders at Swabi convention threaten to move court

“Though the Mughals were looters the Pakhtuns were portrayed as looters in the said lesson titled ‘Snare’,” he pointed out.

Awwal Sher Khan, former forest minister, said the lesson was written and included in the book under a well-thought out conspiracy to distort the character of Kalu Khan and twist the facts about Pakhtun leaders. Ghafoor Khan Jadoon, former provincial food minister, said YAC members should meet the lawmakers and appraised them about the facts. “A resolution for removal of the lesson should be moved by them in the provincial assembly,” he demanded.

Saleem Khan Advocate of QWP said Pakhtun terrains were called by British and other invaders as ‘diamond necklace’ because these were full of natural resources. Due to economic reasons various invaders invaded the region but Pakhtun supermen like Malik Kalu Khan, Malik Gaju Khan and Malik Ahmad fought and pushed them back bravely.

Najeem Khan of JUI-Nazriati said it was high time for Pakhtuns to unite against all those who were bent upon defaming them and their heroes.

District nazim Aamir Rehman said they rejected the book which presented Kalu Khan as a looter. He said the district government would help the YAC in achieving its objective.

Tehsil Razaar Nasim Ghulam Haqqani announced that his government would build mausoleum of Kalu Khan.

Tehsil Swabi Nazim Wahid Shah said the writer was enemy of the entire Pakhtun nation.

Iftikhar Ahmad Khan of PML-N, Mehmoodul Hassan of JI, Rangaiz of PTI, Javid Inqilabi of PPP, Mohammad Ali Dagaiwal of Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehreek, Mohammad Jalil of Abaseen Union of Journalists, Mohammad Sagheer of Swabi bar, Aziz Minerwal of Qam Qalam, and others also spoke on the occasion

Through three resolutions, the participants of the convention demanded to replace on the lesson with tales of Pakhtun heroes, action against the writer and introduction of Pashto as compulsory subject in schools.

dawn.com/news/1271540/govt-asked-to-remove-controversial-lesson-from-course-book

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‘Pakistan must reform itself to be heard on Kashmir issue’

Jul 18, 2016

ISLAMABAD: At a round table discussion on Saturday, former diplomats said Pakistan will have to improve its international standing for its voice to be heard on the Kashmir issue and that it has to try out other ways to morally and politically support the uprising in the valley.

The discussion was hosted by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) to discuss the options Pakistan has to back the latest revolts in Kashmir against the Indian occupation, which claimed more than 40 lives and left 2,000 injured the past week.

Retired ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who served in the US and India, said passion on its own is not enough to change history.

“We require seriousness and truthfulness,” Mr Qazi said, adding that poor governance in the country was adding to the problem.

“No one is going to listen to us until Pakistan corrects itself,” he said, adding that the world is silent on the Kashmir issue not because it doesn’t like Kashmiris, but because it doesn’t like Pakistan, which is the chief advocate of the issue.

“We will be mistaken if we think the world will censure India because of morality and values,” he said.

Quiz: Test your knowledge about the Kashmir issue

Former foreign secretary Salman Bashir agreed with Mr Qazi and said sincerity and truthfulness were needed in order to develop credibility.

“We should use social media more effectively. The younger generation should show the world Indian brutalities against Kashmiris. The ugly face of India and the hollowness of its democratic credentials need to be exposed,” Mr Bashir said.

“Lip-service” regarding Kashmir in the form of inconsequential statements was no longer an option, he added.

He said statements from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the UN were also irrelevant because they did not serve to change the situation.

Director School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University Dr Ishtiaq Hussain said Kashmiris should be involved when making strategies for supporting the Kashmir cause.

“Kashmir is about its people and their aspirations and not territory, religion and culture,” he added.

At the conclusion of the discussion, SVI presented a list of recommendations which said Pakistan needed to make reforms and to repair its image for effectively advocating the Kashmir issue, which requires more than making inconsequential statements and resolutions from Islamabad.

The recommendations called for greater public participation, particularly of the youth, in highlighting the plight of the Kashmiris.

It was also recommended that instead of just addressing the Indian government, Pakistan should engage with other opinion groups in India which do not necessarily share Delhi’s position on the issue.

The SVI president also called for reviewing the strategies used before for supporting the Kashmir struggle which have failed in achieving the desired results.

dawn.com/news/1271518/pakistan-must-reform-itself-to-be-heard-on-kashmir-issue

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Sikh community pays tribute to Edhi

Jul 18, 2016

KARACHI: The Sikh community in the city on Sunday paid tribute to the country’s most-loved humanitarian, Abdul Sattar Edhi, at its temple in the compound of Swami Narain Temple.

The event was organised by the administration of Guru Nanak Darbar and Pakistan Sikh Council’s Karachi chapter.

A large number of people turned up to pay their respects to the country’s charity icon, who included people belonging to the Hindu community. The Hindu Panchayat and the Prem Sagar Trust sent their representatives to attend the programme.

Faisal Edhi, who now heads the Edhi Foundation, his son and volunteers, including children living in Edhi Centre in Mithadar, were also present.

The programme began with the recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Dominated by a large portrait of Edhi, the organisers at the podium paid glowing tribute to Edhi who died on July 8 after a prolonged illness at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT).

Representatives of various organisations of the Sikh and Hindu communities said Mr Edhi was a true humanist who never let faith, ethnicity and class come in his way to serve humanity.

“He served everyone in the country. He served every human as he never considered any biases before serving anyone in need of consolation or treatment,” said a speaker.

Speakers shared that the Sikh and Hindu communities, however tiny, were equal beneficiaries of Edhi’s charity.

“He was there to help every one of us. He was there to serve us without prejudices,” said an organiser.

The speakers said communities belonging to minority faiths would be supporting the Edhi Foundation with donations and volunteer work as they had been doing when the social worker was alive.

“Supporting this cause is the only way of expressing our gratitude for whatever he has done for us all,” said a speaker.

The Guru Nanak Darbar presented Faisal Edhi a kirpan, Karakul cap and a copy of the translation of Edhi’s biography in Gurmukhi.

Faisal Edhi appealed to the Sikh and Hindu communities to continue their support to his organisation as they had been doing in the past.

He said his father’s life passed serving humanity, which was the very task he had opted to accomplish for the rest of his life. On seeing the emotions among every community in the country about his father’s passing, he felt overwhelmed and he was confident that Abdul Sattar Edhi’s charity would continue with the help of his admirers and supporters.

“The love shown by every community for my father clearly proves that he was a true humanist who strived for all at the expense of his own life and comfort,” he said.

dawn.com/news/1271462/sikh-community-pays-tribute-to-edhi

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Qaim orders setting up of separate force for judges’ security

Jul 18, 2016

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah presides over a meeting about security of members of the judiciary on Sunday at CM House.—Online

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah ordered on Sunday creating of a separate force to provide foolproof security to the judiciary in the light of its advice, guidance and requirement.

“There should not be any problem to act on this [strategy],” said Mr Shah while presiding over a meeting regarding security of the judiciary in the wake of increasing threats posed by militants and criminals at CM House.

The meeting was attended by Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro, adviser to the CM on law Murtaza Wahab, chief secretary Siddique Memon, IGP A.D. Khwaja, principal secretary to the CM and secretaries of law and home ministries.

The Sindh police chief briefed the chief minister on the progress in the kidnapping case of Awais Shah, son of the chief justice of the Sindh High Court, which included record of his phone calls, SMSs, Whastapp conversations etc.

“We have mobilised all the resources available with the police and the intelligence agencies to solve this case as proficiently as we could,” he said, adding that the police, Rangers and intelligence agencies were working in coordination to solve the case. “Hopefully, we would soon recover him safe and sound,” he said.

