New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 23 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Pakistan SC Rules Schizophrenia 'Not A Mental Disorder' Allowing Mentally Ill Man to Be Executed



















Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hands with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, October 21, 2016. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

 

China Arms Afghan National Army While Engaging In Dialogue with Taliban

Syrian Army Choppers Continue to Drop Surrender-Now Leaflets over Aleppo City

Kerala Truck Driver's Son Top Islamic State ‘Recruiter’, Lures Indians to Afghanistan

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Pakistan

Pakistan SC Rules Schizophrenia 'Not A Mental Disorder' Allowing Mentally Ill Man to Be Executed

ATC Directs Police to Implement Arrest Orders for Imran, Qadri in PTV Attack Case

Educated youth can only secure Pakistan’s future: Army Chief

Sindh Plans Rs400m Project to Protect Temples, Churches

Petition seeking COAS elevation to field marshal dismissed

Centre asked to address KP’s concerns about corridor project

Army support for Balochistan govt assured

Pakistan urged to extend ‘military support’ to Kashmiris

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South Asia

China Arms Afghan National Army While Engaging In Dialogue with Taliban

Afghan Forces Retake Ghormach during an Operation Led By Gen. Dostum

Taliban backed from outside, says Afghan lawmaker

Bangladesh says head of group blamed for cafe siege dead

Pakistan says supporting Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process

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Arab World

Syrian Army Choppers Continue to Drop Surrender-Now Leaflets over Aleppo City

Anti-Daesh Bloc Seeks Post-Battle Mosul Plan

ISIL Jihadists Attack Iraq’s Kirkuk as Mosul Operation Continues

Army Continues Military Advances in Hama Province, Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses

Long Convoy of Terrorists' Vehicles in Idlib Destroyed in Syrian Air Raids

Syrian Army Engages in Fierce Clashes with ISIL East of Aleppo

Terrorists' Armoured Vehicles Receive Severe Blow in Syrian Airstrikes

Terrorist Centres Hit Hard in Syrian Army Attacks across Hama

Iran Condemns Bahraini Regime's Attacks on Al-Wefaq Opposition

Iran Warns of Humanitarian Crisis in Aleppo

More Militants in South-western Damascus Pardoned by Syrian Gov't

Spokesman Condemns ISIL's Killing of 4 Iranian Technicians in Iraq's Kirkuk

Terrorists Refuse Gov't Forces' Call to Give up Fight in Eastern Part of Aleppo

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India

Kerala Truck Driver's Son Top Islamic State ‘Recruiter’, Lures Indians to Afghanistan

Kerala Muslim Jamaath to Organise Meetings against Terrorism

Home Ministry Hires Social Media Adviser to Curb Radicalisation

Kashmiri Pandits rubbish Bhat’s invitation to return to Valley

Hindu, Christian Personal Laws Also ‘Deficient’; UCC Aimed At Targeting Minorities: Rights Groups

Leusipakri’s Muslims Showcase Communal Bonding for Diwali

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Mideast

Pentagon Chief to Stress Iraq Sovereignty in Turkey Talks

Syrian Army Says It Will 'Bring Down' Any Turkish War Planes in Its Airspace

I hit the presidential palace on purpose as part of coup, says Gülen follower pilot

Turkey and Iraq negotiate agreement on Turkish troops in Bashiqa

Erdoğan: I am the enemy of interest rates

AKP may change election law along with constitution

Opposition MHP moves to expel deputy Özdağ

Court tries three for ‘insulting Islam’ in banner at Istanbul LGBT march

Turkey, new US administration should think strategically: Atlantic Council

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Africa

Newly Banned Shiite Group in Nigeria Appeals in Court

Worst country in the world for young people – study

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Militant Inspired By Islamic State Had Weapons, Ammunition

Myanmar Authorities Move Displaced Maungdaw Residents to Soccer Field in Sittwe

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Europe

France 'Sees Drop' In Islamophobic Attacks

Norway integration minister faces resignation calls after telling Muslims 'we eat pork and drink alcohol'

Teenage girl prepares to stand trial for 'Islamic State ordered' stabbing of a police officer in Germany

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North America

Why Most Indian American Hindus Do Not Support Trump

Clinton, Trump get it wrong on Islamic State

Clinton Has a Messaging Problem When It Comes To Muslim Americans

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pakistan-sc-rules-schizophrenia--not-a-mental-disorder--allowing-mentally-ill-man-to-be-executed/d/108898


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Pakistan SC Rules Schizophrenia 'Not A Mental Disorder' Allowing Mentally Ill Man to Be Executed

October 21, 2016

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that schizophrenia does not fall within its legal definition of mental disorders, clearing the way for the execution, as soon as next week, of a mentally ill man convicted of murder.

Government doctors in 2012 certified Imdad Ali, 50, as being a paranoid schizophrenic, after he was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2001 murder of a cleric.

His lawyers say Ali is unfit to be executed as he is unable to understand his crime and punishment, and that doing so would violate Pakistan's obligations under a United Nations treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

However, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Anwer Zaheer Jamali, ruled that schizophrenia is “not a permanent mental disorder”.

“It is, therefore, a recoverable disease, which, in all the cases, does not fall within the definition of 'mental disorder',” the judges said in the verdict.

The verdict relied on two dictionary definitions of the term 'schizophrenia', as well as a 1988 judgement by the Supreme Court in neighbouring India.

The American Psychological Association defines schizophrenia as: “a serious mental illness characterised by incoherent or illogical thoughts, bizarre behaviour and speech, and delusions or hallucinations, such as hearing voices”.

Dr Tahir Feroze, a government psychiatrist who has treated Ali for the last eight years of his incarceration, says he and two other doctors certified Ali's condition in 2012.

Ali suffers from delusions that he controls the world, is persecuted and he hears voices in his head that command him, according to Feroze and Safia Bano, Ali's wife.

“He is completely delusional,” Bano told Reuters.

Ali's lawyer, Sarah Belal, says the government report certifying Ali's condition had never been presented in court before 2016.

In its judgement, the court dismissed the medical records and an affidavit from Feroze.

The verdict is “outrageous”, said the rights group Reprieve, which is based in Britain.

“It is outrageous for Pakistan's Supreme Court to claim that schizophrenia is not a mental illness, and flies in the face of accepted medical knowledge, including Pakistan's own mental health laws,” said Maya Foa, Reprieve's director.

Pakistan has executed at least 425 people since reintroducing the death penalty in 2014, following the Army Public School massacre in which Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militants killed at least 144 people, most of them children.

Ali could now be executed as early as Wednesday.

As a last resort, his wife said she would seek forgiveness for her husband from the heirs of the murder victim, a feature of Islamic law that might help avert execution.

“We have contacted some people who are close to his family,” she said. “But they have so far refused to meet us.”

Source: dawn.com/news/1291384/schizophrenia-not-a-mental-illness-supreme-court-says

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China arms Afghan National Army while engaging in dialogue with Taliban

October 21, 2016

China’s aid to the Afghan National Army in the name of nation building and simultaneous support to Taliban exposes Beijing’s double standard in the strategically-located Afghanistan. In mid July, Beijing “secretly” invited an Afghan-Taliban delegation led by the leader of the group’s Qatar-based political office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, to hold a dialogue.

However, it was not the first visit by any Taliban group to China as it has reportedly hosted several meetings with Taliban leaders in the past without engaging the government in Kabul say sources familiar with the Chinese engagement. On the other hand, China has been promising military aid, including light weapons and aircraft parts, to the Afghanistan government with an aim to strengthen the Afghan National Army to fight against the Taliban.

Reports also indicated that in May 2017, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Afghan National Army are likely to conduct a 15-day joint counter terrorism exercise with a code name ‘Iron Fist-2017’ at the Korla Training Base in Xinjiang. Sources say China is thus arming the Afghan National Army to fight the very Taliban with whom it is holding a dialogue. ” China is hunting with the hound and running with the hare “, say Kabul based informed sources.

Further, China has also invited a group of Afghan experts to attend a joint training consultation in Beijing to develop a better understanding on military training-related issues next year. As per media reports, the secret communication between China and Taliban could be traced back to the 1980s, when Islamic militants from all around the world resisted the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan.

In early 1980s, the Chinese diplomats were also found engaged in providing Chinese arms to the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the Soviets. In the early stage of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, China tried to develop a relationship with the Taliban government and also promised to back the Taliban government in various international organisations such as the United Nations and to organise the legitimacy of the Taliban government. However, the unproductive meeting of a Chinese diplomat with the Taliban leader Mullah Omar let China to distance itself from the Taliban regime.

Chinese companies have hugely invested in Afghanistan, especially in petroleum and copper fields, but Beijing’s major concern in Afghanistan is largely based on security threats that may radicalise Xinjiang, where many members of the Uyghur Muslim minority group are located. Taliban continues to unleash terror in parts of Afghanistan, while posing a challenge to the democratically-elected government to maintain security. Beijing’s secret engagement with the Taliban questions its claim of pursuing “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace process.

Source:financialexpress.com/world-news/china-arms-afghan-national-army-while-engaging-in-dialogue-with-taliban/425788/

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Syrian Army Choppers Continue to Drop Surrender-Now Leaflets over Aleppo city

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military helicopters continued to drop thousands of leaflets over terrorist-held districts of Aleppo city, urging militants to give up fight and surrender to the officials in charge.

The army helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over militant-held neighborhoods of Aleppo city showing the locations of six humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians, and two more for the exit of militants.

Syria's military helicopters dropped leaflets over terrorist-held districts in the Eastern part of Aleppo city, urging the militants to lay down their arms and surrender themselves to the authorities, media sources said.

According to the sources, concurrent with the start of the ceasefire in Aleppo, the Syrian army helicopters dropped the leaflets which also included instructions and maps for the civilians to easily find the six safe corridors for leaving the Eastern parts of Aleppo city.

The instructions also showed the two safe passages allocated to the militants to evacuate the city.

The leaflets called on the militants "to take the chance to end their difficult situation and leave the Eastern Aleppo districts".

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000409

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 Kerala Truck Driver's Son Top Islamic State ‘Recruiter’, Lures Indians to Afghanistan

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thiruvananthapuram: A red alert has been sounded across three countries for the arrest of this man, a native of Kerala, who is accused of recruiting Indians for the dreaded Islamic State group.

According to the Indian Express, Sajeer Mangalachari Abdullah, who hails from Kozhikode city, has fled to Dubai in April this year.

Sajeer's father is a truck driver.

“He passed immigration and security checks without trouble, and settled into an economy-class seat for the four-hour flight to Dubai,” the report said.

His name had come up during the interrogation of six alleged IS supporters, also from Kerala, by the National Investigation Agency this month.

Besides India, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates are also hunting for Abdullah who is now “believed to occupy a key position” in Islamic State.

He is accused of sending new recruits from Indian to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province to fight for the Islamic State.

Citing intelligence officials, the report said that Islamic State has been telling Indian volunteers keen for military training to make their way to Afghanistan.

It has also been pushing them to stage attacks at home, the report said.

“Nangarhar is about as close as you can get to a black hole. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to disappear. Even Afghanistan’s intelligence services have next to no on-ground reach there,” the report quoted an Indian intelligence official as saying.

The men alleged to have been recruited by

All of Abdullah's recruits were educated professionals. And one of his key associates named Manseed Bin Mohamed, now based in Doha, had moved to West Asia from Panoor in Kerala five years ago, the report said.

Abdullah's recruits were asked to target Israeli tourists, BJP leaders and judges who believed to have delivered “anti-Muslim” verdicts.

Abdullah has reportedly facilitated the travel of 21 Kerala residents, including eight minors, to Nangarhar, led by neo-fundamentalist cleric Abdul Rashid, the report added.

Source: zeenews.india.com/news/kerala/revealed-kerala-truck-drivers-son-top-islamic-state-recruiter-lures-indians-to-afghanistan_1941974.html

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Pakistan

Pakistan SC Rules Schizophrenia 'Not A Mental Disorder' Allowing Mentally Ill Man to Be Executed

October 21, 2016

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that schizophrenia does not fall within its legal definition of mental disorders, clearing the way for the execution, as soon as next week, of a mentally ill man convicted of murder.

Government doctors in 2012 certified Imdad Ali, 50, as being a paranoid schizophrenic, after he was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2001 murder of a cleric.

His lawyers say Ali is unfit to be executed as he is unable to understand his crime and punishment, and that doing so would violate Pakistan's obligations under a United Nations treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

However, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Anwer Zaheer Jamali, ruled that schizophrenia is “not a permanent mental disorder”.

“It is, therefore, a recoverable disease, which, in all the cases, does not fall within the definition of 'mental disorder',” the judges said in the verdict.

The verdict relied on two dictionary definitions of the term 'schizophrenia', as well as a 1988 judgement by the Supreme Court in neighbouring India.

The American Psychological Association defines schizophrenia as: “a serious mental illness characterised by incoherent or illogical thoughts, bizarre behaviour and speech, and delusions or hallucinations, such as hearing voices”.

Dr Tahir Feroze, a government psychiatrist who has treated Ali for the last eight years of his incarceration, says he and two other doctors certified Ali's condition in 2012.

Ali suffers from delusions that he controls the world, is persecuted and he hears voices in his head that command him, according to Feroze and Safia Bano, Ali's wife.

“He is completely delusional,” Bano told Reuters.

Ali's lawyer, Sarah Belal, says the government report certifying Ali's condition had never been presented in court before 2016.

In its judgement, the court dismissed the medical records and an affidavit from Feroze.

The verdict is “outrageous”, said the rights group Reprieve, which is based in Britain.

“It is outrageous for Pakistan's Supreme Court to claim that schizophrenia is not a mental illness, and flies in the face of accepted medical knowledge, including Pakistan's own mental health laws,” said Maya Foa, Reprieve's director.

Pakistan has executed at least 425 people since reintroducing the death penalty in 2014, following the Army Public School massacre in which Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militants killed at least 144 people, most of them children.

Ali could now be executed as early as Wednesday.

As a last resort, his wife said she would seek forgiveness for her husband from the heirs of the murder victim, a feature of Islamic law that might help avert execution.

“We have contacted some people who are close to his family,” she said. “But they have so far refused to meet us.”

Source: dawn.com/news/1291384/schizophrenia-not-a-mental-illness-supreme-court-says

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ATC directs police to implement arrest orders for Imran, Qadri in PTV attack case

October 21, 2016

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorist court in Islamabad on Friday directed the police to implement its orders in relation the arrest warrants of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehrik chief Tahirul Qadri in the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters attack case.

