New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 10:10 PM

Islamic World News ( 9 May 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Nawaz Sharif-Osama Bin Laden Money Deal: Has Imran Khan `Proved` That Pakistan PM Promotes Jihad in Kashmir?












Photo: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has said it would sue Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for allegedly taking money from slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to promote jihad in Kashmir during the 1990s.

 

Nawaz Sharif-Osama Bin Laden Money Deal: Has Imran Khan `Proved` That Pakistan PM Promotes Jihad in Kashmir?

Pakistan Sentences Christian Pastor to Life in Prison for Blasphemous Texts

Why Malaysia Is Providing Dr Zakir Naik Sanctuary, Moderate Muslim Group Asks

The Fight over Trump’s Muslim Ban Is a Fight over America’s Identity

Muslims Will Be Beaten Up and Thrown Out Of the Community If They Join BJP or RSS: Kolkata Shahi Imam

 

Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif-Osama Bin Laden Money Deal: Has Imran Khan `Proved` That Pakistan PM Promotes Jihad in Kashmir?

Pakistan Sentences Christian Pastor to Life in Prison for Blasphemous Texts

Pakistan: Islamic World Won’t Allow Iran to Tamper with Saudi Arabia’s Security

4 'hardcore terrorists' convicted by military courts hanged: ISPR

Tehran's warning against spirit of Pak-Iran brotherly relations, FO tells envoy

Pak, Afghan officials conduct joint geographical survey in Chaman

Swat police arrest alleged TTPterrorist

Police stop party on cleric’s call

CJ Shariat Court urges faculty to bridge theory, practice

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Southeast Asia

Why Malaysia Is Providing Dr Zakir Naik Sanctuary, Moderate Muslim Group Asks

Indonesia Islam: Governor's Blasphemy Conviction Divides a Nation

Car bomb in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south wounds over 50

Ahok jailing a victory for Muslim extremists in Indonesia

Indonesia to disband hard-line Islamic group Hizbut

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North America

The Fight over Trump’s Muslim Ban Is a Fight over America’s Identity

Trump Committed To Defeat ISIS and Taliban: White House

Attorney General who helped block Muslim ban says Trump 'doesn't understand the power of the presidency'

57% increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in US, says group

2,213 anti-Muslim bias incidents reported in US last year

Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Surge Reported in US in 2014-16

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India

Muslims Will Be Beaten Up and Thrown Out Of the Community If They Join BJP or RSS: Kolkata Shahi Imam

Why Did An Indian Muslim Become A Cow Protector?

PM Modi Asks Muslim Leaders to Initiate Reform on Triple Talaq

Rajnath Singh: How is Akbar rated great, not Maharana Pratap?

India, Netherlands to boost anti-terror effort

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Arab World

Terrorists Continue Plundering Syria's Infrastructures in Idlib

Fierce Clashes Erupt between Rival Terrorist Groups in Western Dara'a

Syrian Army Retaliates Strongly against Terrorists' Violation of Ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta

ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Clashes with Iraqi Forces near Border with Syria

Golan Heights: Israeli Spy Planes Spotted Flying over Syrian, Russian Bases

Interior Ministry's Special Forces Committed to Restore Security to Syrian Cities

Spokesman Warns of Iran's Angry Reaction to S. Arabia's Possible Aggression

Iraq: Seven activists, who were kidnapped, freed in Baghdad

Iraq: Asayish forces charged for expelling the displaced from Kirkuk

Saudi invites Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia attend US Islamic Arab summit

Saudi forces kill youth in Qatif

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Mideast

UAE Prepares for Leaving Saudi-Led Anti-Yemen Coalition

Trump OKs Arms for Syrian Kurds despite Turkey’s Objection

Houthi minister quits after she was ‘beaten up by militias’

Houthis ‘kidnap and torture’ 36 civilians on trial in Yemen’s Sanaa

Yemen: Saleh exposes the Houthis and plans to retake Sanaa

Israel main obstacle to Middle East free of nuclear weapons: Iran

Iran entitled to destroy terrorists’ hideout in Pakistan: commander

Turkey must inform Iran of any border wall construction: Source

Turkey to play role in battle for Raqqah: Pentagon chief

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Europe

Turkey Death Penalty Referendum Not Allowed In Germany: Merkel

Syria: Islamic State Claims to Behead Russian Colonel

Germany Arrests Two Suspected Syria Takfiri Militants

Germany urges political solution in Libya

Germany: Soldier arrested in far-right terror plot

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South Asia

Afghan Blast Kills 8 Seminary Children, Chief Cleric

Bangladesh Cleric Critical After Cleaver Attack

Ahmed Hashim Ullah: Being a Rohingya Refugee in Bangladesh and Canada

New pictures show aftermath of MOAB bombing on ISIS hideouts in Afghanistan

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Africa

In Benghazi Offensive, 11 Soldiers Fall: Report

Association seeks unity among Muslims

Nigeria: Jamiu Ayoade's Life Allegedly Snuffed Out By DPO's Bullet

Tanzania: Tearful Bye-Bye for Arusha Pupils

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/nawaz-sharif-osama-bin-laden-money-deal--has-imran-khan-%60proved%60-that-pakistan-pm-promotes-jihad-in-kashmir?/d/111094

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Nawaz Sharif-Osama Bin Laden Money Deal: Has Imran Khan `Proved` That Pakistan PM Promotes Jihad in Kashmir?

May 10, 2017

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has said it would sue Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for allegedly taking money from slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to promote jihad in Kashmir during the 1990s.

Notably, the party of Pakistan's opposition leader Imran Khan has been calling for Sharif's resignation for alleged corruption.

Dawn online quoted PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry as saying on Monday that his party had completed the process of internal discussions and decided after reviewing all legal aspects of the case to file the petition against Sharif and his party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for "conspiring against democracy in the country after receiving money from foreign forces".

Last week, the PTI had announced that it had decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court.

The PTI does not possess substantial evidence to fortify its case except for some interviews and excerpts from a book 'Khalid Khawaja: Shaheed-e-Aman' by Shamama Khalid, the wife of a former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy Khalid Khawaja, who was brutally murdered in 2010 by Pakistani Taliban.

The book claims that Sharif's pledge of introducing an Islamic system had attracted bin Laden.

"Relying on the revelations made in certain interviews and a book, PTI intends to open up a shady chapter in the country's political history from late 1980s in an apparent bid to further malign Sharif," a report in The Express Tribune said.

The interviews and the book claim that Sharif took money, amounting to Rs 1.5 billion from bin Laden to promote jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan, the report added.

They also claim that later, an amount of Rs 270 million from this money was utilised to support a no-confidence move against Bhutto in 1989, the report said.

However, in 2013, PTI leader Masood Sharif Khan Khattak, who is a former director-general of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), had submitted a statement before the Supreme Court in a case related to misappropriation of the IB funds in 1989.

In his nine-page statement, Khattak had claimed that the moving force behind the vote of no-confidence against Bhutto in 1989 was not political and named former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan and former Army chief Mirza Aslam Baig, claiming that they wanted to keep Bhutto out of power, the report said.

Chaudhry, meanwhile, said, "In the past, Sharif remained an active part of several conspiracies against the elected governments".

Last week, the PTI announced to open up another legal front against Sharif, saying it would file a petition demanding implementation on a 2012 verdict of the apex court in the Asghar Khan case which determined that Sharif and other politicians had received money from an intelligence agency prior to the 1990 General Election to form an alliance against the Pakistan Peoples Party.

He said the two cases would be filed this week.

zeenews.india.com/india/nawaz-sharif-osama-bin-laden-money-deal-has-imran-khan-proved-that-pakistan-pm-promotes-jihad-in-kashmir-2003744.html?pfrom=article-next-story

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Pakistan Sentences Christian Pastor to Life in Prison for Blasphemous Texts

9 May 2017

Muslim-majority Pakistan has sentenced a Christian pastor to life behind bars for allegedly sending out blasphemous texts in another instance of legal abuse of its notorious blasphemy laws.

Advocacy and charity group the British Pakistani Christians Association (BPCA) reveals:

Due to the security reasons, Mr. Zafar Bhatti case proceedings were conducted on the premises of Central Jail Adiala, Rawalpindi, where Zafar Bhatti has been imprisoned since July 2012. Mr Bhatti has faced several attempts on his life at the prison including an incident of poisoning on March 31st 2103 [sic], which left him bleeding from his nose and mouth and left him in critical condition for days.

On 25th September 2014 Mr. Bhatti narrowly escaped assassination after a rogue prison officer shot a 71-year-old British Muslim Muhammed Asghar in a cell adjacent to Mr Bhatti’s. Mr Asghar was taken to a private hospital and later fully recovered from critical condition in a private hospital despite being shot in the chest.”

Muhammad Yousaf, a guard who had been working at the prison where Bhatti is a detainee, was reportedly intent on killing all inmates accused of blasphemy against Islam.

Other prison guards stopped him and removed him from the facility.

Mr. Bhatti’s wife, 65, told BPCA: “There have been numerous attempts to kill my husband – he is bullied every day and he is not safe from inmates and prison staff alike. Every day I worry that I will receive word that he is dead, this worry is making me very age quickly.”

The decision to impose life imprisonment on the 51-year-old pastor Bhatti has drawn the ire of various Christian NGO’s across the country, reports BPCA, noting that they argue the sentence is based on an “Islamic bias that has consumed the nation.”

The group notes that the Lahore High Court that sentenced Bhatti in early May has “no solid evidence,” points out the charity, adding that the blasphemous text messages that authorities accuse the pastor of sending have been traced to a phone owned by someone else.

According to BPCA, the SIM where the text messages originated came from a phone “not registered to Mr Bhatti and was registered to a completely different” person — Ghazala Khan.

Authorities showed Khan some leniency because she is a woman; the Pakistani authorities granted her bail. Shortly after being identified, Khan died of complications from Hepatitis C.

“Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are embedded in Sections 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, carry the death penalty, and yet there is no provision to punish a false accuser or a false witness of blasphemy,” notes Christian Today. “Allegations of blasphemy often stem from the Muslim accuser’s desire to take revenge and to settle petty, personal disputes, according to Christian groups working in the country.”

Muslims accusing members of the Christian minority in Pakistan is common in Pakistan. Cases erupt every year.

breitbart.com/national-security/2017/05/09/pakistan-sentences-christian-pastor-to-life-in-prison-for-blasphemous-texts/

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Why Malaysia is providing Dr Zakir Naik sanctuary, moderate Muslim group asks

10th May 2017

MODERATE Islamic organisation G25 has spoken out against Malaysia’s granting of permanent residency (PR) status to Dr Zakir Naik, saying the controversial Muslim preacher’s religious rhetoric could cause “serious” harm to the country’s social fabric.

In an opinion piece published across numerous Malaysian news outlets including Malay Mail Online, Free Malaysia Today and The Malaysian Insight, G25 criticises the Malaysian Home Ministry’s decision to grant him a visa given “extreme statements” made by Zakir in his preaching.

“While we respect Zakir Naik’s democratic rights to express his views on Islam and compare it with other religions by quoting from various scriptures to illustrate such views, he has often created anger among Muslims and non-Muslims alike by his frequent mocking of other religious doctrines and practices,” the article says.

Zakir is a highly contentious Salafi “televangelist” wanted by authorities in India over allegations of propagating terrorism and money laundering.

India’s counter-terrorism National Investigation Agency (NIA) has issued numerous arrest warrants for the preacher, stating “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Dr Zakir Naik is evading arrest and he will not voluntarily appear before the court or the investigating agency.”

“Should Malaysia be called upon to cooperate in the fight against dangerous religious extremists, we strongly encourage our government to do so,” says the opinion piece.

Zakir has previously said that “all Muslims should be terrorists” and famously advocates the death penalty for apostates as well as calls for Muslim countries to reject non-Muslim houses of worship.

G25 says Malaysian authorities should not be seen as “championing an individual with such a reputation and we encourage them to proceed with caution.”

G25’s website says it “is committed to pursue a just, democratic, peaceful, tolerant, harmonious, moderate and progressive multi-racial, multicultural, multi religious Malaysia,” citing the Islamic tenets of Wassatiyah (moderation) and Maqasid Syariah (wellbeing of the people).

“Zakir Naik’s attitude on religion has no place in today’s world and can cause serious social harm in a multi-racial and secular country like Malaysia,” the group says.

Minority ethnic communities in Malaysia have also protested the decision to grant PR to Zakir, including the Indian group Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) who have demanded the preacher be deported to India.

asiancorrespondent.com/2017/05/malaysia-providing-dr-zakir-naik-sanctuary-moderate-muslim-group-asks/#C43Wd5D4aXwdzJtR.97

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The Fight Over Trump’s Muslim Ban Is A Fight Over America’s Identity

05/09/2017

To be clear, this fight in court over Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is not an ordinary disagreement over immigration policy ― racism and discrimination are on trial, and concerned Americans are fighting back against efforts to make these the official policies of the United States. The intent behind the Muslim ban is becoming a central issue in ongoing lawsuits, precisely because a racist intent taints the law itself as racist ― and unconstitutional.

Yesterday, thirteen judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit considered whether to uphold a lower court decision from the Maryland U.S. District Court finding that the revised executive order likely violates First Amendment prohibitions on government-sanctioned establishment of religion through condemnation of Islam.

Facing intense questioning, acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall conceded that overt discrimination against a particular religious group would likely be unconstitutional, but insisted that the text of the executive order is facially neutral. He urged the thirteen-member panel of judges to not give Trump’s prior statements about Muslims “the least charitable interpretation.”

Even if the order was found to be neutral on its face, “it has a disparate impact on Muslims” said Judge Pamela A. Harris. She also expressed skepticism about Wall’s position. “Clearly the law has a disparate impact on Muslims,” Judge Harris said. “In what sense is it neutral?”

Judge Barbara Milano Keenan expressed concern over the broad nature of the order, especially in terms of the targeted six Muslim-majority countries. “You’re talking about 82 million people,” she said. “There has to be something about those people’s nationality that renders them suspect.”

Judge Keenan also repeatedly voiced concerns about the link between terrorism and nationals of the six listed countries. “What is it about their nationality,” she asked, that “renders them suspect or renders them dangerous? I don’t see anything in the text that does that.”

At several points throughout the hearing Judges Robert B. King, James A. Wynn Jr. and Henry F. Floyd referred to then candidate Trump’s prior statements on the campaign trail in the months leading up to the general election.

“[Trump has] never repudiated what he said about Muslims,” Judge King said.

Pushing back, Judge Paul V. Niemeyer questioned how far back the judiciary could reach when analyzing Trump’s intent. “Can we look at his college speeches?” he asked. “How about his speeches to businessmen 20 years ago?”

A number of judges questioned Wall about President Trump’s now infamous press release calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” which had been posted on Trump’s website since December of 2015, but appeared to have been scrubbed from the site moments before the hearing in Richmond got underway.