CM Shah said Awais Shah’s kidnapping was aimed at demoralising the judiciary.

“Our judiciary is strong enough to absorb such shocks but it doesn’t mean that we sit idle and see all this happening,” he said: “We have to work day and night to recover him unharmed and plan to provide foolproof security to the judiciary.”

IGP Khwaja said a 2,670-strong police force was provided to judges for security, of them 1,200 policemen were deputed for the security of the Supreme Court and high court judges.

Apart from that, he added, Rangers personnel were also performing their duties with the policemen for the same cause.

Mr Shah asked the chief secretary and the police chief to establish a dedicated entity for the security of all the judges in lower and top judiciary.

“But this mechanism would be stronger if it works in light of the judiciary’s guidance and directives and consultation with them.”

He asked the IGP to hold meetings with the chief justices or their registrars, and seek their guidance to ensure effective security networking for the judges.

“Establish a detailed mechanism in the light of their guidance, share that again with them and then implement the plan,” Mr Shah told the police chief.

The chief minister also reviewed the murder case of Amjad Sabri Qawwal, and issued necessary instructions to the police officials. He also reviewed the overall security situation of the city.

Water theft

Jam Khan Shoro, minister for local government, briefed the meeting on water theft and claimed his ministry had busted a network at the Murat cinema.

“I was quite surprised to see that they had stolen a mega connection from the main pipeline and had installed heavy motors to pump out water on electricity and generators,” he said. He added that the water mafia had a modern water mixing system through which they mixed drinking water stolen from mains of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board with brackish water and then sold it to industries.

“What was more surprising to me was that they were issuing computerised bills for the stolen water to industrialists and were receiving payment through cheques.

Mr Shoro said his teams had busted a gang, but there were still 12 gangs operating in the city. He, however, did not explain what actions were being taken by his ministry against those gangs. The minister said his ministry had lodged an FIR against a gang involved in a massive theft of water.

The chief minister asked the IGP to get arrested the water thieves, including those nominated in the FIR.

“This is serious crime and must be investigated from all angles,” he said.

He also asked the minister to give official water connections to industrialists.

dawn.com/news/1271466/qaim-orders-setting-up-of-separate-force-for-judges-security

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Europe

Attack in Nice Turns Spotlight on City’s Religious Divisions

JULY 17, 2016

NICE, France — There is the Nice of popular imagination, the old-world resort dotted with palm trees and cafes that look out on the Mediterranean Sea, suffused with an incandescent light prized for centuries by artists.

Then there is the other Nice, one that begins to show its face a few blocks inland from the seaside Promenade des Anglais, the majestic arc of a boulevard where 84 people were killed by a 31-year-old Tunisian immigrant at the wheel of a 19-ton truck. This Nice is home to many Muslim immigrants from North Africa, including a secular middle-class that has lived alongside non-Muslim French, and is also a place that local officials estimate has sent as many as 100 young people to fight in Syria with extremists.

“It is rare that these two worlds mix with each other except at the moment of festivities or of agreement, like the gatherings on Saturday,” said Feiza Ben Mohamed of the Muslims of the South, an organization that fights radicalization, referring to the public mourning for those killed in the truck attack.

“Yet the first victim was Muslim, and a good number of the victims were Muslims,” Ms. Mohamed added. “Just yesterday I was on the promenade reflecting on what had happened, and a journalist asked me if I was there to apologize in the name of Muslims. I said to him, ‘No, I came to weep for the dead like everyone else.’”

Nice presents a many-layered reality. It is at once one of France’s most popular tourist destinations, a stone’s throw from the glamorous watering holes of the rich and famous at Cap Ferrat and Monaco, and it has one of France’s largest populations of Tunisian origin. The fact that the driver of the truck that plowed through crowds celebrating Bastille Day was a Tunisian living in Nice has turned a spotlight on the contrasts.

The Muslim community itself is layered. There is a substantial sector of well-educated and integrated North Africans, but also a population that lives in bleak housing blocks in the city’s outlying districts, where in 2013 close to 40 percent of young people were unemployed, according to the French statistics office Insee.

It is in those neighborhoods, where resentment of the affluent waterfront world runs high, that recruiters for the extremist Muslims fighting in Syria operate. One of them, Omar Diaby, a resident of Senegalese origin now believed to be living in Syria, has been linked through an associate or associates to Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the man who carried out the Bastille Day massacre, according to French news reports.

Mr. Diaby, several Muslims with knowledge of radical circles said, targeted 13- to 15-year-olds as recruits to join the fight in Syria and was notorious for using violent radicalization videos that made killing seem like a game. The French newspaper Le Monde and other French news outlets said the authorities had found cellphone records indicating that Mr. Diaby and Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel knew, or at least called, some of the same people.

These different groups, Muslim and non-Muslim, lived alongside each other in relative peace for generations, but that has begun to change along with the rise of France’s far-right National Front party, led by Marine Le Pen. Nice is governed by the center-right, which includes the Republicans, but some say its leaders increasingly play the politics of division.

“There is a widening gap between the communities,” said Samih Abid, a lawyer and longtime Nice resident.

When people first meet him, Mr. Abid said, they often do not realize he is Muslim: He wears Western clothes and works primarily on business law. But when they hear his name and realize he is of Arab origin, “I can see their look change,” he said. “My problem is that there is this soft discrimination here, and I worry that it will harden now.”

After Thursday’s rampage, Mr. Abid said, he overheard people on the street disparaging Muslims who were praying before the makeshift shrines on the Promenade des Anglais. “They were saying, ‘Oh, look, they are praying here. Shame on them,’” he recalled.

As for soft discrimination, Mr. Abid said there were no mosques in Nice itself “because the mayor’s office is against them.” (There are a few small ones in the city’s outlying districts.) He acknowledged that many Muslims did not vote because they had not become citizens or because they were not well organized politically, making it easier for the government to ignore their concerns.

‘There's Something That’s Not Right. Someone Lost Control of Their Truck.’

Survivors of the attack in Nice, France, describe a windy night at the beach, fireworks, and then terror.

In the 2014 regional elections, the right-leaning parties won about the same number of votes as the National Front in the first round of voting, but took control of Nice after earning more ballots in the second round.

The city’s mayor, Philippe Pradal, has tried to quell worries on all sides. He said in an interview that Muslims needed to try harder to demonstrate their willingness to be part of Nice’s broader community, but also that the community needed to see that Islam and the values of the French republic could complement each other.

“It is possible to encounter reactions of mistrust or rejection when you face people who ostentatiously wear religious signs linked to Islam,” Mr. Pradal said, referring to women who are fully veiled and men who wear a long Islamic tunic.

“We must find the path that permits us to reconcile respect for religious values and republican values,” he said. “We can see from what happened on July 14 that the truck did not detect who was Muslim and who was not. There were victims of many nationalities and all religions.”

Boubakeur Bekri, an imam who has spoken out against radicalization, agreed that Muslim residents could do more to deter discrimination, but also said there had been a retreat into identity politics in which Muslims were often the objects of “black looks.”

“We must show that we form a bloc and that we are here to defend our country,” said Mr. Bekri, whose mosque, Al Fourkane, is in L’Ariane, a neighborhood northeast of Nice. “And we must prevent those people who plot things from a million kilometers away from programming it and launching the torpedo.

“We must do this now,” he added. “Even if in the past the Muslim community withdrew and was silent, now it must speak.”

Today’s Headlines: European Morning

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Other Muslim residents said the most worrisome trend was how immigrants were being pushed to the city’s outskirts by gentrification.