Today’s hearing of the case was presided by ATC judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi who inquired why the police had not been able to submit an implementation report on the court’s arrest orders.

Expressing his displeasure over the police's failure to submit the implementation report, the judge directed authorities to carry out the arrests of Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri and 68 others by Nov 17 and present them in court on the said date.

The 70 were booked after a mob of protesters belonging to the PTI and PAT stormed PTV headquarters and forced its staff to take two of the state broadcaster’s flagship channels — PTV News and PTV World — off the air on Sept 1, 2014.

According to eyewitnesses, at the time nearly 400 PTI and PAT workers had stormed the PTV building, across the road from the main entrance to the Pakistan Secretariat. The attack had come soon after demonstrators were repulsed from the secretariat compound.

But the occupying force was dispersed without incident by a contingent of army and Rangers personnel, who arrived on the scene within an hour of the state-TV being taken off-air.

Transmission was restored shortly after noon as the occupying force dispersed peacefully, shouting pro-army slogans and hugging military and paramilitary personnel who arrived at the scene.

This was the first time that PTV’s transmission had gone blank since October 12, 1999, when former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup after toppling the government of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The protesters were also charged with attacking government properties including the Parliament House building. The incidents took place during the 2014 sit-ins staged by PTI and PAT members and supporters, with both parties calling on Prime Minister Nawaz to step down.

Imran Khan and the federal government have been locking horns over the Panama Papers leaks. And today’s hearing comes at the heels of PTI’s planned siege of the capital city on Nov 2, that is aimed at ramping up pressure on the government to take concrete measures to address the party’s concerns over Panama Papers. The party has also submitted a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking Prime Minister Nawaz’s disqualification.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291369/atc-directs-police-to-implement-arrest-orders-for-imran-qadri-in-ptv-attack-case

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Educated youth can only secure Pakistan’s future: Army Chief

October 21, 2016

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has said an educated and passionate youth can only secure the future of Pakistan.

Pakistani military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted the Army Chief as saying, “It is imperative for us to raise the youth’s potential to the optimal level such that they could measure up to the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

General Raheel made the statement while inaugurating a newly-constructed building of Cadet College Spinkai in South Waziristan, reports the Express Tribune.

According to the ISPR, the college is one of the many institutions being built in the remote areas of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) ‘to hone our bright children’.

The Chief of Army Staff also paid tributes to the slain troopers and valiant tribesmen for successfully fighting against terrorism.

He said Pakistan’s contribution to fight against terrorism has been acknowledged by the international community.

The tribesmen were thanked by General Raheel for donating land to build the college, and expressed gratitude to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for financing the project.

Source: siasat.com/news/educated-youth-can-secure-pakistans-future-army-chief-1046310/

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Sindh plans Rs400m project to protect temples, churches

October 21, 2016

KARACHI: As a part of protecting religious minorities in Sindh, a Rs400 million project is set to be launched to make safe temples, churches and other places of worship across the province, it emerged here on Thursday.

Officials said the ambitious project would chiefly invest in the purchase of surveillance cameras to be installed at places of worship across Sindh.

Special assistant to the chief minister Khatumal Jeewan said the provincial government had initiated a project in which security surveillance cameras would be installed at temples, churches and gurdwaras.

The cost of the project would be Rs400 million. “This project will greatly enhance the level of security at places of worship,” said Mr Jeewan while speaking to Dawn.

He said the project involved establishment of a modern surveillance and monitoring system at each place of worship using multiple video cameras installed at strategic locations around it.

“All video cameras will be cable connected to a central room located in a back office on the premises away from the monitored areas. It will also contain video monitoring and recording equipment,” said Mr Jeewan.

Officials said the project was planned in line with a directive of Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari after attacks on temples in Larkana, Hyderabad and other districts of Sindh were reported in the past two year.

“The PPP will ensure full security for minorities’ worship places,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari had declared after several organisations representing the religious minorities criticised the government’s alleged ineptitude in protecting them.

Insufficient security personnel

After the attacks reported in the past two years against Hindu temples in different parts of Sindh, the provincial government posted security personnel on an average of less than two police guards per worship place across the province.

The Sindh police prepared a report saying that a total of 1,253 worship places belonging to the religious minorities had been documented in Sindh, which included 703 Hindu temples and 523 churches. Besides, 21 such places belonged to the Ahmadi community and the remaining six were gurdwaras.

A total of 2,310 policemen have been deputed to guard all those places.

According to district-wise break-up of the worship places given in the report, most of them – 494 to be precise – are situated in Karachi, including 387 churches and 107 temples.

Karachi East has the most churches (200) followed by 116 in Karachi West and 71 in South district. Most temples (61) are documented in Karachi South, followed by 39 in Karachi East and seven in West district.

Hyderabad has 238 worship places, including 156 temples and 72 churches while 10 belonged to the Ahmadi community. Similarly, Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas have, respectively, 50 and 112 temples, 12 and 21 churches and six and five Ahmadi establishments.

Larkana has 141 temples, seven churches and five gurdwaras while Sukkur has 137 temples, 24 churches and one gurdwara.

Officials said there were 232 policemen deputed to guard 239 churches and temples in Karachi East — fewer than one for a worship place. To bridge the gap, they added, 11 guards have been provided by various NGOs in the district.

The security cover to 116 churches and seven temples is much impressive in Karachi West, where 364 policemen have been posted while NGOs have provided 43 additional guards.

In Karachi South’s 132 temples and churches, the authorities have provided 213 policemen while NGOs have stuffed them up with 83 additional guards.

A total of 545 policemen have been deployed for 238 worship places in Hyderabad, while the breakup of deployment of policemen in other districts is: Benazirabad (88 policemen and 10 NGO guards for 68 places), Mirpurkhas (153 police for 138 places), Larkana (364 policemen for 153 worship places) and Sukkur (351 policemen and 16 NGO guards for 162 places).

The report also documented five violent attacks on worship places of religious minorities during the last 20 months — all of them against Hindus.

Officials in the provincial home department conceded that the deployment of security was generally disproportionate in districts, particularly in Karachi East where the number of policemen was smaller than the number of worship places they were supposed to guard. They added the police were stretched to the limit in terms of availability of manpower and finances.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291255/sindh-plans-rs400m-project-to-protect-temples-churches

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Petition seeking COAS elevation to field marshal dismissed

October 21, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court dismissed on Thursday a petition seeking the status of field marshal for Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.

The judge observed that the court lacked jurisdiction to direct the legislature in this regard.

When Justice Farooq asked the petitioner’s counsel Raja Saimul Haq Satti if there was any law under which the federal government might be asked to elevate Gen Raheel to field marshal, he said the federal government might make a new law for the purpose.

In his order, Justice Farooq said: “No direction can be issued to the legislature to legislate a particular law.”

The order declared that the petition was “without merit and dismissed”.

The petition, which had named the prime minister and the secretaries of defence and cabinet division as respondents, said Gen Raheel, whose three-year term is going to expire on Nov 27, launched the Operation Zarb-i-Azb against terrorists and it was still in progress.

It said Gen Raheel had also initiated and formulated the National Action Plan for the safety and security of Pakistan and was also monitoring the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

The petition asserted that there was a universal and divine law that whosoever rendered his services for the nation and humanity at a larger scale in an extraordinary, exemplary and selfless manner he should be elevated to the highest level of military hierarchy.

The petition had requested the court to direct Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the secretaries of the defence and cabinet division to elevate Gen Raheel to the rank of field marshal.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291294/petition-seeking-coas-elevation-to-field-marshal-dismissed

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Centre asked to address KP’s concerns about corridor project

October 21, 2016

PESHAWAR: The provincial PTI leaders on Thursday asked the federal government to address the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Addressing an Insaf Student Federation seminar on the CPEC at the Nishtar Hall here, KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar and provincial government’s spokesman Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani criticised the federal government for what they claimed excluding western route from the CPEC project.

Mr. Qaisar said the PTI government in the province would never make a compromise on the rights of the province.

He said Pakistan was a federation of four provinces so all provinces should treated equally.

“The federal government should stop deceiving us (KP) with lollipop and fulfil its promise of building western route of the CPEC with all facilities,” he said.

The PA speaker said the federal government should stop trying to deceive KP people by constructing an expressway on the western leg of the corridor project.

He said he would approach the court of law on the matter after consulting other parties and his lawyers. “Not only KP but Balochistan and Sindh too have voiced concerns about the CPEC project. The centre shouldn’t deny smaller provinces the opportunities to improve their lot,” he said.

Mr. Qaisar said the KP Assembly had passed several resolutions demanding the building of the CPEC western route in line with the decisions of Islamabad’s multiparty conference.

He insisted 70 percent of CPEC-related projects were limited to Punjab.

Later, Mr. Ghani said the federal government hadn’t allocated funds for the western route of the CPEC project.

He said it was not China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and instead, it was China-Punjab Economic Corridor and that all promises of the federal government on it were lies.

The government’s spokesman said the PTI would agitate and move the court to ensure the construction of the CPEC’s western route. He said no one could stop the PTI’s ‘tsunami’ from reaching Islamabad on Nov 2.

Mr. Ghani said KP was a war-torn province and therefore, it should be given due share in development projects.

He said it was unfortunate that neither the western route’s construction was currently part of the CPEC project nor had the centre made budgetary allocations for it despite repeated promises.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291307/centre-asked-to-address-kps-concerns-about-corridor-project

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Army support for Balochistan govt assured

October 21, 2016

QUETTA: Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Aamir Riaz has assured the Balochistan government that the army will extend all possible help and cooperation in development of backward areas of the province.

He gave the assurance during a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri here on Thursday. The meeting held at the headquarters of Commander Southern Command reviewed the security situation and arrangements made for the safety of development projects being carried out in Balochistan.

“The army will extend all possible help to the provincial government for the development of backward areas of the province,” Lt Gen Riaz said.

The chief minister thanked the Commander Southern Command for his help and cooperation and appreciated the steps taken by security forces to improve law and order in Balochistan.

Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattah, Frontier Corps IG Maj Gen Sher Afgun, Maj Gen Syed Adnan, Additional Chief Secretary of Planning and Development Mohammad Dawood Bareach, Mayor of Quetta Dr Kaleemullah and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Hafiz Basit attended the meeting.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291317/army-support-for-balochistan-govt-assured

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Pakistan urged to extend ‘military support’ to Kashmiris

October 21, 2016

MUZAFFARABAD: United Jihad Council (UJC) chairman Syed Salahuddin on Thursday asked Pakistan to extend “military support” to Kashmiri freedom fighters to help them accomplish their long-cherished goal of freedom from India.

“The festering (Kashmir) issue is not going to resolve through talks or resolutions… Pakistan should militarily support Kashmiris by providing resources to the mujahideen,” he said at a press conference here.

“If the mujahideen get military support, not only Kashmir will clinch freedom but the map of the subcontinent will also undergo a change,” he added.

He, however, declined to elaborate the kind of military support required by the freedom fighters.

“India invaded and occupied Kashmir at the strength of its military might and military occupation can hardly be brought to end through politics or diplomacy,” he maintained.

The UJC chief said that since the killing of Burhan Wani, the mass movement in Kashmir had been on the rise.

Over the past 105 days, the Indian government exercised each and every measure to suppress the unarmed freedom-seeking people, but, ironically, neither did the international community appeared upset over the atrocities nor the world powers tried to rein in the oppressor.

“When the world is paying no heed to us, the only option left with us is the armed struggle,” he said.

Along with brutal killings, the India government had also resorted to economic terrorism in Kashmir in a bid to pressure Kashmiris into surrendering their legitimate struggle, he said.

According to him, Indian intelligence agencies and their “touts” were trying to create disunity among the Hurriyat leadership as well as Kashmiri public. He was of the view that the base camp of the freedom movement — a reference to Azad Kashmir — should not only send a strong message of solidarity across the divide, but also adopt a forceful, rather aggressive, role in this regard.

Mr Salahuddin asked police in held Kashmir to stand by the unarmed public instead of being in the vanguard of the Indian army.

“Otherwise they [policemen] will have to face the wrath of Kashmiri people,” he warned.

He also drew attention towards the plight of Jammu-based Muslims, saying that they were being terrorised by the official ma­­chinery and radical Hindu organisation RSS alike into migrating from their native areas like in 1947.

“The governments in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad should also raise the problems of Jammu-based Muslims at national and international forums,” he said.

Mocking India’s “surgical strikes” claims, the UJC chairman said Indian troops did not have the courage or capability to cross the Line of Control (LoC) to conduct any such operation.

“The propaganda has made India a laughing stock in the comity of nations,” he said. In response to a question, he said in the prevailing circumstances all political and religious parties in AJK should give a unanimous call to trample the LoC.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291318/pakistan-urged-to-extend-military-support-to-kashmiris

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South Asia

China arms Afghan National Army while engaging in dialogue with Taliban

October 21, 2016

China’s aid to the Afghan National Army in the name of nation building and simultaneous support to Taliban exposes Beijing’s double standard in the strategically-located Afghanistan. In mid July, Beijing “secretly” invited an Afghan-Taliban delegation led by the leader of the group’s Qatar-based political office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, to hold a dialogue.

However, it was not the first visit by any Taliban group to China as it has reportedly hosted several meetings with Taliban leaders in the past without engaging the government in Kabul say sources familiar with the Chinese engagement. On the other hand, China has been promising military aid, including light weapons and aircraft parts, to the Afghanistan government with an aim to strengthen the Afghan National Army to fight against the Taliban.

Reports also indicated that in May 2017, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Afghan National Army are likely to conduct a 15-day joint counter terrorism exercise with a code name ‘Iron Fist-2017’ at the Korla Training Base in Xinjiang. Sources say China is thus arming the Afghan National Army to fight the very Taliban with whom it is holding a dialogue. ” China is hunting with the hound and running with the hare “, say Kabul based informed sources.

Further, China has also invited a group of Afghan experts to attend a joint training consultation in Beijing to develop a better understanding on military training-related issues next year. As per media reports, the secret communication between China and Taliban could be traced back to the 1980s, when Islamic militants from all around the world resisted the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan.

In early 1980s, the Chinese diplomats were also found engaged in providing Chinese arms to the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the Soviets. In the early stage of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, China tried to develop a relationship with the Taliban government and also promised to back the Taliban government in various international organisations such as the United Nations and to organise the legitimacy of the Taliban government. However, the unproductive meeting of a Chinese diplomat with the Taliban leader Mullah Omar let China to distance itself from the Taliban regime.

