New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 11:41 AM

Islamic World News ( 11 Apr 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Malaysia Politician's Office Attacked After He Describes Zakir Naik as 'Satan'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghan National Army soldiers keep watch at a checkpoint in Logar province, Afghanistan, Feb. 16, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Omar Sobhani

 

Taliban Announces Start of Spring Offensive in Afghanistan

Terrorists Use Shells With Poisonous Gas in Aleppo

Pakistani Being Held in Austria, Link between Paris and Mumbai Attacks under Probe

Southeast Asia

Malaysia Politician's Office Attacked After He Describes Zakir Naik as 'Satan'

4 Uyghurs Who Joined Santoso Killed Recently, Police Officials Says

Philippines Pushes ‘Halal’ Project for Tourism

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South Asia

Taliban Announces Start of Spring Offensive in Afghanistan

33 killed in Afghan Air and Ground offensives against militants

Punjabis and Arabs among Foreign Terrorists Fighting In Afghanistan: MoD

Killer of female police officer arrested in Kandahar province

ISIS rapidly expanding activities in Afghanistan, Ata Mohd Noor warns

Taliban announce summer offensive under the name of ‘Omari Operations’

Japan pledges $22 million in fresh aid to Afghanistan

Afghan police arrest men appearing in child sexual abuse documentary

Coordinated attack on Hamid Karzai Airport thwarted by NDS operatives

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Arab World

Terrorists Use Shells With Poisonous Gas in Aleppo

As Islamic State Is Pushed Back in Iraq, Worries about What’s Next

Tens of Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Clashes between Rival Groups near Syria's Capital

Iranian FM Stresses Support for Resistance Front as Power Tool

Iran's New Hi-Tech Drone Flies Over Tuesday Drills Zone

Syrian Army Victories Ensures Progress in Geneva Peace Talks

Implementation of Iran-Italy Agreements Starts, EU Eager to Develop Ties with Tehran

IRGC Ground Force Starts Massive Security Drills in Southeastern Iran

Terrorists' Offensives Repulsed by Syrian Army Northeast of Lattakia

Russian Helicopter Crashes in Syria, "Not Shot Down"

Rouhani Lauds Italy's Positive Role-Playing in Nuclear Talks

Iran, Italy Sign 6 Cooperation Agreements

Iran, Italy Building Small Planes

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India

Pakistani Being Held in Austria, Link between Paris and Mumbai Attacks under Probe

Iran, India Seek to Expand Cultural Ties

Terrorism case lodged against Indian spy Jadhav

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Mideast

Two Soldiers Killed, 46 Wounded in PKK Bomb Attack in Turkey’s Diyarbakır

Turkish PM Points Finger at CHP’s İzmir Branch for Massive Data Leak

President Erdoğan files complaint against German comedian over TV poem

Eight wounded as rocket projectiles land in Turkey’s Kilis for second time

Turkey unveils 'support package' for Antalya, Muğla to boost embattled tourism sector

Turkey provides formal education to 330,000 Syrian children: Education minister

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Pakistan

160 Displaced Families Return To S. Waziristan

JIT Submits Initial Report to PA on Park Blast

84 stranded foreigners moved out of Kaghan

Unidentified gunmen kill DSP Shangla in TTP-claimed attack

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Africa

Egypt's president under fire over Red Sea islands transfer to Saudi Arabia

Africa needs massive justice sector reforms — NBA President

Mozambique among African countries with high prevalence of child marriages

Africa worried droughts could spark communal wars

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Europe

Over one in three UK Muslims believe 'Jews have too much power'

Ayatollah: European Nationality of Terrorists in Recent Attacks Shows West Isn’t Serious About Fighting Terrorism

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North America

Why Muslims feel targeted in America’s most livable city

American Muslims hope to change minds

Frank Gaffney Is Outraged That Muslim-Americans Are Meeting With Members Of Congress

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/malaysia-politician-s-office-attacked-after-he-describes-zakir-naik-as--satan-/d/106963

 

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Malaysia politician's office attacked after he describes Zakir Naik as 'Satan'

Tue Apr 12 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: A petrol bomb was thrown on Tuesday at the office of a senior politician in Malaysia's opposition-ruled Penang state, after he described preacher Zakir Naik as “Satan”.

State officials said no one was injured and no damage caused in the early-morning attack after the fire-bomb landed on the centre's metal shutters.

State Deputy Chief Minister P. Ramasamy said the attack may have been prompted by his Facebook post over the weekend about preacher Zakir Naik.

“It could possibly be related to my comment on Zakir as Satan,” he told AFP.

Ramasamy accused Zakir, an Indian national, of giving speeches designed to promote hatred of other faiths.

His posting was not directed against Islam or Muslims but against “this particular person”, he said in a statement.

“I regret the use of the word 'Satan' which has caused uneasiness and unhappiness among Muslims in Malaysia,” Ramasamy said, adding that the word was later deleted.

Zakir, 51, is an Islamic preacher on comparative religion.

Ramasamy, who is also the Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairman, had spoken out against a planned programme by Zakir's son, also an Islamic preacher, in Penang state on April 15.

On Sunday police banned Zakir from giving a lecture at a university in the southern state of Malacca following complaints from minority groups.

He had planned to speak on “Similarities between Hinduism and Islam”.

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a tweet on Monday that Zakir was barred to ensure public order.

The aim was to protect “public order and religious sensitivities in Malaysia”, he wrote.

Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia, which witnessed deadly riots mainly between ethnic Malays and Chinese in 1969.

dawn.com/news/1251639/malaysia-politicians-office-attacked-after-he-describes-zakir-naik-as-satan

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Taliban Announces Start Of Spring Offensive In Afghanistan

Feb. 16, 2016

The Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive on Tuesday, pledging to launch large-scale offensives against government strongholds backed by suicide and guerrilla attacks to drive Afghanistan's Western-backed government from power.

The announcement of the formal start of "Operation Omari", named after the late Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, comes just days after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul and reaffirmed U.S. support for the national unity government led by President Ashraf Ghani.

"Jihad against the aggressive and usurping infidel army is a holy obligation upon our necks and our only recourse for reestablishing an Islamic system and regaining our independence," the Taliban said in a statement.

The insurgency has gained in strength since the withdrawal of international troops from combat at the end of 2014 and the Taliban are stronger than at any point since they were driven from power by U.S.-backed forces in 2001.

As well as suicide and tactical attacks, the operation would include assassinations of enemy commanders in urban centers, the Taliban statement said.

"The present Operation will also employ all means at our disposal to bog the enemy down in a war of attrition that lowers the morale of the foreign invaders and their internal armed militias," it said.

In line with recent statements, it also said it would establish good governance in areas it controlled as well as avoiding civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure.

How far the announcement will lead to an immediate escalation in fighting, which caused 11,000 civilian casualties last year, remains unclear. However, NATO and Afghan officials have said they expect very tough combat in 2016.

Heavy fighting has continued for months across Afghanistan, from Kunduz, the northern city that fell briefly to the insurgents last year, to Helmand province bordering Pakistan in the south.

In Helmand, where thousands of British and American troops were killed or injured fighting the Taliban, government forces have pulled back from many areas and are struggling to hold on to centers close to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

Understrength Afghan security forces, struggling with heavy casualties and high desertion rates and short of air power, transport and logistical support, have struggled in their first year fighting largely alone.

According to NATO commanders, the Taliban exerts control over only six percent of Afghanistan but up to a third of the country is at risk from the insurgents and government forces control no more than 70 percent of the country's territory.

U.S. General John Nicholson, who took over as commander of international troops in Afghanistan last month, is conducting a strategic review, including plans to cut U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of the year.

Unless the plan is changed, the reduction would mean the end of most of NATO's training and assistance operation, leaving the remaining U.S. troops focusing on counterterrorism operations against radical groups like Islamic State.

ibtimes.com/taliban-announces-start-spring-offensive-afghanistan-2352191

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Terrorists Use Shells With Poisonous Gas in Aleppo

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Sheikh Maqsoud district in the Syrian city of Aleppo came under a fresh round of militants' shelling with the shells containing poisonous gas on Monday, injuring several people, the second such attack this month, Senam Mohamed, a Syrian Kurdish regions representative said.

Seam Mohamed said civilians are experiencing severe respiratory problems and suffocation, as well as vomiting and watering eyes as a result of being exposed by illegal poisonous gas used by terrorists in the area, Sputnik reported.

"Two civilians and two fighters of the People's Protection Units (YPG) were hospitalized," she reported.

"There is heavy shelling on the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud… the neighborhood was bombarded with missiles and shells in the morning… The shells are… filled with poisonous gas. It happens on Monday, in Aleppo," Mohamed said.

On Thursday, April 7, spokesman for Syrian Kurds told Sputnik that intoxication cases by poisonous gases had been reported among the civilian population and Kurdish militia after an attack on Aleppo by terrorists.

The Jaysh al-Islam militant group took responsibility for the shelling of Sheikh Maqsoud and stated that it had deployed "forbidden" weapons. The group, however, did not specify whether it used chemical agents or not.

Commenting on the situation of April 7, Mohamed told Sputnik that factions and brigades of a Syrian terrorist grouping, which includes Ahrar al-Sham, militants of the Army of Conquest, of Sultan Murad, the Army of the Mujahideen, Movement and the gathering of Fastqm, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Jund al-Aqsa group, Hawks Mountain Brigade and Hamza Brigade, were those who shelled the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood with ammunition containing chemical materials and gases. They also used homemade rockets, mortar bombs and Grad rockets during the attack, said Mohamed.

Mohamed affirmed that the same factions and brigades of Syrian terrorists attacked Aleppo's district last week, therefore they should be held accountable.

She added that ,during Monday's attack, militants used hand made bombs called Jahanamiya, which in Arabic means "hell".

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950124000722

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Pakistani Being Held in Austria, Link between Paris and Mumbai Attacks under Probe

Tue Apr 12 2016

VIENNA: Austrian prosecutors said on Monday they were probing a possible link between a Pakistani held in Salzburg in connection with last November’s terrorist assaults in Paris and the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

“Leads pointing to this are being looked into,” prosecutors in Salzburg said. Identity of the Pakistani suspect, who has been in custody since December in the western Austrian city, has not been confirmed.

“Wide-ranging investigations on this question, among others, are ongoing, although the public prosecutors’ office has been waiting for information on this from Pakistan since December 2015,” prosecutors said in a statement.

A source in Paris and the Sunday Times said that the man is thought to be a bomb maker for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) organisations.

Pakistani suspect being interrogated in Austria

India holds LeT responsible for the 2008 Mumbai assault that killed 166 people.

LeJ is blamed for a string of high-profile attacks in recent years.

The 34-year-old was arrested in Austria in December along with an Algerian.

French investigators suspect that the militant Islamic State (IS) group, which claimed responsibility for the Paris bombings as well as attacks in Brussels on March 22, sent both men to Europe to carry out attacks.

Austrian authorities said in February that they were believed to have been in the same boat bringing around 200 migrants to Greece as two men involved in the Paris atrocities.

While those involved in the attacks were able to travel onwards, the pair were held up by Greek authorities for 25 days because they were carrying fake Syrian passports.

They then arrived in Salzburg at the end of November — after the Paris killings — and Austrian police arrested them at a centre for migrants on Dec 10.

A senior security official in Pakistan said he had no information.

“We are completely in the dark about such a person... who he is, his identity and his affiliations,” the official said.

dawn.com/news/1251524/link-between-paris-and-mumbai-attacks-under-probe

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia politician's office attacked after he describes Zakir Naik as 'Satan'

Tue Apr 12 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: A petrol bomb was thrown on Tuesday at the office of a senior politician in Malaysia's opposition-ruled Penang state, after he described preacher Zakir Naik as “Satan”.

State officials said no one was injured and no damage caused in the early-morning attack after the fire-bomb landed on the centre's metal shutters.

State Deputy Chief Minister P. Ramasamy said the attack may have been prompted by his Facebook post over the weekend about preacher Zakir Naik.

“It could possibly be related to my comment on Zakir as Satan,” he told AFP.

Ramasamy accused Zakir, an Indian national, of giving speeches designed to promote hatred of other faiths.

His posting was not directed against Islam or Muslims but against “this particular person”, he said in a statement.

“I regret the use of the word 'Satan' which has caused uneasiness and unhappiness among Muslims in Malaysia,” Ramasamy said, adding that the word was later deleted.

