New Age Islam
Sat Oct 31 2020, 03:18 AM

Islamic World News ( 29 Apr 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Muslim World League: Peace Prevails Through the Love of Good for Humanity














Photo: Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, centre, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League attends Word Peace Conference in Cairo (SPA)

 

Controversial Rights Group Teaches Young Muslims How Spies Monitor Social Media

Turkey Blocks Access to Wikipedia over 'Terror' Claims

Hindu Invitation, Jain Feast at Muslim Wedding: Family’s Message for Harmony

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Arab World

Muslim World League: Peace Prevails Through the Love of Good for Humanity

Al-Qaeda Leader Declares Readiness to Join Forces with Saudi-Led Groups aganist Yemeni People, Army

Coalition jets kill 13 Islamic State members in western Anbar

Drone strike kills 5 Qaida suspects in Yemen

Syrian Kurds Drive Daesh From 6 Districts of Al-Tabqah Near Raqqa

U.S.-backed force advances against Islamic State in Syria

Islamic State attack leaves casualties among Iraqi army in Anbar

Municipal official says Islamic State prisoners released for bribes

Iraqi commander vows to complete capture of Mosul in May

U.S.-backed militias claim big advance against IS in Syria’s Tabqa

Islamic State had apparently used Mosul archaeological site for training

Syrian Army Laying Siege on Terrorists in Eastern Damascus

ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Failed Attack on Syrian Army Positions in Southeastern Aleppo

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Europe

Controversial Rights Group Teaches Young Muslims How Spies Monitor Social Media

Austria Calls for New EU Relationship with Turkey

Controversial imam backs One Nation leader in her calls to curb Muslim migration to Australia

Police are 'tracking two further Islamist terror plots in London'

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Mideast

Turkey Blocks Access to Wikipedia over 'Terror' Claims

Erdogan Warns Baghdad against Liberation of Tal Afar

Imam Khamenei: Darkness of war on Iran was lifted by people, not government

Qatar’s health inspectors are gearing up for a busy Ramadan

Lebanon: Trial of Salam, Taqwa Mosques Bombings Suspects Set for May

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India

Hindu Invitation, Jain Feast at Muslim Wedding: Family’s Message for Harmony

Trade, Terror to Be Focus During Talks Between PM Modi And Turkish President Erdogan

Indian ‘IS recruit’ might have been killed in drone strike in Afghanistan

PM Modi on Triple Talaq: Enlightened Muslims Will Lead Fight

Triple Talaq Has No Sanction in Shariat: Venkaiah Naidu

Kerala-born Islamic State recruit killed in Afghanistan; third such casualty from state

Kupwara incident being used to tarnish Muslims: Farooq Abdullah

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South Asia

Haqqani Network and ISIS Militants among 53 Killed In Airstrikes: MoD

Taliban Are Main Reason behind US Forces Presence in Afghanistan: Hekmatyar

Freeze on assets of Afghan Islamist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar lifted in Turkey

Taliban suffer casualties after attacking security posts in Nangarhar

President Ghani praises ANSF jihad against terrorism

Afghan Special Forces seize 1000 kgs of explosives in Parwan

Second Vice President visits Nangarhar, invites Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to Kabul

Afghan forces foil deadly explosion plot in Kabul

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Pakistan

'Godfather' Reference in Panama Judgement Irks Sharif Family

Dawn leak case: Nawaz Sharif sacks aide; 'incomplete' action, says Pakistan army

Islamic State kills senior Afghan Taliban official in Pakistan: Militants

Office-Bearer Of Musharraf’s Party Held Over Fake Currency

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Southeast Asia

Storm at Kedah Pas complex not wrath of Allah - Tuan Ibrahim

Kelantan PAS rep: We're not enemies of non-Muslims

Anies-Sandiaga Win Is Not a Victory of Radical Islam: Yenny Wahidi

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques receives Chinese military official

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Africa

IMN Members Gather In Kano, Urge Immediate Release Of Sheikh Zakzaky

Pope in Egypt rejects fanaticism, urges charity

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North America

US Troops Deployed At Syrian Border To Prevent Clashes Between Turkish & Kurdish Forces

Indian-American Muslim comedian roasts Trump as fan base toasts him

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/muslim-world-league--peace-prevails-through-the-love-of-good-for-humanity/d/110964

 

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Muslim World League: Peace prevails through the love of good for humanity

ARAB NEWS | Published — Sunday 30 April 2017

CAIRO: Secretary-General of the Muslim World League Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa Thursday said that peace takes a prominent place in Islam, but it cannot be attained through theories and dialogue, but through behavior that helps bring it about, including by doing good for humanity.

Al-Issa made this statement in a speech he delivered at the World Peace Conference held by the leading Egyptian Muslim institution Al-Azhar in Cairo, which brought together around 300 Muslim and Christian clerics, scholars and political figures from around the world.

“Peace takes a prominent place in Islam, but cannot be achieved through theories and sporadic dialogue. It must have a tangible impact, preceded by honest and effective work. This could be achieved only through the love of goodness for humanity, and transcend all selfishness,” Al-Issa said.

He also stressed that there is no peace in the presence of double standards or if power is dominated by the logic of materialism alone.

If justice failed to prevail, there can be no peace, he said, adding that there is no peace but through tolerance and harmony, through renouncing hate, expressing love and showing selflessness.

arabnews.com/node/1092386/saudi-arabia

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Controversial Rights Group Teaches Young Muslims How Spies Monitor Social Media

29 APRIL 2017

Young Muslims are being taught how the authorities can see what they do on WhatsApp by a controversial human rights group, it can be revealed.

Cage, an advocacy organisation, who once described killer Jihadi John as a “beautiful kind man”, is teaching people how to avoid criminality on the social media forum.

A poster for the event, showing a pair of hands holding a smartphone while bound in handcuffs, promises “guidelines” on what "can and can't be done online whilst using media technologies".

“Many people, in particular the youth [sic], are being criminalised based on things they may have watched or WhatsApp groups that they may have been part of,” it reads.

“This talk will present a guideline on what is private and what is not and how you should treat online and technological communications.”

It comes after the security services warned that extremists linked to Isil were attempting to radicalise people through WhatsApp and other social media forums.

Robert Hannigan, the former director of GCHQ, said in 2014: “The extremists of Isis use messaging and social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, and a language their peers understand.”

He said the terror group had “embraced the web as a noisy channel in which to promote itself, intimidate people, and radicalise new recruits.”

“GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector,” he said.

Mr Hannigan added: “Increasingly services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.”

Earlier this year an extremist who launched a fatal attack on Westminster was found to have sent a message on WhatsApp just minutes before starting the killing.

Khalid Masood posted that he was waging jihad in revenge for military action against Muslim countries in the Middle East, according to The Independent.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, criticised WhatsApp for failing to hand over the encrypted messages days after the March attack took place.

The security services have concerns that extremists are managing to communicate through social media while remaining undetected because of encryption.

In February 2016, a Cage spokesman AsimQureshi triggered a furious row in his description of Mohammed Emwazi - the killer known as Jihadi John.

He said: “You might be surprised to know that the Mohammed that I knew was extremely kind, extremely gentle, extremely soft spoken, was the most humble young person that I knew.”

Cage once described killer Jihadi John as a “beautiful kind man”.

The social media event was advertised for February 25 and led by the Cage spokesperson CerieBullivant, according to the poster on the group’s website.

Ms Rudd earlier this year wrote an article for this newspaper calling on social media companies to do more to stop the spread of radicalised content online.

She wrote: “We need the help of social media companies, the Googles, the Twitters, theFacebooks, of this world.  And the smaller ones, too, platforms like Telegram ,Wordpress and Justpaste.it.

“We need them to take a more proactive and leading role in tackling the terrorist abuse of their platforms.  We need them to develop further technology solutions.  We need them to set up an industry-wide forum to address the global threat.”

Cage was approached for comment but did not respond.

telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/29/controversial-rights-group-teaches-young-muslims-spies-monitor/

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Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia over 'terror' claims

AFP | Apr 29, 2017, 09.44 PM IST

ISTANBUL: Turkey on Saturday blocked all access inside the country to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia reportedly for articles claiming links between Ankara and terror groups, the latest restriction on a popular website to hit Turkish users.

Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said it had implemented the ban against Wikipedia.org, without making clear the reason for the move.

Turkish state media said the ban was imposed because Wikipedia had failed to remove content promoting terror and accusing Turkey of cooperation with various terror groups.

There was no indication as to when the ban might be removed, with a formal court order expected to follow in the coming days.

A block affecting all language editions of the website in Turkey was detected from 0500 GMT after an administrative order by the Turkish authorities, according to the Turkey Blocks monitoring group, which follows internet restrictions in the country.

Residents in Istanbul were unable to access any pages of Wikipedia on Saturday morning without using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), AFP correspondents said.

"The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country," Turkey Blocks said.

The BTK confirmed the ban in a statement but gave no details.

"After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law No. 5651, an administrative measure has been taken for this website Wikipedia.org," it said.

Law 5651, passed in 2014 by parliament, bolstered the BTK's control over the internet and was seen at the time by freedom of expression activists as an erosion of online liberties.

The incident quickly spawned its own separate Wikipedia entry — "Wikipedia blocked in Turkey".

Quoting Turkey's transport and communications ministry, the state-run Anadolu news agency said the ban was imposed because Wikipedia had failed to take down content purporting to show Turkey "on the same level as and cooperating with" terror groups.

It said Turkey had kept in contact with Wikipedia but the site had failed to remove the content in question.

Should the content be removed, the order would be lifted and access restored, it said.

No further details were given but Turkey has long taken a hard line against what it calls "terror propaganda" in favour of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Critics of Turkey, including Kurdish militants, have accused Ankara of occasionally collaborating with jihadists in Syria, a claim fiercely rejected by the government.

Turkey has become notorious over the last years for temporarily blocking access to popular sites, including Facebook and Twitter, in the wake of major events such as mass protests or terror attacks.

In March 2014, YouTube was banned for several months in Turkey after the site was used to broadcast purported footage of a security meeting on Syria.

In the summer of 2013, severe restrictions were imposed on social media during huge protests against President RecepTayyipErdogan, who was prime minister at the time.

Savvy internet users frequently resort to the use of VPNs to get around these bans, though there have been reports that the use of VPNs has also started to be blocked.

The government says such measures are always temporary and needed for national security but critics see them as another restriction on civil liberties under Erdogan.

In November 2016, Turkey imposed restrictions lasting several hours on the messaging service WhatsApp as well as on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites following the controversial arrests of pro-Kurdish MPs.

Prime Minister BinaliYildirim acknowledged at the time that "from time to time for security reasons we can use such measures... These are temporary measures. Once the danger is passed, everything returns to normal."

The move to block Wikipedia caused an uproar on social media in Turkey with users angrily denouncing the decision to restrict access to one of the world's most popular websites.

There was speculation the decision may also have been prompted by deeply unflattering updates to Erdogan's Wikipedia profile after he won the April 16 referendum on enhancing his powers, including descriptions of him as a "dictator".

The government insists that the new presidential system — largely due to come into force in 2019 — will improve efficiency, but critics fear it will lead to one-man rule.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/turkey-blocks-access-to-wikipedia-over-terror-claims/articleshow/58435671.cms

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Hindu invitation, Jain feast at Muslim wedding: Family’s message for harmony

Apr 30, 2017

The decision to organise the marriage in this manner was taken by the bridegroom Mohammad Saleem and his elder broth Mohammad Arif, especially to send out a message to miscreants trying to create communal tension in the region.(AP)

With images of Ganesha and Radha-Krishna on the wedding invitation card and a Jain menu for the feast, a Muslim family has sought to allay apprehensions of communal tension in their small town in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district.

Mohammad ShabeerMakrani, father of the groom and resident of in Ranapura area of the district, termed the marriage, held on Wednesday, a Ganga-Jamunitehzeeb, a phrase used to signify social harmony among different communities.

The decision to organise the marriage in this manner was taken by the bridegroom Mohammad Saleem and his elder broth Mohammad Arif, especially to send out a message to miscreants trying to create communal tension in the region.

“About a month ago, a clash took place between Hindus and Muslims over a trivial issue. A large number of people were injured in stone pelting. The tension after the incident was palpable. So, I decided to have my marriage with a fusion of all elements representing different religions—Hindu, Jain and Muslim—to teach a lesson to anti-social elements who are out to disturb the peace,” Saleem said.

