New Age Islam
Fri Sep 25 2020, 04:57 PM

Islamic World News ( 17 Jun 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

PM Al-Abadi: Fallujah Has Returned To the Nation and Mosul Is the Next Battle, Daesh Will Be Defeated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Kairana residents Hajra and Sandhya, who belong to different religious communities, have been longterm neighbours and friends. | Indrani Basu

 

Teenage 'Militant' Killed In Bangladesh after Hindu Attack

In Kairana, Villagers Don't Recognize the Claims Being Made On Their Behalf

Imams Rally against Domestic Violence in the UK

Pakistan Must Deny Safe Havens to Terrorist and Extremist Groups: Pentagon

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Arab World

PM Al-Abadi: Fallujah Has Returned To the Nation and Mosul Is the Next Battle, Daesh Will Be Defeated

Syrian Democratic Forces Engage in Tough Battles with ISIL near Manbij Northeast of Aleppo

Putin: First Priority in Syria Is to Keep Country Unified

Kremlin: Russian Military Operation Continues in Syria

Syrian Official: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Wounded

Plume Mini-Routers Promise a Mesh Network on Cheap

Syrian Army Resolved to Conquer ISIL's Main Stronghold in Hama

Hundreds of Fresh Terrorists Cross Turkish Border into Lattakia Battlefields

Terrorists' Attacks Repulsed by Syrian Army in Quneitra Provinc

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South Asia

Teenage 'Militant' Killed In Bangladesh after Hindu Attack

Concern Mounts as Thousands Detained In Bangladesh Crackdown on Islamists

Taliban shadow governor for Ghazni killed in an airstrike

9 hostages released from Taliban prison in Helmand province

Afghanistan requests delivery of helicopters from Russia

Torkham reopened after nearly a week of tensions among Pak-Afghan force

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India

In Kairana, Villagers Don't Recognize the Claims Being Made On Their Behalf

I Am a Hindu Activist and I’m fighting a Hate Speech Case against Sadhvi Prachi

India takes up with Bangladesh death threat to Ramakrishna Mission priest

Jammu and Kashmir youngster takes his ‘Udaan’, bags job in corporate sector

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Europe

Imams Rally against Domestic Violence in the UK

Vatican Sends Message to Muslim World for Ramadan

Europe’s Anti-Immigration Parties See Opening to Weaken EU Bonds

Belgian police detain 12 suspected of planning new attacks

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North America

Pakistan Must Deny Safe Havens to Terrorist and Extremist Groups: Pentagon

Edmonton's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Condemns Orlando Attack

Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield finds bullet holes in sign

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Southeast Asia

Respect Muslims’ Right to Shariah, PAS Non-Muslim Wing Tells MCA

Indonesians get free fuel for reading Holy Quran during Ramadan

Meeting Rohingya children’s daily needs

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Pakistan

Pakistan Bans TV Show of Host Who Stood Up for Minority Group

Torkham border reopens after five days of friction

US rules out mediating between Pakistan, Afghanistan

‘Pakistan gate’ being built at Iran border

MQM man implicates ex-lawmaker in Hakim Said murder case

Rise in street crime in Karachi in first 10 days of Ramazan

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Mideast

Christians in Aleppo Offer Food to Poor Muslims During Ramadan

Experts Pass Judgment on Meaning of ‘Skeleton Mosaic’ In Turkey's South

Doğan calls to ‘band together’ against terror

Turkish FM, US deputy secretary of state discuss Manbij operation, refugee deal

Turkey appeals to flamboyant nationalist Zhirinovsky for softening Putin’s stance

In Israel, Huckabee defends Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric

Former Israeli PM Says Israel Faces ‘No Existential Threat’

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Africa

West Africa: Crisis in Africa's Sahel, Hotbed of Militancy, Overlooked By Donors

Explore Ethiopia’s Islamic citadel

Corpses and silence after Boko Haram’s Niger strike

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL : http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pm-al-abadi--fallujah-has-returned-to-the-nation-and-mosul-is-the-next-battle,-daesh-will-be-defeated/d/107692

 

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PM Al-Abadi: Fallujah Has Returned To the Nation and Mosul Is the Next Battle, Daesh Will Be Defeated

17 Jun 2016

Earlier on Friday, Iraqi forces said they had entered the centre of Fallujah, nearly four weeks after the start of a US-backed offensive to retake the city 50km west of the capital, Baghdad.

"The counterterrorism service and the rapid response forces have retaken the government compound in the centre of Fallujah," the operation's overall commander, Lieutenant-General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, told the AFP news agency.

The Iraqi flag is now raised on top of the building, symbolising government control.

Commanders said their forces had met limited resistance from ISIL fighters during the push into the city centre.

"This is a very significant development," said Al Jazeera's Omar Al Saleh, who has reported extensively on the conflict in Iraq.

"It is a big moral boost for Iraqi soldiers."

Matthew Henman, from the Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, said that even with the "breakthrough", it would take "much longer" to completely get rid of ISIL in Fallujah, and prevent future attacks.

He also said that if the fight over Fallujah wraps us quickly, then more troops would be realigned to help the government push against ISIL in Mosul.

Government troops and Shia units known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces are leading the campaign to retake the Sunni city from ISIL. They are supported by US-led coalition air strikes.

Al Jazeera's Saleh said the death toll from the fighting so far is based on estimates by medical sources from the city of Fallujah.

"They say it is in the hundreds," he said.

Although the Iraqi government previously said it had a particular strategy to establish safe corridors for civilians in the city centre to leave, many have been reluctant to go for fear of how they may be treated by the Shia units.

Thousands have fled the city and its surrounding areas since the military offensive was launched on May 23, but the UN said that tens of thousands are still inside the city - last week, the UN said up to 90,000 people were believed to be inside Fallujah, in a significant revision of a previous estimate of 50,000.

Many escaping the fighting have been detained and kept at detention facilities, with reports of abuse and violations by government forces and Shia fighters.

The UN says detention facilities lack basic services, including medicine and food.

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq has been dubbed  one of the world's worst by the UN.

Since the beginning of the present conflict in 2014, more than 3.4 million people have been internally displaced and 2.6 million have fled Iraq.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/iraq-pm-abadi-declares-victory-isil-fallujah-160617174259486.html

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Teenage 'militant' killed in Bangladesh after Hindu attack

Sat Jun 18 2016

DHAKA: A teenage suspected militant being held in custody in Bangladesh was shot dead Saturday in a gunfight, police said, days after he allegedly hacked and critically wounded a Hindu lecturer.

Police said Golam Faizullah Fahim, a 19-year-old Muslim, who was in custody for questioning, was killed when officers came under attack in a farmland area after taking him to a river in search of his associates.

“Miscreants fired at the police van as we came near a jute farm. A gunfight ensued. After the gunfight we saw Fahim was shot and wounded. He died after we brought him to a hospital,” Sarwar Hossain, police chief of Madaripur, where the shooting took place, told AFP.