Zakir, 51, is an Islamic preacher on comparative religion.

Ramasamy, who is also the Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairman, had spoken out against a planned programme by Zakir's son, also an Islamic preacher, in Penang state on April 15.

On Sunday police banned Zakir from giving a lecture at a university in the southern state of Malacca following complaints from minority groups.

He had planned to speak on “Similarities between Hinduism and Islam”.

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a tweet on Monday that Zakir was barred to ensure public order.

The aim was to protect “public order and religious sensitivities in Malaysia”, he wrote.

Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia, which witnessed deadly riots mainly between ethnic Malays and Chinese in 1969.

dawn.com/news/1251639/malaysia-politicians-office-attacked-after-he-describes-zakir-naik-as-satan

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4 Uyghurs Who Joined Santoso Killed Recently, Police Officials Says

2016-04-11

Four out of six Uyghurs who joined an extremist group in Indonesia headed by the country’s most wanted militant have been killed in recent weeks in Central Sulawesi province, according to the local police chief.

The claim by Central Sulawesi Police Chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi that four Uyghurs were recently killed doubles the number of Uyghurs who reportedly died after joining Santoso’s Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State extremists.

Two of the Uyghurs, Farok (alias Magalasi Bahtusan) and Nuretin (alias Abdul Malik), were killed in a gunfight with the national army and police on March 15, Rudy said last week.

That same day MIT dumped the body of another Uyghur into a river in the village of Lelo, after he allegedly tried to flee from the group. And, during a shootout a week later in the village of Rompo, a Uyghur identified as Joko (alias Turang Ismail), was killed, according to Rudy.

Two other Uyghurs, Ibrahim and Mustafa Genc (alias Mus’ab), are believed to be at-large and are on the Indonesian national police’s most wanted list.

Series of arrests

Uyghurs are members of a Muslim minority in China, who mostly live in the western Xinjiang region. They also are spread across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey.

Some Uyghurs have been accused of being involved in militant groups and committing acts of terrorism.

In February, two Uyghur men pleaded not guilty to charges related to the bombing of a Hindu Shrine in Bangkok that killed 20 and injured another 120 on Aug. 17, 2015.

Last year in Indonesia, police arrested, prosecuted and convicted four Uyghur men, accusing them of trying to join MIT in Central Sulawesi, where the militant group operates. A court in West Jakarta sentenced the four to six years in prison.

As 2015 came to an end, Indonesian police arrested another Uyghur, Ali, in Bekasi, West Java, as he allegedly prepared to be a “bride” – a term coined by Islamic radical groups to describe suicide bombers – a foiled terror plot planned for New Year’s Eve.

Then, in early January, police arrested two Uyghurs in Bandung, the capital of West Java.

“Both are still being processed by police. The case is handled by Densus 88,” National police spokesman Brig. Gen. Agus Riyanto told BenarNews.

Training locations

According to Ridlwan Habib, a terrorism expert at the University of Indonesia, Uyghurs have entered Indonesia by illegal routes from western China via Thailand, Singapore, and the nearby Indonesian island of Batam.

“Thailand is known as a paradise for production of fake documents. If [they] passed there, they went to Jakarta and proceeded to Puncak [in Bogor, West Java]. Then they went to Makassar, from where they took a land route to Poso,” he told BenarNews, referring to Poso regency in Central Sulawesi.

He said some Uyghurs came to Indonesia to train with Santoso’s group before returning to China to commit acts of terror. Besides Poso, Mindanao province in the southern Philippines and Pattani province in southern Thailand also are places for militant training camps, he said.

“Military training in Southeast Asia is more economical and efficient. Many of them do not have access to Syria,” Ridlwan said.

Thai officials challenge Reuters report

Meanwhile in Thailand over the weekend, Reuters quoted a Thai police official as saying that two Uyghurs who were linked to “foreign terror groups” had traveled to Phuket at the end of March, stayed one night and left the country.

However, the official quoted in the story, Lt. Gen. Suchart Teersawat, later told BenarNews that he could not confirm details about the pair.

“We are examining the issue but we cannot 100 percent confirm [this]. We were informed by foreign sources. The Uyghurs in question stayed in Thailand for a couple of days and they have already left,” Suchart told Benar.

Elsewhere, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that two Uyghurs who had recently left Thailand for Malaysia were economic refugees and not terrorists, according to The Straits Times.

“They are using Thailand and Malaysia as a transit point to get to a third country and to brand them as terrorists, I think it’s unfair,” Straits Times quoted Zahid as saying.

benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/Uyghurs-04112016175922.html

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Philippines Pushes ‘Halal’ Project for Tourism

April 11, 2016

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines is pushing for “halal consciousness” in the country’s tourist hubs as a way of inculcating respect for the Islamic religion and to attract more Muslim visitors.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines is pushing for “halal consciousness” in the country’s tourist hubs as a way of inculcating respect for the Islamic religion and to attract more Muslim visitors.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said that with the Philippine Halal Tourism Project, launched last week at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the DOT is looking to capture a larger slice of the $200-billion international halal tourism market.

The project, Jimenez said in a statement, was launched in under 100 days with the DOT working with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), the Halal International Chambers of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines (Hiccip) and Singapore-based company Crescent Rating.

"Halal” is any item or action permissible in Islamic Law. It covers all matters of daily life, including food and drink.

Initially, the DOT and the other organizations prepared kitchens and facilities in 43 hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourist establishments throughout the country to make sure they were "halal certified.”

"The best and most important welcome for visitors is food. And if you are not halal, then there is a very important segment of society worldwide that you are not extending a proper welcome to,” Jimenez said.

Citing a study by Crescent Rating, he said: "The Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that is determined to partake of 20 to 25 percent of the $200-billion global halal market. The market is already there, with arrivals from Malaysia, for one, growing at double-digit rates. The only thing that is wanting is capacity.”

Crescent Rating is the leading authority on Muslim travel recognized for its independent rating and accreditation standards worldwide.

en.abna24.com/service/east-asia/archive/2016/04/11/746554/story.html

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South Asia

Taliban Announces Start Of Spring Offensive In Afghanistan

Feb. 16, 2016

The Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive on Tuesday, pledging to launch large-scale offensives against government strongholds backed by suicide and guerrilla attacks to drive Afghanistan's Western-backed government from power.

The announcement of the formal start of "Operation Omari", named after the late Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, comes just days after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul and reaffirmed U.S. support for the national unity government led by President Ashraf Ghani.

"Jihad against the aggressive and usurping infidel army is a holy obligation upon our necks and our only recourse for reestablishing an Islamic system and regaining our independence," the Taliban said in a statement.

The insurgency has gained in strength since the withdrawal of international troops from combat at the end of 2014 and the Taliban are stronger than at any point since they were driven from power by U.S.-backed forces in 2001.

As well as suicide and tactical attacks, the operation would include assassinations of enemy commanders in urban centers, the Taliban statement said.

"The present Operation will also employ all means at our disposal to bog the enemy down in a war of attrition that lowers the morale of the foreign invaders and their internal armed militias," it said.

In line with recent statements, it also said it would establish good governance in areas it controlled as well as avoiding civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure.

How far the announcement will lead to an immediate escalation in fighting, which caused 11,000 civilian casualties last year, remains unclear. However, NATO and Afghan officials have said they expect very tough combat in 2016.

Heavy fighting has continued for months across Afghanistan, from Kunduz, the northern city that fell briefly to the insurgents last year, to Helmand province bordering Pakistan in the south.

In Helmand, where thousands of British and American troops were killed or injured fighting the Taliban, government forces have pulled back from many areas and are struggling to hold on to centers close to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

Understrength Afghan security forces, struggling with heavy casualties and high desertion rates and short of air power, transport and logistical support, have struggled in their first year fighting largely alone.

According to NATO commanders, the Taliban exerts control over only six percent of Afghanistan but up to a third of the country is at risk from the insurgents and government forces control no more than 70 percent of the country's territory.

U.S. General John Nicholson, who took over as commander of international troops in Afghanistan last month, is conducting a strategic review, including plans to cut U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of the year.

Unless the plan is changed, the reduction would mean the end of most of NATO's training and assistance operation, leaving the remaining U.S. troops focusing on counterterrorism operations against radical groups like Islamic State.

ibtimes.com/taliban-announces-start-spring-offensive-afghanistan-2352191

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33 killed in Afghan Air and Ground offensives against militants

Mon Apr 11 2016

At least 33 anti-government armed militants were killed in the latest air and ground offensives of the Afghan security forces.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said at least 16 militants were also wounded and 9 suspects were arrested by the security forces.

A statement by MoD said at least 4 of the militants were killed in the outskirts of Kunduz city where 3 militants were also wounded and 9 others were detained.

The statement further added that 13 militants were killed in a separate raid in the center of Ghazni province and at least 13 others were wounded.

According to MoD, at least 8 soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces also lost their lives during the same operations.

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

This comes as the Afghan security forces have stepped up counter-terrorism operations to suppress the anti-government armed militant groups.

The increase in offensives follow amid concerns that the militant groups are preparing to stage more attacks across the country as the security officials predict the militant groups will pursue violence in the summer.

khaama.com/33-killed-in-afghan-air-and-ground-offensives-against-militants-0619

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Punjabis and Arabs among Foreign Terrorists Fighting In Afghanistan: MoD

Tue Apr 12 2016

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the regional intelligence agencies and terrorist groups are imposing on the Afghan nation and have a critical role in the ongoing violence in the country.

A statement by MoD said the terrorists are deployed to Afghanistan with full financial and military support under the name of holy war.

MoD in its statement further added that Chechens, Punjabis, Arabs, Uzbeks, Uyghur and other foreign terrorists are actively participating in the war in Afghanistan and are continuously killing innocent Afghan civilians.

The statement also added that incidents like Nangarhar attack and various other terrorist attacks shows that the militant groups are the enemies of Islam and Afghanistan as they have no mercy on children, women and elders.

The ministry strongly condemned the suicide attack in Nangarhar province and said the leadership of the ministry offers their condolences to the families of the victims and promised that the Afghan forces will remain firm in defending the country and maintain peace and stability.

No further details were given on claims regarding the regional intelligence agencies and terror groups’ role in the Afghan war.

However, the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for harboring the Afghan militant groups as they receive full support from Pakistan’s military intelligence, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

khaama.com/punjabis-and-arabs-among-foreign-terrorists-fighting-in-afghanistan-mod-0628

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Killer of female police officer arrested in Kandahar province

Tue Apr 12 2016

A key militant involved in the assassination of government officials has been arrested in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the militant was arrested by the Afghan intelligence operatives and has been identified as Abdul Ghani.

The officials further added that the militant was involved in killing key government officials in Kandahar province, including the killing of a female police officer in 13th police district of the city.

The detained militant has confessed he has carried out numerous attacks on government employees and officials in this province.

The local officials have said the Afghan intelligence operatives intervened amid growing attacks on government officials that led to the capture of Abdul Ghani.

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

The female police officer was working with the provincial passport department when she was shot dead by the militant in Kandahar city last month.

khaama.com/killer-of-female-police-officer-arrested-in-kandahar-province-0624

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ISIS rapidly expanding activities in Afghanistan, Ata Mohd Noor warns

Tue Apr 12 2016

The acting provincial governor of northern Balkh province of Afghanistan Ata Mohammad Noor has warned that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group is rapidly expanding activities in Afghanistan.

Noor was speaking during a ceremony for the inauguration of a high school in Mazar-e-Sharif city, the provincial capital of Balkh province.

He said the terror group is getting stronger each day and are deployed in Afghanistan to destabilize the country.

Noor further added that the loyalists of the terror group are now active in major parts of Afghanistan and it would be wrong to concentrate on Kunar and Nangarhar only as the stronghold of the terror group.

This comes as a top Russian official earlier made a similar comment regarding the terror group in Afghanistan and said the terrorist group is acting quietly in the country as it plans to use Afghanistan for wider expansion.

Zamir Kabulov, the Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan, said the loyalists of the group is expanding in Afghanistan and wishes to use the country as a “springboard for a wider expansion”.

Kabulov further added that Daesh has fewer militants than Taliban, but it does not spend its resources on fighting Afghan and US servicemen in the country.