When Saleem decided to print the invitation cards with the images of Lord Ganesha and Radha-Krishna, his father and elder brother supported him.

“Initially, my father was concerned about how our relatives and community would react upon it. Some relatives did raise objections to it but my family stood by me and my decision,” Saleem said.

“When I heard that Saleem wanted to get invitation cards in sync with Hindu religion, I told him why not a pure vegetarian menu according to Jains for the reception. My family agreed to that suggestion also,” Saleem’s brother, Arif said.

Even, people who attended the marriage appreciated the effort.

A guest, Arun Jain said the marriage revived the ‘Ganga-Jamunitehzeeb’ in the area. “In our religion, there are a lot of restrictions on taking food items so I seldom eat at marriages. But in this marriage, I enjoyed the food.”

Another guest, J S Parihar said it was a commendable step by Saleem’s family. “In future, we will also try to do something like this,” he said.

(With inputs from CB Singh)

hindustantimes.com/india-news/hindu-invitation-jain-feast-at-muslim-wedding-a-message-for-communal-miscreants/story-gpGZaxGopJnpnOeI4oDIiP.html

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Arab World

Muslim World League: Peace prevails through the love of good for humanity

ARAB NEWS | Published — Sunday 30 April 2017

CAIRO: Secretary-General of the Muslim World League Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa Thursday said that peace takes a prominent place in Islam, but it cannot be attained through theories and dialogue, but through behavior that helps bring it about, including by doing good for humanity.

Al-Issa made this statement in a speech he delivered at the World Peace Conference held by the leading Egyptian Muslim institution Al-Azhar in Cairo, which brought together around 300 Muslim and Christian clerics, scholars and political figures from around the world.

“Peace takes a prominent place in Islam, but cannot be achieved through theories and sporadic dialogue. It must have a tangible impact, preceded by honest and effective work. This could be achieved only through the love of goodness for humanity, and transcend all selfishness,” Al-Issa said.

He also stressed that there is no peace in the presence of double standards or if power is dominated by the logic of materialism alone.

If justice failed to prevail, there can be no peace, he said, adding that there is no peace but through tolerance and harmony, through renouncing hate, expressing love and showing selflessness.

arabnews.com/node/1092386/saudi-arabia

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Al-Qaeda Leader Declares Readiness to Join Forces with Saudi-Led Groups aganist Yemeni People, Army

Apr 30, 2017

TEHRAN (FNA)- The leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Qassim Al-Raymi, issued a statement that his terrorist organization is ready to fight the Yemeni army and the popular forces the war-hit country.

“Above all, we say that we will never miss any chance to unite efforts to fight" against the Yemeni Army, said the terrorist leader, Al Masdar reported.

“But we won’t fight is a situation where any one can strike us from the back.”

Saudi-led military coalition claimed last Sunday that the Yemeni popular forces arrested several leaders and members of Al Qaeda during a raid in support of their anti-terrorism operations in Yemen, a thing which Al Qaeda denied in a statement on 26 April 2017.

Al-Raymi also said he is ready to make truce with Yemen's fugitive President Hadi government and to set for negotiations but with conditions.

“All external interference on Yemeni affairs must be stopped and all US intervention must be banned,” Al-Raymi added.

On the same context, Qasim Al Raymi, confirmed that a huge number of those Yemeni citizen whom America has put on terror list have no organizational connection with Al-Qaeda.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960210001293

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Coalition jets kill 13 Islamic State members in western Anbar

Apr 30, 2017

Annah, Qaim (IraqiNews.com) Fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition killed 13 Islamic State members in an airstrike that targeted their vehicles at the group’s strongholds in western Anbar, according to an army source.

Ikhnews quoted a military source at the army’s 7th division saying the jets pounded two vehicles and a rest house used by IS at the towns of Annah and Qaim, killing all of the 13 group members on board and at the house.

Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition fighter jets have regularly pounded locations held by the Islamic State at the stronghold towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa, killing dozens of militants. Thousands of civilians are thought to be held in Islamic State captivity at those locations. It is widely expected that the Iraqi government will launch a major security offensive in Anbar once it is done with its U.S.-backed campaign to drive out IS from Mosul, the group’s principal stronghold in Iraq, which has been running since October 2016. Military officials have been quoted over the past few weeks telling of preparations to invade IS havens in the province.

IS has stepped its attacks against Iraqi border guards at the province’s borders with Syria recently, at one incident killing and wounding 30 servicemen in an ambush earlier this month.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/coalition-jets-kill-13-islamic-state-members-western-anbar/

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Drone strike kills 5 Qaida suspects in Yemen

AFP | Updated: Apr 30, 2017

ADEN: Five suspected members of Yemen's Al-Qaida branch were killed Sunday in what local authorities said was a US drone strike east of the capital Sanaa.

The early morning strike targeted a car in central Marib province that had been transporting arms from Yakla in Baida province, a military official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official said the car belonged to a known local leader of Yemen's Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which the United States views as the radical group's most dangerous branch.

Sunday's strike comes 24 hours after a similar raid killed three suspected AQAP operatives in southern Shabwa province, which has been a central target of the US military.

Yakla was the target of the controversial January 29 air raid ordered by US President Donald Trump, his first since taking office.

That raid, during which US special operations forces entered an AQAP compound in Yakla, killed a Navy SEAL and several Yemeni civilians, including a child with US citizenship.

The Pentagon has confirmed more than 70 strikes against jihadist targets in Yemen since February 28.

Al-Qaida has taken advantage of the chaos caused by more than two years of civil war in Yemen to expand its presence in the war-torn country.

The conflict pits Huthi Shiite rebels, backed by Iran, against government forces allied with a Gulf coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

The United Nations estimates more than 7,700 people have been killed since the coalition intervened in the war. Millions also face famine this year.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/drone-strike-kills-5-qaida-suspects-in-yemen/articleshow/58443151.cms

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Syrian Kurds Drive DaeshFrom 6 Districts of Al-Tabqah Near Raqqa

30.04.2017

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated six districts of the country's northern city of Al-Tabqah occupied by Daesh near the city of Raqqa, the SDF said in a statement.

A bomber flies over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State group targets in Syria

Eight Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition’s Airstrike West of Syria's Raqqa

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the statement, the Kurdish fighters have been conducting a search mission in the liberated districts and have found several weapons caches left by terrorists.

"Our fighters, both men and women advanced yesterday evening and liberated six districts of Al Tabqah controlled by the IS [Daesh] terrorists," the statement said.

The SDF operation to liberate Al-Tabqah is part of the offensive launched by the Kurdish-led troops to take control over the city of Raqqa, the so-called capital of Daesh. Damascus considers that the offensive of the SDF supported by the US-led international coalition is illegal.

sputniknews.com/middleeast/201704301053152351-kurds-raqqa-daesh-districts/

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U.S.-backed force advances against Islamic State in Syria

APR 30, 2017

BEIRUT – A U.S.-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance is advancing against the Islamic State group in the key town of Tabqa near the jihadist bastion of Raqqa in northern Syria, a monitor said Sunday.

The Syrian Democratic Forces now control at least 40 percent of the town of Tabqa, and more than half of its heart, the Old City, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said fighting was continuing in the town on Sunday morning.

The SDF entered Tabqa on Monday as part of their offensive against Raqqa, IS’s de facto Syrian capital.

Supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and special forces advisers, the SDF surrounded Tabqa in early April.

The town sits on a strategic supply route about 55 kilometers (34 miles) west of Raqqa, and served as an important IS command base, housing the group’s main prison.

It is also adjacent to the Tabqa dam, another important strategic prize which remains under IS control.

The assault on Tabqa began in late March when SDF forces and their U.S.-led coalition allies were airlifted behind IS lines.

The city was home to around 240,000 residents before 2011, and more than 80,000 people have fled to it from other parts of the country.

IS has put up fierce resistance, including using weaponized drones, a tactic the group perfected in neighboring Iraq.

The group is also fighting street-to-street and using suicide attackers and car bombs to slow the SDF’s advance, according to the Observatory.

The assault on Raqqa, dubbed “Wrath of the Euphrates,” was launched in November and has seen SDF fighters capture large swaths of countryside around the city.

More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the country’s war began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/30/world/u-s-backed-force-advances-islamic-state-syria/#.WQXMiNqGPIU

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Islamic State attack leaves casualties among Iraqi army in Anbar

By  MohamedMostafa

Apr 30, 2017

Rutba (IraqiNews.com) Two Iraqi army soldiers were killed and eight others were wounded Sunday when Islamic State militants attacked an army outpost in western Anbar.

Anadolu Agency quoted army Captain Ahmed al-Dulaimi saying the attack targeted an army deployment at the 25th kilometer region west of Rutba (310 km west of Ramadi).

He said fierce encounters between both sides also left five of the attacking militants dead.

Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition fighter jets have regularly pounded locations held by the Islamic State at the stronghold towns of Annah, Qaim and Rawa, killing dozens of militants. Thousands of civilians are thought to be held in Islamic State captivity at those locations.

It is widely expected that the Iraqi government will launch a major security offensive in Anbar once it is done with its U.S.-backed campaign to drive out IS from Mosul, the group’s principal stronghold in Iraq, which has been running since October 2016. Military officials have been quoted over the past few weeks telling of preparations to invade IS havens in the province.

IS has stepped its attacks against Iraqi border guards at the province’s borders with Syria recently, at one incident killing and wounding 30 servicemen in an ambush earlier this month.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/islamic-state-attack-leaves-casualties-among-iraqi-army-anbar/

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Municipal official says Islamic State prisoners released for bribes

by  MohamedMostafa

Apr 30, 2017

Anbar (IraqiNews.com) Corrupt security members have been releasing Islamic State prisoners in Anbar in return for a few dollars, according to an official at the province’s council.

Naeem al-Kaoud, head of the security committee at the province’s council, was quoted Saturday saying that “corrupt” elements within the security services had been setting Islamic State members free for “a bunch of dollars”. He said his committee was eager to uncover those elements and refer them to a military trial.

Kaoud is not the first Iraqi figure to report a release-for-money situation involving Iraqi security members. Earlier in April, an Iraqi parliament member accused some Iraqi security members of setting Islamic State captives free in return for money, urging intervention by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“While accurate statistics of the numbers and nationalities of Daesh (IS) members arrested in Mosul are lacking, some weak-spirited security members release some of them in return for money,” Alia Nassif, an outspoken MP from al-Islah (Reform) Front, said in a statement.

She said the alleged releases occur even if the militants are caught red-handed.

“Where is oversight over prisons, the numbers and locations of which we do not know? How come that the bloods of innocent Iraqis go in vain as murderers are set free so easily?,” Nassif wondered, urging the prime minister to personally order a high-level probe into the information.

The Iraqi government is leading a U.S.-backed, wide-scale campaign to eliminate IS fighters from their strongholds in Iraq, most notably Mosul. Iraqi generals say the group controls less than seven percent of Iraqi territories.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/municipal-official-says-islamic-state-prisoners-released-bribes/

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Iraqi commander vows to complete capture of Mosul in May

by  NehalMostafa

Apr 30, 2017

A smoke rises as Iraqi forces fight Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq, April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

(Reuters) A top Iraqi commander expects to dislodge Islamic State from Mosul in May despite resistance from militants in the densely populated Old City district.

The battle should be completed “in a maximum of three weeks”, the Iraqi army’s chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanmi, was quoted as saying by state-run newspaper al-Sabah on Sunday.

A U.S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support for the offensive in Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which fell to hardline Sunni Muslim fighters in June 2014.

Islamic State has lost most of the city’s districts since the offensive began in October and is now surrounded in the northwestern districts, including the historic Old City centre.

The United Nation believes that up to half a million people remain in the area still controlled by the militants in Mosul, 400,000 of which are in the Old City with little food and water supply and no access to hospitals.

The militants have dug in between the civilians, often launching deadly counter-attacks to repel forces closing in on the Old City’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque.

It was from this mosque, famous for its leaning minaret, that the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria. Mosul was by far the largest city to have fallen under his control in both countries.

A Federal Police brigade commander and 18 other members of the interior ministry force were killed in attacks on two positions at the edge of the Old City on Friday, military sources said on Sunday. Federal Police took back the two positions on Saturday but the interior ministry has sacked a top commander for failing to fend off the counter-attacks, the sources said. The U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service and Federal Police are the main forces fighting inside Mosul. Regular Iraqi army units are taking part in battles outside the city, alongside Shi’ite volunteers trained and armed by Iran, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Sunni tribes.