Locals in Madaripur caught Fahim on Wednesday after he and two other suspected militants attacked and wounded 50-year-old mathematics lecturer Ripon Chakrabarti, a Hindu, police said.

The attack was the latest in a wave of brutal assaults on secular activists, writers and religious minorities by suspected Islamist militants.

Police later told reporters Fahim was a college student and was a member of banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) is an international militant group outlawed in several countries, including Bangladesh.

Six suspected Islamist militants have now been shot dead since Bangladesh launched a nationwide crackdown on local jihadist groups in the wake of a spike in murders of secular activists and religious minorities.

The drive has seen more than 11,000 people including 194 militants arrested over the past week despite widespread criticism by local and international human rights groups.

Rights activists also questioned the incidents of deaths in police custody, saying the militants were shot dead in “cold blood” in encounters staged by officers.

Nearly 50 people have been killed over the last three years in a wave of gruesome murders targeting Hindus, Christians, Sufi Muslims, secular activists and foreigners, with most blamed on or claimed by Islamist militants.

Many of the victims were hacked to death with machetes.

This month alone, an elderly Hindu priest was found nearly decapitated in a rice field and a Hindu monastery worker was hacked to death, while a Christian grocer was found murdered near a church.

The militant Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Hindu priest's murder and other recent attacks.

But authorities instead blame homegrown militant groups and say international groups such as IS and Al-Qaeda have no presence in Bangladesh.

Although it is officially secular, around 90 pc of Bangladesh's 160 million-strong population is Muslim. Some eight percent of the population is Hindu.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1265684/teenage-militant-killed-in-bangladesh-after-hindu-attack

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In Kairana, Villagers Don't Recognize The Claims Being Made On Their Behalf

18/06/2016

KAIRANA, Uttar Pradesh -- In Kairana, people are amazed at the things being said about their village--it's a portrayal they say they don't recognize.

For nearly a week now, the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana has dominated Indian politics. The person who first made the claim--BJP MP Hukum Singh, has now dialled back the claim, saying it's a law and order issue rather than a communal one. BJP President Amit Shah, who sought to turn this into a campaign issue in poll-bound UP, now looks like a man who doesn't do his homework before speaking. Amidst this din, there is pervasive confusion in Kairana, the alleged communal hot spot.

BJP MP Hukum Singh's attempts to pass off demographic changes in Kairana—which has shifted in the past few years in favour of Muslims in the area, in part because of a large-scale migration on Muslim refugees from riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in 2014 — has been shown to be unsubstantiated. His allegation of a "complete breakdown of law and order" have been rebutted with only one case of extortion reported in Kairana this year, and only three people leaving the village due to criminal threats.

Speculation is rife that the entire episode may have all been an attempt to help launch one of Singh's daughters in politics. However, all it has done is perhaps placed fear in people's minds.

On Wednesday, Kairana was overrun by media. Teams of journalists wait around at the local police station. Some are interviewing bewildered residents. There is talk about a press conference by BJP leaders in the evening. There's a near stampede when the "fact-finding" team from BJP arrives. The party sent a fact-finding team after its national president had aired Hukum Singh's claims as fact at a rally in Allahabad on Sunday.

Their first stop is the house of one such Hindu family, whose members claim to have fled the village following extortion threats. After all the mediapersons are asked to empty the room where the "peedit" (victimised) family waits to tell their story, the BJP team too exits 5 minutes later. I am seated at the front, but I don't see a word being exchanged between the remaining Hindu family members and the BJP team. Most of the BJP leaders have spent more time giving interviews to television channels outside the house.

Opposite this house, members of a Muslim family recline on a charpoy. Do they know why the politicians are here, I ask. Immediately, a crowd gathers. Village residents — both from Hindu and Muslim families — rubbish the claims made by BJP leaders. One Hindu man, Sonu, tells me how his wedding last year had 2,000 guests, many of them Muslim. "We have no problem here. We celebrate many festivals together, and greet each other whether it is Diwali or Eid," says the 28-year-old. "I was born in this village. I call him 'tau' (elderly uncle)," he says, pointing to his 62-year-old Muslim neighbour, Idris.

"We've never had communal tension here, even in 1947," says Mehmood, 66, referring to the year of India's independence when there was a large-scale migration of Hindus and Muslims across the India-Pakistan border.

"People leave Kairana because they sell land here and buy it for better prices elsewhere," Iqbal, 65, a Kairana resident for the past four decades, claims. "There are no factories here."

It's a familiar refrain everywhere I ask. A 48-year-old Muslim man, Mohammad Ayum, says that he isn't aware of what the television channels are playing, and can't understand why there are suddenly so many journalists and politicians in his village. He says some people have left for better opportunities in other states, and a sizeable population of daily labourers leaves for Panipat every day for work and return in the evening.

At a barbershop, Dilshad cuts Shahbad's hair. The 20 year olds have just found out about the 'Hindu exodus'. "My brother left for Haryana three years ago for work and he's not Hindu," says Dilshad. "We didn't even know there were any such problems. This entire lane has so many Hindus and we've never had problems with each other."

A local tailor, Ram Chander, describes how his family has lived in the village for generations. "Hindus and Muslims have always been friends here. We celebrate all festivals equally," he says.

Nearby, his 19-year-old son Shiv Kumar exchanges grins with his 11-year-old Muslim neighbour, Sofiyaan. "We fly kites together," Sofiyaan says, by way of showing their camaraderie. "They are trying to make us fight," he says, referring to local politicians.

Sofiyaan is eager to introduce all his Hindu neighbours, whose houses are separated from their Muslim acquaintance by narrow alleyways just about wide enough for one person to squeeze through. In one such alleyway, I encounter Hajra and Sandhya, both in their mid-fifties, exchanging the day's gossip.

When I ask them if they know of any Hindu-Muslim animosity in their village, the two start slapping each others' backs, asking if there is a problem. "We live here like the rest of the world," says Sandhya. "She's Muslim, but that doesn't change our friendship," she says, pointing to Hajra and grinning.

A few houses away, 85-year-old Kalavati sits on the steps leading up to her house, where her son also runs a primary school. Inside, the walls are decorated with pictures of the Hindu god Hanuman, and leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. "Both Hindu and Muslim children study here," she tells me. "They get on together like children do."

Back at the local police station, the thana in-charge MS Gill claims that he has begun receiving worried calls from relatives if the "situation is safe" in Kairana. "About 95 percent of the crimes reported in the area are what we call 'body offences' — which involve fights within family members, quarrels, minor injury," he tells me. "The remaining five percent are property offences, where something gets stolen. We have had one extortion case since the beginning of the year." In this case, the accused include members of both the Hindu and Muslim community. All of them are behind bars now.

Local police claim they have never received complaints of Hindu-Muslim strife in the village. Except for one case, no Muslim refugee has been involved in a crime in the area, police say. Around 1,100 Muslim families have left the village in the last decade for better job opportunities, they say, and approximately 7,000 residents travel to Panipat daily for work. When some businessmen were murdered in 2013, the entire market was shut down, and both Hindus and Muslims protested against the crime together, cops say.

