New Age Islam
Thu Oct 22 2020, 05:37 AM

Islamic World News ( 13 Jun 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Muslim Workers Offer Maghrib Prayers in Al Ain Indian Church in Syria


















Muslim workers are enjoying an Iftar get-together inside St. George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Simhasana Cathedr

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Muslim Workers Offer Maghrib Prayers in Al Ain Indian Church in Syria

Iranian FM Blames Western Tolerance of Wahhabism as Root Cause of Worldwide Terrorism

Zakir Naik's Outfit Radicalised Indian Youth to Join Islamic State

The Met Showcases Islamic Art as a Response to Trump's Muslim Ban

‘Jihadi Jack’ Escapes Islamic State: ‘They Put Me in Prison 3 Times, Threatened To Kill Me’

 

Arab World

Muslim Workers Offer Maghrib Prayers in Al Ain Indian Church in Syria

Saudi Officials Imprisoned after Opposing Bin Salman's Plot against Al-Thani

UAE: Qatar rejecting terrorism key to resolve crisis

Deir Ezzur: 11 ISIL Terrorists, Notorious Commander Killed by Unknown Attackers

Syria: Gov't Troops Reach Strategic Ithriya-Raqqa Road

Army Forces Advance towards ISIL's Last Base in Syrian Desert

Euphrates Rage Forces Inch Closer to Raqqa City Center

ISIL on Run as Syrian Soldiers Advance in Raqqa

Syrian Army Takes Control of 50 Percent of Dara'a Refugee Camp

Iraq PM Abadi says Kurdish referendum untimely

Lebanon parties agree on electoral law: Foreign Minister

Syrian-Democratic forces advance towards old Raqqa

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Mideast

Iranian FM Blames Western Tolerance of Wahhabism as Root Cause of Worldwide Terrorism

Yemeni Minister Claims 600 Preachers Tortured and Killed By Houthis

Turkish army kills 20 Kurdish militants in Iraq

Palestinians to end pay for suicide bomber families: Tillerson

Yemeni retaliatory attack leaves four Saudi soldiers dead

Opposition raises doubts as Iran arrests 80 Sunnis after Tehran attacks

Turkey: Isolation of Qatar is not Islamic

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India

Zakir Naik's Outfit Radicalised Indian Youth to Join Islamic State

Non-Muslim Friends Invited for ‘Dosti Ki Iftari’ In Kolkata

Indian Muslims Won’t Be Left Out On MIB, Says MIC

Muslims Protest Yogi Government's Move to Make Muslim Marriage Registration Mandatory

9 jawans wounded in grenade attack on CRPF camp in J&K's Pulwama

Ties with Arab world is getting stronger under PM Narendra Modi

5 terror attacks across Kashmir in a day, over one dozen hurt

NIA probe: Zakir Naik made sister a director, firms routed money

Yasin Malik detained, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest

RSS Muslim group to break fast with cow’s milk in Ayodhya

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North America

The Met Showcases Islamic Art as a Response to Trump's Muslim Ban

How the US Anti-Muslim Marches Were Defeated

State Dept Refuses To Say Whether American Muslim Who Lived In ISIS-Controlled Territory Is Still In Turkish Custody

Trump’s Muslim ban may be getting Iraqi Christians in Detroit depo

American ambassador to Qatar quits amid Gulf crisis

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Europe

‘Jihadi Jack’ Escapes Islamic State: ‘They Put Me in Prison 3 Times, Threatened To Kill Me’

Council of Mosque’s Hosts Annual 'Iftar' Gathering for All Communities

Hungarian Government: Islam and Europe ‘Incapable of Coexisting Without Conflict’

London: Terror Zone under Muslim Mayor, Symptom Of Larger Problem

Muslim group urges Ottawa to speed up release of hate-crime statistics

Terror attacks dent visitor numbers at London sights

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South Asia

Bangladesh’s Buddhist Monastery Offers Iftar Meal to Poor Muslims

38 Taliban and ISIS militants killed in Nangarhar airstrikes and infightings

UN Secretary General arrives in Kabul on an unannounced visit

Developments made in Kabul and Kandahar bombings probe: ARG

US airstrike target Haqqani network commander in Pakistan

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Southeast Asia

ISIS Militants Killing, Enslaving Civilians: Philippines

Don’t Stoke Islamophobia, Says Singapore Churches’ Council

S.Korean Christian groups recruit Chinese to preach in Muslim countries: Media report

Help others understand Islam, religious scholars urge Muslims

Lawless waters test Malaysia, other SE Asian nations in fight against IS

Indonesia: Elderly Muslims brush up on their faith in special Ramadan classes

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Pakistan

PM’s Visit Yields No Breakthrough in Resolution of Saudi-Qatar Row

Security forces kill two BLA militants in Quetta operation: ISPR

Drone strike kills Haqqani network commander in Hangu

China says will investigate reports Chinese pair abducted in Pakistan were missionaries

Beijing seeks to defuse Pak-Afghan tensions

Pak-Afghan ‘Flag Meeting’ Discusses Border Villages’ Issue

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Africa

Ramadan: Protests After Tunisia Jails Five Men For 'Indecency' After They Ate During Day

Nigeria anti-corruption agency investigates parliament leader

Nigeria: Fomwan Organises Ramadan for Islamic Schools

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/muslim-workers-offer-maghrib-prayers-in-al-ain-indian-church-in-syria/d/111540

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Muslim Workers Offer Maghrib Prayers in Al Ain Indian Church in Syria

June 13, 2017

Abu Dhabi: Members of an Indian church in Al Ain cherish the gratitude expressed by more than 200 Muslim workers who had the rare opportunity of offering the Maghrib prayer inside the church last Friday.

“All of them said that it was the first time they had offered prayers in another religious shrine. They said it was their privilege and thanked us for this rare opportunity,” Bobin Skariya, convener of the Iftar Committee at St George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Simhasana Cathedral in Al Ain, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

Some church members were concerned about whether Muslims would be hesitant to offer prayers in a church. “But it was heartening that none of our Muslim brothers had such concerns at all. We all were delighted that our brothers upheld the true spirit of Islam,” Skariya explained.

“It was the first time, at least in the UAE, that a church opened its doors for Muslim prayers.”

The church conducted the iftar get-together for Asian road workers residing in a labour accommodation near the church.

Some senior Emirati officials in Al Ain, who got to know about Muslims praying inside the church, called up the church to express their appreciation. “When they said that we upheld the UAE’s true values of religious and social harmony, we felt proud,” the convenor said.

Many Muslim leaders and friends, apart from fellow Christians, also congratulated the church and offered their support for such endeavours in the future. “This inspires us to promote similar initiatives,” he said.

The church members spared no effort to make their Muslim brothers comfortable inside the church. “For our prayers, we were using the bare wooden floor, but we arranged a special carpet for them,” Skariya said.

The church members prepared the food for their guests themselves. Members of the women’s wing, youth wing and the elders forum cooked chicken biryani in the church premises after mass on Friday.

The church caters to around 270 families from the southern Indian state of Kerala. Established in 1994, the church inaugurated its new building in 2010.

http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/muslim-workers-offer-maghrib-prayers-in-al-ain-church-1.2043193

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Iranian FM Blames Western Tolerance of Wahhabism as Root Cause of Worldwide Terrorism

Jun 13, 2017

In three messages on his Twitter account, the Iranian foreign minister first noted the West's attitude towards the creation of Wahhabi terrorist groups in the 1980s, saying, "First (80’s) trap: fear-mongering about Iran misled the West to tolerate global promotion of Wahhabism, resulting in AQ (al-Qaeda), ISIS, Nusrah...".

He further blamed Washington for its direct support for terrorist groups to push mainstream Islam out of the scene, and said, "New trap: US complicity in marginalizing mature Muslim groups will again leave the field wide open for Wahabbist extremist recruitment."

"Recent developments have made our long-standing proposal for an inclusive Regional Dialogue Forum in the Persian Gulf ever more imperative," Zarif underlined.

In relevant remarks in 2016, Zarif said that the world cannot afford to sit by and witness Wahhabists targeting not only Christians, Jews and Shiites, but also Sunnis.

"Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, militant Wahhabism has undergone a series of face-lifts, but underneath, the ideology remains the same — whether it’s the Taliban, the various incarnations of Al Qaeda, or the so-called Islamic State, which is neither Islamic nor a state. But the millions of people faced with the Nusra Front’s tyranny are not buying the fiction of this disaffiliation," Zarif wrote in an article published in the opinion page of the US-based New York Times daily last year.

"While these extremists, with the backing of their wealthy sponsors, have targeted Christians, Jews, Yezidis, Shiites and other “heretics,” it is their fellow Sunni Arabs who have been most beleaguered by this exported doctrine of hate. Indeed, it is not the supposed ancient sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites, but the contest between Wahhabism and mainstream Islam that will have the most profound consequences for the region and beyond," he added.

"The attacks in Nice, Paris and Brussels should convince the West that the toxic threat of Wahhabism cannot be ignored. After a year of almost weekly tragic news, the international community needs to do more than express outrage, sorrow and condolences; concrete action against extremism is needed," Zarif stressed at the time.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323001591

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Zakir Naik's Outfit Radicalised Indian Youth to Join Islamic State

June 14, 2017

Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu

On September 12, 2014, Bestin Vincent Francis became Yahiya. The man in his early 20s from Kerala's Palakkad district voluntarily signed on to take up Islam. Three of his associates, including his lady love Nimisha alias Fatima, converted in the next few months. Raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on controversial preacher Zakir Naik's close aide Rizwan Illiyas Khan eventually blew the lid off this terror chain.

Rizwan, according to the probe body, was closely involved in processing the documents of conversion to Islam. In all, 78 affidavits, including the ones for Bestin Vincent, Bexen Vincent alias Isa, Merin Jacob alias Mariyam, and Nimisha alias Fatima, were seized from the residence.

Apart from Rizwan, another Naik aide, Arshi Qureshi, was closely involved in active conversion of people from other religions to Islam and radicalising them to follow the path of Islamic State.

A 115-page document accessed by Mail Today concludes that the NIA has collected material to show that Francis and his three associates were among the 24 youths who migrated from Kerala to Afghanistan to join ISIS.

All of the accused were regular visitors to the office of Naik's Mumbai-based non-profit Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and attended meetings that took place between key Naik aide Arshi Qureshi and the youths.

Qureshi's job was to handle Naik's appointments and emails and he would report directly to the televangelist. Rizwan was a para-volunteer and helped in getting proper matches to prospective brides and grooms, PR manager Maqbool Barwelkar told the central agency.

The NIA in November filed an FIR against Naik and the IRF - which he founded in 1991 - accusing him of indulging in unlawful activities and promoting religious hatred.

MARRIAGE, CONVERSION, ISIS

Investigation revealed that Rizwan arranged marriage certificates for Bestin Vincent (Yahiya) and Merrin Jacob (Mariyam), as well as Bexen Vincent (Isa) and Nimisha (Fatima). Documents show that Rizwan appeared as the guardian of the brides.

Qureshi, meanwhile, played a pivotal role in conversion of all the youths to Islam. The document states that activities of conversion made them follow the path favourable to join ISIS.

The young couples were childhood lovers and they later made a pact to enlist with ISIS together. Nimisha alias Fatima was four months pregnant when she left for Afghanistan. She delivered a child at an ISIS camp in Khorasan area. Nimisha came from an upper class family and was a dentist. But after getting indoctrinated, officers say, she refused to touch patients and gave up the practice completely.

The investigation also found that during 2012-2016, the IRF paid Rs 43.75 lakh to Qureshi from the account meant for foreign contributions. He was eventually arrested by Kerala police for his role in the conversion of 19 people, including some who left for Afghanistan.

'CLEAR LINK'

The report says that there is a clear link between Dr Zakir Naik, Arshi Qureshi and IRF, who have been promoting enmity and hatred between religious groups and inspiring the youth to commit terrorist acts.

With Arshi Qureshi's link to Zakir Naik established, he was already on the radar of police with two cases booked against him. Mumbai's Nagpada police station registered a case (CR No 271/16) against Qureshi on August 6, 2016, on the basis of a complaint by Abdul Majeed, father of Ashfaq Majeed, one of the missing youth from Kerala who joined ISIS.

Abdul blamed Qureshi of IRF for Ashfaq's radicalisation, which led him to join the terror group. India Today TV accessed a copy of the complaint.

Another statement of Nizamudeen TK in August last year states that his brother Hafeesudheen, an ISIS recruit, invited him to attend an IRF function. This is where he learnt about the conversion.

Yet another case was registered at Palarivattom police station in Kerala against Qureshi. The Navi Mumbai resident was arrested in July 2016 for his role in "promoting hatred and ill-will between different communities and forcible conversion of Kerala Youth, who went missing and are suspected to have joined ISIS".

This is not Naik's first brush with Islamic State. A complaint registered in 2015 found Abu Anas, an ISIS-inspired youth arrested from Rajasthan, had received Rs 1.5 lakh as "scholarship" from United Islamic Aid, a subsidiary of Zakir Naik's IRF.

However, he had a regular IT job at the time and was not pursuing any educational course, which has led agencies to doubt the purpose of the "scholarship".

In July 2016, Rohan Imitiaz, a suicide bomber who attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka Bangladesh, had posted on Facebook that he was very influenced by the speech "Every Muslim should be a terrorist", delivered by Dr Zakir Naik.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/zakir-naik-outfit-radicalised-indian-youth-to-join-islamic-state/1/978229.html

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The Met Showcases Islamic Art as a Response To Trump's Muslim Ban

June 14, 2017

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from Muslim-majority countries from entering the US spurred the Met to action.

Researchers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York launched ten-minute gallery talks to showcase Islamic contributions to the world's heritage.

"The idea was that we wanted to present the great accomplishments, artistic accomplishments and ideas, that were, are embodied in these works of art as a counter to the negative press and negative things that people say," said Sheila Canby, curator in charge of the Metropolitan Museum department of Islamic art.

Trump first proposed a temporary travel ban on Muslims during his presidential campaign last year.

At the end of January, he signed an executive order barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from traveling to the United States for 90 days.

Refugees from Syria were banned indefinitely. Trump said it was a national security measure meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants.

In March, he revised the ban and removed Iraq from the list. Margie Anderson took in one of the Islamic art tours.

"I feel like the more pushback that we're getting - that that part of the world is bad, and those people are evil - I look at enjoying and understanding and learning about this art as just kind of a political act. It just makes me want to enjoy it and appreciate it even more," said Margie Anderson, a resident from Houston, Texas and tour participant.

Four US courts ruled against Trump's travel ban suspending its execution.

But on June 1 the administration filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court seeking to reinstate it.