The total number of fighters aligned against Islamic State in Mosul from all forces and units exceeds 100,000.

Iraqi forces estimate the number of Islamic State fighters who remain in Mosul at 200 to 300, mostly foreigners, down from nearly 6,000 when the offensive started.

Several thousand have been killed so far in the battle, both civilians and military, according to international aid organisations. The total number of people displaced from Mosul since October is close to 400,000, about a fifth of Mosul’s population before its capture by Islamic State.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraqi-commander-vows-complete-capture-mosul-may/

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U.S.-backed militias claim big advance against IS in Syria’s Tabqa

by  NehalMostafa

Apr 30, 2017

(Reuters)U.S.-backed militias said on Sunday they had made a big advance in Tabqa, a strategically vital town controlling Syria’s largest dam, in their campaign to drive Islamic State from its stronghold of Raqqa, 40km (25 miles) downstream.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias, will wait to assault Raqqa until it seizes Tabqa, its military officials have previously said, but it had made only slow progress since besieging the town early this month.

In a statement it circulated on social messaging sites, the SDF said it had captured six more districts of Tabqa and distributed a map showing that Islamic State now controlled only the northern part of the town, next to the dam.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the SDF had gained almost complete control over Tabqa in its advance.

Tabqa was isolated from Raqqa in late March after the United States helped the SDF carry out an airborne landing on the southern bank of the Euphrates, allowing it to capture the areas around the town, including an important airbase, and cut the road.

Islamic State still holds several Tabqa districts along the southern bank of Lake Assad and the southern section of the Euphrates dam, including its operations facilities and a hydro-electric power plant.

Raqqa now lies in an Islamic State enclave on the northern bank of the Euphrates that measures about 50km at its widest point on an east-west axis and 20km on its longest north-south axis, but with SDF salients stretching almost to the city.

Islamic State’s only means of crossing to its main territory on the south bank of the Euphrates is by boat after aerial bombing put the region’s bridges out of service.

The jihadist group still controls large swathes of Syria’s Euphrates basin and its vast eastern deserts near the border with Iraq, but it has lost large tracts of its territory over the past year and many of its leaders have been killed.

iraqinews.com/arab-world-news/u-s-backed-militias-claim-big-advance-syrias-tabqa/

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Islamic State had apparently used Mosul archaeological site for training

by  MohamedMostafa

Apr 30, 2017

A knotted rope apparently used by Islamic State militants for training at the ancient region of al-Hadar (Hatra), west of Mosul, which Iraqi troops took over

Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Photos circulated by social networks users have showed training equipment left by the Islamic State at an archaeological site in western Mosul which Iraqi security and allied militias recaptured recently.

Iraqi security troops and the Popular Mobilization Units said three days ago they had recaptured the ancient region of al-Hadar (Hatra) from the Islamic State in a brief offensive.

Photos taken after the liberation of the area show what appears to be hurdles, knotted ropes and swinging bars in the middle of ancient columns.

Training facilities left by Islamic State militants in the ancient area of al-Hadar, west of Mosul.

Training facilities left by Islamic State militants in the ancient region of al-Hadar (Hatra), west of Mosul.

Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, recaptured eastern Mosul in January and are nearing the recapture of the western region as part of offensives launched mid February.

Since its emergence in 2014 to declare an “Islamic Caliphate”, the Islamic State demolished several priceless archaeological sites in Mosul, drawing international condemnation. The extremist group’s doctrine deems antiquities as symbols of infidelity.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/photos-islamic-state-apparently-used-mosul-archaeological-site-training/

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Syrian Army Laying Siege on Terrorists in Eastern Damascus

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Military sources confirmed on Sunday that the Syrian Army troops are only a kilometer away before they can shake hands in regions just to the West of al-Qaboun district and lay siege on two main terrorist bastions.

The sources said that recent advances of the government forces in the Eastern part of al-Qaboun district have enabled the army men to almost encircle the militants in the Western direction of al-Qaboun, and complete the siege on terrorist-held region in al-Qaboun district from the North and Tishrin district from the South.

The sources pointed out that the siege of the terrorists in al-Qaboun and Tishrin means that militants' continued battle would amount to mass suicide as all their routes to the outside world have now been cut off.

They underlined that withdrawal of forces from al-Qaboun and Tishrin whose tunnels have been mostly destroyed in the army attack will also be very dangerous for the militants.

Base on field reports, the army units plan to continue their advances from South to the South-East towards Abdul QaniBajeqni school which is the largest and the most important base of al-Nusra in the Eastern countryside of Damascus.  

Relevant reports said on Saturday that the army men engaged in further clashes with Al-Nusra South of al-Qaboun district and managed to take full control over several residential complexes in the district.

The Al-Nusra suffered a heavy death toll and its military hardware sustained major damage in the attack.

Local sources reported that the Syrian Air Force bombed the al-Nusra positions in al-Qaboun several times simultaneous with the advances of the ground troops.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960210000987

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ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Failed Attack on Syrian Army Positions in Southeastern Aleppo

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops fended of a massive offensive of ISIL on pro-government forces' positions near two villages Northeast of the town of Khanasser, inflicting major casualties on the militants.

The army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists that had attacked their strongholds near the villages of Um Mayal and Sardah Northeast of the town of Khanasser and managed to repelled the terrorists' assault.

The ISIL lost a large number of fighters and its military vehicles also sustained major damage in the failed attack.

The army soldiers also captured a number of ISIL terrorists.

In mid-March, the Syrian Army soldiers continued to advance against ISIL in vast areas in Eastern Aleppo and captured territories only 3km away from the strategic town of DeirHafer.

A field source pointed to the army advances in Shweilakh, Karkiz regions and Tal (hill) Hamimeh, and said the Syrian pro-government forces were just 3km away from DeirHafer and will liberate the ISIL-held town soon.

The source said army's control over DeirHafer would open the path for the Syrian army to move from the Eastern parts of Aleppo province to Raqqa, while they can also move towards the town of Khanasser to complete their operation there to reinvigorate security to the Aleppo-Hama road.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960210000261

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Europe

Controversial Rights Group Teaches Young Muslims How Spies Monitor Social Media

29 APRIL 2017

Young Muslims are being taught how the authorities can see what they do on WhatsApp by a controversial human rights group, it can be revealed.

Cage, an advocacy organisation, who once described killer Jihadi John as a “beautiful kind man”, is teaching people how to avoid criminality on the social media forum.

A poster for the event, showing a pair of hands holding a smartphone while bound in handcuffs, promises “guidelines” on what "can and can't be done online whilst using media technologies".

“Many people, in particular the youth [sic], are being criminalised based on things they may have watched or WhatsApp groups that they may have been part of,” it reads.

“This talk will present a guideline on what is private and what is not and how you should treat online and technological communications.”

It comes after the security services warned that extremists linked to Isil were attempting to radicalise people through WhatsApp and other social media forums.

Robert Hannigan, the former director of GCHQ, said in 2014: “The extremists of Isis use messaging and social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, and a language their peers understand.”

He said the terror group had “embraced the web as a noisy channel in which to promote itself, intimidate people, and radicalise new recruits.”

“GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector,” he said.

Mr Hannigan added: “Increasingly services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.”

Earlier this year an extremist who launched a fatal attack on Westminster was found to have sent a message on WhatsApp just minutes before starting the killing.

Khalid Masood posted that he was waging jihad in revenge for military action against Muslim countries in the Middle East, according to The Independent.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, criticised WhatsApp for failing to hand over the encrypted messages days after the March attack took place.

The security services have concerns that extremists are managing to communicate through social media while remaining undetected because of encryption.

In February 2016, a Cage spokesman AsimQureshi triggered a furious row in his description of Mohammed Emwazi - the killer known as Jihadi John.

He said: “You might be surprised to know that the Mohammed that I knew was extremely kind, extremely gentle, extremely soft spoken, was the most humble young person that I knew.”

Cage once described killer Jihadi John as a “beautiful kind man”.

The social media event was advertised for February 25 and led by the Cage spokesperson CerieBullivant, according to the poster on the group’s website.

Ms Rudd earlier this year wrote an article for this newspaper calling on social media companies to do more to stop the spread of radicalised content online.

She wrote: “We need the help of social media companies, the Googles, the Twitters, theFacebooks, of this world.  And the smaller ones, too, platforms like Telegram ,Wordpress and Justpaste.it.

“We need them to take a more proactive and leading role in tackling the terrorist abuse of their platforms.  We need them to develop further technology solutions.  We need them to set up an industry-wide forum to address the global threat.”

Cage was approached for comment but did not respond.

telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/29/controversial-rights-group-teaches-young-muslims-spies-monitor/

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Austria calls for new EU relationship with Turkey

AP | Apr 29, 2017, 06.15 PM IST

BRUSSELS: Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern says Turkey should not be allowed to join the European Union, with membership talks between the EU and Ankara at a standstill.

Kern told reporters in Brussels on Saturday that "we have to bring our relations to Turkey into new order."

He said the EU should "create a new relation to Turkey" encompassing economic, security and migration interests.

Referring to the reported blocking of online encyclopedia Wikipedia and the ongoing purge in Turkey, Kern said it's time "to hurry up because we can't afford to have an unstable country with 80 million citizens close to our neighborhood."

The EU promised Turkey fast-track membership talks, among other incentives, to stop migrants leaving for Europe. The talks have moved at snail's pace since they were launched in 2005.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/austria-calls-for-new-eu-relationship-with-turkey/articleshow/58433616.cms

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Controversial imam backs One Nation leader in her calls to curb Muslim migration to Australia

30 April 2017

A Muslim leader has spoken out in support of One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson, claiming there would be no ISIS in Iraq if there were politicians like her in the Middle East.

Imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi, who has openly spoken out against ISIS and extremists, told Sky News on Sunday he agrees with Senator Hanson's call to ban Muslims from entering Australia.

The Imam said he believes Muslim refugees should be stopped from entering Australia for a ‘period of time’ so the country is not ‘flooded.’

'If we had politicians like Pauline Hanson in Iraq, my hometown, we wouldn’t have had ISIS come in,' he said.

'That’s what I believe, that’s what I see to be the truth. I’m not affiliated with One Nation at all but that’s exactly what I believe it’s right. Integration and not blending in – we want to adapt.'

Imam Tawhidi said Australia needs to focus on its current issues before accepting new refugees.

'We don’t know their history, we don’t where they’re coming from and I’m not saying they’re all terrorists or they’re all radicals but they do come from an area where every house has weapons and they’re all well trained and they’re ready to fight,' he said.

'I can’t deny the fact that Muslim migration to countries has been abused as a matter and Australia has been very attractive - Centrelink - and they just kept coming.'

'I believe we need to stop it for a period of time in order that we can take control about what’s happening in this country to begin with – there’s nothing wrong with that.'

'We don’t have to prove to anyone that we’re a multicultural society.'

The Imam's comments come a month after Senator Hanson urged Australians to use the hashtag 'pray for a Muslim ban' in the wake of London's Westminster terror attack.

In a video posted to her Facebook page, the Queensland senator took aim at London's first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, for comments he made in September about terror attacks bring 'part and parcel of living in a big city.'

'People are feeling sorry for people over there and I've seen the hashtag #prayforlondon,' she said from Parliament House in Canberra.

'Well look, I have my own hashtag and you won't need to be praying for this place or that place, because it's #pray4amuslimban. 

'That is how you solve the problem... put a ban on it'.  

Ms Hanson called Mr Khan's comments 'amazing' and said she never wants to hear anything similar said in Australia.

Mr Khan's comments were not referencing the Westminster attack and were made during an interview in September in response to the bombs that were detonated in New York City and Jersey.

'It's amazing that the Muslim mayor over there has come out and said 'oh well terrorist attacks are part and parcel of a big city''.' she said.

'Well they don't have to be, they never have been in the past and that's something I never want to hear or see in Australia from any mayor in any city'.

In a video posted to her Facebook page, the Queensland senator took aim at London's first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan

Ms Hanson's criticism mirrors that of Donald Trump Jr who re-tweeted the six-month-old article with Mr Khan's comments on Thursday.

'You have to be kidding me?!' the son of the US President tweeted with the article.