“They have other aims. They need Afghanistan as a springboard for a wider expansion,” Kabulov explained.

khaama.com/isis-rapidly-expanding-activities-in-afghanistan-ata-mohd-noor-warns-0623

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Taliban announce summer offensive under the name of ‘Omari Operations’

Tue Apr 12 2016

The Taliban group in Afghanistan announced the launch of summer offensive in Afghanistan under the name of ‘Omari Operations’.

A statement by the group said the operations are being launched as the group’s military offensive against the foreign forces enters into 15th year.

The statement further added that the offensive is being launched with the approval of the leadership of the group as the weather gets warm across the country.

According to Taliban, the operation has been named ‘Omari Operations’ for the founder and first supreme leader of the group Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Taliban launches its summer offensive despite efforts to end the violence in the country through reconciliation process.

A Quadrilateral Coordination Group was formed earlier this year consisting of Afghanistan, Pakistan, United States and China to help revive the Afghan peace talks.

The QCG members called on Taliban to join peace talks and have face to face discussions with the Afghan government in a bid to end the violence through negotiations.

However, the Taliban group rejected to participate in the talks and offered the group’s preconditions for the start of peace talks.

khaama.com/taliban-announce-summer-offensive-under-the-name-of-omari-operations-0622

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Japan pledges $22 million in fresh aid to Afghanistan

Mon Apr 11 2016

The government of Japan has pledged 2.4 billion Japanes Yen, equivalent to $22 million, in fresh aid to Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said Japan has pledged to support the economic and social development in Afghanistan with the fresh aid package.

A statement by MoFA said an agreement for the aid package was signed by Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and the Ambassador of Japan to Afghanistan Mr. Hiroshi Takahashi on Sunday.

Rabbani hailed the government of Japan for remaining of the major contributors to reconstruction of Afghanistan in the past 14 years.

He said Japan has been effectively contributing in various sectors since the Bonn agreement.

Earlier, Japan contributed $21.3 million for humanitarian and emergency assistance in Afghanistan which followed days after the country pledged over $63 million to Afghanistan for Irrigation, Roads and Fiscal Support.

Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields, ranging from security to economic and social development sectors including agriculture, rural development, infrastructure and human capacity development. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to USD 6.131 billion.

khaama.com/japan-pledges-22-million-in-fresh-aid-to-afghanistan-0618

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Afghan police arrest men appearing in child sexual abuse documentary

Tue Apr 12 2016

The Afghan police have arrested two men appearing in a documentary film about the sexual abuse of children in Afghanistan, local officials in Balkh said.

The two men appeared in a documentary prepared by a Russian TV Channel about Bacha Bazi, sexual abuse of children.

Provincial police chief Syed Kamal Sadat said the two men, Jabar and Jamil, who are also famous as Raees, have been arrested after they appeared in the documentary film.

He said the men were arrested after appearing in the film that is harming the national identity of the Afghan people.

The documentary released last month focuses on the stigma of Bacha Baazi in Afghanistan which continues in parts of the country despite the act has been outlawed by the government.

According to documentary, the young boys are normally recruited by influential individuals, taking advantage of their poverty and other social issues the young boys face, including the enormous amount of money needed for the marriage.

The documentary findings shows the boys are receiving the cost of their wedding from their owners after they reach the age adolescence.

One of the men who has been allegedly arrested says the boys should be about 12, 13, or 15 years old to be recruited as a Bacha – a term usually used to call the children recruited for dancing and other sexual abuse.

He said the business owners “support” their boys until their “sell-by-date” expires, at about 25. “When a boy is older, we make their life better. We buy the bacha clothes, pay for their wedding when they’re no longer wanted. We feed them well, we prepare all their food for them. We do everything!” he says in all honesty.”

The documentary also reveals the sexual abuse the young children are subjected to, including painful sexual offense at the hands of their owners. “At first, I didn’t know much about it, I thought it was just a game,” he told RT, adding that “sex can hurt badly too, but money is important,” said one of the boys who was first offered to become a bach in the age of 12.

khaama.com/afghan-police-arrest-men-appearing-in-child-sexual-abuse-documentary-0626

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Coordinated attack on Hamid Karzai Airport thwarted by NDS operatives

Tue Apr 12 2016

Kabul airport attack stoppedThe Afghan Intelligence operatives have thwarted a coordinated attack plot by the notorious Haqqani terrorist network on Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said a weapons and explosives cache belonging to the terrorist network was seized from Deh Sabz district of Kabul.

A statement by NDS said the cache included 2 RPG-7 rocket launchers with 4 rockets, 11 magentic bombs, 17 explosives capsules, explosive materials, 3 mine testers, and 6 Nokia mobile phones.

The statement further added that the target of the attack was Hamid Karzai International Airport which was successfully thwarted.

No further details were given regarding the detention of any suspect in connection to the attack plot.

The Haqqani terrorist network was found in the late 1970s by Jalaluddin Haqqani and is accused of staging numerous cross-border attacks from their base in North Waziristan, including the 19-hour siege at the US Embassy in Kabul in September 2011.

The network is allied with al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban and cooperates with other terrorist organizations in the region and was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 7, 2012 by the US Department of State.

khaama.com/coordinated-attack-on-hamid-karzai-airport-thwarted-by-nds-operatives-0627

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Arab World

Terrorists Use Shells With Poisonous Gas in Aleppo

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Sheikh Maqsoud district in the Syrian city of Aleppo came under a fresh round of militants' shelling with the shells containing poisonous gas on Monday, injuring several people, the second such attack this month, Senam Mohamed, a Syrian Kurdish regions representative said.

Seam Mohamed said civilians are experiencing severe respiratory problems and suffocation, as well as vomiting and watering eyes as a result of being exposed by illegal poisonous gas used by terrorists in the area, Sputnik reported.

"Two civilians and two fighters of the People's Protection Units (YPG) were hospitalized," she reported.

"There is heavy shelling on the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud… the neighborhood was bombarded with missiles and shells in the morning… The shells are… filled with poisonous gas. It happens on Monday, in Aleppo," Mohamed said.

On Thursday, April 7, spokesman for Syrian Kurds told Sputnik that intoxication cases by poisonous gases had been reported among the civilian population and Kurdish militia after an attack on Aleppo by terrorists.

The Jaysh al-Islam militant group took responsibility for the shelling of Sheikh Maqsoud and stated that it had deployed "forbidden" weapons. The group, however, did not specify whether it used chemical agents or not.

Commenting on the situation of April 7, Mohamed told Sputnik that factions and brigades of a Syrian terrorist grouping, which includes Ahrar al-Sham, militants of the Army of Conquest, of Sultan Murad, the Army of the Mujahideen, Movement and the gathering of Fastqm, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Jund al-Aqsa group, Hawks Mountain Brigade and Hamza Brigade, were those who shelled the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood with ammunition containing chemical materials and gases. They also used homemade rockets, mortar bombs and Grad rockets during the attack, said Mohamed.

Mohamed affirmed that the same factions and brigades of Syrian terrorists attacked Aleppo's district last week, therefore they should be held accountable.

She added that ,during Monday's attack, militants used hand made bombs called Jahanamiya, which in Arabic means "hell".

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As Islamic State is pushed back in Iraq, worries about what’s next

Apr 12, 2016

WASHINGTON: As US-led offensives drive back Islamic State in Iraq, concern is growing among US and UN officials that efforts to stabilize liberated areas are lagging, creating conditions that could help the jihadists endure as an underground network.

One major worry: not enough money is being committed to rebuild the devastated provincial capital of Ramadi and other towns, let alone Islamic State-held Mosul, the ultimate target in Iraq of the US-led campaign.

Lise Grande, the No. 2 UN official in Iraq, told Reuters that the United Nations is urgently seeking $400 million from Washington and its allies for a new fund to bolster reconstruction in cities like Ramadi, which suffered vast damage when US-backed Iraqi forces recaptured it in December.

"We worry that if we don't move in this direction, and move quickly, the progress being made against ISIL may be undermined or lost," Grande said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Adding to the difficulty of stabilizing freed areas are Iraq's unrelenting political infighting, corruption, a growing fiscal crisis and the Shia Muslim-led government's fitful efforts to reconcile with aggrieved minority Sunnis, the bedrock of Islamic State support.

Some senior US military officers share the concern that post-conflict reconstruction plans are lagging behind their battlefield efforts, officials said.

"We're not going to bomb our way out of this problem," one US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Islamic State is far from defeated. The group still controls much of its border-spanning "caliphate," inspires eight global affiliates and is able to orchestrate deadly external attacks like those that killed 32 people in Brussels on March 22.

But at its core in Iraq and Syria, Islamic State appears to be in slow retreat. Defence analysis firm IHS Janes estimates the group lost 22 per cent of its territory over the last 15 months.

Washington has spent vastly more on the war than on reconstruction. The military campaign cost $6.5 billion from 2014 through February 29, according to the Pentagon.

The United States has contributed $15 million to stabilization efforts, donated $5 million to help clear explosives in Ramadi and provided "substantial direct budget support" to Iraq's government, said Emily Horne, a National Security Council spokeswoman.

Secretary of state John Kerry acknowledged the need for more reconstruction aid while in Baghdad last week.

"As more territory is liberated from Daesh, the international community has to step up its support for the safe and voluntary return of civilians to their homes," Kerry said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Kerry, who announced $155 million in additional US aid for

displaced Iraqis, said US President Barack Obama planned to raise the issue at a summit of Gulf Arab leaders on April 21.

'Pile of rubble'

Ramadi's main hospital, train station, nearly 2,000 homes, 64 bridges and much of the electricity grid were destroyed in fighting, a preliminary UN survey found last month. Thousands of other buildings were damaged.

Some 3,000 families recently returned to parts of the city cleared of mines, according to the governor, Hameed Dulaymi, but conditions are tough. Power comes from generators. Water is pumped from the Euphrates River. A few shops are open, but only for a couple of hours a day.

Ahmed Saleh, a 56-year-old father of three children, said he returned to find his home a "pile of rubble," which cannot be rebuilt until the government provides the money. With no indication of when that might happen, authorities have resettled his family in another house whose owner is believed unlikely to return before this summer.

Saleh earns less than $15 a day cleaning and repairing other people's homes. There are no schools open for his children, and he lacks funds to return to a camp for internally displaced outside Baghdad where he says life was better.

Obama administration officials say they have been working to help stabilize Iraq politically and economically since the military campaign against Islamic State began in 2014.

"The success of the campaign against ISIL in Iraq does depend upon political and economic progress as well," US defence secretary Ash Carter said on Monday. "Economically it's important that the destruction that's occurred be repaired and we're looking to help the Iraqis with that."

Asked about the upcoming $400 million UN request, Horne said the United States welcomed the new fund's establishment and "will continue to lead international efforts to fund stabilization operations." The United States hasn't yet announced what it will contribute.

US officials said Washington is also pushing for an International Monetary Fund arrangement that the head of the fund's Iraq mission has said could unlock up to $15 billion in international financing. Baghdad has a $20 billion budget deficit caused by depressed oil prices.

Washington has helped train 15,000 Sunni fighters who are now part of the Iraqi government's security forces.

But there has been little movement on political reforms to reconcile minority Sunnis, whose repression under former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shia-led government led thousands to join Islamic State.

Unless that happens, and Sunnis see that Baghdad is trying to help them return home to rebuild, support for the militants will persist, experts said.

"If you don't get reconciliation, the Sunnis will turn back to ISIS," said former CIA and White House official Kenneth Pollack, who is now at the Brookings Institution think tank and

conducted a fact-finding mission in Iraq last month.

"It's just inevitable."

The United States has prevailed militarily in Iraq before, only to see the fruits of the effort evaporate.

President George W Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, deposed dictator Saddam Hussein and disbanded his army without a comprehensive plan for post-war stability. Civil war ensued.

Rebuilding gets harder

International funding to rebuild towns and cities ravaged by Islamic State has always been tight, said Grande, deputy special representative of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.

"This meant we had to come up with a model that could be implemented quickly and at extremely low cost," she said.

International donors contributed $100 million to an initial fund to jump-start local economies, restoring power and water and reopening shops and schools.

The model worked in Tikrit, the first major city reclaimed from Islamic State in March 2015, Grande said. After initial delays, most residents returned, utilities are on and the university is open. Total spending was $8.3 million.

But Ramadi, a city of some 500,000 people before the recent fighting, poses a much greater challenge.

