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Islamic World News ( 19 Dec 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Muslim Teen Pens Winning Essay in Rajasthan Gita Contest


New Age Islam News Bureau

20 Dec 2017

Photo: Nadeem Khan has been declared the winner of a state-level Sanskrit essay competition on Bhagvad Gita.

 

 US Warns Pakistan on Hafiz Saeed, Says They 'Have Concerns' About Him Standing For Elections

 Turkey Bans New Year Celebrations at Taksim Square

 Myanmar Bans UN Rights Envoy from Country

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India

 Muslim Teen Pens Winning Essay In Rajasthan Gita Contest

 Muslim Bodies Not Consulted On Triple Talaq Bill: Government

 Salman Sayyed: Selling Books at Signal to Studying Them at US Varsity

 Pakistan grants visas to KulbhushanJadhav's mother and wife

 Over 500 Indians in Pakistani jails: Report

---------

North America

 US Warns Pakistan on Hafiz Saeed, Says They 'Have Concerns' About Him Standing For Elections

 US To Pakistan: Take 'Decisive Action' Against Terror Groups

 US Army Conducts Heliborne Operation to Take Terrorists Away from Deir Ezzur

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Mideast

 Turkey Bans New Year Celebrations at Taksim Square

 Turkish PM Urges Global Campaign for Rohingya Muslims

 Iran 'strongly denies' arming Yemen rebels

 Israeli Forces Open Fire at Palestinian Protesters in Gaza

 Jews and Muslims are becoming more polarised by fear and insecurity

 Terrorist Commanders Escaping from Syria to Turkey with Hefty Amount of Money

 Trump’s Mistake on Quds Boosted Unity among Muslims: Iranian President

---------

Southeast Asia

 Myanmar Bans UN Rights Envoy from Country

 Rohingya Refugees to Start Returning From January: Officials

 Big Brother watching: China's 'thought police' surveils, strikes fear in Muslim minority

 Three Venture Capitalists Show Interest In Malaysia's Islamic Digital Economy

 Ten bodies found in Myanmar mass grave: Army

---------

South Asia

 14 Taliban Killed in Clashes with Afghan Forces in Helmand

 ISIS Shadow Judge among 5 Killed In Afghan Forces Operations

 At least 5 killed, 7 injured in security forces operations in Eastern Afghanistan

 Taliban leader behind recent Helmand violence killed in airstrike

 Jamiat-e-Islami issues tough warning regarding govt’s decision about Noor

---------

Europe

 Ignore Non-Muslim Doctors, UK Islamic Radio Station Tells Listeners

 Sweden Perturbed by Surge of Islamic Anti-Semitism

 Muslim charities undervalued at Christmas, say MPs in report

 Russia deploys heavy military equipment on Afghanistan-Tajikistan border

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Pakistan

 Pakistan’s First National Flag Missing

 Terror Bid Targeting Balochistan Governor Foiled

 Pakistan condemns Yemen missile attack targeting Saudi royal palace

 Corruption trial against Ishaq Dar temporarily halted by IHC

 Afghan soil being used by hostile elements, claims Pakistan

---------

Africa

 Buhari Tells Islamic Clerics What to Do In Their Mosques

 Egyptian Forces Clash with Militants near Sinai Airport

 We are Not IMN! We are Muslims!

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Arab World

 Blinded In One Eye, Syrian Baby Becomes Symbol of Siege

 Air Strikes Kill 19 Civilians in Northwest Syria: Monitor

 Saudi-led coalition says to keep main Yemen port open for a month despite missile attack

 Al-Nusra's Main Command Centre Destroyed in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Hama

 Six Islamic State militants killed in campaign, south-eastern Mosul: Officer

 Syrian Army Imposes Control over Entire Supply Lines of Terrorists in Western Damascus

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/muslim-teen-pens-winning-essay-in-rajasthan-gita-contest/d/113634

 

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Muslim teen pens winning essay in Rajasthan Gita contest

Shoeb Khan | TNN | Updated: Dec 20, 2017, 07:06 IST

Photo: Nadeem Khan has been declared the winner of a state-level Sanskrit essay competition on Bhagvad Gita.

------

JAIPUR: A self-confessed Sanskrit lover, 16-year-old Nadeem Khan has been declared the winner of a state-level Sanskrit essay competition on Bhagvad Gita in the Rajasthan capital.

At a 'Gita Fest' organised by the Akshaya Patra Foundation that concluded on Monday, two other Muslim students from Jaipur, Zaheen Naqvi of Class II and ZorabiaNagori of Class IV, also bagged top positions in a contest on the recitation of Gita verses.

The winners will receive their awards on Wednesday. A student of Class X at a government s chool, Khan, the son of a labourer, has had a keen interest in Sanskrit language ever since it was introduced in his curriculum in Class VI. "I find this language best among all known to me. I never found it alien despite the fact that I rarely get a chance to speak it, even in my class. The competition has acknowledged my devotion for the language," said Khan.

"In my Sanskrit class, the teacher rarely speaks the language. They ask us to only focus on writing in Sanskrit. I am not fluent in speaking Sanskrit," he added. The teenager, however, will not able to make it to the award ceremony. "I have an exam on Wednesday but my parents and grandmother will collect the prize on my behalf," said Khan.

The foundation organised three competitions - essay on Gita, recitation of Gita verses and handwriting competitions - which saw participation by over 8,000 students from 200 schools across Rajasthan.

Tanveer Ahmed, a government employee in the health department, was upbeat about daughter Zaheen's win. "My daughter worked very hard. Every day she would memorise verses from the Gita for hours to improve her diction and pronunciation. It's a proud moment for us," said Ahmed.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/muslim-teen-pens-winning-essay-in-rajasthan-gita-contest/articleshow/62142722.cms

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US warns Pakistan on Hafiz Saeed, says they 'have concerns' about him standing for elections

ShailajaNeelakantan | TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Dec 20, 2017

Hafiz Saeed

-------

NEW DELHI: The US said today it has strong concerns about 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind and Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed running for elections like he's said he would.

It said that it hopes Pakistan "does the right thing" in not allowing that to happen and added that it "want(s) to make...clear so that everybody knows", that the US has put a bounty of $10 million on Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The UN also designated Saeed a terrorist in December 2008, a month after LeT operatives carried out the Mumbai terror attacks that killed 164 people.

Saeed, who was released from house arrest late last month, said he and his associates will contest next year's national election in Pakistan under the banner of the Milli Muslim League (MML).

"I can tell you that his organization - his organization that was responsible for those attacks - is considered a foreign terror organization. It's considered a foreign terror organization by the U.S. Government for a reason and for a good reason...I hope they'll do the right thing," said US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, referring to the Pakistan government.

In September, Pakistan's Election Commission refused to recognise the MML as a legitimate political party and warned electoral candidates not to use the party's name in election campaigns, reported Pakistani newspaper Dawn. But India, the US and several other countries are worried after the Lahore High Court ordered Saeed's release, something they didn't expect. They fear that Pakistan, as is its wont, will look the other way.

That's why the US said today it wants to remind everyone that the US considers Saeed a terrorist and his LeT a terror organisation.

"I can tell you that his organization - his organization that was responsible for those attacks - is considered a foreign terror organization. It's considered a foreign terror organization by the U.S. Government for a reason and for a good reason," said the US State Department's Nauert.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/us-warns-pakistan-on-hafiz-saeed-says-hope-they-do-right-thing/articleshow/62143651.cms

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Turkey bans New Year celebrations at Taksim Square

20 Dec 2017

Istanbul: Turkish authorities will not allow New Year celebrations at Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square for security reasons, state media reported Wednesday, quoting local officials.

Ismail Kilic, local police chief of Istanbul's Beyoglu district, said security measures had been doubled this year following a string of attacks over the past two years.

"Measures for New Year will be at the highest level," he was quoted as saying by state-run news agency Anadolu.

Turkey has suffered a series of terror attacks attributed to Kurdish militants and the Islamic State group, including a shooting at popular Istanbul nightclub Reina during a New Year 2016-17 party in which 39 people were killed.

Images released by police during the manhunt for the attacker were taken from a chilling silent video the IS gunman AbdulgadirMasharipov purportedly took on Taksim Square with a selfie stick, before going to the elite waterside nightclub to carry out the attack.

"We will double the measures because the Reina assailant changed his location having seen the measures at Taksim," Kilic said.

After his capture in a police raid, Masharipov, an Uzbek citizen, confessed to the shooting and reportedly said he was ordered to scout for a new target by IS leaders as Taksim was not suitable for an attack.

The suspect said he later took a taxi for a tour along the shores of the Bosphorus at around 1900 GMT when he spotted the Reina nightclub. "It didn't look like security measures were high," he said.

The Islamic State group took responsibility for the bloodbath, the first time it has openly claimed a major attack in Turkey.

Of the 39 people killed in the Reina attack -- which took place just 75 minutes into 2017 -- 27 were foreigners, including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Morocco.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Turkey-bans-New-Year-celebrations-at-Taksim-Square

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Myanmar bans UN rights envoy from country

20 Dec 2017

Geneva: The UN's rights envoy for Myanmar said Wednesday the government had banned her from the country, adding her exclusion suggests something "awful" is happening in Rakhine state.

UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee had been due to visit Myanmar in January to assess the state of human rights across the country including in Rakhine, which was plunged into crisis by a military crackdown on the Rohingya minority Muslim community in late August.

Some 655,000 of them have fled for Bangladesh since then, with accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country.

The UN has accused troops of ethnic cleansing and possible "elements of genocide" against the Rohingya -- charges the government vigorously denies as it faces intense global outrage.

"I am puzzled and disappointed by this decision by the Myanmar government," said Lee, who is required to go to the country twice a year in order to report to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

"This declaration of non-cooperation with my mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country," she added.

The South Korean academic said she was told the decision was based on a statement she made after her last visit to Myanmar in July, in which she sharply criticised the government's rights record and its treatment of the Rohingya.

At the time the government criticised the statement as "biased and unfair".

The UN confirmed Myanmar had withdrawn all cooperation for the duration of Lee's tenure.

Myanmar's government spokesman ZawHtay said Lee had been barred because she was not unbiased.

"She is not impartial and objective while conducting her work. There is no trust on her," the spokesman said.

Lee, who has visited Myanmar six times since 2014, has consistently sounded the alarm over the persecution of the Rohingya.

The stateless group has been targeted by bouts of violence and systematically stripped of legal rights in recent decades.

But the latest crisis is the worst to rip through Rakhine state in years.

Myanmar has blocked journalists and investigators -- including a UN fact-finding team -- from independently accessing the conflict zone.

Last week two Reuters reporters were arrested for allegedly possessing documents relating to the security forces in Rakhine, raising fears that fragile press freedoms are being further eroded.

The journalists' families, lawyers and colleagues have not been told where the two are, and have not been allowed any contact with them.