The senator noted that she was broadcasting the video from Parliament House in Canberra where she was 'protected'.

'It's alright from here in Parliament House, they've done $16 million security,' she said.

'We're protected. what about you? Do you feel protected?'

The video was made in response to the attack where a man ploughed his Hyundai SUV into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge.

Three people were killed on the bridge before the driver stabbed and killed an unarmed police officer. The driver was later shot dead by officers outside the House of Parliament.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4459532/Imam-Shaikh-Pauline-Hanson-ISIS-Muslim-migration-Australia.html#ixzz4fjr85LRS

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Police are 'tracking two further Islamist terror plots in London'

30 April 2017

Islamist extremists are allegedly planning at least two further terror attacks in London in the near future.

Anti-terror police have stepped up surveillance to monitor the new “active” plots, which are believed to be inspired by Isis or a resurgent al-Qaeda, according to the Sunday Times.

Those involved in planning the fresh wave of attacks are not connected to the two plots that were foiled last Thursday, the newspaper reported.

"There are another two plots being closely watched," the Sunday Times quoted a senior anti-terrorism official at Scotland Yard as saying.

Met officers smashed two suspected terror plots within hours of each other in the capital last week.

Woman shot and injured as police foil active terror plot

Armed police wrestled an alleged knifeman, 27, to the ground in Westminster in the afternoon before detaining six people, including a six-year-old boy, in raids linked to a family home in Willesden, north-west London.

On Sunday, police were continuing to quiz the seven people who were arrested in the two separate counter-terror operations.

A woman in her 20s who was shot during the raid is being held under police guard in hospital, where her condition is described as serious but stable.

She is expected to be arrested when her condition improves.

Security in London has been heightened following the Westminster terror attack, in which Khalid Masood ploughed into pedestrians along Westminster Bridge before stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death at the gates of Parliament.

The current terrorism threat level is severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

It was revealed last month that security services have thwarted 13 potential attacks in less than four years.

standard.co.uk/news/crime/police-are-tracking-two-further-islamist-terror-plots-in-london-a3527401.html

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Mideast

Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia over 'terror' claims

AFP | Apr 29, 2017, 09.44 PM IST

ISTANBUL: Turkey on Saturday blocked all access inside the country to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia reportedly for articles claiming links between Ankara and terror groups, the latest restriction on a popular website to hit Turkish users.

Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said it had implemented the ban against Wikipedia.org, without making clear the reason for the move.

Turkish state media said the ban was imposed because Wikipedia had failed to remove content promoting terror and accusing Turkey of cooperation with various terror groups.

There was no indication as to when the ban might be removed, with a formal court order expected to follow in the coming days.

A block affecting all language editions of the website in Turkey was detected from 0500 GMT after an administrative order by the Turkish authorities, according to the Turkey Blocks monitoring group, which follows internet restrictions in the country.

Residents in Istanbul were unable to access any pages of Wikipedia on Saturday morning without using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), AFP correspondents said.

"The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country," Turkey Blocks said.

The BTK confirmed the ban in a statement but gave no details.

"After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law No. 5651, an administrative measure has been taken for this website Wikipedia.org," it said.

Law 5651, passed in 2014 by parliament, bolstered the BTK's control over the internet and was seen at the time by freedom of expression activists as an erosion of online liberties.

The incident quickly spawned its own separate Wikipedia entry — "Wikipedia blocked in Turkey".

Quoting Turkey's transport and communications ministry, the state-run Anadolu news agency said the ban was imposed because Wikipedia had failed to take down content purporting to show Turkey "on the same level as and cooperating with" terror groups.

It said Turkey had kept in contact with Wikipedia but the site had failed to remove the content in question.

Should the content be removed, the order would be lifted and access restored, it said.

No further details were given but Turkey has long taken a hard line against what it calls "terror propaganda" in favour of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Critics of Turkey, including Kurdish militants, have accused Ankara of occasionally collaborating with jihadists in Syria, a claim fiercely rejected by the government.

Turkey has become notorious over the last years for temporarily blocking access to popular sites, including Facebook and Twitter, in the wake of major events such as mass protests or terror attacks.

In March 2014, YouTube was banned for several months in Turkey after the site was used to broadcast purported footage of a security meeting on Syria.

In the summer of 2013, severe restrictions were imposed on social media during huge protests against President RecepTayyipErdogan, who was prime minister at the time.

Savvy internet users frequently resort to the use of VPNs to get around these bans, though there have been reports that the use of VPNs has also started to be blocked.

The government says such measures are always temporary and needed for national security but critics see them as another restriction on civil liberties under Erdogan.

In November 2016, Turkey imposed restrictions lasting several hours on the messaging service WhatsApp as well as on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites following the controversial arrests of pro-Kurdish MPs.

Prime Minister BinaliYildirim acknowledged at the time that "from time to time for security reasons we can use such measures... These are temporary measures. Once the danger is passed, everything returns to normal."

The move to block Wikipedia caused an uproar on social media in Turkey with users angrily denouncing the decision to restrict access to one of the world's most popular websites.

There was speculation the decision may also have been prompted by deeply unflattering updates to Erdogan's Wikipedia profile after he won the April 16 referendum on enhancing his powers, including descriptions of him as a "dictator".

The government insists that the new presidential system — largely due to come into force in 2019 — will improve efficiency, but critics fear it will lead to one-man rule.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/turkey-blocks-access-to-wikipedia-over-terror-claims/articleshow/58435671.cms

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Erdogan Warns Baghdad against Liberation of Tal Afar

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iraqi parliamentarian revealed that Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan has warned Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to hold back the Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi Mobilization) forces from any operation to liberate Tal Afar.

"Erdogan has in a message to Abadi warned that if Hashd al-Shaabi advances towards Tal Afar, the Turkish forces will also be deployed in the region," Nahleh al-Hababi was quoted as saying by al-Mouqef al-Iraqi news website on Sunday.

The Iraqi legislator, meantime, underlined that Hashd al-Shaabi has surrounded Tal Afar region from several fronts and would play the main role in the liberation operation.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, a senior commander of Hashd al-Shaabi underlined his forces' full preparedness to launch offensive against the ISIL bases in Tal Afar.

"Tal Afar is the ISIL's last base in Mosul. We have surrounded the city since several months ago," Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes said.

Stressing the importance of Tal Afar and its liberation, he said, "The Iraqi volunteer forces are fully ready to attack Tal Afar but the decision to start the attack is upon the General Command of the Armed Forces."

Mohandes said that 5,000sq/km of Iraq's territories have been freed from the ISIL so far.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960210000840

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Imam Khamenei: Darkness of war on Iran was lifted by people, not government

April 30, 2017

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The fact that impudent and browbeating enemies refrain from a serious confrontation with the Islamic Republic, is due to the presence of the people. It is because, they are afraid of the people; fear in a true sense.

With Workers’ Day approaching, a group of laborers from across Iran met with Ayatollah Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic this morning. His Eminence mentioned in the meeting: I mainly address the people. Our dear people should know that their presence in different areas is determining; determining for the national security; if people are participative, the country will be secure.

The Leader of the Revolution added: The fact that impudent and browbeating enemies refrain from a serious confrontation with the Islamic Republic, is due to the presence of the people. It is because, they are afraid of the people; fear in a true sense. This is not just an analysis; it's the reality, based on proven evidence. When the people come forward, the enemy that wants to fight against their state is forced to retreat and cannot intrude. However, when a gap arises between the nation and the state, and the nation resigns, then the enemies can do as they want.

Ayatollah Khamenei further stated: We hear, and we have heard it before, some saying, “when we took things in our hands, we could save the country from war." No. This is not true. What protected this country during all these years against aggression, and the enemy's intrusion, is the presence of the people.

Insisting on the importance of protecting the vote, His Eminence continued: Those who are in charge of the elections, whether the Interior Ministry, the Guardian Council, the IRIB, or elsewhere, they must protect and guard what is entrusted to them--the ballots, and the people's participation.

Ayatollah Khamenei added, "The utmost precautions must be taken to protect and guard the vote, in case, God forbid, some want to violate this trust."

The Leader of the Revolution declared: The law should be enforced accurately. No exception is to be accorded with regard to the law. The Law is the Law, it's the same for everyone, with no exception. By accurately enforcing the law, a right and desirable occupation, satisfactory in front of God, can be accomplished.

The Leader of the Revolution went on to say that the main manifestation of the people's presence is during the elections. He insisted: I would never tell you to elect one person or to neglect another; but, I will tell you to go to your voting stations and cast your ballots. All those who appreciate this country and want its security must vote.

Stating that the people know the Islamic Republic endeavors for their glory, security and progress, Ayatollah Khamenei added, "The Islamic Republic has secured this country from the intrusion of enemies, and this shall not be taken lightly. It is a great accomplishment."

en.abna24.com/news/iran/imam-khamenei-darkness-of-war-on-iran-was-lifted-by-people-not-government_826884.html

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Qatar’s health inspectors are gearing up for a busy Ramadan

April 30, 2017

Food outlets in Qatar should expect more inspections in the run-up to and during Ramadan, which kicks off next month, officials have said.

Speaking to the Peninsula, a government representative said the inspections will be done by the health ministry, as well the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.

He continued:

“During the initial days of Ramadan, we will focus more on supermarkets and restaurants while during the middle of the month, we will focus on shops selling Garangao treats including nuts, dried fruits, chocolates and during the last phase of the month, we focus on abattoirs.”

The inspections are needed because employees tend to rush to meet demand and may “not give proper attention to the health standards and requirements,” he added.

Muslims follow a lunar calendar, so the exact start of Ramadan won’t be announced until closer to the end of next month.

However, the first day of fasting is expected to be around Saturday, May 27.

And Eid Al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the month, is estimated to start on June 25, Al Jazeera reports.

Avoiding food poisoning

During the daylight hours in Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and other pleasures.

They then break their fasts at sundown, and continue this tradition daily for about a month.

Despite the focus on abstention, Ramadan tends to be a social time, as workplace hours are shortened by law for almost everyone.

Additionally, restaurants and cafes that are closed during the day stay open late at night.

To avoid food poisoning and stomach ailments such as indigestion, authorities recommend people do not overeat after breaking their fasts.

Speaking to the Peninsula, the government official also advised:

Avoiding shopping when hungry;

Frequenting busy instead of empty supermarkets;

Double-checking products’ expiration dates before buying; and

Not leaving food in the car for a long time.

dohanews.co/qatars-health-inspectors-are-gearing-up-for-a-busy-ramadan/

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Lebanon: Trial of Salam, Taqwa Mosques Bombings Suspects Set for May

April 30, 2017

Beirut – The trial of the suspects behind the twin bombings at the al-Taqwa and al-Salam mosques in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli in 2013 will kick off in May.

The Judicial Council announced that the trial will begin on May 19.

The bombings on August 21, 2013 left 51 worshippers dead and over 400 wounded.

The five suspects who will stand trial are Tawheed Movement public relations official Sheik Ahmed al-Gharib, photojournalist Mustafa Houri and three members of the pro-Syrian regime Arab Democratic Party: Ahmed Ali, ShehadeShdoud and Youssef Diab.

Diab had confessed that he had detonated the explosives-rigged vehicle that targeted the Taqwa mosque.

The trial will be based on the information included in the indictment that was issued by judicial investigator Judge Alaa al-Khatib.

He accused two Syrian intelligence officers of “planning and overseeing the bombings.”

The officers were identified as Mohammed Ali Ali and Nasser Jouban. Indictments were also issued against the two officers’ Syrian superiors who gave them the order to bomb the mosques.

Other members of the terrorist cell included in the indictment are Hiyan Ramadan, Ahmed Merhi, who bombed the Salam mosque with a booby-trapped vehicle, KhodrShdoud, Salman Asaad, Khodr al-Airouni and Thoukayna Ismail. All of these suspects hail from Tripoli’s Jabal Mohsen neighborhood and have fled to Syria.

They face the death penalty if charged.

Charges against head of the Arab Democratic Party former MP Ali Eid were dropped following his death. He was accused of aiding the suspects in fleeing Lebanon.

english.aawsat.com/youssef-diab/news-middle-east/lebanon-trial-salam-taqwa-mosques-bombings-suspects-set-may

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India

Hindu invitation, Jain feast at Muslim wedding: Family’s message for harmony

Apr 30, 2017

The decision to organise the marriage in this manner was taken by the bridegroom Mohammad Saleem and his elder broth Mohammad Arif, especially to send out a message to miscreants trying to create communal tension in the region.(AP)

With images of Ganesha and Radha-Krishna on the wedding invitation card and a Jain menu for the feast, a Muslim family has sought to allay apprehensions of communal tension in their small town in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district.