The Supreme Court could act on that request as soon as this week

http://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/the-met-showcases-islamic-art-as-a-response-to-trumps-muslim-ban

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‘Jihadi Jack’ Escapes Islamic State: ‘They Put Me in Prison 3 Times, Threatened To Kill Me’

Jun 13, 2017

A 21-year-old British Muslim man, who travelled to the Islamic State-controlled area of Syria in 2014, says that he has escaped from the clutches of the dreaded terror group and he now “hate them more than the Americans.”

Jack Letts from Oxford, dubbed “Jihadi Jack”, is suspected of going to Syria to fight for so-called Islamic State.

But he claims he is opposed to IS and has left their territory and is now being held by Kurdish forces fighting the group.

Letts spoke to the BBC via text and voice messages. Speaking about leaving IS territory, Letts said: “I found a smuggler and walked behind him through minefields.”

He said he and the smuggler “eventually made it near a Kurdish point where we were shot at twice and slept in a field”. He said he is now in solitary confinement in a jail in Kurdish-held north-east Syria.

Letts converted to Islam while at Cherwell comprehensive school in Oxford. He travelled to Jordan, aged 18, in 2014, having dropped out of his A-levels. By the autumn of that year he was in IS- controlled territory in Syria.

His family deny he went there to fight and instead say he was motivated by humanitarian reasons. He married in Iraq and now has a child.

He said that he had been injured in an explosion and had gone to Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS in Syria, to recuperate.

He claimed he became disillusioned with the group about a year ago after it killed its former supporters. “I hate them more than the Americans hate them,” he said. “I realised they were not upon the truth so they put me in prison three times and threatened to kill me.”

He claimed he had escaped from low-security detention and had been in hiding when he managed to find a people smuggler to take him out.

His parents have pleaded not guilty to charges of funding terrorism after being accused of sending cash to their son.

John Letts and Sally Lane told the BBC that, having not heard from their son for several weeks, they suddenly received a message saying he was in a safe zone.

“It was the news we’ve been waiting for three years - ever since he went out there - and now we just want to get him home,” said Lane. They believe their son is not being treated badly but are concerned about his mental health.

Letts’ parents are calling on the British authorities to do “whatever they can” to help him.

The government had told them that they could only help if he left IS territory but now he is out “no-one wants to take responsibility”, said Lane.

Letts, an organic farmer, acknowledges that his son “will have to account for his actions” once he returns to Britain, but the family is not convinced “he has done anything at all”, from what he has told them.

The UK government advises against all travel to Syria and parts of Iraq and a number of people who returned from these areas have been prosecuted.

Asked by the BBC why the UK government should help him, Jack said: “I don’t want anyone to help me.”

“I’ll just chill here in solitary confinement till someone decides it’s easier to kill me,” he added.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/jihadi-jack-escapes-islamic-state-they-put-me-in-prison-3-times-threatened-to-kill-me/story-wXBg0f6j1UaoddotRtaMcK.html

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Arab World

 

Saudi Officials Imprisoned after Opposing Bin Salman's Plot against Al-Thani

Jun 13, 2017

Mujtahid revealed that a number of members of Al ash-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia's leading religious family, including a member of the consultative assembly, were imprisoned in Istiraha by bin Salman to sign a statement against al-Thani.

He added that bin Salman freed them after being disappointed from their endorsement of the statement provided that they avoid releasing the incident through the social media.

Mujtahid said the member of the consultative assembly might be pressured to deny his revelations or the Saudi media might damage his words.

In relevant remarks last Tuesday, Mujtahid disclosed that Mohammad bin Salman and Supreme Commander of UAE's Union Defense Force Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan have slammed the Saudi intelligence ministry for providing wrong intel about Qatar.

According to Mujtahid, the Saudi intelligence ministry had estimated a huge loss for Qatar following a severance by Riyadh and its allies of ties with Doha but the developments showed that Qatar had prepared itself for these days.

"Bin Salman and Bin Zayed had thought that (Qatari Emir) Tamim (bin Hamad Al Thani) will make concessions within 24 hours but the response that they received was challenge and continued release of the emails of the (UAE's) ambassador (to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba) and other cases," he added.

According to reports, Riyadh and its regional allies had overestimated the negative impacts of closing their airspaces to Qatari planes, underestimating Doha's remaining option to use Iran's airspace by rerouting its flights.

Qatar Airways canceled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates a day after it had suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar last month, and suspended air and sea communication one week after the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh. Later, Libya and the Maldives joined that list of nation that break off diplomatic relations with Doha.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323000885

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UAE: Qatar rejecting terrorism key to resolve crisis

14 June 2017

The UAE’s Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Gargash tweeted on Thursday that the “key” to resolve spat between Arab powers with Qatar is for the latter to “reject backing extremism and terrorism.”

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies accuse Qatar of supporting “terrorism” in the region, while Doha’s supporters such as Turkey have warned of a humanitarian crisis.

Gargash also lent his weight to his Saudi counterpart’s earlier statement on Qatar, when he described Riyadh’s statements as summing the “realistic” and “rational” stance regarding Doha.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisted earlier Tuesday that Saudi Arabia has not imposed a “blockade” on Qatar by closing the border and banning Doha’s planes from its air space.

Jubeir, in Washington for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who called last week for the embargo to be “eased” insisted the move was reasonable.

“There is no blockade of Qatar. Qatar is free to go. The ports are open, the airports are open,” Jubeir said, appearing alongside a silent Tillerson.

“What we have done is we have denied them use of our airspace, and this is our sovereign right.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/14/UAE-Qatar-rejecting-terrorism-key-to-resolve-crisis-.html

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Deir Ezzur: 11 ISIL Terrorists, Notorious Commander Killed by Unknown Attackers

Jun 13, 2017

A number of unknown raiders attacked a positon of ISIL in al-Salehiyeh region in the suburban area of Bu Kamal region in Eastern Deir Ezzur, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported.

The newspaper said that 11 ISIL terrorists, including their senior services commander Abu Maryam al-Shami, were killed in the city of Mayadin in the attack by the rival group.

The incident came as assassination of ISIL terrorists in Deir Ezzur has intensified. Only a few days ago several people fired at ISIL terrorists in al-Shaitat region and torched their tires.

In a relevant development in late May, four members of the terrorist group were killed by unknown assailants in Eastern Syria.

Local sources said that a number of unknown raiders attacked a positon of ISIL in the village of al-Tayaneh, and killed four members of the group.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323000804

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Syria: Gov't Troops Reach Strategic Ithriya-Raqqa Road

Jun 13, 2017

The Syrian army forces advanced from their positions in Western Raqqa towards South and regained control of several regions, including Rajam al-Askar, Be'r Anbaj, al-Rasafah oil field, Zahr Um Baj, Job Aziz, Job al-Qanim, Abu Sousa and Job al-Baydh.

After advancing in these regions, the army soldiers reached Ithriya-Raqqa road.

In a relevant development on Monday, The Syrian army troops continued to storm ISIL's defense lines in Eastern and Southeastern Aleppo and managed to advance towards Ithriya region in Northeastern Hama to reinvigorate Aleppo province's security.

The army soldiers started battles against ISIL in areas near the villages of Bu Qazal and Anizeh South of the recently-liberated town of Maskana in Eastern Aleppo and managed to drive ISIL out of the region.

A military source said that the army intends to restore full security to Aleppo, adding that in line with the strategy the army troops advanced against ISIL 10km Southwest of Maskana towards Ithriya region.

Field sources, meantime, reported that the Syrian and Russian fighter jets carried out joint raids on ISIL positions in Northern Hama, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323001659

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Army Forces Advance towards ISIL's Last Base in Syrian Desert

Jun 13, 2017

The army troops launched massive operations in Eastern Hama, retaking control of a number of points and heights near militant-controlled Aqayrabat in Eastern Hama, as ISIL's last and most important base in Badiyeh.

A military source said that the Syrian forces have retaken military control of several villages and towns in Eastern Hama after this advance, crippling the ISIL moves effectively and tightening the noose on them in Badiyeh; specially when other Syrian forces have reached the borders with Iraq.

The source also added that the Syrian forces are less than 30km away from Aqayrabat.

Meantime, the Syrian army is concurrently launching operations in the mountains of Eastern Palmyra and Eastern al-Salamiyeh region from Sheikh Hilal road, advancing in certain areas.

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian army soldiers backed by the country's air force continued their military operations against the ISIL in the Eastern countryside of Hama and recaptured new areas.

The Syrian troops stationed in Eastern Hama engaged in clashes with the ISIL terrorists and regained control of several regions in the direction of the oil pipeline Southeast of the town of Aqarib in Eastern Hama as reinforcement forces and equipment were dispatched to the region.

In the meantime, the Syrian army's artillery and missile units backed by the country's air forces targeted ISIL's military positions in al-Barqoutiyeh, Arshouneh, Salam, al-Haradaneh and Eastern direction of oil pipeline.

The Russian choppers called as 'flying tanks' also hit hard ISIL's military positions in al-Barqoutiyeh and al-Haradaneh villages and inflicted heavy casualties and losses on the terrorists.

Russian bombers also created hell for ISIL in areas between al-Salamiyah and the militant-controlled Aqayrabat in Eastern Hama, killing 20 Takfiri militants and destroying 5 vehicles.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323001236

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Euphrates Rage Forces Inch Closer to Raqqa City Center

Jun 13, 2017

"The SDF forces are now in full control of over 70 percent of al-Sana'a region in Raqqa and have stationed in the surrounding areas of the old city of Raqqa," the media activists reported on Tuesday.

The media activists said that if the SDF regains control of al-Sana'a region, the Kurdish forces will come very close to the city center.

Meantime, the clashes between the Kurdish forces and the ISIL terrorists are still underway in around Hatin al-Sha'abi in Western Raqqa.

This is while the SDF forces are still in full control of al-Romanieh and Hatin districts.

In a relevant development on Monday, the predominately Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued their anti-ISIL operation in Raqqa codenamed the Euphrates Rage and managed to drive terrorists out of another key neighborhood in Raqqa city.

The SDF that had pushed ISIL back from the neighborhoods of al-Mashlab al-Sharqi and al-Sabahiyeh in the Western part of Raqqa city engaged in fresh round of clashes with ISIL in al-Roumaniyeh neighborhood and managed to take control over it after killing and wounding tens of terrorists, including a field commander.

A local source reported, meantime, that fierce clashes are now underway between the Kurdish fighters and ISIL in the neighborhoods of al-Sina'ah and Hattin in Raqqa city, leaving 23 ISIL members dead.

Arab media outlet reported on Sunday that ISIL in a meeting with the predominately Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) showed intention to hand over Raqqa city to the SDF and leave the city for Deir Ezzur via a safe corridor.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat daily reported that a delegation from the Tribal Council of the ISIL held territories met with the SDF in the town of Ein Issa in Tal Abyadh countryside, adding that the ISIL delegation offered to hand over Raqqa city in return for safe exit towards Deir Ezzur at the meeting.

Commander of the Russian military forces in Syria Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin said on Saturday that his soldiers were closely monitoring the situation in Raqqa.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323001111

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ISIL on Run as Syrian Soldiers Advance in Raqqa

Jun 13, 2017

The army soldiers could advance and regain control of several towns and villages after entering Raqqa province, driving the Takfiri terrorists out of several other towns and villages in Western Raqqa.

A military source said that the Syrian troops have also managed to retake control of over 15 towns and villages in Western Raqqa, killing over 25 militants and wounding tens of them.

The source added that the army forces have stationed "in this point of Raqqa province for the first time in four years".

Field sources in Northeastern Syria reported on Saturday that the country's army troops and popular forces are ready to continue their operation against ISIL in Western Raqqa to restore sustainable security to Aleppo province.

The sources said that the army soldiers are getting ready to continue their advances towards the Southern direction of the newly-freed positons in Western Raqqa to reach the border triangle of Raqqa-Aleppo-Hama and access Kharba al-Baydh region and Raqqa-al-Salamiyah highway.

The sources underscored that the army's operation is aimed at expanding the area of advances and laying siege on ISIL in other terrorist-held regions in Southeastern Aleppo.

"The ISIL terrorists are now faced with only the two options of retreat from areas near Southeastern Aleppo or stay and die," they said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323001022

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Syrian Army Takes Control of 50 Percent of Dara'a Refugee Camp

Jun 13, 2017

The Syrian army troops backed by missile units and fighter jets engaged in clashes with the terrorists in Dara'a's refugees camp and managed to take control of over half of the camp in fierce clashes.

Meantime, a military source confirmed that the Syrian troops have managed to take control of a region along Dara'a refugee camp where several schools were located.

The terrorists sustained heavy losses in the Syrian army's military operations in Dara'a.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian Army's artillery and missile units shelled terrorists' positions and movement in the Southern city of Dara'a and repelled their attack on the pro-government forces' defense lines in the city.

The artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at the movements of the terrorists that attacked the army's strongholds in Dara'a al-Balad district, Tariq al-Sad and al-Abbasiyeh neighborhoods, fending off their attack and inflicting major losses on them.

The army forces also targeted a drone and a bomb-laden vehicle of the terrorists near the town of Tafas in Northern Dara'a.

The Syrian Air Force also launched several airstrikes over Dara’a city, hitting the positions of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board) in al-Manshiyeh neighborhood and Dara'a al-Balad.

In relevant developments in the province on Sunday, the missile units shelled heavily terrorists' positions in Dara'a al-Balad district and Tariq al-Sad (way to dam) neighborhood in Dara'a city and Qaraz region in its outskirts.

In the meantime, the fighter jets bombed badly terrorists' concentration centers in Qaraz.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960323000735

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Iraq PM Abadi says Kurdish referendum untimely

14 June 2017

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday said he understood the Kurdish minority’s statehood aspirations but bemoaned its leadership’s decision to hold an independence referendum in September.

“Every part of Iraq has aspirations and has a dream, and we respect that, even if we disagree with it,” he said, responding to the Kurdish push to achieve statehood.

“We live in one homeland and they are our partners,” Abadi said, referring to the Kurds.

“We have a constitution that we’ve voted on, we have a federal parliament and a federal government,” he said. “The referendum at this time is not opportune.”

Abadi was speaking at a press conference in Baghdad nearly a week after the presidency of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region announced a referendum on independence for September 25.

The Kurds had already said they would aim to organize such a vote after the battle of Mosul against ISIS, which appears to be in its final stages, was won.

Such a referendum, the positive outcome of which is in little doubt, would be non-binding and leave the approximately five million Kurds of northern Iraq some way away from actual independence.

The support of the federal Iraqi government, of key neighbors such as Iran and Turkey and of major players such as the United States is seen as essential to achieving a viable separation.