The pair could face a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Myanmar-bans-UN-rights-envoy-from-country

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India

Muslim teen pens winning essay in Rajasthan Gita contest

Shoeb Khan | TNN | Updated: Dec 20, 2017, 07:06 IST

JAIPUR: A self-confessed Sanskrit lover, 16-year-old Nadeem Khan has been declared the winner of a state-level Sanskrit essay competition on Bhagvad Gita in the Rajasthan capital.

At a 'Gita Fest' organised by the Akshaya Patra Foundation that concluded on Monday, two other Muslim students from Jaipur, Zaheen Naqvi of Class II and ZorabiaNagori of Class IV, also bagged top positions in a contest on the recitation of Gita verses.

The winners will receive their awards on Wednesday. A student of Class X at a government s chool, Khan, the son of a labourer, has had a keen interest in Sanskrit language ever since it was introduced in his curriculum in Class VI. "I find this language best among all known to me. I never found it alien despite the fact that I rarely get a chance to speak it, even in my class. The competition has acknowledged my devotion for the language," said Khan.

"In my Sanskrit class, the teacher rarely speaks the language. They ask us to only focus on writing in Sanskrit. I am not fluent in speaking Sanskrit," he added. The teenager, however, will not able to make it to the award ceremony. "I have an exam on Wednesday but my parents and grandmother will collect the prize on my behalf," said Khan.

The foundation organised three competitions - essay on Gita, recitation of Gita verses and handwriting competitions - which saw participation by over 8,000 students from 200 schools across Rajasthan.

Tanveer Ahmed, a government employee in the health department, was upbeat about daughter Zaheen's win. "My daughter worked very hard. Every day she would memorise verses from the Gita for hours to improve her diction and pronunciation. It's a proud moment for us," said Ahmed.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/muslim-teen-pens-winning-essay-in-rajasthan-gita-contest/articleshow/62142722.cms

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Muslim bodies not consulted on triple talaq bill: Government

PTI|

Dec 20, 2017, 03.59 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Muslim organisations were not consulted before the government framed a draft bill to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar said the government believed that the proposed bill would help ensure gender justice, gender equality and dignity of women.

The government has maintained that since the practice of instant triple talaq or 'talaq-e-biddat' continues despite the Supreme Court stri ..

On December 15, the union cabinet cleared the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, which seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq "illegal and void" and provides for a jail term for the husband.

The husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.

The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or 'talaq-e-biddat' and it would give power to the victim to approach a m ..

On December 15, the union cabinet cleared the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, which seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq "illegal and void" and provides for a jail term for the husband.

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/muslim-bodies-not-consulted-on-triple-talaq-bill-government/articleshow/62179006.cms

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Salman Sayyed: Selling Books at Signal to Studying Them at US Varsity

Sayyed’s video went viral on social media platforms on Saturday, tracing a young boy’s journey from Haji Ali traffic signal in central Mumbai to Houston, in Texas, where he is now pursuing a course in Business Studies.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: December 17, 2017 2:24 am

SALMAN SAYYED may have summed up his life in a less-than-three-minute video but there could be a film on him, the 25-year-old jokes. A pavement dweller from Mumbai who now aims to become entrepreneur in social tourism, Sayyed’s video went viral on social media platforms on Saturday, tracing a young boy’s journey from Haji Ali traffic signal in central Mumbai to Houston, in Texas, where he is now pursuing a course in Business Studies.

“I am surprised the video went viral while I slept in the US,” Sayyed said, jokingly, from Texas on Saturday. Born on a footpath in Haji Ali area, Sayyed dropped out of school to support his family, comprising his parents, a sister with three children, her husband and a grandmother. While his mother worked as ragpicker, his father did odd jobs, and Sayyed sold second-hand books near Haji Ali signal.

“I would ask customers to explain words in the books I sold. My father had taught me basic alphabets,” he told The Sunday Express. When he was about 14, a volunteer from the NGO Akanksha Foundation, which provides aid in education, met him. “They were doing some survey. I spoke a little English, and they were impressed.”

Soon, Sayyed was coaxed to join the NGO, and study. For the next few months, he would wake up early to attend classes. In afternoon, he sold books, and spent the evenings playing. He quit after a few months — “they all spoke English. I didn’t feel comfortable.”

He does not remember his age at the time but one day, while selling books at Haji Ali signal, he wondered, “For how long will I sell books?” That was the “turning point”. He approached the NGO volunteers again and started studying. After failing in his first attempt in Class X Board examination in 2011, he reappeared the next year, and cleared it. In Class XI, funded by the NGO, he scored 91 per cent, following it up with 89 per cent in Class XII Boards.

He went on to pursue undergraduation in Sociology and worked as tour guide with Magic Tours of India alongside.

From the footpath his family moved to Kalyan, on the outskirts of Mumbai, and rented a small flat — his mother now works as a domestic help, and father photographs tourists at Haji Ali.

Last year, Sayyed came across a course under Community College Initiative, where he could study for 10 months in Houston’s Community College. He applied, and got through. “I am no different than anyone. Most of us are stuck at crossroads.. Today I want to help others like me,” he says in his video.

Ram Subramanian, former advertising professional and filmmaker who made the video on Sayyed, said even he was surprised when the video went viral from his Facebook page. “When I met him, we walked from my Khar office to home in Bandra. I realised he is very knowledgeable for his age. It is not academic knowledge — life has taught him a lot,” Subramanian, founder-director of Handloom Picture Company, said.

Sayyed has experienced the floods in Texas, joking that it is no different than Mumbai’s monsoon. The 25-year-old said several volunteers were “after my life, waking me up early morning to study”, and he now realises the importance of having that persuasion in life by an external force. Who does he think is happier, the rich or the poor. “The poor,” he replied. “We have nowhere to rush to. They (rich people) are always rushing, working.”

indianexpress.com/article/india/chapter-in-life-selling-books-at-signal-to-studying-them-at-us-varsity-salman-sayyed-4986178/

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Pakistan grants visas to KulbhushanJadhav's mother and wife

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Dec 20, 2017

NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Wednesday granted visas to jailed Indian national KulbhushanJadhav's mother and wife, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.

The visas were granted by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for the pair to visit Islamabad.

 Dr Mohammad Faisal

@ForeignOfficePk

Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi issued the visas to the mother and wife of Commander Jadhav to visit Islamabad to meet him, today.

6:23 PM - Dec 20, 2017

The neighbouring country had on Saturday announced that it had received the visa applications and was processing them.

"Visa applications of mother and wife of Commander Jadhav received for their visit on humanitarian grounds. Being processed," Dr Mohammad Faisal, the ministry's spokesperson, had tweeted.

Earlier this month, Pakistan had given Jadhav's mother and wife permission to meet him on December 25, in the presence of an Indian high commission official.

However, it has not responded to New Delhi's request for a sovereign guarantee to ensure their safety and security during the visit.

On December 13, Pakistan also rejected India's request for consular access to Jadhav, claiming that New Delhi wants the information gathered by its "spy."

The 47-year-old retired Indian Navy officer was arrested by Pakistani counter-terrorism officials in March 2016, after he was suspected of being involved in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi. A military court in April 2017 found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage" and sentenced him to death.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Over 500 Indians in Pakistani jails: Report

PTI | Updated: Dec 19, 2017

LAHORE: More than 500 Indians, mostly fishermen, are languishing in various jails in Pakistan, according to an official report.

The Interior Ministry said there were a total of 996 foreign nationals, including 527 Indians, in Pakistani jails for allegedly being involved in various crimes, including terrorism, murder, drug smuggling, and for illegally entering into the country.

Most of the Indian prisoner are fishermen who have been arrested for fishing illegally in Pakistan's territorial waters in the Arabian Sea, it said.

Fishermen from Pakistan and India are frequently taken in to custody for illegally fishing in each other's territorial waters since the Arabian Sea does not have a clearly defined marine border and the wooden boats, used by them, lack the technology to avoid them from drifting away.

Last month, 55 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency for fishing in the country's territorial waters.

Among the other foreign prisoners are, a Saudi national and two Chinese, the ministry said.

On the other hand, a total of 9,476 Pakistani nationals were in prisons in 100 countries, a Foreign Ministry official told the Lahore High Court yesterday.

While hearing a plea by families of prisoners incarcerated in the Gulf countries, the official said, majority of Pakistani prisoners abroad are in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The high court then ordered the government to place before it within two months the country's consular protection policy.

Under the policy, Pakistani missions abroad would be tasked with providing consular access to Pakistani citizens in foreign jails.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/over-500-indians-in-pakistani-jails-report/articleshow/62135124.cms

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North America

US warns Pakistan on Hafiz Saeed, says they 'have concerns' about him standing for elections

ShailajaNeelakantan | TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Dec 20, 2017

NEW DELHI: The US said today it has strong concerns about 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind and Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed running for elections like he's said he would.

It said that it hopes Pakistan "does the right thing" in not allowing that to happen and added that it "want(s) to make...clear so that everybody knows", that the US has put a bounty of $10 million on Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The UN also designated Saeed a terrorist in December 2008, a month after LeT operatives carried out the Mumbai terror attacks that killed 164 people.

Saeed, who was released from house arrest late last month, said he and his associates will contest next year's national election in Pakistan under the banner of the Milli Muslim League (MML).

"I can tell you that his organization - his organization that was responsible for those attacks - is considered a foreign terror organization. It's considered a foreign terror organization by the U.S. Government for a reason and for a good reason...I hope they'll do the right thing," said US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, referring to the Pakistan government.

In September, Pakistan's Election Commission refused to recognise the MML as a legitimate political party and warned electoral candidates not to use the party's name in election campaigns, reported Pakistani newspaper Dawn. But India, the US and several other countries are worried after the Lahore High Court ordered Saeed's release, something they didn't expect. They fear that Pakistan, as is its wont, will look the other way.

That's why the US said today it wants to remind everyone that the US considers Saeed a terrorist and his LeT a terror organisation.

"I can tell you that his organization - his organization that was responsible for those attacks - is considered a foreign terror organization. It's considered a foreign terror organization by the U.S. Government for a reason and for a good reason," said the US State Department's Nauert.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/us-warns-pakistan-on-hafiz-saeed-says-hope-they-do-right-thing/articleshow/62143651.cms

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US to Pakistan: Take 'decisive action' against terror groups

AFP | Dec 19, 2017, 08:56 IST

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has asked Pakistan to take "decisive action" against terrorist groups operating from its soil, as he unveiled America's new National Security Strategy (NSS).

Mandated by the Congress, Trump released his first National Security Strategy, according to which the US seeks a Pakistan, that is not engaged in destabilising behavior and a stable and self-reliant Afghanistan.

"We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," Trump said in his remarks as he announced his NSS.

Pakistan has received more than $33 billion from US since the 9/11 terror attacks.

"We will press Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a country's support for militants and terrorists who target a partner's own service members and officials," it said.

The US will also encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets, the NSS said.