Mohammad ShabeerMakrani, father of the groom and resident of in Ranapura area of the district, termed the marriage, held on Wednesday, a Ganga-Jamunitehzeeb, a phrase used to signify social harmony among different communities.

The decision to organise the marriage in this manner was taken by the bridegroom Mohammad Saleem and his elder broth Mohammad Arif, especially to send out a message to miscreants trying to create communal tension in the region.

“About a month ago, a clash took place between Hindus and Muslims over a trivial issue. A large number of people were injured in stone pelting. The tension after the incident was palpable. So, I decided to have my marriage with a fusion of all elements representing different religions—Hindu, Jain and Muslim—to teach a lesson to anti-social elements who are out to disturb the peace,” Saleem said.

When Saleem decided to print the invitation cards with the images of Lord Ganesha and Radha-Krishna, his father and elder brother supported him.

“Initially, my father was concerned about how our relatives and community would react upon it. Some relatives did raise objections to it but my family stood by me and my decision,” Saleem said.

“When I heard that Saleem wanted to get invitation cards in sync with Hindu religion, I told him why not a pure vegetarian menu according to Jains for the reception. My family agreed to that suggestion also,” Saleem’s brother, Arif said.

Even, people who attended the marriage appreciated the effort.

A guest, Arun Jain said the marriage revived the ‘Ganga-Jamunitehzeeb’ in the area. “In our religion, there are a lot of restrictions on taking food items so I seldom eat at marriages. But in this marriage, I enjoyed the food.”

Another guest, J S Parihar said it was a commendable step by Saleem’s family. “In future, we will also try to do something like this,” he said.

(With inputs from CB Singh)

hindustantimes.com/india-news/hindu-invitation-jain-feast-at-muslim-wedding-a-message-for-communal-miscreants/story-gpGZaxGopJnpnOeI4oDIiP.html

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Trade, terror to be focus during talks between PM Modi and Turkish President Erdogan

Apr 30, 2017

Economic ties and cooperation in the fight against terrorism are expected to dominate the bilateral talks Prime Minister NarendraModi and Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan will have in New Delhi on Monday.

Erdogan’s India visit on Sunday and Monday comes at the start of a diplomatic blitz he is embarking on after winning a referendum on April 16 which gave him more executive powers as President.

India-Turkey trade stands at $6.4 billion, which is much below potential, officials say. Ankara wants a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to bridge the deficit with New Delhi.

With chances of Turkey becoming an European Union member diminishing, Ankara is actively looking to Asia in terms of economic development and security - and India is seen as a major partner in this regard.

At a media briefing ahead of Erdogan’s visit, RuchiGhanashyam, secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, said the Turkish leader would be accompanied by some cabinet ministers, senior officials and a 150-member business delegation that will take part in a meeting of the India-Turkey business forum.

She said there was scope for cooperation in areas such as construction, infrastructure development, renewable energy, tourism and film shooting.

At a meeting on “India and Turkey’s Place in the Rising World” organised here, KeremAlkin, professor at the Istanbul Medipol University’s Faculty of Business and Managerial Sciences, said Ankara wanted New Delhi to share its experience in power generation.

“There may be negotiations on energy supply during President Erdogan’s visit,” Alkin said. “We can work together on global energy demand, especially renewable energy.”

Transportation, communication, logistics, tourism, retail and financial services are other areas flagged by Alkin where the two countries can cooperate.

Terrorism is expected to be another highlight of the Modi-Erdogan talks.

“Both India and Turkey have been battling terrorism for long and understand the need for acting against this global menace,” Ghanashyam said.

Turkey has made it clear that it has no objection to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

IlnurCevik, senior advisor to President Erdogan, said Turkey would be interested in nuclear cooperation with India “and all other peaceful countries that seek peaceful use of nuclear technology”.

Turkey’s position on India’s bid for permanent membership in the UN security council is different.

Cevik said his country wanted the five permanent members of the world body to give up their veto powers.

Turkey is a member of the group called Uniting for Consensus (UfC) that is opposed to expansion of permanent seats in the security council.

Other members of the group include Italy, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Pakistan, Malta, Costa Rica, Colombia and San Marino.

According to Ghanashyam, following the talks on Monday, some agreements that are currently being finalised are expected to be signed.

Erdogan last visited India in 2008 when he was the Prime Minister.

hindustantimes.com/india-news/trade-terror-to-be-focus-during-talks-between-pm-modi-and-turkish-president-erdogan/story-PU7E9VLtP11Uc9aFgj1QqJ.html

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Indian ‘IS recruit’ might have been killed in drone strike in Afghanistan

Apr 29, 2017

The message was sent by someone identified as AshfaqMajeed, who is one among the 20-odd people who mysteriously disappeared from two Kerala districts last year and are said to have joined outfits such as the Islamic State. (AFP File Photo)

A 30-year-old Kerala man who married the sister of a National Security Guard (NSG) commando before slipping out of the country and joining a terror outfit has possibly been killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan.

Bexin Vincent’s family in north Kerala’s Kasargode received a message on encrypted messaging app Telegram on Saturday saying he was killed.

The message was sent by someone identified as AshfaqMajeed, who is one among the 20-odd people who mysteriously disappeared from two Kerala districts last year and are said to have joined outfits such as the Islamic State.

More details of the case were not immediately available.

Bexin had converted from Christianity to Islam and married Nimisha, whose brother is on an NSG deputation.

When they slipped out of the country, Nimisha – who took the name Fatima after converting to Islam - was in an advanced stage of pregnancy, the family said.

Later, her mother got a message saying she gave birth to a baby boy.

Earlier this month, 23-year-old TK Murshid Mohamed, also from Kerala, was killed in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, where the US dropped the “mother of all bombs”.

Two months ago, another man from Kerala, Hafeezuiddin (24), was killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan.

Telegram, an internet-based communication app like WhatsApp, is the preferred mode of communication of Islamic State. Messages sent on Telegram self-destruct after 24 hours.

hindustantimes.com/india-news/indian-is-recruit-might-have-been-killed-in-drone-strike-in-afghanistan/story-OyXZ8zfhwjt75HJmPPQZOI.html

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PM Modi on triple talaq: Enlightened Muslims will lead fight

Written by Anand Mishra | New Delhi | Updated: April 30, 2017 9:37 am

AMID THE nationwide debate over triple talaq, Prime Minister NarendraModi on Saturday urged Muslims not to view the issue through a “political lens”, and expressed hope that “enlightened members from within the community” would lead efforts to end the practice. Addressing a function to mark BasavaJayanti, in honour of Kannada philosopher Basaveshwara, Modi said: “Teen talaqkolekaraajyehekbahutbadibeheschalrahihai. Bharat kemahanparamparakodekhte hue, mere bheetarekaashakasanchaarhorahahai… ki is desh me samajkebheetar se hi taqatwar log nikaltehain, joparamparonkotodtehain, nashtkartehain, aadhunikvyavasthaonkoviksitkartehain… Musalmansamajmein se bhiaiseprabuddh log paidahonge, aageaayenge, aur Muslim betiyonko, unkesaathjogujarrahihai, jo beet rahihai, unkekhilafwokhudladailadenge, aurkabhinakabhiraastanikalenge.”

(“There is a debate about triple talaq. Looking at the great traditions of our nation, a hope is rising within me… that powerful people will emerge from within the community who will break the traditions, demolish them and develop a modern system… Enlightened people from within the Muslim community will emerge and come forward to fight against all that Muslim daughters have to undergo… They will find a way out.”)

“Aur Hindustan ke hi prabuddhMusalmanniklengejoduniyakeMusalmanonkoraastadikhanekitaaqatrakhtehain. Is dhartikiyehtaaqathain… Ye Bharat kimittikitaqathaiki teen talaqkesankat se gujarrahihamarimaataon, behenonkobachanekeliyeusisamaj se log aayenge,” he said.

(“India’s enlightened Muslims will show the way to the rest of the community across the world. This is the strength of the soil of India… that people from within the community will come out to save our mothers and sisters who have to suffer triple talaq.”)

“Aur main Musalmansamajke logon se bhiaagrahkarungaki is maslekorajnitikedaayre me mat jaanedijiye. Aapaageaaiye, samasyakasamdahankijiye (I appeal to the Muslim community not to let the issue slip into the realm of politics. Come out and find a solution),” he said.

While his government’s stand against triple talaq has been criticised by prominent Muslim bodies, Modi sought to draw a parallel with Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s fight against social evils. “Society criticised him when he talked of widow re-marriage. But he remained firm… and got it done,” he said.

“People should get homes and access to power without discrimination. Farmers should get fertilisers and insurance benefits without any distinction. That is the meaning of our government’s message of ‘sabkasaath, sabkavikas’,” said Modi.  He also released a digital volume of Basaveshwara’s works, titled Vachan, in 23 languages.  Modi later walked up to the audience to meet the family of Kannada scholar and rationalist M MKalburgi, who was killed in Karnataka last year.

indianexpress.com/article/india/dont-allow-issue-to-be-politicised-enlightened-muslims-will-lead-fight-against-triple-talaq-says-pm-narendra-modi-4633739/

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Triple talaq has no sanction in Shariat: Venkaiah Naidu

PTI | Apr 30, 2017

HYDERABAD: Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asserted that triple talaq is not a religious issue as it has no sanction in Shariat amid a raging debate on the issue.

He also hit out at the Congress for keeping "silence" on the matter for past several years.

"Triple Talaq is not a religious issue as it has no sanction in Shariat. It is a matter of right of equality and right to live with dignity of Muslim women along with other women.

"Why this discrimination...this must be put to an end and it should not be politicised," Naidu, who holds the portfolio of Information and Broadcasting, told reporters here.

On senior Congress leader GhulamNabi Azad and MallikarjunKharge charging Prime Minister NarendraModi with politicising the triple talaq issue to gain political mileage, Naidu said, "What the PM said yesterday is that the Muslim society should think on this."

"You (Congress) say you are champions of minorities. You don't have concern for women among the minorities. It is a question of inequality and discrimination against the women on the basis of religion. Why you kept silent for all these years. They should answer this," he said.

To another query, he said the prime minister has already spoken against self-styled cow vigilantes.

"Some political leaders have selective amnesia and keep on speaking anything," he said.

Accusing the Opposition of pursuing an "obstructionist" agenda, the minister claimed that they are pursuing a disinformation campaign on each and every issue.

"They (Opposition parties) are not able to digest the mandate of the people. Come out with an alternative agenda. It is an obstructive and negative agenda that's where the people are worried."

"While India is getting connected in this way under PM Modi, some Opposition parties are not able to digest this and are indulging in a negative disinformation campaign on issues and non-issues as well," he alleged.

He said the common challenge before the people and the political class is to make a New India that can realise its true potential by which aspirations of all sections and particularly, the poor and the youth could be met.

"Our nation cannot afford negative politics. Recent election results have highlighted this message," he said.

The BJP leader appealed to all political parties to take a resolve to put an end to this "negative" politics and join constructive and positive politics so that the energies of the country and the people could be put to better use.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/triple-talaq-has-no-sanction-in-shariat-venkaiah-naidu/articleshow/58444248.cms

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Kerala-born Islamic State recruit killed in Afghanistan; third such casualty from state

Apr, 30 2017

Kasargode (Kerala): A third youth from Kerala who ran away to join the Islamic State terror group in Afghanistan has been killed in the war-torn country, police said on Saturday.

According to information received here, Yahya alias Bastian, who was in his late 20s, is reported to have been killed in Afghanistan, said the Kerala Police's intelligence wing.

A top intelligence official told IANS that this information was received on the mobile of a relative of another person who was part of a group now in Afghanistan.

"We have got this information from a person residing in Kasargode and the death pertains to a man who hails from Palakkad district. Other details are not known," said the official.

Yahiya alias Bastian along with his wife, his brother and his wife, who have all been reported missing, hail from Palakkad and had converted to Islam.

The four were part of a 21-strong group from Kerala who reached Afghanistan.

With this death, this is the third Keralite who left the state last year and reached Afghanistan to be killed.