Baghdad’s reaction to the announcement was seen internally as relatively meek given that the break-up of the country is at stake.

An Iraqi official told AFP on condition of anonymity that an overly antagonistic reaction to the announcement of the referendum would serve only to unite Kurdish factions against Baghdad and give the independence drive more momentum.

Internal division is one of the Kurds’ main weaknesses as they set the wheels in motion for an independence process that is likely to last years.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/14/Iraq-PM-Abadi-says-Kurdish-referendum-untimely-.html

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Lebanon parties agree on electoral law: Foreign Minister

13 June 2017

Lebanon’s rival parties reached agreement on Tuesday on an electoral law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said, staving off a political crisis and paving the way for a parliamentary election.

The agreement still needs the approval of the cabinet in a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and will then be sent to parliament.

“Today we have reached a political agreement between the political sides,” said Bassil, an ally of President Michel Aoun.

It will take at least seven months to prepare for an election, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said.

The new law will introduce the proportional representation system for elections, will change the number of electoral districts, and give overseas Lebanese voting rights, a senior political source said.

The agreement averts a crisis that had threatened to unravel the political deal that brought Aoun to office last year, more than two years after the previous president left.

Politicians have spent months wrangling over the new law and had a deadline of June 20 to pass it before parliament’s term expired.

The country has never been without a parliament before, but the present parliament has extended its own term twice since 2009 because of fundamental disagreements between the parties.

Last year, the parliament elected Aoun, an ally of the Shi’ite Hezbollah movement, as president in a deal that also led to the appointment of Saad al-Hariri as prime minister.

Parliament’s 128 seats are split equally between Christians and Muslims under the terms of the Taif agreement, which ended the 1975-1990 civil war.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/13/Lebanon-parties-agree-on-electoral-law-Foreign-Minister.html

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Syrian-Democratic forces advance towards old Raqqa

13 June 2017

According to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) succeeded in controlling 70% of the industrial district, which indicates an increase of clashes in the densely populated city center.

More forces entered the stronghold of ISIS with the support of the alliance forces that advanced in the eastern part of Raqqa, where the industrial district is located.

The media official confirmed that violent clashes are taking place in this neighborhood, but the area has not yet been fully secured.

Taking control of the industrial district means that the real battle will begin and the fighting will get tougher as the forces approach the center of the densely populated city of Raqqa, where most important ISIS occupied sites are concentrated.

The Syrian observatory also quoted residents of the old city saying that the area was under heavy bombardment.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/13/Syrian-Democratic-forces-advance-towards-old-Raqqa.html

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Mideast

 

Yemeni Minister Claims 600 Preachers Tortured and Killed By Houthis

13 June 2017

Houthis and militias allied to ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh have allegedly arrested, tortured and killed more than 600 preachers and blew up 300 mosques and Quran schools since the start of the war in 2015, the Yemeni Minister of Human Rights Mohammed Askar said on Tuesday.

The minister specified that these operations occured in multiple areas under Houthi control, but did not mention the exact number of preachers killed.

According to the official Yemeni news agency, Askar said that the Arab world is being impacted by extremism on two fronts; one at the hands ISIS and al-Qaeda and the other, Hezbollah and the Houthis.

The Yemeni minister said that the Houthis and their allies in Yemen have carried out all kinds of violations against the Yemeni people, such as killing, arresting and torturing them.

He said the militias have also closed newspapers and websites, and arrested journalists and human rights activists.

They have sieged cities, prohibited the entry of supplies and targeted citizens with various weapons, he added.

Despite widespread rejection of their rule, Houthis are seeking to impose extremism in areas of control, by bombing mosques and forcing preachers to be loyal to them.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Houthis have reportedly prevented people from performing Tarawih prayers – extra prayers performed by Muslims during Ramadan – in mosques.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/13/More-than-600-preachers-arrested-and-killed-by-Houthis-.html

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Turkish army kills 20 Kurdish militants in Iraq

June 14, 2017

ANKARA - Turkey’s military killed 20 militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in air strikes targeting southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the army said in a statement on Tuesday.

In three separate air strikes, Turkish warplanes hit the southeastern province of Van bordering Iran, and northern Iraq’s Zap and Hakurk regions. Some of the militants were believed to be in preparation of an attack, the military said.

Sixteen militants were killed and a gun post and a logistics hub were destroyed in two separate air bombardments in Iraq. Air strikes in Van killed four other militants, the army said. The PKK, which has carried out a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state, has camps in the mountains of northern Iraq, near the Turkish border. It is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Jun-2017/turkish-army-kills-20-kurdish-militants-in-iraq

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Palestinians to end pay for suicide bomber families: Tillerson

14 June 2017

The leadership of the Palestinian Authority has agreed to halt payments to the families of suicide bombers, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday.

Compensation payments to the families of “martyrs” who die carrying out attacks on Israelis are one of the sticking points in the moribund Middle East peace process.

“They have changed their policy, at least I have been informed they’ve changed that policy,” Tillerson told US lawmakers.

US President Donald Trump has vowed to seek to revive the talks, and has urged Israel to limit settlement building on Palestinian land, but many differences remain.

Under questioning at a Senate hearing, Tillerson said Washington had pressed Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on the issue of payments to the families of suicide bombers.

“It was discussed directly when president Abbas made his visit with his delegation to Washington,” Tillerson said, adding that Trump had raised the issue at the White House.

Just after this May 3 meeting, Tillerson had a “more detailed” bilateral meeting with Abbas.

“And I told him you absolutely must stop making payments to family members of quote, ‘martyrs’,” he said.

“I said it’s one thing to help orphans and children, but when you designate the payment for that act, that has to stop.

“Their intent is to cease the payments to the family members of those who have committed murder or violence against others.

“So, we’ve been very clear with them that this is simply not acceptable to us. It is certainly not acceptable to the American people.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/06/14/Palestinians-to-end-pay-for-suicide-bomber-families-Tillerson-.html

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Yemeni retaliatory attack leaves four Saudi soldiers dead

Jun 13, 2017

At least four Saudi soldiers have been killed when Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Committees launched an attack against a border crossing in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Asir as they continue their retaliatory raids against Riyadh regime’s aerial bombardment campaign.

An unnamed military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that Yemeni forces and their allies fatally shot the troopers in the al-Alab border crossing on Tuesday afternoon.

Yemeni soldiers and Popular Committees fighters also lobbed several artillery rounds at al-Makhrouq military bases in Najran region, located 844 kilometers south of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, though no reports of casualties were immediately available.

Earlier in the day, Yemeni forces had targeted Saudi army compounds north of al-Shabaka military base in the al-Sharafa region of Najran, causing casualties.

A report by Reuters published in April last year said that at least 400 Saudi soldiers had been killed in the cross-border fire since the start of the Saudi aggression against Yemen more than two years ago.

In early April, Arabic-language Yemen Watch news agency reported that nearly 120 Saudi troopers had been killed in dozens of sniper operations carried out by Yemeni army soldiers, backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees.

It added that most of the operations had been conducted in Jizan, where a total of 74 Saudi soldiers lost their lives in 22 encounters.

In early May, al-Masirah reported that Yemeni sharpshooters had managed to kill as many as 64 Saudi troops in April alone.

The Riyadh regime has maintained a policy of ambiguity regarding its casualties in the war on Yemen. Senior military officials have said that they would not release such information until after the war.

Also on Tuesday, a woman sustained injuries after Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi fired a number of missiles into al-Hajlan area in Sirwah district of Yemen’s central province of Ma'rib.

Full report at:

http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/06/13/525168/Yemeni-forces-allies-retaliatory-attack-Saudi-troops-Alab-border-crossing-Asir

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Opposition raises doubts as Iran arrests 80 Sunnis after Tehran attacks

13 June 2017

Iranian media reported that security and intelligence services arrested in recent days nearly 80 Sunni citizens in various provinces on charges of having links with ISIS.

The arrest come after the recent attacks on the Iranian parliament and the Khomeini shrine last Wednesday which left 17 dead and 50 wounded.

Iran’s opposition is still disputing the official regime's theory that ISIS did in fact target sensitive and symbolic centers like the parliament and the shrine of Khomeini. Opposition figures believe that the Revolutionary Guards' intelligence apparatuses colluded with members of ISIS, most of whom are known to the intelligence services and were former detainees because of their membership in the extremist organization and before when they belonged to al-Qaeda, especially since Tehran provided shelter to many of its leaders.

In this context, an article by Iranian writer Heshmat Alavi on Forbes dealt with the repercussions of the bloody attacks and said that there were many questions and doubts about the nature of the attacks, especially that the target sites were heavily secured. Alavi argues that the regime's precedents make observers doubt the regime’s statement on the accounts of the attacks, as Tehran is known to use similar brutal methods and frame their opponents.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/06/13/Opposition-raise-doubts-as-Iran-arrests-80-Sunnis-after-Tehran-attacks.html

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Turkey: Isolation of Qatar is not Islamic

June 14, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the isolation of Qatar as "inhumane and against Islamic values", urging Saudi Arabia to take a leading role in resolving the ongoing crisis among Gulf Arab nations.

"Qatar has showed the most decisive stance against terrorist organisation Daesh alongside Turkey. Victimising Qatar through smear campaigns serves no purpose," he said during a parliamentary address, using the Arabic abbreviation for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and a number of other countries severed relations with Qatar last week, accusing it of supporting armed groups and Iran. Qatar rejects the accusations.

Erdogan said that it appeared some countries had decided to hand down the death penalty to Qatar and urged Saudi Arabia to reconsider the harsh steps against the Gulf country.

"The king of Saudi Arabia, as leader of the Gulf, should solve this issue. I especially think that he should lead the way towards resolving this crisis," Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara.

"A very grave mistake is being made in Qatar, Isolating a nation in all areas is inhumane and against Islamic values. It's as if a death penalty decision has been taken for Qatar."

Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said that the isolation of Qatar is unexplainable to the international community.

"Ankara is trying to involve other actors in order to end the isolation of Qatar as the chair of the Organisation of Islamic Conference."

Turkey has maintained good relations with Qatar as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbours.

Blockade on Qatar

Saudi Arabia has also closed its border with Qatar and it, the UAE and Bahrain have also closed their airspace to the country that heavily relies on imports of food and water, among other products.

The measures against Qatar have disrupted imports of food and other materials and caused some foreign banks to scale back business.

Qatar, which imported the vast majority of its food from bigger Gulf Arab neighbours before the diplomatic shutdown, has been cooperating with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water.

Moreover, the three Arab Gulf countries ordered Qatari nationals to leave within 14 days, while Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens were also given the same timeframe to leave Qatar.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/turkey-qatar-isolation-islamic-values-170613131822995.html

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India

 

Non-Muslim Friends Invited for ‘Dosti Ki Iftari’ In Kolkata

June 13, 2017

KOLKATA —  ‘Dosti Ki iftari,’ organised by residents of Kiddrepore, Kolkata on Sunday was attended by non-Muslims from the city, including journalists, academicians, social activists, professionals, and young students for direct interaction with locals. The initiative was part of “know your neighbour programme” of Association SNAP and is supported by community based organizations like Right Track and AIMS etc.

This Iftar party was different from other such programs where the focus remains on high profile politicians and celebrities. In this iftar party no politician was invited, but aimed at people-to-people interaction in the city at a time when certain forces are trying to create communal frenzy in the state.

Some of the eminent persons from the city who attended the iftar program included, distinguished Professors Subendhu Dasgupta and Keya Dasgupta; Kumar Rana, writer and Project Director Pratichi Institute; Abhijit Roy, Head of Film Studies Department of Jadavpur University; Amit Dasgupta, Professor at Calcutta University; Dr Roddur De, assistant professor at Chandannagar Government College; Suvojit Bagchi, Chief of Bureau, The Hindu; journalist Udalak Mukherjee, The Telegraph, social activist Malay Tiwari, among others. Around 60 people, majority of them non-Muslims interacted with local residents of greater Kidderpore area that included professors, lawyers, journalists, researchers, students and local businessmen.

Before the iftari, there was tri-lingual (Bengali, Hindi and English) freewheeling interaction among local residents. A local imam Ashraf Qasmi spoke on the religious and spiritual dimension of Ramzan.

Shaheen Parveen, who used to teach law at AMU and has recently, cleared the West Bengal Judiciary Service Examinations spoke about her experience of being a working Muslim woman.

Kumar Rana, writer, speaking on the occasion stressed on the need of more inter-communal interactions in the society.

Professor Subhendu Dasgupta extended his support to such initiatives that can help people come closer.

There was also an exhibition of photographs of Kidderpore locality at the venue, shot by four young photographers Sangoli Sikder, Abhishek Dey, Shovon Ray and Swastik Pal, capturing the life and daily existence here.

Dosti Ki iftari was jointly organised by Association SNAP, AIMS and Right Track. Advocate Abu Nasser of AIMS has played important role in mobilizing financial support for the programme.

Md Ashraf Ali of Right Track welcoming the guests spoke on the need to organise this kind of iftar. He said although we live in the same city, there is big divided between majority and minority community. A lot of misconceptions and stereotypes exist and we need to challenge those.

The organizers are also toying up with the idea of ‘Kidderpore Festival’ perhaps at the end of this year.

http://caravandaily.com/portal/non-muslim-friends-invited-for-dosti-ki-iftari-in-kolkata/

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Indian Muslims won’t be left out on MIB, says MIC

June 14, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14: The Indian Muslim community will not be sidelined from the Malaysian Indian Blueprint (MIB), the action plan to develop the Indian community in the country, said MIC president, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said this showed that the party is still the representative of the Indian Muslim community.

“Indian Muslims are also part of the Indian community and those deserving will not be excluded from the blueprint (MIB).

“MIC is a party which emphasises inclusiveness. We do not single out any Indians based on religion as the community is also part of the party’s strength,” Dr Subramaniam told the press during a breaking-of-fast event held for the community at its headquarters, here Tuesday.

The president also reminded Indians that the Indian Muslim community had contributed a lot to the country’s economy and in Tamil literature.

Dr Subramaniam also acknowledged the role of Indian Muslims in uplifting the Indian race ever since the party’s inception.

“There have been representatives from the Indian Muslim community since the early days of MIC and these people had played a major role then.”

“And our relationship with this community is also very strong, thus at the same time to remind them (Indian Muslims) that MIC is also their representative,” he added.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also Health Minister, said this was the second year the party had organised the breaking of fast ceremony for the Indian Muslim community.

The event which was jointly organised by MIC and the Malaysian Indian Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MIMCOIN) also witnessed the party handing over grocery and food items to some 100 less fortunate Indian Muslims.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysiantimes.com.my/indian-muslims-wont-be-left-out-on-mib-says-mic/

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Muslims protest Yogi government's move to make Muslim marriage registration mandatory

Siraj Qureshi

June 13, 2017

As the Uttar Pradesh government is planning to make marriage registration mandatory, Muslims are getting ready to come out on the roads in protest of this 'un-Islamic' move.