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/06/18/kairana-myth-hindu-exodus_n_10522202.html

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Imams rally against domestic violence in the UK

JUNE 18 2016

United Kingdom - Two women are killed each week as a result of domestic violence in England and Wales, and one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

On average, police in the UK handle a call about domestic violence every minute, but only about 35 percent of incidents are even reported.

It is a problem that affects every community in the United Kingdom.

Now, several organisations within Britain's Muslim community have started to tackle the cases of domestic abuse occuring within their communities, arguing that Muslim victims sometimes require support services that take their cultural and religious concerns into consideration.

Although rights groups emphasise that domestic abuse is not specifically a Muslim issue, "understanding the cultural needs and religious needs of the person," encourage victims to come forward, help deal with trauma, and find solutions said Shahida Rahman, a spokeswoman for the domestic violence charity Nour.

Deeper issues in domestic violence

On Nour's website, victims share their stories anonymously. One woman describes being spat and screamed at. Another speaks about watching her father abusing her mother, and finally being forced into an abusive marriage herself. A third mentions lying to doctors about how she broke her ribs and how her eyes were blackened.

Founded in 2011, the charity  offers a voice  to women and men and helps about 10 people each week. Some are repeat visitors.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/03/imams-rally-domestic-violence-uk-160326110808840.html

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Pakistan must deny safe havens to terrorist and extremist groups: Pentagon

Sat Jun 18 2016

Pentagon has said Pakistan should deny safe havens to the terrorist and extremist groups in its soil in a bid to help improve the security environment of the region.

The Department of Defense in its report to Congress “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” stated “Pakistan must play a role in reducing the threat from terrorist and militant groups in the region.”

The report further added that consistent mid-level military-to-military dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan on specific issues, such as the shared threat from Islamic Sstate – Khurasan, and occasional discussions at higher levels of the military and government early in the reporting period were encouraging.

“However, sustained Pakistani efforts to pressure the Haqqani Network and the Taliban and to disrupt active threat

streams are necessary to help decrease violence in the region, to reduce the threat posed by these groups, and to achieve lasting progress on counterterrorism issues,” the report said.

It also added that The United States continues to support the re-invigorated efforts of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, which includes the Afghan, Pakistani, and Chinese governments, to set conditions for an eventual Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process with the Taliban and other militant groups.

However, it said the prospects for a successful dialogue this reporting period were hampered and complicated by the Taliban’s April 19, 2016, HPA in Kabul, the Afghan government’s subsequent response imploring Pakistan to take more direct action against extremist groups seeking safe haven in Pakistan, and the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mansour.

“The United States continues to be clear with Pakistan about steps it should take to improve the security environment and deny safe haven to terrorist and extremist groups. These conversations continue to affect not only U.S. dialogue with Pakistan on security and stability in Afghanistan but also during discussion of other issues in the U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relationship such as security assistance,” the report added.

This comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for failing to take actions against the groups using the Pakistani soil to carry out attacks in Afghanistan.

The Afghan officials believe the notorious Haqqani terrorist network and the Taliban group leaderships are based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan.

http://www.khaama.com/pakistan-must-deny-safe-havens-to-terrorist-and-extremist-groups-pentagon-01284

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Arab World

PM Al-Abadi: Fallujah Has Returned To the Nation and Mosul Is the Next Battle, Daesh Will Be Defeated

17 Jun 2016

Earlier on Friday, Iraqi forces said they had entered the centre of Fallujah, nearly four weeks after the start of a US-backed offensive to retake the city 50km west of the capital, Baghdad.

"The counterterrorism service and the rapid response forces have retaken the government compound in the centre of Fallujah," the operation's overall commander, Lieutenant-General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, told the AFP news agency.

The Iraqi flag is now raised on top of the building, symbolising government control.

Commanders said their forces had met limited resistance from ISIL fighters during the push into the city centre.

"This is a very significant development," said Al Jazeera's Omar Al Saleh, who has reported extensively on the conflict in Iraq.

"It is a big moral boost for Iraqi soldiers."

Matthew Henman, from the Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, said that even with the "breakthrough", it would take "much longer" to completely get rid of ISIL in Fallujah, and prevent future attacks.

He also said that if the fight over Fallujah wraps us quickly, then more troops would be realigned to help the government push against ISIL in Mosul.

Government troops and Shia units known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces are leading the campaign to retake the Sunni city from ISIL. They are supported by US-led coalition air strikes.

Al Jazeera's Saleh said the death toll from the fighting so far is based on estimates by medical sources from the city of Fallujah.

"They say it is in the hundreds," he said.

Although the Iraqi government previously said it had a particular strategy to establish safe corridors for civilians in the city centre to leave, many have been reluctant to go for fear of how they may be treated by the Shia units.

Thousands have fled the city and its surrounding areas since the military offensive was launched on May 23, but the UN said that tens of thousands are still inside the city - last week, the UN said up to 90,000 people were believed to be inside Fallujah, in a significant revision of a previous estimate of 50,000.

Many escaping the fighting have been detained and kept at detention facilities, with reports of abuse and violations by government forces and Shia fighters.

The UN says detention facilities lack basic services, including medicine and food.

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq has been dubbed  one of the world's worst by the UN.

Since the beginning of the present conflict in 2014, more than 3.4 million people have been internally displaced and 2.6 million have fled Iraq.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/iraq-pm-abadi-declares-victory-isil-fallujah-160617174259486.html

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Syrian Democratic Forces Engage in Tough Battles with ISIL near Manbij Northeast of Aleppo

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to storm the ISIL strongholds in the Western, Eastern and Southern sides of the terrorist-held town of Manbij, inflicting a heavy death toll on the militants.

The SDF fighters ended their mop up operations near al-Etehad university, and the villages of Madani Kabir, Madani Saghir and Sheikh Yahya and launched fresh offensives on the ISIL positions from the town's Western flank.

"Heavy fighting is now underway between the SDF and ISIL along Manbij-Aleppo road," battlefield sources said, adding, "At least 28 ISIL members have thus far been killed in the clashes in the Western part of Manbij."

"The SDF fighters also carried out mop up operations in Hamdoun farms, silos areas and the village of Rasm al-Akhzar in the Southern side of Manbij and deployed forces at positions only one kilometer away from the town," the sources added.

"At least 20 ISIL terrorists were killed in the SDF's cleansing operation of the village of Tal Rafi'a in the Eastern side of Manbij and the SDF fighter reached to 4 kilometers distance from the town," the sources went on to say. 

In relevant developments on Friday, the SDF, mainly comprising of the Kurdish fighters, stormed the ISIL strongholds in Western side of Manbij and imposed full control over the villages of al-Jaqal Saghir and al-Qarat.