Early this month, Muhammed, said to be in his 20s, was reported to have been killed along with 36 Islamic State militants who were killed after the US struck the terror group's position in eastern Afghanistan with a massive GBU-43 bomb, also known as the "mother of all bombs".

In February this year, information reached the relatives of 26-year-old Hafeesudin that he had been killed in a drone attack.

Kerala Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan last year had informed the state assembly that 21 people, including children, were missing - 17 persons from Kasargode district and four from Palakkad.

firstpost.com/india/kerala-born-islamic-state-recruit-killed-in-afghanistan-third-such-casualty-from-state-3414630.html

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Kupwara incident being used to tarnish Muslims: Farooq Abdullah

Sun, 30 Apr 2017

Three suicide attackers had stormed the artillery headquarters at Panzgam in the wee hours of Thursday and fired indiscriminately killing three soldiers,

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said the recent encounter in Kupwara, where three soldiers were killed, was being blown out of proportion just to spread hatred against Muslims.

"26 CRPF men were killed in Chhattisgarh but there was not much hue and cry. Three army men were killed in Kupwara and they are beating the drums. It is aimed at creating hatred against Muslims. Mothers and sisters, remember a new conspiracy is being hatched," Farooq told the party workers at Nawa-i-Subh headquarters in Srinagar on Saturday.

Three suicide attackers had stormed the artillery headquarters at Panzgam in the wee hours of Thursday and fired indiscriminately killing three soldiers, including 26-year-old Captain AyushYadav. Two terrorists were later killed in an encounter which lasted for around 35 minutes. However, the third terrorist managed to escape despite being injured during the encounter.

Farooq's comments sparked national outrage, with BJP calling his statements as "insensitive comments" against the security forces. "He has been rejected by the people and the fact of the matter is that he got only seven per cent votes despite three generations of his family being prominent personalities in J&K politics. It is a shame on his part to politicise the killings of our brave soldiers", said Khalid Jehangir, BJP spokesman for Kashmir

Khalid said that any activity which is against the nation will be dealt strongly. "Whether it is Chhattisgarh or Kupwara, the main aim of these outfits is to destabilise the country. Our government is committed to giving a befitting reply to these anti-national elements", he said

It is not the first time that Farooq has stirred the hornet's nest in Kashmir. On April 5, he had said that the stone-pelters are laying down their lives for the cause of Kashmir and also supported the US intervention in resolving the Indo-Pak Kashmir issue.

Farooq, who recently won the elections from Srinagar parliamentary constituency, which witnessed the lowest turnout in 27 years, also batted for talks with separatists and Pakistan to solve the Kashmir issue. "Bomb and bullets will not achieve anything. There is no other alternative but these talks. Please pray to Allah that there are friendly relations between the two countries", he said.

dnaindia.com/india/report-kupwara-incident-being-used-to-tarnish-muslims-farooq-abdullah-2422678

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South Asia

Haqqani network and ISIS militants among 53 killed in airstrikes: MoD

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 30 2017

At least fifty three militants including the members of Haqqani terrorist network and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group fighters were killed during a series of airstrikes.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the airstrikes were carried out in the past 24 hours in various provinces of the country.

At least 19 of the militants, all ISIS affiliates, were killed in an airstrike conducted in Achin district of Nangarhar province and at least hideouts, 2 tunnels, and weapons cache were destroyed, MoD said.

The ministry further added that 4 militants belonging to Haqqani terrorist network were killed in a separate airstrike conducted in Achin district.

At least 7 militants were killed in another airstrike conducted in KhwajahBahauddin district of Takhar province and 11 others were wounded, MoD said, adding that 10 militants were killed and 4 others were wounded in a similar operation in Pashtun Kot district of Faryab.

According to MoD, at least 8 militants were killed and 3 hideouts were destroyed in an airstrike in Gul Tapa area located in the vicinity of the provincial capital of Kunduz province.

The Ministry of Defense also added that 5 Haqqani network militants were killed in a separate airstrike conducted in central MaidanWardak province.

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

khaama.com/haqqani-network-and-isis-militants-among-53-killed-in-airstrikes-mod-02680

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Taliban are main reason behind US forces presence in Afghanistan: Hekmatyar

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 30 2017

The leader of Hezb-e-IslamiGulbuddinHekmatyar once again slammed the Taliban group for leading a baseless insurgency, claiming that the group is the main reason behind the presence of the US forces in Afghanistan.

Speaking during a gathering in eastern Nangarhar province in the presence of Second Vice President and other high level officials, Hekmatyar said the insurgency led by the Taliban has forced the American force to remain in the country, specifically pointing towards the attack on Kunduz city nearly two years ago.

Hekmatyar further added that the major attack on Kunduz city was a major mistake done by the Taliban insurgents for launching the attack after the US forces had started withdrawal from the country.

He said Hezb-e-Islami joined peace process since the US had taken most of its forces out of the country but the growing insurgency led to revision of decision by US to keep troops in the country.

The Hezb-e-Islami leader called on Taliban group to get united with the Afghan people and build the country.

Hekmatyar arrived in eastern Laghman province of Afghanistan on Wednesday and appeared in a gathering in front of media on Saturday, months after a peace deal was concluded between Hezb-e-Islami and the Afghan government.

khaama.com/taliban-are-main-reason-behind-us-forces-presence-in-afghanistan-hekmatyar-02678

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Freeze on assets of Afghan Islamist leader GulbuddinHekmatyar lifted in Turkey

April/30/2017

A decision to freeze the assets of GulbuddinHekmatyar, the head of an Afghan Islamist organization, has been lifted in Turkey, following lifting sanctions against him by the United Nations.

The decision was published in the Official Gazette on April 30.

The United Nations lifted sanctions on Feb. 4 against Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-e-Islami group in Afghanistan and one of the most infamous figures in the country’s civil war in the 1990s.

Hezb-e-Islami was created in 1977 by Hekmatyar, who was identified as a “global terrorist” by the United States in 2003.

He was sidelined from Afghan politics after the Taliban rose to power in the late 1990s.

However, over the last decade, the group is believed to have regained some of its lost strength. It has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the country, most notably an attack on a team of aid workers in the Badakhshan province in 2010 and a car bomb blast that targeted a pair of U.S. military vehicles in 2013.

Hekmatyar served as the prime minister of Afghanistan for brief periods between 1993 and 1996.

hurriyetdailynews.com/-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=112573&NewsCatID=344

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Taliban suffer casualties after attacking security posts in Nangarhar

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 30 2017

The Taliban insurgents suffered casualties after attacking security posts in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the Taliban insurgents launched coordinated attack on security posts in Hesarak, Khogyani, and Chaparhar districts on Saturday which was repulsed by the security forces.

The officials are saying that four Taliban insurgents were killed and eight others were wounded after the Afghan security forces responded to the Taliban fire.

In the meantime, the officials are saying that another insurgent was arrested as he was planting an improvised explosive device on a roadside in Majboorabad area of Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of Nangarhar

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

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the province has started to witness some growing insurgency led by the Taliban and other insurgent groups including ISIS during the recent years.

The latest coordinated attack on security posts in Nangarhar came a day after the Taliban launched its spring offensive and vowed to carry out more attacks, including coordinated attacks on government and security compounds across the country.

khaama.com/taliban-suffer-casualties-after-attacking-security-posts-in-nangarhar-02679

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President Ghani praises ANSF jihad against terrorism

April 30, 2017

KABUL: President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani addressing an event marking 25th years of Mujahidin victory here on Saturday in Kabul said the country was in a critical situation, warning that dropping guard would help the enemies achieve their objectives in Afghanistan.

The president said the holy warriors had rendered sacrifices for the liberation of Afghanistan and creation of a government that represented all the masses.

Mujahidin’s sacrifices should not be forgotten, he said, adding the era of ruling the people by force had come to an end. Those who still insisted on grabbing power had no understanding of Islam and Afghans, he noted.

President Ghani said the people of Afghanistan had always fought against covert and overt enemies, devoting their lives for the greater glory of the country. Bringing improvement to government institutions, particularly the security sector, was shared responsibility, he said.

“We should remember that our current sacrifices are part of the huge price being paid for the independent of the country. Efforts have been made over the past few decades to suppress our nation.”

President Ghani hailed Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) jihad against terrorism, praising the nation for extending all-out support to their defenders. He hoped the Afghans would emerge victorious in the ongoing war because every Afghan aspired for a peaceful life and a bright future.

“We don’t want the destruction of others; our forces are not intruders. Our nation has no such designs on others. We neither consider any country our strategic depth nor have links with any terrorist group. Bloodshed is not our way of life as we desire peace and the wellbeing for our neighbors.”

President Ghani promised the next presidential election would be held according to schedule and the Wolesi Jirga polls this year. He said the election commission was an independent body and the government was ready to assist it.

Congratulating the victory day, the second vice president said 8th Sawr (28 April) was a historic day for Afghans, asking for more evaluation of such Jihad days. He also called such victories due to unity of the Afghan nation which left positive impact in the region, calling lack of state-building the only weakness of the Mujahidin group which led to devastation of the country.

Praying for the souls of the martyrs, in particular the Afghan security forces, chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said the Afghan Jihad led to freedom of dozens of countries and millions of people. He called peace the only desire of Afghan people and the government, adding terrorists cannot reach their vicious goals through martyring the people and security forces in different places.

Meanwhile addressing the gathering, house speaker Abdul RoufIbrahimi asked Taliban to accept peace process and join a peaceful life.

In his remarks, Upper house chairman FazelhadiMuslimyar said Jihad has not yet finished and the security forces fighting terrorists everyday across the country.

The Kabul Times

thekabultimes.gov.af/index.php/newsnational/13799-president-ghani-praises-ansf-jihad-against-terrorism.html

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Afghan Special Forces seize 1000 kgs of explosives in Parwan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 30 2017

Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) Special Operations personnel seized at least 1,000 kilograms of explosives during an operation in northern Parwan province.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said “Based on intelligence report, General Command of Police Special Units carried out a security operation in the Sayad village, Bagram district of Parwan province.”

A statement by MoI said “As a result, General Command of Police Special Units has seized 1,000 kg of explosives.”

“The timely discovery of the explosives has foiled terror attacks and saved the city from an expected tragedy,” the statement said, adding that “Discoveries like this demonstrate the ever-increasing capability of Afghan National Security Forces to protect the civilians from indiscriminate IED attacks.”

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

Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to other insurgent groups frequently use explosives to produce Improvised Explosive Devices which are the weapon of the choice of the militants to carry out roadside bombings.

The government and security personnel are often targeted in roadside bombings but in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted.

khaama.com/afghan-special-forces-seize-1000-kgs-of-explosives-in-parwan-02682

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Second Vice President visits Nangarhar, invites GulbuddinHekmatyar to Kabul

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 30 2017

The Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish visited eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan leading a delegation of high level officials to attend in a gathering organized to welcome the leader of Hezb-e-IslamiGulbuddinHekmatyar.

Speaking during the gathering in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of Nangarhar, Vice President Danish said no individual or group can achieve power through violence and use of force.

He called on Taliban group and the other insurgent groups to refrain from the killing of Afghans and join intra-Afghan talks to resolve the issues.

Vice President Danish also invited the leader of Hezb-e-IslamiGulbuddinHekmatyar to capital Kabul.

In the meantime, Hekmatyar said his party joined peace process to rescue the country from the current situation and help in the development of Afghanistan.

Hekmatyar also added that fighting is not an operation since no group or individual can achieve power through violence.

In other parts of his speech, Hekmatyar said Hezb-e-Islami party is committed to women’s rights in the light of the Islamic values and will work to defend the right of the women.

Hekmatyar arrived in Laghman province on Wednesday and months after a peace agreement signed with the Afghan government.

The signing of the peace agreement also resulted into the exclusion of Hekmatyar’s name from the sanctions list of the United Nations Security Council.

khaama.com/second-vice-president-visits-nangarhar-invites-gulbuddin-hekmatyar-to-kabul-02681

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Afghan forces foil deadly explosion plot in Kabul

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 30 2017

The Afghan security forces foiled a deadly explosion plot by the anti-government armed militant groups in capital Kabul.

The Kabul police commandment said an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted on a roadside in Dehsabz district was seized by the security forces before the militants manage to use for a roadside bombing.

The police commandment further added that IED was seized by the security personnel of 101 Asmayee zone.