“So it doesn’t matter what the president says?” asked Judge Diana Gribbon Motz. “It only matters what the president does in his official capacity?”

Overall, judges seemed to express a great deal of skepticism that President Trump’s revised travel ban was motivated by a legitimate national security concern rather than the president attempting to fulfill his campaign promise to supporters that he would ban Muslims from the United States.

Wall asked the judges to give great deference to the president’s judgment in matters of national security. But Judge Keenan seemed unconvinced that the intent behind the executive order could not be considered by the court. She said Wall’s position could mean that a presidential candidate could, hypothetically, call for a Muslim ban every day for an entire year, sign a facially neutral executive order that accomplished that goal, and argue to the courts that they must ignore whether targeting Muslims was the real intent behind the order. The hypothetical was unintentionally similar to the case before the court.

In a clear indication that the judges recognize the urgency of this case as well as the legal and political significance, the court in the Fourth Circuit decided to forego the initial three-judge panel and skipped straight to the “en banc” or full-court panel of fifteen judges – 2 of whom recused themselves before the hearing.

Normally, cases are argued before a three-judge panel as the litigants’ last opportunity to be heard. Very rarely will the en banc panel re-hear a case that has been previously heard by the three-judge panel.

In fact, the last time the Fourth Circuit skipped the three-judge panel and went directly to the en banc hearing was in 1998 when it considered a challenge to a Virginia abortion law, which sought to require minors to notify their parents before getting an abortion.

President Barack Obama drastically altered the makeup of the conservative-leaning Fourth Circuit, appointing six of the nine Democratic appointees to the bench. Five judges were appointed by Republicans. Chief Judge Roger Gregory was appointed by President Bill Clinton in a recess appointment and was later reappointed by President George W. Bush.

While intent may be rejected as a central factor by some judges, its relevance is indisputable in the real world. If Trump is allowed to put racism into law, America’s own history unfortunately makes it quite clear what that can lead to. What started with a Muslim ban can bring back much darker chapters of America’s past to the present.

Make no mistake ― it is not just Trump’s Muslim ban that is being challenged in court. It’s the very idea that racism can be the foundation for the laws that guide America.

huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-fight-over-trumps-muslim-ban-is-a-fight-identity-americas-identity_us_5911ef2ae4b050bdca5fd398

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Muslims Will Be Beaten Up and Thrown Out Of the Community If They Join BJP or RSS: Kolkata Shahi Imam

By Surabhi Shaurya

May 10, 2017 New Delhi: Addressing a media conference at Press Club Kolkata on Tuesday, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque, Maulana Nurur Rehman Barkati threatened Muslim community and said that if any Muslim joined or worked for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindu outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), then they will be beaten up and ousted from the community .

Leading daily The Indian Express quoted Barkati as saying, “If any Muslim joins or works for RSS and BJP then we will punish them. We will severely beat them up and out them from Islam. They can work for other parties but not for RSS and BJP.” He also accused BJP, RSS of creating turbulence ahead of Shab-e-Barat.

“If BJP distances itself from RSS then they (Muslims)) can work for BJP. Since BJP is working with RSS, any association with them by a Muslim will attract punishment,” the cleric further added. Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Barkati said that PM should not speak against Islam. “PM Modi must remember that he is not only a worker of RSS but protector of entire nation,” the Shahi Imam said.

Meanwhile, he also refused to shun red beacon despite court’s order. “I am a Shahi Imam and hence I won’t give up red beacon. I will remove it once everyone does the same. I have got permission from British government, hence, I will continue to use it,” Barkati said.

Barkati came into limelight after he issued diktat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes.

india.com/news/india/muslims-will-be-beaten-up-and-thrown-out-of-the-community-if-they-join-bjp-or-rss-warns-kolkata-shahi-imam-who-issued-fatwa-against-pm-modi-2116779/

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan: Islamic world won’t allow Iran to tamper with Saudi Arabia’s security

9 May 2017

In response to a statement made by Iranian Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohammad Hussein Bagheri, the head of Pakistan’s Council of Scholars Taher Mahmoud Ashrafi said that the Iranian threat to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is condemnable and regrettable.

Ashrafi stressed that the Islamic world will not allow Iran to tamper with the security of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan since the latter is able to defend its borders and those of the country of the Two Holy Mosques.

He stressed that Pakistan has always been working for peace in the region with patience and wisdom, but the statements of the Iranian leadership against Pakistan "cannot be tolerated emphasizing that Pakistan is not like Syria and Iraq and that the Iranian alliance with India and Afghanistan will not weaken Pakistan."

He asserted that the Pakistani government should refer to the United Nations, the international community and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) regarding the statements and acts of aggression by Afghanistan, Iran and India over the past two weeks.

He also said that that "Saudi Arabia is the holiest symbol for Muslims. All countries of the world including Iran should know that the Islamic nation will respond firmly to any conspiracy targeting Saudi Arabia."

The Pakistani Islamic scholar also referred to the recent interview of Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman where he revealed many facts.

He stressed that Iran must stop interfering in the affairs of other countries before thinking of threatening the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. He also stated that it was regrettable and sad that the Iranian leadership did not learn lessons from the situation in the Middle East, and emphasized that Pakistan should immediately call an emergency session of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation.

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/05/09/Pakistan-Islamic-world-will-not-allow-Iran-to-tamper-with-the-security-of-Saudi-Arabia.html

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4 'hardcore terrorists' convicted by military courts hanged: ISPR

May 10, 2017

Four "hardcore terrorists" sentenced by military courts were executed on Wednesday, a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The ISPR said the convicted terrorists were involved in heinous offences relating to terrorism, including the killing of innocent civilians, attacking a mosque, destruction of communication infrastructure, attacking law enforcement agencies and armed forces.

All four convicts were active members of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and were awarded the death sentence by military courts.

Details of hanged convicts released by ISPR:

Qaiser Khan: He was involved in the killing of an innocent civilian and destruction of communication infrastructure. The suspect admitted his offenses before a magistrate and the trial court.

Muhammad Umar: He was involved in the destruction of an educational institution and attacking armed forces of Pakistan which resulted in death and injuries to soldiers. The convict admitted his offenses before a magistrate and the trial court.

Qari Zubair Muhammad: He was involved in abetting a suicidal attack on a mosque, which resulted in the death of soldiers, civilians and injuries to several others as well as possessing firearms and explosives. The convict admitted his offenses before a magistrate and the trial court.

Aziz Khan: He was involved in attacking the armed forces of Pakistan and destruction of a communication system which resulted in death and injuries to soldiers. He was also in possession of a suicide jacket. The convict admitted his offenses before a magistrate and the trial court.

Full report at:

dawn.com/news/1332230/4-hardcore-terrorists-convicted-by-military-courts-hanged-ispr

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Tehran's warning against spirit of Pak-Iran brotherly relations, FO tells envoy

NAVEED SIDDIQUI

May 10, 2017

The Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday cautioned Tehran that a warning issued by the Iranian army chief a day earlier was against the "spirit of brotherly relations" between Pakistan and Iran.

The FO summoned Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost to convey Pakistan's concerns regarding a warning issued by Maj Gen Mohammad Baqeri that Tehran would hit 'militant safe havens' inside Pakistan if the government did not confront militants who carried out cross-border attacks last month.

"We expect Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists and shut down their bases," Baqeri had said on Monday. "If the terrorist attacks continue, we will hit their safe havens and cells, wherever they are," he added.

During his meeting with the ambassador, FO Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, highlighting an improvement in bilateral relations between the two countries, urged Iran to refrain from making statements that would harm relations, according to the statement.

Zakaria said an agreement had already been reached to "enhance cooperation on border issues" during the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on May 3.

Full report at:

dawn.com/news/1332052/tehrans-warning-against-spirit-of-pak-iran-brotherly-relations-fo-tells-envoy

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Pak, Afghan officials conduct joint geographical survey in Chaman

AP | SYED ALI SHAH

May 10, 2017

A team of Pakistani and Afghan officials conducted a joint geographical survey in Chaman's 'controversial' Killi Luqman and Killi Jahangir villages and submitted a report to Kabul and Islamabad on Tuesday, as both countries seek to 'remove discrepancies' in Afghan maps.

Census activities have also resumed in Chaman amid tight security, days after a cross-border attack on census staff and security personnel by Afghan forces in Chaman left at least 12 people dead and 40 others injured despite Kabul being informed of the exercise in advance.

During a previous hotline contact, the Afghan director general of military operations had admitted his side’s mistake in identifying the boundary in the area and acknowledged that the international border lies between the villages and not at a ditch, as perceived by them, Inter-Services Public Relations had said earlier.

Earlier, official sources claimed that some differences were found between "our maps and the ones presented by the Afghan army" during a meeting.

Both sides subsequently agreed to conduct a survey of the `controversial’ Killi Jahangir and Killi Luqman villages after Pakistani and Afghan experts briefed the meeting on the matter.

Military officials agreed that Google Maps would also be considered while conducting the survey.

The Friendship Gate at Chaman, however, remained closed, and at least 15,000 people from the affected villages have moved to Chaman town, Qila Abdullah, Quetta and other places since the attack by Afghan forces on May 5.

Later in the day, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz met Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal to discuss the issues Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing and the attack by Afghan border forces in Chaman.

Border opened for ailing Afghans to return

Full report at:

dawn.com/news/1332032/pak-afghan-officials-conduct-joint-geographical-survey-in-chaman

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Swat police arrest alleged TTPterrorist

May 10, 2017

PESHAWAR:- Special Police Unit Malakand arrested a terrorist allegedly involved in various terrorist activities from Qambar area of Swat in jurisdiction of Rahimabad Police Station. Police said that the alleged terrorist was associated with TTP and was involved in bomb blast near the house of a lady constable, Neelum. He was identified as Yousaf, son of Bakht Zarin, resident of Qambar. The alleged terrorist was also involved in looting precious items from Rahimabad grid station. The incident had also resulted in martyrdom of two police personnel. Police have registered an FIR against the arrested person and started further investigation.–Staff Reporter

nation.com.pk/national/10-May-2017/swat-police-arrest-alleged-ttp-terrorist

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Police stop party on cleric’s call

May 10, 2017

LAHORE - A grand dance party was stopped in the middle, shortly after religious leaders forced the police to stop the event or face the consequences.

The party was taking place near the Sozo Water Park late Saturday night when the police and district administration ordered the organisers to immediately pack up and leave the venue. The tickets were sold at Rs5,000 to Rs7,000 per person.

Over 2,500 people mostly celebrities, socialites, and those belonging to the fashion industry were attending the biggest dance party of the year in Sozo Water Park when senior officials of the city district government stormed in.

“We were asked by police, at midnight, to shut down the event because some religious leaders had strongly reacted. They (religious activists) were ready to attack the event. So, announcements were made on the loudspeakers and the participants were asked to leave the locality,” one of the organisers, Sameer, told The Nation by phone on Tuesday.

Police sources revealed that the party was shut down soon after a religious leader contacted the station house officer by phone and asked him to stop the event and report him back. The cleric introduced himself as Mujahid Abdul Rasool, President of the Sunni Tehrik Lahore division.

“This illegal event, which is taking place there right now, must be stopped. Otherwise, you will be responsible and you may lose your job.”

When the SHO informed the cleric that the orgainsers were given permission by the government, the caller replied, “No officer, not even DCO, DIG, CCPO, and IGP has the authority to grant permission for such an illegal programme.”

“This is not the country owned by the father of the DCO. This is Pakistan and not India. (You) must get this programme stopped immediately and call me back when (this) programme is ended,” he asserted.

Like previous year, the annual musical festival was arranged by Mango Entertainment Company in collaboration with a leading cellular phone company on Saturday night.

Insiders said the organisers were given permission by the Lahore’s district coordination officer in advance. As the police contacted the district administration the DCO and his team rushed to the spot and ordered the event managers to stop the event and leave the venue.

According to Sameer, several DJs from other countries were also invited to perform at the annual musical festival. “The programme was stopped abruptly and in the middle. The police action disappointed our foreign guests and local partygoers as well,” he added.

When contacted, a police officer said that the district government had allowed the dance party “in the name of art and culture.” He, however, claimed that the participants were using multiple drugs including cocaine, morphine, hash, ice, weed, and liquor at the event.

Earlier, a social worker appeared before the city police chief and requested him for police action against the dance party. Waqas Shahid, in his application addressed to the Lahore CCPO, stated that Talha Hamayun and Osama Hamayun of Mango Entertainment Company were organising the event. He said that the party was being arranged to destroy the young generation of this country.

“Without using drugs and power pills like ecstasy, heroin, morphine and GBH, they can’t dance throughout the night. This party is being arranged this year again. They are spreading vulgarity among the youth in the name of electric dance music. Our Islamic society does not allow this,” Shahid further wrote in his application.

Talha Hamayun and Osama Hamayun of Mango Entertainment Company were not available for their comments despite repeated attempts.

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/lahore/10-May-2017/police-stop-party-on-cleric-s-call

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CJ Shairat Court urges faculty to bridge theory, practice

May 10, 2017

Islamabad-The Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court, Riaz Ahmed Khan on Tuesday urged the faculty to play a vital role in bridging the gap between theory and practice.

The chief JUSTICE also called upon judicial and law faculty to focus on contemporary method of teaching.

He was addressing a two-day international moot on ‘Judicial Systems in Muslim countries’ arranged at Faisal Masjid campus by Shariah Academy of the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).

Chief Justice Shariah Court of Jordan Dr Abdul Karim, Al- Khsawanah also addressed the inaugural ceremony.

Chief Justice, Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan, in his address to the inaugural ceremony of the conference emphasized that gap between theory and practice be ended and called for a meaningful linkage between the studies of law & judiciary and practical nature of work.

He also desired that changes happened as per contemporary developments in the judicial system and methods must be adopted by all the members of judicial fraternity.

He said that cyber law, corporate laws and international laws should be read and interpreted by the relevant officials.

He called upon judicial and law faculty to focus on contemporary method of teaching and urged the faculty to play vital role in bridging the gap between theory and practice.

Chief Justice Shariah Court of Jordan Dr Abdul Karim, Al- Khsawanah, called upon the Muslim societies to ensure application of Islamic laws as per guidance given by Islam.

Dr Abdul Karim maintained that a well-functioning independent judiciary is an essential requisite of a Muslim state and added that a transparent judicial system leads a country towards prosperity. He emphasized that provision of justice is an integral prerogative of every human being.

IIUI Acting President, Dr Mohammad Bashir khan, in his vote of thanks said that justice is a pre-requisite for a prosperous society and honest judges always have a power to change the fate of nations.

He directed that recommendations of the conferences at the end must be sent to all the Muslim countries so a policy, roadmap be formed for positive steps for further improvements in the judicial system of Muslim countries.

Dr Muhammad Munir, the IIUI Vice President and Director of the Shariah Academy apprised the participants regarding goals and objectives of the conference and also told about the details of the 58th training course for judges while saying that the moot was part of the activities of the training course.