The US will continue to partner with Afghanistan to promote peace and security in the region, it said.

"We will continue to promote anti-corruption reform in Afghanistan to increase the legitimacy of its government and reduce the appeal of violent extremist organisations," it added.

The NSS links its efforts to build trade and investment ties with Pakistan with improvement in security.

"We will press Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a country's support for militants and terrorists who target a partner's own service members and officials," it said.

Observing that the US continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan, the NSS said the prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern requiring consistent diplomatic attention.

The Trump administration has been talking tough with Pakistan after it came to power, but has stopped short of taking any action against it even though the Pakistani leadership have shown reluctance in taking decisive actions against terrorist groups.

On November 25, the White House asked Pakistan to immediately re-arrest and prosecute Hafiz Saeed, leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan's global reputation," the White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had said.

In his South Asia speech on August 21, Trump became the first US president to publicly point out for its support to terrorist outfits and leaders.

"For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror," he said and asked Pakistan to "demonstrate" its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace.

US, Trump then said, can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.

Since then top US leadership including the defense secretary Jim Mattis and the secretary of state Rex Tillerson have visited Pakistan to press the latter.

Mattis has refused to give necessary certification to Pakistan that it is taking action against Haqqani network, as a result of which blocking several hundred million coalition support funds to Islamabad.

However, in the last few weeks, top Pakistani diplomats based in the US have gone on a diplomatic overdrive to sell its narrative and have accused the Trump Administration of Indian agenda in South Asia.

During their series of public appearances at various think tanks in Washington Dc and New York, the Pakistani ambassador to the US, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, and its Permanent Representative to the United Nations MaleehaLodhi have said the pronouncement of the Trump administration "which simply puts the blame" on Pakistan and asks India to "do more" in Afghanistan is "disconcerting" for Pakistan.

Both the diplomats insisted that there is crises of governance in US and the White House "being under siege" are affecting ties with South Asia.

Foreign policy establishment is understaffed, they observed.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/us-to-pakistan-take-decisive-action-against-terror-groups/articleshow/62128492.cms

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US Army Conducts Heliborne Operation to Take Terrorists Away from DeirEzzur

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A military helicopter of the US-led coalition carried out another heliborne operation in Eastern DeirEzzur to evacuate 47 members of the ISIL terrorist group from the region to Northeastern Syria, a media outlet reported on Wednesday.

Asia news quoted well-informed sources as saying that a US military helicopter transferred 47 ISIL terrorists from the village of Sho'aytat to al-Saad camp in SoutheasternHasaka.

It added that the US helicopter landed near al-Saad in SoutheasternHasaka, adding that a number of ISIL gunmen who were injured were sent to the Kurdish-held Hasaka general hospital run by doctors without borders organization.

The Asia news further said that the ISIL terrorists had possibly surrendered to the Syrian Democratic Forces in Sho'aytat and later the US helicopters took them away.

Militant-affiliated websites released last month that three US helicopters carried out heliborne operation in al-Layezneighborhood of the town of Qaranij in Eastern DeirEzzur.

The websites further said that the US troops on the helicopters took ISIL's foreign commanders away, but killed eight militants who were mostly Syrians.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960929001086

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Mideast

Turkey bans New Year celebrations at Taksim Square

20 Dec 2017

Istanbul: Turkish authorities will not allow New Year celebrations at Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square for security reasons, state media reported Wednesday, quoting local officials.

Ismail Kilic, local police chief of Istanbul's Beyoglu district, said security measures had been doubled this year following a string of attacks over the past two years.

"Measures for New Year will be at the highest level," he was quoted as saying by state-run news agency Anadolu.

Turkey has suffered a series of terror attacks attributed to Kurdish militants and the Islamic State group, including a shooting at popular Istanbul nightclub Reina during a New Year 2016-17 party in which 39 people were killed.

Images released by police during the manhunt for the attacker were taken from a chilling silent video the IS gunman AbdulgadirMasharipov purportedly took on Taksim Square with a selfie stick, before going to the elite waterside nightclub to carry out the attack.

"We will double the measures because the Reina assailant changed his location having seen the measures at Taksim," Kilic said.

After his capture in a police raid, Masharipov, an Uzbek citizen, confessed to the shooting and reportedly said he was ordered to scout for a new target by IS leaders as Taksim was not suitable for an attack.

The suspect said he later took a taxi for a tour along the shores of the Bosphorus at around 1900 GMT when he spotted the Reina nightclub. "It didn't look like security measures were high," he said.

The Islamic State group took responsibility for the bloodbath, the first time it has openly claimed a major attack in Turkey.

Of the 39 people killed in the Reina attack -- which took place just 75 minutes into 2017 -- 27 were foreigners, including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Morocco.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Turkey-bans-New-Year-celebrations-at-Taksim-Square

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Turkish PM urges global campaign for Rohingya Muslims

Turkish primer says his country will continue to help Rohingya and final solution is to ensure their return to homeland

20.12.2017

Turkish Prime Minister BinaliYildirim on Wednesday called on the Muslim world to launch a global campaign for Rohingya refugees.

Yildirim was speaking to reporters at the Mainnaghota refugee camp, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Cox's Bazar, in southeast Bangladesh, hosting hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim fled persecution of Myanmar security forces.

He said Turkey had been doing its best to help the Rohingya people who took refuge in Bangladesh despite the geographical distance between the countries.

"It is time to turn this [Rohingya] issue into an international campaign," said Yildirim.

Yildirim, accompanied by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister BekirBozdag and Family and the Minister of Social Policies FatmaBetulSayan Kaya, distributed food to Rohingya and toys to children.

"My call to the Muslim world and for the rest is that this is the end of humanity. If you don't work now, when will you work for the humanity?

"I hope that they [Muslim countries] will pay more attention [to the situation] here. If they want to do a blessing this is the best place, if they want to serve their religion this is the best place," the prime minister said.

"We want all countries, mainly Muslim countries, to send aid, extend their helping hand in cooperation with the Bangladeshi authorities as soon as possible."

Yildirim said his visit to the camps was part of an effort to draw the attention of the international community to the Rohingya issue as well as to observe the plight of the Rohingya. He also said that Turkish aid organizations had been conducting "an exemplary work here".

He also thanked Bangladeshi government for their efforts, support, and cooperation in the Rohingya issue.

He asserted that Ankara was in talks with Dhaka to improve the condition of Rohingya refugees and had requested Bangladeshi government to provide an area to build a permanent shelter for the refugees. "But the final solution is to ensure that they return to their homeland."

Yildirim also commented on a Rohingya repatriation deal signed Nov. 23 between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Continued support for Rohingya

"We wish that the deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar will be implemented properly," he added.

"As Turkey, we want the international community to turn its eye to the Rohingya issue," said Yildirim and pledged that Turkey would continue its support to the Rohingya.

"We will continue to highlight the Rohingya crisis at the international arena," he said.

He said the Rakhine region of Myanmar was "the land of the Rohingya people" and "it is their right to go back to their country without any facing any obstacles."

The Turkish prime minister also visited an under-construction field hospital in Balukhali camp in the area.

He handed over two ambulances to Bangladesh authority to be used for the treatment of Rohingya. As part of his visit, Yildirim talked with Rohingya refugees and listened to their suffering and their expectations.

Since Aug. 25, more than 656,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN. The refugees are fleeing a military operation that has seen security forces and Buddhist mobs kill men, women and children, loot homes and torch Rohingya villages.

he Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said that the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

Following his talks in Cox's Bazar, the prime minister and his entourage headed to Nakhichevan at 11.45 Turkish local time (0845GMT).

aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/turkish-pm-urges-global-campaign-for-rohingya-muslims/1009665

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Iran 'strongly denies' arming Yemen rebels

20 Dec 2017

Tehran: Tehran strongly denied on Wednesday that it had supplied weapons to Yemeni rebels which they used in attacks on its archfoe Saudi Arabia as alleged by both Riyadh and Washington.

"We have no arms link with Yemen," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told the ISNA news agency, after Saudi Arabia said it had intercepted a rebel missile over Riyadh on Tuesday that it suggested was "Iranian-manufactured".

"The accusation that Iran gives weapons to various groups is rejected and we strongly deny it," he said.

"Yemen is in a blockade and such possibility does not exist anyway."

The audacious attack aimed at the heart of Saudi power follows the downing of another missile last month near Riyadh airport that triggered the tightening of a Saudi-led blockade on hunger-stricken Yemen.

Weapons used by the rebels "to defend against violation and non-stop attacks" are leftovers of previous governments, Ghasemi said.

"There isn't even the possibility of sending humanitarian aid."

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling Shiite rebels in Yemen since March 2015 and has repeatedly accused Shiite Iran of backing its co-religionists.

"The possession of Iranian-manufactured ballistic weapons by terrorist organisations, including the Iran-backed Huthi militia, is a threat to regional and international security," coalition spokesman said on Tuesday.

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley described the strike as bearing "all the hallmarks of previous attacks using Iranian-provided weapons".

She said Washington would be discussing options for Security Council action against Tehran, although that immediately drew strong reservations from Moscow.

More than 8,750 people have been killed since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the beleaguered government's fight against the rebels, triggering what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Iran-strongly-denies-arming-Yemen-rebels

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Israeli Forces Open Fire at Palestinian Protesters in Gaza

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:

Dozens of Palestinian youths gathered near the border fence in protest of Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while demonstrations against the decision have been ongoing for two weeks, Middle East News reported.

US President announced early December that Washington would be recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital, stressing that the United States would relocate the embassy in the occupied lands from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The move was hailed by Israel but condemned by the rest of the international community as one which undermines the peace talks.

Washington’s al-Quds move has raised a chorus of outcry across the international community. The Muslim world, the UN, world leaders from Europe to the Middle East to Australia, and even US allies in the West have criticized the bid, saying it would plunge the already tumultuous region into new upheaval.

Heavy clashes also broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters after Washington's decision in Jerusalem al-Qud's Old City, Hebron (al-Khalil), Bethlehem and Nablus in the West Bank as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to reports, thousands of Palestinians were wounded by Israeli army's fire during protests against the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while hundreds more were detained by Israeli forces and police. Also, the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers left ten dead.

Also, the Palestinian ministry of public health in Gaza announced that the Israeli occupation forces use unknown gas bombs which caused cases of stress, convulsion, vomiting, coughing and rapid heartbeat among the Palestinian civilians. It stressed that the Zionist forces fire bullets directly on the Palestinian protestors.

The Israeli regime forces use brutal and excessive force against the civilians and the rescue teams as well as the medics, according to the Palestinian ministry which called for denouncing the racist actions of the Israeli authorities.

People in different countries have also hit the streets to denounce Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in a statement issued following an extraordinary summit in Turkey's Istanbul on Wednesday, declared East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine "under occupation" and urged the US to withdraw from the peace process and back down from its Jerusalem decision.