"Much of the destruction that's happening in areas that are being liberated ... far outstrips our original assumptions," Grande said.

Restoring normality to Mosul, home to about 2 million people before it fell to Islamic State, could prove even more difficult.

It remains to be seen whether Islamic State digs in, forcing a ruinous battle, or faces an internal uprising that forces the militants to flee, sparing the city massive devastation.

If Islamic State is defeated militarily, it likely will revert to the guerrilla tactics of its predecessor, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), current and former officials said.

AQI and its leaders, including Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, "survived inside Iraq underground for years and there's no reason they couldn't do it again," a US defense official said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/As-Islamic-State-is-pushed-back-in-Iraq-worries-about-whats-next/articleshow/51790310.cms

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Tens of Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Clashes between Rival Groups near Syria's Capital

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Heavy infighting between the ISIL and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups in the Southern countryside of Damascus claimed the live of tens of militants on both sides.

Tens of terrorists of the ISIL and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra were killed and wounded as infighting intensified between them near al-Yarmouk camp hosting the Palestinian refugees.

Also on Sunday, al-Nusra Front and ISIL engaged in a fresh round of clashes near al-Yarmouk camp.

"The ISIL and its rival terrorist group of al-Nusra Front opened heavy fire at each others' strongholds in several axis of al-Yarmouk refugee camp, which ended in the killing or wounding  of tens of terrorists," the sources said.

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Iranian FM Stresses Support for Resistance Front as Power Tool

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated his country's continued support for resistance groups, including the Palestinians and the Lebanese Hezbollah, as a power tool.

"I have always stated that resistance, our approach in the region and our support for the oppressed, is one of the most vital contributors to our power," Zarif said in an interview with the Persian-language daily, Khorassan, on Tuesday.

"I am responsible for strengthening the resistance pivot and in my view, the resistance pivot should be reinvigorated as a power tool for the Islamic Republic," he added.

In relevant remarks in December, Iranian Supreme Leader's top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati renewed Tehran's strong stance in support of oppressed people and resistance movements in the region.

"Iran will support the oppressed nations of the region, the axis of resistance and the Islamic awakening and it will continue standing against the enemies' heinous dreams for the region... ," Velayati told reporters.

Earlier this month, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said it is important for Iran and Syria to help strengthen the axis of resistance throughout the region.

"The all-out cooperation between Iran and Syria has helped prop up the resistance front against the policies of the United States and Israel,” al-Halqi said in a meeting with Iran's parliamentary delegation in Damascus.

Al-Halqi pointed to the historical and strategic ties between the Islamic Republic and Syria, saying that Tehran-Damascus bilateral ties have played a significant role in strengthening the Syrian nation and the resistance front against unjust economic sanctions by the West.

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Iran's New Hi-Tech Drone Flies Over Tuesday Drills Zone

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force used Iran's new state-of-the-art reconnaissance and combat drone, 'Hamaseh (Epic)', during the massive wargames underway Southeast of the country on Tuesday.

In addition to Hamaseh, other home-made drones, including Mohajer, Ababil and Shahed also flew over the drills zone today.

It was the first time for Hamaseh to be used in military exercises. The drone was unveiled in 2013 and enjoys the capability to carry out simultaneous protection, reconnaissance and attacking missions.

The drone is equipped with the latest Iran-made missiles and bombs.

High flight duration and altitude are among the main features of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that has made it a quality product.

In a relevant development in recent months, the IRGC showed the newly-designed model of its longest-range drone, Shahed (Eye Witness) 129, during the annual February 11 rallies on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

The new model whose features haven’t been revealed yet to the public is different from its predecessors, at least, in appearance. Yet, it could be said that the aircraft's nose has gone under some changes.

The Shahed 129, which was unveiled in September 2012, is capable of carrying out eight combat and reconnaissance missions for 24 hours and has a flying range of 2,000 km.

The IRGC announced in February that its Shahed 129 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is providing combat support to the resistance front in the war on terrorism in Syria.

The drone also enjoys an effective operational radius of 1,700 km, datalink range of 200km, flight endurance of 24 hours, and a flight ceiling of 24,000 feet.

The IRGC launched mass-production of the indigenously developed drone in September 2012. The drone was displayed recently in an armed configuration, carrying four guided missiles loaded on two twin-launchers, carried underwing. The State TV said the drone can carry up to eight weapons, designed to hit stationary and mobile targets alike.

Shahed 129 is a powerful platform with significant more payload capacity, compared to other similar drones. Its external shape reflects significant advancement in composite materials fabrication, including the production of large airframe and structural elements. Strike missions employing guided weapons also indicate the evolution of compact yet capable sensors and datalinks, enabling the relay of target images and engagement of such targets in real time, over considerable distances.

According to IRGC Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Iran is currently marketing the Shahed 129 UCAV for export to potential international customers.

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Syrian Army Victories Ensures Progress in Geneva Peace Talks

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Syrian opposition politician underlined that the recent victories of the Syrian army in the war on the Takfiri terrorists will help make progress in the upcoming peace talks.

"The Syrian army's victories have helped bring the political process out of deadlock," media advisor of the Syria's Democratic Party Farouq Qala told FNA on Tuesday.

He reiterated that the Syrian nation considers the political process for resolving the Syrian crisis as the outcome of their resistance.

Qala said that tangible progress in Geneva talks has facilitated the mission of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to help resolve the Syrian crisis through political means.

In a relevant development last month, Russian UN Envoy in Geneva Alexei Borodavkin said that a range of representatives from the armed Syrian opposition was ready to join efforts with the Russian Aerospace Forces and Damascus government troops in the fight against ISIL and al-Nusra Front.

According to Borodavkin, the ceasefire in Syria is “generally being observed, but of course there are violations and we expected that there would be. But the ceasefire regime is being observed.”

Russia and the United States reached an agreement on the ceasefire in Syria. The cessation of hostilities took effect at midnight on February 27, Damascus time, generally holding across the country despite reported minor violations.

“It’s pleasant to see that more and more armed opposition groups are joining and have expressed their readiness to fight against terrorists from the ISIL, al-Nusra Front, and other jihadist groups, and are proposing to unite their efforts with the Syrian Armed Forces and the Russian Aerospace Forces,” Borodavkin said.

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Implementation of Iran-Italy Agreements Starts, EU Eager to Develop Ties with Tehran

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi underlined the European states' enthusiasm for the further expansion of relations with his country, and said over one fourth of the agreements signed between Tehran and Rome have so far been implemented.

"8 out of 28 documents signed during President Rouhani's visit (to Italy in January) have come into effect," Takht Ravanchi said in an interview with the state-run TV on Monday night.

He said that after the Iranian president returned home, a large Italian delegation of traders and businesspersons, headed by the country's transportation minister, traveled to Tehran and held good negotiations with their counterparts here.

Takht Ravanchi described President Rouhani's visit to Rome as a turning point in relations between the two countries, and said during Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Tuesday visit to Tehran a number of documents between the two countries' private and governmental sectors will also be endorsed.

Renzi's visit comes at the invitation of President Rouhani, following his own visit to Italy and France last January - a trip which resulted in a string of major trade and investment deals between Tehran and the two European countries.

Renzi is accompanied by a 250-strong delegation comprising economic officials, senior managers of major banks, businessmen, and industrialists.

Presidents of Italian Export Credit Agency ‘SACE’, Italy's national oil company ‘Eni’, as well as the General Confederation of Italian Industry commonly known as Confindustria, also accompany Renzi in his trip.

Renzi is the first major Italian figure to visit Tehran following the implementation of the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in January.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950124000244

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IRGC Ground Force Starts Massive Security Drills in Southeastern Iran

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force started massive wargames in the Southeastern parts of Iran on Tuesday morning.

The drills started in the presence of Head of the Services and Joint Affairs of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri, IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Shadmani, IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour and other commanders and experts in Saravan region in Sistan and Balouchestan province.

The massive security exercises dubbed as 'Payambar A'zam (the Great Prophet) (PBUH)' will continue until Thursday.

During the drills, the IRGC Ground Force troops are due to exercise hostage release through heliborne operations, parachute operations and destroy enemy targets through concentrated Katyusha fire.

In the first hours of the wargames on Tuesday, three helicopters of the IRGC Air Force targeted simulated enemy positions and destroyed them.

Last month, the IRGC staged major ballistic missile exercises. Called 'Eqtedar-e Velayat', the command, tactical and special exercises were conducted in the presence of IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as well as Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh.

The exercises were meant to test advanced missile defense systems as well as showcase the deterrence power and the clout of the IRGC forces in defending the country's territorial integrity against foreign threats.

The drills were held in different geographical locations, using ballistic missiles fired from silos in Central Iran and mountain ranges in the North.

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Terrorists' Offensives Repulsed by Syrian Army Northeast of Lattakia

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops thwarted attempts of the terrorist groups, mainly the al-Nusra Front, to break through the government forces' strongholds near Kinsibba and forced them to retreat from the battlefield.

The Syrian soldiers alongside their popular allies repelled the terrorist groups' attacks on the government forces' checkpoints near Abu Ali and al-Qamua mountains in Kinsibba region, which ended in the killing or wounding of tens of terrorists and destruction of their armored vehicles.

The Syrian army and the National Defense Force further opened heavy fire at those terrorists who fled the battlefield and tried to cross Syria border to Turkey.

Earlier reports said that the Syrian army and the National Defense Forces continued to push the terrorist groups back from more territories in the mountainous regions Northeast of Lattakia province after hours of non-stop battle.

The Syrian government forces hit the terrorist groups' strongholds hard in Jabal Qala'ah in the Northern side of the town of Kinsibba and near Turkmen mountain and forced them to retreat from the battlefield after leaving behind scores of the dead or wounded members.

A tough battle is now underway between the Syrian army and its allies with the terrorists of al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, the Free Syrian Army, al-Turkistani groups and Ansar al-Mohajer in the surroundings of Jabal Qala'ah.

The army is fortifying its position around Jabal Qala'ah.

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Russian Helicopter Crashes in Syria, "Not Shot Down"

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A Russian military helicopter crashed in Syria during a mission near the city of Homs, the Defense Ministry’s press service reported Tuesday, insisting that the helicopter was not shot down.

“The Russian Air Force's Mil Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter was involved in an accident and crashed in Syria's Homs province, and the helicopter's  two pilots have died,” the ministry said.

Reports from the crash site indicate the helicopter didn’t come under fire, the press service noted, adding that immediately after the incident, Russian forces conducted a rescue operation, recovering the pilots’ bodies and taking them to the Hmeimim airbase.

Russian military said the cause of the incident is still unknown, however  evidence show the incident possibly was a result of a human error or a technical fault.

“A group of experts has been sent to the site of the incident and began examining the chopper's wreckage and the debris scattered in nearby areas. The cause of the accident is also being investigated,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Russia has been conducting a counterterrorist operation in Syria since September 30.  On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to withdraw the main part of the air group from Syria.

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Rouhani Lauds Italy's Positive Role-Playing in Nuclear Talks

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- President Hassan Rouhani said although Italy was not a member of the Group 5+1, it played its role in the talks successfully as the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini is Italian.

Rouhani made the remarks in a joint press briefing with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who arrived in Tehran on Tuesday heading a 250-member delegation.

Group 5+1 included the US, UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany. The intensive talks between Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany) led to July 14 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

On January 16, 2016, anti-Iran sanctions were lifted and 'Implementation Day' of the JCPOA was announced by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ms Mogherini.

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is in Tehran for a two-day visit at the head of a large delegation to upgrade relations which have been warming following a nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Renzi arrived in Tehran early Tuesday with a 250-strong political and economic delegation, making him the first Italian official in such capacity to travel to the Islamic Republic since 2001.

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh received him at the airport before heading to northern Tehran where Renzi was accorded an official welcome by President Hassan Rouhani.

Italian foreign minister, minister of infrastructures and transports, minister of economic development, and minister of agriculture, food and forestry policies as well as businessmen and personalities from Italy’s public and private sectors are accompanying Renzi in the visit.

The Italian premier has described his visit to Iran as a political “investment,” saying friendship with Tehran could contribute to the fight against Daesh, which has staged deadly attacks across Europe.

President Rouhani visited Italy in January for two days during which the two countries signed deals worth up to 17 billion euros.

Renzi said then that business agreements Italy signed with Iran were "just the beginning" for the two countries.