Chinese companies have hugely invested in Afghanistan, especially in petroleum and copper fields, but Beijing’s major concern in Afghanistan is largely based on security threats that may radicalise Xinjiang, where many members of the Uyghur Muslim minority group are located. Taliban continues to unleash terror in parts of Afghanistan, while posing a challenge to the democratically-elected government to maintain security. Beijing’s secret engagement with the Taliban questions its claim of pursuing “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace process.

Source: financialexpress.com/world-news/china-arms-afghan-national-army-while-engaging-in-dialogue-with-taliban/425788/

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Afghan forces retake Ghormach during an operation led by Gen. Dostum

Fri Oct 21 2016

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have retaken the control of key areas of Ghormach district during an operation led by the Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

According to the local security officials, the Afghan forces have retaken the district administrative compound, the district police commandment, and the market of Ghormach from the Taliban.

A spokesman for Ghormach security commandment, Abdul Karim Yurish, said the Taliban insurgents were pushed out of the mentioned areas on Thursday afternoon.

He said the Afghan forces have also retaken the control of at least 16 security posts which were seized by the Taliban insurgents nearly two weeks ago.

Yurish further added that the operations were supported by close-air support and the Taliban insurgents suffered heavy loss but he did not disclose the exact number.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Gen. Dostum left for northern Faryab province on 11th October, shortly after reports emerged regarding the fall of Ghormach district.

The Taliban militants have intensified attacks on key northern provinces during the recent months as the group attempts to expand its insurgency activities in northern parts of the country.

The Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on the strategic Kunduz city around three weeks ago and managed to infiltrate into some parts of the city, including the central Kunduz city square.

The Afghan forces managed to push the Taliban militants from the city although sporadic clashes still continue in parts of the city with the security officials saying the operations are slowly being as the group have taken positions inside the residential areas.

Source: khaama.com/afghan-forces-retake-ghormach-during-an-operation-led-by-gen-dostum-02118

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Taliban backed from outside, says Afghan lawmaker

20.10.2016 

Afghan Parliament Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi told Anadolu Agency on Thursday the Taliban terror group’s roots lay outside the country.

Speaking during a visit to Ankara, Ibrahimi said finding a peaceful solution would be very difficult unless the Taliban’s networks outside Afghanistan were removed.

"There are terrorist groups from Tajikistan, from Uzbekistan, from Kashmir, from Pakistan, from Arab countries and from other regions. They come and they join efforts [that] help the Taliban to destabilize Afghanistan," said Ibrahimi.

He also warned those states "supporting this war definitely also will suffer".

“Their homes will also be burned because of the flame of this war. I hope that they will realize that a peaceful, stable Afghanistan is to the benefit of all," he added.

Ibrahimi accused some countries of regarding damage to Afghanistan's security as a foreign-policy tool.

The parliament speaker added his country sought sincere cooperation from its neighbors, regional powers and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in solving the terror problem.

July 15 coup plot

Ibrahimi congratulated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman in foiling the July 15 coup attempt.

He said the defeat of the coup showed two things: strong support for Erdogan and the Turkish people's maturity about protecting their democracy and constitution.

Turkey blames the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, or FETO, for the July 15 plot.

At least 241 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured in the failed coup which the government said was organized by followers of Fetullah Gulen, the FETO leader who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.

Gulen is accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish government through the infiltration of state institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.

Source: aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/taliban-backed-from-outside-says-afghan-lawmaker/668974

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Bangladesh says head of group blamed for cafe siege dead

21 October 2016

The head of a Bangladeshi Islamist group accused of staging a deadly siege at a cafe and the killing of several foreigners died while trying to evade arrest earlier this month, security officials said Friday.

Abdur Rahman died in hospital on October 8 after jumping from the fifth floor of a building on the outskirts of Dhaka during a raid by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite security unit.

The identity of Rahman, who was leader of the Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was later confirmed through his possessions and by his family, who were shown pictures of his body, the RAB said in a statement.

Several documents, letters and emails that were later retrieved by the RAB "all proved that Abdur Rahman was the emir (head) of the new JMB", the statement added.

Bangladeshi authorities are insistent that the JMB was behind a siege at an upmarket cafe in Dhaka on July 1 in which 20 mostly foreign hostages were killed, even though the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

The RAB said that some of the documents recovered during their raid had been signed by Rahman using the alias Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al Hanif.

While the statement made no mention of IS, the April issue of Dabiq, a magazine affiliated to the organisation, reported that Shaykh Abu Ibrahim Al Hanif was the jihadists' "emir" in Bangladesh.

RAB, which is tasked with tackling militancy and serious crimes, has listed 19 attacks carried out by JMB, including the murder of an Italian aid worker and a Japanese national late last year.

The siege at the cafe in July was by far the deadliest attack and caused widespread alarm about the growth of Islamist extremism in a country where more than 90 percent of the population is Muslim.

Bangladesh has been reeling from a wave of recent attacks with targets including foreigners, rights activists and members of religious minorities.

At least 40 JMB followers have been killed in a crackdown against the group since the cafe attack and dozens of raids have been carried out at addresses linked to the outfit.

The JMB, long dormant after their top leaders were executed in March 2007, is believed to have recently regrouped with young and university-educated extremists taking the helm.

Critics say Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's administration is in denial about the nature of the threat posed by Islamist extremists. They accuse her of trying to exploit the attacks to demonise her domestic opponents.

Many of the attacks have been claimed by IS and by the local offshoot of the Al-Qaeda network.

In August, US Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to Dhaka that evidence existed to link the extremists behind the attacks in Bangladesh to IS.

Source: dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3858574/Bangladesh-says-head-group-blamed-cafe-siege-dead.html

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Pakistan says supporting Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process

Fri Oct 21 2016

The Pakistani authorities have said they support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process as fresh reports emerged regarding the latest secret talks between the Afghan officials and Taliban group representatives in Qatar.

“It has been our consistent position that politically negotiated settlement is vital for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Nafees Zakaria, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.

He said Pakistan believes that all efforts should be made towards a sustainable peace settlement through an Afghan owned and Afghan led peace process.

Zakaria further added “In our view, QCG is an appropriate forum in which Pakistan is ready to play its role. We will continue with our efforts in facilitating the peace process towards a lasting settlement in collaboration with the Afghan Government.”

The Afghan government gave up efforts in the format of QCG comprising of representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States after the group failed to pursue the Taliban group to revive direct peace talks.

The Afghan officials said the QCG participants agreed to take actions against the militant groups pursuing violence, emphasizing that Pakistan failed to take any action against the Taliban group leadership based in the country.

The officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for remaining reckless to act against the leadership councils of the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist network which they insist are based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan.

Source: khaama.com/pakistan-says-supporting-afghan-owned-and-afghan-led-peace-process-02119

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Arab World

Syrian Army Choppers Continue to Drop Surrender-Now Leaflets over Aleppo city

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military helicopters continued to drop thousands of leaflets over terrorist-held districts of Aleppo city, urging militants to give up fight and surrender to the officials in charge.

The army helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over militant-held neighborhoods of Aleppo city showing the locations of six humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians, and two more for the exit of militants.

Syria's military helicopters dropped leaflets over terrorist-held districts in the Eastern part of Aleppo city, urging the militants to lay down their arms and surrender themselves to the authorities, media sources said.

According to the sources, concurrent with the start of the ceasefire in Aleppo, the Syrian army helicopters dropped the leaflets which also included instructions and maps for the civilians to easily find the six safe corridors for leaving the Eastern parts of Aleppo city.

The instructions also showed the two safe passages allocated to the militants to evacuate the city.

The leaflets called on the militants "to take the chance to end their difficult situation and leave the Eastern Aleppo districts".

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000409

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Anti-Daesh Bloc Seeks Post-Battle Mosul Plan

AGENCIES | Published — Friday 21 October 2016

 EAST AND NORTH OF MOSUL: The offensive to seize back Mosul from Daesh is going faster than planned, Iraq’s prime minister said on Thursday, as Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a new military operation to clear villages on the city’s outskirts.

Howitzer and mortar fire started at dawn, hitting a group of villages held by Daesh about 10-20 km from Mosul, while helicopters flew overhead, according to Reuters reporters at two frontline locations north and east of Mosul.

To the sound of machine gun fire and explosions, dozens of black Humvees of the elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), mounted with machine guns, headed toward Bartella, an abandoned Christian village just east of Mosul.

Militants were using suicide car-bombs, roadside bombs and snipers to resist the attack, and were pounding surrounding areas with mortars, a CTS commander said.

Hours later, the head of Iraq’s Special Forces, Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati, told reporters at a command center near the frontline that troops had surrounded Bartella and entered the center of the village. Two soldiers were hurt and none killed, and they had killed at least 15 militants, he said.

“After Bartella is Mosul, God willing.”

Diplomats from the US, Iraq and some 20 other countries are meeting in Paris to make a stabilization plan for Mosul.

Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi, addressing anti-Daesh coalition allies meeting by a video link, said: “The forces are pushing toward the town more quickly than we thought and more quickly than we had programmed.”

French President Francois Hollande told the meeting that terrorists were already leaving for Raqqa, their stronghold in neighboring Syria.

“We can’t afford mistakes in the pursuit of the terrorists who are already leaving Mosul for Raqqa,” Hollande said. “We cannot allow those who were in Mosul to evaporate.”

Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s foreign minister, stressed that the long-awaited, multi-pronged battle for Mosul is only one piece of the campaign against Daesh, and that the international community must think about “the next step” — notably, Raqqa in Syria.  Ayrault said “hundreds of thousands, if not a million” people might try to flee Mosul as Iraqi forces battle to take it back from extremist control.

Ali Awni, a Kurdish officer, kept a handheld radio receiver open on a frequency used by Daesh. “They are giving targets for their mortars,” he said.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi court has issued a warrant for the arrest of a senior political figure from Mosul on charges of passing intelligence to neighboring Turkey, the judiciary said on Thursday.

The warrant was issued for Atheel Al-Nujaifi, a former governor of the Nineveh province of which Mosul is the capital, after three parliamentarians lodged a complaint against him, a statement said.

In another development, Kurdish forces launched a major assault on a town held by the Daesh group near Mosul, opening a new front in the offensive.

The main target of the latest Kurdish push was the town of Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul.

“The objectives are to clear a number of nearby villages and secure control of strategic areas to further restrict Daesh movements,” the peshmerga command said.

At around 6 a.m. (0300 GMT), bulldozers flattened a path for forces in armored vehicles to carve their way down toward Bashiqa.

As tanks and personnel carriers prepared to advance, a shadow glided above them and one peshmerga shouted “drone!”

Fighters opened fire at it with every weapon available, lighting up the dim morning sky, until it fell to the ground and the troops resumed their advance.

“There have been times when they dropped explosives,” said Halgurd Hasan, one of the Kurdish fighters deployed in a position overlooking the plain north of Mosul.

A reporter in the village of Nawaran near Bashiqa saw the downed drone, a Raven RQ-11B model similar to a booby-trapped one that killed two Kurdish fighters and wounded two French soldiers a week ago.

To the south, Iraqi forces were making steady gains, working their way up the Tigris Valley and meeting small numbers of fleeing civilians heading the other way.

Dozens of men, women and children who escaped from the village of Mdaraj, south of Mosul, some on foot and others with vehicles, were waiting as police searched their belongings. “We snuck out,” said a man who gave his name as Abu Hussein. He said that the huge plumes of black smoke from fires lit by Daesh to provide cover from airstrikes had helped them slip out unnoticed.

A US service member died on Thursday from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq, the US-led coalition said in a statement.

Source: http://www.arabnews.com/node/1000526/middle-east

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ISIL jihadists attack Iraq’s Kirkuk as Mosul operation continues

October 21, 2016

Jihadist gunmen, some of them wearing suicide vests, attacked the Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Oct. 21 in an apparent effort to divert the thousands of troops and militiamen closing in on their Mosul stronghold.

The assault, together with another further north, left at least 22 people dead and came as pro-government forces were making major gains on the fifth day of their advance on the last major urban center held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq, Agence France-Presse reported.

Following the blasts, a curfew was imposed in Kirkuk, Doğan News Agency’s Kirkuk reporter told private broadcaster CNN Türk on Oct. 21.

An AFP correspondent saw a group of men carrying rifles and grenades and wearing “Afghan-style clothes” walk down a street in Kirkuk, a city to the south of Mosul under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

At least five suicide bombers struck government targets in the city, including the main police headquarters, in a coordinated attack that began in the middle of the night.

ISIL claimed the attack, according to the Amaq news agency that is affiliated with the group.

Gunfire and explosions echoed across the city all morning, residents said, and live footage on local television showed street battles in several neighborhoods, according to AFP.

“Around morning prayers, I saw several [ISIL fighters] enter al-Mohammadi mosque,” Haidar Abdelhussein, a teacher who lives in the Tesaeen neighborhood, told AFP.

“They used the loudspeakers to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ [God is greatest] and ‘Dawla al-Islam baqiya’ [Islamic State will remain],” he said.

The governor of Kirkuk, Najmeddin Karim, told AFP he suspected the involvement of ISIL sleeper cells.

According to Amaq, the jihadist group claimed to control half of the city but reports from witnesses and security officers suggest that may be an exaggeration.

Kirkuk lies 240 kilometers north of Baghdad, in an oil-rich region.

Kurdish peshmerga fighters have played a major role in the advance on Mosul – Iraq’s biggest military operation in years – and both they and federal security forces have made gains on several fronts since the operation was launched by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 17.

Political and military leaders have praised what they say is faster than expected progress, with ISIL offering deadly but so far ineffective resistance as forces backed by air strikes steamroll toward the edge of Iraq’s second city.

Also on the morning of Oct. 21, gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a power plant being built by an Iranian company near Dibis, a town southeast of the Mosul offensive’s main area of operations, and just 40 kilometers from Kirkuk.

“Three suicide bombers attacked the power plant at around 6 a.m., killing 12 Iraqi administrators and engineers and four Iranian technicians,” Dibis Mayor Abdullah Nureddin al-Salehi told AFP.

A police lieutenant-colonel confirmed the casualty toll from the attack, which was also claimed by ISIL.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/isil-jihadists-attack-iraqs-kirkuk-as-mosul-operation-continues-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105207&NewsCatID=352

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Army Continues Military Advances in Hama Province, Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces continued their military operations against the terrorist groups in Hama, and started seizing back more districts in the Northern parts of Hama in the last 24 hours.