Full report at:

nation.com.pk/islamabad/10-May-2017/cj-shairat-court-urges-faculty-to-bridge-theory-practice

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia Islam: Governor's blasphemy conviction divides a nation

9 May 2017

An Indonesian court has sentenced Jakarta's first Christian governor to two years in prison for insulting Islam. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has denied blasphemy and plans to appeal. As Indonesia service editor Rebecca Henschke reports, the verdict is being seen as a setback for religious tolerance in the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

After Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, was found guilty of blasphemy, he was immediately led away to the overcrowded Cipinang prison.

Photos quickly appeared on social media of him being warmly greeted by prison staff. While his supporters rallied into the night in their thousands singing songs and demanding his release, his name starting trending on social media.

"He has become a martyr of free speech," says Bambang Harymurti, senior editor of Tempo magazine, who has been fighting against the blasphemy laws for years.

"An injustice has been done today. I think he was found guilty because of political pressure and mobocracy - the pressure of the mob. This is bad for freedom of speech in Indonesia. I think this is a very sad day for democracy."

Outrage

Mr Purnama was accused of blasphemy for comments he made during a pre-election speech in September 2016. He implied that Islamic leaders were trying to trick voters by using a verse in the Koran to argue that Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim leader.

His remarks sparked outrage among religious hardliners. They staged regular large rallies calling for him to face trial.

"As part of a religious society, the defendant should be careful not to use words with negative connotations regarding the symbols of religions," the head judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, said when handing down the verdict.

Jakarta - the city Mr Purnama led - is a melting pot of the thousands of ethnic groups that make up this vast archipelago.

Despite being a majority Islamic country, Indonesia has a pluralist and multi-faith constitution that respects six official religions. And its national motto "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" means "Unity in Diversity".

'Clear message'

The country's founding fathers are believed to have agreed to drop the inclusion of Sharia - or Islamic law - in the nation's constitution in 1945, reportedly to accommodate the wishes of religious minorities.

But attacks on minorities have risen in recent years.

"This ruling is sending a clear message to the minorities that they can't play around with the majority or this is what will happen to you," says Bivitri Susanti, one of the founders of the Centre of Study for Law and Policy.

"It's beyond Ahok. The impact of this decision is much larger - it confirms that people can use the blasphemy law for their own political purposes."

The verdict is a blow to President Joko Widodo, a close ally of Governor Purnama.

In the mass protests against the governor, the crowd warned that if he was not found guilty they would stage a revolution and overthrow the national government.

A day before the verdict, President Widodo's government fought back, announcing that they would move to disband the local branch of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir - which campaigns for the implementation of Islamic law and has taken part in the protests against Governor Purnama.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been operating for decades in Indonesia and has a large following. It is banned in a number of countries.

Jakarta governor Ahok found guilty of blasphemy

Who is Jakarta's outgoing governor?

The blasphemy case testing Indonesian identity

And Chief Security Minister Wiranto said that the group's activities now "could threaten public security and order and endanger the unity of Indonesia".

In response the group accused the government of being anti-Islamic.

"We are a legal organisation for 25 years, we are a religious group that is offering a religious solution for the country," they said in a statement.

Despite the government's threats, the group was outside the court on Tuesday, their members part of the thousands there to see Governor Purnama face justice.

But they, too, were not happy with the verdict.

"We do not feel satisfied with the punishment of just two years in jail," said one man, Solihin.

"He should have got the maximum of five years or better still have been beheaded."

bbc.com/news/world-asia-39856413

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Car bomb in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south wounds over 50

May 9, 2017

HAT YAI, Thailand: Suspected insurgents in Thailand detonated a car bomb Tuesday outside a busy shopping center in the south of the country, wounding more than 50 people in a huge blast that ripped the building apart and sent people running for their lives.

The attackers initially set off firecrackers as a distraction before triggering the car bomb in the city of Pattani, said Pramote Prom-in, a military spokesman.

The blast occurred outside one of Thailand's Big C shopping centers, a major grocery and retail chain. Footage of the scene aired on Thai television stations showed a huge black plume of smoke rising skyward from the blackened building.

Pattani Hospital posted on its board of emergency room patients that 52 people were injured from the incident.

No deaths have been reported.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/car-bomb-in-thailands-muslim-dominated-south-wounds-over-50/articleshow/58593461.cms

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Ahok jailing a victory for Muslim extremists in Indonesia

AMANDA HODGE

May 10, 2017

If yesterday’s shock jailing of Jakarta’s outgoing ethnic-Chinese Christian governor for blasphemy has achieved anything, it is a growing consensus among Indonesia watchers that the country’s famed pluralism and religious tolerance is indeed under threat. As Basuki Tjahaja ‘Ahok’ Purnama has these last seven months juggled a tide of Islamist-led mass protests and an eventual blasphemy trial alongside his now failed bid for re-election, there has been ongoing debate over the meaning of his persecution.

Did the well-funded, venomous anti-Ahok campaign lead to his eventual election loss, or was this effective administrator the architect of his own downfall through arrogance and forced slum evictions?

Did his defeat last month — notwithstanding a majority view that he was the best candidate — reflect the rising power of Islamic conservatives, the usual Machiavellian power plays of Indonesian politics, or simply the will of the people?

With Tuesday’s guilty verdict and sentencing of Governor Ahok to two-years’ imprisonment for blasphemy — notwithstanding the prosecution’s recommendation he be convicted of a lesser charge and serve two-years’ probation — there is an emerging coalescence of opinion.

“A dark day for Ahok, a dark day for the Indonesian legal system, and a dark day for Indonesian democracy,” ANU Indonesia expert Marcus Mietzner summarised neatly yesterday.

Perhaps Governor Ahok’s conviction and jailing should not have come as such a shock.

Since the beginning of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s tenure in 2004 there has been a steep rise in blasphemy cases and an almost 100 per cent conviction rate of those charged.

What was most telling about the Ahok verdict was how willing the judges were to fully endorse the Islamists’ politically-motivated narrative against a Governor who, throughout his political career, has faced strident opposition from hardliners citing a Koranic verse known as al Maidah 51 to argue Muslims should not elect non-Muslim leaders.

For having lightheartedly challenged an interpretation that is also questioned by many Islamic scholars, Governor Ahok opened the door to an allegation almost impossible to defend — blasphemy.

With Tuesday’s victory, activists fear the previously little-known al Maidah 51 verse will in future be applied to the appointment of other public positions too, such as school principals and municipal councillors.

The darkest predictions ahead of the verdict were that the judges would bend to the same mob intimidation tactics that had already compelled President Joko Widodo to defer his Australia visit and sacrifice a political ally to appease a constituency that will never support him.

Having already played a major role in orchestrating Ahok’s political destruction, Muslim extremists like the vigilante Islamic Defenders Front and pro-Caliphate Hizb ut-Tahrir were handed a complete victory yesterday with the 50-year-old’s personal downfall.

They owe their success to having tapped a rising vein of religious conservatism and intolerance in Indonesia that, in future, more will be tempted to exploit for political gain.

How could these groups, and others besides, not be emboldened by proof that such mass mobilisation yields results?

How could minority figures in Indonesia not learn a lesson from Ahok’s downfall, and conclude it safer to steer clear of political life or public office?

Those who argue Ahok was a special case — a double minority seeking a historic electoral mandate to one of the most important offices in the country — need only look at the nascent campaign against President Jokowi (as he is known) who faces his own re-election bid in 2019.

Facing threats from outside as well as potentially from within his own political coterie, the President drew his own battlelines Monday with the announcement that Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia will be disbanded for threatening national unity.

There were hints the Islamic Defenders Front, among others, could be next in line.

Individuals within these groups have already been targeted with charges from treason to pornography.

Full report at:

theaustralian.com.au/news/world/ahok-jailing-a-victory-for-muslim-extremists-in-indonesia/news-story/0c2cd884f73496d706b820e5fede5b22

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Indonesia to disband hard-line Islamic group Hizbut

May 10, 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) " The top Indonesian security minister said Monday the country's president has ordered the dissolution of a hard-line Islamic group that seeks a global caliphate for Muslim nations and was behind massive blasphemy protests in Jakarta.

Wiranto, who goes by one name, announced the action against Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia at a brief news conference and said it was ordered by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Wiranto, who is the coordinating minister for politics, law and security, said the "activities of HTI are strongly indicated to be running against Pancasila (Indonesia's pluralistic state ideology) and the constitution."

The move comes after Jokowi's government was shaken by massive protests in the past six months by conservative Muslim groups against the minority Christian governor of Jakarta, who is accused of blaspheming the Quran.

Wiranto said HTI's activities "have clearly caused conflict in society" and threaten the integrity of the state. He said dissolution of the group would be achieved through the courts.

Hizbut was one of several hard-line groups behind the Jakarta protests that undermined Indonesia's reputation abroad for practicing a moderate form of Islam.

It is active in dozens of countries despite being banned in some of them and began expanding in Asia several years ago.

Hizbut wants to unite all Muslim countries in a globe-spanning bloc ruled by strict Shariah law. It has a record of targeting university students and professionals, working within countries to try to persuade people to overthrow their secular governments. Some experts see it as an incubator of radicalism that leads to terrorist attacks.

The group said it deeply regretted the government's decision and noted that it has been conducting religious activities in Indonesia for more than 20 years.

Full report at:

nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11852619

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North America

 

Trump committed to defeat ISIS and Taliban: White House

May 09 2017

The White House says President Donald Trump wants to make sure that the Taliban group and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are defeated in Afghanistan.

In response to a question regarding the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said “Well, I think number one, he wants to make sure that we defeat ISIS — that is something that is in our national security interests — and to make sure that we protect our people, but does so in a responsible, smart way.”

Spicer further added “I mean, he’s talked about not projecting where he’s going and what he’s going to do to let the enemy know ahead of time, and part of that guidance that his national security team is giving him are different pieces that you’re talking about. “

“How do we achieve those key outcomes?  How do we do what’s in the country’s best interest and utilize our military and our treasure to the best of our ability?  That is something that we’re continuing to work on and do, and that’s part of what he is getting briefed on and is implementing,” he added.

He did not disclose further information regarding the indications by the officials regarding Pentagon’s plan to send several thousand additional troops to Afghanistan.

However, he said President Trump wants to make sure that we do what we can to win.  “And that’s why he charged the generals and other military advisors and national security team to come up with a plan that can get us there,” he said.

khaama.com/trump-committed-to-defeat-isis-and-taliban-white-house-02705

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Attorney General who helped block Muslim ban says Trump 'doesn't understand the power of the presidency'

10 May 2017

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin isn’t mad, just disappointed.

The Stanford-educated lawyer who successfully brought about a block on Donald Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” says the Trump administration's attacks on the judiciary are cause for concern.

“I think what makes it more discouraging [is] when you have people at the highest levels of government making those statements,” Mr Chin told The Independent. “It’s almost like they don’t understand that power that comes with the office that they have, or that they’re exploiting it unnecessarily.”

The 50-year-old attorney faced his own share of criticism this March, when he filed suit against Mr Trump’s executive order on international travel.

The Trump team has tried to argue that the order – which blocks new visas from six Muslim-majority countries – does not amount to a ban on Muslims. Most recently, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, tried to convince the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virgina that the travel ban is not the same as the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” that Mr Trump promised during his campaign.

"This is not a Muslim ban," Mr Wall said. "Its text doesn't have anything to do with religion. Its operation doesn't have anything to do with religion."

But Mr Chin told Hawaii federal judge Derrick Watson otherwise, arguing that the order is like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim ban, Muslim ban.’”

“[Under the order,] If you come from one of these countries it doesn’t matter if you’re a baby or a spouse of a citizen, you’re presumptively a terrorist,” he said. “That is, by itself, a disenfranchising statement that was being made by the highest levels of government toward an entire class of people.”

Mr Watson agreed. The federal judge issued a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the ban’s implementation on 16 March.

In a speech that night, the president called the ruling a “terrible decision” and vowed to take it to the Supreme Court.

“I think we ought to go back to the first [executive order] and go all the way … We’re gonna win it, we’re gonna win it.” Mr Trump promised supporters.

The US attorney general has made it clear he supports the president’s order. In the weeks following the decision, Mr Sessions made the rounds on cable new shows, referring to Mr Watson as an “unelected judge” and Hawaii as “an island in the Pacific.”

“It is a point worth making that a single sitting district judge – out of 600, 700 district judges – can issue an order stopping a presidential executive order that I believe is fully constitutional; designed to protect America from a terrorist attack,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

Asked about Mr Sessions’ comments, Mr Chin seemed flabbergasted.

“To me, these kinds of statements just don’t jibe with what we grew up learning,” he told The Independent. “The whole point of what America stands for is the idea that you can have an executive that a gets checked by the two other branches – and that includes the judiciary.”

And as for the “unelected” barb, Mr Chin explained the importance of having appointed members of the judiciary: Judges who are divorced from the election cycle are also separated from interest groups, lobbyists, and the latest polls. This, Mr Chin said, allows them to rule based on wisdom, rather than whim.

Even more so than Mr Sessions' comments, Mr Chin says he was surprised by the public's response to the ban.

The first version of the executive order sparked record protests at airports around the US, where supporters gathered to assist travellers who had found themselves suddenly blocked from entering the country. The first judge to block the executive was the subject of fawning profiles in the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN.

Mr Chin received his fair share of adulation after the decision too. The deep-voiced attorney general booked several television interviews and earned the requisite "Who is Douglas Chin?" explainer on Heavy.com. Commenters on Twitter applauded his assertive response to Mr Sessions’ attacks.

But there was another cohort – a group Mr Chin described as “very vocal” – who didn’t agree with his decision. They flooded his email inbox with letters, and his office with angry phone calls.

Surprisingly, however, Mr Chin says he understands where they’re coming from.

“The people who responded were very emotional, very concerned about Muslims being terrorists, and just very fearful of what could happen in their personal lives if the president's orders weren’t followed,” Mr Chin said.

“We all live in a time where there's a lot of fear out there as to what terrorists can do, and how that can affect our lives,” he continued, adding, “I’m scared too.”

In fact, in case anyone was curious, the lawyer who helped block the executive order meant to end terrorism in the United States is actually a big supporter of national security.

Full report at:

independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-muslim-ban-block-judge-hawaii-interview-president-doesnt-understand-power-office-a7720956.html

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57% increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in US, says group

May 09, 2017

When the Al-Kareem mosque in Providence, Rhode Island, received a threatening letter in November calling Muslims a “vile and filthy people”, its members were frightened enough that they asked for and got extra police protection.

The 42-year-old mosque was far from alone. The letter it received was one of 2,213 anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States last year, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The report found a 57% increase in the number of incidents in 2016, up from 1,409 in 2015. Incidents increased 5% from 2014 to 2015.