The US has also vetoed the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Jerusalem, which had demanded the Washington decision recognizing the city as the Israeli capital be withdrawn. Fourteen council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-sponsored resolution that would have demanded US President reverse course on the decision. The United States was the sole dissenting vote.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960929001151

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Terrorist Commanders Escaping from Syria to Turkey with Hefty Amount of Money

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A large number of notorious commanders of terrorist groups have left Syria for Turkey, taking away a hefty amount of money to set up their own business, a media outlet reported on Wednesday.

The Arabic-language al-Arabi al-Jadid website reported that a large number of terrorist commanders have left behind their forces in Syria's battlefields and escaped to Turkey with a large amount of money.

It added that Ahmad al-Madani nom de guerre Abu Saleh, the founder of Badr Battalion - that was one of the first terrorist establishments in al-Qaboun region in Damascus province - left the battlefield on the second day of clashes in 2012 on the pretext of procuring arms and ammunition.

The website went on to say that Abu Saleh moved from al-Qaboun to Qalamoun and later to the town of Arbin, adding that Abu Saleh ultimately left Syria for Turkey via al-Atibeh region and did not come back to Syria again.

Al-Arabi al-Jadid further said that Abu Saleh sold the entire weapons and ammunitions to the militant groups in the town of Bab al-Hawa in Idlib and earned over 100mln lira, adding that one of costumers of Abu Saleh's weapons was Jamal, the commander of Syria's Thowar Front.

Abu Saleh later set up a large supper market in Mustafa Pasha in Bourseh province in Turkey and now his living in al-Fatehneighborhood in the European part of Istanbul city.   

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced in late October that a large number of senior commanders of the ISIL terrorist group fled the battlefield and escaped to Turkey.

"According to documents and proofs, a number of Syrian and non-Syrian ISIL commanders have escaped to Turkey in recent days and weeks," the SOHR wrote on its website.

SOHR further added that ISIL commanders were evacuated from battlefields in Raqqa and DeirEzzur provinces to the regions that were under the control of the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern and Northeastern Aleppo that border Turkey.

"ISIL commanders have paid $20,000 up to 30,000 dollars each to leave the provinces of Homs, DeirEzzur and Raqqa for Turkey via the regions that are under the control of Ankara-backed militants," the SOHR said, adding that the human traffickers moved the ISIL commanders to the borders with Turkey via checkpoints in Northeastern Aleppo, handing them over to Turkish traffickers.

Hundreds of ISIL members, including the local commanders of the group, escaped to Hasaka province, SOHR said, adding that some of these commanders were hidden in Hasaka and some of them moved to Turkey.

The SOHR said that according to documents, ISIL's members and commanders that left Eastern Homs to the regions that were under the control of the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northeastern Aleppo were taken to Turkey by human traffickers.

Local sources said that Khaled Ali'owi nom de guerre Abu al-WalidHosseiniyeh and Samir al-Dayeri, two notorious commanders of the ISIL, escaped from the Eastern countryside of DeirEzzur city as the army men were rolling on the terrorists' positions.        

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960929001303

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Trump’s Mistake on Quds Boosted Unity among Muslims: Iranian President

 December, 20, 2017 - 11:39

Speaking at a meeting of Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in Tehran on Tuesday, Rouhani briefed participants in the meeting on a recent summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which was held in the Turkish city of Istanbul to coordinate a response to a US decision to recognize Quds as Israel’s capital.

“The US president’s mistake of declaring the relocation of the country’s embassy to the holy Quds made Muslims more unified on the issue of Quds and Palestine,” he noted.

The move was part of a plot against Palestine and the Muslim world that has backfired, Rouhani said, adding that today, a new intifada (Palestinian uprising) has been formed against the Zionist regime of Israel.

Trump officially declared the disputed city Israel's capital, despite warnings from around the world that the measure risks triggering a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East.

In a speech at the White House on December 6, Trump said his administration would also begin a years-long process of moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The announcement was a major shift by Washington that overturns decades of US foreign policy.

Palestinian leaders had previously warned the move would threaten a two-state solution.

Israel has occupied East Quds since the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in 1980 and sees it as its exclusive domain. Under international law, the area is considered to be occupied territory.

tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/12/20/1606202/trump-s-mistake-on-quds-boosted-unity-among-muslims-iranian-president

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar bans UN rights envoy from country

20 Dec 2017

Geneva: The UN's rights envoy for Myanmar said Wednesday the government had banned her from the country, adding her exclusion suggests something "awful" is happening in Rakhine state.

UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee had been due to visit Myanmar in January to assess the state of human rights across the country including in Rakhine, which was plunged into crisis by a military crackdown on the Rohingya minority Muslim community in late August.

Some 655,000 of them have fled for Bangladesh since then, with accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country.

The UN has accused troops of ethnic cleansing and possible "elements of genocide" against the Rohingya -- charges the government vigorously denies as it faces intense global outrage.

"I am puzzled and disappointed by this decision by the Myanmar government," said Lee, who is required to go to the country twice a year in order to report to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

"This declaration of non-cooperation with my mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country," she added.

The South Korean academic said she was told the decision was based on a statement she made after her last visit to Myanmar in July, in which she sharply criticised the government's rights record and its treatment of the Rohingya.

At the time the government criticised the statement as "biased and unfair".

The UN confirmed Myanmar had withdrawn all cooperation for the duration of Lee's tenure.

Myanmar's government spokesman ZawHtay said Lee had been barred because she was not unbiased.

"She is not impartial and objective while conducting her work. There is no trust on her," the spokesman said.

Lee, who has visited Myanmar six times since 2014, has consistently sounded the alarm over the persecution of the Rohingya.

The stateless group has been targeted by bouts of violence and systematically stripped of legal rights in recent decades.

But the latest crisis is the worst to rip through Rakhine state in years.

Myanmar has blocked journalists and investigators -- including a UN fact-finding team -- from independently accessing the conflict zone.

Last week two Reuters reporters were arrested for allegedly possessing documents relating to the security forces in Rakhine, raising fears that fragile press freedoms are being further eroded.

The journalists' families, lawyers and colleagues have not been told where the two are, and have not been allowed any contact with them.

The pair could face a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Myanmar-bans-UN-rights-envoy-from-country

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Rohingya refugees to start returning from January: officials

AFP | Dec 19, 2017

DHAKA: Bangladesh and Myanmar on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to begin repatriating Rohingya refugees from January, despite growing concern that their safety is still not assured should they return.

The foreign secretaries of Bangladesh and Myanmar met in Dhaka to finalise the agreement signed on November 23 for the voluntary return of nearly three-quarters of a million stateless Rohingya living in refugee camps along the border.

A new working group would "ensure commencement of repatriation within two months" by developing a timetable for the verification of refugee identities and logistics of their return, Bangladesh's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Now, we will start the next step of our work," Bangladesh foreign minister A.H. Mahmood Ali told reporters after the meeting.

But there is growing doubt that the persecuted minority will be safe if returned to Rakhine state, where Doctors Without Borders said nearly 7,000 Rohingya were killed in a month of violence.

An estimated 655,000 refugees from the stateless group have poured across the border into Bangladesh since August, fleeing what the US and United Nations have described as ethnic cleansing.

UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he had received no assurances that international observers would be allowed into northern Rakhine to monitor the return of the Rohingya.

"We have seen no interest or desire to invite my office in. So we are sceptical of that," he told AFP in an interview Monday.

Human Rights Watch on Monday, citing analysis of satellite imagery, said Myanmar's army burned down dozens of Rohingya homes within days of the signing of the repatriation deal.

The watchdog said the repatriation deal was "a public relations stunt" and warned the Rohingya would not be safe in Rakhine without guarantees of equal rights and protections.

The Rohingya have been the target of past pogroms in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which does not recognise the group as a genuine ethnicity and has stripped them of citizenship.

Testimonies gathered by AFP from displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh suggest few refugees wish to return to Myanmar, where many saw their villages burned to ashes and loved ones killed.

"We will not go back to our country until our rights are afforded," said Rohingya refugee Roushan Ali from a camp in Bangladesh's southeast.

"We want full citizenship and the return of our land and property. We also want justice for our people who were slaughtered, tortured and raped."

British charity Oxfam said in a new report Tuesday that many Rohingya were terrified of returning and unwilling to consider it without guarantees of safety.

Conditions remain bleak in Bangladesh's displacement camps, with an outbreak of diphtheria having killed 19 refugees so far, the International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said major security operations against Rohingya militants stopped in early September.

Responding to international pressure, Suu Kyi's civilian government signed an agreement with Bangladesh to start the repatriation of the stateless Muslim refugees within two months.

The agreement promises the "safe and voluntary return" of displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh -- not just the latest 655,000 new arrivals but more than 70,000 from a separate influx in October 2016.

In a joint statement onTuesday after a meeting in Colombo, the leaders of Sri Lanka and Malaysia -- the latter home to a sizeable Rohingya diaspora -- called for the repatriation process to be "undertaken expeditiously".

Aid groups have warned Myanmar they would boycott any new camps for Rohingya returnees, saying refugees must be allowed to settle in their own homes and not forced into ghetto-like conditions.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/rohingya-refugees-to-start-returning-from-january-officials/articleshow/62136655.cms

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Big Brother watching: China's 'thought police' surveils, strikes fear in Muslim minority

Devika Bhattacharya | TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Dec 20, 2017, 11:19 IST

NEW DELHI: Thousands belonging to a minority Muslim community in China's Xinjiang province have allegedly been whisked off to and detained in state-owned "political indoctrination centers" as the government cracks down on growing "Islamic terrorism" in the country, the Associated Press (AP) said in a report.

Over the past year, mass disappearance of Uighur Muslims has instilled fear in the hearts of the marginalised ethnic community, which has been influenced by radical Islamic extremism, claims the government. Inhabited by 10 million Turkic speaking Uighurs, Xinjiang's Uighur Autonomous Region now resembles a police state, with foot patrols, armored vehicles and round-the-clock surveillance tracking their every move.

Under the pretext of rooting out terrorism, the Chinese government has adopted a "strike hard" campaign following a series of attacks in 2013 and 2014 carried out by Uighur separatists. The Communist party has banned fasting during Ramzan, forbidden Azaan in state-sanctioned mosques, prohibited long beards and Islamic headwear and restricted use of the Turkic language. Harsh punishments are imposed for refusing to watch state TV or radio programmes.

The government has also adopted sophisticated surveillance systems, including a biometric data collection program which collates "three-dimensional portraits, voiceprints, DNA and fingerprints", the AP report said.

"If we don't do this, it will be like several years ago — hundreds will die," propaganda official BaoChanghui told AP.

Earlier in April, the Human Rights Watch condemned the move to ban dozens of Muslim names like 'Saddam' and 'Jihad' on the grounds that they could "exaggerate religious fervour". Children with banned names will not have access to public schools and other social benefits.