The army units advanced further in Hama in fierce clashes with the terrorists in Hama province after inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists in heavy fighting.

The terrorist groups also sustained heavy casualties in other key provinces across Syria.

Hama

The Syrian army and its allies started a new stage of operations to win back more districts in the Northern parts of Hama and free the two strategic regions of Souran and Taybat al-Imam, a military source said on Thursday.

"The Syrian forces continued operations against the terrorist groups in Northern Hama and advanced in the two regions of Souran and Taybat al-Imam," the source said.

According to the source, the army launched missile, artillery and air strikes against the terrorists' positions in Souran and Taybat al-Imam, followed by heavy clashes between the two sides.

"The Syrian troops advanced in Souran and killed a large number of terrorists, among them a commander of Jeish al-Tahrir-Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorists named Ahmad Abdolqader al-Sheikh," the source added.

In another development, the Syrian army units also repelled the terrorists' attacks against the newly-liberated town of Ma'ardes and al-Matahen region near the town.

The Syrian army's major advance in the Northern parts of Hama that has so far ended up in winning back tens of kilometers of occupied territories has forced a large number of terrorists to flee the region, a military source said on Thursday.

"The terrorists who had occupied some of the important towns in Hama province in two weeks, are now collapsing and have lost their morale amid the army's intensified operations in the region," the source stated.

He added that the Syrian soldiers are now preparing for retaking the two strategic towns of Taybat al-Imam and Souran.

Also, another military source said that the Syrian forces and their allies, supported by the air force, have repelled the terrorists' attacks on a large number of their positions in Northern Hama after heavy clashes with the militants.

He added that tens of terrorists have been killed and their military equipment destroyed in the past few days.

Reports said earlier on Thursday that the Syrian army and its allies won back over 20 villages and heights in the Northern parts of Hama, freeing nearly 121km of land from terrorists' control.

"The Syrian troops along with their allied forces have won back the towns, villages and heights of al-Sha'ta, Western al-Janinah, al-Talisiyeh, Tal Abyadh, al-Qaherah, Ra's al-Ain, Tal Aswad, Khafsin, Karah, al-Kabarieh, Tal Ahmar, Ma'an, Tal Bazam and Ma'ardes," an army officer said Thursday.

The source added that during the operations which were also supported by the Syrian and Russian warplanes, a large number of terrorists' arms caches and vehicles were destroyed and tens of militants were killed.

A Syrian commander said that the army's future operations will focus on liberating Souran and Taybat al-Imam towns.

Dara'a

The Syrian army units intensified attacks against the terrorists in Dara'a al-Balad region and repelled their offensive in the Eastern parts of Dara'a province, inflicting heavy damage and toll on the militants.

"The army targeted the Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front terrorists' gathering centers in Dara'a al-Balad region and killed and wounded several militants in the Western parts of the refugee camp and destroyed two of their machinegun trunks and bases in the Southern parts of Khazan al-Kark and Western parts of Bilal al-Habashi mosque as well as their watch tower in al-Abbasiyeh district," a military source said on Thursday.

The source added that clashes erupted between the Syrian army units and a terrorist group in al-Sarw farms in the Eastern parts of Basari al-Sham towards Wadi al-Zeid region in Eastern Dara'a that led to the death of a large number of militants were killed.

According to the source, the Syrian troops also targeted a pickup truck of Fatah al-Sham Front in al-Nae'imeh town and a bulldozer of the terrorist groups in the Southern parts of Tafas town, South of Dara'a.

The two vehicles were completely destroyed in the attack and several terrorists were killed and wounded, the source added.

Deir Ezzur

The Syrian Army repelled an ISIL attack on a Hospital in the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur , a military source said.

"The ISIL stormed the Deir Ezzur Heart Surgery Hospital, striking the Southern corridor of the facility. However, the ISIL terrorists failed to enter the building, despite sending groups of militants to the Southern entrance of the Heart Surgery Hospital," the military source in Deir Ezzur said.

The military source added that as many as 20 ISIL terrorists were killed in the failed offensive.

Idlib

The Syrian army units launched heavy strikes on Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front positions in al-Tamane'ah village in the Southern parts of Idlib, destroying their command center and killing over 10 militants, including their commander.

"The attacks smashed a command center of al-Nusra Front, destroyed 3 military vehicles and killed over 10 terrorists, including their commander named Abu al-Ala," a military source said on Thursday.

In another development in the Southwestern parts of Idlib, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the hideouts and vehicles of Jeish al-Fatah terrorists in the two villages of Hallouz and Um al-Qar in Jisr al-Shuqour district, inflicting heavy toll and damage on the militants.

Aleppo

Sources in Aleppo reported on Thursday that heavy clashes have erupted among the terrorist groups after heightening tensions over leaving or remaining in the city.

Sources in the city said the terrorists in certain areas engaged in armed clashes and opened fire at the people and other militants who intended to leave Aleppo.

According to the sources, the terrorists also launched mortar attacks on the safe corridors opened by the army for the passage of the people and militants.

"Bostan al-Qasr passage has been declared by terrorists as a war zone, and this has caused panic and horror among the people who have evacuated the streets and went to their houses now," a source in the region said.

Meantime, a source said that "2,000 to 2,500 people who sought to leave Aleppo had gathered in Bostan al-Qasr corridor, but the Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front militants opened fire at them, wounded a number of them and didn’t allow them to evacuate the city".

The terrorists have also declared curfew in the Eastern parts of Aleppo and threatened the residents not to approach the corridors.

The army has not yet shown any reaction to the terrorists' aggressive moves in the region.

A military source confirmed reports on Thursday that the terrorists stationed in the Eastern parts of Aleppo city are blocking the path of the people and other militants who want to leave the region.

"The terrorists have launched 20 mortar attacks on Bostan al-Qasr corridor while the ceasefire has not been violated in the Castello road and the government buses and ambulances are transferring people to the safer areas," the source said on Thursday.

"The terrorists also targeted al-Jandoul square which has been one of the safe corridors opened by the Syrian army for the militants to leave the region," the source said, adding that the terrorists have also attacked a Syrian army position in Eastern Aleppo.

Some reports also said that the militants have deployed snipers in certain areas to prevent the evacuation of their comrades and civilians and have announced that they would set fire on houses of those people who want to leave Aleppo.

This is while the Syrian army is inviting the terrorists to lay down their arms and leave Aleppo's Eastern regions.

The Syrian State news agency also reported that several militants (who had laid down their arms) and a number of wounded people and patients were transferred from Eastern Aleppo through the declared corridors.

The Syrian Army General Command announced on Thursday that the suspension of the air strikes on militants in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.

The Command said in a statement that the humanitarian pause in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo started on October 20, at 08:00 AM.

It called on all gunmen in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo to throw their weapons and benefit from the amnesty decree.

The statement pointed out that the General Command has accurate information on the gunmen’s places, gatherings and their weapon caches in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city, stressing that each gunman who does not seize the opportunity of the pause will face his fatal destiny.

Earlier, Head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Department Sergey Rudskoy said that the Syrian and Russian military men have decided to expand the humanitarian pause for three hours to evacuate civilians from the Eastern neighborhoods after receiving many requests from the international organizations.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000270

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Long Convoy of Terrorists' Vehicles in Idlib Destroyed in Syrian Air Raids

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian fighter jets bombed a long military column of the terrorists in Southern Idlib, destroying most of the convoy's vehicles.

A long convoy of the terrorist group's vehicles, carrying arms and ammunition, was bombed by the Syrian warplanes near Kafr Nubul and Khan Sheikhoun.

Most of the vehicles were damaged and a number of the convoy's guards were killed or wounded in the air raids.

Meantime on Thursday, the Syrian army units launched heavy strikes on Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front positions in al-Tamane'ah village in the Southern parts of Idlib, destroying their command center and killing over 10 militants, including their commander.

"The attacks smashed a command center of al-Nusra Front, destroyed 3 military vehicles and killed over 10 terrorists, including their commander named Abu al-Ala," a military source said.

In another development in the Southwestern parts of Idlib, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the hideouts and vehicles of Jeish al-Fatah terrorists in the two villages of Hallouz and Um al-Qar in Jisr al-Shuqour district, inflicting heavy toll and damage on the militants.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000549

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Syrian Army Engages in Fierce Clashes with ISIL East of Aleppo

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military forces engaged in tough battle with ISIL terrorists in the Eastern countryside of Aleppo city, killing and wounded a number of Takfiri fighters.

Syrian Army soldiers after hours of non-stop fighting with ISIL in Rasm al-Hirmel region some 60 km to East of Aleppo, destroyed their vehicles and inflicted several casualties on them.

Meantime, inside the city, the Syrian Army's call on terrorist groups in the Eastern districts to surrender themselves to authorities was rejected by Fatah al-Halab and Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front).

Fatah al Sham Front and Fatah al-Halab continued to target vehicles carrying humanitarian aid to the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, wounding several unarmed aid workers.

The Syrian Armed Forces are expected to launch a new assault to capture the remaining districts under the control of the terrorist groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000508

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Terrorists' Armored Vehicles Receive Severe Blow in Syrian Airstrikes

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army aircraft carried out several combat flights over terrorist centers in the mountainous regions in Northern Lattakia, inflicting serious damage on the terrorists' hardware, mainly their armored vehicles.

A number of armored vehicles of the terrorist groups were destroyed in the Syrian air raid on their positions in Tardin, Kafr Sandou, al-Kinda, Ktaf Rajjoub and Hallouz.

The vehicles' crew also were killed or wounded in the attack.

On Tuesday, the Syrian Air Force carried out fresh rounds of air raids on terrorists' positions in Northern Lattakia, inflicting major losses and casualties on the militants.

The Syrian fighter jets bombed terrorists' positions in Kabani, Jabal Kafr Sandou and Ba'arbaya in the mountainous regions of the province, inflicting dozens of casualties on the militants.

Terrorists' bases and military vehicles were also badly damaged in the assault.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000479

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Terrorist Centers Hit Hard in Syrian Army Attacks across Hama

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers continued to target the terrorist groups' gatherings and concentration centers in at least nine different regions in Hama province, inflicting major losses and casualties of the militants.

The Syrian soldiers struck the defense lines of the terrorists of al-Ezzah, Jeish al-Nasr and Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in Souran, Tal al-Naseriyeh, al-Latamina, Taybat al-Imam, Morek, Lahaya, al-Zalaqiyat, Ma'arkabey and Kafr Zita, killing or wounding a large number of militants and destroying their mortar launchers and machinegun-equipped vehicles.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the Syrian army and its allies started a new stage of operations to win back more districts in the Northern parts of Hama and free the two strategic regions of Souran and Taybat al-Imam.

"The Syrian forces continued operations against the terrorist groups in Northern Hama and advanced in the two regions of Souran and Taybat al-Imam," the source said.

According to the source, the army launched missile, artillery and air strikes against the terrorists' positions in Souran and Taybat al-Imam, followed by heavy clashes between the two sides.

"The Syrian troops advanced in Souran and killed a large number of terrorists, among them a commander of Jeish al-Tahrir-Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorists named Ahmad Abdolqader al-Sheikh," the source added.

In another development, the Syrian army units also repelled the terrorists' attacks against the newly-liberated town of Ma'ardes and al-Matahen region near the town.

The Syrian army's major advance in the Northern parts of Hama that has so far ended up in winning back tens of kilometers of occupied territories has forced a large number of terrorists to flee the region, a military source said.

"The terrorists who had occupied some of the important towns in Hama province in two weeks, are now collapsing and have lost their morale amid the army's intensified operations in the region," the source stated.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000452

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Iran Condemns Bahraini Regime's Attacks on Al-Wefaq Opposition

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Friday condemned the Thursday attacks by Bahraini security forces on the headquarters of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society in Bilad al-Qadeem.

"The security and violent approaches adopted by the Bahraini government towards religious leaders and legal and moderate political societies that believe in peaceful political ways is a strategic and historic mistake made by the Bahraini regime," Qassemi said.

"We once again advise Bahraini authorities to put aside security approaches and resort to confidence-building measures to pave the way for interaction and consultations and an all-out serious dialogue (with opposition groups)," the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman added.

Security forces raided Thursday the headquarters of Bahrain's biggest opposition society, The National Islamic Society, al-Wefaq in Bilad al-Qadeem, according to eyewitnesses.

Activists confirmed that security forces also raided the branch office of al-Wefaq Society in the Western Region, in the town of Malikiya. Photos circulated showed that the forces were confiscating the possessions and properties of the society, Bahrain Mirror reported.

Last September 22, the Bahraini Appeals Court supported a Civil Court ruling to close al-Wefaq's headquarters, and another ruling to dissolve and liquidate it. This came after [the Appeal Court] rejected an appeal filed by the society's lawyers, for not "having the capacity".

The step to close and dissolve al-Wefaq received international criticism by Bahrain's allies, among them Washington and London, in addition to other Western countries. Also, both the UN Secretary General and High Commissioner of Human Rights criticized this step.

The aforementioned step came as part of a package of extreme decisions taken against the opposition and Shiite majority, on top of which was revoking the citizenship of the Bahraini prominent opposition leader, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000351

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Iran Warns of Humanitarian Crisis in Aleppo

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshrou warned of the possibility of a humanitarian crisis in Syria's Aleppo in case of delayed aid to the war-stricken city, and called on the UN to adopt immediate measures to this end.

"The situation in Aleppo and some other places in Syria has become worrisome and alarming over past several years," Khoshrou said on Thursday, addressing a UN General Assembly meeting on Syria.

Khoshrou, meantime, put forward some practical steps to help save the lives of civilians in the war-hit Syrian city of Aleppo.

The meeting was also attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura who addressed Member States via videoconference from Geneva.

The following is the full text of Iranian ambassador's speech at the UN General Assembly meeting:

The situation in Aleppo and some other places in the Syrian Arab Republic has been worrisome and alarming in the past several years. Militants and terrorists, who mostly entered Syria through lax borders and are supported by some foreign countries, are responsible for the very difficult situation and humanitarian disaster in eastern Aleppo. As a matter of principle, there is a need for some practical steps to be taken with a view to putting an end to the suffering of the civilians in the area. These steps include a cease-fire during which assistance could be provided and the injured could be evacuated from eastern Aleppo and at the same time armed individuals be given an opportunity to leave the populated area. They are the steps that are required for redressing the situation and preventing more deaths, injuries and devastation.