The ISIL left behind scores of the dead and wounded members and fled the battlefield to evade more casualties.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000469

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Putin: First Priority in Syria Is to Keep Country Unified

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- It is of major importance is to prevent Syrian coup d`etat, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The most important thing in Syria is to prevent the country from falling apart, as the risk of such outcome will remain high if the situation continues to develop in the same vein, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday, Sputnik reported.

"It is necessary to act carefully, step by step, gradually gaining trust of all conflicting sides. If it happens —and I think it will happen sooner or later, and the earlier the better — then it will be necessary to go further, to talk about further elections and complete settlement. The most important thing is to avoid the country's breakup. And if the situation continues to develop as it does today, the collapse is inevitable, and this is the worst case scenario," Putin said at the 2016 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000245

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Kremlin: Russian Military Operation Continues in Syria

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov affirmed that the Russian military operation against the terrorist groups in Syria continues.

"A very considerable problem is that the so-called moderate opposition and Jabhat al-Nusra continue to mix at certain places and merge – this is not a secret to anyone. This considerably complicates the anti-terrorist situation, “Peskov told reporters, SANA reported.

Commenting on Washington’s claims that Russian aviation allegedly delivers air strikes at the positions of the Syrian opposition supported by US military, the Kremlin spokesman said "this question should be addressed to the Defense Ministry."

He added that the operation of Russian Aerospace Defense forces is continued in Syria.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000218

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Syrian Official: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Wounded

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL terrorist group, has been wounded and the Syrian government is expecting his elimination soon, the Syrian ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad said.

Last week, media reports emerged claiming that Baghdadi was killed in a US airstrike. Pentagon and the Iraqi army denied these claims.

"There is no clear information on his killing, but I definitely know that he was wounded. But this does not matter, as in near future not only him, but also other ISIL [Daesh] members will be killed," he told RIA Novosti. 

The ambassador added that a meeting of Syrian and Russian defense ministers is currently being planned.

"Indeed, one minister should visit the other, the place and the date are not known yet, but we have such plans," the official said answering a corresponding question.

Earlier this year, various reports emerged about Baghdadi's injures or death. In April, US Department of Defense announced that Baghdadi was alive, and was traveling between Syria and Iraq.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000181

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Plume Mini-Routers Promise a Mesh Network on Cheap

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- There are a few (expensive) ways to get a mesh network in your home right now, but a device called the Plume might do the same job for a lot less. Plume is basically a series of tiny routers that you scatter around the house

You probably have a router, and let’s be honest here, it’s probably not very good. Router technology has not exactly advanced by leaps and bounds, even as the Wi-Fi standard has gotten considerably speedier over the years. We still cope with poor coverage and performance hiccups caused by interference much of the time, but mesh networks might provide a more flexible way to manage your connectivity. There are a few (expensive) ways to get a mesh network in your home right now, but a device called the Plume might do the same job for a lot less. Plume is basically a series of tiny routers that you scatter around the house.

The concept behind Plume is not entirely unique, but it’s still fairly new in the consumer space. Each Plume pod is a small hexagon that plugs into a wall outlet. One Plume needs to be wired into your Internet connection via the gigabit Ethernet port, but the others only need power. All the Plume pods communicate with each other to create a mesh network which you can then connect to via Wi-Fi.

This is a similar concept to the recently released Eero router or the Luma. However, you have to purchase multiple expensive routers to create a mesh network with either of those — they’re about $200 each. Plumes cost $39 each during the pre-order window or $49 each after. They’re also tiny and rather cute, if that matters to you.

According to Plume, the eponymous device uses different Wi-Fi bands for the connection between each pod to reduce interference. This allows Plume to prioritize the connection with your devices, which can be adjusted as you move around the house. If there are a few people with phones pulling a lot of data in one area of the house, Plume can increase signal strength on the nearest hub to compensate. It can apparently even predict when such an event will occur based on your usage patterns. It’ll also recognize which devices need greater priority on the network, for example a TV streaming 4K video or a game console being used for online play.

While Plume is presenting itself as an inexpensive device, you can’t just buy two or three pods and call it a day. The minimum purchase right now is six Plumes, which the company says is sufficient for a 2-3 bedroom house. That works out to $234 as a pre-order or $300 when the device officially launches. That is expensive, but it’s still an inexpensive way to get a mesh network up and running. You could spend $300 on a single router if you wanted, and it probably wouldn’t offer the same coverage. We’ll have to see how Plume works in real life when it ships this fall.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000204

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Syrian Army Resolved to Conquer ISIL's Main Stronghold in Hama

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Military sources said that the recent advances of the Syrian Army and its allies in the Eastern and Northeastern parts of Hama province have paved the way for the government forces to push East and capture the town of Aqayrabat known as the main stronghold of the ISIL in Hama province.

"Aqayrabat, as the main base of the ISIL, the safest town in the province home to ISIL members' families and one of the most important bases of the Takfiri group to equip it vehicles with improvised explosive devices to carry out suicide attacks, in one of the main targets of the Syrian army and popular forces in their fight against terrorism," the sources said, adding, "Liberation of Aqayrabat will end the ISIL rule in Hama province."

"Seizure of the strategic road of al-Mab'oujeh to Salba region by the Syrian army has given the government forces' upper hand in carrying out liberation operation of Aqayrabat," the sources added.

"Aqayrabat's proximity to Aleppo-Damascus highway and gas fields has doubled the town's strategic importance for both government and terrorist groups ," they went on to say.

In relevant developments on Friday, the Syrian fighter jets targeted the strongholds of al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front on Northern Hama, pinning down the militants behind their defense lines.

"The ISIL concentration centers and gatherings near the small town of Atshan came under massive bombardments of the Syrian Army aircraft," the sources said adding, "At least five members of the Takfiri group were killed and several more were wounded in the attacks."

"The Syrian airstrikes slowed down the militant group's military movements in the region," the source went on to say.

Earlier this week, the Syrian army units conducted special operations against the gatherings of ISIL Takfiri terrorists in the Eastern parts of Hama province, killing and wounding several militants.

According to a battlefield source, an army unit clashed with a group of ISIL Takfiri terrorists at the axis of al-Mab’oujeh-Akareb in the Eastern parts of Salamiyah city, killing and injuring scores of them and destroying their weapons.

Another army unit destroyed, in a special operation, a mortar launcher for the ISIL in Qleib village in the Eastern countryside of the province.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000357

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Hundreds of Fresh Terrorists Cross Turkish Border into Lattakia Battlefields

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Hundreds of Jeish al-Fatah terrorists have crossed Turkey's border into Northern Syria to join their comrades in the mountainous battlefields of the coastal province of Lattakia that has been the scene of government forces' advances in the recent days, military sources said.

"After significant advances of the Syrian army and its popular allies against the terrorist groups near the border with Turkey, Ankara paved the way for scores of the terrorists to enter Lattakia to join their comrades from Chechnya and Caucasus deployed in Turkmen mountain," the sources said.