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Iran, Italy Sign 6 Cooperation Agreements

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Italy signed six cooperation agreements to broaden ties in trade, culture, and economy.

The cooperation agreements were signed at the presence of President Hassan Rouhani and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Tehran on Tuesday.

Under the deals, the two sides agreed to cooperate in culture and tourism, generation of renewable energies, railway transport, natural gas export in collaboration with Eni, development of airport and aviation industry, as well as car making.

Prime Minister Renzi is in Iran for a two-day visit at the head of a large delegation to upgrade relations which have been warming following a nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Renzi arrived in Tehran early Tuesday with a 250-strong political and economic delegation, making him the first Italian official in such capacity to travel to the Islamic Republic since 2001.

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh received him at the airport before heading to northern Tehran where Renzi was accorded an official welcome by President Hassan Rouhani.

Italian foreign minister, minister of infrastructures and transports, minister of economic development, and minister of agriculture, food and forestry policies as well as businessmen and personalities from Italy’s public and private sectors are accompanying Renzi in the visit.

The Italian premier has described his visit to Iran as a political “investment,” saying friendship with Tehran could contribute to the fight against Daesh, which has staged deadly attacks across Europe.

President Rouhani visited Italy in January for two days during which the two countries signed deals worth up to 17 billion euros. Renzi said then that business agreements Italy signed with Iran were "just the beginning" for the two countries.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950124000994

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Iran, Italy Building Small Planes

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Abdolreza Hosseini, the managing director of a plane company in Yazd, said his company has signed a contract worth 30 million euros with the Italian firm Tecnam to manufacture small planes in Iran.

Hosseini said on Tuesday that under the agreement, the Italian company will share its experience and technology with Iran in manufacturing light aircraft.

He said the new planes will be exported to at least 15 countries, adding that in addition to sending Iranian experts to Europe for training, there are plans to design and manufacture another plane with the Italian firm.

Tecnam is an aeronautics manufacturer founded in 1986, based near Naples in Italy.

The company has two primary activities: it makes aircraft parts for other manufacturers, and makes its own range of light aircraft.

This comes as Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is in Iran for a two-day visit at the head of a large delegation to upgrade relations which have been warming following a nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Renzi arrived in Tehran early Tuesday with a 250-strong political and economic delegation, making him the first Italian official in such capacity to travel to the Islamic Republic since 2001.

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh received him at the airport before heading to northern Tehran where Renzi was accorded an official welcome by President Hassan Rouhani.

Italian foreign minister, minister of infrastructures and transports, minister of economic development, and minister of agriculture, food and forestry policies as well as businessmen and personalities from Italy’s public and private sectors are accompanying Renzi in the visit.

The Italian premier has described his visit to Iran as a political “investment,” saying friendship with Tehran could contribute to the fight against Daesh, which has staged deadly attacks across Europe.

President Rouhani visited Italy in January for two days during which the two countries signed deals worth up to 17 billion euros. Renzi said then that business agreements Italy signed with Iran were "just the beginning" for the two countries.

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India

Pakistani Being Held in Austria, Link between Paris and Mumbai Attacks under Probe

Tue Apr 12 2016

VIENNA: Austrian prosecutors said on Monday they were probing a possible link between a Pakistani held in Salzburg in connection with last November’s terrorist assaults in Paris and the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

“Leads pointing to this are being looked into,” prosecutors in Salzburg said. Identity of the Pakistani suspect, who has been in custody since December in the western Austrian city, has not been confirmed.

“Wide-ranging investigations on this question, among others, are ongoing, although the public prosecutors’ office has been waiting for information on this from Pakistan since December 2015,” prosecutors said in a statement.

A source in Paris and the Sunday Times said that the man is thought to be a bomb maker for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) organisations.

Pakistani suspect being interrogated in Austria

India holds LeT responsible for the 2008 Mumbai assault that killed 166 people.

LeJ is blamed for a string of high-profile attacks in recent years.

The 34-year-old was arrested in Austria in December along with an Algerian.

French investigators suspect that the militant Islamic State (IS) group, which claimed responsibility for the Paris bombings as well as attacks in Brussels on March 22, sent both men to Europe to carry out attacks.

Austrian authorities said in February that they were believed to have been in the same boat bringing around 200 migrants to Greece as two men involved in the Paris atrocities.

While those involved in the attacks were able to travel onwards, the pair were held up by Greek authorities for 25 days because they were carrying fake Syrian passports.

They then arrived in Salzburg at the end of November — after the Paris killings — and Austrian police arrested them at a centre for migrants on Dec 10.

A senior security official in Pakistan said he had no information.

“We are completely in the dark about such a person... who he is, his identity and his affiliations,” the official said.

dawn.com/news/1251524/link-between-paris-and-mumbai-attacks-under-probe

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Iran, India Seek to Expand Cultural Ties

Tue Apr 12 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Culture Minister Ali Jannati said Tehran is scheduled to host a seminar to help expand Iran-India cultural ties.

In a meeting with Indian Ambassador in Tehran Saurabh Kumar, Jannati said post-sanction Iran is now more than ever ready to enhance bilateral cooperation with India in all spheres, including culture.

“India has a special place in Iran’s foreign policy. The top priority for Tehran is expansion of bilateral ties in politics, trade, science, and culture,” he added.

The Indian ambassador, for his part, said Iran and India share cultural commonalities, including in language and literature, adding that New Delhi seeks to offer Indian language courses at Iranian universities.

"The libraries of the two countries could also work together to republish old books and historical documents," he added.

He also welcomed all-out ties with Tehran in trade, economy, science, and culture.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950124000860

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Terrorism case lodged against Indian spy Jadhav

Tue Apr 12 2016

QUETTA: The Balochistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) registered a First Information Report (FIR) against detained Indian 'spy' Kulbushan Jadhav under various sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act, sources in the Balochistan government confirmed on Tuesday.

Sources in the provincial home and tribal affairs department said the case against the Indian Navy officer, who was arrested from Chaman district last month, was lodged after instructions were received from the federal interior ministry a few days ago.

Jhadav's arrest and confessions

Law enforcement agencies had announced the arrest of Jadhav during an intelligence-based raid in Balochistan's Chaman last month.

The Indian Foreign Ministry had confirmed that the arrested man was a former Indian Navy officer, but the Pakistani government claimed to have recovered travel documents and multiple fake identities of Jadhav, establishing him as an Indian spy who entered into Balochistan through Iran — holding a valid Iranian visa.

In a video shown to media during a joint press conference by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) head Lt Gen Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid on March 31 Kulbushan Jadhav confessed to involvement in terror activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

After Jadhav's arrest, Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge a strong protest over 'India's spying activities' in Pakistan, besides apprising the international community about the arrest.

dawn.com/news/1251627/terrorism-case-lodged-against-indian-spy-jadhav

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Mideast

Two soldiers killed, 46 wounded in PKK bomb attack in Turkey’s Diyarbakır

Tue Apr 12 2016

Two soldiers were killed and 46 were wounded, including civilians, on late April 11 in an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bomb attack in the Hani district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

PKK militants detonated a bomb-laden tanker in front of the Hani Gendarmerie Post. An armed clash later erupted between security forces and PKK militants.

Two soldiers were killed and 46 were wounded including the relatives of gendarmerie personnel in the lodgings.

The wounded were first taken to Hani State Hospital and later transferred to the Diyarbakır Military Hospital by helicopter and ambulance.

A significant portion of the military post collapsed due to the attack while other buildings nearby were also damaged as the search and rescue efforts in the buildings continued.

Meanwhile, the Hani Criminal Court of Peace ordered a broadcast ban until the completion of the investigation following the attack.

hurriyetdailynews.com/two-soldiers-killed-46-wounded-in-pkk-bomb-attack-in-turkeys-diyarbakir.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97668&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish PM points finger at CHP’s İzmir branch for massive data leak

April 12 2016

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has accused a provincial branch of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of leaking a database containing the personal information of nearly 50 million Turkish citizens, strictly rejecting the responsibility of any state institutions or ministries.

Speaking live on Habertürk TV station late on April 11, Davutoğlu said “it has emerged that members of the CHP accessed the database first circulated on the Internet back in 2011.”

“The database was given to the CHP party organization by the Supreme Election Board [YSK] ... A legal process concerning a past deputy [from the CHP] is still ongoing,” he said, responding to questions in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.

Earlier in the day, Davutoğlu chaired a cabinet meeting in Şanlıurfa instead of Ankara, the first held outside the capital since 2003.

“The YSK is legally obliged to give the database to each party headquarters, but it was sent to the [CHP’s] İzmir provincial branch and it was spread up from there. So the issue is about a party’s use of legal material in a wrong way,” he also said.

“When looking at the state and the state institutions and our ministries, there is no neglect or flaw at all. The Interior Ministry legally has to give the information to the YSK. And the YSK has to give it to the parties who apply to it. This is the outlook that emerged from our investigation,” Davutoğlu added.

“Perhaps this legal obligation will have to be changed. We may need to take additional measures, such as not giving this information even to the YSK, or giving it to the YSK but not handing it to parties,” he said.

After confirming that the database circulated on the Internet matched files shared by the YSK with political parties before the March 29, 2009 local elections, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has requested information from both the YSK and the Interior Ministry’s Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 11.

The prosecutor has asked the YSK to identify the parties with whom it shared the information before the 2009 election, according to sources from the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

This contradicts Davutoğlu’s statement on Habertürk, as he specifically referred to the year 2011.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-points-finger-at-chps-izmir-branch-for-massive-data-leak.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97673&NewsCatID=338

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President Erdoğan files complaint against German comedian over TV poem

Tue Apr 12 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a complaint against a comedian who recited a satirical poem about him on German national television, German prosecutors said in a statement.

The public prosecutor’s office in the western city of Mainz said Erdoğan had filed the complaint against Jan Böhmermann via a law firm for insulting him. Böhmermann is the host of the late-night “Neo Magazin Royale” on the public ZDF channel.

In a program broadcast on March 31, Böhmermann recited a poem about Erdoğan that contained crude sexual references and accusations.

That show led Turkey to call in Germany’s envoy to provide an explanation, although Germany rejected Turkish protests.

Böhmermann said the NDR broadcast fell under the right to artistic freedom, press freedom and freedom of opinion and said his poem was not an example of impermissible “abusive criticism.”

Prosecutors said Erdoğan’s complaint would be examined as part of a pending procedure. They had already begun investigating Böhmermann on suspicion of the crime of “offending foreign states’ organs and representatives” after more than 20 people filed complaints.

On April 11, Germany said it was examining a formal request made by Turkey for it to prosecute Böhmermann.

hurriyetdailynews.com/president-erdogan-files-complaint-against-german-comedian-over-tv-poem.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97679&NewsCatID=509

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Eight wounded as rocket projectiles land in Turkey’s Kilis for second time

April 12 2016

Eight people were wounded on April 12 when two rocket projectiles fired from Syria landed in the southern province of Kilis, marking the second such incident in less than a day.

One of the two rocket projectiles fired from Syria landed in an empty field at around 9:45 a.m. while the other hit the first floor of a four-story hostel. Eight people were wounded in the incident with two reported to be in critical condition. The wounded were taken to the Kilis State Hospital. Some buildings and vehicles nearby the scene were also damaged. A number of ambulances and fire fighters were deployed as police took security measures.

The Kilis Governor’s Office said in a statement that the treatment of those in critical condition was ongoing.

The incident on April 12 came less than a day after three rocket projectiles hit the southern province.

Three rocket projectiles fired from a region under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria landed in Kilis on April 11, wounding 12. One of the projectiles hit a house.

Kilis Gov. Süleyman Tapsız told reporters that two of the wounded were in critical condition.

He also said that the Turkish Army had shelled ISIL positions spotted in the region within the rules of engagement right after the incident.

The southern province of Kilis has occasionally been the target of rocket projectiles from Syria.

In another recent incident, two Katyusha projectiles believed to be fired from the ISIL-controlled Bab region hit two neighborhoods of central Kilis on April 7 and wounded three.

Previously, four people were killed and another four were wounded in two separate incidents on Jan. 18 and March 8 when rocket projectiles fired from the Bab region hit a school and a neighborhood.

hurriyetdailynews.com/eight-wounded-as-rocket-projectiles-land-in-turkeys-kilis-for-second-time.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97667&NewsCatID=341

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Turkey unveils 'support package' for Antalya, Muğla to boost embattled tourism sector

April 12 2016

Turkish Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal and Labor and Social Security Minister Süleyman Soylu have revealed an employment support package to back the hard-hit tourism sector, according to Reuters.