We believe that the unilateral ceasefire announced today by the Syrian Arab Government, which is also backed by Russia, is a right step in the right direction. However, it is important to keep in mind that as long as terrorist elements and foreign fighters remain in eastern Aleppo, the situation will remain shaky and the return to fighting will be always a possibility.

With that in mind, we believe that the steps announced on October 10 by the Syrian Government for strengthening cease-fire and avoiding the return to fighting are very important and should be seriously considered by those who are active in finding a more lasting solution to the crisis in eastern Aleppo.

In view of the proposals put forward by the Syrian Government and other ongoing efforts, we believe that the United Nations should be realistic and focus on the practical needs on the ground and encourage the Member States that are involved in one way or another to contribute positively to the resolution of the conflict. We believe that the international community, including the United Nations, should be forthcoming and facilitate the implementation of these vital steps. We don't think that engaging once more the General Assembly in a one sided way could be helpful.

At the same time, I also would like to thank Mr. De Mistura and his colleagues for their relentless efforts. As to the initiative that he announced today in Geneva, we believe that it contains some good elements and the whole initiative should be considered against the existing realities in the area. At the same time, it gave rise to two questions that I would appreciate if Mr. De Mistura could answer.

The first question is how he could ensure that Al-Nusra elements would accept to leave the area, especially at a time when we see more and not less support provided to them by certain governments that have been supporting them?

Second how he could ensure that those non-al-Nusra fighters who accept the cessation of hostilities to stay behind in eastern Aleppo, they would not go back to fighting sooner or later?

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000333

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More Militants in Southwestern Damascus Pardoned by Syrian Gov't

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian authorities pardoned a number of ex-militants, who had earlier turned themselves in and handed over their weapons in the city of Mo'adhamiyeh in Western Ghouta, sources in the town said.

The source said that the militants that chose to surrender to the Syrian Army troops were granted amnesty by the government, thus allowing them to remain in the Mo'adhamiyeh al-Sham.

Based on the terms of their amnesty, the former rebel fighters will have to refrain from obtaining weapons again and they must disassociate themselves from their former factions.

As a result of this amnesty offer, several rebels and their families will be allowed to stay in Mo'adhamiyeh Al-Sham as the government rebuilds the region.

The militants who refused to lay down their arms left Mo'adhamiyeh along with their families on Wednesday after several months of efforts by the Syrian government and people, and security was reestablished in the strategic town again.

Media sources reported that 40 buses evacuated 700 terrorists along with their families (nearly 1,800 people) from the town.

Local sources also confirmed the news, adding that the militants left the town for Idlib in the presence of the Syrian Red Crescent Society while the UN representatives didn't appear in the event.

They also said that 10,000 people were present on the scene of the event at Mo'adhamiyeh bridge when the Syrian government buses were evacuating the terrorists and their families.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000331

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Spokesman Condemns ISIL's Killing of 4 Iranian Technicians in Iraq's Kirkuk

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Bahram Qassemi strongly condemned the recent suicide attack by ISIL's terrorists on a power generation center near the city of Kirkuk which killed four Iranian technicians.

"These are the last breath of terrorists in Iraq and they are to take the revenge of their humiliating defeats in the battlefields by carrying out blind terrorist operations and killing defenseless civilians," Qassemi said.

Qassemi sympathized with the families of the Iranian victims of the terrorist attack.

On Thursday, three bombers stormed a power plant under construction by an Iranian company near Dibris town, located about 40 kilometers Northwest of Kirkuk city.

A dozen Iraqi administrators and engineers and four Iranian technicians were among those killed in the raid, which took place at around 6:00 local time, the town’s mayor Abdullah Nureddin al-Salehi said.

He said Iraqi security forces engaged the attackers, killing one of them. The other two armed men blew themselves up as soon as they were surrounded, the mayor added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000516

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Terrorists Refuse Gov't Forces' Call to Give up Fight in Eastern Part of Aleppo

October 21, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army's call on terrorist groups in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city to surrender themselves to authorities was rejected by Fatah al-Halab and Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front).

Fatah al Sham Front and Fatah al-Halab continued to target vehicles carrying humanitarian aid to the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, wounding several unarmed aid workers.

The Syrian Armed Forces are expected to launch a new assault to capture the remaining districts under the control of the terrorist groups.

On Thursdays, the Syrian Army officers asked the militants to lay down their weapons and surrender themselves to the security forces in checkpoints at several entry points in Eastern Aleppo.

The Syrian Army promised not to punish any militant that surrenders themselves to the security forces in Eastern Aleppo.

In response to the Syrian Army's offer, the militants of Fatah Al-Sham Front began shelling the vehicles carrying humanitarian aid to the beleaguered civilians in eastern Aleppo.

Meanwhile, sources in Aleppo reported that heavy clashes erupted among the terrorist groups after heightening tensions over leaving or remaining in the city.

Sources in the city said the terrorists in certain areas engaged in armed clashes and opened fire at the people and other militants who intended to leave Aleppo.

According to the sources, the terrorists also launched mortar attacks on the safe corridors opened by the army for the passage of the people and militants.

"Bostan al-Qasr passage has been declared by terrorists as a war zone, and this has caused panic and horror among the people who have evacuated the streets and went to their houses now," a source in the region said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950730000308

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India

Kerala Truck Driver's Son Top Islamic State ‘Recruiter’, Lures Indians to Afghanistan

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thiruvananthapuram: A red alert has been sounded across three countries for the arrest of this man, a native of Kerala, who is accused of recruiting Indians for the dreaded Islamic State group.

According to the Indian Express, Sajeer Mangalachari Abdullah, who hails from Kozhikode city, has fled to Dubai in April this year.

Sajeer's father is a truck driver.

“He passed immigration and security checks without trouble, and settled into an economy-class seat for the four-hour flight to Dubai,” the report said.

His name had come up during the interrogation of six alleged IS supporters, also from Kerala, by the National Investigation Agency this month.

Besides India, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates are also hunting for Abdullah who is now “believed to occupy a key position” in Islamic State.

He is accused of sending new recruits from Indian to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province to fight for the Islamic State.

Citing intelligence officials, the report said that Islamic State has been telling Indian volunteers keen for military training to make their way to Afghanistan.

It has also been pushing them to stage attacks at home, the report said.

“Nangarhar is about as close as you can get to a black hole. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to disappear. Even Afghanistan’s intelligence services have next to no on-ground reach there,” the report quoted an Indian intelligence official as saying.

The men alleged to have been recruited by

All of Abdullah's recruits were educated professionals. And one of his key associates named Manseed Bin Mohamed, now based in Doha, had moved to West Asia from Panoor in Kerala five years ago, the report said.

Abdullah's recruits were asked to target Israeli tourists, BJP leaders and judges who believed to have delivered “anti-Muslim” verdicts.

Abdullah has reportedly facilitated the travel of 21 Kerala residents, including eight minors, to Nangarhar, led by neo-fundamentalist cleric Abdul Rashid, the report added.

Source: zeenews.india.com/news/kerala/revealed-kerala-truck-drivers-son-top-islamic-state-recruiter-lures-indians-to-afghanistan_1941974.html

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Kerala Muslim Jamaath to organise meetings against terrorism

October 21, 2016

Thiruvnanthapuram: Amid reports that Muslim youths from Kerala were being radicalised, Kerala Muslim Jamaat has decided to launch an anti-terrorism campaign across the state.

Kerala Muslim Jamaat (KMJ), which met here today, said it view with great concern the reports that “tremors of global terrorism under the influence of Salfi ideology has its impact in Kerala also.”

Under this circumstances, Kerala Muslim Jamaat would organise grass root level people’s conduct programme in all the 140 assembly constituencies, Kerala Muslim Jamaat State Secretary A Saifuddin Haji said here today in a statement.

KMJ would hold the ‘Manavasureksha’ meetings in all the constituencies between October 22 and November 30, he said.

Anti-terrorism seminars at district level and special discourses at selected 3000 centres have been planned as part of the campaign, it said.

Source: siasat.com/news/kerala-muslim-jamaath-organise-meetings-terrorism-1046195/

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Home Ministry Hires Social Media Adviser to Curb Radicalisation

Oct 21, 2016

NEW DELHI: Concerned over the use of cyberspace and social media for radicalization and recruitment of Indian youth+ by terrorist outfits like the Islamic State+, the home ministry has appointed former IPS officer Ashok Prasad as adviser on cyber and social media.

Prasad had retired as secretary (internal security) in the home ministry this January. Earlier, he had a long stint in the Intelligence Bureau. Sources said Prasad will help the home ministry adopt a strategy to track and counter radicalization on the social media in real time as well as monitor and fight cyber threats.

The home ministry has been worried over the spreading influence of global jihadi outfits like Islamic State among net-savvy Indians+. Of the nearly five dozen IS-influenced youths arrested across the country, all were found to have been radicalized by "head-hunters", believed to be based in Iraq and Syria but active on social media sites and applications. Such youth were constantly directed by their "handlers" via closed Facebook groups and Telegram etc, to pledge allegiance to Islamic State and encouraged to either travel to IS territory to be part of its war to create a 'Caliphate' or take up lone-wolf attacks in India.

The intelligence agencies have been actively tracking jihadi activity and conversations on the social media. The agencies, in coordination with state police and NIA, intervene as and when the youths under surveillance are found to be planning a terror attack or gathering resources including explosives and weapons for the same.

All the modules busted so far were on the verge of taking their terror plans to the execution stage when the intelligence agencies alerted the state police and NIA to raid their hideouts and arrest them.

Intelligence agencies have told TOI that the IS has lately been instructing its cadres based in India to hack their targets with machetes.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/MHA-hires-social-media-adviser-to-curb-radicalisation/articleshow/54967131.cms

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Kashmiri Pandits rubbish Bhat’s invitation to return to Valley

Oct 20, 2016

Rajesh Raina, vice-president of Kashmir Pundit Sabha, Amritsar smells a conspiracy behind Bhat's invitation. "Who is he to invite us bac? It seems to be a ploy to dilute the cause of Kashmiri Pundits which is to return to their mother land with dignity," he said while talking to TOI on Thursday. He said how could they forget the atrocities committed by Islamic militant groups on Kashmiri Pundits. "It has been 26 years living in exile, how can we forget how they (Islamic militants) used to make announcements threatening Kashmir Pundits to migrate from the valley leaving behind their women.

Zakir Rashid Bhat also known as 'Musa', who had succeeded Hizbul Muzahadeen's slain militant commander Burhan Wani, in his video post has extended invitation to Kashmir Pandits and had taken responsibility of their safety. Bhat had also claimed that Hizbul was being approached by some Sikh groups and had indicated at forming a Sikh's armed group under Hizbul's command.

Vijay Aima, president of All India Kashmiri Samaj, New Delhi, fumed, "Kashmir belongs to us, we don't need anyone's invitation to go back to our homeland." He said Bhat's video was just a tactics to make its place in international media and to pose himself a secular miltant commander. He said they (militants) had asked Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes. "I need to ask where are the homes, they were forcibly occupied by them or many had to sell under distress and duress," he said.

President of Kashmiri Pandit's Association, Mumbai SP Kachru said, "This is a showcase announcement intended for their own political correctness, the militants want to give a message that they have invited Kashmiri Pandits but some leaders were not allowing them to return to valley." Kachru observed that such an announcement could be beneficial for them (militants) that too in their own ilk but had no bearings on Kashmiri Pandits. "This kind of offer is not at all acceptable," he said.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/Kashmiri-Pandits-rubbish-Bhats-invitation-to-return-to-Valley/articleshow/54963956.cms

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Hindu, Christian personal laws also ‘deficient’; UCC aimed at targeting minorities: Rights groups

October 21, 2016

New Delhi: With the Law Commission seeking public opinion on Uniform Civil Code, civil society members and women rights groups today attacked the NDA government over the issue, saying it is an “obnoxious” move aimed at targeting minorities.

The organisations, including ANHAD and AIDWA, said the Commission’s move is “merely a stick” in the hand of the government “to beat up” minorities, while the personal laws of Hindu and Christian communities are “deficient” in terms of gender justice.

The also hit out at the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) over its stand on triple talaq, saying it’s a retrograde stance that lacks sense of justice and insisted that the practice be abolished.

“The move of the NDA government to stealthily bring in the issue of UCC is obnoxious and condemnable. UCC is a politically motivated RSS-BJP agenda and is merely a stick in their hands to beat up the minorities, particularly Muslims,” they said in a joint statement.

The decision to seek feedback diverts attention from the basic issue of gender justice. Uniformity in law does not necessarily mean equality, they asserted.

“All personal laws, including of Hindu and Christian communities, are deficient in terms of gender justice. Even today, Hindu laws related to property rights and guardianship of children are unequal and unjust and continue to discriminate against women. We, therefore, demand the government retracts its steps on UCC,” they said.

The organisations though said the practice of triple talaq should be done away with.

Targeting the AIMPLB on the issue, they said, “The position of the board, the self-styled representatives of Muslims, in this regard is retrograde, lacks a sense of justice and therefore reprehensible.”

Besides ANHAD’s Shabnam Hashmi and All India Democratic Women’s Association (Delhi) general secretary Asha Sharma, the statement is signed by All India Progressive Women’s Association’s secretary Kavita Krishnan, National Federation of Indian Women (Delhi) president Noor Zaheer, Swastika Mahila Samiti’s Kusum Sehgal and others.

Source: siasat.com/news/hindu-christian-personal-laws-also-deficient-ucc-aimed-targeting-minorities-rights-groups-1046306/

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Leusipakri’s Muslims showcase communal bonding for Diwali

October 21, 2016

Siliguri (West Bengal) [India]: Setting an example of communal harmony, Muslims in West Bengal’s Leusipakri region are now very busy making firecrackers for “Diwali”

With the festival of lights round the corner, Mohammad Abdul, Ajima Bibi, Soleya Khatun, and Mohammad Rafik are busy clearing all orders.

They basically make colored flower pots like bi-color, tri-color, changing color, hand lights and colored torches.

“We work for both Muslims and Hindus. We like it that way. We don’t feel that it is not our festival. We all work together,” said Mohammad Abdul.

Firecracker factory owner Raj Singha Roy said they are very proud of this and hoped that people will learn a lesson of brotherhood from this.

“Dozens of the Muslims are making crackers for the Hindu festivals in the factory from the last couple of years,” he added.

India, a multi-religious and multilingual country, has always enjoyed the essential unity of culture amidst diversities.