While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump’s stunning rise in last year’s presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump’s focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Rhode Island’s oldest mosque was only threatened, while others in Florida and Texas were set ablaze in cases ruled arson. But the knowledge of how common threats had become was far from comforting for Faissal Elansari, a member of the mosque’s board.

“Hearing about it is not the same thing as when you receive it, it was definitely a weird feeling,” Elansari said.

CAIR officials decided in September to start what they intend to be quarterly reports after noticing a pickup in complaints beginning in 2014, following the rise of Islamic State killings in the Middle East and attacks inspired by the group in Europe and the US.

“There was this widespread sense that we were going right back to how it was after 9/11”, when al Qaeda hijackers launched coordinated attacks on New York and Washington, sparking a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment, said Corey Saylor, director of the CAIR department on monitoring and combating Islamophobia. “We wanted to be able to put something factual out there.”

The accounting includes a wide variety of bias incidents, from assaults and street harassment, to employment discrimination, to what the group considers unwarranted contact by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It also shows a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes to 260 in 2016, up 44% from 180 a year earlier. That includes all crimes recorded where CAIR saw evidence of anti-Muslim bias, not just those where hate crime charges were brought, Saylor said.

CAIR attorneys reviewed each incident reported and eliminated cases that were later disproved, including a New York City woman who alleged she had been attacked by Trump supporters shortly after his election. She was later arrested and charged with making up the encounter.

Trump promised during his campaign to impose a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the US, presenting this as a way to prevent militant Islamist attacks. His early executive orders intended at putting a temporary stop on citizens from a half-dozen Muslim majority countries have been blocked by challenges in court.

His administration has denied any intention of religious discrimination in the travel ban, saying it is intended purely as a national security measure.

Muslims are not alone in experiencing an uptick in bias. A report released last month by the Anti-Defamation League recorded a 34% rise in anti-Semitic acts in 2016.

“The 2016 presidential election and the heightened political atmosphere played a role in the increase,” the ADL concluded in its report.

Trump made his first public condemnation of anti-Semitic incidents in February after a spate of bomb threats to Jewish community centers and vandalism in a Jewish cemetery. He was criticised by Jewish groups for responding too slowly.

Full report at:

hindustantimes.com/world-news/57-increase-in-anti-muslim-bias-incidents-in-us-says-group/story-B0JdWL6qxAN1erBBmHxBSP.html

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2,213 anti-Muslim bias incidents reported in US last year

May 09, 2017

The report found a 57% increase in the number of incidents in 2016, up from 1,409 in 2015. Incidents increased 5% from 2014 to 2015

When the Masjid Al-Kareem mosque in Providence, Rhode Island, received a threatening letter in November calling Muslims a “vile and filthy people,” its members were frightened enough they asked for and got extra police protection.

The 42-year-old mosque was far from alone. The letter it received was one of 2,213 anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair).

The report found a 57% increase in the number of incidents in 2016, up from 1,409 in 2015. Incidents increased 5% from 2014 to 2015.

While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump’s stunning rise in last year’s presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump’s focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Rhode Island’s oldest mosque was only threatened, while others in Florida and Texas were set ablaze in cases ruled arson. But the knowledge of how common threats had become was far from comforting for Faissal Elansari, a member of the mosque’s board.

“Hearing about it is not the same thing as when you receive it, it was definitely a weird feeling,” Elansari said.

Cair officials decided in September to start what they intend to be quarterly reports after noticing a pickup in complaints beginning in 2014, following the rise of Islamic State killings in the Middle East and attacks inspired by the group in Europe and the United States.

The accounting includes a wide variety of bias incidents, from assaults and street harassment, to employment discrimination, to what the group considers unwarranted contact by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Full report at:

dhakatribune.com/world/north-america/2017/05/09/2213-anti-muslim-bias-incidents-reported-us-last-year/

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Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Surge Reported in US in 2014-16

09, 2017

Masood Farivar

Hate crimes targeting Muslim Americans were up nearly 600 percent from 2014 to 2016, fueled in part by anti-Islam rhetoric during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to a Muslim advocacy group.

In a report released Tuesday, the Council on American Islamic Relations said there were 260 anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2016, up from 180 in 2015 and 38 in 2014, a 584 percent increase for the three-year period.

Overall anti-Muslim bias cases — identified as any incident in which there was an element of religious bias, such as a slur — reached 2,213 in 2016, up from 1,409 in 2015 and 1,314 in 2014. That's nearly a 70 percent increase for the three-year period.

Corey Saylor, a CAIR spokesman and co-author of the report, said his findings underlined the increasingly violent face of anti-Muslim bias in the United States.

The contempt used to be directed at blocking mosque constructions, but "unfortunately, nowadays people are going out and targeting Muslims for assault, vandalizing or attempting arsons on mosques," Saylor said.

Harassment most common

While hate crimes made up 12 percent of all anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2016, harassment was the most common category, accounting for 18 percent of cases, followed closely by incidents during which Muslims were "questioned by FBI employees or otherwise appeared to be inappropriately targeted by the agency."

Saylor said that shortly before the November 8 election, an unusually large number of Muslim Americans reported being visited by FBI agents and asked about a vague terror plot.

They were asked "questions that in the assessment of our intake staff were not connected to any specific investigation," he said at a news conference. "We did not see any similar type of outreach to, say, Trump supporters who were documented as making a number of threats."

The FBI dismissed the suggestion that it targeted Muslims.

"The FBI investigates activity which may constitute a federal crime or pose a threat to national security," FBI spokesman Matthew Bertron said. "Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on criminal activity."

The CAIR report, The Empowerment of Hate, includes a panoply of highly publicized hate crimes and lesser known bias incidents phoned into the organization's chapters around the country.

In one widely reported incident, federal authorities charged three members of a white militia group last year with conspiring to blow up an apartment complex where Somali immigrants lived and worshipped.

In another episode, a Muslim-owned restaurant in Galveston, Texas, was vandalized with bacon twice in one week.

Veteran's experience

And in a case of harassment, a disabled U.S. Army veteran of the Iraq War discovered his restroom locker vandalized with the words "terrorist" and "raghead."

The wearing of the Islamic hijab or headscarf set off 346 bias incidents in 2016, representing the second most common trigger for anti-Muslim bias incidents after ethnicity and national origin, according to the report.

"Unfortunately, a very common reason that people get targeted is simply wearing something that identifies with a particular religious faith," Saylor said.

The report came after the release of data showing an uptick in hate crimes in the past two years after more than a decade of declines. In its most recent report, released in November, the FBI showed a 23 percent increase in religious-based hate crimes in 2015, including a 67 percent rise in crimes targeting Muslims and a 9 percent increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes.

CAIR says the trend has continued into this year. During the first quarter of 2017, the organization recorded 35 incidents involving mosques, including arson and vandalism, and 193 cases of alleged profiling of Muslims by Customs and Border Protection, up from 17 incidents during the first quarter of last year.

In a statement emailed to VOA, a CBP spokesperson rejected the allegations made by CAIR and said the agency "does not discriminate based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation."

Full report at:

voanews.com/a/anti-muslim-hate-crimes-in-us-surges-neary-600-percent-between-2014-and-2016/3844922.html

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India

 

Why Did An Indian Muslim Become A Cow Protector?

By Nitin Srivastava

May 10, 2017

In the narrow lanes of old Delhi, I struggled to keep pace with a middle-aged Muslim man who was clearly in a hurry.

It was Tuesday - a day considered holy by many Hindus - and we approached a popular temple in blistering heat.

We headed towards a huge cow shelter in the basement of the temple.

Dildar Hussain Beg told me he visited the temple every Tuesday after offering prayers in the nearby mosque to look after more than two dozen cows.

"I have been coming here for more than 10 years and these cows are my family. I also visit several other cow shelters regularly," he said.

But Mr Beg does not just visit cows, he also protects them.

Along with a few of his neighbours, Mr Beg has formed a small organisation called Muslim Gauraksha Dal (Muslim Cow Protectors) and is trying to "educate" members of his community to stop eating beef.

"Cow protectors" in India have been in the news for a series of assaults on people transporting cows. Many of the attacks have been against Muslims, while the cow protection squads are overwhelmingly Hindu.

The cow is considered sacred by Hindus and killing the animal is illegal in several states. But beef is eaten in other communities, including by Muslims, in India.

Mr Beg is among a small group of Muslims who run shelters to look after cows. Generations of some Muslim families have also looked after cows in shelters owned by Hindus.

"My community has been constantly accused of indulging in cow slaughter in India. If Muslims don't come forward and renounce cow-slaughter, who else will?" he says.

Besides working regularly in this cow shelter, he says he travels extensively to other parts of the country to "sensitise his community against cow slaughter and abolish the practice of eating cow meat".

He says he has held camps in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to spread awareness and, like many other Hindu cow vigilantes, he claims to have informed local police about the illegal transportation of cows in and around Delhi.

Not for publicity

He denies that he is doing this for "publicity".

"I don't believe in any political party and even fought the last parliamentary election as an independent candidate. People from my own community did mock me initially when I urged them to abstain from cow meat but we don't care," he says.

His family supports his cause. Mr Beg's wife, Shaheen Begum, says initially his idea of becoming a cow protector came as a surprise.

"I probably took the least time to agree with his cause because I never liked eating beef and always preferred chicken or fish," she said.

But reactions from other relatives have been mixed.

"Most of the people in our circle don't eat cow meat. A few people initially asked why he attends cow-protection workshops. But nobody asks about it anymore," she said.

"Some feel he is trying to grab attention but then step back when they hear that he promotes buffalo meat or lamb as a form of nutrition instead of cow."

'Irresponsible populism'

India has seen an alarming rise in incidents related to cow vigilantism, more so after the Hindu nationalist BJP came to power in 2014.

In 2015 a Muslim man was lynched for allegedly storing and consuming beef. At least half a dozen attacks on people transporting cows have been reported across the country.

Opposition parties have been scathing in their criticism, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to criticise such vigilantes, saying they made him "angry". But this appears to have had very little impact on the ground.

Most recently, a group of Muslim dairy farmers were beaten on a national highway, allegedly by cow vigilantes, for transporting cows from cattle fair. One of the victims, a 55-year-old man, later died in hospital.

In a recent report Human Rights Watch urged action against those responsible for such attacks.

"Self-appointed cow protestors driven by irresponsible populism are killing people and terrorising minority communities," the organisation's South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly said.

But Mr Beg believes that Muslims too can prevent the situation from escalating.

"It's very simple. If the majority community in my country is uncomfortable with us eating cow, why do it?"

"I have no problems at all with Muslims eating buffalo meat and encourage them to do so. But we are a minority community and have to be considerate towards Hindus who are in the majority.

"If they consider cows holy, why kill it? That too when buffalo meat is legally available," he explains.

bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-39771288

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PM Modi asks Muslim leaders to initiate reform on triple talaq

May 9, 2017

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked Muslims not to allow the triple talaq issue to be politicised and urged a leading organisation of the community to take the lead in initiating reform in this regard.

He made the comments while interacting with leaders of the leading Muslim organisation Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind who called on him here.

Welcoming the members of the delegation, the Prime Minister said that democracy's greatest strength is harmony and amity, the PMO said in a statement.

Emphasizing that the government does not have any right to discriminate among citizens, Modi said India's speciality has been its unity in diversity, it added.

On triple talaq, the Prime Minister reiterated that the Muslim community should not allow this issue to be politicised, the statement said.

He urged the delegation members to take the responsibility for initiating reform in this regard, the PMO said.

The delegation members appreciated the Prime Minister's stand on the issue of triple talaq, the statement said.

Modi's remarks came against the backdrop of CMP leader Sitaram Yechury saying that the Prime Minister's "campaign against triple talaq is a communal campaign".

Modi also said that the new generation in India must not be allowed to fall victim to the rising global tide of extremism.

Praising Modi's vision, members of the delegation expressed hope that the "nationwide trust" that he has among the people will ensure prosperity and well-being of all segments of society, the statement said.

They said that the Muslim community is keen to be an equal partner in the making of the 'New India', it said, referring to the ambition of the Prime Minister.

Noting that terrorism is a major challenge, they expressed a common resolve to combat it with all their might, the PMO said.

According to the statement, they added that it is the Muslim community's responsibility that under no circumstances should anyone compromise the nation's security or well-being.

They said the Muslim community would never allow any conspiracy against India to succeed.

Expressing concern at the situation in Kashmir valley, members of the delegation said that only Modi can resolve the issue.

The delegation also appreciated the implementation of minority welfare schemes under the Union government.

Welcoming the delegation, national security advisor Ajit Doval said the whole world is looking at India and it is the responsibility of all segments of the Indian society to take the nation forward.

Leaders from the delegation agreed with him and said the objective should be to take the country forward, together, following the Prime Minister's slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (cooperation of all, development for all), the PMO statement said.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-asks-muslim-leaders-to-initiate-reform-on-triple-talaq/articleshow/58597866.cms

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Rajnath Singh: How is Akbar rated great, not Maharana Pratap?

May 10, 2017

JODHPUR: Union home minister Rajnath Singh believes Maharana Pratap has not been given his due place in history. On Tuesday, Singh urged historians to re-evaluate the contribution of the Rajput warrior king, reiterating a concern he has raised earlier as well.

Addressing a gathering in Pali district during the unveiling of a statue of the ruler of Mewar, Singh said, "It was Maharana Pratap who fought with great valour for freedom and self-respect, sacrificing everything, and never gave into Akbar, but I am surprised — how come our historians rated Akbar as great and not Pratap?" "What shortcoming did they notice in Pratap that he was not referred to as 'the great'," Singh said. He added it was time this "blunder" was corrected and Pratap accorded the respect he deserved.

Full report at:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rajnath-singh-how-is-akbar-rated-great-not-maharana-pratap/articleshow/58601898.cms

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India, Netherlands to boost anti-terror effort

May 10, 2017

India and the Netherlands on Tuesday voiced deep concern over the threat of terrorism and resolved to work bilaterally and globally to fight the menace in all its forms and manifestations.

During talks with her Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also sought the Netherlands’ support for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN.

At the meeting, Koenders expressed his country’s strong support for India’s permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.

On her part, Swaraj thanked him for support to India’s accession to various multilateral export control regimes as well as for its bid for NSG membership.

Full report at:

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-netherlands-to-boost-anti-terror-effort-4648682/

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Arab World

 

Terrorists Continue Plundering Syria's Infrastructures in Idlib

May 09, 2017

According to local sources, the terrorists stationed in Zaizon have detached all girders used in the power plants' small towers and sold them in the iron market.

They added that the militants are now detaching the big towers with bulldozers and cranes and transferring them to Aleppo in trucks.

Also, the copper cables of the power plant have all been stolen and transferred for sale.

According to the sources, the terrorists have also detached all railways in the region and sold them in the iron market.

Reports said earlier this year that militants continue to transfer infrastructures and government properties in Idlib province to the Turkish market to sell them there at very low prices.