On Friday, the Syrian Army troops and popular forces continued to hit the strongholds of the terrorist groups in Northern Lattakia and pushed the militants back from more heights near the border with Turkey.

The Syrian government forces' operation in Northern Lattakia ended in the seizure of Nawwara region and meantime claimed the lives of several militants.

Also, the Syrian army men engaged in heavy fighting with al-Nusra Front in al-Nimer region and forced the militants to retreat from the battlefield after leaving behind scores of the dead and wounded members.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the Syrian army and popular forces deployed in the Northwestern province of Lattakia retook more regions and villages near the borders with Turkey.

"The resistance forces could purge terrorists from Chechenia and Caucasian from al-Shahrourah village, Tal al-Hayat hill, heights 502, 559 and 469 and a part of al-Ruweisa mountains," a field source said on Thursday.

According to the source, the Syrian pro-government forces, supported by the Russian fighter jets, powerfully continued their advances towards the Turkish borders.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000277

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Terrorists' Attacks Repulsed by Syrian Army in Quneitra Province

June 18, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops repelled the terrorist groups' assaults on their positions, and forced them to retreat from the battlefield after leaving behind over 10 dead members.

The militants stormed the government forces' strongholds in surroundings of the strategic town of al-Ba'ath from the village of al-Hamidiyeh, but the attacks were fended off by the strong defense of the Syrian army men.

The terrorist groups left behind at least 10 dead and many more wounded members and fled the battlefield.

In relevant developments in the Southwestern province earlier this week, the al-Nusra Front's offensive on government forces' strongholds in the Southern province of Quneitra was pushed back by the army's strong defense, adding that the terrorist suffered a heavy death toll and fled the battlefield.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front stormed the pro-government positions near Tal al-Hamiriyeh South of the village of Hadhar, but the strong defense to Syrian soldiers did not allowed them to advance in the battlefront and retreated from the battlefront under the heavy fire of the army men.

Al-Nusra's military equipment and vehicles were destroyed in the failed attacks.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950329000224

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South Asia

Teenage 'militant' killed in Bangladesh after Hindu attack

Sat Jun 18 2016

DHAKA: A teenage suspected militant being held in custody in Bangladesh was shot dead Saturday in a gunfight, police said, days after he allegedly hacked and critically wounded a Hindu lecturer.

Police said Golam Faizullah Fahim, a 19-year-old Muslim, who was in custody for questioning, was killed when officers came under attack in a farmland area after taking him to a river in search of his associates.

“Miscreants fired at the police van as we came near a jute farm. A gunfight ensued. After the gunfight we saw Fahim was shot and wounded. He died after we brought him to a hospital,” Sarwar Hossain, police chief of Madaripur, where the shooting took place, told AFP.

Locals in Madaripur caught Fahim on Wednesday after he and two other suspected militants attacked and wounded 50-year-old mathematics lecturer Ripon Chakrabarti, a Hindu, police said.

The attack was the latest in a wave of brutal assaults on secular activists, writers and religious minorities by suspected Islamist militants.

Police later told reporters Fahim was a college student and was a member of banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) is an international militant group outlawed in several countries, including Bangladesh.

Six suspected Islamist militants have now been shot dead since Bangladesh launched a nationwide crackdown on local jihadist groups in the wake of a spike in murders of secular activists and religious minorities.

The drive has seen more than 11,000 people including 194 militants arrested over the past week despite widespread criticism by local and international human rights groups.

Rights activists also questioned the incidents of deaths in police custody, saying the militants were shot dead in “cold blood” in encounters staged by officers.

Nearly 50 people have been killed over the last three years in a wave of gruesome murders targeting Hindus, Christians, Sufi Muslims, secular activists and foreigners, with most blamed on or claimed by Islamist militants.

Many of the victims were hacked to death with machetes.

This month alone, an elderly Hindu priest was found nearly decapitated in a rice field and a Hindu monastery worker was hacked to death, while a Christian grocer was found murdered near a church.

The militant Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Hindu priest's murder and other recent attacks.

But authorities instead blame homegrown militant groups and say international groups such as IS and Al-Qaeda have no presence in Bangladesh.

Although it is officially secular, around 90 pc of Bangladesh's 160 million-strong population is Muslim. Some eight percent of the population is Hindu.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1265684/teenage-militant-killed-in-bangladesh-after-hindu-attack

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Concern mounts as thousands detained in Bangladesh crackdown on Islamists

Sat Jun 18 2016

Bangladeshi authorities arrested nearly 11,000 people in the past week as part of a sweeping crackdown on suspected Islamist militants behind a spate of attacks, as rights groups voice concern over arbitrary arrests and the deterioration of rule of law.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed last week to crush "each and every killer" behind a wave of brutal Islamist "machete attacks" that have killed nearly 30 secular writers, Hindus, gay activists and Westerners since the beginning of last year.

In the past week alone, a Hindu priest, Hindu monastery worker, a Hindu teacher and Christian shopkeeper were hacked to death or wounded with machetes, while the Muslim wife of a top counter-terrorism police officer was also killed. The killing of the counter-terrorism official's wife is believed to be the spark that triggered the wrath of authorities.

Al-Qaeda's affiliate in the subcontinent Ansar al-Islam and the so-called "Islamic State" have claimed credit for numerous attacks, but authorities deny the terror groups have a presence in the country. Police instead blamed home-grown outfits such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and Ansarullah Bangla Team.

'Regime has lost control'

Only a fraction of those caught up in the recent crackdown are suspected militants, police have conceded, putting the number of Islamic militant arrests at some 150.

The sweeping nature of the crackdown has spurred concern over arbitrary arrests.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday said police appeared to be arbitrarily arresting young men in neighborhoods suspected of harboring militants. In at least one case, HRW said, a youth was beaten up while in custody and threatened with being labeled a suspected fundamentalist unless he paid a bribe.

"The mass arrest of thousands upon thousands within the course of a few days is a familiar scene in Bangladesh, but does little to inspire confidence either that these ghastly killings will stop or that due process will be followed," said Brad Adams, HRW's Asia director.

"The authorities need to conduct focused investigations in order to find those responsible for planning and carrying out the wave of killings that has so outraged the world," he added.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, accuse the government of using the machete attacks as a pretext to crack down on opponents. Thousands of opposition members have been rounded up in the past week, according to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

"What we are seeing now is how the Sheikh Hasina regime has lost control over the agenda of tackling extremism," the London-based spokesman for the BNP, Humaiun Kobir, said earlier this week.

"It has concentrated for far too long on crushing the political opposition, and using terrorism as an excuse," Kobir added.

Hasina's government accuses the two Islamist rooted parties of orchestrating the violence to destabilize the country.

http://www.dw.com/en/concern-mounts-as-thousands-detained-in-bangladesh-crackdown-on-islamists/a-19337787

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Taliban shadow governor for Ghazni killed in an airstrike

Sat Jun 18 2016

Taliban’s shadow governor for the southeastern Ghazni province was killed in an airstrike in this province, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Saturday.