Behind the cathedral in old Nice, there is a working-class neighborhood where the local government has been buying up buildings. Several residents said the city either kept the buildings empty or turned them into cybercafes or day care centers, rather that rent them out to Muslim shopkeepers. The city has said it wants to renew the area and increase the number of pedestrian streets.

However, on Rue Italie, the once-fierce competition among numerous halal butchers has dwindled to two.

Lotfi Brick, a halal butcher from Tunisia, said the city government was “trying to clear the Muslims from the neighborhood.”

Mr. Brick is proud that his clientele has remained diverse and loyal over the years, but he worries that could change because of gentrification — and politics.

“I have Charolais beef, the best meat in France, and reasonable prices,” he said, referring to one of France’s most celebrated breeds of cattle.

“That’s why everyone shops here: Christians, Jews, Muslims,” he said.

For at least a little longer, he said, he wants his street to remain a place where the two Nices meet.

nytimes.com/2016/07/18/world/europe/muslims-nice-france-terrorism.html

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Attitudes towards Muslims in Europe

18 JULY, 2016

International (MNN) — For the third time in less than two years, France has been rocked by another major terrorist attack. In the fallout of such tragedy, people often turn to hate and anger.

Pew Research Center released a report last week illustrating how negative feelings towards Muslims have grown in Europe particularly this year. This most recent attack no doubt further contributes to the feeling.

Nearly 30-percent of France has an unfavorable view of Muslims. That’s relatively low compared to Hungary’s 72-percent. Their main concern is the impact of refugees on their social system.

But as a whole, those in Europe who take a negative stance towards Muslims tend to look suspiciously on refugees coming from Muslim-majority countries. They view them as a threat.

Fear and mistrust in the wake of the tragedies like the one that took place in Nice, France last week are understandable. Even in times of peace, we tend to fear those we don’t know or understand.

David Curry of Open Doors USA reminds us, “The overwhelming majority of Muslims are not terrorists. It’s just a very small fraction of people compared to those who practice the Islamic faith.”

While most people understand this, there is a growing panic. People want to know who to blame. Separating the moderate Muslims from radicals gets harder to do.

Curry says a lot of the attitude stems from the struggle with understanding the separation between Islam and radicalized theology.

How is it that the actions of the relative few influence attitudes towards the majority who don’t hold to their violent beliefs? Well, that’s the game plan of the radicals. Increasing fear and alienating moderate Muslims from the rest of society can only help extremist groups draw more to the radicalized cause.

“Terrorism is something we have to be exceptionally cautious about,” Curry says. That means on top of looking at practical ways to protect our countries and protect religious freedoms, Christians need to find ways to protect our hearts from being hardened.

He says, “Let’s not be fearful. I don’t think that’s a Christian way to go about it. I don’t think that’s what Jesus called us to do, to be fearful and to be unloving. We need to love, to reach out and to help people.”

Indeed, 1 John 4 urges believers to abide in the love that signifies our place in heaven with God. For this reason, we’re not to fear even death.

Meanwhile, we’re commanded to tell others about this Love.

Curry urges us to get past the political rhetoric and what’s popular, and instead, consider how we can love and serve our neighbor as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Would you pray for France today? Ask God to be a light through the darkness in that country. Pray for our world. Also, ask God to help you love your neighbor and to guide you in Truth.

mnnonline.org/news/attitudes-towards-muslims-europe/

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Latest attack fuels anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiments

18 JULY, 2016

BERLIN — The devastating attack in Nice, carried out by a Tunisian man living in France, came at a moment of political ferment in Europe and seems likely to give even more fuel to anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim movements that are challenging established parties across the region.

The third major attack in France in 17 months — a murderous truck driver claimed by the Islamic State as a "soldier" in its war on the West — was used by far-right movements and anti-immigration, populist parties within the political mainstream as fodder for their arguments that Islam poses a mortal danger to European societies.

Curbing immigration — a rallying call for Britons who voted last month to leave the European Union, as well as for many supporters of Donald Trump in the United States — is the answer, they suggested.

"This is a war," Geert Wilders, the Dutch right-winger who is gaining in his country's polls, said on Twitter on Friday. "And it will not stop until we close our borders for Islam and de-Islamize our societies. No more terror. No more Islam."

In France, next year's presidential contest is already in full swing. The unpopular incumbent, François Hollande, a Socialist, is facing intensifying questions about his handling of the nation's security and electoral challenges from both the centre-right and the far-right National Front, led by Marine Le Pen. On Friday, Le Pen said Hollande had done "absolutely nothing" of substance to protect France from Islamic terrorism.

Germany and Austria both have elections coming that will test the strength of anti-immigrant parties. Right-leaning populism has also picked up strength across much of central and eastern Europe, especially since the migrant crisis last year that brought more than a million asylum seekers to the continent, most from Syria, Iraq and other poor and war-torn Muslim nations. In all of those places, the Nice attack quickly rippled through the political discourse.

"This was in one of the most famous holiday destinations in Europe, and the images were so horrific that it does feed into this general sense of insecurity that populist parties trade off," said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a research institute.

"It adds to the idea that the established parties are not in control and that we are under threat. It adds, too, to this general sense that rather than transforming the world around us, Europe is being transformed by globalization, and by people coming in and posing a threat," Leonard added.

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center showed that the refugee crisis and the threat of terrorism were becoming intertwined in the minds of many Europeans. In eight of the 10 European nations covered, more than half of those surveyed said they believed that the presence of refugees increased the likelihood of terrorism in their country, with fears highest in Hungary and Poland.

In Poland, the right-wing government is already locked in bitter disputes with the European Union over freedom of speech and the rule of law.

As the grisly details in Nice became clear, Poland's interior minister swiftly blamed "decades of multi-culti policy" and those "who lit up the Eiffel Tower" after earlier attacks in Paris.

"They haven't learned anything from terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, when those in power just burst into tears," the minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, told Polsat, a private TV channel. "We need to focus on guaranteeing people's safety."

That is best done, he argued, by emulating Poland and Hungary, keeping migrants out and preventing crime.

Pawel Kukiz, leader of the self-described patriotic opposition party Kukiz'15, which won seats in parliament last fall, used the Nice attack to call for a referendum asking Poles whether they agree to accept any refugees.

Hungary was already due to hold a similar plebiscite in the fall, and Prime Minister Victor Orban — the first European leader to build fences last year to keep out waves of Middle East migrants — is urging Hungarians to vote against European quotas for taking in newcomers.

Even in prosperous and conservative Germany, Europe's No. 1 power, politics have become more fractured. The far-right Alternative for Germany, mired in internal disputes, has slipped from 15 per cent to between 9 per cent and 12 per cent in opinion polls. But that is still well above the 5-per-cent barrier for winning seats in next year's national elections.

Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative bloc has strengthened slightly since the British referendum, as the public saw the economic and political aftermath of that vote.

But Merkel is still widely blamed for a policy that saw one million migrants arrive in Germany last year. Desperate to stanch the flow, she enlisted Turkey to help keep migrants from entering Europe. How that agreement will fare now that Turkey's military has tried to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was one of many open questions.

In Britain, one of the biggest challenges facing Prime Minister Theresa May's new government is how to balance a desire for continued access to the European single market with the European Union's requirement that access to the market be coupled with open-border policies that allow European citizens to live and work anywhere they please within the bloc. Shutting off immigration was one of the most powerful motives behind the vote to leave the European Union, and the attack in Nice seemed likely to harden the position of those advocating strict border control.

Well before the British referendum, the refugee crisis had put an acute strain on European unity and in particular on Europe's Schengen border-free travel zone. The attacker in Nice was living in France legally.