News websites affiliated to terrorists disclosed in January that militants have disassembled the railway between the stations of Mahambel and Bashmaroun by bulldozers and have transferred them to Turkey on heavy trucks to sell them in the Turkish market at very low prices.

Another militant-affiliated website disclosed that unknown people have been stealing the vehicles of the Red Crescent in Idlib.

The website added that at least eight vehicles have been stolen and two warehouses of the country's Red Crescent have been ransacked by unknown individuals.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001555

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Fierce Clashes Erupt between Rival Terrorist Groups in Western Dara'a

May 09, 2017

The sources said that the militant groups of Jeish al-Thowra  and al-Janoubi Front affiliated to the FSA engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorist group of Jeish Khalid affiliated to the ISIL in areas surrounding the townships of Jalin, Adwan, Tal Ashra and LMD division base, inflicting major casualties on both sides.

A commander of one of the battalions of the FSA was killed in the clashes.

Spokesman for Jeish al-Thowra Abu Bakr al-Hassan said that his forces' attempt to advance in areas around Jalin has failed because the ISIL has been using anti-tank missiles in the battlefield.

Reports said that 17 members of the FSA-affiliated groups were killed and 15 more were wounded, while three tanks and three bulldozers were destroyed in the clashes.

Dara'a is among the De-Escalation Zones.

FSA is trying to send a large number of its forces from Central Dara'a to its countryside to drive ISIL out of the region.

Local sources in Southern Syria reported on Sunday that terrorist groups affiliated to the FSA opened heavy fire at the Syrian Army positions in Dara'a province, violating the De-Escalation Zones Agreement.

The sources said that artillery and missile unis of a terrorist group affiliated to the FSA targeted the positions of the pro-government forces in the village of Khirbet Qazaleh, adding that the army targeted the terrorists' defense lines by several surface-to-surface missiles in retaliation for the FSA attack.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001464

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Syrian Army Retaliates Strongly against Terrorists' Violation of Ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta

May 09, 2017

Al-Nusra's mortar units shelled nearby areas of a hospital in Tishrin district North of al-Qaboun district, violating the truce in the region.

The army's artillery and missile units carried out a retaliatory attack and pounded the remaining positions of Al-Nusra in al-Qaboun.

Local sources said on Monday that devastating advances of the Syrian Army troops in Eastern Ghouta caused terrorist groups to ask for rapid evacuation from al-Qaboun district.

The sources said that after the army soldiers destroyed several main tunnels of terrorists, liberated a number of building blocks and laid siege on al-Qaboun, the terrorist groups begged for rapid evacuation from the district.

The sources added that the terrorist front in al-Qaboun was on the verge of complete collapse after the recent advances of the army in the district.

Other sources reported that the army ceased its military operations in the neighborhood of al-Qaboun as militants agreed to surrender and negotiate an evacuation deal.

According to latest reports, the Syrian pro-government forces were making significant advances inside the heartland of militants, forcing them to re-consider a deal that they had refused months ago.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001480

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ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Clashes with Iraqi Forces near Border with Syria

May 09, 2017

The sources said that the Iraqi army soldiers and popular forces launched a fresh round of operation in the Southwestern territories of al-Anbar province, targeting the desert terrain West of the key town of Haditha, killing more than 20 ISIL terrorists and destroying three car bombs.

They added that the Iraqi forces will continue to impose pressure on ISIL's defense lines in the region some 100 km away from the Syrian border-crossing at the town of al-Qa’em.

A senior commander of Hash al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said last week that the US military worked out a scheme to bring ISIL back to power in al-Anbar province, warning that ISIL's sleeping cells were activated in the region already.

"Al-Anbar province has not yet been cleansed completely as a result of the Americans' interference in the liberation operations," Javad al-Tabibawi was quoted as saying by Soumeriya news.

He warned that the US plots to return the ISIL to the province would be exercised with the support of the US security firms.

Al-Tabibawi said that Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi security forces should have beem entrusted with the establishment of security in al-Anbar to guarantee ISIL's ultimate demise in the province.

His remarks came after a new group of US forces arrived in Ein al-Assad military airport, West of al-Anbar province.

Sky News network quoted local sources as saying that a fresh unit of the American military forces arrived in Ein al-Assad base in al-Anbar province to take part in the operation to capture the regions of Anah, Rawa and al-Qa'em.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001404

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Golan Heights: Israeli Spy Planes Spotted Flying over Syrian, Russian Bases

May 09, 2017

Members of Fouj Al-Joulan (Golan Regiment) in the government-held town of Hader were quoted as saying by AMN that the Israeli warplanes were seen flying over the Syrian Golan Heights at least half a dozen times on Saturday, and at least four times on Sunday.

The Syrian military believed the Israeli Air Force is attempting to gather information about their forces in the Golan Heights and neighboring areas in Western Ghouta.

In the meantime, Haaretz, claimed that Tel Aviv was spying on the Russian forces at the Humeimim Airbase in Southwestern Lattakia, using satellite technology to gather information.

The Haaretz added that the Israeli military managed to identify the presence of the Russian A-50 jet at the Humeimim Airbase.

A-50 jet has significant capabilities, which includes the detection of other aerial objects from far distances.

A military source said in late April that Israel launched missiles at a site near Damascus International Airport in Syria, causing material damage.

"One of the military facilities located to the southwest of Damascus International Airport was subjected to missile fire from hostile Israel," the source said, SANA reported.

Lebanese media reported a large blast in the vicinity of the airport, speculating that the explosion at the fuel depot could have been carried out by Israel.

"The missiles were fired from the occupied territory, which led to explosions on the ground and property damage," the Syrian military source specified.

Israeli officials have not commented on the issue yet. However, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, speaking to Army Radio from the United States earlier, hinted at what had happened in Damascus.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001348

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Interior Ministry's Special Forces Committed to Restore Security to Syrian Cities

May 09, 2017

The sources said that the Syrian Interior Ministry has been in charge of training hundreds of forces called Quick Reaction Units in a region near Eastern Ghouta to fight against terrorism.

They added that Damascus has trained the QRU forces in street battle and clashes with terrorists to decrease its' dependence on military or security forces for establishing security in cities.

The sources went on to say that the government intends to give more roles to the police forces and train them in different fields of protecting civilians, attack on terrorists' centers and defusing bombs and landmines.

In the meantime, Russia has equipped the QRU forces with the most advanced personal weapons similar to the army that are used by anti-terrorism units in the western states.

The sources pointed out that almost 500 QRU forces have gone under training in Syria.

A well-informed source revealed in mid-April that the Russian military police started several weapons, medical and self-defense training courses for Syrian civilians and mobilized forces in Aleppo province.

A Russian military officer said that Syrian civilians could protect their villages when necessary, adding they had been fighting for a long time, "however, they did not have the needed skills in handling weapons".

A Syrian source, meantime, underlined the necessity for training popular forces, reiterating that forming popular forces' defense unis was vital as people came back to live Aleppo city.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001054

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Spokesman Warns of Iran's Angry Reaction to S. Arabia's Possible Aggression

May 09, 2017

"If Saudi Arabia utters certain words to make up for its regional failures, its response is ready. If these words turn into operations (practice) even one step, some moves will be adopted (by Iran) that would make them regret their views," Nobakht told reporters in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

He underlined that the Iranian government has on several occasions given firm responses to the Saudi government's indigested measures which are aimed at creating tension in the region.

He also reiterated that the views expressed by Iran's defense minister are the official position of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan blasted his Saudi counterpart Mohammed bin Salman for his comments against Iran, and warned the Riyadh government of Tehran's crushing response in case of making any stupid move.

"We warn them against doing anything ignorant, but if they do something stupid, we will leave nowhere untouched apart from Mecca and Medina,” General Dehqan said in an interview broadcast live on the Arabic-language al-Manar television.

The Iranian Defense Minister's remarks came in reaction to Saudi defense minister's allegations who ruled out ties with Iran after Tehran announced the possibility of de-escalation of tensions if Riyadh halts its war against Yemen.

General Dehqan reiterated that if the Saudis do anything stupid, the Iranian army will hit back and destroy the entire kingdom, excluding Mecca and Medina.

Full report at:

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001041

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Iraq: Seven activists, who were kidnapped, freed in Baghdad

10 May 2017

Seven civil society activists, who were kidnapped in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, have now been freed, the country’s interior ministry said on Wednesday.

So far there are no further details.

Security sources and a civil society leader told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday that armed men have kidnapped seven young Iraqi anti-corruption activists in central Baghdad.

“Unidentified gunmen in SUVs abducted seven university students early Monday morning,” an interior ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The activists were energetic in peaceful protests against corruption. Some other activists see the kidnapping as a political tool to drain off the protest movement.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/-Iraq-Seven-activists-who-were-kidnapped-freed-in-Baghdad.html

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Iraq: Asayish forces charged for expelling the displaced from Kirkuk

9 May 2017

Human Rights Watch accused authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Kirkuk, of forcing the displaced Sunni Turkmen to leave the city and called on them to “stop annoying them.”

The affected population said that the Asayish (Internal Security) forces of the Iraqi KRG had confiscated their identity cards, ration cards and abused them with the intention of forcing them to return to cities under the control of “Shiite units” under the Iraqi government’s popular staffing forces.

Two days ago, the organization mentioned in the investigation that several citizens said that the Asayish forces arrested them arbitrarily for several hours and in some cases beat them to force them to leave the city.

Iraqi Kurdistan government denies

In a written response to Human Rights Watch’s investigation, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government denied giving the displaced a deadline to leave Kirkuk, which is a key city in so-called ‘disputed territories’ between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

He also denied that any religious or ethnic groups, including Turkmens, had faced any discrimination but said that, based on a decision by the local authorities, “refugees whose lands were liberated a few months or a year ago. Would be assisted to return to their original places of residence.”

According to Human Rights Watch, after an attack by the state organization in Kirkuk on October 21, 2016, KRG authorities forced hundreds of displaced Arab Sunni families to leave the city.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/09/Iraq-Asayish-forces-charged-for-expelling-the-displaced-from-Kirkuk.html

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Saudi invites Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia attend US Islamic Arab summit

9 May 2017

Saudi King Salman has sent messages to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco, Iraqi President Dr. Fuad Masum and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, inviting them to attend Arab, Islamic and United States summit hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair and Saudi Chargé D’Affaires in the countries sent the messages to the nations’ leaders.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/05/09/Saudi-invites-Iraq-Morocco-Pakistan-and-Tunisia-attend-US-Islamic-Arab-summit.html

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Saudi forces kill youth in Qatif

May 10, 2017

Saudi forces have shot dead a youth during a raid on the village al-Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia’s Shia-populated Qatif region.

Nimr Media Network reported that Saudi forces raided the al-Masoura neighborhood of al-Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province and surrounded the entire village for more than three hours.

They reportedly attempted but failed to destroy residential buildings in the village.

According to the report, gunshots were later heard, and at least one young man was killed.

The Shia-populated Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime. Security forces have ramped up security measures across the province.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws so as to also target activism.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/10/521288/Saudi-Arabia-Qatif-alAwamiyah-raid-

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Mideast

 

UAE Prepares for Leaving Saudi-Led Anti-Yemen Coalition

May 09, 2017

According to the Yemeni news website, Naba'a, the UAE is attempting to strengthen its military presence in Yemen by supporting the allied Salafi groups to preserve its influential role in the war-hit country even after leaving the Saudi-led coalition.

Based on the report, Brigade 7 of the forces affiliated to fugitive president Mansour Hadi has given over control of al-Kadhah front's bases to Abu al-Abbas brigades to focus on Moqbenah front in the Southwestern parts of Ta'iz province.

An informed source close to Abu al-Abbas brigades revealed that they have received more weapons and equipment from the UAE in the past two days, adding that they have been sent from Aden and the coalition's command center.

The report came after the German government in April approved more arms sales to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is assisting Saudi Arabia in its deadly military campaign against Yemen.

Berlin had approved the sale of 203,448 detonators for 40-mm mortar shells to the Arab kingdom as well as 134 million dollars worth of armor-plating for military vehicles.

The move indicated that Germany was continuing its policy of supplying arms to countries directly involved in the Middle East conflicts and disregarding the vetting process of the deal for potential humanitarian impact.

“Once again, the government is waving through the delivery of military equipment to a war participant in the [Persian] Gulf region,” the opposition Green Party spokeswoman, Agnieszka Brugger said.

“Instead of finally stopping all arms dealing with the states participating in the bloody war in Yemen, the CDU and SPD [Germany’s governing coalition parties] are ignoring Germany’s arms export guidelines once again,” she added.

Abu Dhabi is a member of the Saudi-led military coalition that has been engaged in a brutal offensive against Yemen since March 2015 with the aim of reinstalling the former Riyadh-allied government.

The deal comes as some seven million Yemenis are facing starvation as a result of the two-year conflict in the country, which has already claimed over 14,100 civilian lives and taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960219001225

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Trump OKs arms for Syrian Kurds despite Turkey’s objection

10 May 2017

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will arm Syria’s Kurdish fighters “as necessary” to recapture the key ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, despite intense opposition from NATO ally Turkey, which sees the Kurds as terrorists.

The decision is meant to accelerate the Raqqa operation but undermines the Turkish government’s view that the Syrian Kurdish group known as the YPG is an extension of a Kurdish terrorist organization that operates in Turkey. Washington is eager to retake Raqqa, arguing that it is a haven for ISIS operatives to plan attacks on the West.

Dana W. White, the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, said in a written statement that President Donald Trump authorized the arms Monday. His approval gives the Pentagon the go-ahead to “equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces as necessary to ensure a clear victory over ISIS” in Raqqa, said White, who was traveling with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Europe.

The US sees the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, as its most effective battlefield partner against ISIS in northern and eastern Syria. White said they’re “the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.”

While White did not mention the kinds of arms to be provided to the Kurds, other officials had indicated in recent days that 120mm mortars, machines guns, ammunition and light armored vehicles were possibilities. They said the US would not provide artillery or surface-to-air missiles.

The officials weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the matter and demanded anonymity. They described no firm timeline, with the American intention to provide the new weapons to the Syrian Kurds as soon as possible. A congressional aide said officials informed relevant members of Congress of the decision on Monday evening.

The Obama administration had been leaning toward arming the Syrian Kurds but struggled with how that could be done without torpedoing relations with Turkey, which is a US ally in NATO and a key political actor in the greater Middle East. The issue has come to a head now because battlefield progress this year has put the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces nearly in position attack ISIS in Raqqa, although they are still attempting to isolate the city.

Even with the extra US weaponry, the Kurds and their Syrian Arab partners are expected to face a difficult and perhaps lengthy fight for control of Raqqa, which has been key to the extremists’ state-building project. Raqqa is far smaller than Mosul, which is still not fully returned to Iraqi control after months of combat.

Senior US officials including Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have met repeatedly with Turkish officials to try to work out an arrangement for the Raqqa assault that would be acceptable to Ankara.