The five-item package will be in force for the Mediterranean resort of Antalya and the Aegean province of Muğla for the next year in the initial stage but could be extended if necessary, the ministers said April 20.

This package aims to support employment and training in the sector and to offer incentives for all tourism workers, from foreign employees to newcomers, said officials.

Soylu said the package was mainly developed to support around 45,000 people who have opportunities for work in nine months of the year but have no job prospects in the remaining three months of the year.

Noting that around 95 percent of the people in question were in Antalya and Muğla, Soylu said: “The social security premiums of these 44,753 people will be covered by the Turkish Employment Organization (İŞKUR) for the three-month period in which they are not employed. The cost is estimated at around 260 million Turkish Liras [$92 million].”

Soylu said the people would be trained by İŞKUR during the three-month period in line with the needs of the sector.

Rise in early reservations by local tourists

Ünal said the number of early reservations by domestic tourists had increased over the year, noting that some 4 million early reservations had been made so far by local tourists – an increase of 25 percent compared to last year.

The number of foreign visitors coming to Turkey tumbled 10 percent in February, the biggest drop in a decade, data released by the Tourism Ministry showed on March 29. Turkey has been hit by a spate of bomb attacks this year, including two targeting tourists that were blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Istanbul, the country’s largest city and a traditional tourist draw. The number of reservation cancelations from the German market has been around 40 percent, according to tourism representatives.

The number of arrivals from Russia has also declined by over the half in the first months of the year, compared to the same period of 2015, particularly since Turkey shot down a Russian jet last year, triggering a furious Russian response.

In order to support the sector during the current troubles, the government announced a number of detailed packages. A package announced by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Feb. 22 includes a 255 million-lira grant and several mechanisms which will enable tourism firms to restructure their debts. A $6,000 fuel subsidy for each airplane carrying tourists to certain airports in Turkey has also been extended from June until September.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-unveils-support-package-for-antalya-mugla-to-boost-embattled-tourism-sector.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97680&NewsCatID=349

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Turkey provides formal education to 330,000 Syrian children: Education minister

April 12 2016

Some 330,000 Syrian children are given formal education at state schools in Turkey, Education Minister Nabi Avcı has said in Brussels, urging European states to “contribute to these efforts.”

Speaking to reporters after attending the 25th Session of the Council of Europe Conference of Education Ministers on April 11, Avcı criticized European politicians for describing their provision of social services to Syrian refugees “as though it is a big accomplishment.”

“They are making a mountain out of a molehill while we fail to explain our own accomplishments,” he said.

“In his speech at the opening of the conference, the Council of Europe Secretary General [Thorbjørn Jagland] said 300,000 refugee children were enrolled in European schools, as though this is a big accomplishment. Yes, this [figure] is correct. But Turkey currently hosts 830,000 schoolaged Syrian children and we provide formal education to 330,000 of them,” Avcı said, adding they aim to enroll a total of 450,000 Syrian children by the end of 2016.

“Instead of bragging about providing education to 300,000 Syrians, European countries and EU member states should learn from what Turkey has been doing and seek ways to provide assistance,” he added, stressing that the outcome will be “disastrous for the entire continent” if refugees’ education is neglected.

The figures provided by Avcı were consistent with a recent statement from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) head Fuat Oktay at a Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) conference in Washington D.C., where he said only 30 percent of school-age Syrian children in Turkey had access to education.

“We will provide access to education to 450,000 by the end of 2016 and to all 900,000 Syrian children by 2017,” Oktay told the audience, adding that Turkey needs the support of international organizations in order to provide education to all refugee children.

The ministerial conference in Brussels was held under the theme “Securing Democracy Through Education,” and focused on strengthening the culture of democracy, the fight against radicalization leading to terrorism, and ensuring inclusive and equitable education for all.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-provides-formal-education-to-330000-syrian-children-education-minister.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97678&NewsCatID=338

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Pakistan

160 displaced families return to S. Waziristan

Tue Apr 12 2016

TANK: Around 160 families of the temporarily displaced persons returned to their hometowns in South Waziristan Agency as the third phase of their repatriation began on Monday.

A convey of 160 families, including 1,200 people, left Khargai Transit Camp in FR Tank for their destinations in South Waziristan.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra is personally supervising the repatriation process, says a statement issued by the Governor’s House.

According to it, all arrangements for the return of the temporarily displaced persons to South Waziristan have been completed and initially, 30,000 displaced families from 39 villages of Makeen, Ladha, Sararogha, Sarwakai and Tiarza areas in South Waziristan have begun their return to homes.

The exercise will be completed until May 14.

To facilitate the returning women, two separate desks have been established for their smooth registration.

Each verified family will receive Rs35,000 compensation package as cash assistance, including Rs10,000 as transportation grant and food package for six months.

The governor directed the relevant officials to make all-out efforts for the immediate return and rehabilitation of the TDPs to their native homes, according to the statement.

He asked the officials of the FDMA that problems of TDPs be resolved on priority basis and that provision of basic facilities to the displaced persons be ensured at any cost.

Meanwhile, the repatriation of the TDPs from Kurram, Orakzai and North Waziristan agencies will begin simultaneously in the third week of April.

A total of 50,553 displaced families will be sent back to native towns.

Talking to reporters, South Waziristan political agent Zafarul Islam Khattak said 71,000 families were displaced when the ‘Rahi Nijat’ military operation was launched against militants in the region.

He said the repatriation of TDPs had begun in 2010 and that in the previous two phases, 27,000 families had returned to their native areas.

dawn.com/news/1251564/160-displaced-families-return-to-s-waziristan

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JIT submits initial report to PA on park blast

Tue Apr 12 2016

LAHORE: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in its preliminary report on the Gulshan-i-Iqbal park tragedy has revealed that only head of the suspected suicide bomber was with police and that Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed to have dispatched the attacker.

Hinting at involvement of Khorasani Group (Jamatul-Ahrar) of the TTP in the incident, the JIT submitted its first report to the Punjab Assembly on Monday.

The report was handed over to Law Minister Rana Sanaullah by the JIT, an official who is close to the development told Dawn.

Superintendent of the Police (Investigation), counter terrorism department (CTD), Lahore, Shahzada Saleem, was the convener of the five-member JIT which was constituted by the Punjab government.

The report stated that high-intensity explosive material was used in the suicide attack to cause maximum casualties.

“More than 4,300 calls were traced following the suicide blast and many Afghan colonies in Lahore were identified for search operations to trace the facilitators (of the crime) on the basis of the intelligence reports”, it said.

The JIT had sent 10 samples collected from the crime scene to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) for analysis.

The JIT report said the law-enforcement agencies had extended scope of investigations to other provinces as well on finding that Jamatul Ahrar (JuA) was behind the suicide blast.

“This banned organisation (JuA) was also behind the massive terror activities, including Wagha Border and Youhanabad Churches attacks etc”, the report reads.

It further stated that some terrorists belonging to the banned outfit were already in the CTD’s custody and two of them had been handed down life imprisonment by courts.

It said total 71 people, including the suspected bomber, died while 352 others got injured in the suicide attack on the park.

All the bodies after proper verification and identification had been handed over to the victims’ families except one (of the suspected suicide bomber), it said.

The report also carried consolidated data of the 70 people who lost their lives in the blast. Of them, 28 were male Muslims, 19 female Muslims, four Muslim children, 13 Christian males, three Christian females and three Christian children. Of the total, 51 Muslims died in the attack, it added.

The report said the DNA test of the suspected suicide bomber had been preserved.

The photo of the suspected suicide attacker released by the banned outfit to some media outlets had been dispatched to Nadra, Islamabad, for identification and the report was awaited, the report said.

It mentioned that PFSA carried image analysis of the photo of suspect (released by the TTP) and the partially damaged head found from the crime scene.

The agency’s report had indicated that the “ear” of the suspected bomber matched with the reference photo.

“A massive crackdown was being planned for the arrest of the possible facilitators of the banned terror outfit being housed in these (Afghans’) colonies”, the report concluded.

dawn.com/news/1251610/jit-submits-initial-report-to-pa-on-park-blast

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84 stranded foreigners moved out of Kaghan

Tue Apr 12 2016

MANSEHRA: The local administration on Monday shifted 84 foreign tourists to Islamabad after they remained stranded in Kaghan valley for around 10 hours due to landslides.

The tourists, all from Thailand, were returning to the federal capital from Shogran resort in Mansehra district when they’re stuck on the Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad Road due to heavy landslides between Kuwai and Ghanool.

“After the reopening of the road, all the marooned foreigners have safely been escorted to Islamabad. None of them was unhurt,” local deputy commissioner Iqbal Hussain told reporters here.

He said the administration deployed a large number of policemen in the area, where tourists were stranded, before heavy machinery was sent in to clear the area of landslides for traffic.

The deputy commissioner said the local tourists, who were also stranded in the valley, had also left for their respective destinations.

Balakot assistant commissioner Roman Barhana led the rescue operation.

Meanwhile, the Karakoram Highway at various places in Kohistan wasn’t opened to traffic even nine days after damage by flash floods in the Indus.

Admin cleared road 10 hours after closure by landslides

The personnel of the Frontier Works Organisation and district administration spent the entire day repairing the highway.

The administration says the highway will take a couple of days to reopen if there’re no more rains.

The people, including visitors, stranded between Dasu and Chilas complained they faced severe shortage of foods and petroleum products due to the KKH blockade.

RESOLUTION FOR HAZARA PROVINCE: The Mansehra tehsil council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution to demand that both the federal and provincial governments jointly work to declare Hazara a separate province.

During a session chaired by convener Mohsin Ali, all members both from the treasury and opposition benches raised hands to approve the resolution.

The members of the opposition PTI and PPP later walked out of the hall complaining about discrimination in the distribution of development funds among councillors.

They said they’re given less funds compared to treasury members and that they would continue with the boycott until the corrective measures were not taken.

Nazim Khurram Khan and others later convinced them to get back to the session promising early resolution of their grievances.

The women councillors demanded funds equal to men’s.

Sajjad Ahmad Paracha of the PML-N asked the convener to distribute the male members’ honorariums among women colleagues, who, he said, didn’t have any source of income.

The nazim complained his office had become symbolic in the wake of the amendments to the Local Government Act 2013.

“All development schemes formally proposed by the councillors both from the treasury and opposition benches have been rejected by the provincial government,” he said.

The nazim said the local government system had its objective after the provincial government cut down the powers of LG representatives.

“We will soon agitate to get due rights back from assistant commissioners,” he said.

dawn.com/news/1251569/84-stranded-foreigners-moved-out-of-kaghan

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Unidentified gunmen kill DSP Shangla in TTP-claimed attack

Tue Apr 12 2016

MINGORA: Unidentified gunmen killed Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shangla Muhammad Ilyas and injured two of the police officer's' guards in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Swat district on Tuesday.

The assailants opened fire on the DSP's vehicle in Mingora's Sabzi Mandi area, where he was on a visit, leaving him and two of his guards seriously injured, police said. The gunmen fled the scene of the attack.

The DSP and his guards were taken to a nearby hospital where the senior police official was declared dead by doctors.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Muhammad Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack in an email sent to journalists but police and law enforcers are yet to identify the culprits.

dawn.com/news/1251631/unidentified-gunmen-kill-dsp-shangla-in-ttp-claimed-attack

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Africa

Egypt's president under fire over Red Sea islands transfer to Saudi Arabia

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has been criticised at home and abroad for agreeing to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia that have been controlled directly from Cairo for more than 60 years.

The deal on Tiran and Sanafir paves the way for the construction of a bridge linking Saudi Arabia to Sharm el-Sheikh, at the tip of the Sinai peninsula. It was announced at the weekend during a visit by King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

The agreement, which the government said had been negotiated over six years, immediately became embroiled in the polarised politics of Egypt and the geopolitical rivalries of a bitterly divided Middle East.

Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram described “a huge wave of controversy and confusion” as five people who protested against the decision were arrested at the weekend before being released on Monday. The agreement is subject to a vote in parliament, but critics insisted that a referendum should be held.

Thousands of Twitter users accused Sisi of selling the islands. #Tiran_Sanafir became the top trend in Egypt on the site, with more than 28,000 tweets posted in relation to the decision.