But the assault followed other terror attacks in which some attackers had crossed the Belgian-French border, and two of the attackers in the assault on Paris last November had apparently entered Europe in last year's migrant wave.

As a result, criticisms of Europe's open-border policies have taken root not just on the far right but also among more mainstream parties.

"All the Schengen countries have now free circulation of people," Pierre Lellouche, a former minister and member of France's center-right Republican party, told the BBC on Friday. "But it is turning into free circulation of terrorists — we don't know who enters."

thespec.com/news-story/6771305-latest-attack-fuels-anti-muslim-anti-immigrant-sentiments/

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Southeast Asia

John Key to talk terror, Islamic State with Indonesia after Bastille Day attack

July 18 2016

Prime Minister John Key says Indonesia is doing its part to tackle terrorism, despite declining to join a coalition against Islamic State.

Key has backed New Zealand's own involvement in the coalition, while expressing fears about the terrorist organisation's ability to recruit "very unwell and very unstable people" in the wake of the deadly Bastille Day attack.

The prime minister is currently in Indonesia for a three-day trip, aimed at boosting trade links between the two countries and discussing areas of cooperation.

One of the suspected terrorists during a fatal attack in Jakarta in January, which Isis later claimed responsibility for.

One of the suspected terrorists during a fatal attack in Jakarta in January, which Isis later claimed responsibility for.

Key was in France on Bastille Day when a truck attack in Nice killed 84 people, with Islamic State (Isis) later claiming responsibility.

In January, eight people were killed and another 23 injured in Jakarta during an attack for which Isis again claimed responsibility.

Prime Minister John Key says Isis is becoming more adept at recruiting unstable sympathisers using the internet.

SAM SACHDEVA/FAIRFAX NZ

Prime Minister John Key says Isis is becoming more adept at recruiting unstable sympathisers using the internet.

Key said the topic of terror would be on the agenda during his meeting with the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, as world leaders tried to determine how Isis could be stopped.

"Every leader around the world is concerned about the rise of Isil (Isis) and their capacity to recruit these individual soldiers or supporters if you like.".

He declined to criticise Indonesia for its decision not to join the US-led coalition against Isis, which New Zealand is part of, saying every country had to decide what was best for itself.

'ALONGSIDE DOZENS OF COUNTRIES'

"Indonesia's a very large Muslim population, as you know, and they'll be assessing how they think they can best deal with the situation."

Indonesia was doing "an awful lot on the ground" to deal with foreign fighters returning from Syria and stop their radialisation, he said.

Key was "quite comfortable" with New Zealand's decision to join the anti-Isis coalition, saying it was "alongside dozens and dozens of other countries".

"I don't think New Zealanders should be concerned by what we are doing: what we are doing is actually trying to make sure that their own personal safety is protected as best it can be,"

'DESPERATELY UNLUCKY' TO BE CAUGHT UP IN TERROR

Despite being in France at the time of the Bastille Day attack, Key said he was not concerned about his own security.

"I always think with these things, you'd have to be so desperately unlucky to be caught up in them, but that's very cold comfort to the families of the 84 victims in Nice, or New Zealanders that from time to time have tragically lost their lives in a specific terrorist attack around the world."

He had concerns about the power of the Internet to recruit "some very unwell and very unstable people" for lone wolf attacks.

"They are the sorts of people that seem to be attracted by the kinds of messages that you're seeing out of Isil, and I think that's the real threat that a country like New Zealand faces.

"We're quite careful, I think, not to overstate those risks, but there just are people, whether it's in New Zealand, Australia or any other country in the world who just seem somehow drawn to this kind of message that you see from Isil."

RESPECTS FOR WAR DEAD

Key's remarks came before he laid a red and white wreath under the scorching sun at the National Heroes Cemetery in Kalibata, paying his respects to about 9000 high-profile civilians and military, including casualties from the Indonesian War of Independence.

The Last Post was played as Key stood silently in memory of the dead, including Japanese veterans who stayed in the area after World War II and helped Indonesia to fight for its independence.

Later on Tuesday, Key will meet Indonesian president Joko Widodo for bilateral talks and the signing of several agreements related to energy, tourism and illegal fishing.

stuff.co.nz/national/politics/82229081/John-Key-to-talk-terror-Islamic-State-with-Indonesia-after-Bastille-Day-attack

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Myanmar divided as student activists fight for religious freedom

July 18, 2016

Jue Jue Than, Htet Aung Lin and Phone Htet Naung face an uncertain future. The three students at Yangon School of Political Science received a phone call from police in mid-May, warning that they could soon face up to three months in prison. Their crime: steering a few dozen college students on an unauthorised march in downtown Yangon to pay their respects at religious monuments and promote diversity. The group defied an order to walk on a route that would have prevented them from passing mosques, Hindu temples, Buddhist pagodas and churches.

While the self-described “interfaith activists” wait for a dreaded knock on the door, other, arguably less peaceful, demonstrators rest at ease. Thar Htet is a supporter of the Myanmar National Network, an ultra-nationalist group that has staged large demonstrations outside the US Embassy and in towns throughout the country. Htet said the group has felt “no pressure from the authorities”. The movement has claimed a number of causes, but its primary agenda has been to deny Myanmar’s Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, the rights of citizenship and political agency in the predominantly Buddhist country.

“I feel worried, but I am not afraid,” Jue Than told Southeast Asia Globe, days after she was notified of the potential charges. She and her classmates, a group of twentysomethings from various parts of Myanmar, said they saw an urgent need to counter discriminatory rhetoric as the country slowly begins to shed its authoritarian legacy.

“We don’t want to be famous, we just want to spread our democratic values as much as possible,” said Htet Naung. “Respect and diversity – that’s what we want.”

The interfaith movement is new and small, branded less as a reaction to the rise in Buddhist nationalism than a promotion of metta, a Pali term for compassion. These activists – who are mostly young students, bright and well versed in English – joined by friends and supporters, said they simply want to provide an alternative to intolerance. Jue Than, a 29-year-old Muslim from central Myanmar, said she has endured discrimination since early childhood, often being called derogatory names and facing difficulty finding employment and obtaining government documents.

“It is really difficult to get a job, in companies and in the government, if you are wearing the hijab and you are being Muslim,” she said candidly in her school’s Yangon classroom surrounded by her peers: a mix of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim youths. “I don’t want to be discriminated [against]; I would like to be equal in human dignity.”

Anger: a man shouts through a megaphone while demonstrating against the US for using the term ‘Rohingya’. Credit: Reuters

Not everyone in Myanmar embraces multiculturalism. In 2011, the country began a transition to civilian rule after decades of military dictatorship, but new freedoms of expression have made space for more negative elements, leaving authorities struggling to balance the right of free speech against a growing tide of divisive and inflammatory language. Several permutations of ultra-nationalist Buddhist groups have grown in both public support and political influence, appealing to a Buddhist majority that feels under threat by other demographics.

First was a group called 969, led by firebrand monk Ashin Wirathu, which came to prominence in the wake of 2012 violence between Buddhists and Muslims. On the premise of protecting Myanmar’s Theravada tradition against a perceived threat of Islamic expansion, 969 advocated for boycotts of Muslim businesses, its leadership regularly travelling to the countryside to deliver riling and often anti-Muslim sermons. The group slipped into the shadows after much public controversy, giving way to another monk-led movement called the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, known by its Burmese acronym, Ma Ba Tha.