The Turks have insisted that the Syrian Kurds be excluded from that operation, but US officials insisted there was no real alternative.

In her statement, White said the US prioritizes its support for the Arab elements of the SDF.

“We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey,” she said. “We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the US is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally.”

Other officials said Trump’s authorization includes safeguards intended to reassure the Turks that the additional US weaponry and equipment will not be used by the Kurds in Turkey. The intent is to restrict the distribution and use of the weaponry by permitting its use for specific battlefield missions and then requiring the Kurds to return it to US control.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to visit President Donald Trump in Washington next week. An Erdogan adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, met on Tuesday with Thomas Shannon, the State Department No. 2 official.

And in Denmark earlier Tuesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he had useful discussions with Turkey and described the two countries as working out differences over a US alliance with Syrian Kurds in fighting ISIS militants.

“That’s not to say we all walk into the room with exactly the same appreciation of the problem or the path forward,” Mattis told reporters after meeting with officials from more than a dozen nations also fighting ISIS. Basat Ozturk, a senior Turkish defense official, participated.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Trump-OKs-arms-for-Syrian-Kurds-despite-Turkey-s-objection.html

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Houthi minister quits after she was ‘beaten up by militias’

10 May 2017

Alia al-Shaabi, the human rights minister of the Houthi cabinet, submitted her resignation after gunmen affiliated with Houthi militias assaulted her.

According to well-informed sources, Shaabi and her son were assaulted by Houthi gunmen while she was reviewing the work of the Criminal Investigation Department in Sanaa to check on the situation of detainees in rebels’ prisons.

This is not the first time Houthis attack ministers and officials. A week ago, Houthi members attacked Hisham Sharaf, the minister of foreign affairs in the rebels’ cabinet. Sharaf, who supports ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, was attacked because they wanted to prevent him from entering the ministry of planning after the prime minister of the coup cabinet assigned him to perform its tasks.

Yasser al-Awadi, a member of Saleh’s party, the General People’s Congress, was the minister of planning, and he had resigned from his post due to the Houthis’ interferences in his jurisdictions.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Houthi-minister-quits-after-she-was-beaten-up-by-militias-.html

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Houthis ‘kidnap and torture’ 36 civilians on trial in Yemen’s Sanaa

10 May 2017

Thirty-six Yemeni civilians were tortured by Houthi militias after they forcibly disappeared two years ago, human rights organizations reported on Tuesday.

A joint statement issued by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and the Yemeni SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said the 36 civilians were inhumanly treated during the time of their disappearance, adding they are currently being tried by a court that violates the standards of a fair trial..

According to the statement, the 36 detainees showed marks of torture on their bodies during their first trial in Sanaa.

Some of them said they were tortured into making false confessions.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Houthis-kidnap-and-torture-36-civilians-on-trial-in-Yemen-s-Sanaa.html

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Yemen: Saleh exposes the Houthis and plans to retake Sanaa

9 May 2017

Ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Chairman of the General People’s Congress, has given the green light to his media to discredit Houthi militia leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi and expose him to Yemeni citizens.

The move came following reports pointed to Abdulmalik al-Houthi’s intention to kill Saleh, so he instructed Houthi media to work on the distraction of the charge of assassinating Saleh at the hands of the militias.

Informed sources in Sana’a said that Saleh has, during a recent meeting with a number of members of the General People’s Congress, threatened to sell al-Houthi to the Arab coalition if his demands were not met, describing Houthis as extremists.

Saleh also gave the green light to Yemen al-Youm TV channel to discredit Houthis as well as host its opponents and victims and expose it before the Yemeni citizens.

He also chose to expose the militia’s relationship with Iran and how it sold the country to Tehran cheaply, in addition to the assertion that Houthis are just a band of thieves seeking spoils, ministerial positions and funds - which is a clear sign that he is ready to fight the militia if he has a deal from whatever party to stop the war.

Full report at:

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/05/09/Yemen-Saleh-exposes-the-Houthis-and-plans-to-retake-Sanaa.html

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Israel main obstacle to Middle East free of nuclear weapons: Iran

May 9, 2017

The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned the international community of the major threat posed by the Israeli regime's nuclear arsenal to global peace and security, urging the creation of a Middle East region without nukes.

“The Israeli regime, with the indiscriminate support of the US, is the main obstacle to the establishment of a Middle East region free of nuclear weapons,” Reza Najafi said in an address to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Tuesday.

He added that the elimination of nuclear arms is of particular importance in the Middle East, where the “nuclear weapons of the Israeli regime are a matter of concern and a serious threat to regional and international peace and security.”

The Iranian envoy to the UN nuclear agency emphasized that if a nuclear-weapon-free zone is declared and established in the Middle East, the Israeli regime would have no choice but to accede to the NPT and to eliminate all its nuclear arsenal.

He said if the Tel Aviv regime is stripped of its nuclear arsenal, it will lose its main tool for bullying, aggression, oppression, intimidation, and expansionist policies in the region.

He added that the only way for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East is for the international community to exert sustained pressure on Israel in order to compel it to accede, promptly and unconditionally, to the NPT and to place all of its nuclear activities and installations under complete IAEA safeguards.

Israel, which pursues a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear weapons, is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. The regime has refused to allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or sign the NPT.

Najafi said Iran supports the idea of building a region without nukes, adding that the Islamic Republic’s membership at many disarmament treaties and conventions as well as its close cooperation with the IAEA indicate Tehran’s full compliance with non-proliferation and a Middle East without any nuclear weapons.

The envoy urged the 2020 Review Conference to prioritize the consideration of the issue of a nuke-free Mideast and agree on concrete steps for the speedy implementation of all previous resolutions in this regard.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/09/521236/Iran-Israel-IAEA-Reza-Najafi-NPT-Review-Conference

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Iran entitled to destroy terrorists’ hideout in Pakistan: commander

May 9, 2017

A senior Iranian military commander says the country reserves the right to destroy the lairs of terrorists in Pakistan following a recent terrorist crime against Iranian border guards serving on the country’s southeastern frontier.

“The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran condemn such measures and if the Pakistani government does not take serious measures, they (Iranian forces) reserve the absolute and legal right to resolutely counter and destroy the lairs of terrorists however deep inside the neighboring country’s soil,” Iranian Army’s Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said on Tuesday.

He added that Iranian Armed Forces would spare no efforts to safeguard the country’s security.

The commander said the terrorist attack near the town of Mirjaveh against the Iranian border guards, who were confident of Pakistan controlling its border areas based on the border protocols, lacked any operational value and was not regarded as a success but “indicated the weakness of Pakistan.”

On April 26, 11 Iranian border guards were killed in clashes near Mirjaveh in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-and-Baluchestan. The so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was launched from the Pakistani soil. The assailants escaped into Pakistani territory immediately after the attack.

In a telephone conversation with Pakistani Federal Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called on Pakistan to take swift measures to improve security along its borders with Iran.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/09/521215/Iran-Pakistan-Ground-Forces-Ahmad-Reza-Pourdastan-Mirjaveh

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Turkey must inform Iran of any border wall construction: Source

May 9, 2017

An informed source at the Iranian Foreign Ministry says Turkey must keep Iran updated on any construction of a wall along the two countries’ border.

The source added on Tuesday that Iran welcomes Turkey’s plan and does not oppose it; however, Ankara must notify Tehran before any move.

The Iranian official further said the Islamic Republic has no problem with Turkey adopting a new measure in the Iranian-Turkish border as part of what Ankara describes as security strategies.

The source added that the construction of the wall would prevent smuggling of billions of dollars of goods from Turkey to Iran and expressed hope the plan would be implemented as soon as possible.

A high-level Turkish official told Hürriyet daily on Monday that Ankara plans to build a wall on its border with Iran to prevent Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants from entering the country from a camp in Iran.

This as Iran is also fighting a PKK offshoot in its northwestern border region with Turkey. Iranian forces killed five PJAK terrorists in an ambush there last June.

PJAK randomly carries out hit-and-run attacks on Iranian targets, after which they retreat to their lairs in Iraq and Turkey.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/09/521202/Iran-Turkey-Foreign-Ministry-Kurdistan-Workers-Party-PKK-border-wall-Hrriyet

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Turkey to play role in battle for Raqqah: Pentagon chief

May 9, 2017

US Defense Secretary James Mattis says the United States will work with Turkey to liberate the Daesh-held northeastern Syrian city of Raqqah.

"Our intent is to work with the Turks, alongside one another to take Raqqah down," Mattis said on Tuesday while speaking at a news conference following an anti-Daesh summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"We are going to sort it out and figure out how we are going to do it, but we are all committed to it,” he added.

The US military has said that talks are underway with Turkey on the role Ankara might play in the operation to liberate Raqqah, which Daesh has held for more than two years.

Last month, Turkish fighter jets bombed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces in Syria fighting against Daesh militants, drawing rebuke from the US State Department and the Pentagon.

Turkey says YPG fighters are linked to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants, who have killed more than 40,000 people in Turkey since 1984.

The Turkish military said the April 25 attacks centered on Mount Sinjar in Iraq and Mount Karakoc in Syria.

The strike in Syria reportedly hit the area, where the headquarters of the US-backed YPG forces are located, killing and wounding an unspecified number of fighters.

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militants have largely surrounded Raqqah and are expected to begin an offensive soon. It is not yet clear what role the YPG militia will play in the operation.

US military provides air support members of the SDF - a Kurdish-dominated and anti-Damascus alliance.

"The tactical activities on the ground -- I don't want to go into details right now," Mattis said.

"We examined the enemy situation and discussed the next steps to make sure we are all on the same sheet of music. We are going to further accelerate this fight," Mattis said after the Copenhagen summit.

This is despite the fact that Washington has stressed that any US- or Turkish-backed military offensive against Raqqah must be coordinated with the Syrian government otherwise it would be illegitimate.  

Washington currently has about 500 Special Operations troops in Syria. However, their activities have been limited to what the Pentagon describes as training and assisting Kurdish forces in their battle against Daesh and other terrorist groups.

The Pentagon has said more US troops might be needed in Syria to step up their so-called campaign against Daesh.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/09/521249/Turkey-to-play-role-in-battle-for-Raqqah-Pentagon-chief

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Europe

 

Turkey death penalty referendum not allowed in Germany: Merkel

May 9, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Turkish citizens living in Germany will not be allowed to vote in a potential Turkish plebiscite on restoring the capital punishment in the Anatolian country, amid tensions between Berlin and Ankara.

Merkel, who was speaking to the public broadcaster WDR on Tuesday, said Berlin would not authorize Turkish consulates and embassies in the European country to be used as polling stations on reinstating in Turkey the death penalty, which is totally banned in all the European Union member states, echoing what her spokesman said a week earlier.

"We will not give permission for something we are not obligated to do, and whose content we absolutely reject, for example, the death penalty," she stated, adding, "We usually don't answer hypothetical questions, but this question is unfortunately, unfortunately not so hypothetical as it is being discussed in Turkey."

Turkey formally abolished the death penalty in 2004 as a key facilitator for its bid to join the EU. However, on March 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that he would seek to reinstate the measure “without any hesitation” after the April 16 referendum on expanding presidential powers, saying the measure would be revived if parliament submitted a proposal or if the measure was backed in a referendum.

His remarks, however, drew harsh criticism from EU officials, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying the next day that any return of the capital punishment in Turkey would be a “red line” in Ankara's stalled EU membership bid.

Merkel is by no means alone in rejecting Ankara's request to hold a referendum on death penalty on German soil for some 1.4 million Turkish legitimate voters, by far the largest Turkish diaspora community in the world. She received support even from Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democratic Party and her main challenger in September elections.

“We cannot allow voting in Germany on an instrument that contradicts our values and our constitution,” Schulz said.

Turkey has attempted to become part of the EU for decades. Formal EU accession negotiations, however, began in 2005. The process has been mired in problems, and only 16 chapters of the 35-chapter accession procedure have been opened for Ankara so far.

A month ahead of Turkey's April 16 referendum, Germany blocked campaign events by Turkish ministers, generating an unprecedented row between Ankara and Berlin. The EU also expressed its deep concern over the outcome of the plebiscite, weeks before voting. Berlin, however, allowed the Turkish citizens in Germany to take part in the constitutional referendum, in which Erdogan's ‘Yes’ campaign won by a very low margin. Erdogan declared victory in the vote, but opponents said the referendum was deeply flawed. 

Relations between Ankara and the European Union have further deteriorated following the coup attempt of mid-July 2016 against Erdogan, which Ankara claims to have been organized by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The EU has censured the large-scale imprisonment and dismissals of people in the wake of the failed coup.

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/09/521208/Germany-Angela-Merkel-referendum-death-penalty-Turkey-Recep-Tayyip-Erdogan-EU

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Syria: Islamic State Claims to Behead Russian Colonel

9 May 2017

Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists in Syria, where the Russian military is fighting on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, have published a video purporting to show the decapitation of an alleged Russian colonel, reports the SITE intelligence group that monitors jihadi activity online.

SITE notes, “The Islamic State (IS) released a Russian-language video from Furat Media declaring the group’s successes against Russian forces and showing the beheading of a Russian colonel identified as Evgeny Petrenko.”

The Islamic State “details the group’s successes against #Russia” in Syria where the Kremlin has been supported the Assad regime since September 2015, writes Rita Katz, director of SITE, on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Russian defense ministry has dismissed as false the allegations that a Russian service member has been captured and beheaded by ISIS in Syria.

“The 12-minute Russian-language video, released on the day Russia celebrated the anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany with military parades, showed the man dressed in a black jump suit kneeling in a desert scene and urging other Russian agents to surrender,” reports the Foreign Desk (FD).

“This idiot believed the promises of his state not to abandon him if he was captured,” a narrator in the gruesome video reportedly says before a bearded soldier beheaded the prisoner.

The Foreign Desk acknowledges that authorities cannot verify the date of the incident and the identity of the victim.

ISIS has threatened to attack Russia before, claiming to have carried out some attacks within the nation’s borders already. Many jihadists from the Muslim-majority of the Republic of Chechnya, an autonomous province in Russia, have traveled to join ISIS and other jihadists in the Middle East.

The Kremlin has expressed concern about the return of battled-hardened Russian jihadists as ISIS is increasingly pushed out of its ever-shrinking caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Russia is the top non-predominantly Muslim country whose citizens have become jihadists fighting for ISIS and other terrorist groups. It is the only non-predominantly Muslim country on the list.

The Kremlin often downplays the Islamic terror threat facing its country.

“In comments cited by Russian news agencies, the defense ministry said all Russian forces in Syria were accounted for and continuing the ‘struggle against international terrorism,’” reports FD. “There was no immediate response from the FSB security service.”

Full report at:

breitbart.com/jihad/2017/05/09/syria-islamic-state-claims-to-behead-russian-colonel/

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Germany arrests two suspected Syria Takfiri militants

May 9, 2017

German security officials have arrested two Syrians suspected of fighting for Takfiri terrorists in the country amid growing concerns about the backlash of Western-sponsored militancy in Europe.