Talking to India Today on this issue, Muslim leader Haji Jameeluddin said the Muslim community cannot accept the UP government's edict to register Muslim marriages at the marriage registrar's office as Muslim marriages are only registered at the office of the Waqf board of UP as per the Nikahnama documents.

He said Muslim marriages are already registered according to the Sharia law and there was no need to register them again merely to satisfy a government's whim.

He said the attention of both the Centre and the state governments have shifted from development and crime control to such frivolous issues. This is merely to divert the attention of the people from the issues raging before the country, which the Muslims will not tolerate.

Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Aghai said that the Yogi government seeks to keep the Hindus and Muslims of UP tied up in such petty issues so that they never raise their demand for development. He said that similar issue came up during the Samajwadi Party government as well but the Muslims did not let it gain prominence with their protests and the Akhilesh Yadav government had to shelve this topic.

Former president of the Muslim wing of Samajwadi Party Md Yaseen Qureshi said  Muslim marriages get registered at the time they are solemnised so Muslims do not need an additional registration, whereas most Hindu marriages are conducted without any paperwork.

Mufti Mudassar Ali Qadri said that Muslim marriages are conducted according to Sharia, which is why the Muslim personal law has been defined separately in the Indian Constitution. The Qazi who conducts these marriages is registered with the state government and he has to present the statistics of marriages conducted by him in a year to the state government, he said.

However, BJP leader Ashfaq Saifi claimed that since the order had not been given by the state government, but it was given by the Supreme Court, the Muslims as well as the state government, were duty bound to honour the Court's will. He said that some Muslim leaders are unnecessarily dragging the name of Yogi Adityanath in this matter, whereas the Chief Minister has issued an order to make all the marriages mandatory, irrespective of the religion. The rules are still being prepared by the women welfare department of the state government and as soon as the rules are ready, they will be brought into effect.

Saifi said that whoever declines to obey these rules, shall be barred from availing government benefits, while those who register their marriages after a delay, shall be liable for a fine.

Full report at:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/uttar-pradesh-muslims-protest-yogi-government-marriage-registration-mandatory/1/978050.html

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9 jawans wounded in grenade attack on CRPF camp in J&K's Pulwama

Jun 13, 2017

NEW DELHI: At least 9 jawans were injured when terrorists attacked a CRPF camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on Tuesday.

The terrorists reportedly hurled a grenade at a camp of CRPF's 180 battalion located in Pulwama's Tral area at 6:05 pm. The grenade exploded inside the camp, causing splinter injuries to the jawans. Of the wounded, three CRPF personnel are critical.

The injured have been taken to a hospital and the area around the camp has been cordoned off to nab the unidentified terrorists, a police official said.

Terrorists carried out a similar attack on a CRPF camp in Tral on Monday night during which two paramilitary personnel sustained minor injuries.

This was the second grenade attack in Tral within two days and third such incident in the valley since Sunday. A sub-inspector of the force and three policemen were injured in a grenade attack on a security picket at Saraf Kadal in downtown Srinagar on Sunday.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/9-jawans-wounded-in-grenade-attack-at-crpf-camp-in-jks-pulwama/articleshow/59129504.cms

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Ties with Arab world is getting stronger under PM Narendra Modi

Jun 14, 2017

NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi may be set to become the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel but his government has walked the extra mile in the past three years to engage with Palestine and all Arab countries as well, along with Iran, as part of diplomatic balancing.

The BJP-led NDA government was widely expected to expand India's ties with Israel, but it has taken care to attach equal importance to relations with West Asia and North Africa, commonly referred to as the Arab world.

The PM's visit to Israel from July 4-6 is expected to open up scope of wider engagement across agriculture, water, startups and IT sectors, besides expanding traditional areas of counterterrorism and defence partnerships. Modi is likely to address a session with Israeli CEOs to attract investments into India, the first such Indo-Israeli exercise. Apart from the deliverables, the visit will of course have a huge symbolic significance as well.

Engagement with West Asia received momentum after the government assumed charge and Modi's visit to the United Arab Emirates in August 2015 proved a game changer of sorts, from expanding counter-terror partnership to establishing defence manufacturing ties to commitment of $75 billion for India's infrastructure sector.

The Modi government's engagement with the Arab World and Iran is based on five important pillars - safety of expatriates, securing energy resources, attracting investments, expanding counter-terror or security partnership and connectivity corridors. India's counter-terror narrative has found resonance with the key Gulf players, some of whom have been traditional friends of Pakistan but supported India's decision to carry out cross-border terror strikes after the attack on the Indian Army camp in Uri.

From hosting both Abu Dhabi Crown Prince (including as Republic Day chief guest in 2016) and Egyptian President (twice) to the ruler of Qatar and Syrian deputy prime minister and top Jordanian leader to Modi's visits to Saudi Arabia and Iran - West Asia has been a key area for the NDA regime's foreign policy outreach. India expects to host the Saudi monarch and Jordan's king later this year as well as the Iranian president in the future.

Strategic affairs analysts pointed out that most leaders from West Asia and North Africa are increasingly undertaking standalone trips to India, excluding Pakistan. The de-hyphenation comes in the backdrop of India's growing economic profile and growing threats from terror groups.

Besides, during the past one and a half years, the vice president has visited some of the North African countries and ministers from the Gulf and Iran have been regular visitors to India since 2015. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made a number of trips to the volatile Gulf region and India established itself as a responder in distress when it rescued not only its nationals but others as well from wartorn Yemen.

Junior external affairs minister MJ Akbar, using his knowledge and contacts in West Asia, has been able to strike a rapport with leaders in the region and even made visits to Syria and Iraq. Currently, though, the government faces a challenge in increasingly volatile West Asia following the decision of four countries to sever ties with Qatar.

Last month India sought to elevate its ties with Palestine during the visit of President Mahmoud Abbas by reinforcing its principled stand on a two-state solution and offering support for a slew of capacity building projects, in keeping with the government's diplomatic balancing act ahead of the prime minister's Israel trip.

Earlier, in 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee visited both Israel and Palestine during the same trip. Last year India and Palestine also held their first ever joint commission to identify specific areas of cooperation.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ties-with-arab-world-is-getting-stronger-under-pm-narendra-modi/articleshow/59137923.cms

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5 terror attacks across Kashmir in a day, over one dozen hurt

Jun 14, 2017

SRINAGAR: Over a dozen security men were injured in five separate terror attacks across Kashmir Valley on Tuesday evening. The terrorists also snatched four service rifles from cops on guard at the ancestral house of a former high court judge in Anantnag in south Kashmir.

At least nine CRPF men were injured when Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists hurled a grenade at their camp at Lariyar village of Tral in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, the police said. "They lobbed a grenade on 180 Battalion CRPF camp at Lariyar on Tuesday . Nine CRPF men received splinter injuries and they were shifted to Army's 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar," a senior police officer said.

The security forces launched a search operation at Layar after the attack. This was second grenade attack in Tral on CRPF within 24 hours. On Monday night, terrorists had hurled a grenade in Tral Town in which two paramilitary men were injured.

In another attack on Tuesday , they hurled a grenade at a CRPF camp in Sirbal area of Pahalgam in Anantnag district in south Kashmir.There was no report of any injuries.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/5-terror-attacks-across-kashmir-in-a-day-over-one-dozen-hurt/articleshow/59136284.cms

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NIA probe: Zakir Naik made sister a director, firms routed money

by Varinder Bhatia

June 14, 2017

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found out that Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) president Dr Zakir Abdul Karim Naik, wanted in a criminal case registered last year, incorporated at least 11 companies in which he made his sister and a close confidant ‘dummy directors’ who kept transferring money from one company to another “as per Zakir Naik’s instructions”.

Sources said this is what the NIA has learnt after questioning Naik’s sister Nailah Naushad Noorani, close aide Aamir Gazdar and two others who helped Naik purchase properties in and around Mumbai. The probe agency, which is set to move to get Naik’s Indian passport revoked, believes he is in Malaysia where he is seeking citizenship. The agency has also initiated proceedings to get a Red Corner Notice against Naik. The NIA has compiled a list of 11 companies and at least 19 properties that Naik, his companies and family members own and hold which, sources said, is “highly disproportionate to his ostensible sources of income in India”.

The agency is now probing the source of funds through which these properties were purchased in the last few years and the routing of money from one company to another, from one bank account to another. Sources said the NIA has uncovered transactions running into crores of rupees ever since 1990. From the statements of Nailah, Gazdar and two others, NIA investigators learnt that the main source of funding of Naik’s companies was through “donations” and “zakat money received from donors in India as well as abroad”. Sources said Naik first incorporated IRF on December 20, 1990. He and his father Abdul Karim Naik (who has since died) were among its directors. Until 2015, Naik had incorporated at least 11 companies which were used by him to route funds from one company to another.

While probing the financial transactions of Naik and his family members, the NIA found that his parents had given a loan of approximately Rs 29 crore during 2013-2016 to his sister. Nailah told investigators that she extended this Rs 29 crore as loan to Longlast Constructions Private Limited and Harmony Media Private Limited. She is a director in both companies, she told the NIA.

Sources said Nailah told investigators that Naik asked her to become a trustee of the IRF Educational Trust and she believed that “good work shall be done through that Trust”. It was in 2001 that the Islamic International School in Chennai was started under this Trust. Naik, his wife Farhat Naik and Nailah were trustees of the Trust, but “all the decisions of the Trust were being taken by Dr Zakir”.

In 2013, Nailah was also made director of Longlast Construction Company which had been incorporated on April 24, 2008. Gazdar too was made its director. From 2013-2016, several transactions took place among Nailah, her parents, Longlast Construction Private Limited and a close friend of Naik.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/nia-probe-zakir-naik-made-sister-a-director-firms-routed-money-4703037/

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Yasin Malik detained, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest

June 13, 2017

JKLF chief Yasin Malik was on Tuesday detained while moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq placed under house arrest to prevent them from attending a programme here to pay homage to the 12th Mirwaiz of undivided Kashmir on his 50th death anniversary. Malik was taken into preventive custody from party office at Abi Guzar locality in the heart of the city, ahead of his visit to Eidgah locality in downtown Srinagar.

He was scheduled to take part in a programme to pay homage to Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Yousuf Shah, a religious scholar who was the first to interpret the holy Quran in Kashmiri language.

Shah, who went into exile in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 1947, died on December 12, 1968 at Rawalpandi but his death anniversary is commemorated in accordance with Islamic lunar calendar on 17th day of the holy month of Ramzan.

The separatists had planned a programme at Aali Masjid to commemorate the 50th death anniversary of Shah who served two terms as the PoK president in 1952 and 1956. He had also served as an education minister there.

The moderate Hurriyat Chairman was placed under house arrest last night and was not allowed to visit Aali Masjid on Tuesday to attend the meeting.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/yasin-malik-detained-mirwaiz-umar-farooq-under-house-arrest-4702543/

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RSS Muslim group to break fast with cow’s milk in Ayodhya

Jun 13, 2017

A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate will host an iftar party at Ayodhya on Wednesday offering a glass of cow milk to those observing Roza (dawn-to-dusk fasting) to break their fast, a rare occurrence.

The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) was set up in 2002 by the RSS, the ideological fountainhead of the ruling BJP, to reach out to the Muslims on various issues including the vexed Ayodhya dispute.

The MRM has invited all prominent Muslim citizens of the temple town, including Iqbal Ansari, son of late Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit case, for the iftar, the first meal after the day’s fasting.

RSS veterans Indresh Kumar and Morari Das would be present at the event.

As per ritual, a Muslim breaks his fast during the month of Ramadan with dates or a glass of water. Fruit juices are also served at community iftar parties, often hosted by various organisations, including political parties. But it’s unique to offer cow milk to end Roza.

Sumptuous non-vegetarian delicacies are also integral part of the iftar.

Indresh Kumar at an iftar party organised by the MRM at the Jamia Milia Islamia recently courted controversy saying meat is a poison.

“From Prophet Adam to the last Prophet, and even (the Prophet Muhammad’s wife) Aisha, never ate ‘gosht.’ Meat is a disease. Milk is the cure and treatment...,” he had said.

The MRM though regularly host iftars across the country, this year it is using the occasion to create awareness against cow slaughter. That’s why it is urging Muslims to break roza with cow’s milk and shun meat.

“Cow slaughter has been banned in Islam too. We are merely using the occasion to make the community aware about it,” said Raees Khan, in-charge of MRM’s UP and Uttarakhand chapters.

The Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in UP has decided to book those involved in cow slaughter under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), a decision that has been welcomed by the RSS.

Chief of UP’s main opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) Akhilesh Yadav will host iftar on June 19 followed by one by governor Ram Naik on June 23 and the Congress around the same period.

But neither the UP CM nor any of his ministers have so far hosted the event despite the fact that politicians across parties have for years hosted iftars to reach out to the minority community.

Barring former BJP CM Ram Prakash Gupta, all other previous CMs, including veterans like Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh of the saffron party hosted iftar as was also done by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a five-time Lucknow MP.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ayodhya-rss-affiliate-to-serve-milk-at-iftar-to-create-awareness-against-cow-slaughter/story-0drksdtUDpndqBJX28XGhJ.html

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North America

 

How the US anti-Muslim marches were defeated

by Patrick Strickland

June 14, 2017

When the anti-Muslim ACT for America lobbying group called for nationwide protests against Islamic law, anti-racists and anti-fascists wasted little time in mobilising.

In cities and towns across the country, counterprotesters outnumbered participants in the National March Against Sharia, which ACT for America said it had called for in response to alleged attempts to implement sharia - or Islamic law - in the United States.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told US media outlets that the anti-Muslim marches were "a bust".

In many places, the anti-Muslim marches were shut down or blocked from their routes, while anti-fascist protesters, known colloquially as Antifa, confronted and clashed with them in others.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes ACT for America as an "extremist" organisation and the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the US.

ACT for America did not reply to Al Jazeera's request for a comment.

A statement on the group's website claimed the marches were not intended to target Muslims but to express the view that sharia law violates the US constitution and human rights.

Yet rights groups and watchdogs accused the group of inciting racism and xenophobia at a time when the country is gripped by tensions.

Last year, CAIR documented 260 anti-Muslim hate crimes and 2,213 bias incidents aimed at Muslims.

The marches came just weeks after a 35-year-old white supremacist, Jeremy Christian, allegedly stabbed to death Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, when they tried to stop him from harassing a pair of girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, on a light rail in Portland, Oregon.