With support from the previous military-backed government, Ma Ba Tha became a powerful social and political force, even successfully lobbying for passage of discriminatory laws restricting interfaith marriage, birth rates and religious conversion. While it claims to be apolitical, the group has been accused of interference in last year’s election, urging its supporters to vote for the incumbent party, which would “protect Buddhism”. Smaller, grassroots organisations, such as the Myanmar National Network, later sprung up as proxies. Though they claim to be independent, monks associated with Ma Ba Tha have been seen giving speeches at Myanmar National Network rallies.

“The aim is to protect race and religion in our country, and to take part in national politics,” said Win Ko Ko Latt, director of the Myanmar National Network. The group supports a list of 135 “national races” that were recognised by the former government as indigenous, and firmly believes that those not on the list do not deserve equal rights. Ko Latt proudly said the network was at the forefront of a movement to “make sure” that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims were disenfranchised during last year’s election.

“The impact from these [Buddhist] groups has been significant,” said Matthew Walton,

a senior research fellow at Oxford University who specialises in Myanmar’s religious dynamics. “While it can be difficult to directly connect them to anti-Muslim violence that’s occurred since 2012, their actions and rhetoric have certainly created an enabling environment and especially given anti-Muslim sentiment a sense of religious legitimacy.”

Walton said that while not everyone connected to these groups is anti-Muslim or even ‘nationalist’, they are united by a fear, often perpetrated by monks, that Buddhism faces an existential threat.

“We’re going to see the impact of that down the line if there aren’t alternative voices and narratives there, as a whole generation of young Buddhists are growing up with this message,” Walton said. “We have to admit that it’s much easier to rally people around fear and hatred rather than a shared sense of identity or peaceful coexistence. And this is the challenge that the counter-narrative movements continue to face.”

Face off: student Htet Aung Lin negotiates with a police officer before the interfaith march

The Myanmar National Network has taken particular aim at the Rohingya, who bore the brunt of ethno-religious riots in Myanmar’s Rakhine State beginning in 2012. More than 100,000 people still live in squalid displacement camps after losing their homes in the deadly conflict. They are also denied freedom of movement, education and access to healthcare.

“When communal violence broke out between Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine in May 2012, I realised that there was a gap between Muslim and Buddhist societies in general,” said Htoo Lou Rae Den, the founder of an interfaith group called Coexist. “It was an elephant in the room. Nobody was visibly doing anything about it.”

Speaking out against extremism has already landed a number of activists in prison, he said, mostly under the previous government. The new administration, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is undertaking a massive overhaul of laws that have long been used to suppress dissent, but Rae Den said that the legal system “remains a significant barrier for advocates”.

Jue Than and her peers, for instance, were threatened with charges under Myanmar’s Peaceful Assembly Law, a controversial, military-backed provision that is under review by the new legislature. The law carries criminal penalties for assembly on unauthorised routes, or for demonstrators whose messaging was not approved by local authorities. Authors of the new amendments, many of whom are former political prisoners themselves, say that while they hope to prevent the mistakes of the past, they still believe in principle that criminal measures may be necessary to guard against potential “troublemakers”.

But while retaining these punitive tools could help curb hate speech and rein in provocateurs, the law does not meet international standards, according to Vani Sathisan, an international legal advisor with the International Commission of Jurists, which consults with the new government on how to bring antiquated laws in line with international norms and protect human rights.

“Overly vague or broad laws open themselves up to selective interpretation by the state and prosecutors,” Sathisan said, expressing concern that authorities at the local level could misuse the provision, however well intended it may be. Prosecutors at the attorney general’s office, she urged, “must exercise their discretion and not push for wrongful charges under this law”.

At the helm: Jue Jue Than (centre) and Phone Htet Naung (right) lead the march through Yangon

Rae Den pointed out that while the interfaith activists may face prison, authorities have done little to temper the nationalist movement. An anti-Rohingya rally in Mandalay in mid-April was given the green light, while a rogue monk in southeastern Myanmar has faced no consequences after erecting Buddhist stupas at a number of Christian and Muslim sites, angering religious communities.

Police threatened to take action against members of the Myanmar National Network who led a rally outside the US embassy in late April, but Ko Latt said that no one has yet been charged. Donning headbands reading “No Rohingya” and carrying banners denouncing the group as foreign, hundreds of protesters withstood blazing Yangon heat, chastising the embassy’s use of the word “Rohingya” in a statement of condolence for the deaths of more than 20 people in a recent boat accident. Suu Kyi later advised US ambassador Scot Marciel against using the word Rohingya to describe the group, fearing that it would “just add fuel to the fire”.

“We are not trying to say that any particular stance with regard to nomenclature is better than another,” Suu Kyi said in her defence, standing beside US Secretary of State John Kerry in Naypyidaw in late May. “What we are saying is that there are more important things for us to cope with than just the issue of nomenclature.”

Suu Kyi urged the international community to give her “enough space” to address the crisis at han, which has spread in scope from the dire conditions for displaced persons in Rakhine to broader resentment toward the country’s Muslims. Her government appears reluctant to tackle head-on what has come to be viewed as a tinderbox of distrust; rumours spread by nationalists portray Muslims as dangerous and invasive, and even insinuate that Islamic communities could become a breeding ground for violent extremists.

The test for Suu Kyi will be whether alternative narratives, such as the peaceful agenda of Jue Than and her classmates, will become casualties of a legal system that is designed to contain the very problem the students are attempting to counter.

“At the time, we were thinking that we needed to create a new culture,” Htet Naung said. “Yeah, we broke the law, but we hope that both society and the government understand what we are doing.”

sea-globe.com/myanmar-interfaith-student-activists/

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Malaysia’s $30 Billion Fund Goes Long as Islamic Plan Progresses

July 18, 2016

Malaysia’s second-largest pension fund plans to buy more bonds with maturities of 10 years and above to hedge against another interest-rate cut as it moves further toward becoming a full-fledged Islamic entity.

Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan), which manages about 120 billion ringgit ($30 billion), is considering lowering its 5 percent minimum return target because of the uncertainty in global markets, said Chief Executive Officer Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad. The fund achieved a 6.15 percent gross increase on investment in 2014, he said, adding that it’s seeking to expand its Shariah-compliant component.

The central bank unexpectedly reduced the overnight policy rate Wednesday for the first time in seven years, joining other Asian counterparts from Indonesia to Taiwan in lowering borrowing costs to spur growth. KWAP plans to become a full-fledged Islamic pension fund in line with the government’s ambition to be a global Shariah-compliant financial hub, the CEO said. Presently, 55 percent of assets comply with Muslim tenets.

“It’s never been so difficult for an institutional investor to get these kinds of returns, but to me this is the new norm,” Wan Kamaruzaman said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday. “This low interest-rate environment, low corporate returns, lower dividend yields will prevail for a much longer period.”

‘Double-Edged Sword’

Malaysia’s interest-rate cut is a “double-edged sword” as the fund’s existing portfolio is “in the money,” while new investments will probably be in instruments with lower returns, the CEO said. KWAP will be buying longer-dated bonds because “we see room for a further interest-rate cut,” he said.

KWAP bought 30-year Malaysian government bonds at a yield of 4.613 percent on June 29, days after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, Wan Kamaruzaman said. The debt was quoted at 4.51 percent Monday, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg.

The fund has been able to maintain returns of about 5 percent so far this year in part because it focuses on Malaysian securities rather than investments in other countries where yields are lower, he said. The yield on the 10-year Malaysian government bond was 3.57 percent Monday, compared with 1.55 percent for U.S. Treasuries with the same tenor at the close on Friday and negative yields in Germany and Japan, Bloomberg-compiled data show.

Malaysia is the world’s largest market for Islamic bonds known as sukuk and the global industry has expanded to about $2 trillion in assets.