Federal prosecutors said 30-year-old Abdulmalk A. and 23-year-old Mousa H. A. were arrested in Berlin on Tuesday based on warrants issued last week.

Both men allegedly joined the al-Nusra Front, now called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, in 2012 to fight against the Syrian government, with Abdulmalk A. being appointed as the commander of a unit in eastern Syria.

Prosecutors said Abdulmalk A. is also accused of committing a war crime, saying the man “captured a sniper of the Syrian regime in spring 2013 near the city of Tabqa, forced him to dig his own grave and cut his throat.”

Abdulmalk A. allegedly joined Daesh in mid-2013 and was put in charge of the Euphrates dam near the city of Tabqa, prosecutors pointed out.

Germany has been on high alert since July 2016, when a spate of attacks killed 15 people, including four attackers, and left dozens injured.

In December 2016, a Tunisian man drove a truck into a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. Daesh claimed responsibility for the assault.

Germany's domestic security and intelligence agency, BfV, warned recently that Takfirism is spreading in the country.

According to a recent study by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism based in The Hague, four European Union member states - Belgium, Britain, France and Germany - have been branded as the largest source of European militants fighting in Syria and Iraq

The four European countries contributed to the militancy in Iraq and Syria by having 2,838 of their nationals traveling to those countries for joining terror groups, the study said.

That is more than half of a total of 4,294 foreign fighters who have left the EU member states for those two Arab countries over the past few years.

The independent think-tank, which has used data supplied by 26 EU countries, said that about 30 percent of those European militants have since returned home, while about 14 percent were killed on the battlefield. It said 17 percent of the group were women, and up to 23 percent were converts to Islam. Most of those militants came from urban areas or peripheral suburbs of the European cities.

Full report at:

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/09/521204/Germany-Syria-Daesh-Takfiri-militant

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Germany urges political solution in Libya

10 May 2017

Finding a political solution to the crisis in Libya is key to addressing the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a joint news conference alongside Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in Berlin, Gabriel underlined that setting up refugee camps in Libya, as suggested by several EU member states, was “unthinkable” under current conditions.

“We can neither guarantee the security of people there, nor we can meet the standards required by the UN,” he said.

“What is necessary is to find political solutions in Libya, only in this way we can achieve stability in the country, and also reduce migrant flows from the Mediterranean to Europe,” he added.

Gabriel urged international unity in encouraging conflict parties in Libya to agree on a political solution, and criticized several countries for only pursuing their particular interests in Libya. He did not name the countries.

Lamamra hailed the close political dialogue between Algeria and Germany, and said Germany was an important partner for peaceful solution of conflicts in the region and in the fight against terrorism.

Algeria’s key neighbor Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power.

Full report at:

worldbulletin.net/europe/189264/germany-urges-political-solution-in-libya

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Germany: Soldier arrested in far-right terror plot

09 May 2017

German police on Tuesday arrested a second soldier in connection with a far-right terror cell within the army suspected of plotting a major terror attack.

Maximilian T., 27, was arrested on suspicion of helping fellow suspects -- lieutenant Franco A. and student Mathias F. -- in planning a serious attack which would have targeted a senior politician or a public figure.

It is thought this attack would be intended to influence the government’s migration and refugee policy, a Federal Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman told a news conference in Karlsruhe.

Lieutenant Franco A., and his friend Mathias F., were arrested late last month after police discovered the lieutenant had been living a double life for more than a year as a Syrian refugee under a fake name.

Frauke Koehler said the suspects were believed to have been planning a serious act of violence which they could then blame on refugees.

She confirmed the names of former President Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas were on a list of potential targets prepared by the suspects.

Franco A., a suspected far-right extremist, caught the attention of the authorities in February, when he tried to hide a pistol in a restroom at Vienna International Airport in Austria. 

At that time, he was briefly arrested but later released by the Austrian authorities.

During searches at the suspects’ apartments last month police found 1,000 rounds of ammunition from army stocks.

Far-right groups have viewed the German government's open-door policy for refugees as a national security threat.

Since 2015, Germany received more than 1.1 million refugees, mostly Syrians and Iraqis, who were forced to flee their homes due to conflict.

The foiled terror plot has sparked a public debate in Germany about poor oversight within the army and a lack of strong penalties against far-right extremists convicted of crimes.

Full report at:

worldbulletin.net/europe/189249/gunmen-net-thousands-in-paris-store-heist

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South Asia

 

Afghan Blast Kills 8 Seminary Children, Chief Cleric

May 10, 2017

Kabul - A bomb blast inside a seminary in Parwan province of Afghanistan on Tuesday killed eight children and a senior cleric, Afghan media said.

Deputy governor Shah Wali Shahid said that the head of the Parwan clerical council, Mawlavi Abdul Rahim Hanafi, was assassinated in the explosion.

The explosives were detonated as soon as the students gathered in the classroom. Denouncing the act as a ‘terrorist attack’, Shahid said that Hanafi was the main target of the bombing which occurred at the madrassa in Charakar. He further said that an investigation is underway to determine how the bomb was brought into the classroom.

Officials have claimed that several others too were wounded in the explosion. However, no group has still claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban had announced the start of their spring offensive in April, while threatening to step up attacks across the country.

Meanwhile, Afghan security forces are battling Taliban insurgents blocking a main route into the northern city of Kunduz with improvised explosives, officials said on Tuesday, as fears grew local residents could be forced to flee the city.

Heavy fighting has been underway for days around Kunduz, a city that the Taliban have twice come close to capturing in recent years, and government reinforcements included Special Forces units rushed to the province to bolster defences.

"A fight is going on between Afghan forces and the enemy around Kunduz city," said defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish, adding that three operations were underway. "We have the capacity and enough reinforcements to tackle them," he said.

The heavy fighting, which follows the start of the Taliban's spring offensive last month, has underlined warnings of another difficult year for Afghan forces. They suffered 6,785 killed last year and control only around 60 percent of the country. President Donald Trump is expected to announce an increase in US troop numbers as part of an overall review of United States' strategy in Afghanistan in the coming days.

Officials sought to reassure residents that they had the situation under control, mindful of the chaos that ensued last year when thousands of people fled Kunduz after insurgents seized the town centre. But with fighting coming closer to the city centre, there were growing fears of a repeat."This is the third time that government neglect has left people in fear and terror," said provincial council member Mohammad Yousuf Ayobi by telephone. He said homes, farms and animals had been abandoned by people caught on the front line.

"Fighting is threatening them at any moment," he said. "People in Kunduz are ready to leave the city as soon as they can." Although officials say security forces are pushing back, it was also clear they face a difficult fight with the Taliban, who control much of the countryside around Kunduz and who last week took the district of Qala-i-Zal, just to the northwest of the city on the border with Tajikistan.Mahfouz Akbari, a spokesman for police in eastern Afghanistan, said the insurgents had concentrated much of their strength on Khanabad, another district they control, located on the opposite side of the city to the southeast. "The enemy has planted bombs everywhere and it has caused the operation to go slowly," he said. However he said that most parts of the highway leading from Khanabad into Kunduz had been cleared and districts that had been lost would be retaken.

However there was growing disillusion among local people caught up in yet another round of fighting."I left my village four days ago now," said Noor Mohammad, a resident of Qala-i-Zal, speaking by telephone. "My house is unlocked and my livestock and farm is also left behind. I hope the government can either leave the province to the Taliban or to win full control from the Taliban so we can live here without tension."

nation.com.pk/national/10-May-2017/afghan-blast-kills-8-seminary-children-chief-cleric

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Bangladesh cleric critical after cleaver attack

May 09 2017

Three men stormed a mosque in Bangladesh and attacked a cleric from the Ahmadi minority Muslim community with cleavers, leaving him critically injured, police said yesterday.

The men attacked the mosque in the remote village of Khanpur in northern Bangladesh on Monday shortly after the evening call for prayer and set upon Mustafizur Rahman, district police chief Syed Nurul Islam said.

“He was hacked at least four times including in his neck and near the back of his stomach. The cut in the neck was very deep,” he said, adding the 32-year-old was in hospital in Dhaka and in a critical condition.

Villagers caught and beat one of the men. But police said it was not clear whether those responsible belonged to the Islamist extremist groups behind a wave of attacks on religious minorities and foreigners in mainly Sunni Muslim Bangladesh.

Last year a suicide blast by a suspected Islamist extremist at an Ahmadi mosque in the northwestern town of Bagmara wounded three people.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the authorities blamed the homegrown militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which is accused of killing scores of religious minorities including Hindus, Christians, Sufi Muslims and Shias.

Since that attack police have stepped up security in Khanpur, which is home to around a dozen Ahmadi families.

Community spokesman Ahmad Tabshir Choudhury said they had faced protests from Sunni Muslim villagers in recent months and when they set up the mosque.

Analysts say Islamist militants pose a growing danger in conservative Bangladesh and that a long-running political crisis has radicalised opponents of the government.

There are around 100,000 Ahmadis in Bangladesh, where they have faced attacks in the past and are often barred from setting up mosques.

The worst such attack was in October 1999, when a bomb ripped through a Ahmadi mosque in southern city of Khulna, killing at least eight worshippers.

Full report at:

gulf-times.com/story/547476/Bangladesh-cleric-critical-after-cleaver-attack

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Ahmed Hashim Ullah: Being a Rohingya Refugee in Bangladesh and Canada

May 10, 2017

Ahmed Hashim Ullah is a Rohingya refugee living in Kitchener-Waterloo. He and a number of other Rohingya refugee youth worked with Yusuf Zine to develop the play I Am Rohingya. They are currently crowdfunding to raise enough funds to develop the story behind the making of the play into a documentary.

Muslim Link had an opportunity to interview Ahmed about his journey as a Rohingya refugee from Bangladesh to Canada. This is a harrowing story of violence, despair, and multiple failures of systems in Bangladesh and Canada that should protect and support vulnerable refugees.

Although grateful for the safety he has found here, Ahmed is also critical of Canadian social services’ failure to properly support refugees with mental health issues and the placing of refugee children in foster care.

Ultimately, the story of Ahmed and his family is a story of resilience and one family’s struggle to stay together against all odds.

How do you feel about the fact that many people even know that there are Rohingya living in Canada

Yea so many people don’t even know the name Rohingya. I don’t blame them if the Canadian government doesn’t talk about it enough. I can’t blame someone else for not knowing who my people are. I can’t put that burden on someone else.

People are only talking about the Rohingya refugee crisis now, but there has been a problem even before recent events.

Yes, since 1982 and even before then. In ’82 is when Rohingya started fleeing the country, a lot of people were moving out. A law was passed that denied the Rohingya Burmese citizenship. You didn’t hear about it a lot like now because back then there wasn’t social media and no one had phones to cover it.

Today, because of social media, the story of the Rohingya is getting out there. Individuals in the Canadian community and lots of other communities around the world are trying to help us, but their governments are not doing anything.

What is your understanding of the conflict in Burma?

Burmese Buddhists are the dominant group but in the state of Rakine in Burma, Rohingya are one of the largest ethnic groups. That is where a lot of the violence is happening. I know Rohingya refugees who saw their mothers and sisters raped, their fathers killed in front of them. People in Canada think that everyone who is Buddhist is peaceful and can never be violent but that’s not true. People in Burma are using the religion of Buddhism to justify violence against Muslims. But not every Buddhist is bad. I’m not going to put that on every single one of them, because people say if there’s a Muslim person who’s a terrorist it doesn’t mean every Muslim is a terrorist, right? I’m going to say 90% of the Buddhist people in Burma want to help the Rohingya but they can’t because in the process they will be killed as well.

Aung San Suu Kyi gave my people so much hope in the beginning when she was elected. But you know, politicians they promise you a lot before they get elected, but then they get elected and you see who they really are. She told my people that she would save us, that she would help us get our citizenship. But after she got elected, she has made laws trying to erase us and say that we don’t belong in Burma.

How did your family end up fleeing to Bangladesh?

They were forced to leave the country. I still have family in Burma but my family started to leave in 1982. My father’s part of the family was very wealthy but my mother’s family weren’t that rich. One of my aunts, my mother’s oldest sister, got killed by the Burmese. My mom’s family, some of them left and some of them stayed because they didn’t want to move to a different country and become poor.

My father was really in love with my mom and moved to Bangladesh for that reason. My grandmother was sick and she didn’t come to Bangladesh because she said she wanted to die where she was born. My grandfather went back to her. She died of a heart attack, and he got killed by a Buddhist so I never met my grandparents.

My parents slowly moved into the United Nations (UN) refugee camp in Bangladesh. At first they lived just outside of it, but nothing was provided by the UN if you were not living in the camp. My mother was married when she was 12 years old.  My mother had me in 1993 when she was only 13 years and 13 days old! But in 1994 the Bangladeshi government did not want us living there anymore. They attacked us and we refused to go. That’s when the UN started working more to help us.

A man who wanted to marry my mother made a fake statement about my dad and then forced my mother into a marriage. This man was actually like the mayor of the refugee camp, the UN gave this man all the power in the camp so he was able to get my father arrested and force my mother to marry him. My dad committed suicide while he was in jail.

People often assume that when things are controlled by the UN that everything is safe but it’s not true.

No, it’s not true and when I think about what happened to my dad I don’t blame the Bangladeshi government or the Buddhists in Burma, I blame the UN for putting the wrong people in power in our refugee camp.

Before my father committed suicide, he couldn’t urinate anymore. They beat him so much, they cut off his ears. We wanted to bring him home, give him a prayer and bury him properly in the graveyard. In order to get his body, we had to sell everything we owned. We had to pay around $23,000 of our money. We sold our cooking pots, our clothes, everything.

They beat my father with nun-chucks. My uncle kept those as a memory of my father being beaten with them. My mom was diagnosed with mental illness a few months after my father died. I was about 7 years old when my aunt and uncle took care of me for a little bit but I had to work for them. They would get me to go in the jungle for firewood; they made me do child labour so that we could get food for the family. I became a fisherman at the age of 8 years old. I would wake up at 4 in the morning and go with people to find fish with nets. We used to go on the Burmese side and their military would force us to go on the Bangladeshi side, since we would go there illegally. Technically Burma is my country, but they don’t recognize us so if we fish there they consider it illegal. The military would push us back and would try to shoot us if they could. If you’re shot, you’ll probably die.

I used to make good money. It was enough for buying food for my family and also to have a good life there. With the money I earned, I would make sure my mother was fed because the man who forced her to marry him wasn’t supporting her. My mother’s husband used to beat her. He had many other wives. He was above the law.  People would guard his house every night. My mom, even though she had mental health issues, would stand against him. She used to get beat in front of me.

I would get beaten too so sometimes I would run away. I would find work in the city. I got a job at a coffee shop, when I was about 9 years old.  I’d work from 4 in the morning to 12 at night. I would only sleep for 4 hours or I didn’t sleep at all. I used to sleep in people’s cars and then go back to work. Another time I ran away, I worked as a car assistant, washing cars and collecting money.