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

Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the other insurgent groups frequently use IEDs as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government officials but in majority of such attacks the ordinary civilians are targeted.

This comes as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its latest report regarding civilian casualties, stating that around 715 civilians were killed during the first three months of 2017.

According to UNAMA, the Anti-Government Elements caused 62 per cent of civilian casualties – 1,353 civilian casualties (447 dead and 906 injured), reflecting a five per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016.

The UN mission also added it recorded a 12 per cent increase in civilian casualties caused by pressure-plate improvised explosive devices – 218 civilian casualties (86 dead and 132 injured).

khaama.com/afghan-forces-deadly-explosion-plot-in-kabul-02676

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Pakistan

'Godfather' reference in Panama judgement irks Sharif family

PTI | Apr 30, 2017

LAHORE: "Behind every great fortune there is a crime", an epigraph from Mario Puzo's epic novel 'The Godfather', is how the Pakistan Supreme Court's 'Panamagate' verdict begins and the analogy is irking the Sharifs with the opposition milking it to drive home the graft allegations.

The 540-page judgement begins with the quote that is originally attributed to the 19th-century French writer Honore de Balzac.

The use of the 'Godfather' quote itself is grabbing eyeballs particularly as it has been made in the context of the Panamagate scandal in which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family have been accused of money laundering and corruption.

The Supreme Court bench in its April 20 verdict had also raised questions regarding the money trail related to the Sharif family's Gulf steel mill.

The 'Godfather' reference seem to be haunting Sharif with the opposition especially cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who is the chairman of Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf, using this analogy to drive home the "corruption and mafia" allegations against the 67-year-old premier.

"The reference of Godfather in the Panama judgement is disturbing. We seek guidance from Quran and not Godfather," Punjab Province Law Minister RanaSanaullah said, adding that, "this analogy hurts us".

He said the Sharif family was considering filing a review against such remarks by the apex court.

"We are considering filing a review in the Supreme Court for expunging of certain remarks (including that of Godfather reference) in the Panama judgement. However, a final decision in this regard will be taken later," Advocate Salman Akram Raja, a counsel for the Sharif family in the Panama Papers case, told PTI.

He said there were many past examples in which "adverse remarks" were expunged by the apex court.

Those in the legal team of the Sharifs opposing the option of challenging the 'Godfather' and other adverse remarks were of the view that the Sharif family may not get relief because challenging certain remarks was like opening another Panama case.

"In case we challenge these remarks, any further adverse remarks by the judges may not only make headlines but also provide another opportunity to the opposition to target the Sharif family," a PML-N lawyer said.

Former federal law minister Khalid Ranjah said the Sharif family might not file a review considering various complications.

"The whole judgement is full of adverse remarks about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He may not get any relief from the apex court in this regard," Ranjah said

This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the Supreme Court has made such remarks about the sitting Prime Minister of the country, he said.

It is not a some kind of error in the judgement the premier was seeking to expunge, Ranjah said.

"The premier has been declared dishonest and non-trust worthy in the judgement unanimously by all judges in the bench. Does the premier think he will get a relief on this in a review? If he does, he is seriously mistaken," he said.

It is for the first time in Pakistan's history that a sitting prime minister will appear before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing allegations of financial wrongdoing.

The Supreme Court was likely to announce the composition of the JIT in a couple of days.

The Suprme Court has directed the JIT to complete the probe into Sharif and his children's off-shore holdings and money laundering allegations within 60 days and furnish the investigation report before it for further action.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/godfather-reference-in-panama-judgement-irks-sharif-family/articleshow/58445092.cms

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Dawn leak case: Nawaz Sharif sacks aide; 'incomplete' action, says Pakistan army

PTI | Updated: Apr 29, 2017, 07.41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected: Pak army

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sacked his trusted aide Tariq Fatemi for "leaking" information to the media

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.Dawn leak case: Nawaz Sharif sacks aide; 'incomplete' action, says Pakistan army

ISLAMABAD: In an unusual move, Pakistan's powerful army on Saturday "rejected" Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's decision to sack his trusted aide Tariq Fatemi + for "leaking" information to the media, saying his action is "incomplete".

Nawaz Sharif approved an inquiry committee's recommendation to remove Fatemi, the special assistant on foreign affairs, from his post after he was found guilty of "leaking" information to the media about a rift between Pakistan's civilian and military leaderships+ during a high-level security meet.

Hours after the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office issued the directive, the Inter-Services Public Relations said the Army had rejected the notification, calling it 'incomplete'.

 Follow

Maj Gen AsifGhafoor ? @OfficialDGISPR

Notification on Dawn Leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected.

3:22 PM - 29 Apr 2017

  9,072 9,072 Retweets   18,048 18,048 likes

In October, a columnist for Dawn newspaper wrote a front-page story about a rift+ between civilian and military leaderships over militant groups that operate from Pakistan but engage in proxy war against India and Afghanistan.

The army took strong exception to the Dawn story and relations between army and the civil government deteriorated.

The PML-N government was forced to remove then information minister PervaizRasheed but a probe was also initiated at the demand of army to fix the responsibility. The report was submitted to the prime minister this week.

According to the inquiry report, Fatemi was primarily responsible for leaking the report of the key meeting, and Sharif took action against him.

Analysts have termed the cropping of differences as detrimental to the civil-military relationship.

"The government should move fast to address the grievances of the army and fully implement the findings of the report," former Air Marshal ShehzadChaudhry told Geo TV.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/dawn-leak-case-nawaz-sharif-sacks-aide-incomplete-action-says-pakistani-army/articleshow/58434225.cms

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Islamic State kills senior Afghan Taliban official in Pakistan: Militants

Reuters | Apr 29, 2017, 07.57 PM IST

PESHAWAR: Islamic State killed a senior Afghan Taliban official in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, the Afghan militants said on Saturday, in a rare clash between the rival Islamist groups inside Pakistan.

Afghan Taliban sources told Reuters MaulviDaud was killed on the outskirts of Peshawar with two other men on Thursday. Taliban spokesman ZabihullahMujahid confirmed Daud's death.

The Islamic State on Friday claimed responsibility for "assassination of a Taliban leader" a day earlier, without naming him, through the group's affiliated news agency AMAQ.

The Islamic State, which at one point controlled huge chunks of territory across Syria and Iraq, has made some inroads into Afghanistan but the group has met tough resistance from the Taliban as well as U.S. and Afghan special forces.

Afghan Taliban sources said Daud was based in Afghanistan's Logar province but would frequently visit Pakistan.

Islamic State does not control any territory inside Pakistan but the group has claimed responsibility for several large-scale bomb attacks.

Pakistani officials say the Islamic State does not have a presence inside the country.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/islamic-state-kills-senior-afghan-taliban-official-in-pakistan-militants/articleshow/58434885.cms

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Office-Bearer Of Musharraf’s Party Held Over Fake Currency

April 30th, 2017

MUZAFFARABAD: An office-bearer of former president Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) was arrested by the city police here on Saturday for his alleged involvement in preparation and circulation of counterfeit currency.

Station House Office (SHO) Rashid HabibMasoodi told Dawn that Javed Mughal, president of the Muzaffar­abad chapter of the APML, was booked in a number of cases of fraud and forgery, including preparation and circulation of counterfeit currency.

He said the suspect, a resident of Makri, was a member of an inter-provincial group which duped people by using fake currency.

Police arrested the suspect in the Eidgah road area and seized 15 packs of counterfeit currency, chemicals and dyes used for preparation of fake currency from his possession, the SHO said, adding that the police were looking for accomplices involved.

dawn.com/news/1330137/office-bearer-of-musharrafs-party-held-over-fake-currency

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Southeast Asia

Storm at Kedah Pas complex not wrath of Allah - Tuan Ibrahim

April 30, 2017

ALOR SETAR: A PAS senior leader has urged all parties against suggesting that the storm which lashed Kedah PAS Complex, the venue of the 63rd PAS general assembly, as the wrath of Allah.

PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said it was only a test from Allah and thus beyond human control.

"Let us pray for the good health of the victims of the storm last night," he told reporters after visiting the victims at SultanahBahiyah Hospital, here today.

Following the storm, some netizens, notably from the opposition, had gone on social media sites to suggest that the incident was proof of Allah''s wrath.

Tuan Ibrahim arrived the hospital at 1pm accompanied by PAS deputy spiritual leader Datuk Ahmad Yakob and Kedah PAS commissioner Dr Ahmad Fakhruddin Sheikh Fakhrurazi.

He spent about 20 minutes with Zainaton Man,45, who suffered a fractured ankle in the storm.

A total of 19 people were hurt when a tent used by Haraki Entrepreneurship Club (KU_Haraki) was destroyed in the storm at Kedah PAS Complex in Kota SarangSemut.

Only one of the 13 victims admitted to hospital last night was being treated in hospital, while the others were allowed to go home.

--BERNAMA

english.astroawani.com/malaysia-news/storm-kedah-pas-complex-not-wrath-allah-tuan-ibrahim-141185

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Kelantan PAS rep: We're not enemies of non-Muslims

BY AKIL YUNUS

ALOR SETAR: PAS is not at war with the non-Muslim community just because it is opposed to DAP’s “anti-Islam” stance, said a Kelantan PAS representative.

Datuk Abdullah Yaakob said that while the Islamist party could not see eye to eye with DAP, it did not mean that PAS was feuding with the Chinese and other non-Muslims.

“We are not feuding with the Chinese, Indians, orang asli, and other minorities in this country. That is why we introduced the PAS supporters club,” he said when debating the motion of thanks to the president’s policy speech at the 63rd PAS muktamar, here, Sunday.

Abdullah, who is also Kelantan assembly speaker, said that the state government under PAS had given equal treatment to other races despite Kelantan having the lowest population of minorities in the country.

“From early on in our administration, we appointed representatives from other races as village heads, as councillors of local authorities and other bodies. This proves that the PAS government is not solely for Muslims,” said Abdullah.

He urged the PAS Supporters Club to work harder to provide explanations to non-Muslims so that they would not fear the Islamist party.

He claimed that PAS had practised good governance in 27 years of ruling Kelantan as none of its leaders were embroiled in corruption cases.

thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/04/30/kelantan-pas-rep-were-not-enemies-of-non-muslims/#rKV5WhzC2kAMh1Q7.99

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Anies-Sandiaga Win Is Not a Victory of Radical Islam: YennyWahidi

 

Jakarta. The chairwoman of the Wahid Institute, Yenny Wahid, has criticized foreign media for purporting that AniesBaswedan's and Sandiaga Uno's victory in Jakarta's gubernatorial election was a victory of radical Islamic groups.

Yenny, a daughter of former President Abdurrahman Wahid, during the Islamic Youth Festival in Jakarta on Saturday (29/04) expressed her disapproval of the foreign news outlets that in their reporting have bound Anies with radical organizations.

"I oppose the foreign media's use of headlines saying that radical Islamic groups have won. There is much diversity behind Anies, his success team comprises not only of Muslims," she said.

Yenny added that Anies is her old friend, who, she hopes, will appeal to all residents of Jakarta, including those who did not vote for him.

"There's hope for amity between the Muslim and non-Muslim residents. Diversity must be our spirit, as we're building this country and Jakarta together," she said.

After quick count results were released on the election day, many have reported that Anies's and Sandiaga' win over Basuki "Ahok" TjahajaPurnama and DjarotSaifulHidayat could be considered as victory of Islamic hardliners, referring to religious tensions that informed the gubernatorial race.

The allegations of radical Islamic groups being behind Anies's victory emerged after the governor-elect several times during his campaign period was publicly seen with members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), an organization which in the past had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group.

jakartaglobe.id/news/anies-sandiaga-win-not-victory-radical-islam-yenny-wahid/

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques receives Chinese military official

 

RIYADH, 30th April, 2017 (WAM) -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, has received the Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission of the Chinese Party, Air Force General, XuQiliang.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, SPA, the meeting touched on bilateral relations, aspects of military cooperation between the two countries, and a number of issues of mutual interest.

wam.ae/en/details/1395302611221

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Africa

IMN members gather in Kano, urge immediate release of Sheikh Zakzaky

April 30, 2017

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Members of the IMN and conscious citizens of Nigeria continued their protest of the unconditioned detention of the leader of the IMN Sheikh IbraheemZakzaky after the Jumma’at prayers at FaggeJumma’at mosque, Kano.