A third man, 21-year-old Micah Fletcher, was severely injured when he intervened.

Groups and organisations within the alt-right - a loosely knit movement including white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis - participated in the National March Against Sharia.

In a handful of cities, the far-right men's organisation Proud Boys and the anti-government militia group Oath Keepers joined the anti-Muslim marches.

'Must be confronted'

In a statement published before the National March Against Sharia, the Refuse Fascism activist group called for counterprotests against the "hateful rallies".

"The bottom line: these people are fascists," the statement said. "They will not go away if ignored; they must be confronted and their programme must be defeated."

Confrontations took place between the anti-fascist left and the alt-right and its allies at the marches.

Recent months have seen increased protests and clashes between the two groups, with anti-fascists mobilising against far-right speakers and political figures in an effort to deny them a platform.

In Seattle, Washington, brawls broke out between ACT for America supporters and anti-fascists. Police used pepper spray to break up the confrontations.

In Santa Clara, California, a diverse group of more than a thousand counterprotesters outnumbered the National March Against Sharia participants 20-to-one, according to CAIR.

In front of the capitol building in Denver, Colorado, police surrounded the two opposing sides, who hurled insults at one another.

Activists from the Northern Colorado Antifa Collective accused the police of effectively choosing sides by using force against the counterprotests.

"When the white supremacists decided they wanted to leave, the police essentially gave them an escort," Freud, who declined to provide a surname for fear of exposure by far-rightists, told Al Jazeera by email.

The anti-fascists and other counterprotesters attempted to confront the marchers, but police officers dressed in riot gear quickly moved in. "I was hit in the neck and shoulder by police as they cleared the area, as were others," Freud said.

"The ultimate goal [was] to show solidarity, display our outrage, and, hopefully, deny the Islamophobic crowd a platform to spew their hate speech against the Muslim community."

In Syracuse, New York, around 100 black-clad anarchists, socialists and other counterprotesters showed up at the local march and shouted at the ACT organisers as they tried to give speeches, local media reported. "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA," they hollered. "Muslims are welcome here."

In Austin, Texas, counterprotesters outnumbered their anti-Muslim counterparts outside the statehouse. Rows of police officers separated the two sides. By the end of the day, participants were unable to embark on their march and many were chased off by anti-fascists.

'No platform'

Citing a spate of attacks targeting Muslims, a statement published on It's Going Down, an anarchist news site, called for counterprotesters to resist "anti-Muslim terror" and to reject "the racist scapegoating of immigrants, refugees and all Muslim people".

In New York City, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council (MACC) and other groups staged a noise rally in an attempt to drown out the National March Against Sharia participants' speeches and chants.

In a press release, MACC said the counterprotest was the first action in a new campaign called "No Platform for Fascism".

"These are not just words; they're actions," Marisa Holmes, a spokesperson for MACC, told Al Jazeera by telephone before Saturday's marches. "They need to be confronted both on a discursive level and in the streets."

She added: "That's why, from Berkeley to New York to Portland, we're seeing more anti-fascist groups and coalitions form."

The ACT for America supporters chanted back: "Commie scum, off our streets." Others yelled: "One people, one nation, end immigration."

Proud Boys leader Gavin McInnes, who cofounded Vice Media and left the outlet in 2008, delivered a tirade against Muslims and feminism, mocking rape victims in one part.

Islamophobia industry

ACT for America was founded in 2007 and is part of a pre-existing network of anti-Muslim organisations that CAIR calls the "Islamophobia industry". Yet rights groups and activists have expressed concern about the coordination between anti-Muslim groups and recently energised far-right movements such as the alt-right.

"What we're seeing emerging is a more open connection between white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Islamphobia movement," Corey Saylor, director of CAIR's Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, told Al Jazeera. "They believe every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim, that everyone is a threat," he added.

Claiming to have more than 500,000 members, the group is one of many that support US President Donald Trump. Its members have campaigned for strict legislation that targets Muslims and refugees in recent years.

In an executive order that has been frozen by courts, Trump has attempted to ban travellers from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. The order is set to be considered by the Supreme Court.

Between 2008 and 2013, the report found, ACT for America was one of 33 anti-Muslim groups that had access to more than $204m in revenue.

Brigitte Gabriel, ACT for America's founder, is a Lebanese American who has in the past accused the Muslim Brotherhood political movement of conspiring to conquer the US. She has also referred to Arabs as "barbarians" and claimed they have "no soul".

Alia Salem, a Dallas-based Muslim-American and social justice activist, described the relationship between these groups as "more an unveiling rather than a convergence.

"It has the same white supremacist thread running throughout all of it," she told Al Jazeera by telephone. "I've never met a person who is pro-immigration and anti-Muslim, for instance."

Explaining that the election of President Donald Trump has "emboldened" the far-right and anti-Muslim groups, Salem said it has also sparked massive resistance.

"That's why you see Latinos, Jews, Muslims, African-Americans and other people who have been marginalised starting to come together and resist what's happening," she said.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/06/anti-muslim-marches-defeated-170612084001337.html

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State Dept Refuses To Say Whether American Muslim Who Lived In ISIS-Controlled Territory Is Still In Turkish Custody

June 14, 2017

The Department of State has refused to divulge any information on whether the American Muslim who reportedly joined the Islamic State and was captured by Turkey is still in Turkish custody.

In late April, Kary Paul Kleman, an American citizen, surrendered to Turkish authorities while crossing over the border with his wife and three children after living for more than two years in ISIS-controlled territory in Syria. What’s happened to him since is an unknown and the State Department wants to remain mum on the matter.

“We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen was detained while attempting to cross the Turkish border from Syria,” a State Department spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”

A senior Turkish official told CNN in April that Kleman was detained by Turkish authorities.

“Our initial assessment is that he along with his family members was compelled to escape the conflict zone following airstrikes and military operations against ISIS,” the senior Turkish official told CNN.

At the time, a U.S. official confirmed to CNN that the arrest did occur, but was otherwise quiet on the details. The Guardian was the first to report Kleman’s capture and noted he is a long-time resident of Jacksonville, Fla.

After divorcing his first wife, Kleman converted to Islam and moved to the Middle East in 2011, Kleman’s mother said. He married a local woman in Egypt that same year. That marriage soon fell apart, and he moved to Dubai, where he married a Syrian woman — the same woman he was arrested with in April.

Kleman’s family told The Guardian that he had traveled to Syria in 2015 for humanitarian reasons. His mother said Kleman later stated that the information he was given to induce him to move to Syria “was all a scam.” What that information was or who gave it to him is unclear.

Apparently, Kleman had been in contact with U.S. officials and planned to travel to the U.S. embassy in Turkey before moving back to America.

His family reached out to the FBI around October 2015, at which point the bureau informed family members it needed to check if Kleman had been involved in any nefarious activities.

The practice of foreign ISIS members traveling to Syria and Iraq and then trying to return by contacting their respective embassies is a common practice, though it is not confirmed whether Kleman was an ISIS operative.

Full report at:

http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/13/state-dept-refuses-to-say-whether-american-muslim-who-lived-in-isis-controlled-territory-is-still-in-turkish-custody/

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Trump’s Muslim ban may be getting Iraqi Christians in Detroit depo

June 14, 2017

Immigration officials have rounded up dozens of Chaldean Christians living in Michigan, sparking protests from family members and advocates who say deporting the detainees back to Iraq is equivalent to a “death sentence.”

According to The Detroit News, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began their crack down on immigrant Chaldean Christians over the weekend, arresting anywhere from 40 to 100 people at or near their homesmostly on Sunday. More arrests are expected throughout the week.

ICE’s Detroit field office claimed in a statement to ThinkProgress that all of those arrested had criminal convictions such as “homicide, rape, aggravated assault” and others. But reports abound of ICE detaining people who lack criminals records, or whose crimes primarily involve immigration violations.

Regardless, advocates say many Chaldeans arrested by ICE already served their sentences for smaller crimes years ago, and that sending them back to Iraq will only expose them to persecution.

“There are laws that pertain to deportation, but there also laws that pertain to human rights,” Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Community Foundation, told ThinkProgress. “The conditions in Iraq have worsened, they have not improved, especially for Christians.”

He noted that Chaldean churches in the region have been bombed, adding, “I think [deporting them back to Iraq] is equivalent to a death sentence.”

“I think [deporting them back to Iraq] is equivalent to a death sentence.”

Roughly 100 people gathered outside a Detroit detention center on Sunday to protest the arrests, something Manna said would continue throughout the week. Julian Shamoun, whose brother-in-law was reportedly one of those detained, expressed her dismay to the Detroit News, noting that he was convicted of marijuana possession as a teenager but served his time.

“If he gets sent back to Iraq, he is being sent back to a country where a genocide is going on,” she said. “We’re Christian.”

Mana also noted that many of those detained wouldn’t be able to speak the native language in Iraq when they get there.

“Most of those being picked up or at risk of deportation have only really known America,” he said. “They came here as children. They’re culturally illiterate [in Iraq]…There’s really no homeland for the Chaldean people.”

While ICE raids are becoming increasingly common under President Donald Trump’s administration, the mass detention of Iraqi Christians is peculiar in that it appears to be wrapped up in politics surrounding the stalled Muslim Ban. Iraq was originally included as one of the seven Muslim-majority countries whose denizens were barred from entering the United States, but was cut from the second iteration of the ban. The change was a result of rapid-fire negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq in earlier this year, which resulted in Iraq announcing they would take back Iraqi nationals living in the U.S. who are subject to final orders of removal.

A statement from ICE’s Detroit field office to ThinkProgress appeared to reference these deals.

“As a result of recent negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq, Iraq has recently agreed to accept a number of Iraqi nationals subject to orders of removal,” read the statement, which also noted ICE had a “backlog” of “these individuals.”

Chaldeans are an ancient Christian tradition that belong to a subset, or “rite,” of the Catholic Church known as the East Syrian Rite. Although they are distinct from the western Roman Catholic tradition, they remain in “full communion” with the Church, and have resided in the Iraqi region for centuries. Many still speak languages used in the time of Christ.

The Chaldeans living in Iraq have faced persecution for their faith in recent years, however, and have become a primary target of militant groups such as ISIS. When ISIS overtakes a region where Christians reside, they often offer followers of Christ a cruel choice between paying a tax, converting to ISIS’s hateful version of faith, or being murdered on the spotsometimes by decapitation.

The situation has become so dire that then-Secretary of State John Kerry declared that ISIS is carrying out a genocide against several groups in 2016, including Christians such as Chaldeans as well as Yazidis, Shia Muslims, and others.

According to the Manna, the Detroit area is home to around 150,000 Chaldeansthe largest population outside of the Middle East. In a twist, some Chaldeans and Arab Christians supported Trump during the election, and others even backed his Muslim ban.

“Many who were picked up are not hardened criminals but for the last decades have been great citizens.”

Full report at:

https://thinkprogress.org/ice-rounding-up-iraqi-christians-c101dc1469a4

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American ambassador to Qatar quits amid Gulf crisis

June 14, 2017

Washington - The US ambassador to Qatar said Tuesday she is resigning her post in Doha amid the worst diplomatic crisis involving Washington’s Persian Gulf allies in years.

“This month, I end my 3 years as US Ambassador to #Qatar. It has been the greatest honour of my life and I’ll miss this great country,” Dana Shell Smith tweeted Tuesday.

Shell Smith did not explain why she was stepping down, if she will remain in the diplomatic service or who would replace her, Agence France-Presse reported. Many US ambassadors leave their posts after serving about three years.

But Shell Smith previously appeared to slam the Trump administration after the president sacked FBI Director James Comey. “Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions,” she tweeted on May 9.

Last week, Trump lashed out at Qatar, demanding that it stop funding terrorism shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged other Gulf nations to end their blockade of the tiny, oil-rich emirate.

“The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. The time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding,” Trump said last week.

Qatar strongly rejects the allegations.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over longstanding allegations that the country was courting Iran and fomenting instability in the region.

Qatar is home to a vital US military outpost, the Al-Udeid Air Base, which houses 10,000 troops.

The Pentagon has said that while the blockade was not affecting current operations against ISIS, it was “hindering” the ability to plan for the long term.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Jun-2017/american-ambassador-to-qatar-quits-amid-gulf-crisis

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Europe

 

Council of Mosque’s hosts annual 'Iftar' gathering for all communities

13th June

People from different communities, faiths and backgrounds were invited by the Rochdale Council of Mosque’s at its annual 'Iftar' gathering.

The event was held at the Al Quba Mosque in Wardleworth and was attended by over 150 people.

Guests included; the Deputy Mayor Cllr Mohammed Zaman, The Vicar of Rochdale, Reverend Mark Coleman, the Bishop of Middleton Mark Davies, representatives from member mosques, councillors and officers from Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service as well as members of the public.

Dobir Miah, CEO of Rochdale Council of Mosque’s delivered a presentation about Islam, the month of Ramadhan and the reasons Muslims fast.

Tahir Mahmood, Chair of Rochdale Council of Mosque’s commented: “Many thanks to everyone who attended and for making the evening an enjoyable and successful one.

"I would also like to thank all the volunteers and the management committee of the Al Quba Mosque who worked tirelessly, despite fasting themselves, to ensure everyone was fed and for providing a delicious meal.

“The annual iftar is a community event, which moves from mosque to mosque and is open to anyone. "If you’re interested in joining in a future event, please get in touch. The RCM hosts many community events, seminars & organises Mosque visits & open days throughout the year”

http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/15344990.Council_of_Mosque___s_hosts_annual__Iftar__gathering_for_all_communities/?ref=ebln

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Hungarian Government: Islam and Europe ‘Incapable of Coexisting Without Conflict’

13 Jun 2017

Threatened with sanctions for refusing to accept the compulsory migrant quotas being imposed on European Union member-states by Brussels, the Hungarian government has declared that Islam and Europe “are incapable of coexisting without conflict”.

Zoltán Balog, the Central European country’s Minister for Human Capacities, branded the European Commission which leads the bloc as “helpless, bewildered and weak” in the face of the migrant crisis. Mr. Balog added the bloc was incapable of providing a solution and resentful of the fact that Hungary, Poland, and now the Czech Republic, have found one in the form of robust border controls.

“Islam is a major culture and religion,” Balog explained, “but Europe has a different identity, and it is clear that these two cultures are incapable of coexisting without conflict.”

The multilingual graduate theologian believes that “The greatest difference is that in Europe, politics and religion have been separated from one another, but in the case of Islam it is religion that determines politics.”

With Germany, Sweden, and other EU member-states who encouraged mass immigration at the height of the crisis struggling with the exorbitant cost of the influx, the EU forced compulsory migrant quotas on the rest of the bloc despite vigorous opposition from Central Europe.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been resisting the quota system ever since, and Balog reiterated his government’s intention to resist “arbitrary measures” which they consider “unlawful and dangerous”.