Diwali is celebrated with great fervour and gaiety all over India as it marks the return of Rama to Ayodhya in northern India after he defeated Ravana, the powerful demon king of Lanka.

Legend says millions of lamps were lit when Rama returned after 14 years of exile.

Diwali Legend says millions of lamps were lit when Rama returned after 14 years of exile.

is also celebrated in honour of LLegend says millions of lamps were lit when Rama returned after 14 years of exile.

akshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. It is believed that Lakshmi showers her blessings upon those homes that are clean and well lit.

Source: siasat.com/news/west-bengal-leusipakris-muslims-showcase-communal-bonding-diwali-1046363/

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Mideast

Pentagon chief to stress Iraq sovereignty in Turkey talks

October 21, 2016

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he would stress the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty during a visit on Oct. 21 to Turkey, which has been locked in a dispute with Baghdad over who should participate in the campaign to retake Mosul from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Carter, acknowledging it was a delicate issue, declined to explicitly say whether he thought Turkey should be allowed toparticipate in the operations in Iraq. Washington in the past has deferred that matter to Baghdad.

"Of course we'll talk about that. And yes, of course there are sensitivities there. We conduct ourselves, and the coalition does, respecting Iraqi sovereignty. That's an important principle of ours," Carter said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been frustrated that NATO member Turkey has not been more involved in the U.S.-backed assault on Mosul and angered by Washington's support for Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), battling ISIL in Syria.

Asked about Turkish air strikes that pounded a group of YPG fighters allied to a U.S.-backed militia in northern Syria, Carter said he was not certain about what precisely transpired.

"I can’t clarify that now," he said.

A U.S. defense official said on Oct. 20 the specific groups struck by Turkish jets were not themselves U.S.-backed, but were "close to and friendly with" the fighters Washington is working with.

Ankara has been in a row with Iraq over the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp near Mosul, as well as over who should take part in the offensive in the largely Sunni Muslim city of Mosul, once part of the Ottoman empire.

Erdoğan has warned of sectarian bloodshed if the Iraqi army relies on Shiite militia fighters.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged Turkey had legitimate security concerns in Iraq but added that Washington had been clear that "no military should be operating in areas (of Iraq) where they aren't invited expressly."

"We have been working behind the scenes to get the Iraqis and the Turks to come to an understanding about how we're going to move forward on Mosul," the official said.

Carter steered clear of directly commenting on the matter ahead of his talks in Turkey. He acknowledged the United States was partnering with both Iraq and Turkey in the fight against ISIL.

"These are two close friends of ours. In the case of Turkey, it's a NATO ally. And we want to keep everybody focused on the objective here, which is to defeat ISIL, because that is a threat to all three of us," Carter said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/pentagon-chief-to-stress-iraq-sovereignty-in-turkey-talks.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105203&NewsCatID=358

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Syrian army says it will 'bring down' any Turkish war planes in its airspace

October 21, 2016

The Syrian military said on Oct. 20 that it would bring down any Turkish war planes entering Syrian air space, a response to air strikes carried out by Turkey overnight in northern Syria.

"Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish war planes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available," the Syrian army general command said in a statement.

Turkish air strikes hit a group of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), fighters allied to U.S.-backed militia late on Oct. 18, which the Syrian statement called an act of "blatant aggression".

Northern Syria is an increasingly complex battlefield and the Oct. 18 air strikes highlighted the conflicting agendas of NATO members Turkey and the United States.

Turkey supports Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters opposed to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and is also trying to push Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) away from Syria's Turkish border.

At the same time, the United States has backed PYD-led forces in their own fight against ISIL, infuriating Ankara, which sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants.

Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet on Nov. 24, 2015, along its border with Syria on the grounds of an airspace violation. The jet crisis caused relations between Turkey and Russia, one of the main backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to deteriorate, with Russia imposing an economic embargo on Turkish goods and a travel ban to Turkey.

Relations began to return to normal after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan penned a letter in June to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, after which the two leaders met three times.

Russia began conducting air strikes in Syria last September and has been one of the main supporters of the government alongside Iran.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/syrian-army-says-it-will-bring-down-any-turkish-war-planes-in-its-airspace.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105204&NewsCatID=352

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I hit the presidential palace on purpose as part of coup, says Gülen follower pilot

October 21, 2016

The pilot who hit the Presidential Palace in Ankara during the July 15 failed coup has said that he hit the building on purpose as part of the coup, making him one of the first soldiers to admit that he acted knowing that there was a putsch against the country’s elected government.

“I knew that we, I mean the Gülen movement, was staging a coup. I hit the building on purpose,” pilot Müslim Macit said in his testimony, which was taken on Sept. 30.

The followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen are accused of staging the attempted putsch.

Soldiers identified as Cpt. Mete Kaygusuz, Cpt. Ahmet Tosun and Col. Ahmet Özçetin were at a table on the night of the coup, Macit said, adding that Özçetin was taking orders from civilians that he did not know.

“Hakan Evrim, Kubilay Selçuk and civilians that I don’t know were in the military area,” said Macit.

“Tosun conveyed the orders that he took from Mehmet Fatih Çavur via a walkie-talkie to the plane. Çavur was taking orders from Ahmet Özçetin. Tosun started telling the planes that there was permission to hit the parliament, fly at a low altitude over Kızılay, that there was permission to hit Türksat [Turkey’s top satellite network] and fly low over the General Staff,” he said.

During his testimony, Macit said he had known that the commander of Air Force Gen. Abidin Ünal was brought to the 141st fleet at the Akıncılar Air Base, one of the centers of the coup, but that his hands were not tied.

“He said good evening to us and walked away,” Macit said.

Macit also described how he hit the Presidential Palace during the coup attempt.

“I hit the Presidential Palace and the mosque near it. I dropped a bomb near the mosque. Later on the planes that took off from [the eastern province of] Erzurum came to stop me. Upon that, I returned to the base. At that time I knew that we were attempting a coup,” he said.

Meanwhile, 40 soldiers from an air base in the Central Anatolian province of Konya were detained as part of the investigations into July’s failed military coup attempt.

Detention warrants had been issued for a total of 47 soldiers from Konya in what was the third wave of action against suspected followers of Gülen.

More than 32,000 people are in jail and 100,000, including top military figures, have been dismissed from jobs in the security and civil service for their suspected links to the Gülenists.

Separately, the suspected software developer of the smartphone app ByLock, a messaging application that is said to have been used by the coup plotters for concealed conversations, was sent to court with the prosecutor seeking his arrest. The developer, identified only as İhsan T., was a former employee of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and an alleged member of the Gülenist movement.

He was sent to the courthouse in Istanbul’s Çağlayan as part of the probe conducted by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Terror and Organized Crime Bureau.

He is charged with “being a member of an armed terrorist group,” according to Anadolu Agency.

Elsewhere, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli has said the next state of emergency decree will be issued in a short period of time.

“The new state of emergency decrees will be issued. We are preparing another fresh state of emergency decree. New regulations regarding intelligence are on the table, but we don’t know if it will be ready for this state of emergency decree. There will be some who return to their jobs with the new decree,” Canikli told Turkish broadcaster Habertürk on Oct. 20.

Thousands of people have been suspended from their duties since the failed coup bid, after which a state of emergency was declared.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/i-hit-the-presidential-palace-on-purpose-as-part-of-coup-says-gulen-follower-pilot.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105186&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey and Iraq negotiate agreement on Turkish troops in Bashiqa

October 21, 2016

Turkey and Iraq are negotiating on a five- or six-point agreement to clarify the current status and future of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa military camp close to Mosul.

A visiting Turkish delegation presented a draft to Iraqi officials in Baghdad on Oct. 17, and the parties edited some of the articles following proposals by the Iraqi side, Turkish officials said. As Iraq works on the draft agreement, Ankara and Baghdad will continue talks in the near future, they said.

The status of the Bashiqa camp, the involvement of Shiite militias in Mosul offensive and the presence of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) elements in the Sinjar region were the three main issues discussed during the delegation’s visit.

Ankara and Baghdad have reached a “general consensus” over the issues, according to Turkish officials, who stressed that Turkey preferred a written agreement which would also have an effect on non-state actors in Iraq.

As a second option, the parties could implement the consensus under a modus vivendi without a written accord, according to developments in Iraq. The Turkish side is worried about Tehran’s possible interference in the talks between Baghdad and Ankara.

Turkey proposes use of Turkish troops’ assets in Bashiqa

On the issue of Turkish forces in northern Iraq, the agreement will identify the current status and future of the troops, with Turkey insisting that the soldiers remain stationed at Bashiqa until the end of the Mosul offensive. A formula that would bring the status of Bashiqa camp under the mandate of the coalition forces has long been proposed by Turkey.

Ankara also proposed that Iraq use Turkish troops’ assets at the Bashiqa camp, such as its artillery capacity, as part of the Mosul offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), yet Baghdad expressed concerns about the involvement of Turkish soldiers.

Turkish officials have underlined that the participation of the Ninova fighters trained by Turkish soldiers in the Mosul offensive was vital for Ankara, adding that Baghdad accepted the request.

Resume of trilateral mechanism against PKK

After the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) retreated from the Sinjar region in the face of an onslaught by ISIL, the PKK moved into fill the vacuum and rescue fleeing members of the Yazidi community before subsequently demanding to become part of the Mosul offensive.  Turkey has urged both the U.S. and Iraq to hinder the participation of PKK elements in the offensive, officials say, adding that their expectation was met by Iraqi administration. Baghdad stopped financial aid to Kurdish militias in Sinjar two months ago following suggestions by Washington.

During the talks in Baghdad, Iraq proposed to their Turkish interlocutors to resume a trilateral committee between Turkey, Iraq and the U.S. in order to discuss the PKK presence in the Sinjar region after the Mosul offensive is completed.

No Shiite militia in Mosul city center and Tel Afar

Fearing the possibility of Sunni-Shiite sectarian clashes, Turkey has objected to the prospect of al-Hashd al-Shaabi, Shiite paramilitary forces, entering the city center of Mosul and Tel Afar in the U.S.-led offensive against ISIL.

In talks with the Turkish delegation, Baghdad assured Ankara that the militias would not be involved in an offensive into Mosul city center. But Ankara is still worried the forces might enter the largely Turkmen town of Tel Afar in contravention of Baghdad’s instructions. U.S.-led coalition forces are planning another offensive in Tel Afar against ISIL fighters after the Mosul operation.

The next round of talks between Ankara and Baghdad will be held upon a reply from the Iraqi side. A delegation from Iraq to Turkey or vice versa could make the visit or Turkish embassy officials in Baghdad could conduct the upcoming talks.

Ankara worried over protests by al-Sadr Group

Supporters of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr have been holding protests in front of the Turkish embassy since Oct. 17. Ankara is worried about the deterioration of ties with the Shiite group as Turkey has previously had good relations with al-Sadr, Iraq’s most powerful Shiite cleric, whose policies are perceived as “balanced” by Ankara.

Al-Sadr has identified the Turkish presence in Mosul as an “occupation of Iraq” and called his supporters to make their voices heard without assaulting the embassy.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-and-iraq-negotiate-agreement-on-turkish-troops-in-bashiqa.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105181&NewsCatID=510

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Erdoğan: I am the enemy of interest rates

October 21, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again declared his opposition to interest rates, stating that earning via interest is “a tool of exploitation.”

“I am an enemy of interest earnings. I see it as a tool of exploitation,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 20 during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Ankara to mark the financing for two major health projects.

He declared that the ratio of interest rate spending to income had fallen to 13 percent from a previous 85.7 percent, but “even this is not enough for us.”

Erdoğan has long been a critic of interest rates, even suggesting that unrest in Turkey has been fostered by a shady “interest rate lobby” aiming to profit from political instability. He has repeatedly declared his aim to push interest rates to zero and has criticized former Central Bank governors Durmuş Yılmaz and Erdem Başçı for not lowering rates enough.

The state’s central budget gap stood at 12 billion liras in the first nine months of the year, Erdoğan said on Oct. 20, noting that the consumer price index had fallen to 8.8 percent.

“As of September, [the inflation rate] fell to 7.3 percent. Also our banks do not have a foreign exchange gap issue,” he said.

Referring to the rise in the unemployment rate in July to 10.7 percent, the president claimed that the reason was the rise in the number of people contributing to the workforce.

“As the rise in the workforce, triggered by the contribution of women and the youth, will continue, this is not a ratio that we cannot cope with, even though we cannot push it down,” Erdoğan said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-i-am-the-enemy-of-interest-rates.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105188&NewsCatID=338

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AKP may change election law along with constitution

October 20, 2016

The government may try to change the election law along with the new constitution, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş has said, without detailing whether this change would also decrease the much-criticized 10 percent threshold.

“We are also thinking about changing the election law along with the new constitution,” Elitaş told private broadcaster CNN Türk in an interview on Oct. 20.

He did not signal a decrease in Turkey’s prohibitive 10 percent threshold, but he did suggest that constituencies would be narrowed in order to allow each city to be represented at parliament in accordance with its population.

Although Elitaş spoke about a change to the election system, he ruled out holding a snap parliamentary election in 2017, vowing the government’s their commitment to go to polls in October 2019 as scheduled. 

“As the AK Party [Justice and Development Party], we have no plans to hold early elections [next year].

 Parliamentary elections will be held as already planned,” Elitaş said upon a question on whether the AKP would opt for snap election in the event that its efforts to change the constitution are rejected either at parliament or in the planned referendum.

Elitaş echoed other AKP officials in forecasting that a referendum on the new constitution, including a shift to a presidential system, would take place in spring 2016, after parliament votes on the amendment in January.

The AKP needs at least 14 extra votes to have a constitutional amendment passed at parliament and taken to a referendum.

Devlet Bahçeli, the head of the 40-seat Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), last week signaled his party’s potential support for an AKP-drafted charter if it was to “take the MHP’s sensitivities into account.”

“We know very well that Mr. Bahçeli is a man who won’t back down from his word. We are working with the belief that we’ll get more than 330 votes at parliament,” Elitaş said.

The AKP is still drafting its presidential model but it will not make substantial changes to articles regulating the executive, the legislation and the judiciary, he stressed, noting that there will be around 20 articles in the new charter on the presidential system.

“Other legal necessities will be carried out either through legal changes or regulations, but only after the presidential system is approved by the people,” Elitaş added.