The uninhabited islands, once the border between the Ottoman empire and British-controlled Egypt, are strategically important because of their location on the sea route to the ports of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel. Egypt’s blockade of the Strait of Tiran in 1967 was one of the main triggers for the Arab-Israeli war, also known as the six-day war.

Generations of Egyptian schoolchildren have been taught that the islands – known for their fishing and diving – were Egyptian, and legal experts question the legitimacy of the agreement. But authorities in Cairo insisted that they had always been Saudi territory, despite being under Egyptian control since 1950.

The row generated jokes and cartoons on social media as well as angry criticism of Sisi, relating to his overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. “When Sisi sells the islands they are Saudi, but if Morsi had done that, they would have been described as Egyptian,” read one post on Facebook.

Twitter users circulated grainy footage of the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser warning of any violations of the Tiran waters, which he said were Egyptian. One cartoon showed Sisi swapping the islands for a sack of rice.

“Roll up, roll up, the island is for a billion, the pyramid for two and a couple of statues thrown in for free,” the satirist Bassem Youssef tweeted. The former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi called on Sisi and Salman to rescind the accord.

The Muslim Brotherhood said the islands had been handed over “for a fistful of dollars, or in exchange for support for government policies sanctioning murder, detentions, violations, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings”.

Media outlets in Iran, which is deeply hostile to Saudi Arabia, are also portraying the agreement as Sisi “selling” the islands to the conservative monarchy. Tehran and Riyadh are on opposite sides of the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minster, said: “Egypt did not occupy the two islands, but entered them on a Saudi request. History and documents of both countries have not shown any disagreement on the Saudi identity of both islands. But some are trying to fish in troubled waters.”

Egypt sent troops to Tiran and Sanafir in the mid-1950s in response to a Saudi request to protect them from Israeli invasion. Israel occupied them in 1967, but evacuated the islands in 1982 in line with the peace treaty with Egypt.

Salman ended a five-day visit to Egypt on Monday by signing a $1.5bn (£1.1bn) investment in housing in the Sinai region as well as an agreement to finance five years’ of Egypt’s petroleum needs at an optimal 2% interest rate.

The bridge, to be named after Salman, will facilitate pilgrimages to Mecca and promote local industry, and is likely to pass through the islands. Saudi newspaper Alriyadh described the project as the realisation of a great vision that would “join the two continents of Asia and Africa by connecting Saudi Arabia to Egypt over the water”.

Salman, speaking in parliament, said the two countries would work together to create a pan-Arab defence force, an Egyptian idea first suggested last year but apparently overtaken by Riyadh’s announcement of an anti-terrorist coalition of Islamic countries.

On Monday, the Saudi king flew on to Ankara, where he is attending an Islamic summit as part of efforts to promote a rapprochement between Egypt and Turkey following strained relations over Turkish support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/11/egypt-saudi-arabia-tiran-sanafir-red-sea-islands-transfer

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Africa needs massive justice sector reforms — NBA President

Apr 12 2016

African countries need to embark on massive reforms in the justice sector, the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Austine Alegeh (SAN) has said.

He spoke in yesterday in Lagos in his welcome address at the first African Bar Leaders’ Conference organised by the Nigerian Bar Association in collaboration with the Bar Associations and Law Societies in Africa with the theme: “Reducing Poverty and Promoting Sustainable Economic Growth in Africa through Reforms in Administration of Justice”.

He said such massive reform  would foster increased economic growth and development on the continent.

“Conversely, the failure of governments in Africa to address this issue of judicial reforms at all levels erodes public confidence in the judicial system and encourages the resort to self-help and extra-judicial means of dispute resolution thereby occasioning a state of total chaos and economic regression’, the NBA president said.

He added that the task before the Bar Associations and Law Societies in Africa therefore was to lead the discourse on judicial reforms and highlight its critical role in fostering economic growth and development.

He said as Africans, there was a dire need to work harmoniously to develop the continent and foster economic ties across borders irrespective of cultural diversity and religious affiliations.

dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/africa-needs-massive-justice-sector-reforms-nba-president/142114.html

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Mozambique among African countries with high prevalence of child marriages

Apr 12 2016

Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare Cidalia Chauque says Mozambique is among seven African countries with the highest prevalence of child marriages.

Chauque was addressing the launch of the National Strategy for the Fight against Child Marriages, which brings together members of the government and its national and international partners.

Citing data from the most recent edition of the Demographic and Health Survey, published by the National Statistics Institute, she said that 14 percent of Mozambican women aged between 20 and 24 had married before the age of 15, and 48 percent before they were 18 years old.

Chauque said child marriages said are a violation of children’s rights and have serious consequences for the development of children and of society as a whole.

The government has therefore been taking actions to prevent and fight against this phenomenon.

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Africa worried droughts could spark communal wars

ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE negative impacts of climate change could spark inter-communal clashes in Africa hence the need for coordinated international efforts to mitigate the impact of global warming.

This is according to the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) following its meeting in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, under the theme, Climate Change: State Fragility, Peace and Security in Africa.

”In a communiqué issued after the council’s 585th meeting, the PSC noted the continued to suffer from climate change and its adverse effects.

Effects include, El Nino-related droughts, floods, erratic rainfalls, desertification, and the attendant humanitarian disasters, including food insecurity, internal displacement of populations, loss of livelihoods of farming communities and putting stress on the limited resources available.

“Council and participants also acknowledged that the impacts of climate change are potential triggers of inter-communal violence, particularly in pastoral communities,” PSC stated.

In that regard, PSC stressed the need for AU member states to share international expertise in mitigating the impacts of climate change,including in terms of contributing towards building the capacity of the states for sustainable harvesting, use and management of underground water.

PSC expressed solidarity with the countries most affected by climate change in the continent.

“In this regard, Council and participants appealed to those member states, which are in a position to do so, to provide humanitarian assistance to the countries most affected by climate-change related humanitarian crises.”

Most countries in the continent have suffered severe droughts andinclement weather blamed on climate change.Climate change refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near earth’s surface, caused mostly by increasingconcentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.Despite being the least contributor to the problem, Africa is worst affected.

cajnewsafrica.com/2016/04/12/africa-worried-droughts-could-spark-communal-wars/

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Europe

Over one in three UK Muslims believe 'Jews have too much power'

4/12/2016

More than one out of every three Muslims in the UK believe that "Jews have too much power," a new survey has found.

The poll, which was carried out by Britain's Channel 4, found that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are much more common among Muslims than among other Brits. In particular, British Muslims are more likely to believe that Jews have too much power in general, as well as having too much power in the government, media, international banking and businesses.

The survey questioned 1,081 Muslims and 1,008 non-Muslims, and will be fully presented as part of a documentary titled "What British Muslims Really Think" on Wednesday.

Only 26 percent of the Muslim respondents said that anti-Semitism is "a problem" in modern Britain, compared with 46 percent of non-Muslims.

As mentioned above, 35 percent of Muslims agreed that Jewish people have too much power in the UK. Only nine percent of non-Muslims said the same.

When questioned about specific fields, 39 percent of Muslim respondents said Jews have too much control over the media and 44 percent said Jews have too much power in businesses. 10 and 18 percent of non-Muslims said the same, respectively.

More than a quarter of Muslim respondents, 26 percent, believe that Jews are responsible for most wars around the world. A mere six percent of non-Muslim Brits agreed with this.

Forty percent of Muslims claimed that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the UK, 27 percent said that Jews are hated because of the way they behave, and 34 percent said Jews talk "too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust."

Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the host of What British Muslims Really Think, said that the poll's results are "extremely worrying."

During an interview on BBC Radio 4, he explained that "on specific issues – families, sexuality, gender, attitudes towards Jews and on questions of violence and terrorism – the center of gravity of British Muslim opinion is some distance away from the center of gravity of everyone else’s opinion."

Phillips added that these results show more than just different opinions and political preferences.

"One in six Muslims say they would like to live more separately, a quarter would like to live under sharia law. It means that as a society we have a group of people who basically do not want to participate in the way that other people [do].

"What we also found is that there is a correspondence between this desire to live separately and sympathy for terrorism. People who want to live separately are about twice as likely to say that they have sympathy for terrorist acts. Anybody, including most people in the Muslim community, would find that extremely worrying."

israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210743

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Ayatollah: European Nationality of Terrorists in Recent Attacks Shows West Isn’t Serious About Fighting Terrorism

April 12, 2016

(CNSNews.com) – Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the fact that perpetrators of recent terrorist attacks in Europe were European nationals proves that the West, especially the United States, is not serious about fighting against terrorism, according to a report on his official website.

The report said that Khamenei, during a meeting on Monday night with the visiting president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, drew attention both to the European nationality of terrorists involved in the attacks in Europe and the fact many European nationals have joined terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.

“The Leader of the Islamic Revolution highlighted the European nationality of the perpetrators of terrorist incidents in Europe and the massive presence of people from these countries in the ranks of terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq, adding: ‘These realities prove the lack of seriousness on the part of the West, particularly Americans, in the fight on terrorism,’ ” the report stated.

“Certain powers, particularly America, are not honest and serious in their alleged fight against terrorism, but Muslim countries can save the Muslim world from this threat through honest cooperation,” it quoted him as saying.

Iran’s Mehr news agency, in a report on Khamenei’s meeting with Nazarbayev, quoted him as saying, “the fact that all terrorists engaged in acts of terrorism within the past months had European nationalities belie their purported attempts to fight terrorism.”

The identified perpetrators of and suspects in the terrorist attacks in Paris last November and in Brussels last month are Muslim nationals of European countries, all of them of Arab descent.

They include Belgian and French nationals, of mostly Moroccan but also Algerian descent. A group of suspects apprehended in Brussels on Friday included a Swedish national of Syrian heritage.

The report on Khamenei’s website said the ayatollah also accused Western countries of differentiating between “good” and “bad” categories of terrorists, repeating his frequent charge that the U.S. supports Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

“Today, Muslim countries are on the one hand facing the threat of terrorist groups that are acting in the name of Islam and, in fact, against Islam and Muslims, while on the other hand, certain Western powers are not willing to see Muslim countries united and standing by one another,” he said.

Confronted by Western “double standards,” Islamic countries must enhance their cooperation, Khamenei was quoted as telling Nazarbayev.

Kazakhstan’s president was also quoted as blaming Western policies in the region for the spread of terrorism.

“Terrorism and the flood of migration of refugees, in fact, stem from the Western governments’ actions against legal governments in regional countries, because when a stable central government is unseated in a country, terrorism will take its place,” Nazarbayev said.

He expressed support for Khamenei’s appeal for Muslim unity.

“We must show to the entire world that Islam is the religion of progress, unity and fight against terrorism,” he said.

cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/ayatollah-european-nationality-terrorists-recent-attacks-shows-west

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North America

Why Muslims feel targeted in America’s most livable city

April 12, 2016

PORTLAND, OREGON—Guilt by association. It’s the centrepiece of both Donald Trump’s and Ted Cruz’s policies toward Islam. And it’s something Muslims in this bastion of Pacific Northwest liberalism know a lot about. They have been struggling against innuendo, stereotyping, and mistrust since 9/11.

“We have people living in our country that want to do great harm to our country,” Trump told CBS News after the Brussels attacks. Asked whether Americans should profile their neighbours, he replied, “Everybody should watch out.”

Portland’s Muslims feel like that has been the U.S. government’s approach to them for the past 15 years.

Just ask Brandon Mayfield. A Portland lawyer and military veteran who converted to Islam when he married his Egyptian-American wife, Mayfield was accused of being involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed at least 191 and injured as many as 2,000.

The evidence seemed pretty damning: A fingerprint on an unexploded bomb in Spain that was a “100 per cent match” to Mayfield, according to the FBI. Except that it wasn’t. The Spanish, who never thought the fingerprint belonged to Mayfield, eventually arrested an Algerian national who was a match.

“Being Muslim was the circumstantial evidence of my guilt,” Mayfield, who was eventually freed and paid $2 million (U.S.) in compensation, told me when we met at a coffee shop in a strip mall outside Portland. He’s not alone. The city has been a hot spot for the prosecution of Muslims by federal law enforcement.

There is nothing about Portland that would seem to single it out for such attention. There are plenty of larger Muslim communities in America. It’s not poverty-ridden or crime-plagued. It hasn’t seen a flood of new arrivals from abroad.