According to a statement by MoI, Mullah Qasim was killed along with his other fighters in an air raid in Aab Band district.

It was yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan Air Force or the United States Forces in Afghanistan.

The US President Barack Obama granted broader role to the US Forces in Afghanistan to assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in their fight against a resurgent Taliban.

Teh US forces were earlier carrying out regular airstrikes against the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, MoI said at least two other terrorists were wounded and several vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed in the raid.

According to MoI, Mullah Qasim had a major role in terrorist activities in various parts of Ghazni province and his death will have a positive result on security situation of the province.

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

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-shadow-governor-for-ghazni-killed-in-an-airstrike-01285

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9 hostages released from Taliban prison in Helmand province

Sat Jun 18 2016

At least nine hostages were released from a prison run by the Taliban militants in the restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the prisoners were released during an operation led by the Afghan army and in coordination with the other security institutions including the Afghan Air Force.

A statement by MoD said the command and control center of the Taliban militants was also destroyed during an airstrike carried out by the Afghan Air Force.

The statement further added that the raid was conducted in Nahr-e-Saraj district and at least 6 militants were also killed.

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

This comes as the Afghan commandos released at least 23 militants during a similar raid in this province nearly a month ago.

The operation was conducted in Marjah district of Helmand to destroy a prison run by the Taliban militants and release the hostages.

http://www.khaama.com/9-hostages-released-from-taliban-prison-in-helmand-province-01283

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Afghanistan requests delivery of helicopters from Russia

Sat Jun 18 2016

Afghanistan has reportedly requested delivery of military equipment from Russia including helicopters in a bid to boost the capabilities of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

The request by Afghanistan was reportedly made during deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai’s visit to Russia this week.

“We sent a request to the Russian Security Council for expanding cooperation [in the military field], including for the deliveries of helicopters to Kabul,” Karzai was quoted as saying in a report by State-run Sputnik News.

Earlier, the Afghan and Russian defense officials have agreed to establish a military-technical cooperation committee in a bid to jointly combat international terrorism.

The Ministry of Defense officials in Kabul confirmed that a meeting was organized between the Afghan and Russian officials to discuss military cooperation between Kabul and Moscow.

The meeting was organized on the sideline of the 5th International Security Conference in Moscow late in April which was attended by over 500 politicians and military leaders of the world.

In the meantime, the Russian helicopters company officials have said they are prepared to establish a service center in Afghanistan to provide repair and other technical services to the Afghan Air Force.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Russian Helicopters Alexander Mikheev said last month that the company is also prepared to assist the Afghan Air Force in training the Afghan technical staff and engineers.

According to the State-run Sputnik News Agency, Mikheev made the commitment during a meeting with Shakir Kargar, the special presidential envoy to Commonwealth of Independent States.

Mikheev has also proposed to send a group of experts of the Russian Helicopters company to Afghanistan to assess the technical condition of the helicopters, repair of the helicopters and extension of the resources of the Afghan Air Force helicopters.

http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-requests-delivery-of-helicopters-from-russia-01282

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Torkham reopened after nearly a week of tensions among Pak-Afghan forces

Sat Jun 18 2016

The Torkham gate was reopened after almost a week of intense tensions among the Afghan and Pakistani border guards.

The gate was reportedly opened earlier this morning for the passengers and vehicles to commute between the two countries.

According to reports, the passengers holding valid visa can only cross the line.

Tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan erupted late on Sunday night after the Afghan forces prevented the Pakistani security forces to construct a gate along the zero line.

The two sides clashes occasionally during the past one week as both the Afghan and Pakistani suffered casualties.

Afghanistan at least three border guards during the three days of clashes while a Pakistani major was killed and several other security personnel were wounded.

The tensions between the Afghan and Pakistani forces reduced following diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.

This comes as tensions intensified among the Afghan and Pakistani border guards along Torkham in mid-May resulting to the closure of the gate for at last four days.

Both the Afghan and Pakistani forces deployed additional troops and heavy military equipment including tanks due to the growing tensions.

http://www.khaama.com/torkham-reopened-after-nearly-a-week-of-tensions-among-pak-afghan-forces-01281

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India

In Kairana, Villagers Don't Recognize The Claims Being Made On Their Behalf

18/06/2016

KAIRANA, Uttar Pradesh -- In Kairana, people are amazed at the things being said about their village--it's a portrayal they say they don't recognize.

For nearly a week now, the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana has dominated Indian politics. The person who first made the claim--BJP MP Hukum Singh, has now dialled back the claim, saying it's a law and order issue rather than a communal one. BJP President Amit Shah, who sought to turn this into a campaign issue in poll-bound UP, now looks like a man who doesn't do his homework before speaking. Amidst this din, there is pervasive confusion in Kairana, the alleged communal hot spot.

BJP MP Hukum Singh's attempts to pass off demographic changes in Kairana—which has shifted in the past few years in favour of Muslims in the area, in part because of a large-scale migration on Muslim refugees from riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in 2014 — has been shown to be unsubstantiated. His allegation of a "complete breakdown of law and order" have been rebutted with only one case of extortion reported in Kairana this year, and only three people leaving the village due to criminal threats.

Speculation is rife that the entire episode may have all been an attempt to help launch one of Singh's daughters in politics. However, all it has done is perhaps placed fear in people's minds.

On Wednesday, Kairana was overrun by media. Teams of journalists wait around at the local police station. Some are interviewing bewildered residents. There is talk about a press conference by BJP leaders in the evening. There's a near stampede when the "fact-finding" team from BJP arrives. The party sent a fact-finding team after its national president had aired Hukum Singh's claims as fact at a rally in Allahabad on Sunday.

Their first stop is the house of one such Hindu family, whose members claim to have fled the village following extortion threats. After all the mediapersons are asked to empty the room where the "peedit" (victimised) family waits to tell their story, the BJP team too exits 5 minutes later. I am seated at the front, but I don't see a word being exchanged between the remaining Hindu family members and the BJP team. Most of the BJP leaders have spent more time giving interviews to television channels outside the house.

Opposite this house, members of a Muslim family recline on a charpoy. Do they know why the politicians are here, I ask. Immediately, a crowd gathers. Village residents — both from Hindu and Muslim families — rubbish the claims made by BJP leaders. One Hindu man, Sonu, tells me how his wedding last year had 2,000 guests, many of them Muslim. "We have no problem here. We celebrate many festivals together, and greet each other whether it is Diwali or Eid," says the 28-year-old. "I was born in this village. I call him 'tau' (elderly uncle)," he says, pointing to his 62-year-old Muslim neighbour, Idris.

"We've never had communal tension here, even in 1947," says Mehmood, 66, referring to the year of India's independence when there was a large-scale migration of Hindus and Muslims across the India-Pakistan border.

"People leave Kairana because they sell land here and buy it for better prices elsewhere," Iqbal, 65, a Kairana resident for the past four decades, claims. "There are no factories here."