The AKP will begin its annual camp with the participation of all lawmakers and party officials on Oct. 21, discussing the constitutional amendments and future political developments.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-may-change-election-law-along-with-constitution-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105178&NewsCatID=338

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Opposition MHP moves to expel deputy Özdağ

October 21, 2016

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Gaziantep lawmaker Ümit Özdağ has been referred to the party’s disciplinary committee, according to a statement issued by the head of the committee, Halil Öztürk, on Oct. 20, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Özdağ is accused of breaking certain provisions of the party’s constitution, including those regarding membership duties and responsibilities.     

Former parliamentarian and party chair candidate Meral Akşener was also expelled from the party in September after being accused of breaking certain provisions of the party’s constitution regarding cooperation, communication and mutual respect among party insiders

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/opposition-mhp-moves-to-expel-deputy-ozdag--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105205&NewsCatID=338

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Court tries three for ‘insulting Islam’ in banner at Istanbul LGBT march

October 21, 2016

The first hearing of a criminal case opened on Oct. 20 against three suspects who tried to participate in the suppressed LGBT pride march in Istanbul in 2015. Prosecutors are demanding up to one year in prison for each of the defendants on charges of “insulting religious values” for carrying a banner bearing the names of three Islamic holy months.

Only two of the three defendants were present at the case’s first hearing at the Istanbul Penal Court of First Instance. The defendants, identified only by the initials H.C.K. and G.Ö., denied the charges and said they participated in the march with peaceful intentions but were attacked by the police.

They also said the real perpetrator of the crime of “inciting hatred among people” and “insulting” was the plaintiff who filed the case. 

The plaintiff had filed three individual criminal complaints over the defendants’ banner, which read “Ramadan cannot limit the love between Shaban and Rajab.” The banner was referring to three holy months in the Islamic calendar, which are also used as male names in Turkey.

“I don’t think the content of the banner includes any insult against religious values. On the contrary, I think it was prepared solely with peaceful intentions. The banner talks about love between the two months, so there cannot be any insult,” said one of the defendants at the hearing.

The plaintiff had demanded that an expert report be prepared on the case, which the court turned down. The court also turned down the plaintiff’s request to be present during the trials, on the grounds that he was not a party directly affected by the alleged crime.

The second hearing of the case will be held on Dec. 27.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/court-tries-three-for-insulting-islam-in-banner-at-istanbul-lgbt-march-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105208&NewsCatID=339

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Turkey, new US administration should think strategically: Atlantic Council

October 21, 2016

A change in the White House will provide enormous opportunity for the new U.S. administration to sit down with Turkish leaders and think about issues strategically, the head of the Atlantic Council has said, expressing his belief that Ankara and Washington will be able to leave disagreements behind as they focus on mutual goals and interests.

“My own view is, this is a time when Turkey and the United States together have such massive interests that when we have disputes over anything, that throws off our ability to get the big [problems solved]. We have to take on those disputes and we have to work together to solve them,” Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Washington-based Atlantic Council, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.

Here are the questions and answers from the interview:

It’s obvious that Turkey and the U.S. are at odds over a number of very critical issues. How did they come to this point?

There is much more cooperation going on a day-to-day basis that most people see, but the U.S. and Turkey also have disagreements that need to be sorted out. Over time, both sides will have to find a way to deal with the issue of Fethullah Gülen that both suits American legal demands and Turkish expectations. We are going to have to deal with the Kurdish issue in a way that understands the Kurds’ role in the region but also the dangers that extremist organizations pose. But most of all, we have to understand that we no longer face a crisis of the Middle East, we face a crisis from the Middle East. And what I mean by that is, it is not a crisis that can be solved by outside actors.

How destructive do you think the Gülen issue could be?

At the moment, this appears to be an issue that divides the U.S. and Turkey, but ultimately I think we will find that this is a manageable issue and we will ultimately find our way closer together. What I mean by that is I think that there is a growing understanding in the United States of the issue that this poses in Turkey. You have to understand most Americans have never heard this name before. And they don’t understand at all the meaning of this issue to Turkey or the importance of this issue for the Turkish government. So you start from a standpoint of confusion among most Americans about what this means in general.

How do you think relations between Turkey and the U.S. should be navigated under the new elected administration?

My own view is that the common interests of Turkey and the United States are so incredibly deep. We both want the prosperity of this region and the stability of this region as two members of NATO that both want to act against extremism. [Because] the common interests are so strong, I am less worried than others are about challenges to the relationship. I think a change in the White House will provide an enormous opportunity for a new U.S. administration to sit down with Turkish leaders and think about things strategically. … It is very often that we don’t think strategically enough about our common interest and how we can work together to take on problems. We don’t actually have the luxury of disputes over less consequential matters. My own view is that this is a time when Turkey and the United States together have such massive interests that when we have disputes over anything that throws off our ability to get the big [problems solved]. We have to take on those disputes and we have to work together to solve them.

What do you think about criticisms that Turkey does not act like a reliable partner and a NATO ally?

Turkey is a pivotal state. I don’t think there is another country in the world that is a hinge state in so many different ways. It is a Middle Eastern state, in a way. It is a Black Sea state in a way, a Central Asian state and a European state. I am not sure if there is another country that has this strategic function in so many different geographies, not to mention this dividing line between Europe and Asia. And, so, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the understanding in the West of Turkey’s importance as part of the West will grow and has grown over time. And it also strikes me that Turkey is stronger as part of the West, looking into each of these issues as part of the West dealing with the Middle East; as part of the West dealing with Central Asia and as part of the West dealing with the Black Sea. Turkey on its own is not as strong and is not as anchored and so in my vision, it is vital that the West recognizes the value of Turkey and also that Turkey recognizes the value of the West. This is also why we are having our annual summit; a high-level dialogue platform on energy, economy, and security issues here in Istanbul every year. The next one will be on April 6-7, 2017.

Two last questions. First on Russia: Is there a new alliance rising in the region between Turkey and Russia?

No one had an interest on a confrontational course between Turkey and Russia. There was a dangerous situation that served nobody’s interest. The question now is whether Turkey’s improved relationship with Russia can also help influence Russia’s decisions in Syria and in Ukraine to be more constructive.

And on Turkey and Israel. How do you think this normalization between Turkey and Israel might affect the Middle East in general terms?

The return of Turkey’s approach in the direction of zero problems with neighbors is positive: As long as it also means a value-oriented approach to make judgments regarding neighbors to create a better world. There is no downside to an improved relationship between Israel and Turkey but there is an enormous upside.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-new-us-administration-should-think-strategically-atlantic-council.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105164&NewsCatID=358

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Africa

Newly Banned Shiite Group in Nigeria Appeals in Court

OCT. 20, 2016

KADUNA, Nigeria — A newly banned Shiite group in northern Nigeria said Thursday it was appealing in court against the government decision that observers are warning could spark sustained violence.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria said the ban by Kaduna state officials violates Nigerians' rights to religious freedom. The ban, announced earlier this month, was made official with its publication on Wednesday.

"We are already seeking redress in the court and will pursue the case to its logical conclusion," the group's statement said.

Nigeria is almost equally divided between Christians and Muslims, most of them Sunni. Tensions with the Shiite population are high after the army gunned down more than 300 people in an attack in December on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria's headquarters.

The government has said the group provoked the attack, with the military accusing it of trying to assassinate the country's army chief — a claim that human rights groups have called unbelievable.

The group's leader, Ibraheem Zakzaky, has been in custody since December.

On Oct. 12, the group said 13 of its members had been killed when security forces and "paid thugs" attacked religious gatherings in multiple locations in northern Nigeria. Officials did not confirm the death toll.

Earlier this week, the group said several dozen women and children members had been detained.

Kaduna officials say the ban applies only to the group and not Shiites in general. But Human Rights Watch says the ban "appears to have triggered" anti-Shiite violence.

The Nigerian risk analysis firm SBM Intelligence went further this week, warning in a report that a "reckless" crackdown could result in a "full-blown insurgency" — just as it did with the Boko Haram extremist group, which is now blamed for more than 20,000 deaths over the past several years.

Source: nytimes.com/aponline/2016/10/20/world/africa/ap-af-nigeria-shiites.html?_r=0

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Worst country in the world for young people – study

OCT. 21, 2016

Little or no access to education and healthcare, poor job prospects and low participation levels in politics make the Central African Republic the worst country in the world to be a young person, an index by a group representing Commonwealth countries showed.

Central African Republic has been plagued by inter-religious violence since 2013 when the mainly Muslim Seleka militia seized power, prompting reprisals from Christian anti-Balaka forces.

Despite a February election touted as a step toward reconciliation, violence is still frequent.

The index released by the Commonwealth Secretariat on Friday ranked 183 nations on employment, education, health and other prospects for people aged between 15 and 29.

Sub-Saharan Africa continued to have the lowest levels of youth development in the world, despite significant progress in the last five years, the index showed.

The 10 countries that score lowest on the index are all from sub-Saharan Africa – the only region where the size of its youth population has not peaked.

According to U.N. estimates, the number of youths globally will rise to 2 billion by 2060 from 1.8 billion in 2015, with most of that growth expected to in sub-Saharan Africa.

"While increases in civic and political participation – though voting or protests for example – in the region are encouraging, they will only get young people so far without corresponding improvements in access to health and education," said Abhik Sen, one of the report's authors.

"Deep inequalities in levels of youth development persist among countries worldwide," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.

In North American and European countries, for example, nearly 100 percent of young people can read and write, compared with less than 40 percent in Niger and South Sudan.

Germany topped the index for youth development, followed by Denmark, Australia, Switzerland and Britain.

The report found that youth unemployment was a growing concern with young people at least twice as likely as adults to be jobless worldwide.

Matthew Hobson, a World Bank expert on social protection, said in the report that "global growth and poverty reduction over the next 20 years will be driven by today's young people, yet many of them struggle to find productive employment."

Sudanese billionaire philanthropist Mo Ibrahim said within three generations, 41 percent of the world's youth will be Africans.

"That is a wonderful resource for our continent if it is skilled and employed," he said in the report.

Source: pulse.ng/world/central-african-republic-worst-country-in-the-world-for-young-people-study-id5636746.html

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian militant inspired by Islamic State had weapons, ammunition

21 Oct 2016

Indonesian authorities on Friday said an Islamic State-inspired militant who injured three police officers this week on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta, had prepared several pipe bombs and owned live ammunition and weapons.

Thursday's attack was the latest in a series of incidents linked to Islamic State in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation this year, as concerns grow over a resurgence in homegrown militancy.

Police found bomb-making materials, live ammunition, and a samurai sword during a search of the militant's house, a national police spokesman said.

"He had prepared several of those pipe bombs," the spokesman, Boy Rafli Amar, told a news conference. "We are now investigating who he has been in communication with."

Islamic State on Friday claimed responsibility for the attack, through its news agency, Amaq.

The attacker, who stabbed three police officers and threw a pipe bomb that failed to detonate, was shot and died of his wounds.

Police confirmed the attacker, Sultan Aziansyah, was a member of Indonesian militant group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, which supports Islamic State.

The umbrella group, formed last year through an alliance of splinter groups backing Islamic State, is led by jailed Islamist cleric Aman Abdurrahman, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence for aiding a militant training camp.

Authorities believe Islamic State has more than 1,200 followers in Indonesia and nearly 400 Indonesians have left to join the group in Syria.

Police are on the alert for any Indonesians who return home after Iraqi forces this week launched an offensive to take back the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul.

Authorities are monitoring about 40 of those who returned, concerned they could be linking up with existing networks, police chief Tito Karnavian told Reuters on Monday.

In January, four militants mounted a gun and bomb attack in the heart of Jakarta, the first attack in Southeast Asia claimed by Islamic State. Eight people were killed, including the militants.

Source: reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-security-idUSKCN12L0I8

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Myanmar Authorities Move Displaced Maungdaw Residents to Soccer Field in Sittwe

20 Oct 2016

Myanmar authorities in the Rakhine state capital Sittwe on Thursday relocated about 1,000 people displaced by violence in Maungdaw township to the municipality’s main soccer field, while 100 others returned to their homes in three villages.

About 3,000 people fled mayhem in the area following deadly raids on three border guard posts in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships on Oct. 9 and subsequent clashes between armed men and Myanmar soldiers and police. One-third of the displaced people have sought refuge in monasteries and schools in Sittwe, while the rest have gone to other parts of Maungdaw or to neighboring Buthidaung township.

“The state government has relocated the Maungdaw IDPs [internally displaced persons] from monasteries to tents on the Danyawaddy soccer field,” Min Aung, Rakhine’s city development minister, said. “The state government will arrange and provide for whatever they need so they can return home when their areas are safe.”

More than 100 displaced people from Mawyawaddy, Kainggyi and U Daung villages who fled their homes but remained in Maungdaw township returned to their houses on Thursday, authorities said.

Nyi Pu, Rakhine state’s chief minister, met with displaced people who fled to Buthidaung and told them that they could return to their homes in Maungdaw, but most refused to do so, fearing for their safety.

The northern part of Rakhine state where Maungdaw is located has been under military control since the attacks and ensuing hostilities that authorities have blamed on insurgents linked to Aqa Mul Mujahidin, an Islamic organization active in Rohingya Muslim-majority Maungdaw.

Security forces, who have so far killed about 30 alleged insurgents and captured 29 others, have locked down the area to hunt for roughly 400 others involved in the attacks, whom they believe to be local Muslims who have received funding and training from Islamists abroad.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended food aid deliveries to more than 80,000 people in the affected area because the military has prevented supplies from getting through, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.

“There is military everywhere and a curfew in place, and so it’s impossible to access any of the areas affected,” said Arsen Sahakyan, WFP’s partnership officer in Myanmar, was quoted as saying. “The areas affected are also the areas where we normally operate.”

Ethnic tensions

The violence is not the first time that the restive state has experienced hostilities caused by ethnic tensions.

In 2012, communal violence between majority Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims left more than 200 people dead and displaced 140,000 Rohingya who were forced into IDP camps where about 120,000 remain today.

Many in Myanmar view the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and have persecuted them by denying them citizenship, restricting their movement, and preventing them from having access to education and health care.

Several international aid agencies either left or were expelled from Rakhine state in March 2014 after ethnic Rakhine Buddhists accused them of favoring the Rohingya and ransacked their offices in Sittwe.

The agencies were later required to receive approval for their activities from a newly created body composed of state and central government officials as well as U.N. representatives, and from the local ethnic Rakhine community,

The WFP recently restarted delivering food to about 6,000 displaced people in Rakhine, fearing the violence would spread to other parts of Rakhine state, the AFP report said.