“If the fund’s assets reach 70 percent, then we will probably look at turning the whole of KWAP into a full-fledged Islamic fund,” Wan Kamaruzaman said, adding that the fund doesn’t have a definitive timeframe to achieve the target. “Nevertheless, the Islamic finance eco-system must be developed and complement our expectations.”

Wan Kamaruzaman said the fund will likely keep its roughly 2 percent allocation to U.K. assets, despite the results of the referendum, because it adds diversification to the portfolio. KWAP, which agreed to sell its 88 Wood Street building in London for 270 million pounds ($357 million) in March, owns two other properties in the city.

It purchased the 10 Gresham Street office building, which had a unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc as its anchor tenant, in 2012 for 200 million pounds, according to its website. KWAP bought about 80 percent interest in the 440,000-square-foot Intu Uxbridge shopping center in 2014 for 174.8 million pounds, the website shows.

London’s property market could face a “steep correction” after prices surged in recent times, Wan Kamaruzaman said. KWAP also has about 200 million pounds in equity investments in the U.K., he said.

“You need to treat Brexit with caution,” he said. “The trouble is that the London market has always been at the forefront before, but the correction this time round could be deeper because of the impact on globalization.”

‘Not Sentimental’

KWAP may sell the Sydney building that houses the Australian stock exchange. The fund bought the 14-story property at 20 Bridge Street in 2011 for A$185 million ($141 million), its website shows.

“We have expression of interest from both Australian and global players, if the price is right, we will sell,” Wan Kamaruzaman said. “Even though we are under-invested globally, we are not sentimental about investments.”

KWAP receives an average of about 4 billion ringgit annually in pension contributions, Wan Kamaruzaman said. It reported gross investment income of 6.47 billion ringgit in 2014, with the largest contribution coming from equities at 39 percent of the total, according to its website. Loans and private debt provided 23 percent of income, while Malaysian government securities made up 17 percent, the website shows.

The fund allocated 54 percent to fixed income, 36 percent to equities and the remaining 10 percent to other investments, including real estate, at the end of 2014, according to the website. Overseas investments currently account for 15 percent of total assets, while the fund has a mandate to invest as much as 19 percent abroad, Wan Kamaruzaman said.

The fund’s 2015 results will likely be released in August, pending clearance from parliament, he said.

bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-17/-7-000-a-month-shameless-china-blogger-loses-all-with-one-post

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Tyrant' Hadi Shakes: Signs Of Second Pas Split As Deputy Tuan Ibrahim Urged To Leave Party

July 18, 2016

Perhaps the time has come for PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and his friends, including vice-president Iskandar Samad, to leave the Islamic party, according to Amanah.

Amanah communications director Khalid Samad said they should consider other parties in Pakatan Harapan if PAS was no longer capable of bringing the message of “mercy to the people” (‘rahmatal-lil-’aalamin) or an inclusive approach.

"Choose parties in Pakatan Harapan as a new platform to continue your struggle," he added in a media statement today.

He was responding to Tuan Ibrahim's call for a ceasefire among opposition parties, which has since been described as a personal stand.

Khalid said Iskandar is the only one in PAS who has openly supported this call.

"This is a sign of the existence of a new mindset in PAS," said the former PAS leader and Shah Alam MP.

malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=617803:tyrant-hadi-shakes-signs-of-second-pas-split-as-deputy-tuan-ibrahim-urged-to-leave-party&Itemid=2#.V4yk2tJ951s

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Mideast

6,000 detained from Turkish army, judiciary in probe into failed coup attempt

July/18/2016

A crackdown on the military and the judiciary in the wake of a failed coup attempt has led to the detention of thousands of soldiers and judges and prosecutors, including commanders and top court members.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on July 17 said around 6,000 suspects, including at least 2,839 soldiers and thousands of judiciary members, have been detained as part of a wide-scale operation launched following the deadly coup attempt initiated by a group of soldiers late on July 15.

“There are currently around 6,000 detentions. It will surpass 6,000. The legal process on these will continue,” said Bozdağ.

Suspects are being charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and “attempting to overthrow the government of the Turkish Republic using force and violence or attempting to completely or partially hinder its function.”

The Ankara Governor's Office also announced on July 17 that 149 police personnel were suspended from their duties for having links to the coup attempt.

The terrorist organization is allegedly led by the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a friend turned foe of the Turkish government.

The arrest warrants target two members of the Constitutional Court, Alparslan Altan and Erdal Tercan, 48 members of the Council of State, and 140 members of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The detention of 2,745 judicial and administrative judges and prosecutors was ordered after they were suspended from duty by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) early on June 16.

Many commanders have also been detained and some of them were later arrested.

Among the most significant names detained was the chief military assistant to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Col. Ali Yazıcı; the commander of the 2nd Army, Gen. Adem Huduti; the executive officer and Malatya Garrison Commander Avni Angun; and the commander of the 3rd Army, Gen. Erdal Öztürk.

Air Forces Commander Akın Öztürk was also detained on suspicion of masterminding the coup attempt, according to multiple reports.

In addition, Adana İncirlik 10th Adana Tanker Base Commander Gen. Bekir Ercan was among those detained.

The jets that hit Ankara were reportedly supported by Turkish tanker aircrafts based at theİncirlik Air Base, which is also being used by the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Police also detained eight Air Force generals suspected of being appointed to the top “coup command posts” if the failed attempt had succeeded, at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport late on July 16.

In the Aegean province of İzmir, Aegean Army Deputy Commander Brig. Mamduh Hakbilken and Foça Marine Amphibious Force Brigadier Commander Commodore Halil İbrahim Yıldız were among those detained.

Meanwhile operations in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces also took place, with Brig. Arif Seddar Afşar in Bitlis, Brig. Yunus Kotaman in Bingöl, Brig. Abdülkerim Ünlü in Tunceli, Brig. Ahmet Şimşek in Siirt, and Maj. Gen. Halil İbrahim Ergin in Hakkari all being detained.

On July 17, meanwhile, an operation was carried out on the Istanbul Gendarmerie Commandership, with police searching Istanbul Provincial Gendarmerie Commander Staff Col. Gürcan Sercan’s office.

Several other provincial gendarmerie commanders were also detained as part of the operations throughout Turkey.

Eight generals, namely Brig. İrfan Can, Maj. Gen. İmdat Bahri Biber, Maj. Gen. Fethi Alpay, Maj. Gen. Haluk Sahar, Maj. Gen. Mehmet Özlü, Brig. Ahmet Biçer, Maj. Gen. Şaban Umut and Maj. Gen. Serdar Gülbaş were detained.

Meanwhile, the general assembly of the HSYK decided to end the membership of five of its judges who were facing detention demands from the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, while it also cut short the vacations of some other judges and prosecutors.

The Bakırköy Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul ordered the detention, in line with the HSYK’s demand, of some 140 judges and prosecutors on duty at the Bakırköy, Küçükçekmece and district administrative courts early on July 17.

At least  290 people were killed and thousands of others were wounded in the coup attempt.

People took to the streets throughout Turkey on the evening of July 15 with shots being heard inside the General Staff headquarters in Ankara and a helicopter firing at people on the ground.

While a group of soldiers then took control of state broadcaster TRT and the General Staff headquarters in Ankara, troops and tanks blocked the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges linking Asia and Europe in Istanbul.

An explosion was heard at the police special operations center in Gölbaşı, south of Ankara, shortly after Yıldırım announced that an “attempt to stage a coup” was happening during a live TV broadcast. 

Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar was held hostage by pro-coup soldiers until he was rescued on June 16. The coup attempt was confirmed nation-wide when the TRT building was raided by a group of soldiers and a news anchor was forced to read a declaration from the coup leaders, who had named themselves the “Peace at Home Committee,” claiming to have taken control of the country.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later addressed the country on CNN Türk via a mobile telephone, urging people to “take to the streets” to resist the coup and defend democracy. After the president’s call thousands of people headed to Istanbul’s bridges and Atatürk Airport, as well as Taksim Square, to stage demonstrations against the coup attempt. There were major incidents in which crowds of civilians and police officers had violent encounters with pro-coup soldiers.

As protesters poured onto the streets, troops opened fire on people gathered near one of the bridges, killing five. Soldiers also shot at protesters angrily denouncing the coup bid at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square, injuring several.

While the first investigation into the coup was launched by a prosecutor in Istanbul, the Ankara police headquarters was attacked by jets and helicopters and the Gölbaşı police special forces department headquarters was bombed by a pro-coup aircraft, killing 17 police officers and two personnel from satellite operator Turksat. The events were followed by a total of 13 soldiers, including three senior officers, being held while attempting to enter the Presidential Palace in Ankara. Shortly after, the Turkish parliament was targeted by jets and helicopters in an attack by the pro-coup soldiers and more than 10 are injured in the bombing.

The coup operations of the soldiers had begun to reach an end when some of its forces at the General Staff headquarters asked to negotiate surrender. Three prosecutors later received the surrender of the troops, while a series of other forces also surrendered.

In its first statement following the coup attempt, the Turkish Armed Forces yesterday praised the role of the Turkish people in stopping the plotters, underlining that it will continue to be “at the service of the state and the people.”

“The biggest role in preventing this treacherous act belongs to our honorable people. These plotters belonging to the illegal structure have been stopped and will be given the heaviest penalty,” the military said in a written statement.

It said a majority of the army and the police department firmly stood against the coup plotters, which meant the attempt could be neutralized before accomplishing its aim.  It also noted that many members of the public took to the streets to protect “the real members of the Turkish Armed Forces” and to foil the coup, which it said would have dealt a serious blow to Turkey’s democracy.

hurriyetdailynews.com/6000-detained-from-turkish-army-judiciary-in-probe-into-failed-coup-attempt.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101669&NewsCatID=341

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Turkey suspends Islamic lender Bank Asya's activities

July/18/2016

Turkey suspended the activities of Islamic lender Bank Asya temporarily, the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund said on July 18, after the tender for the bank’s sale did not attract any bids, Reuters reported.

The government seized the assets of the Islamic lender last May, saying its financial structure and management presented a threat to the financial system.

The bank, which was owned by interests said to be close to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, was taken over by the state amid a government attempt to liquidate the movement. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government accuse Gülen of being behind the deadly failed coup attempt that started on July 15.

Bank Asya is one of more than 20 Gülen-related companies, including some media outlets, that have been seized as part of operations against the followers of Gülen.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-suspends-islamic-lender-bank-asyas-activities.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101741&NewsCatID=346

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Erdoğan orders F-16 patrol flights across Turkey

July/18/2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructed military combat planes to conduct patrols across Turkey on July 17, two days after F-16s and choppers flew above the country in a failed coup attempt.

The patrol flights are being conducted for airspace control and security purposes as per Erdoğan’s instructions.

F-16 combat jets were used by coup leaders late on July 15 and on the morning of July 16 to attack the parliament building and near the presidential complex.   

Meanwhile, Istanbul Security General Directorate head Mustafa Çalışkan also urged security forces to down any unidentified helicopters without warning.

Rogue military elements made a “vile” attempt to overthrow Turkey’s democratically elected government, according to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, causing the deaths of at least 164 individuals in the ensuing violence.       

Some 2,839 military personnel linked to the coup attempt were detained, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including senior officers, were killed.  

An Ankara court also decided late on July 18 to arrest 19 military personnel, including the Commander of Akıncı 4th Main Jet Base, Brig. Gen. Hakan Evrim; Northern Istanbul Naval Area Commander Vice Adm. Ömer Faruk Harmancık, and pilot Staff Lt. Col. Murat Karakuş on coup attempt charges.

hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-orders-f-16-patrol-flights-across-turkey-------------------------------------.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101735&NewsCatID=341

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EU pushes Turkey on rule of law after coup crackdown

July/18/2016

Turkey must protect the rule of law as it cracks down after the failed coup, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on July 18, as the bloc said it looked like the government had prepared a list of people to arrest beforehand.

"We are the ones saying today rule of law has to be protected in the country, there is no excuse for any steps that take the country away from that," Mogherini said as European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels. 

"As we have been the first ones to say that in that tragic night (of Friday's coup attempt), the democratic and legislative institutions needed to be protected," she told reporters.

"Today we will say together with ministers that obviously doesn't mean that rule of law and the system of checks and balances in the country does not count. On the contrary it needs to be protected for the sake of the country.    

"So we will send a strong message on that."   

Would-be EU member Turkey carried out fresh raids on Monday as the EU ministers were meeting, prompting growing international concern over the scale of the crackdown. 

Judges and military commanders are among 6,000 people who were detained over the weekend as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vows to stamp out the "virus" of the coup plotters. 

The EU commissioner dealing with Turkey's long-stalled bid for membership of the bloc meanwhile said it appeared that the government had already prepared a list before the coup of people to be rounded up. 

"I mean, (that) the lists are available already after the event indicates that this was prepared and at a certain moment should be used," EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters.    

But the EU agreed to speed up its membership bid and give visa-free travel to Turks as part of a migrant crisis deal in which Ankara agreed to take back people landing in the Greek islands.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that "the rule of law must prevail". 

"France has condemned the coup, you can't accept the military taking power," he said. "At the same time we have to be vigilant that the Turkish authorities don't put in place a system which turns back democracy."    Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also urged restraint, saying: "It's normal to punish those involved in the coup, but it's normal to ask for respect for the rule of law."

hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-pushes-turkey-on-rule-of-law-after-coup-crackdown-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101736&NewsCatID=351

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Interior Ministry suspends 8,777 officials in wake of Turkey’s failed coup attempt

July/18/2016

The Interior Ministry has suspended 8,777 officials following the failed coup attempt of July 15, including police officers, governers and gendarmerie officers.

Personnel suspended from their duties on July 18 included 7,899 police officers, 614 gendarmerie officers, 30 provincial governors and 47 district governors.

A list of the suspended personnel was sent to the provincial chiefs by Police Chief Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz.

The suspended police officers were called to the provincial police headquarters throughout the night and their weapons and police IDs were confiscated.

The operation within the police department came in the wake of a failed coup attempt that started late July 15 and was crushed on June 16. At least 290 people, including more than 100 coup supporters, were killed during the attempt.

More than 6,000 suspects in the military and the judiciary, including top commanders and supreme court judges, have been detained in the wake of the failed coup attempt.

hurriyetdailynews.com/interior-ministry-suspends-8777-officials-in-wake-of-turkeys-failed-coup-attempt.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101737&NewsCatID=341

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Deputy PM Şimşek says attempted coup's impact on Turkish economy will be ‘short-lived’

July/18/2016

The Turkish economy will not suffer permanently from the failed coup attempt on July 15, despite a short-lived, downward impact on growth, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on July 18.

He also said Turkey’s macroeconomic fundamentals were solid and the government would swiftly shift its focus back to carrying out structural reforms, in a televised interview on Bloomberg HT.

“The coup attempt will not make any permanent impact on the Turkish economy,” Şimşek said, noting that political stability and democracy had been strengthened in the country following the failed coup attempt and it was easier to make reforms in this environment.

“We had a bad dream and it was left behind... Our message is very clear, there is no need to panic,” he said.