It's a familiar refrain everywhere I ask. A 48-year-old Muslim man, Mohammad Ayum, says that he isn't aware of what the television channels are playing, and can't understand why there are suddenly so many journalists and politicians in his village. He says some people have left for better opportunities in other states, and a sizeable population of daily labourers leaves for Panipat every day for work and return in the evening.

At a barbershop, Dilshad cuts Shahbad's hair. The 20 year olds have just found out about the 'Hindu exodus'. "My brother left for Haryana three years ago for work and he's not Hindu," says Dilshad. "We didn't even know there were any such problems. This entire lane has so many Hindus and we've never had problems with each other."

A local tailor, Ram Chander, describes how his family has lived in the village for generations. "Hindus and Muslims have always been friends here. We celebrate all festivals equally," he says.

Nearby, his 19-year-old son Shiv Kumar exchanges grins with his 11-year-old Muslim neighbour, Sofiyaan. "We fly kites together," Sofiyaan says, by way of showing their camaraderie. "They are trying to make us fight," he says, referring to local politicians.

Sofiyaan is eager to introduce all his Hindu neighbours, whose houses are separated from their Muslim acquaintance by narrow alleyways just about wide enough for one person to squeeze through. In one such alleyway, I encounter Hajra and Sandhya, both in their mid-fifties, exchanging the day's gossip.

When I ask them if they know of any Hindu-Muslim animosity in their village, the two start slapping each others' backs, asking if there is a problem. "We live here like the rest of the world," says Sandhya. "She's Muslim, but that doesn't change our friendship," she says, pointing to Hajra and grinning.

A few houses away, 85-year-old Kalavati sits on the steps leading up to her house, where her son also runs a primary school. Inside, the walls are decorated with pictures of the Hindu god Hanuman, and leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. "Both Hindu and Muslim children study here," she tells me. "They get on together like children do."

Back at the local police station, the thana in-charge MS Gill claims that he has begun receiving worried calls from relatives if the "situation is safe" in Kairana. "About 95 percent of the crimes reported in the area are what we call 'body offences' — which involve fights within family members, quarrels, minor injury," he tells me. "The remaining five percent are property offences, where something gets stolen. We have had one extortion case since the beginning of the year." In this case, the accused include members of both the Hindu and Muslim community. All of them are behind bars now.

Local police claim they have never received complaints of Hindu-Muslim strife in the village. Except for one case, no Muslim refugee has been involved in a crime in the area, police say. Around 1,100 Muslim families have left the village in the last decade for better job opportunities, they say, and approximately 7,000 residents travel to Panipat daily for work. When some businessmen were murdered in 2013, the entire market was shut down, and both Hindus and Muslims protested against the crime together, cops say.

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/06/18/kairana-myth-hindu-exodus_n_10522202.html

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I Am a Hindu Activist and I’m fighting a Hate Speech Case against Sadhvi Prachi

18/06/2016

India as a civilization has been in continuous existence for thousands of years. As Swami Vivekananda pointed out in the Chicago speech of 1893, we have not only believed in tolerance but in harmony. India has always shown the world the magic of assimilation and integration, with all the sects and religions that have come here. I write this in my apartments in Kochi, Kerala, and just a few kilometres away is Jew Town, one of the oldest settlements of Jews in India. In their long history, it is India that the Jewish people thank as a space in which they never had to face any hostility in the past 2500 years.

Legend has it that by AD 52, St Thomas came to India and we had one of the first organized churches in the world on our shores, long, long before the Vatican and European Christianity rose. Historians point out the existence of the Cheraman Perumal Mosque, almost as old as the Holy Mecca. It is said to have been built by a Hindu king who went from here to meet Prophet Mohammed (SAAW) and took Islam as his spiritual path; the king's family all remained Hindu and they lived together.

What Sadhvi Prachi said is wrong and unacceptable. The idea of a "Muslim-free India" goes against the very soul of India, against the spirit of our Constitution.

All of the above is to point out that pluralism is India's greatest contribution to the world, along with yoga, Ayurveda, Vedanta and so many other great things.

Now, as we come to 2016 and Indian politics, it becomes a bit more complex. Let me be honest in saying that I am a Hindu activist, and lean to the right. Does that make me anti-Muslim? Absolutely NOT. In the Indian context, many mistakenly assume that in order to be pro-Hindu one has to be anti-Muslim, or in order to be pro-Muslim one has to be anti-Hindu. But they are not mutually antagonistic terms.

What Sadhvi Prachi said is wrong and unacceptable. The idea of a "Muslim-free India" goes against the very soul of India, against the spirit of our Constitution. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have many times pointed out that in the 5000-plus years of India's history, acceptance and assimilation have been our strength. Note: even in this article I am sceptical of using the word "secular" as it has been misused and abused by many politicians for many not-so-noble reasons. So let me use "pluralism" instead of secularism. I lodged a police complaint and also went to court against Sadhvi Prachi. The honourable court hearing the petition said, this is of a very serious nature and an India that is "free" of "any religion" is against the basic nature of "who we are". The complaint -- filed under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, which tackles promoting enmity between communities -- was well received by a great majority of Hindus because they don't accept what Sadhvi Prachi said.

I concede that in the name of secularism, some wrong policies may have been pursued... But that doesn't mean we have to now create Hindu Owaisis.

I concede that in the name of secularism, some wrong policies may have been pursued, but that doesn't make the idea of secularism bad. The people who adopted such policies and positions "misused" it. They kept quiet when lakhs of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits were expelled from the Valley, they choose to close their eyes to genuine Hindu concerns in order to chase more "organized and consolidated vote banks". Let me remind you here that many people, I included, actively campaigned to get Akbaruddin Owaisi arrested for his rant against Hindus, while many "secular politicians" were reluctant to even take a position.

But that doesn't mean we have to now "over-compensate", that doesn't mean we have to create Hindu Owaisis. it only means that our Hindu community, which comprises about 80% of India, has to stay strong for a just, plural and harmonious nation. Such a balance is possible. We need only look to the greatest Hindu, Indian and human of the past century -- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. At the risk of the "Hindu community" being divided forever in 1932, Mahatma Gandhi risked his life for uniting Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in the Poona Pact. On 15 August, 1947, at the time when everyone was celebrating India's Independence, Gandhiji kept away and was engaged in preventing communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. From Martin Luther King to Mandela, the Mahatma was an inspiration for people fighting for their rights world over.

Remember PM Narendra Modi's words: "Bharat Mata has 125 crore children." Remember: 125 crore children not just 100 crore Hindus.

Some of my proud patriot Hindu right-wingers may have been offended when I filed a case against Sadhvi Prachi. I am sure they will understand that I filed it not because I am anti-Hindu but because I am a proud Hindu. And my request to them is to remember PM Narendra Modi's words: "Bharat Mata has 125 crore children." Remember: 125 crore children not just 100 crore Hindus.