The Communist Party has denied allegations of religious discrimination, instead pointing to decades of economic investment in Xinjiang and concerted efforts, such as preferential college admissions, to bring the Uighur population into the mainstream.

It is a well-documented fact that Uighur Muslims have been fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and also joined ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. However, Beijing has not offered any concrete evidence of a foreign-directed terrorist organization working against the Chinese state that would warrant the crackdown on ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Even as it takes a hard-line stance on perceived Islamic extremism at home, China remains mostly aloof to reports of terrorist safe havens being nurtured by all-weather-ally Pakistan. Despite mounting pressure from the US, Islamabad has refused to step up its fight against terrorism and "allows terror groups like the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) to operate freely from its soil", the Trump administartion said in a censorious report in July.

After endorsing the Xiamen declaration at the BRICS Summit 2017, which expressed concern for the first time on several Pakistan-based terror groups, China quickly backpedaled and attested to Islamabad's "clear conscience" and "great sacrifices" in its counter-terror efforts.

China has repeatedly blocked India's move to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN Security Council and also opposed calls for sanctions against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Hitting out at Beijing's double standards on combating terrorism, India had said such actions only undermined the international community's resolve to fight terror.

This, in spite of concerns about terror groups in Pakistan that Chinese intelligence believes h as links to East Turkestan Islamic Movement, an influential separatist group in Uighur culture that has been designated as a terror outfit by the US and Britain.

Meanwhile, Uighur Muslims continue to live in the shadow of fear in Xinjiang, under a government that all but views them as the enemy. Big Brother is watching.

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Three Venture Capitalists Show Interest In Malaysia's Islamic Digital Economy

Last update: 20/12/2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 (Bernama) -- Three venture capital companies have shown interest in capitalising on Malaysia's Islamic Digital Economy's growth potential, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

MDEC Growth Ecosystem Development Vice-President NorhizamKadir said they were Captii Ventures, Ethis Ventures and Quest Ventures.

He said Malaysia's leadership in Islamic finance and the halal sector put the country in a favourable position to dominate the Islamic Digital marketplace.

The IDE framework is a joint effort between MDEC, the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and Hall AmanieSdnBhd, he told a press conference on the development of Malaysia's first Islamic Digital Economy (IDE) Framework here today.

Norhizam said the framework was part of Malaysia's strategy to cement the country's leadership in the global halal marketplace and create a unique and competitive advantage to accelerate the growth of digital economy.

bernama.com/bernama/v8/bu/newsbusiness.php?id=1421125

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Ten bodies found in Myanmar mass grave: Army

20 Dec 2017

Yangon, Myanmar's army said it found 10 corpses in a mass grave in a largely Rohingya village in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state, the epicentre of a violent military crackdown that triggered a mass exodus of the Muslim minority.

Northern Rakhine has been gutted by violence that erupted on August 25, when the military launched a sweeping operation against Rohingya rebels who attacked police posts.

Since then hundreds of villages have been torched and some 655,000 Rohingya have fled over the border to Bangladesh.

Doctors Without Borders says at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of violence, while the UN has accused the army of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign with possible "elements of genocide".

Myanmar, a mainly Buddhist country, has aggressively denied the charges and largely blocked off access to the conflict zone.

Late Tuesday the army said it had exhumed 10 bodies in a grave discovered earlier in the week in Inn Dinn, a village in Rakhine's Maungdawtownship.

"An investigation is being carried out to uncover the truth behind the grave," said a statement published on the army chief's Facebook page, alongside blurred photos of skeletal bodies being dug out of a pit.

"Action will be taken according to the law if security members are found to be involved in the case," the statement added.

One member of the team that unearthed the corpses told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that the bodies' state of decay suggested they had not been killed recently.

"We cannot differentiate who the dead bodies were because we only saw their skeletons and bones," he said.

The discovery of the mass grave comes one week after the arrest of two Reuters journalists who have closely covered the crisis in Rakhine.

The area has been out of bounds to the media since the military crackdown began with the exception of closely-monitored press trips organised by authorities.

Myanmar has also blocked a UN fact-finding team from accessing the area to probe allegations of rights abuses.

Myanmar reporters Wa Lone, 31, and KyawSoeOo, 27, who have not been seen since December 12, have been charged for allegedly possessing documents relating to security forces in Rakhine.

Their families, lawyers and colleagues have not been told where the two are, nor been allowed any contact with them.

Reuters did not immediately confirm what the journalists were working on or if their investigation was linked to the mass grave in Inn Din.

The arrests have deepened concerns about fragile press freedoms in the emerging democracy.

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday demanded the pair's immediate release, echoing similar calls from the EU, US and UN.

"Their secret, incommunicado detention lays bare government efforts to silence media reporting on critical issues," said Human Rights Watch Asia Director Brad Adams.

The reporters face a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Ten-bodies-found-in-Myanmar-mass-grave-Army

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South Asia

14 Taliban Killed in Clashes with Afghan Forces in Helmand

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Afghan Government Forces killed al least fourteen insurgents during an operation in Nad Ali district of Helmand province, local officials said Wednesday.

At least fourteen Taliban insurgents were killed during an Afghan forces operation in Helmand province, TOLOnews quoted the officials as saying.

Helmand governor’s media office said in a statement that the insurgents were killed on Monday evening during an operation in Nad Ali district.

During the operation security forces seized weapons, the statement added.

Nor more details were provided regarding the operation nor about casualties among security forces.

Taliban has not commented.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960929001544

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ISIS shadow judge among 5 killed in Afghan forces operations

By Khaama Press - Wed Dec 20 2017, 11:32 am

At least five ISIS militants including a shadow judge of the terror group have been killed in the latest operations of the Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the militants were killed during the operations conducted in the past 24 hours in Khogyani district.

The statement further added that the operations are being conducted as part of the Silab-4 and 9 operations to eliminate the militants of the terror group from Nangarhar.

At least seven militants of the terror group were also wounded during the same operations, the statement said, adding that three areas including a village have been cleared from the presence of the terror group.

The nti-government armed militant groups including the ISIS terrorists have not commented regarding the report so far.

At least nine ISIS militants were killed or wounded during the Silab-4 and 9 operations in this province on Monday, the provincial government media office said on Tuesday.

The provincial government media office in a statement said at least four ISIS militants were killed and five others were wounded during the operations in Khogyani district.

The statement further added that the militants were killed as part of the ongoing Silab-4 and 9 operations in this province.

According to the Nangarhar government, at least four villages have been cleared from the presence of the IS militants in Khoza Khel and Peera Khel areas of the district.

khaama.com/isis-shadow-judge-among-5-killed-in-afghan-forces-operations-04083

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At least 5 killed, 7 injured in security forces operations in Eastern Afghanistan

20 Dec 2017

Kabul: At least five ISIS militants including a shadow judge of the group have been killed in the latest operations of the Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the militants were killed during the operations conducted in the past 24 hours in Khogyani district.

The statement further added that the operations are being conducted as part of the Silab-4 and 9 operations to eliminate the militants from Nangarhar.

At least seven militants of the group were also wounded during the same operations, the statement said, adding that three areas including a village have been cleared from the presence of the group.

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

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/At-least-5-killed,-7-injured-in-security-forces-operations-in-Eastern-Afghanistan

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Taliban leader behind recent Helmand violence killed in airstrike

By Khaama Press - Wed Dec 20 2017, 3:08 pm

A key Taliban leader who was involved behind the recent wave of violence in southern Helmand province has been killed in an airstrike.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the prominent Taliban QariFida Mohammad was among several killed as fighter jets bombed the militants in Marjah district.

The statement further added that the airstrike was carried out today in the vicinity of Haji Baba roundabout.

According to Helmand provincial government, QariFida was a close aide to the shadow governor of the Taliban for Helmand Mullah Manan and was actively involved in recent violence in this province.

No further details have been given regarding the number of the Taliban insurgents killed or wounded in the airstrike.

However, the Helmand government said an investigation is underway and more details will be released as appropriate.

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

This comes as the Taliban group lost two senior local leaders in this province earlier this month days after the killing of the commander of the Red Unit of the group.

The provincial government media office in Helmand in a statement said at least nine Taliban insurgents including two senior local leaders of the group were killed during the separate operations in Musa Qala and Greshk districts.

The statement further added that five Taliban insurgents including the shadow district governor of the group DaudUlfat were killed in an airstrike on Greshk-Musa Qala highway.

The militants were targeted as they were travelling on the highway, the provincial government added.

khaama.com/taliban-leader-behind-recent-helmand-violence-killed-in-airstrike-04086

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Jamiat-e-Islami issues tough warning regarding govt’s decision about Noor

By Khaama Press - Wed Dec 20 2017, 9:24 am

The Jamiat-e-Islami led by Salahuddin Rabbani has issued a tough warning regarding the recent government decision to oust the Balkh governor Ata Mohammad Noor.

Jamiat-e-Islami in a statement said the party supports peace, stability, and partnership to ensure the rights of the people and any move compromising with the rights of the people will not be acceptable.

The statement further added that Ata Mohammad Noor is the chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami and the part was one of the main sides in the formation of the government of national unity.

The party also added that any unilateral move or decision will be in contrast to the principles of partnership and will end the legitimacy of the unity government.

It also added that the violations being committed by the government are under strict supervision of Jamiat party, insisting that the time has come to defend from the rights of the people.

According to Jamiat party, the conditions regarding Ata Mohammad Noor were shared with the government from the beginning but not only the conditions of the party have been met but the government has adopted a policy of hatred and hostility.

Jmaiat-e-Islami warned that such steps are not acceptable and the government will be responsible for the repercussions, emphasizing that the party will use all options to defend the rights of the people if the government did not reconsider its decision regarding the Balkh governor.

This comes as the Office of the President announced Monday that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has approved the resignation of Balkh governor Ata Mohammad Noor.

The Office of the President in a statement said Mr. Noor had resigned from his position as the governor of Balkh province a while ago.

The statement further added that President Ghani has approved his resignation and Engineer Mohammad Daud has been appointed as the new governor of Balkh province.a

khaama.com/jamiat-e-islami-issues-tough-warning-regarding-govts-decision-about-noor-04082

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Europe

Ignore Non-Muslim Doctors, UK Islamic Radio Station Tells Listeners

by Liam Deacon20 Dec 2017

A Muslim radio station, which ordered listeners to give the advice of non-Muslim doctors “no importance”, has been found in breach of Ofcom rules.

The regulator found that Nottingham’s Radio Dawn had breached two rules: by broadcasting offensive comments about non-Muslims, and giving listeners potentially dangerous medical advice.

During a segment in the South Asian language Punjabi, a religious scholar, or “mufti”, instructed a diabetic caller not to listen to non-Mulsim doctors who advised them to avoid fasting for long periods.

“If it is a non-Muslim doctor who is giving the advice, well their advice carries no weight. It has no importance whatsoever,” he said.

“What you have to do is check who is giving the advice. A proper Muslim doctor who is religious will not give you wrong advice,” he added.