But talk to Portland’s Muslims, or the lawyers who have defended them, about why they seem to have been targeted, and the most common answer is the FBI. The city of Portland pulled its police force out of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) after the Mayfield imbroglio. When a divided city council in 2015 voted to resume co-operation with the JTTF, Portland’s mayor, who cast the deciding vote, said it was one of the toughest decisions he ever made.

In the array of prosecutions and investigations in Portland since 9/11, even when the accused were found guilty, the cases have been surrounded by complaints of alleged entrapment, use of undercover informants, and a game of six degrees of separation from Osama bin Laden.

“This is a tax fraud case that was transformed into a trial on terrorism,” the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in ordering a new trial in the case of an Iranian-American who ran an Oregon-based Muslim charity. “The appeal illustrates the fine line between the government’s use of relevant evidence to document motive for a coverup and its use of inflammatory, unrelated evidence about [Osama bin Laden] and terrorist activity that prejudices the jury.”

In the Mayfield case, an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General concluded that Mayfield’s religion and circle of contacts in the Muslim community “likely contributed to the examiners’ failure to sufficiently reconsider” the fingerprint identification after questions were raised.

Those cases, and others that people here believe involved unfair targeting of Muslims, took place under George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Now there’s Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

“We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighbourhoods before they become radicalized,” Cruz said in response to the Brussels attacks.

Such a directive strikes a particular chord in Portland.

“The Muslim community here understands what he is proposing because we have been under surveillance for many years,” says Kayse Jama, the Somalia-born executive director of Portland’s Center for Intercultural Organizing. “Pitting neighbour against neighbour and ordering law enforcement to focus on Muslims and not others is dangerous and against American values.”

Sarah Eltantawi, a professor of comparative religion at the Evergreen State College in neighbouring Washington, agrees. “It’s plainly unconstitutional, boorish, base, and counterproductive,” playing into the narrative “[Daesh] and their fellow travellers want to advance,” she says.

The obvious question Muslims in Portland and across the country are asking: Does Cruz want to “secure” Muslims from something — or “secure” them in somewhere?

“It’s a recipe for a police state to have neighbourhoods patrolled based on religion,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told me. “What constitutes a Muslim community? Is it a Muslim couple? Ten Muslims? One hundred? Is it going to be, ‘show us your papers’? Checkpoints? Midnight raids? It is reminiscent of the Stasi in Hitler’s Germany, not the American government in 2016.”

Anyone who has watched protestors get beaten up at Trump rallies knows the power of words among zealots — including, sometimes, those who wear a badge.

“Fear fomented at the top trickles down and drives so many of the actions of the individuals on the ground,” says Steven Wax, who headed the federal public defender’s office in Portland for 31 years and defended Mayfield and others accused of terrorism, including several Guantanamo detainees. “If you’re a true believer, you ignore facts because you believe so strongly in your mission and start to believe in your own infallibility.”

A recent YouGov poll found that 74 per cent of Republicans support Cruz’s proposal for patrols and 51 per cent of all Americans endorse Trump’s ban on Muslim entry into the United States (except, of course, for Trump’s rich Muslim friends).

Many immigrants in Portland’s Muslim community have seen what happens when true believers are inflamed by the magniloquence of a charismatic leader; none more so than the city’s 500 Bosnian Muslim families, refugees of the Serbian pogrom against them in the 1990s.

“Everything started with hate speech, with inflammatory rhetoric. And then genocide,” Imam Abdullah Polovina, a refugee of the war, told me, his voice dropping to a whisper. “Not just one city, all over.”

The FBI’s use of undercover operatives in several Portland cases has created a climate of suspicion among the city’s roughly 50,000 Muslims — a mix of ethnicities including Pakistanis, Arabs, Turks, African-Americans, and Caucasians.

“The first time I met with the FBI, I told them, FBI equals fear in the Muslim community. Police department and the sheriff equals compassion, trust,” says Salma Ahmad, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Portland.

That aspect of the Portland experience has played out in Muslim communities across the country. A 2014 study from Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on a pattern of FBI “sting” operations: In some cases, the FBI “may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by conducting sting operations that facilitated or invented the target’s willingness to act.” A 2012 report by the NYU School of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice warned that federal agents “rely on the abusive use of informants,” exaggerating the threat of homegrown terrorism.

A now-discredited 2007 report by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on the “homegrown” threat from “Islamic-based terrorism” warned that while American Muslims “are more resistant” to the extremist jihadi ideology, “the powerful gravitational pull of individuals’ religious roots and identity sometimes supersedes the assimilating nature of American society.”

In other words, no matter how much they may look like you and me, they can’t be trusted. “They’re protecting each other,” Trump said in mid-March, accusing American and British Muslims of failing to report radicals, while Cruz has criticized the NYPD for dropping a mosque surveillance program that the program’s chief testified never produced a single prosecution.

The dichotomy between local Portland officials who built bridges and federal authorities perceived as antagonistic is one reason that despite a deep-seated suspicion about Trump, Cruz, and their ilk, Portland’s Muslims still cling — almost desperately — to a conviction that the America they love will not abandon them.

Last month, the city council in Beaverton, a Portland suburb that is home to Nike, passed a resolution to “declare support for the Muslim community and reaffirm Beaverton as a welcoming city” for immigrants. Portland passed a similar resolution in December after Trump’s call for Muslims to be banned from entering the United States. “Presidential candidates have the right to say dumb things, and we have the right to censor them for it,” Commissioner Nick Fish said at the time.

For Salma Ahmad, the resolutions only confirmed her belief in the country that has been her home for 50 years. “I treasure in my heart the Constitution, because it is my protection,” says the Philippine-born Ahmad, who was a guest at Obama’s State of the Union address in January and has served as a liaison between the FBI and Portland’s Muslims.

But many in the community remain on edge. “You have a good number of people who cannot deal with the pressure, and they just isolate themselves,” says Imam Polovina.

60 per cent of American Muslims say they have suffered religious discrimination in the past year, according to the ISPU poll. Oregonians have not been spared.

In early March, a Buddhist monk was assaulted and called a “f---ing Muslim” in the southern Oregon town of Hood River. Last month, an elderly Afghan man was beaten to death in his home in a Portland suburb, and while police said it did not appear to be a hate crime, many here are still suspicious.

And Portland Muslims say rude comments — particularly to women wearing hijab — are all too common. When Dana Ghazi, the president of the student’s association at Portland State University, ran for office on an anti-racist, anti-homophobic platform, she “received emails and tweets that aimed at attacking my identity as a Middle Eastern Muslim immigrant rather than discussing my politics.”

Meanwhile, there is continued suspicion that the community is still infiltrated by informers.

“The mosque is supposed to be a place where we can relax and embrace each other, but people don’t want to embrace someone and then find out he is an informant,” says Ahmad. Imam Polovina agrees: “Some of our people don’t even trust me, because in Bosnia, the government made some imams into spies.”

Mayfield was subject to surveillance, including eavesdropping devices in his home, for almost a year. The affidavit for his arrest made much of the fact that he was Muslim: He had done the legal work to arrange custody for the son of a local Muslim convicted of terrorism; he ran ads for his immigration and family law practice in a local Muslim community newspaper; he was seen driving past his mosque “several times a day.” And so it went.

But Mayfield’s case is just one among many that have rocked the Portland Muslim community. One of the most sensational was the conviction of the so-called “Portland Seven,” a group of men who set out to join the anti-American jihad in Afghanistan. Only one made it and was killed there; the rest were arrested on a tip from an FBI informant when they returned home. Other high-profile cases involved Mohamed Osman Mohamud, given a 30-year sentence for attempting to set off an explosive device at the city’s Christmas tree lighting, and Reaz Khan, convicted of sending money to someone who became a suicide bomber in Pakistan.

Some in the Portland community say even the convictions are the result of entrapment. In Mohamud’s case, the FBI’s own internal emails said their agents’ assessment was that the then-19-year-old Somali-American was not capable of planning and executing the bombing on his own. The “bomb” he used was a fake supplied by the FBI. His case is on appeal. And then there are those against whom the evidence was circumstantial at best. Pirouz Sedaghaty (who uses the name Pete Seda), the publisher of that local Muslim community newspaper cited in Mayfield’s affidavit, is a case in point. He was sentenced to 33 months in prison for tax fraud in a trial that centred on claims he funnelled money to terrorists through his Ashland, Oregon-based charity. After a media frenzy, the verdict was overturned when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a simple tax fraud case had been transformed into a terrorism trial.

Meanwhile, Eritrean-born Yonas Fikre claims he was interrogated and tortured in Dubai for 106 days after refusing an FBI request to return to serve as an informant in Portland’s biggest mosque, Masjed As-Saber.

Rahman says it was “the stupidity” of the Portland Seven that put the city’s Muslim community “on the map” for federal law enforcement agencies. “They paid the price, but they took the rest of the community with them,” he says. Others believe it was a “crusade” by overzealous members of the FBI’s JTTF.

Either way, the drama — or trauma — isn’t over.

thestar.com/news/world/2016/04/11/why-muslims-feel-targeted-in-americas-most-livable-city.html

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American Muslims hope to change minds

April 12, 2016

Tonight an American Muslim group wants to tell people that terrorists like ISIS and al Qaeda do not represent the religion of Islam.

Imam Mubashar Ahmad of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community says the news has not been good.

"You see it's all over the world, these terrorists are doing damage not only to the lives of the people but to the very religion and teaching of Islam," he said.

Ahmad has been working to clear up misunderstandings he says terrorists have created about Islam. Suicide bombings, for example, should not be considered martyrdom:

"Killing yourself, suicide, in Islam, is a sin," he explained. "In a way, an unforgivable sin, because after a person commits a sin, he or she can repent for that. But once you blow up yourself and you commit a suicide, you don't leave the room for...remorse or repentance.'

He says Islam prohibits suicide for any reason.

Ahmad says they hope they can change minds, and points out the good the Muslim community has done -- for example, since September 11, 2001, he says Muslims have held blood drives that have collected tens of thousands of unites per year, helping to save lives.

The event tonight is at 7:00 p.m. at Loyola's main campus. Also attending will be Jeffery Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge, FBI New Orleans, and United States Attorney Ken Polite.

wwl.com/pages/22657834.php?

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Frank Gaffney Is Outraged That Muslim-Americans Are Meeting With Members Of Congress

4/11/2016

Today on “Sandy Rios In The Morning,” Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy expressed outrage that the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations has organized an “advocacy day” on Capitol Hill, despite the fact that groups across the political spectrum have organized similar lobby days where activists meet with lawmakers and congressional aides. The event page notes:

USCMO’S advocacy day event will focus on promoting a legislative agenda in support of equality and social justice issues that will be of benefit to all Americans, regardless of faith or background, including:

• Support for House and Senate resolutions recognizing and condemning Islamophobia.

• Support legislation that enables individuals to build a credit history without taking on credit debt.

• Support legislation that promotes greater access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods in impoverished areas.

• Address American Muslim community concerns regarding the oversight, management and approach of federal Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs.

Naturally, Gaffney said that the real goal of the occasion is to push Sharia law:

What they’re trying to do is essentially engage in influence operations. This isn’t to say like any other American citizen they don’t have the right to petition their elected representatives. What is worrying, though, is that as part of the larger Muslim Brotherhood operation inside the United States, this relatively new group, of which the Council on American-Islamic Relations is a part, called the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, USCMO, is trying to take political influence to a new level, and that is to actually build political muscle to compel legislators or other would-be elected officials to conform to their demands.

And their demands, unfortunately, are to obtain all kinds of accommodations, perhaps most worryingly, of the kind that would enable them to insinuate this really totalitarian program they call Sharia inside our country. I think that’s the agenda here and it’s very troubling indeed.

Something tells us that he wouldn’t label the many lobby days assembled by other groups “influence operations” or say that by sitting down with their elected representatives they are engaging in an insidious plot “to take political influence to a new level.”

Gaffney serves as a national security adviser to Ted Cruz along with his Center for Security Policy colleague Clare Lopez, who voiced similar anger about an effort to get Muslim-Americans out to vote.

rightwingwatch.org/content/frank-gaffney-outraged-muslim-americans-are-meeting-members-congress

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/malaysia-politician-s-office-attacked-after-he-describes-zakir-naik-as--satan-/d/106963

 

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