The EU is, therefore, preparing to impose sanctions on Hungary and other recalcitrant member-states, causing a defiant Orbán to chastise Brussels as being “openly on the side of terrorists” and to vow: “As long as I am the Prime Minister of Hungary and stand here, so will the border fence.”

Full report at:

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/06/13/hungarian-government-islam-and-europe-incapable-of-coexisting-without-conflict/

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London: Terror Zone Under Muslim Mayor, Symptom Of Larger Problem

By Capt. William E. Simpson

June 13, 2017

It seems that things are growing much worse in London, with Islamic terror now gripping a city that has been under new management for the past year — Muslim management.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is a Muslim, so it’s no wonder he opposes President Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. by people from countries that our Muslim sympathizer and former President Barack Hussein Obama himself deemed too dangerous to allow people from there to come into America without extreme screening — screening nearly as impossible to conduct at that time as now.

As a result of the extensive destruction to the social infrastructure and records in many countries battling with Islamists, there are very few records available for authorities to use in verifying the backgrounds and intentions of those migrating into any country, including America. So President Trump and his advisers are of course correct in banning immigration from Muslim countries that have incomplete or, in many cases, no databases on their supposed citizens.

According to the British-based Independent:

“The mayor of London has described Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries as ‘shameful and cruel.’ Sadiq Khan has released a statement responding to Mr. Trump’s executive order and said the policy ‘flies in the face of the values of freedom and tolerance.’ The order bans immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for 120 days under measures to ‘keep radical Islamic terrorists out.”

But it seems there is another, much darker, side to London’s Muslim mayor, who took office in 2016. According to an article by William Craddick that was published at ZeroHedge:

“In 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron was widely criticized in the UK when he claimed that London mayor Sadiq Khan had ties to the terror group ISIS. An investigation by Disobedient Media has determined that Khan has ties not just to organizations associated with ISIS, but also groups such as Hamas, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. During his time as mayor, London has seen an increase in terror incidents with concerning indications that terror groups wish to stage a major attack on the City of London. Rather than focusing on combating terror, Khan has used his forum to tell Londoners as well as citizens in other parts of Europe and the United States that the West must learn to live with terrorism as a part of daily life. Khan’s extreme flirtation with radical Islamic extremism raises serious questions about his commitment to fighting a wave of extremist-fueled terrorism that only continues to spread after a number of attacks and police operations in London and other areas of the UK.”

As it is said, the proof is in the pudding. Under Mayor Khan’s watch London has become overrun with Islamists, and as a result, terror and crime related to Muslims have skyrocketed, making London an unsafe city for its citizens. And now the problem is infinitely harder to clean up because of the millions of Muslims who are now living in England. The problem is also blooming in most of Europe, where Muslims are rioting and acts of terror are now common and growing worse all the time.

It appears that when Muslims get control of any government, Muslim citizens feel even more empowered to carry out jihad and crimes against non-believers.

According to an article by David French in National Review, Islamic extremism is not limited to just a small percentage of Muslims:

"It is simply false to declare that jihadists represent the ‘tiny few extremists’ who sully the reputation of an otherwise peace-loving and tolerant Muslim faith. In reality, the truth is far more troubling — that jihadists represent the natural and inevitable outgrowth of a faith that is given over to hate on a massive scale, with hundreds of millions of believers holding views that Americans would rightly find revolting. Not all Muslims are hateful, of course, but so many are that it’s not remotely surprising that the world is wracked by wave after wave of jihadist violence.”

Liberal progressives need to dump the obtuse notion that non-Muslims can “coexist” with Muslims on a long-term basis. Such a notion is incompatible with the intolerance toward infidels demanded by Islamic teachings. People everywhere need to take the time to learn what is being taught by Islamic teachers in madrasas and mosques, and what Islamic organizations like CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood are professing.

All non-Muslims are by definition in the Quran “infidels” and are subject to the tenets of Islam as infidels. And for absolute clarity: A Muslim is anyone who follows Islam and the tenets that stem from the Quran, which enjoins “violence or conversion” against non-believers as well as participation in jihad. Islam is the problem, and Islamists follow the Quran. So unless and until the day comes when the Quran is amended to delete instructions and tenets that support jihad and condone violence against women and non-believers, Muslims should not be readily accepted into America, since all such beliefs clash with American traditions and culture.

Adding to issues with Islam is that it is a theocracy, a form of religion that integrates government with its own laws under Shariah law, which is incompatible with American laws stemming from the U.S. Constitution.

As far as Islam being a “religion of peace,” here are excerpts from Hasan Al-Banna’s treatise, Jihad. Al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood 1928, was cited as follows in the article Islam 101 by Gregory M. Davis at JihadWatch.org.

“Jihad is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded. Allah has ascribed great importance to jihad and has made the reward of the martyrs and the fighters in His way a splendid one. Only those who have acted similarly and who have modeled themselves upon the martyrs in their performance of jihad can join them in this reward. Furthermore, Allah has specifically honored the Mujahideen (those who wage jihad) with certain exceptional qualities, both spiritual and practical, to benefit them in this world and the next. Their pure blood is a symbol of victory in this world and the mark of success and felicity in the world to come.

“Those who can only find excuses, however, have been warned of extremely dreadful punishments, and Allah has described them with the most unfortunate of names. He has reprimanded them for their cowardice and lack of spirit, and castigated them for their weakness and truancy. In this world, they will be surrounded by dishonor, and in the next they will be surrounded by the fire from which they shall not escape, though they may possess much wealth. The weaknesses of abstention and evasion of jihad are regarded by Allah as one of the major sins, and one of the seven sins that guarantee failure.

Full report at:

http://www.westernjournalism.com/london-terror-zone-under-muslim-mayor-symptom-of-larger-problem/

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Muslim group urges Ottawa to speed up release of hate-crime statistics

Jun. 13, 2017

Ottawa is facing calls to speed up the release of national hate-related data in the face of a dramatic rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada, which one prominent group is linking to election-campaign rhetoric.

Hate crimes reported by police against Muslims have risen in nearly every province, according to 2015 figures released on Tuesday by Statistics Canada. They fuelled a 5-per-cent rise in hate crimes overall in the country.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims connected the anti-Muslim bias to a backlash over two terror attacks in Paris in 2015. But the group also singled out Conservative Party election campaigning under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“The Canadian Muslim community bore the brunt of sinister political rhetoric surrounding the federal election, which painted Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, as well as being anti-woman,” council vice-chairman Khalid Elgazzar said at a press conference on Parliament Hill.

In an interview, Mr. Elgazzar referred to Conservative pitches in favour of “snitch lines” for so-called barbaric cultural practices, as well as a ban on face veils at citizenship ceremonies.

“Words matter and those words had an impact,” he said. “There was an immediate uptick in terms of incidents of hate being reported to us.”

The Statscan data indicate that hate crimes targeting Muslims in Canada rose to 159 incidents, a 61-per-cent spike over 2014. Jewish people remain the most targeted religious minority in Canada, though reported anti-Semitic incidents declined in 2015 over the previous year, the federal agency said.

Meanwhile, the percentage of women targeted by violent hate crimes increased because of a hike in the number of victimized women in the Jewish and Muslim communities. Over all, the sharpest rise in hate crimes was in Alberta, where officials have already noted an increase in total crime due to the province’s economic downturn.

Still, the true picture of hate in Canada is probably darker than the numbers released on Tuesday suggest. Statscan said the figures “likely undercounts” the real extent of hate crime in Canada because not all crimes are reported to police.

The two-year lag in releasing the figures is problematic at a time when Muslims feel the effects of turmoil linked to global radicalization, the presence of far-right groups in the West and the anti-Muslim rhetoric adopted by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Mr. Elgazzar’s organization has received an influx of complaints about anti-Muslim incidents this year, but they won’t be reflected by Statscan until 2019, he said. The data released on Tuesday are already two years old.

“You can’t build a case without evidence, and the evidence we have is stale,” he said. “It’s 2017 and I’ll tell you we’re having a pretty rough year. But we’re only going to hear about it in 2019.”

Although Statscan found that police forces are trying to reach out to minority communities, the Muslim council – joined in Ottawa by representatives of black, Jewish and Indigenous communities – said police forces across the country need better training and resources to improve their response to public complaints about hate crimes.

Mr. Elgazzar noted that a pig’s head was left outside the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City last year, months before the shootings of six Muslim worshippers inside the mosque this January. Mosque members brought the item to police. No one was arrested.

The president of the mosque at the time said relations with police have improved since the tragedy. Mohamed Yangui, who has since stepped down, also said he has witnessed the link between political rhetoric and anti-minority bias on the streets. He said he feels attitudes in Quebec City have improved since the acrimonious 2014 debate over the Parti Québécois’s proposed Charter of Values, which sought to ban religious headgear in the public service.

“It was very difficult for us during that period – a lot of us felt scared,” he said on Tuesday. “We live peacefully now.”

In Ottawa, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he’s willing to look at the concerns of the National Council of Canadian Muslims about improving data collection on national hate crimes.

Full report at:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/hate-crimes-in-canada-rose-5-per-cent-in-2015-statscan/article35296064/

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Terror attacks dent visitor numbers at London sights

June 14, 2017

Terror attacks in Britain have lowered visitor numbers at London attractions and theme parks run by Merlin Entertainments, the company said on Tuesday.

Merlin, which runs the London Eye and Madame Tussauds and a string of theme parks, said the Westminster attack on March 22 in which five people were killed initially led to “a softer domestic, day-trip market”.

Two subsequent attacks in Manchester and London which killed 30 people and injured dozens more “resulted in a further deterioration in domestic demand,” the company said in a stock market trading update.

“Given the typical lag between holiday bookings and visitation, we are also cautious on trends in foreign visitation over the coming months,” the company said.

Theme parks including Legoland had also been “adversely affected in recent weeks by the terror attacks and subsequent heightened security measures”. Merlin chief executive officer Nick Varney said the impact of the attacks was “unclear at this stage”.

“What is clear however is that London has bounced back before, and will do again,” he said, adding: “I have every confidence in the longer term resilience and growth trajectory of the market”.

The company statement also said it had benefited from the plunge in the value of the pound following last year’s Brexit referendum, which has increased the number of foreign tourists coming to London.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/13-Jun-2017/terror-attacks-dent-visitor-numbers-at-london-sights

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South Asia

 

Bangladesh’s Buddhist monastery offers iftar meal to poor Muslims

13/06/2017

The Buddhist community of Bangladesh’s capital once more came out with its marvelous gesture of inter-faith harmony, offering poor and hungry Muslims the iftar, the evening meal that comes after the dawn to dusk Islamic fast during the sacred month of Ramadan.  Since 2013 this initiative of the Dhammarajika Buddhist monastery in Dhaka’s Basabo has been contributing to the well-being of a  society that has recently seen a surge in Islamic radicalism targeting minority communities. 

At sunset, a long line of people wait outside the monastery gate. Each day from 350 to 400 meals are prepared, distributed in a cardboard box.  Inside, potato pancakes, batter fried onion and brinjal slices, lentil dumplings, dates, puffed rice and a sugar syrup sweet.

According to monks, the holy month is the "best opportunity to help Muslims." The project is born from the will of the venerable Shuddhanando Mohathero, the highest authority of the temple. He believes that "humanity is the ultimate goal of human beings".

Dhammarajika Buddhist monastery was founded in 1951.  Monk Karuna Bhikkhu states that the goal is to establish good relations with the majority Islamic community. In the country Buddhists represent less than 1% of the population, over a total of 160 million inhabitants.  For Sakhina, a Muslim woman who cannot afford the cost of the meal, food freely distributed by monks is a real blessing. "Here we are accorded the respect we should have from our own fellow believers," Sakhina said.  (Source: AsiaNews)

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/06/13/bangladesh%E2%80%99s_buddhists_offer_iftar_meal_to_poor_muslims/1318689

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38 Taliban and ISIS militants killed in Nangarhar airstrikes and infightings

Jun 13 2017

At least thirty eight militants belonging to the Taliban group and ISIS terrorist group were killed in the latest airstrikes and infightings in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, local officials said Tuesday.

According to the local government officials, the latest casualties were inflicted to the fighters of the two groups in the past 24 hours in various parts of the restive Chaparhar district.

The officials are saying that 27 ISIS militants and 11 Taliban insurgents were killed in total in the past 24 hours, adding that 8 ISIS militants and 4 Taliban insurgents were also wounded during the incidents.

At least seven Taliban insurgents were killed and 4 others were wounded after they were targeted in an airstrike in Sparai area of Chaparhar while 27 ISIS militants were killed during the infighting with the Taliban militants in Spin Jomat, Masta Khel, and Sholani areas, the officials said.

According to the officials, at least four Taliban insurgents were also killed during the clashes with the ISIS militants.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan National Army earlier had said at least six ISIS militants were killed during the clashes but no reports were given regarding the Taliban casualties.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/38-taliban-and-isis-militants-killed-in-nangarhar-airstrikes-and-infightings-02930

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UN Secretary General arrives in Kabul on an unannounced visit

Jun 14 2017

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Kabul this morning on an unannounced visit.

“Just landed in Kabul for talks with government and people. @UN stands with Afghanistan at a time of violence and suffering,” Guterres said in short statement posted on his official Twitter account.

The visit by the UN Secretary General to Kabul comes at a time when the country is going through violence with the rampant Taliban-led insurgency and political issues sparked following the deadly Kabul bombings late last month and earlier this month.

Over 150 people were killed and hundreds were wounded in a car bombing near the Germany of Embassy and back to back suicide attacks targeting the funeral of the son of the deputy house speaker of the Afghan Senate House.

This come as the deputy UN Secretary General JánKubiš also arrived in Kabul two days ago.

“Mr Kubiš, former head of UNAMA, was in Kabul for one week last month conducting a broad range of meetings with national and international stakeholders. In the current two-day visit, he is scheduled to follow up with those stakeholders, in particular President Ashraf Ghani,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement.

The statement further added that the strategic review is scheduled to be submitted to the Security Council in early July 2017. In Resolution 2344 (2017), the UN Security Council requested the strategic review  to examine UNAMA’s mandated tasks, priorities and related resources, and to assess the Mission’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/un-secretary-general-arrives-in-kabul-on-an-unannounced-visit-02934

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Developments made in Kabul and Kandahar bombings probe: ARG

Jun 14 2017

The Afghan intelligence chief and the Attorney General have informed regarding the developments achieved during the ongoing probe regarding the recent deadly attacks in Kabul city and the deadly Kandahar bombing.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said the National Security Council (NSC) meeting was organized in the ARG Palace today and was chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to discuss regarding the ongoing situation and latest developments in the security sector.