The regulator launched an investigation following a complaint, and explained in their ruling:

“In Ofcom’s view, the advice provided could clearly have led listeners with diabetes – a potentially serious health condition – to either refrain from seeking medical advice because their doctor was not a practising Muslim, or to disregard or otherwise question legitimate medical advice.”

They added that the “mufti did not make clear that he was not medically qualified.”

However, they express some sympathy with the station, insisting: “We acknowledged that Radio Dawn is aimed at the Muslim community and this programme offered the opportunity for members of this community to seek religious guidance from a Mufti.”

Secondly, the radio did not “ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context”.

Whilst Ofcom “acknowledged that some listeners to the programme may prefer to consult a Muslim doctor”, the segment was said to be “discriminatory and potentially offensive, not only to non-Muslim people, but also to members of the Muslim community”.

Karimia, the station’s owners, had apologised and told Ofcom that “on no account was it the intention of the presenter or Radio Dawn to suggest to listeners that they do not seek appropriate medical advice”.

breitbart.com/london/2017/12/20/ignore-non-muslim-doctors-uk-islamic-radio-station-tells-listeners/

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Sweden Perturbed by Surge of Islamic Anti-Semitism

13:58 20.12.2017

In recent weeks, Sweden has seen a dramatic surge of anti-Semitism, including immigrants pledging to kill Jews and a series of attacks against Jewish venues. However, the rising hatred of Jews among the burgeoning Muslim diaspora remains a problem the Swedish authorities remain reluctant to admit, let alone address.

Historically, anti-Semitism in Sweden was mainly professed by right-wing extremists. The recent years, however, marked a paradigm shift, revealing a surging hatred of Jews among the nation's growing Muslim diaspora. Last week alone, two newly arrived immigrants of Syrian and Palestinian origin were arrested for a bomb attack against a synagogue in Sweden's second largest city of Gothenburg.

Christian Democrats Ebba Busch Thor and Andreas Carlson stressed that hatred of Jews occurs to a much greater extent among people with roots in the Middle East and Northern Africa. "For those seeking shelter in Sweden it is completely unacceptable to continue to live out the conflicts they had in their homelands," they wrote in an opinion piece in the SvenskaDagbladet daily, urging for protection of Sweden's Jews.

Historian Henrik Bachner argued that anti-Semitism has for a long time been a blind spot in Swedish research. Nevertheless, surveys carried out by the Living History Forum among both adults and students have highlighted the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes among Swedish Muslims, compared with the rest of the population.

For instance, only 18 percent of upper secondary school students were found to have a consistently negative attitude toward Jews. Among the students who identify as Muslims, however, the figure was 55 percent, the Aftonbladet daily reported.

A 2016 study attributed only 5 percent of anti-Semitic incidents in the Nordic country to right-wingers, as opposed to 51 percent attributed to Muslim extremists.

While Swedish politicians have no qualms about condemning anti-Semitism on the far-right political spectrum, there is a marked hesitation to speak out against hate crimes committed by other minority groups.

In a recent interview with the Jewish Chronicle the Swedish prime minister, who recently condemned all forms of anti-Semitism, concluded that Muslims themselves were a vulnerable group. At the same time, he expressed concern about the rising hatred of Jews from the "new arrivals" from the Middle East, arguing it went against the moral fiber of Sweden.

"Many have long been unable to realize that anti-Semitism can exist in groups that are themselves vulnerable and need help. But we must be able to call a spade a spade," the Swedish Liberal Party tweeted — reluctant, however, to elaborate on the matter, which is rather delicate for the country that prides itself on welcoming minorities and immigrants.

Sweden's Jewish population is estimated at 20,000. The extent of the Muslim diaspora is debated, as no religious profiling is permitted. However it was estimated at about 500,000 in 2009 and has grown considerably in recent years due to an influx of people from the Middle East.

On Tuesday, an 18-year-old man held for allegedly throwing firebombs at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg was released, despite remaining a suspect. According to the prosecution, there was not sufficient evidence to keep the man jailed.

sputniknews.com/europe/201712201060160657-sweden-jews-muslims/

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Muslim charities undervalued at Christmas, say MPs in report

20 Dec 2017 News

The contribution that Muslim charities make to society is undervalued, especially at Christmas, according to a group of MPs and peers.

A Very Merry Muslim Christmas, published this week by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, aims to raise awareness of the positive work of Muslim charities.

In the foreword to the report Anna Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe, and Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, who are co-chairs of the committee, said: “Muslim charities come to our attention because of negative media coverage of governance issues or bad practice among a handful of individuals working in the charity sector, or, because of latent fears about charities being abused for terrorism financing.”

The report is based on oral and written evidence presented to the group in November and aims to “showcase some of the amazing initiatives developed and delivered by Muslim charities, and to counter the negative stereotypes which mask and distort so much of the wonderful work they do in local communities”.

Soubry and Streeting conclude that: “British Muslim charities haven’t received the kind of attention they deserve. At this time of year, when Muslim charities are working alongside many other faith based charities to spread good cheer, peace on earth and goodwill to all we hope our preliminary findings highlights and celebrates their work. A very Merry Muslim Christmas to all!”

The report features the work of a number of charities such as Penny Appeal, Human Appeal and Muslim Aid and the response of the sector to tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire.

It particularly highights the activity distributing food parcels, hot meals, thermal clothing and other essential items” over the Christmas period.

“There are silly stories which circulate around this time of year about Muslims wanting to ‘ban Christmas’ or replace Christmas festivities with ‘Winterval’,” the report said. “These are fanciful ideas. The actual story, as we present here in our preliminary findings, is that British Muslims are actually embracing the spirit of the season to spread good cheer among those in need.”

The information is taken from a longer report, Faith as the Fourth Emergency Service, which will be published in the 2018. 

APPGs are informal groups of MPs and peers who meet to discuss ideas, often with involvement from outside organisations. The APPG on British Muslims was launched earlier this year and is supported by the Aziz Foundation.

civilsociety.co.uk/governance/report-how-muslim-charities-make-a-difference-at-christmas.html#sthash.WkfF5J3C.dpuf

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Russia deploys heavy military equipment on Afghanistan-Tajikistan border

By Khaama Press - Wed Dec 20 2017, 12:13 pm

The Russian military has deployed heavy military equipment along the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan apparently to prevent the threats posed by the terror groups to the Central Asian countries, it has been reported.

Chief of the Main Directorate of the International Military Cooperation at the Russian Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. AleksandrKshimovsky on Tuesday informed regarding the deployment of the military equipment in support of the Tajikistan border forces.

He told the RT TV that the armaments will make it possible to expand the capabilities of Tajikistan’s armed forces “to repel the terrorist threat and create an effective barrier along the Tajik-Afghan border.”

He said Russia delivered T-72B1 tanks, BTR-80 and BTR-70 armored personnel carriers, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters, D-30 howitzers, anti-aircraft mounts, surveying equipment, communications equipment and logistics property.

This comes as Russia has long been expressing concerns regarding the deteriorating security situation in northern parts of Afghanistan.

The country is mainly concerned regarding the attempts being made by the ISIS terrorist group loyalists to expand their foothold in northern parts of Afghanistan.

Earlier, reports emerged suggesting that some foreign militants belonging to the ISIS terrorist group have migrated from Syria and Iraq after they were hardly suppressed during the military operations.

khaama.com/russia-deploys-heavy-military-equipment-on-afghanistan-tajikistan-border-04084

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Pakistan

Pakistan’s first national flag missing

Omer Farooq Khan | TNN | Dec 19, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's home ministry on Monday said that it was "unaware" of the whereabouts of the first national flag that was presented by the country's first Prime Minister NawabzadaLiaquat Ali Khan at the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

The home ministry informed the National Assembly, in a written reply to a question raised by the lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) KhalidaMansoor, that it was "not responsible for the protection of the first flag and was only responsible for rules regarding the flag".

Mansoor had asked about the whereabouts of the first flag of the country presented to the founder of the country Mohammad Ali Jinnah by Liaquat Ali Khan after its formal approval by the Constituent Assembly.

Liaquat Ali Khan had presented the first national flag to Pakistan's first Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, for its formal approval.

In the course of his speech on the occasion, Khan had observed: "Mr President, the flag, it will be noticed, is not the flag of any one political party or any one community. The flag is the flag of the Pakistani nation, of the Pakistan State which has to come into existence on the 14th of August, 1947. I can say without any fear of contradiction that this flag which I have the honour to present to this House will stand for freedom, liberty and equality for those who owe allegiance to this Flag of Pakistan."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistans-first-national-flag-missing/articleshow/62127712.cms

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Terror bid targeting Balochistan governor foiled

Syed Ali Shah December 20, 2017

Balochistan security forces on Wednesday foiled a terror bid targeting Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai in the Gulistan area of Killa Abdullah.

Balochistan Home Minister SarfarazBugti, while addressing a press conference in Quetta, said that the suspects, who had planned twin suicide attacks targeting Achakzai, had been arrested and suicide jackets, 16 rockets, 80 landmines, and other weapons had been recovered from their possession.

The attackers were identified as Hamid Bashir from Punjab, and Munawwar from Gulistan, Achakzai's hometown.

Bugti said the suspects belonged to the same terrorist group that was behind the deadly attack on slain Punjab home minister ShujaKhanzada.

According to initial reports, the attack on Khanzada was carried out by the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi in retaliation for the killing of the former LJ chief, Malik Ishaq, in 2015.

Bugti added that "timely information ensured the terror bid was foiled in time, without the loss of life".

dawn.com/news/1377767/terror-bid-targeting-balochistan-governor-foiled

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Pakistan condemns Yemen missile attack targeting Saudi royal palace

December 20, 2017

Pakistan on Wednesday condemned a missile attack carried out yesterday by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting the official residence of Saudi King Salman.

A loud explosion was heard in Riyadh shortly before the scheduled unveiling of the Saudi budget, which is usually announced by the king from the Yamamah palace, his official residence.

The missile was intercepted by the Saudi-led coalition before any damage could be done. It is the second missile fired by the Houthis — who seized the Yemeni capital in 2014 — at Riyadh in the past two months.

A Foreign Office (FO) statement said that the "increasing frequency and ferocity of the missile attacks targeting innocent civilians by Houthi rebels, pose a threat to regional peace and security and is therefore, highly condemnable".

"Pakistan stands firmly with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in confronting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," the FO said, adding that Pakistan reaffirms its support to Saudi Arabia.

The statement also said that in case of any violations of Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity or "any threat to HaramainSharifain, Pakistan will stand shoulder to shoulder with the government and people of Saudi Arabia."

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthi rebels, and Riyadh described the latest missile as "Iranian-Houthi".

The first attack targeted Riyadh international airport on Nov 4, and triggered a tightening of the long-standing Saudi-led blockade of Yemen which is already on the verge of famine.