Local civil society agencies have also experienced problems with food deliveries, though a couple have managed to get bags of rice to villagers via the military because they could not deliver them directly.

In the meantime, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de factor leader whose civilian government came to power in April, told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that Myanmar is still struggling to establish democracy.

“We as a nation are struggling to make the democratic culture take root,” she said after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on an official visit to New Delhi.

“We, too, have many challenges to face, but we are confident that these challenges can be overcome because our people are determined to overcome them,” she said.

Aung San Suu Kyi has pledged to handle the turbulent situation in Rakhine state fairly and in accordance with the rule of law once those who planned and carried out the attacks have been caught.

Source: reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/myanmar-authorities-move-displaced-maungdaw-residents-soccer-field-sittwe

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Europe

France 'sees drop' in Islamophobic attacks

21.10.2016

There was a decline in Islamophobic attacks on Muslims in France since January, the country’s National Observatory Against Islamophobia claimed on Thursday.

However, the group warned that growing “cyber hate” against Muslims remained a serious issue.

Some 149 anti-Muslim acts were recorded between January and September 2016 compared to 323 incidents in the same period last year, according to Abdallah Zekri, head of the organization.

Ninety-seven threats against Muslims were also recorded, compared to 227 in 2015 -- a fall of 57.3 percent.

In a statement, Zekri said online hate speech called into question “national cohesion” and urged an "unequivocal condemnation of the barbaric and criminal acts against our fellow believers".

"However, Islamophobia, via cyber hate, is still growing strongly since the July 14 Nice attack," he added.

There have been several terrorist attacks in France over the past months. The Nice attack in July killed 85 people, including 10 children, and wounded more than 100 others.

The highest number of Islamophobic attacks recorded by the group was in 2015.

France is home to one of the largest percentages of Muslims living in Western Europe, around eight million people in total.

Source: aa.com.tr/en/europe/france-sees-drop-in-islamophobic-attacks/669460

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Norway integration minister faces resignation calls after telling Muslims 'we eat pork and drink alcohol'

21.10.2016

Norway’s integration minister has been widely mocked and asked to "reconsider her position" after telling the country’s Muslims to adapt to the country's culture.

Sylvi Listhaug, from the anti-immigrant Progress Party, caused fury and confusion on Monday when she posted on Facebook on the eve of a national integration conference.

Ms Listhaug has since clarified the comment, which was liked more than 20,000 times, claiming she was misunderstood.

“I think those who come to Norway need to adapt to our society,” read the post.

“Here we eat pork, drink alcohol and show our face. You must abide by the values, laws and regulations that are in Norway when you come here.”

The country’s coalition government, which includes Ms Listhaug’s party and the centre-right Conservative party, has been playing tough with the country’s Muslims over the last week.

She also echoed prime minister Erna Solberg who said in an interview that she would not personally employ someone wearing the Islamic niqab face veil.

Ms Listhaug’s post however still drew criticism.

“It’s a general civil right to choose what you want to eat in this country and in other countries,” said user Bente Bull.

“Listhaug is creating problems.”

Elisabeth Rønnild wrote: “The stupidest thing I’ve ever read.”

Norwegian criminologist Omar Gilani Syed, who has worked on refugee integration, asked via the Aftenposten newspaper whether she should reconsider her position.

“If she does not understand the complexity and does not have the expertise to deal with these social issues in a good way, it's time to ask: should Listhaug reconsider her position?” he said.

Norway Labour party politician Zaineb Al-Samarai wrote in a Dagbladet article: “If you are to be integration minister, you must begin to integrate. Do not frighten and separate people.”

Ms Listhaug has clarified her position on social media, making it clear she never told anyone what they should be eating.

She wrote on Tuesday: “You misunderstand me, but that’s the way it is. Not for the first time.

“I mean, of course they should not be forced to drink alcohol or eat port.

“What I said is that I expect when you come to Norway, to align yourself with the Norwegian labour market.

“It’s about how one must endure serving pork if you will be working in a restaurant, or serve alcohol if you work at a piano bar.

“And in the same way, you don’t turn up in sweatpants and caps on a job interview, you have to think about how to dress to get a job.”

A total 31,150 people, 10,448 of them from Syria, sought asylum in Norway in 2015 – according to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

But those sort of numbers have dropped by a staggering 95 per cent after a wave of strict border checks and financial incentives were brought in to dissuade refugees.

There were only 1,200 asylum applicants in the first third of 2016.

A 660 ft-long and 11 ft-high steel border fence being built on the Norway-Russia border  is due to be completed before the winter frosts.

Source: independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/norway-integration-minister-muslim-eat-pork-drink-alcohol-show-face-sylvi-listhaug-a7372991.html

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Teenage girl prepares to stand trial for 'Islamic State ordered' stabbing of a police officer in Germany

October 21, 2016

CELLE, Germany--A teenage girl went on trial in Germany Thursday for stabbing a police officer, an assault allegedly "ordered" by the Islamic State organization but whch was not claimed by the jihadist group.

The court in the northern city of Celle ruled at the start of the proceedings against Safia S., 16, that they would take place behind closed doors because she is a minor.

"The defendant must be protected from further exposure and the accompanying stigmatization," presiding judge Frank Rosenow said.

The German-Moroccan national risks 10 years in prison for "attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and support for a foreign terrorist organization."

She entered the courtroom wearing a beige headscarf and fashionable eyeglasses and spoke clearly and confidently to the judge.

Prosecutors said the teenager, who is believed to have been radicalized as a young girl, had sought to catch the attention of police officers by following them around at the main train station in the northern city of Hanover.

As the officers called her over for an identity check, Safia S. allegedly stabbed one of them in the neck with a vegetable knife before being overpowered by another officer.

The teenager was already known to police before the Feb. 26 attack as she had sought to travel to Syria to join IS fighters a month earlier.

Her mother flew to Istanbul to bring her home and as they landed back in Germany, Safia S. was taken away by police and interrogated over her botched attempt to reach the war zone.

Her mobile phone was also seized, but it was not until after the stabbing assault that investigators translated the Arabic messages on the phone — which had instructed her to commit an "act of martyrdom."

A German-Syrian man, 20, Mohamed Hasan Kharsa, went on trial with Safia S. for failing to report her plans to police, even though he was aware that she was plotting to attack a police officer.

The young man had sought to flee Germany but was arrested in Greece and extradited on Tuesday.

'Radicalized as a child'

Safia S. was apparently already radicalized as early as 2008. At that time, when she was just seven or eight years old, she had appeared in an online video by Pierre Vogel — a notorious Salafist preacher in Germany.

But it was only in November 2015 that she pledged allegiance to the IS, investigators said.

Her brother had also sought to join the jihadist group in Syria but was arrested and jailed in Turkey, according to news agency DPA.

Source: chinapost.com.tw/international/europe/2016/10/21/481656/Teenage-girl.htm

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North America

Why Most Indian American Hindus Do Not Support Trump

Oct 21, 2016

"If I am elected president," said Donald Trump, speaking on Saturday to a gathering in Edison, N.J., organized by the Republican Hindu Coalition, "the Indian and Hindu community will have a big friend in the White House." In that speech, Trump tried to appeal to Hindus among Indian Americans in three ways:

First, he equated Indians with Hindus, erasing India's religious minorities -- 172 million Muslims, 28 million Christians, 21 million Sikhs and 8 million Buddhists, among others -- from the picture.

Second, he equated his position on Islamic terrorism with that of India's government. As he put it: "We appreciate the great friend that India has been to the United States in the fight against radical Islamic terrorists . . . we are going to be best friends."

Third, he equated himself with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi who has been very energetic in reforming India's bureaucracy. Great man, I applaud him. I look forward to doing some serious bureaucratic trimming right here in the United States . . ."

Several news sources suggested that even though the majority of Indian Americans do not support Trump, his effort to associate himself with Modi and his anti-Muslim rhetoric might win him some support. The New York Times, for example, reported that his tracking of the language of Mr. Modi "has given Mr. Trump a foothold of support among Hindus in the United States, some of whom are also drawn to his strong talk about Muslims, their longtime adversaries on the subcontinent."WNYC reported, "The other way that Trump aligns with some Indians and Hindus in the U.S. is his proposed ban of allowing Muslim immigrants to enter the U.S. For decades Hindus and Muslims in India have been fighting and there were outbreaks in the late 1980s that left hundreds dead. So to some extent these two communities continue to harbor suspicious against each other. . . . Trump did get a rise out of the crowd when he mentioned fighting radical Islam."

But the real story when it comes to the political preferences of Indian Americans -- and Hindus in particular -- is not that Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric is attracting some, but that it is repelling most. According to the 2016 National Asian American Survey, conducted in August and September, only 7 percent voted for Trump in the primaries and only 7 percent report that they are likely to vote for him in the presidential election.

In the 2012 presidential election, according to the 2012 post-election National Asian American Survey, 16 percent of Indian Americans voted for the Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Indian Americans have historically voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party. But the sharp drop in even the small percentage voting for the Republican candidate between 2012 and 2016 suggests that Trump's rhetoric has cost, rather than won, him votes from Indian Americans.

The figures in these surveys do not break down the political preferences of Indian Americans by religion. But 54 percent of the Asian Indians surveyed by the 2016 National Asian American Survey were Hindu. So even if we assume that all of the 7 percent of Asian Indians who plan to vote for Trump are Hindu, it is clear that the vast majority of Hindu Indians in America do not support Trump.

In contrast, Modi draws wide and deep support among Indian Americans and especially among Hindus. There are no available survey data which record their preferences for Modi, but the adulation he has attracted at gatherings of Indians in the United States, including a crowd of nearly 20,000 at Madison Square Garden in 2014, hint at the groundswell of support. And much of the support Modi draws is because of, not despite, his Hindu nationalist ideology.

Modi's Hindu nationalism is not a benign ideology. As a systematic attempt to fuse Hindu majoritarianism with nationhood, it justifies intolerance towards India's non-Hindu minorities. The question raised by Trump's poor reception among Indian Americans in general and Hindus in particular, then, is why even those attracted to a strongman who represents Hindu nationalism are not attracted to Trump's rhetoric.

The answer may lie in how distinct Trump's rhetoric is even when compared to right-wing nationalisms, including Hindu nationalism. Most right-wing nationalist movements identify a single ethnic group as the enemy, whereas for Trump, the sheer range of enemies, both within and outside the United States -- African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, Mexicans -- is remarkable. Most right-wing nationalisms usually package the hatred of an enemy within some kind of coherent ideology, and are backed by an organization. But Trump appears untroubled by the need for coherence and has lost the support of his own party. And while right-wing nationalisms usually restrict the range of acceptable behaviors for women, Trump's violent misogyny sets him apart even in this relatively unflattering comparison set.

Source: ndtv.com/opinion/why-most-indian-american-hindus-do-not-support-trump-1477155

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Clinton, Trump get it wrong on Islamic State

Oct 21, 2016

As a motley group attempts to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, it behooves America’s presidential candidates to think about how they’d deal with the terrorist group should the push to liberate Iraq’s second-largest city be successful.

Losing Mosul would be a significant blow to the Islamic State. The biggest city under its control, it’s where, over two years ago, the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the establishment of an Islamic empire, across Iraq and Syria. Defeat would erode the group’s prestige and its ability to attract new fighters.

However, even if the Islamic State is driven out of Mosul – a likely outcome, though one that won’t come quickly or easily – the group will likely live on as a guerrilla movement like the Taliban, which after losing considerable ground to U.S. forces, is resurgent in Afghanistan. Radical Islamist movements are rarely completely eliminated, as illustrated by al-Qaida in Yemen, al-Shabab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria.

So far, in fighting the Islamic State, the U.S. has been training local forces and conducting air strikes. Should the battle to retake Mosul go as planned, America ought to scale back its involvement, not ramp it up, which is what both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have promised to do.

Trump has grandiosely pledged to “crush and destroy” the Islamic State. Clinton has promised the U.S. will intensify its ground game and aerial assaults.

Fighting guerrillas is much different than fighting regular armies.

Guerrillas, usually inferior to the forces they are fighting, try to isolate small groups of their opponents for ambushes before blending back into the population. They also have time and patience on their side, as demonstrated by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, who for decades fought the French, Japanese, and Americans – and their fellow Vietnamese – before finally exhausting them all.

U.S. military and civilian leaders frequently make the mistake of thinking U.S. armed forces will be able to easily vanquish any enemy. But local forces who know an area’s customs, language, politics and economics are generally more effective in battling insurgents, gathering intelligence and winning citizens’ trust. These local forces should be a greater focus of America’s terror-fighting investments.

The candidates have shown little appreciation for these humbling realities.

As this heated campaign reaches its climax, it’d be nice to see the nominees temper their boasts and provide more specific plans for dealing with the Islamic State and the Middle East’s broader unrest. In doing so, Trump and Clinton shouldn’t let election season bombast take America down the wrong road.

Ivan Eland is director of the Center for Peace and Liberty. Email: ieland@independent.org.

Source: charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article109493277.html

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Clinton Has A Messaging Problem When It Comes To Muslim Americans

Oct 20, 2016

Muslim Americans are not just tools for surveillance, Newsy's Noor Tagouri explains.

Hillary Clinton has a messaging problem. When she talks about Muslim Americans, they're almost always tools for intelligence, or on the "front lines" of extremism, rather than regular people who just want good jobs and health care like everyone else.

And this is a common theme among candidates from both sides: Muslim Americans are reduced to their participation in combating terrorism.

Even if she has a more wholesome and comprehensive view of the community than her opponent ��������� and that's a low standard to meet ��������� she's alienating a lot of people with this kind of talk.

In campaigns, minority groups often get boiled down to certain issues and policies instead of being seen as integral, valuable parts of American society. But before being at the "forefront" of combating terrorism, Muslim Americans were at the forefront of building America. They were at the forefront of science, civil rights, sports, health and even politics, and they still are.

This isn't to say that Muslim Americans are not an important part of countering extremism, because they are ��������� as are all Americans. Since 9/11, there have been more deadly attacks carried out by right-wing extremists than by any other group. But you don't hear the candidates calling on right-wing Americans to be on the front lines of combating terrorism.

Now, there have been times when Clinton has indicated she knows actual Muslims do not associate with terrorism.

But with the election coming to a head, we're still hearing that association between Muslims and terrorism in the political dialogue. So this is a reminder that we're not terrorists and we're not just tools for surveillance  we're part of American society.

Source: abc2news.com/newsy/clinton-has-a-messaging-problem-when-it-comes-to-muslim-americans

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