The statement further added that the Attorney General Farid Hamidi presented the latest developments made in the probe regarding the recent deadly Kabul bombings.

The head of the Afghan intelligence Masoom Stanikzai also presented the report regarding the developments made in the probe regarding the deadly bombing that targeted the governor’s guesthouse in Kandahar.

No further details were given regarding the developments and report related to the two incidents in Kabul and Kandahar but the office of the President said necessary instructions were given and related decisions were taken during the meeting.

The incident in Kandahar took place earlier this year, leaving several high level officials dead, including the ambassador of UAE to Afghanistan and other diplomats of the country.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/developments-made-in-kabul-and-kandahar-bombings-probe-arg-02933

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US airstrike target Haqqani network commander in Pakistan

Jun 13 2017

A commander of the Haqqani terrorist network has reportedly been targeted in a US airstrike in tribal regions of Pakistan.

According to the local officials, the airstrike was carried out late on Monday night in the vicinity of Hangu district located in northwestern parts of Pakistan.

A security official quoted by the Mashal Radio of Radio Liberty has said said on June 13 that the commander, identified as Abubakar, died in an overnight strike in the Speen Tal area of the Hangu district.

A resident of Dewal village, Behram Khan, said three more people were injured in the strike, including a boy.

Khan said Abubakar was from Afghanistan’s Khost Province and that his original name was Omar.

Haqqani network was formed in the late 1970s by Jalaluddin Haqqani. The group is allied with al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban and cooperates with other terrorist organizations in the region.

The US Department of State designated the HQN as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 7, 2012.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/us-airstrike-target-haqqani-network-commander-in-pakistan-02931

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Southeast Asia

 

ISIS Militants Killing, Enslaving Civilians: Philippines

Jun 13, 2017

MARAWI, Philippines: Islamist militants holding parts of a Philippine city are killing civilians who try to flee while using others as orderlies and cooks, authorities said Tuesday after the gunmen boasted of executions.

There are up to 1,000 people still trapped in the parts of Marawi city that the militants control, the government said, three weeks after fighting erupted with gunmen going on a rampage and flying black flags of the Islamic State (IS) group.

The militants have defied a US-backed military onslaught, which has seen relentless bombing of the residential areas of Marawi where they are holed up. Authorities say 400 gunmen are estimated to be still there and to be using civilians as slaves.

"Based on the revelations of the trapped civilians we have recovered (rescued), they are being used as orderlies to cook their food, to carry their munitions," local military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told reporters.

At least 26 civilians, 58 police or soldiers and 202 militants have been killed, according to the government.

Five of the civilians were killed on Monday as they made a dash for safety when the militants discovered their hiding place, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters in Manila.

"They were going to the river but the militants ran after them and indiscriminately fired at them, killing five and taking the remaining eight as hostages," Abella said.

IS also released a video on Monday via its Amaq propaganda news agency which it said showed jihadists shooting six Christians in Marawi, according to the US-based SITE monitoring service.

A voiceover suggested further executions had taken place off-camera, SITE reported.

There were tearful scenes in Marawi on Tuesday morning after five Muslim policemen and five Christian construction workers sprinted about two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the militant-controlled areas to safety.

"As we were running, the ISIS fired at us," said Marawi police officer Lumna Lidasan, speaking to reporters in between sobs and using an acronym for an alternate IS name.

Lidasan said the policemen could have left earlier because they were Muslim but they feared for the safety of the construction workers.

"They did not speak Maranao (the local Muslim dialect), so I knew they would have been slaughtered," Lidasan said.

Marawi is the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines.

It is largely abandoned now, with about 250,000 people having fled the city and nearby areas.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the southern Philippines, home to 20 million people, shortly after the fighting erupted to quell what he said was an IS bid to carve out its own territory there.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/is-militants-killing-enslaving-civilians-philippines/articleshow/59127746.cms

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Don’t stoke Islamophobia, says Singapore churches’ council

June 13, 2017

SINGAPORE: As Singapore’s National Council of Churches called on Singaporeans not to see the Muslim community in negative light following the detention of a mother of one for radicalism, a group of ustaz urged Muslims to deal with the terrorism scourge seriously.

While the council of churches said the detention of Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari under the Internal Security Act should not be used to stoke the flames of Islamophobia, the seven laid out three measures Muslims should take to tackle Islamic terrorist ideology.

According to a report in The Straits Times (ST), the council noted in a letter to Mufti Fatris Bakaram and Abdul Razak Maricar, the chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, that the Muslim community had contributed significantly to Singapore’s progress and the strengthening of its multiracial and multireligious community.

“The actions of a misguided few must never be seen as representing that of the majority of Muslims here,” said the letter signed by council president Rennis Ponniah and general secretary Ngoei Foong Nghian. The letter was also posted on its website, said the ST report.

On Monday, Singapore’s ministry of home affairs announced that Izzah, a 22-year-old infant care assistant, had been detained earlier this month as she had been deeply radicalised and supported the Islamic State’s use of violence.

In saying it will pray for the Muslim community during this difficult time, the council urged Singaporeans to continue working together to ensure nothing jeopardised the country’s inter-religious harmony and peace, according to the ST report.

Meanwhile, seven ustaz and Islamic leaders urged Muslims to report individuals who had been influenced by radical ideology or who praised acts of terror committed worldwide.

“Violent ideology must be viewed as heresy, and must be reported to the authorities so that its influence can be constrained, and the individuals involved can be rehabilitated.”

They said the detention of Izzah showed that although the Muslim community had been warned about terrorist activities abroad and advised to steer clear of such activity, there were still members who had fallen prey.

“Being in multiracial Singapore, we need to be aware that our activities and actions will have impact and implications on other communities.

“This case will no doubt raise feelings of unease and anxiety among the other communities. They may be suspicious of the Muslim community, especially Muslim women who deal directly with the general public,” the ST quoted them as saying.

They urged the Muslim community to take decisive steps to ensure no one else became radicalised, adding: “This has become more urgent in the light of terror attacks happening around the world.”

They suggested that Muslims show Singaporeans that Islam was a religion of peace, and that it did not preach violence; ensure that they received Islamic religious knowledge from clear and credible sources and not from sources of unknown origin, including from online sources; and take proactive measures to reach out to other communities.

“We need to get close to our neighbours in any way, and we need to encourage all members of our community to take part in community events, so that people know who we are.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/highlight/2017/06/13/dont-stoke-islamophobia-says-singapore-churches-council/

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S.Korean Christian groups recruit Chinese to preach in Muslim countries: Media report

JUNE 13, 2017

China’s official media today accused South Korean Christian groups of converting young Chinese and sending them for proselytising in Muslim countries, a day after Pakistan said the two Chinese nationals killed by ISIS were involved in “preaching” in the country.

The state-run Global Times mainly highlighted the comments by Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali, that Lee Zingyang, 24, and Meng Lisi, 26, who were kidnapped from Jinnah Town, Quetta, in the restive Balochistan province on May 24, and killed allegedly by Islamic State militants had entered Pakistan on business visas.

The minister was informed that the two were part of a group of Chinese citizens who obtained business visas from the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing and entered Pakistan.

But instead of doing business, they had gone to Quetta, where they pretended to learn Urdu from a Korean business owner but “were actually engaged in preaching forbidden proselytizing,” the Global Times reported.

“The tragedy has triggered a new wave of anger against Islamic terrorism among the Chinese public, who have already been victimised by terrorism and extremism in the country’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” the daily said.

At the same time it quoted Chinese analysts warning of “another dangerous trend that might see China become entangled in constant trouble with overseas terrorism as South Korean missionaries are allegedly recruiting Chinese people to preach in Muslim countries“.

Experts spoke of increasing activities by South Korean Christian groups who have been active in converting people in China, an officially atheist country, and proselytizing in Muslim countries, where such activities are forbidden and may even result in death sentences, the report said.

“Analysts further warned that some illegal missionary activities by South Korean religious groups in China are even sponsored by Seoul’s secret services,” it said.

“South Korean missionaries have been conducting underground missionary activities in China since at least a decade ago. Many missionary organisations are even sponsored by the (South Korean) intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Service,” Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations was quoted as saying by the Global Times.

Apart from recruiting young people in China, South Korean missionaries send teenagers to risk their lives to conduct missionary activities in Muslim countries, and compared to Chinese, more South Koreans have been killed abroad due to risky missionary activities in conservative Islamic regions, a university student who has participated in several South Korean underground missionary events told the daily.

“Normally these missionaries will try to attract young Chinese students who come to churches because these students want to know about Christianity. Some of them will offer free airfare tickets, accommodation and meals if Chinese teenagers go to South Korea, and as they (missionaries) normally have a legal cover, like being an exchange scholar or postgraduate student, many Chinese students decide to go with them,” the student said.

“Some Chinese voluntarily join in the dangerous missionary activities in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq after being converted by South Koreans,” he said.

China has very strict rules on foreigners’ religious activities in China. The country forbids foreigners from converting people.

Meanwhile, an editorial in Global Times said, “while the atrocity” by the Islamic State in killing the two Chinese is appalling, it cannot drive a wedge between China and Pakistan, nor will the construction of the CPEC be disrupted.

“The killings of the two Chinese citizens should serve as a lesson. It is necessary for China and Pakistan to understand the situation of South Korean missionaries and radical groups in Balochistan, so as to better protect the safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan,” it said.

“In fact, it’s doubtful whether the extremist organisation targeted the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) this time. The two hostages killed were not staff related to the project, but had allegedly been brought to Pakistan by a South Korean Christian organisation to conduct missionary work. This tragedy was more likely caused by the conflict between South Korean missionary agencies and local terrorists,” it added.

“The China—Pakistan bilateral relationship is regarded as a model of relations between countries with different social systems. The Chinese public considers Pakistan as China’s “iron brother,” the editorial said.

“Pakistan has made great efforts in protecting the CPEC.

It has dispatched approximately 15,000 Pakistani military personnel to protect the Chinese engineers, the number of the former exceeding that of the latter. This is known to the Chinese public,” it said.

“Pakistan is far from having a stable domestic situation, but as the China—Pakistan friendship is deeply rooted in Pakistani society and most political and sectarian forces don’t consider China as an enemy, the security dilemmas facing the country will not impact the bilateral relationship or the CPEC,” it added.

“So far, no political forces in Pakistan have openly boycotted the CPEC, instead, various regions compete to join the project. There is generally a favourable political and public opinion environment toward the project. The killings of the two hostages are not a signal of any change to the current situation”, it said.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/skorean-christian-groups-recruit-chinese-to-preach-in-muslim-countries-media-report/article18982776.ece

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Help others understand Islam, religious scholars urge Muslims

JUNE 14, 2017

SINGAPORE — Warning that religious knowledge should be obtained from credible sources, a group of seven Muslim scholars noted that teachings, such as those acquired online from unverified preachers, could lead to “misguided” or “erroneous” understanding of Islam.

In a letter to the media on Tuesday (June 13), the group urged Muslims here to be proactive in reaching out to other communities “so that people will know who (they) truly are”.

“As part of a multiracial society in Singapore, we need to be aware that our actions have implications on other communities. This case is bound to cause unease and anxiety among them. They may become suspicious of Muslims, especially Muslim women who interact directly with the general public,” said the group, referring to the recent detention of radicalised infant care assistant Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari.

Mr Mohd Kamal Mokhtar, a Syariah Court appeal board member, who penned the letter on the group’s behalf, told TODAY that Izzah, 22, had not been taught about the religion “properly”.

“She got it online. Online, you cannot make out what is right and what is wrong. You cannot verify the background of the preachers and the sources,” said Mr Kamal.

In its letter, the group urged the Muslim community to acquire religious knowledge through accredited asatizahs or religious teachers. As of June this year, there are 2,818 asatizahs registered under the mandatory Asatizah Recognition Scheme, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

Saying that religion should be learnt step by step, Mr Kamal noted that in Islamic learning, “there are processes that you have to follow”.

“If you want to study, you study from Primary 1, and you follow the steps. If you go straight to university level, and you try to understand the concept, you get lost,” he said.

Encouraging Muslims here to join community events, the group said that it is imperative for  Singaporeans to know that they are “just like them and have similar aspirations”.

“Like others, we also wish to contribute to nation-building and hope for the best for everyone.” A clear distinction has to be drawn between Islam and terrorism, said the group. “The first step we could take is to ensure that Singaporeans understand that Islam has no connection whatsoever with terrorism. Islam is a religion of peace.”

The Muslim community also has to pay close attention to individuals who are influenced by terrorist ideology and openly support terrorist acts around the world. These individuals have to be identified and counselled properly, the group stressed.

Full report at:

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/help-others-understand-islam-religious-scholars-urge-muslims

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Lawless waters test Malaysia, other SE Asian nations in fight against IS

June 14, 2017

SINGAPORE, June 14 — Militants, pirates, drug traffickers, gun runners — the waters between Borneo and the southern Philippines have them all, but as an Islamic State faction burst on the scene in recent weeks, this corner of South-east Asia plumbed new levels of insecurity.

The mostly Muslim countries of Indonesia and Malaysia, and those with sizeable Muslim minorities, like the Philippines, have been on high alert for fighters returning home from Islamic State frontlines in Syria and Iraq.

So when dozens of Malaysians, Indonesians, Arabs and Chechens showed up in Marawi City on Mindanao island, fighting alongside a Philippine franchise of Islamic State, a nightmare scenario suddenly took shape.

The danger of global jihadis establishing a base in the Philippines, running satellite cells to launch attacks across South-east Asia, made governments in the region realise just how vulnerable they could be.

“It’s easy to jump from Marawi to Indonesia and we must all beware of sleeper cells being activated in Indonesia,” General Gatot Nurmantyo, Indonesia’s military chief said on Monday.

According to the general, there are Islamic State sleeper cells in almost all of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.

Indonesia has called for a conference with the Philippines and Malaysia to discuss events in Marawi — where the Philippine military, backed by US special forces are still battling after more than three weeks to retake the town from fighters led by the IS-inspired Maute brothers.

So far, Islamic State-inspired attacks have been relatively small-scale in Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. But they have become more frequent. Last month, suicide bombers killed three police officers at a Jakarta bus station.

Malaysia, meanwhile, has used draconian security laws to detain scores of suspected militants and Islamic State sympathisers.

Air and sea

Next week, the three countries, with Singapore’s assistance, will begin joint air surveillance over the Sulu Sea, using reconnaissance planes and drones, and enhance joint naval patrols.

Their navies planned joint patrols last year after a spate of kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf, a well established militant group that has declared support for Islamic State. But there are plenty of gaps to fill.