The Houthi rebels last month warned that they considered "airports, ports, border crossings and areas of any importance" in Saudi Arabia, as well as its ally the United Arab Emirates, as legitimate targets.

More than 8,750 people have been killed since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government’s fight against the Houthis in 2015.

dawn.com/news/1377778/pakistan-condemns-yemen-missile-attack-targeting-saudi-royal-palace

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Corruption trial against Ishaq Dar temporarily halted by IHC

Mohammad ImranUpdated December 20, 2017

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered an accountability court in Islamabad to temporarily halt proceedings against former finance minister Ishaq Dar till January 17.

The court also restrained the accountability court from confiscating the properties of Ali Ahmed Qadoosi, the guarantor of former finance minister, until the next hearing.

On December 18, Dar, who is currently under trial for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income, had challenged in the high court an accountability court order issued on Dec 14 which declared him a proclaimed offender.

On Wednesday, a two-member IHC bench heard Dar's application challenging the accountability court's order.

Dar's lawyer QaziMisbah informed the court that he wanted a representative to appear in place of Dar, who is ill and cannot travel to Pakistan.

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that an exemption from appearance could be granted under Article 540-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) but asked how a trial could continue in the absence of the only accused.

"When will Dar be able to appear before the court?" he asked. "When did he last appear in the court?"

The National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) special prosecutor informed the court that the accused had last appeared before it on October 23. QaziMisbah said he could inform the court of Dar's availability after the results of a medical examination scheduled for today were released.

Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb said that no court would exempt an accused from appearing in court on the basis of the medical reports submitted by Dar's counsel.

Justice Minallah remarked that Misbah would have to explain his case better in order for a decision in his favour.

Dar is currently undergoing medical treatment in London, where he has remained for some time now.

An accountability court judge had earlier observed that according to medical reports submitted in court, the under-trial former minister did not seem to be suffering from a serious heart condition or that he is unfit to travel to Pakistan to appear before the courts.

Justice Aurangzeb inquired whether it was because of the Supreme Court's order that NAB was in such a hurry to declare Dar as a proclaimed offender.

"The accused is also a Pakistani citizen. Why was he declared a proclaimed offender within 10 days?"

Justice Minallah told the NAB prosecutor that the accountability court had two options.

The first option was that it could nullify its declaration that Dar is a proclaimed offender and order the courts to complete their proceedings against the former finance minister within 30 days, and the second option was that accountability court proceedings against Dar be halted until the next hearing.

Subsequently, the special prosecutor chose the second option.

Justice Minallah also asked the NAB lawyer if he had verified Dar's medical report in line with the high court's orders.

The lawyer said that the reports had been sent for verification through the Foreign Office and had not been returned yet.

"We are not medical experts," Justice Minallah told the NAB lawyer. "You should have formed a medical board to look at the reports."

"The medical board would have looked over the reports and provided a diagnosis," he added.

The court sought arguments on whether to exempt Dar from appearance before adjourning the hearing until Jan 17.

The court also restrained the accountability court from confiscating the properties of Ali Ahmed Qadoosi, the guarantor of the former finance minister, until the next hearing.

dawn.com/news/1377771/corruption-trial-against-ishaq-dar-temporarily-halted-by-ihc

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Afghan soil being used by hostile elements, claims Pakistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Wed Dec 20 2017

The government of Pakistan reacted towards the recent remarks of the US President Donald Trump regarding the further steps needed by Pakistan to act against the terrorist groups using the Pakistani soil.

The ministry of foreign affairs of Pakistan in a statement said the US National Security Strategy 2017 released on 18 December has made certain unsubstantiated allegations towards Pakistan.

Claiming that the country has long been at the forefront in the fight against regional and global terrorism, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said “In a troubled neighbourhood, Pakistan continues to suffer at the hands of state sponsored terrorism, funded and abetted by our neighbours through proxies.”

The statement further added the Afghan soil, despite substantial US presence, is being constantly used by elements hostile to Pakistan’s stability.

“Pakistan’s efforts and sincere proposals for effective border management to prevent cross border movement of militants and return of Afghan refugees are yet to make any headway,” the statement said, adding that “On the other hand, a malicious campaign is under-way to undo Pakistan’s achievements in the war against terrorism.”

President Trump in his new national security strategy has stated that the United States continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.

President Trump further added that the United States seek a Pakistan that is not engaged in estabilizingbehavior and a stable and self-reliant Afghanistan.

He also added that “We will press Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials

khaama.com/afghan-soil-being-used-by-hostile-elements-claims-pakistan-04087

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Africa

Buhari tells Islamic clerics what to do in their mosques

Published on December 20, 2017 | By Don Silas

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed what he expects Islamic clerics to do in their mosques.

The President spoke at the 55th Conference of League of Imams and Alfas of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta states held in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital on Tuesday.

Buhari, who was represented by his special adviser on political matters, BabafemiOjodu, urged all Muslims to always pray for the survival of Nigeria.

He urged them to help his administration fight corruption by preaching against the act.

“What is expected of you at this moment is to preach continuously against corruption in your mosques all the time,” he said.

Buhari also used the occasion to remind public office holders that they are holding such office in trust for God and not for their selfish interest.

He thanked the Imams and Alfas for their prayers for him while he was sick.

dailypost.ng/2017/12/20/buhari-tells-islamic-clerics-mosques/

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Egyptian Forces Clash with Militants Near Sinai Airport

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Egyptian officials said security forces clashed with militants near the airport of the Northern Sinai city of el-Arish, killing five of them a day after a missile hit the facility during a visit by the defense and interior ministers.

The officials added that an army captain was killed in Wednesday's fighting in olive orchards near the airport. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, Star Tribune reported.

The clashes came a day after a missile hit the airport during a previously unannounced visit to el-Arish by Defense Minister Sedki Sobhy and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar, who is in charge of police.

Egyptian security forces have for years battled militants in the Northern region of the Sinai Peninsula.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960929001663

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We are Not IMN! We are Muslims!

December 20, 2017 - 11:18 AM News Code : 873333

Baqeerashua

The Islamic Movement led by Sheikh IbraheemZakzaky is a mass movement. Its supporters cut across all strata of the Nigerian society. In fact it is not a movement that is limited to the Nigerian society alone. There are supporters of the Movement in neighbouring countries like Niger, Cameroon, Chad,Burkina Faso and even Ghana. Although the bulk of its supporters are in Nigeria. The Islamic Movement is neither an organization nor is it a "sect" like many detractors would want to portray it. It is a mass movement advocating for total revival of Islam and Islamic System. The message of the Islamic Movement is that since we are Muslims, then, we must abide by the teachings and guidance of our Religion. And since the Prophets of Allah have been sent to the world by Allah to establish justice, then there must be justice for all.

Shaikh Zakzaky is advocating for an Islamic system in which all will be treated justly according to Allah's laws. This does not in anyway mean that non Muslims will have to embrace Islam. No! There is no compulsion in faith. Non Muslims will enjoy equal rights as humans and members of the same society. And they will be free to practice their religion just as Muslims will be free to practice their own religion too.

The Islamic Movement is a concept, an ideology, a mass movement but not an organization as many have been made to believe. This movement comprises of different schools of thoughts of Islam. Although most of its supporters are Shias of the Ja'afari school of thought, there are also plenty of its supporters who are Sunnis. Infact, there are Christians supporters of the Islamic Movement.

Right from the inception of the Islamic Movement different names have been given to its supporters or adherents. Some call us "Shiites" others especially mass media outlets wrongly refer to us as " Shites sect". But right from the beginning, we have always maintained that we are Muslims and just Muslims and nothing else.

We believe that creating names for us is just a ploy to isolate us and divert people's attention from our real message.

Recently, especially after Zaria massacre in which the bloodthirsty tyrant Buhari massacred over a thousand innocent people including women and children, another ploy came to light. That is of calling the Movement "IMN". And its supporters ; " IMN MEMBERS ". Unfortunately many people innocently fell into this trap. Even among the supporters or adherents (activists) of the Movement.

The acronym "IMN" was initially used by CIA and MOSAD to describe the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in their many reports on the Movement. And before the incident of Zaria massacre, "IMN" was never used to describe us or our movement.

But all of a sudden now we wake up to the fact that, without our realising it, some of us have even started accepting it as a norm.

Alhamdulillah, we were also alerted by our Leader, Shaikh Zakzaky H through some people who usually speak to him on the phone during the restricted phone conversations he usually have with some twice a week or during the rare occasions when visits were allowed for him, that we should desist from falling into the trap of those who want to turn the Movement into hierarchical organisation.

Once again, we would like to reiterate that, the Islamic Movement is a concept, a faith, an ideology. It is not an organization. It is a mass movement with a Leader not Leaders. It does not have hierarchy. It's a revivalist movement. It resembles the Movement of Shaikh Danfodio (RA) and Imam Khomeini QS revolutionary movements. All are welcome as supporters and active adherents of the Movement. Even our Christian Brothers and Sisters are welcome. We join hands together to fight against injustice. And when it comes to practices which are limited to Muslims, then the Christian supporters practice their own religion.

Sheikh IbraheemZakzaky made it clear on several occasions that the Movement is not an organisation, nor a group or even a sect, but an endeavour towards achieving Islamic ideals. On many occasions the Sheikh have even made it clear that this Movement is open to all, even Christians are not excluded.

Trying to present the Movement as a sectarian movement or as an organisation with some kind of structures, like spokesman, secretary or whatever of such nature is not know to the Movement, therefore any such attempt will be considered as assisting a conspiracy against the Movement.

This Movement is not limited to Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger Rep or even Ghana, the Movement is part of the larger axis of resistance against tyranny and injustice, attempting to limit the Movement to any border is a conspiracy of a sort.

The Movement have a leader, the only Leader of the Movement is Sheikh IbraheemZakzaky whether free or in detention.

There are fora in the Movement, eg. Academic Forum, Resource Forum, Sisters Forum among others, the chair persons are responsible for the activities of the above fora, the Movement also have Publications and Internet sites  which are all administered by some brothers and Sisters of the Movement.

en.abna24.com/news/article/we-are-not-imn-we-are-muslims_873333.html

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Arab World

Blinded in one eye, Syrian baby becomes symbol of siege

20 Dec 2017

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on December 19, 2017 shows Syrians covering one eye with their hands in the rebel-held town of Douma in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, as well as his mother, in government shelling on the nearby town of Hammouria. AFP / #SolidarityWithKarim

KafrBatna, Syria: The heartrending photograph of a Syrian baby who lost his eye in an air strike has set off a viral social media campaign, with users sharing pictures of themselves covering one eye.

The shot depicts 40-day-old Karim Abdallah, wrapped in a puffy red jacket, with crescent-shaped scarring where his left eye should be and a dark red welt on his forehead.

An October 29 government air strike on a rebel bastion near Damascus severely wounded Karim and killed his mother, according to relatives and the doctor who treated him -- and kicked off a worldwide support campaign.