Members of the IMN and conscious citizens of Nigeria continued their protest of the unconditioned detention of the leader of the IMN Sheikh IbraheemZakzaky (H) that have lasted more than 500 days in detention despite the court order of the release of ShaikhZakzaky and his wife MalamaZenatuddeenIbraheem by Justice Kolawole of the federal high court Abuja since December 2016.

Mal SunusiAbdulKadir Koki was the speaker at the protest rally on Friday 28th April, 2017 after the Jumma’at prayers at FaggeJumma’at mosque, Kano.

In part of his speech at the occasion Mal Sunusi reiterated the call for the unconditional release of ShaikhIbraheemZakzaky (H) and the federal government should obey the federal court order for the release of ShaikhZakzaky and his wife and the satisfying other related order.

He also reiterated that all heartfelt Nigerian and the international community have continued to show and express their sympathy of all act of injustice done to the leader of the IMN ShaikhZakzaky (H) and his members with the recent participation in the Abuja rally of concerned Nigeria led by Mr DejiAdeyemi.

Despite all act of the antagonism and measures by the Nigerian security agent to stop or prevent the protest, the protest was held expressing all forms of protest against the continued detention of ShaikhZakzaky (H) and his members.

In his speech Mal Sunusi commented on the derogatory statement expressed by Mr NasirElRufai in a Live Television interview on the leader of the IMN ShaikhIbraheemZakzaky likely the leader with a word he termed an idiom “Animal”. Who is to be likened an animal? A figure that has respect by all peace loving citizenry across the globe irrespective of creed, religion, culture, socio economic class etc or a figure that has been judged to be full of sycophancy, betrayals, participation in killing defenseless citizens, ordering burial of more than 345 humans not certified dead in a single day overnight just to mention a few.

The audience voiced out God’s intervention against El rufai and all unjust individuals using their offices in undertaking unjust act.

Muhammad Isa Ahmad Relent in Protesting the unjustice detention of Sheikh Zakzaky (H) Members of the IMN and conscious citizens of Nigeria continued their protest of the unconditioned detention of the leader of the IMN His Eminence ShaikhIbraheemZakzaky (H) that have lasted more than 500 days in detention despite the court order of the release of ShaikhZakzaky and his wife MalamaZenatuddeenIbraheem by Justice Kolawole of the federal high court Abuja since December 2016.

en.abna24.com/news/africa/imn-members-gather-in-kano-urge-immediate-release-of-sheikh-zakzaky_826864.html

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Pope in Egypt rejects fanaticism, urges charity

April 30th, 2017

CAIRO: Pope Francis rejected fanaticism and appealed for charity on Saturday as he addressed thousands of faithful during a visit to Egypt to promote reconciliation with Muslims and support its embattled Christians.

His visit, coming after IS killed dozens of worshippers in church bombings earlier this month, gave the country’s beleaguered Christian community an occasion to be joyful.

“The only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity. Any other fanaticism does not come from God,” the pope said at a mass for Egypt’s Catholics. “True faith... moves our heart to love everyone ... It makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome but a brother and sister to be loved,” he told a crowd of about 15,000 pilgrims.

The mass came on the second and last day of a visit which saw him plead for tolerance and peace on Friday at a Coptic church bombed by IS in December.

On Saturday, the crowd cheered and released yellow and white balloons as Francis lapped the Cairo stadium in a golf cart, waving to onlookers as a chorus sang a joyous hymn.

Worshippers old and young, nuns and priests, had been bussed in under tight security with Egypt under a state of emergency following the church bombings. It was, said Coptic Catholic engineer Maged Francis, a “historic occasion”. “It’s unlikely it will ever happen again,” he said. “Today joy has eclipsed the sadness of the last few weeks.”

The stadium chosen for Saturday’s mass is on Cairo’s outskirts and easier to secure, but in 2015 it saw clashes between football fans and a stampede that killed 19 people.

dawn.com/news/1330121/pope-in-egypt-rejects-fanaticism-urges-charity

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North America

US troops deployed at Syrian border to prevent clashes between Turkish & Kurdish forces (VIDEO)

Published time: 29 Apr, 2017

30 Apr, 2017

U.S military vehicles and Kurdish fighters drive in the town of Darbasiya, Syria April 28, 2017 © Rodi Said / Reuters

The US has deployed troops to Syria’s northeast border with Turkey in an attempt to prevent an escalation of fighting between the Turkish forces and Kurdish militia units that followed Turkish airstrikes hitting two Kurdish-held areas in Syria and Iraq.

“Coalition forces are conducting joint patrols along the northeastern Syria-Turkey border to assess reports from both the [Kurdish] SDF and Turkey regarding skirmishes and cross-border fires between their respective security forces,” an official from the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) Public Affairs Office told RT via email, confirming the deployment.

“The patrols’ purpose is to discourage escalation and violence between two of our most trusted partners in the fight to defeat ISIS [Islamic State terrorist group (IS, former ISIS/ISIL)] and reinforce the Coalition's commitment to both Turkey and the SDF,” the CJTF–OIR statement added.

The Coalition also called on both Turks and Kurds to “remain focused on the fight to defeat ISIS, which is the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.”

The joint patrols were also indirectly confirmed by the Pentagon. “We have US forces that are there throughout the entirety of northern Syria that operate with our Syrian Democratic Force partners,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told journalists on Friday, as reported by AP.

“The border is among the areas where they operate,” Davis also said, adding that the US wants Kurdish militia, including the Kurdish-dominated alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to focus on the liberation of the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria, and “not to be drawn into conflicts elsewhere.”

A senior Kurdish official, Ilham Ahmad, also told AP that the US forces began patrolling the border region Thursday in addition to their reconnaissance flights in the area. He said that the current US deployment was temporary but did not rule out a possibility of it becoming permanent.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

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 Mete Sohtaoğlu @metesohtaoglu

#Syria Al-#Darbasiyah where #US troops arrived& stationed

📸

5:01 PM - 29 Apr 2017

  10 10 Retweets   16 16 likes

Meanwhile, photos of the US armored personal carriers driving on a rural road in the village of Darbasiyah were posted by journalists and Kurdish activists in social networks.

 Follow

erica @ericasangsuwan

Happy #Kurds Wave At U.S Military Vehicles Passing Next To Them On Their Way To Darbasiyah Town's Border Area Of #Rojava To Support The #YPG

5:07 AM - 29 Apr 2017

  12 12 Retweets   29 29 likes

The escalation of tensions in the border region was caused by a series of the Turkish airstrikes carried out on April 25 that hit Iraq’s Sinjar region and northeastern Syria. Turkey claimed it targeted “terror hubs” infiltrated by members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist group.

The strikes claimed the lives of a number of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia fighters and civilians in Syria and resulted in casualties among forces under the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

Between 20 and 30 US-backed Kurdish fighters were killed in those incidents, according to various estimates. Turkey said 70 PKK militants were killed in the strikes, as reported by Reuters. Both Syrian YPG and Iraqi Peshmerga Kurdish militias condemned the attack.

The United States has urged all sides to show restraint and focus their efforts on fighting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner also said Washington had expressed “deep concern” over the Turkish airstrikes.

In the meantime, Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan has remained steadfast as he said that Turkey’s operations would continue “until the last terrorist is eliminated.”

Kurdish forces appeared to be dissatisfied with the American reaction to the incident, as YPG spokeswoman Nesrin Abdullah criticized the US and warned that the Kurdish militia could withdraw their forces from Raqqa if this incident is not addressed.

“Our people are expecting a response from us on why the coalition is not showing Turkey a concrete reaction. If the coalition does not show a concrete reaction, then we will withdraw our forces from Raqqa,” she told a local Kurdish media.

Since April 25, the YPG and the Turkish forces have traded artillery fire along the Syrian border with Turkey. Clashes between the Turkish military and the Kurdish militia were also reported Wednesday.

The US is sending its troops to the contact line between Turkish forces and Kurdish units in Syria. In March, some 200 US marines backed with howitzers and Stryker armored vehicles were reportedly deployed to the Syrian town of Manbij liberated from Islamic States by the SDF. The move came following Turkey’s threats to retake the city from the SDF as the Turkish government said it would not allow the town to remain under Kurdish control.

rt.com/usa/386629-syria-turkey-border-us-troops/

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Indian-American Muslim comedian roasts Trump as fan base toasts him

ChidanandRajghatta | TNN | Apr 30, 2017

WASHINGTON: Only in America can a first-generation Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the US President.

It was a line delivered more in wonderment and admiration for America and its First Amendment than as a joke by HasanMinhaj, son of Indian immigrants from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, as he roasted Donald Trump at the White House Correspondent's Association dinner, a Washington tradition where the President takes it on the chin and gets to land a few on his critic.

Trump was not present, because, as Minhaj said only half-in-jest, "he can't take a joke." Minhaj's own joke, involving Putin, went: "The leader of our country is not here. And that's because he's in Moscow. As for the other guy, I think he's in Pennsylvania because he can't take a joke."

Speaking for himself, Minhaj said he was chosen to deliver the year's WHCA dinner address because "No one wanted to do this, so of course it lands in the hands of an immigrant."

Assigning a significant section of his 25-minute act to skewering the Trump administration and the President's aides, Minhaj termed the present moment the "Golden Age of Lying" and called President Trump the "Liar-in-chief." He mocked Trump's purported war-mongering, his apparent penchant for golf and lack of attention to serious issues, and his odd media habits.

"He tweets at 3am... sober. Who is tweeting at 3am sober? Donald Trump, because it's 10am in Russia. Those are business hours!" went one of the more sulphurous jibes.

The media wasn't spared either.

On MSNBC's breathless promotion of its Trump tax scoop: "I have one quick request. MSNBC, please tell Rachel Maddow to chill about Trump's tax returns. There's not going to be a line item in there saying 'bribes from Russia'."

And on CNN's hyping of trivial events to "breaking news": "I'm not going to call you fake news, but everything isn't breaking news. You can't go to DEFCON One just because Sanjay Gupta found a new moisturiser."

Reflecting only half-in-jest about the credibility crisis afflicting the media, Minhaj observed: "I don't have a solution on how to win back trust. But in the age of Trump, I know that you have to be more perfect now than ever. Because you are how the president gets his news. Not from advisers. Not from intelligence agencies. You guys."

The San Francisco-born Minhaj rounded off his shtick by predicting that "It's 11pm, so in three hours the President will be tweeting about how bad Nicki Minaj bombed at this dinner."

Wrong. Trump lit into the WHCA dinner even before Minhaj's jokes. In remarks to his adoring fan base in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the US President spent ridiculed the event and the media, saying he could not possibly be more thrilled to be more than 100 miles away from "Washington's swamp."

Elite reporters, he claimed, would "love to be with us" but were trapped at the dinner, which will be "very, very boring," adding that the political media "deserves a very, very big, fat failing grade" for its coverage of his first 100 days.

In Washington about a 100 miles away, Minhaj counted days left of the current Trump administration, saying, "We're 100 days in, 1,360 days to go."

Best of HasanMinhaj jokes

"Who would have thought that with everything going on in the country now, that a Muslim would be standing on this stage, for the 9th year in a row." -- a reference to President Obama attending the event for eight years amid right-wing rumors that he is a Muslim

"Let the man putt putt! It keeps him distracted. Tell him he has a great body for bobsledding. The longer you keep him distracted, the longer we're not at war with North Korea!" -- On Trump's purported war-mongering.

"I've been watching House of Cards just to relax. Oh, a vice president pushes a journalist in front of a train? How quaint."

"Mike Pence isn't here. Apparently one of you ladies is ovulating. Good job, ladies. Because of you we couldn't hang out with Mike Pence." -- on Pence's comment that he would not eat a meal with any woman who is not his wife.

On Ivanka Trump: "If she was here, I would ask the question we're all thinking. Why? Why do you support this man? We all love our parents, but we wouldn't endorse them for president. My dad? The guy who tries to return underwear to Costco? No!"

"This has been one of the strangest events of my life. If this goes poorly, Steve Bannon gets to eat me."

"It's 11pm, so in three hours he will be tweeting about how bad Nicki Minaj bombed at this dinner. He'll be doing it completely sober."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/indian-american-muslim-comedian-roasts-trump-as-fan-base-toasts-him/articleshow/58445681.cms

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/muslim-world-league--peace-prevails-through-the-love-of-good-for-humanity/d/110964



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