I guess you could say I never really had a childhood.

How did your family end up coming to Canada?

I came here to Canada when I was 12 years old.

I kept running away from my mother’s husband’s violence but I faced problems because I was getting kidnapped. People sometimes kidnapped poor kids and refugee kids to take our kidneys or to sell us to people in other countries. I always escaped but one time I ended up almost starving to death. I hadn’t eaten for almost two weeks. I was just lying on the ground waiting to die. Someone eventually helped me but in the end they didn’t do it because they cared, they also wanted to do something bad with me. So I escaped again. The last time I was kidnapped was a few days before coming to Canada.

Luckily, Allah didn’t want me to suffer anymore. He brought me here.

How did that happen? How did your family get chosen to come to Canada?

Because of my mother’s mental illness. When the UN were choosing people to come to Canada, they saw my mother was suffering and that my sister and I were suffering. Someone felt bad about what was happening to my family and they put our names on the list. They saw that we were desperately needing help and assistance. Someone was kind try to help us by putting our names on a list.

We arrived in Windsor, Ontario. But that’s when we faced another problem, something we never thought could happen, we were taken from our mother and put into foster care. My mother, even though she had mental illness, she raised us. She is our mother; we wanted to live with her. Here in Canada, they said she has a mental illness so she can’t raise us. They said she’s not a fit parent. The second day after we arrived in Canada, we got separated from our mom and we didn’t see her for about two months. Can you imagine how scary that was for all of us? All of my siblings grew up in foster care.

So, even though your family lives in safety her in Canada, in reality your family has been torn apart here?

Yes. And the Canadian system is very unfair, because they say my mother is an unfit parent, any child she has will be taken away from her. I have a new little brother now who is going to be up for adoption by this system. They said I can’t look after him since I’m now living with my mother and she can’t live with him. I want to keep my brother in our family but I cannot abandon my mother.

You might see me smiling, you might see me having fun, but nobody ever realizes that there is something inside me that is burning. There is a wound that can’t be fixed. This Canadian system is making my family suffer, it’s making me suffer. They have broken us up. Honestly, part of me feels that if I knew all of this was going to happen I would have never come to Canada.

When we were put in foster care, it was bad because the foster parents didn’t know anything about our language, our culture, or our religion. It was so difficult for us as Rohingya, as Muslims, as children who were new in the country, as children who had been separated from our mother.

One thing I’m happy about, even though I don’t have my family together, I know they’re being fed; they’re being taken care of. That’s the one thing I’m happy about. That’s the one thing I don’t regret even though I know I’m suffering and I’m not happy that we are separated. But I’m happy for my siblings. My sister finally got into university. She comes over every day. I see my brother about once a week.

How did your family get back together again?

My sister and my brother are still in foster care. After I turned 18, I moved in with my mom. My youngest brother is up for adoption. It really hurts me that my family is not together.

Sometimes, I couldn’t even think in school because of everything that was happening. But I have managed to continue with my studies.

Do you think that mental health service providers have a problem knowing how to support refugees who have experienced so much trauma like you and your mother?

Yes. When I’m telling my story to them I feel like I’m talking to a doll that won’t talk back to me. And what’s the point of telling someone a story that they are not going to understand?

Explain how you got involved with the “I Am Rohingya” Play

For me, I always had a dream to be an actor. Zainab is the coordinator for Muslim Social Services in Kitchener and she reached out to me and other Rohingya youth to do counselling about not doing drugs. The idea for the play grew out of our discussions. I really wanted to do a play.

All of us Rohingya youth knew each other from back home.

I think Muslim Social Services had about a $500 budget from the City of Kitchener as funding. So then I said let’s make a play about Rohingya people so people could know who my people are. Some of the kids didn’t believe in the idea at first but it was team work that made it successful.

After that we voted and the decision came together to work on the play. I never took acting classes or anything but it came naturally to me and I taught the kids how to do scenes and stuff. And you’ll see that when the documentary comes out. We just kept working. Yusuf Zine taught us a lot. It was not serious at first but then when there was a camera involved and there was a stage involved, then it all came to life.

The play is the greatest accomplishment we have ever done for our community in Kitchener.

Before the play came out, parents in the Rohingya community didn’t talk to each other. Kids didn’t really talk to each other much either. Every time they’d drop off their kids and have to wait to pick them up, they started talking and making friends because their kids were talking to each other and the parents had no other choice but to talk to each other. The play brought people together.

Do you feel that doing the play has been more therapeutic than counselling?

When I’m on stage acting what my parents have lived, or telling the story of how my friends died back home, it’s like a nightmare for me. But still it shows me that I’m doing something good and that I’m using my time wisely and that one way ticket that I got to come to Canada, I’m using it wisely.

So you feel in some way, given all the problems you’ve had in Canada that at least you feel like this has made it worthwhile because now you can get your people’s story out. It’s a Rohingya telling the story now.

Full report at:

muslimlink.ca/in-focus/ahmed-hashim-ullah-rohingya-refugee-canada

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New pictures show aftermath of MOAB bombing on ISIS hideouts in Afghanistan

May 10 2017

New pictures have emerged from the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan showing the aftermath of an airstrike involving GBU-43 bombing, also known as Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) on ISIS hideouts.

The pictures were released by the provincial government earlier today which shows the massive losses incurred to the ISIS terrorists in Asad Khel area of Achin district.

A destroyed car, bodies of ISIS militants dispersed and still lying across the area, damaged tunnels, and presence of the Afghan security forces are shown in the latest photographs released by the government.

The bomb was dropped around 7:30 pm local time on Thursday, the 13th of April, a move which was widely welcomed by the local residents and tribal elders of Nangarhar.

The commander of the US forces based in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson appeared in a press conference after the airstrike was conducted, saying the use of the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb or Mother of All Bombs in Achin district sent a clear message to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

Gen. Nicholson made the remarks as he was speaking to reports together with the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Kabul on Monday.

“The strike in Achin was to send a very clear message to ISIS. If they come to Afghanistan they will be destroyed,” he said.

Gen. Nicholson further added “We are going to keep going until ISIS-K is defeated in 2017. There is no space for ISIS-K in Afghanistan.”

A number of the tribal elders also appeared in a gathering after the airstrike was conducted and urged for further strikes to clear the province from the presence of ISIS militants.

Full report at:

khaama.com/new-pictures-show-aftermath-of-moab-bombing-on-isis-hideouts-in-afghanistan-02708

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Africa

 

In Benghazi offensive, 11 soldiers fall: Report

May 9, 2017

Eleven soldiers were killed and 55 wounded on day one of an offensive against extremist groups in Benghazi, the news agency loyal to the authorities in eastern Libya said Tuesday.

Forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar on Monday began the attack aimed at ousting extremists from their final two strongholds in Libya's second city.

"There were 11 dead and 55 wounded among the armed forces in different parts of Al-Sabri and the town center," special forces spokesman Colonel Miloud Zouai told the agency.

These forces form part of Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army.

Forces loyal to Haftar, who does not recognize a UN-backed unity government in Tripoli and backs a rival parliament, have retaken most of the coastal city since it was overrun by extremists in 2014.

Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 revolution in which strongman Moamer Gaddafi was toppled and killed.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since the uprising, with rival authorities and militias battling for control of the oil-rich North African country.

Extremist groups in Benghazi, 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) east of Tripoli, include the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, an alliance of terrorists among them suspected members of the Daesh group and the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia.

On Monday, ANL forces advanced in the Al-Sabri district and the Souq al-Hout area adjoining Benghazi's port, where the extremist groups are located.

The news agency quoted an ANL spokesman as saying that "military operations will continue until the city is completely liberated".

It reported the spokesman as saying Tuesday that "the main port of Benghazi in the Souq al-Hout area is now under the control of these forces".

On Monday, pro-Haftar forces bombarded "terrorist groups with great precision", causing "many deaths and injuries", the agency reported without giving numbers.

presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/09/521195/Libya-Benghazi-Haftar

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Association seeks unity among Muslims

May 10, 2017

THE Muslims Community of Lagos State (MCLS) has moved to unite Muslims and Islamic organisations in Lagos State and its environs.

At a meeting in Lagos, a delegation led by its President, Prof. Tajudeen Gbadebo Gbadamosi, met with the executives of Muslims Association of Nigeria (MAN).

Gbadamosi told President of MAN, Alhaji Sulaiman Alabi Yusuf that the meeting was aimed at strengthening contacts to facilitate unity and collaboration in the interest of Muslims in Lagos State.

He added that his delegation had met with other key Muslim organisations on the same mandate.

In an interview with The Nation, Gbadamosi said: “There is so much work to do to ensure that all of us pool our resources together and work in unity on all the issues we want to tackle.

“Because of this, there is need for us to establish one-on-one relationship at all levels and to meet and work together. This is the purpose of our meeting today.

“The MCLS is an umbrella platform and an association for all Muslims in Lagos to come together to address common issues.”

He added: “For example, the organisation wants to address the issue of standard education for all Muslims – whether for men, women, boys and girls – from the primary school to the university. Many of the people we want to focus on are falling by the way side and if this continues, they cannot sustain themselves or contribute to national growth.

“If all the people are educated and enlightened, they can contribute their quota to national growth.”

Gbadamosi said the organisation is a successor to the Nigeria Muslims Council because the latter is defunct.

According to the MCLS boss, his council collaborates with organisations in Lagos State and networks with Muslims Ummah of Southwest of Nigeria (MUSWEN) on their behalf.

On the essence of the meeting, Yusuf said: “From the briefings we had, it is all about the need for all Muslim organisations to come together under one umbrella, the need to unite and collaborate with one another, so that we can have one voice speaking within the Lagos State Muslim community.

“For some years, the idea has been mooted and a council has been established, which is the Lagos State Muslims Community. Now, they are inviting the representatives of MAN to come and be part of the executive council and other committees.

“We have given them our support that we are ready to collaborate with the organisation. The ultimate goal is foster unity so that we can develop the Muslim community.

“Understand is very vital in any organisation and we need to work together to ensure the association’s success.”

“The meeting was a successful one and we assured them we shall collaborate with the organisation.”

Full report at:

thenationonlineng.net/association-seeks-unity-among-muslims/

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Nigeria: Jamiu Ayoade's Life Allegedly Snuffed Out By DPO's Bullet

9 MAY 2017

By Odita Sunday

The incident happened around 7:30p.m. at No, 49 Wosilat Daudu Street, Ijeshatedo. The deceased, Jamiu, had gone to celebrate at a friend's birthday party.

A twenty-five-year-old fashion designer, Jamiu Ayoade, was allegedly shot dead by a trigger-happy Divisional Police Officer (DPO), CSP Muhammed Yakubu, of Ijeshatedo Police Division on Sunday evening. He also injured two persons.

The action of the 'monstrous' police officer has thrown the entire community into mourning. Eyewitnesses yesterday told The Guardian that the DPO and his men stormed the venue of the birthday party in two patrol vans around 6:30p.m. and left after observing what the young man was doing.

It was learnt that a few minutes later, the DPO and his men came back to the venue of the party. "Immediately they arrived the second time, one of the officers accompanying the DPO shot into the air sporadically," an eyewitness said.

The DPO who was sitting in front of one of the patrol vans allegedly alighted and brought out his service pistol, went straight to where Ayoade was sitting close to his girlfriend and shot him on his head at close range.

When The Guardian visited the house where the birthday party took place yesterday, the floor of the house was still stained with the blood of the deceased that gushed out from his head where he was allegedly shot by the DPO. .

Some residents of the street gathered at the scene of the incident weeping and raining curses on the police officer over the gruesome murder of the deceased at his prime.

Elder brother of the birthday celebrant, Mr. Jelili Bakare, said they were surprised at the manner with which Ayoade was killed.He said: "My younger brother, Abubakar Animashaun, was celebrating his birthday with some of his friends in a low-key at our late father's house, when the DPO and his men came around 6:30p.m. The DPO called a woman on the street called Mama Aliyat and they left. Surprisingly, the policemen came back again.

"Where I was sitting, I saw one of the policemen that followed the DPO shoot into the air believing that some of the youths at the party would run, but they stayed back. The DPO, out of anger, came down from his vehicle and went to where Ayoade was sitting in the passage of the house and shot him on the head at close range."

Bakare further said: "After the shooting, the DPO called for reinforcement from other police division in the area and lied to them that the youths were armed with cutlasses and broken bottles. But when his colleagues arrived the scene, they left angrily when they could not see any violent traces.

"The most annoying part of it was that when we went to Itire-Ikate Local Council to lodge our complaint to the council secretary, the DPO also came and said the deceased had been on their wanted list."

The deceased elder brother, Mr. Taofeek Ayoade, said his brother was an easygoing person, who had not visited police station in his life.He said: "What annoyed us most was the allegation of the DPO that my brother had been on their wanted listed. Wanted list for what purpose? We are calling on the Lagos State government and the Commissioner of Police to come to our aid.

Full report at:

allafrica.com/stories/201705090326.html

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Tanzania: Tearful Bye-Bye for Arusha Pupils

9 MAY 2017

By Marc Nkwame

Arusha — The coldness of Arusha, with which the residents of this city have been long accustomed at this time of year, was deepened yesterday, as its residents, grief-stricken sympathisers from elsewhere in Tanzania and beyond the borders, coalesced into one huge family of mourners to bid farewell to 32 pupils who perished in a week-end bus accident in Karatu.

Also snatched by death were the lives of two teachers and the driver of the ill-fated bus that plunged into a ravine at Karatu.

Four major roads were closed to normal traffic to pave the way for the caskets bearing the bodies of the deceased to be ferried from Mount Meru Hospital morgue to Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium where an open farewell mass was conducted.

The venue had been jam-packed by 7.00 am and three hours later, there was hardly spare room onto which a late-comer could squeeze oneself, prompting hundreds of people to become outside-venue participants.

Many women along the route wailed wildly and some of them fainted and others plunged themselves onto muddy pools of water along the route.

The last time that Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium served as a mass funeral venue was in January 2009, for gospel music singer Fanuel Sedekia, who died in Jerusalem in December 2008. He had gone there on a pilgrimage, in the company of a local preacher, Mr Christopher Mwakasege.

In yesterday's funeral, medical personnel had a hard time coping with scores of people - which some estimates put at over 150 - who collapsed and fainted and crowd control taxed police officers and army personnel. Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Bohra religious leaders graced the open air funeral mass which was attended, by among others, several Cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament.

Three of the 32 casualties were buried in Arusha yesterday. The Vice President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, visited and consoled the families of two of them - Adai Lucas Mollel (at Olasiti) and Sabrina Said at Kwa-Mrombo, where the ill-fated Lucky Vincent School is located.

Kwa-Mrombo was one of the most affected parts of the city, as most of the children who died in the accident hailed from there.

Full report at:

allafrica.com/stories/201705090346.html

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