Users are taking pictures of themselves covering one of their eyes and sharing them on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #SolidarityWithKarim.

The campaign even reached the United Nations, where British ambassador Matthew Rycroft tweeted a photograph of himself at the Security Council, his right hand over his eye.

"When we sit around the UNSC & warn that inaction will mean more people are going to die. More schools bombed. More children scarred. This is what we mean," he wrote.

"We must see an end to the bombardment & siege of Eastern Ghouta."

Government forces have besieged the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region since 2013, restricting access to food and medicines for some 400,000 residents.

Photographs in solidarity with Karim have been posted by other Syrian children, journalists, activists and members of the White Helmets rescue service, which operates in rebel-controlled areas.

Government ministers in Turkey, a supporter of the rebels, also took up the cause.

"Even if the world remains silent, and nobody hears the screams from Syria, we will be the voice, eye and ear" of baby Karim, tweeted Culture and Tourism Minister NumanKurtulmus.

The campaign was launched by AmerAlmohibany, a freelance photographer in Eastern Ghouta and occasional AFP contributor.

"I visited the baby, and he made his mark on me even before taking his picture. It haunted me," said AlMohibany, 28.

"The goal of the campaign is to... bring to the world the voice of this baby, who lost his eye and his mother," he said.

The raid that wounded Karim hit a market in Hammuriya, a town in Eastern Ghouta, on October 29.

Eastern Ghouta is one of four "de-escalation" zones agreed in May in a bid to reduce fighting in some parts of the war-ravaged country.

More than 340,000 people have been killed and half the country's population displaced since the conflict broke out in 2011.

Over the years, several Syrian children have become powerful symbols of the civilian suffering brought on by the war, including toddler Omran, who was photographed bloodied in an ambulance in second city Aleppo in 2016.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Blinded-in-one-eye,-Syrian-baby-becomes-symbol-of-siege

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Air strikes kill 19 civilians in northwest Syria: monitor

20 Dec 2017 - 12:22

Maarshurin, Syria: Overnight air strikes killed 19 civilians, seven of them children, in a residential district of a town in northwestern Syria, a monitor said on Wednesday.

"Suspected Russian air strikes targeted several houses in Maarshurin," a rebel-held town in Idlib province, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

He said 13 members of a single family were among the dead.

Residents of Maarshurin were still working on Wednesday morning to clear rubble from buildings hit in the bombardment, an AFP photographer reported.

One had been completely flattened and blood stained the rubble.

"These are all civilian homes," said resident Zahed Abu Abdo.

The Observatory said more than 25 people were wounded in the strikes, some of whom were in critical condition.

The Britain-based war monitor relies on a network of sources inside Syria and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.

Russia has been carrying out air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad's government since 2015.

Idlib province is one of four regions of Syria which are supposed to be safe areas under a deal agreed by Russia, fellow regime ally Iran, and rebel backer Turkey in May.

Maarshurin is jointly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a rebel alliance dominated by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate, which is not covered by the deal.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Air-strikes-kill-19-civilians-in-northwest-Syria-monitor

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Saudi-led coalition says to keep main Yemen port open for a month despite missile attack

  20 Dec 2017

DUBAI, The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has decided to keep Yemen’s main Hodeidah port open for a month, the coalition said on Wednesday, despite a ballistic missile attack by the Iran-aligned Houthis towards the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace and access to its ports, last month blocked all entry points to Yemen after a similar missile attack on Riyadh’s international airport.

Saudi authorities had said that both missiles were intercepted without causing any casualties.

“Keen to maintain humanitarian aid to the brotherly Yemeni people and as a result of intensified inspection measures, the coalition command announces that Hodeidah port will remain open for humanitarian and relief supplies,” the coalition said in a statement carried by Saudi state new agency SPA.

The coalition said that ships bringing in fuel and food supplies will also be allowed to enter for another 30 days while proposals made by the United Nations envoy to Yemen are implemented, it added.

The agency did not elaborate on the proposals, but the coalition had been demanding that a U.N. inspection regime agreed in 2015 be further tightened to prevent weapons from reaching the Houthis.

The Red Sea port is the country’s main entry point for food and humanitarian supplies.

The coalition had accused Iran of sending the missile that was fired towards Riyadh in November, and the United States last week displayed what it said was evidence that it was provided by Iran. Tehran has denied the report.

The closure of Yemen’s ports and airports last month caused food and fuel shortages in a country already reeling from three years of war that has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than two million and caused a cholera epidemic that had infected some one million.

The coalition had said came under heavy international criticism, leading to the blockade being eased.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/20/12/2017/Saudi-led-coalition-says-to-keep-main-Yemen-port-open-for-a-month-despite-missile-attack

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Al-Nusra's Main Command Center Destroyed in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Hama

Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:17

The artillery and missile units, deployed in Southern Idlib, shelled heavily the Al-Nusra's positions in the village of Abu al-Qar, killing a number of terrorists and destroying their positions.

Also, the warplanes struck one of the main command centers of the Al-Nusra known as Al-Maqara in the town of Kafr Zita in Northwestern Hama.

In the meantime, the fighter jets conducted a heavy bombing raid on the terrorists' movements near the town of al-Latamina in Northern Hama, killing several gunmen and wounding several more. 

Relevant reports said on Tuesday that the army troops drove the Al-Nusra Front out of a small town and its farms in Northeastern Hama in their push towards SoutheasternIdlib to free Abu al-Dhohour airbase.

The army men stormed the Al-Nusra strongholds in Northeastern Hama and captured the town of Roweiza and its nearby farms North of Qasr Ali region, paving the way for faster advances towards Abu al-Dhohour base in SoutheasternIdlib.

In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out several combat flights over the Al-Nusra positions in regions close to the towns and villages of al-Mosheirefeh, al-Latamina and its outskirts, al-Rahjan, Abu Dali, North of Morek and Halfaya in Northern Hama, killing a large number of terrorists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960929000502

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Six Islamic State militants killed in campaign, southeastern Mosul: Officer

Dec 20, 2017, 8:52 am |  byNehal Mostafa

 Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi troops killed six Islamic State militants in a security campaign launched in southeast of Mosul on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

“The federal investigations and intelligence agency submitted information to the National Security Agency over presence of six out of 20 militants, who previously infiltrated into Mosul, are there at a residential house in al-Shaimaa region, southeast of the city,” Cap. Mohamed Atwan al-Ghanimi, of the agency, said.

“Joint troops of the agency and the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service headed toward the target after drawing accurate plan,” he added.

Troops, according to Ghanimi, urged the militants to turn in themselves. However, they rejected and started confrontations. The snipers began with opening fire against the militants from several directions.

“In less than 10 minutes, all the militants were attacked. No casualties were reported among troops and civilians,” Atwan said.

Efforts are made to look for the rest of the militants, after information showed they sneaked toward the center of the city from desert regions, according to the officer.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared in July victory over IS militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city since 2014. More than 25,000 Islamic State militants were killed throughout the campaign.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied.

Earlier this month, Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members. The declaration came after Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of Upper Euphrates and Jazirah Combing Operations, announced liberation of all Iraqi lands from IS.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/six-islamic-state-militants-killed-campaign-southeastern-mosul-officer/

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Syrian Army Imposes Control over Entire Supply Lines of Terrorists in Western Damascus

Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:14

The army men clashed with the Al-Nusra near Beit Jinn Farm and the village of Mughur al-Mir in Southwestern Damascus, killing a number of terrorist and destroying their military vehicles.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units pounded the positions and supply lines of the Al-Nusra in the region.

A field source reported that the army has closed off the entire supply lines of the Al-Nusra connecting Beit Jinn Farm to the village of Mughur al-Mir and Mughur al-Mir hill.

The Al-Nusra has suffered heavy defeats and has lost a number of field commanders in the battlefield and is on verge of collapse in Southwestern Damascus. 

Well-informed sources said on Tuesday that the army men, backed up by the artillery and missile units, launched a major offensive on the Al-Nusra in Southwestern Damascus and captured the strategic Marwan hill, deploying only 500 meters away from the small town of Mughur al-Mir that is the main strongholds of Al-Nusra in Western Ghouta.

They went on to say that the army is resolved to purge Beit Jinn and Mughur al-Mir regions of terrorists after Al-Nusra rejected the army's conditions to deliver the two regions to the government forces without clashes.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960929000466

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Australia

Melbourne magistrate denies claims he has ‘Sharia Law bias’

A Muslim man has failed in his bid to have a magistrate disqualified from his case over comments made about Sharia Law.

A Melbourne magistrate has decided he has no bias against Sharia Law and will not disqualify himself from the case of a Muslim man accused of shooting two teenagers.

A steadfast magistrate Ross Maxted on Wednesday revealed more details of the case against ZakariaZaatiti, including internet searches for a "rocket propelled grenade machine" and "Islamic State".

Zaatiti, 23, is accused of shooting two males aged 16 and 18 at Roxburgh Park in August.

He was denied bail in September but returned to court for an application to have the magistrate disqualify himself from the case.

Defence lawyer Shaun Ginsbourg claims the magistrate made comments about Sharia Law that indicated bias at the bail hearing.

Zaatiti's father, who had offered himself as a surety, had told the court he was a "financial adviser according to sharia law".

Mr Maxted later said he was "left with an uncomfortable feeling" there may be two sets of loyalties, "one to sharia law and one to the court", according to transcripts.

"You honour cannot make decisions based on pre-conceived views," Mr Ginsbourg argued.

But the magistrate said his comments and questions about sharia law were rooted in inquiry, not bias.

"I haven't got any preconceived views on Sharia Law. I don't understand it," he said.

"Modern judicial practice allows me to put points to counsel for discussion. Not to sit here mute.

"The expression of tentative views does not constitute impartiality or bias."

Mr Maxted's concerns about Zaakiti's father as a surety stemmed partly from his inconsistent answers about his work.

The father was asked for details about his job he as a financial adviser in Sharia Law, then revealed he only volunteered in this role.

The surety had been only a secondary consideration in refusing Zaatiti bail, Mr Maxted added.

The main reasons were the risk to the community and the potential to interfere with witnesses.

"These allegations are extremely serious, involving two shootings," he said of the charges which include intentionally causing injury and possessing a firearm.

"It is some sort of alleged inter-family vendetta."

Further details were revealed on Wednesday, including Google searches Zaatiti allegedly made on his phone in the days before the shootings.

The court was told he searched for "terrorists", "jihadology.com", "Islamic State", "Christmas day attacks", "rocket-propelled grenade launcher" and "9mm pistol".

Zaatiti is accused of driving a BMW to the scene of the shooting and prosecutors have gathered DNA evidence from blood specks found in the car.

They will also analyse the car's GPS system and compare it with data gathered from Zaatiti's phone.

sbs.com.au/news/melbourne-magistrate-denies-claims-he-has-sharia-law-bias

 

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/muslim-teen-pens-winning-essay-in-rajasthan-gita-contest/d/113634

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