“Our growth rate, foreign balances or other macro fields were not damaged,” added Şimşek.

He noted he held teleconferences with more than 500 investors on late July 17 and answered their questions along with the Central Bank governor.

“The volatility will last for a very short term and we will back to the reform agenda very soon,” he added.

The Central Bank announced a raft of measures to minimize the adverse effects of the failed military coup attempt in Turkey, including unlimited liquidity.

“The Central Bank will provide banks with necessary liquidity, without limits,” said the bank in a written statement on July 17, following top level meetings.

It also noted that the commission rate for the intraday liquidity facility would be zero.

“Banks will be allowed to place foreign exchange deposits as collateral without limits for necessary Turkish Lira liquidity,” said the bank, adding that its current foreign exchange deposit limits of around $50 billion may be increased and utilization conditions (collateral and cost) may be improved if deemed necessary.

hurriyetdailynews.com/deputy-pm-simsek-says-attempted-coups-impact-on-turkish-economy-will-be-short-lived.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101740&NewsCatID=344

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Turkish lira rallies after crashing in wake of coup

July/18/2016

Turkey's currency lira rallied on July 18 after suffering one of its steepest ever drops to a historic low in the aftermath of a military coup attempt to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government.

The lira was trading at 2.93 to the US dollar, a gain in value of 2.7 percent on the day.

In the wake of the coup action late on July 15, it had crashed 4.99 percent to trade at a historic low of 3.04 lira to the dollar.

The lira was trading at 3.24 to the euro, a gain in value of 2.67 percent. On July 15, it had tumbled 4.8 percent in value against the euro to trade at 3.34 to the euro.

Markets appear to have been reassured by the failure of the coup and the reimposition of order under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Istanbul stock exchange, which was not open when the coup took place, fell 2.3 percent to 80,756 points.

The coup started with warplanes flying over the Turkish capital and tanks deployed on the Bosphorus bridge.

A faction in the army said it had seized power.    

Turkish authorities have cracked down on suspects in the failed coup against Erdoğan. 

Turkish officials said the situation was under control with F-16s patrolling Turkish airspace late on July 17.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lira-rallies-after-crashing-in-wake-of-coup-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101738&NewsCatID=346

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Africa

Nigeria’s struggles with a conflict more dangerous than the Boko Haram insurgency

18 JULY 2016

Over the last year, the threat of the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria has gradually waned, yet a more deadly and far-reaching conflict has emerged. In the last month well over 100 people across three states have been killed by suspected nomadic herders, largely from the northern Fulani ethnicity and Muslim.

The attacks this year have been incessant and brutal. In February, over 300 people died in a single attack on a community in a central state of Benue, from the herders commonly called the “Fulani Herdsmen”. In the same state, hundreds of people have been killed in several attacks since then.

Across Nigeria, reports of villages attacked by groups of armed herdsmen has led to widespread disbelief at the scale of the attacks. But along with that disbelief, a confusion as to what the causes really are. The conflict is an old one but one that has suddenly spiralled out of control.

The nomadic herdsmen have cattle but declining space to feed them on. Farmers accuse the herdsmen of using their land to graze the herders’ cattle. The herders in turn accuse farmers of killing their cattle and infringing on their rights. Herdsmen associations have complained that the land available to graze has declined, in part, blaming communities for restricting the land available to them.

The informal nature of Nigeria’s land rights before independence, and its now more legally defined nature, has been problematic for herders who previously negotiated with communities across Nigeria, and mostly peacefully. The increasing value of land has meant areas previously informally designated to the herders are now beneath airports and hotels.

Climate change has also meant that the availability of arable land to graze on is waning. While herdsmen have been present to varying degrees across Nigerian states, the pressure on land is increasing the movement and with it those pressures. Yet despite these contributing factors, the scale of the deaths incurred have created as a sense of confusion and bewilderment at how a seemingly previously contained conflict could lead to massacres.

In Nigerian press and wider society, the death toll of farmers and ordinary people in rural communities has comparisons with the Boko Haram terrorist group. The comparisons speak to the deadly impact of the crisis but also ethnic and religious sensitivities too.

The conflict has largely been understood as being predominantly Christian, southern and rural communities being attacked by northern Muslim herdsmen, who are seen as a single militant group. The spike in herdsmen-related deaths across southern and central Nigeria has fed into the perception that the attacks are part of a coordinated struggle similar to the Boko Haram insurgency. The framing of the crisis along religious and ethnic lines has made understanding and dealing with it even more difficult.

In 2015, the Global Terrorism Index classified the “Fulani Militants as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world”, grouping the herdsmen as a single militant group. Yet despite the fact that there are a number of representative associations of herdsmen, they are culturally nomadic and do not work as a single grouping.

Within Nigeria, the Christian, southern focus of much of the domestic press impacts on the way the crisis is often framed. The grievances of many herdsmen who have often been attacked themselves by farming communities, armed vigilantes, and criminal groups, are often not reflected in any coverage.

In a number of attacks where the identity of the perpetrators is not yet clear, the blame is often attributed to the herdsmen despite the lack of available facts. The skewed focus of much of the reporting has made dealing with the complex crisis even more difficult.

While the reaction within Nigeria’s population has been of shock and fear, the reaction from the federal government has been alarmingly muted. The complexity of the conflict offers no simple solutions, yet the government has been woefully apathetic about recognising the deaths at all. The threat from herdsmen to rural communities is extremely high but is being treated as virtually non-existent.

In the lack of a response, individual states are finding their own ways of dealing with the crisis. In some states, armed vigilante groups are rising in response to the threat of attacks from herdsmen. All the while, the religious and ethnic aspects are helping the crisis to grow in intensity and volatility.

newstatesman.com/world/africa/2016/07/nigeria-s-struggles-conflict-more-dangerous-boko-haram-insurgency

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2 Boko Haram Militants Killed As Troops Intensify Onslaught In Borno

July 18, 2016

In a bid to eradicate the remnants of Boko Haram militants in North-east Nigeria, troops executing the ongoing operations have killed 2 fighters of the ferocious Islamic death cult and injured many others around Sambisa forest.

In a statement issued on Friday by the Army spokesperson, Colonel Sani Usman, the two insurgents were killed while several members of the group escaped with gunshot wounds.

The statement added that In Marguba village of Kaga local government area, Borno State, which shares common borders with Sambisa forest, the soldiers, supported by Civilian-JTF operatives, were able to subdue a roving gang of Boko Haram fighters in an ambush attack.

The statement said: “In their bid to clear the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists hiding in some parts of the North Eastern of the country, troops have intensified efforts on clearance operations.

It is in this regard that the 29 Brigade Quick Reaction Force (QRF), in conjunction with Civilian JTF carried out an ambush against Boko Haram terrorists east of Marguba village in Kaga Local Government Area, Borno State yesterday Friday.

“The troops killed 2 of the Boko Haram terrorists, while some of them sustained gunshot wounds as could be seen from traces of blood during mopping up. They also recovered 1 AK-47 rifle with 29 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, a bow and arrows, a Tecno mobile telephone handset, 1 wallet and an Identity Card of Animal Dealers Association, amongst other items.

“In a related development, troops along with Civilian JTF have continued clearance operations within Sambisa forest despite harsh climatic conditions and bad terrain occasioned by heavy down rainfalls especially within Gombale area. Despite bugging down of vehicles and equipment because of the bad terrain, the troops have continued with their clearance operations.”

360nobs.com/2016/07/2-boko-haram-militants-killed-troops-intensify-onslaught-borno/

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/kerala-salafi-preacher-of--extreme-salafism--says-onam,-christmas-haram/d/108002

 

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