“We don’t have communications via radio at this point. We conduct patrols in our own territory. We have not discussed exchanging personnel,” said First Admiral Ferial Fachroni, commander of Indonesia’s Tarakan naval base in North Kalimantan.

He told Reuters joint operations would begin this month. Situated on Borneo’s northeast coast, Tarakan is the nearest Indonesian naval base to kidnappers’ hunting grounds in the Celebes and Sulu Seas.

Keeping tabs on hundreds of merchant ships, fishing boats and ferries plying routes between the islands, deciding when and who to stop and search will be a tall order even for three navies working together.

The archipelagos’ heavily forested coves and inlets provide excellent cover for any fast vessel looking to escape closer scrutiny.

“The Sulu Sea area has always had sporadic incidents like kidnappings of tourists before, but starting last year and this year, it has really gone up,” Noel Chung, the Kuala Lumpur-based Asia head of the International Maritime Bureau, said.

“They started off with tugboats and went on to merchant ships, so they’re targeting big ships out at sea. It’s different from years ago when the attacks were more localised.”

Chung saw comparisons with the Gulf of Aden, where Somali pirates operate, but the difference is that the Sulu Sea is not a major trading route so the international community is disinclined to invest in providing security.

Experts say the number of vessels needed to police the seas and costs incurred would be prohibitive.

“Weak link”

Despite the long history of militancy and banditry in the area, it has taken the Philippines,Malaysia and Indonesia a long time to pool resources.

Largely dormant territorial disputes, mutual mistrust, and limited capabilities have all played a part retarding closer cooperation.

But seeing the black flags of Islamic State raised in Mindanao could have shocked the region’s governments into moving from cooperation to actual collaboration.

“There are still some lingering trust issues but now there is also an understanding of the consequences if they don’t develop this collaboration,” said Singapore-based security analyst Rohan Gunaratna.

Beyond enhancing air and sea patrols, the countries’ security agencies need to coordinate better and act faster on shared intelligence.

A Malaysian government official said that while information was shared on militant suspects, there was some frustration over a perceived lack of follow up in the Philippines.

“One of the challenges is tracking militants once they’re in the southern Philippines. Only the Philippine army can confront them on land,” the Malaysian official said, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Philippine officials said security agencies are “doing everything” to address the surge in militancy in Muslim-majority areas of the mostly Catholic country.

“This is a holistic effort, not only in the military but in the government,” armed forces chief General Eduardo Ano told reporters last week.

Describing the Philippines as a “weak link”, regional terrorism expert Sidney Jones criticised a lack of cooperation between its police, military and intelligence agency.

“More so than other South-east Asian countries, the security agencies are completely silo-ised,” Jones said.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/lawless-waters-test-malaysia-other-se-asian-nations-in-fight-against-is

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Indonesia: Elderly Muslims brush up on their faith in special Ramadan classes

June 14, 2017

Youngsters usually throng the corridors of the Payaman Islamic boarding school in central Java, but the special classes it holds each year aim to help elderly Indonesians deepen their understanding of Islam.

It’s not your typical summer school. Since the programme kicked off in 1980, hundreds of people ranging in age from 60 to 80 on average have attended the school in the city of Magelang during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The situation here is one of my motivations,” said Nina Yanti, 69 and a recent convert to Islam, who wanted to learn more about the religion.

The students pay 30,000 rupiah (US$2.31) for classes that include studying and reciting the Quran, and exploring spiritual development and guidance.

The fees are sufficient to cover electricity and water costs, while they can cook for themselves and stay nearby for up to a month.

One of the teachers at the school said it was not necessary to push students to attend.

“They sincerely come to gain knowledge, as well as practise their knowledge,” said Muhammad Tibyan, who is also the imam of the Payaman mosque.

The programme teaches Indonesia’s traditionally moderate form of the religion and in this year’s classes of 350 each, women far outnumber men, who are just 40 in all.

Full report at:

https://www.studyinternational.com/news/indonesia-elderly-muslims-brush-faith-special-ramadan-classes/#LBPT1MgrtSFfTme0.97

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Pakistan

 

PM’s visit yields no breakthrough in resolution of Saudi-Qatar row

Baqir Sajjad Syed

June 14, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s mediation visit to Saudi Arabia for finding a diplomatic solution to the Qatar crisis did not achieve any immediate breakthrough.

Mr Sharif returned to Islamabad in the early hours of Tuesday after a day-long visit to Jeddah, where he met King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and urged an early resolution of “the impasse in Gulf … in the best interest of Ummah”.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), King Salman and Mr Sharif discussed the “latest regional developments” in addition to bilateral relations.

The Saudi monarch responded by telling Mr Sharif that “the fight against extremism and terrorism is in the interest of all Muslims and the Ummah”.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut off diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on June 5 on the pretext that its policies are fuelling extremism and terrorism. The crisis erupted late last month over fears that Qatar was trying to improve its ties with Iran, which Saudi Arabia and its allies wanted to be isolated.

The SPA, while announcing the severing of relations with Qatar, had said it had been done for “protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

Qatar, meanwhile, has indicated that it was willing to address concerns of the countries that ended diplomatic relations with it.

The current crisis in the Gulf is said to be the gravest that the Gulf Cooperation Council has faced in its nearly four decades of existence, although Qatar’s relations with Saudi Arabia and some other Arab neighbours have not always been good.

Other diplomatic efforts have so far not been successful in defusing tensions either.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber Al Sabah, who has been leading the diplomatic initiative, vowed to continue his efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis despite remaining unsuccessful in his earlier bid.

Mr Sharif, who is walking a diplomatic tightrope in the Saudi-Qatar row because of strong ties with both sides, reiterated Islamabad’s continued support for Riyadh.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed the strong commitment of the people and the government of Pakistan to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Kingdom, and the safety of Harmain al Sharifain,” a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

King Salman assured Mr Sharif of his support “for all issues of interest to Pakistan, including matters of its national security”.

Mr Sharif was accompanied by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1339424/pms-visit-yields-no-breakthrough-in-resolution-of-saudi-qatar-row

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Security forces kill two BLA militants in Quetta operation: ISPR

June 14, 2017

Frontier Corps (FC) personnel killed two wanted militants belonging to the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) during an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in Quetta on Monday, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.

The suspected terrorists were killed after they were tracked down by the security personnel and a gun battle ensued between the two parties.

The militants were involved in attacking the armed forces, target killing, kidnapping for ransom and planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Quetta, Margate and Sangaan areas of Balochistan.

'Huge' cache of weapons seized

During a separate IBO in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), security forces recovered a huge cache of weapons and ammunition, the ISPR said.

The raids were conducted in various areas, including Nizkan Khel, Razin, Nazar Khel of South Waziristan Agency, Kaskai Village in Lower Dir, Sirigal Village in Chitral and various areas of Dara Adam Khel.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1339084/security-forces-kill-two-bla-militants-in-quetta-operation-ispr

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Drone strike kills Haqqani network commander in Hangu

Ali Akbar

June 14, 2017

A drone strike has killed a commander of the deadly Haqqani network in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Hangu district, security sources said Tuesday.

Haqqani network leader Abubakar and his partner were killed when a drone fired two missiles at his house in Speen Tal area of Hangu on Monday night.

The drone strike "completely destroyed" the suspected militant's house, security sources said.

Examine: 'Haqqani network has moved to Afghanistan'

Local residents said the drone was strafing above the area for a while, before it destroyed the targeted compound. The area is such that it borders Orakzai, Kurram and North Waziristan Agencies.

There was no immediate confirmation of the drone strike from government officials.

The drone attack comes days after Afghan security officials accused the Haqqani network and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence of being behind the suicide truck bombing in Kabul on May 31 that killed at least 150 people. The allegation was strongly rejected by the Pakistan government at all levels.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Chaudhry had said earlier this month that the Haqqani network has moved to Afghanistan and Afghan officials should focus on tackling them within their territory instead of blaming Pakistan,

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1339293/drone-strike-kills-haqqani-network-commander-in-hangu

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China says will investigate reports Chinese pair abducted in Pakistan were missionaries

June 14, 2017

China's Foreign Ministry said they will work with the Pakistan government to investigate reports the two Chinese nationals abducted by the Islamic State in Quetta were missionaries.

In a statement released late on Tuesday, ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China attached great importance on protecting the safety and legal rights of Chinese nationals overseas, but they must adhere to local laws and regulations, and respect local traditions and customs.

"As for reports that the relevant Chinese nationals were suspected of illegal missionary work in Pakistan, we will cooperate with the Pakistan government and launch and investigation in accordance with the law," Lu said.

The pair, identified by Pakistan authorities as Lee Zing Yang, 24, and Meng Li Si, 26, were abducted by armed men pretending to be policemen on May 24 in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan province. Last week, Islamic State's Amaq news agency said its members had killed them.

The kidnapping was a rare crime against Chinese nationals in Pakistan, which has long had close ties to Beijing, but it has alarmed the growing Chinese community in the country.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry on Monday alleged for the first time that the two were preachers who had abused the visa system by posing as business people to enter the country.

"Instead of engaging in any business activity they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning Urdu language from a Korean national...were actually engaged in preaching," the ministry said in a statement.

It did not say what kind of preachers they were, nor did it say if the Korean was from North Korea or South Korea.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/14-Jun-2017/china-says-will-investigate-reports-chinese-pair-abducted-in-pakistan-were-missionaries

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Beijing seeks to defuse Pak-Afghan tensions

June 14, 2017

KABUL -  China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to visit Kabul soon where he will meet Afghan officials to discuss ways to improve Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, President Ashraf Ghani’s office said in a statement late Monday.

Wang will work to discuss the possibility of organising a meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China, according to the statement.

The statement was issued after Ghani’s meeting with women’s rights activists who raised concerns over the security situation in the country.

“It is the first time that China wants to be a mediator in Afghanistan’s peace process and soon the Chinese Foreign Minister will visit Kabul. Peace with Pakistan was our demand and this must be solved between government and government,” Ghani told the participants at this meeting.

In the meantime, deputy spokesman for Ghani Najibullah Azad told the media that “this time the quadrilateral meeting which will be held between Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China would be different as compared to past meetings. At this meeting, Pakistan must support Afghanistan’s policy over fighting insurgency.”

Full report at:

Wang’s trip to Kabul comes in the wake of a spate of deadly attacks in the country.

http://nation.com.pk/national/14-Jun-2017/beijing-seeks-to-defuse-pak-afghan-tensions

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Pak-Afghan ‘flag meeting’ discusses border villages’ issue

June 14, 2017

QUETTA: Pakistan and Afghan military officials have agreed to resolve the issue of border villages through negotiations which will be held after Eidul Fitr.

This was decided during a flag meeting held in the Afghan border town Vesh Mandi of Spin Buldak district.

The more than two to three hours long meeting was attended by Commander North Brigadier Nadeem Sohail and Colonel Usman of Frontier Corps from the Pakistani side, and by Col Muhammad Sharif and Col Muhammad Anwar of the Afghan Army. Late Monday evening’s meeting was the first to be held in Afghanistan’s district.

Other topics, including raising barbed wires around two Pakistani border villages Killi Luqman and Killi Jahangir, also came up for discussion, sources said.

Sources told Dawn that both sided had agreed to resolve the issue, particularly after the armed clashes at the Chaman border which erupted after Afghanistan created a controversy about the two villages.

Another flag meeting scheduled after Ramazan will resolve the issue once for all.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1339419/pak-afghan-flag-meeting-discusses-border-villages-issue

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Africa

 

Ramadan: Protests after Tunisia jails five men for 'indecency' after they ate during day

June 14, 2017

Dozens of people have gathered in the capital of Tunisia to protest for the right not to fast during Ramadan, following the arrests of several abstainers.

Demonstrators from the group Mouch Bessif, meaning ‘not against our will’ in Arabic, held a peaceful protest in the central square in Tunis, asking the country’s government to relax its stance on those who decline to observe the fast.

At the start of June, four men were given one-month jail sentences after police found them eating in a public garden in northern Tunisia during daylight hours, with the local prosecutor accusing them of engaging in “a provocative act of public indecency”. The men were arrested after a series of complaints from their neighbours.

The following week, another man received a short prison sentence for smoking a cigarette outside during the day.

Tunisia has no law banning eating or drinking in public during Ramadan, but the state has a constitutional role as a “guardian of religion”, which it used to justify the arrests.

The protesters argued that the constitution is also meant to protect the “freedom of belief and conscience” and that these values were being eroded by government control over Ramadan.

One protester smoking a cigarette held a placard asking: "Why does it bother you if you fast and I eat?" It is not known whether he was the man who was later jailed.

"I fast but I came to join this protest and call with these people for respect for the freedom of belief and conscience," said Kamel Jalouli, another demonstrator, told AFP.

Most restaurants and coffee shops remain shut in Tunisia during daylight hours over the holy month, but some establishments open behind closed curtains to prevent customers being seen.

As this year’s fast began, a Tunisian preacher posted clips on social media of people eating in cafes during daylight in an attempt to publicly shame them.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ramadan-tunisia-protests-five-jailed-men-failing-observe-muslim-holiday-islam-a7787381.html

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Nigeria anti-corruption agency investigates parliament leader

June 14, 2017

ABUJA - Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency is investigating the speaker of the lower chamber of parliament, according to a document seen by Reuters, part of a campaign against graft being waged by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. Yakubu Dogara, the speaker of the House of Representatives, is under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over allegations he illegally added figures to Nigeria’s 2016 budget after it was passed by parliament, according to a letter from the watchdog dated June 9 and seen by Reuters. A spokesman for Dogara did not respond to repeated calls for comment.

http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Jun-2017/nigeria-anti-corruption-agency-investigates-parliament-leader

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Nigeria: Fomwan Organises Ramadan for Islamic Schools

13 JUNE 2017

By Mariam Ali

In a bid to intensify religious activities recommended for this holy month of Ramadan, FOMWAN Basic School organized a three hour Ramadan programme for pupils from Islamic schools across the FCT.

The head teacher of the school, Hajiya Fatima Abubakar, said the event which held on Saturday at the school premises in Wuse 2, was to promote the teaching and learning of Islamic Studies in primary schools.

She added that the programme would inculcate in the pupils the culture and passion of constant reading of the Holy Qur'an during and after the month of Ramadan.

The school consultant Mallam Ibrahim Mustapha commended the invited schools for honouring FOMWAN's invitation and encouraged them to put all the moral teachings of Ramadan to practice so that they can live in the changing world without compromising the teachings of Islam.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201706130911.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/muslim-workers-offer-maghrib-prayers-in-al-ain-indian-church-in-syria/d/111540

 

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