If our 100 crore Hindus (including right-leaning Hindus) work along with our Muslim and Christian brothers, we can make our motherland a great example for the world to follow. India is the last man standing to defend the idea of multiculturalism. If we fail, we fail India and we fail the world too.

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/rahul-easwar/i-am-a-hindu-activist-and_b_10527024.html

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India takes up with Bangladesh death threat to Ramakrishna Mission priest

18/06/2016

India has taken up with Bangladeshi authorities the death threat to a priest of the Ramakrishna Mission in Dhaka by suspected militants claiming to be from the ISIS even as security at the complex has been beefed up.

The Ramakrishna Mission received a threat letter on Wednesday which said the priest will be killed if he continues to preach his religion, amid a string of targeted murders across the country by suspected militants in the recent months.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Friday that the Indian High Commission has taken up the issue with Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry and police.

“High Commission of India, Dhaka, has contacted both Bangladesh Police and MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and have been assured of full support and protection. We are also in direct contact with the RK Mission in Dhaka,” Swarup said.

He said police presence at the complex has been strengthened.

Swarup said the First Secretary (Consular) in the High Commission visited the RK Mission this morning to review the security.

The Dhaka Ramakrishna Mission is a branch of the Belur Math in Kolkata.

A police official in Dhaka yesterday had said the priest received the letter on Wednesday evening on a computer-composed IS letterhead with the perpetrator identifying himself as one AB Siddiqui.

“Bangladesh is an Islamic state. You can’t preach your religion here. If you continue preaching, you’ll be hacked to death with machetes between the 20th and 30th,” the officer quoted the letter as saying.

The letter, he said, did not mention any month.

Suspected Islamists have killed a number of secular activists, Hindus and other minorities across Bangladesh in recent months prompting authorities to launch a nationwide anti-militant clampdown since Friday.

Bangladesh authorities have detained nearly 12,000 people in a nationwide crackdown to halt a spate of deadly attacks. Some of those arrested were linked with outlawed Jamaatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.

Though most of the attacks were claimed by the Islamic State or its affiliates and other similar extremist groups, the Bangladesh government has repeatedly dismissed the claims and said the attacks were carried out by homegrown outfits linked to the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/india-takes-up-with-bangladesh-death-threat-to-ramakrishna-mission-priest-2859069/

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Jammu and Kashmir youngster takes his ‘Udaan’, bags job in corporate sector

June 18, 2016

Pune: It is quite common to hear soul-stirring tales of struggling young men turning into mega achievers, but the story of Jammu and Kashmir youngster Adnan Bhatt appears slightly exceptional, as he has managed to make it big in the corporate world despite coming from humble roots.

With the number of registered unemployed youth crossing the six-lakh mark, Jammu and Kashmir has the highest unemployment rate of 5.3 percent in comparison to its four neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana.

But Bhatt, with the help of the ‘Udaan Employment Scheme’ in association with Bajaj Allianz, has managed to stand out as a beacon of hope for the youth of the valley, who are struggling for opportunities and recognition.

In terms of economic activity in the state, the Fifth Economic Census conducted in 2005 indicates that there are 3.24 Lakh establishments in the state presently engaged in different economic activities.

As per a current estimate, the state needs at least five times that number of establishments just to provide a bare minimum level of employment. Experts say it is simply a challenge in present time and hence the youth need to explore job opportunities in other parts of India as well.

Just like many other young men in Kashmir, who manage to get an MBA degree but fail to secure a job nonetheless, Bhatt, who earned an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University in Rajouri, was staring at a dead end in his career.

Speaking to ANI here, Bhatt admitted that he had been trying for long to get out of Kashmir to look for jobs because the exposure that the candidates got outside the valley was tremendous.

“I believe that at the point of time, in the month of May 2013, I came across an advertisement in the Greater Kashmir newspaper and it was about Udaan and its association with Bajaj Allianz. So, I went for the interview and was fortunately selected,” he said.

Beginning his career as an executive trainee, Bhatt slowly made his way up the coveted corporate ladder and ended up working in five different departments in a span of three years.

“I was selected as an executive trainee and it was a great achievement for me because it was an elite programme. Now, it has been three years and I’m proud to be a part of its family. My best achievement till date was when I was selected in the “Young Leaders Programme”, where the candidates, who were selected from across the country, were personally trained by our MD,” Bhatt added.

Some of his other achievements also include being selected as the brand ambassador of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and being a part of an elite advisory panel involved in new product development initiatives.

Asserting that there is tremendous talent in Kashmir, Bhatt called on the youth of the valley to focus and explore platforms where they can showcase their skills.

“I was a typical middle class guy, who just finished his MBA just like any other guy. I never imagined that I will reach this point in my life. My message to students in Kashmir is that all they need is a platform, which can give wings to their talent and I think Udaan can help them with that. They need to explore. If they have talent, then companies have a job,” he added.

Bhatt, who is currently a project lead in ‘Business on Mobile’ which falls directly under the mentorship of the Head Office in Pune, said that even though life has been like a ‘boxing match’ where he had to pick himself up after every punch thrown at him, it’s been an ‘epic’ journey for him.

“Khud ti takdeer badalni hai tumhe. Kitno ko raaste pe laana hai tumhe. Apni haatho ki lakeero ko mat dekho. In lakeero se aage jaan hai tumhe,” Bhatt quoted in an attempt to bolster the confidence of several aspiring youth in the valley.

http://www.siasat.com/news/kashmiri-boy-takes-udaan-bags-job-corporate-sector-974169/

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Europe

Imams rally against domestic violence in the UK

JUNE 18 2016

United Kingdom - Two women are killed each week as a result of domestic violence in England and Wales, and one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

On average, police in the UK handle a call about domestic violence every minute, but only about 35 percent of incidents are even reported.

It is a problem that affects every community in the United Kingdom.

Now, several organisations within Britain's Muslim community have started to tackle the cases of domestic abuse occuring within their communities, arguing that Muslim victims sometimes require support services that take their cultural and religious concerns into consideration.

Although rights groups emphasise that domestic abuse is not specifically a Muslim issue, "understanding the cultural needs and religious needs of the person," encourage victims to come forward, help deal with trauma, and find solutions said Shahida Rahman, a spokeswoman for the domestic violence charity Nour.

Deeper issues in domestic violence

On Nour's website, victims share their stories anonymously. One woman describes being spat and screamed at. Another speaks about watching her father abusing her mother, and finally being forced into an abusive marriage herself. A third mentions lying to doctors about how she broke her ribs and how her eyes were blackened.

Founded in 2011, the charity  offers a voice  to women and men and helps about 10 people each week. Some are repeat visitors.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/03/imams-rally-domestic-violence-uk-160326110808840.html

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Vatican Sends Message to Muslim World for Ramadan

JUNE 18 2016

The message, signed by French cardinal His Eminence Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is called: Christians and Muslims: Beneficiaries and Instruments of Divine Mercy.

Hawzah News Agency- The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on Friday sent a message to the Muslim world, as they observe the month of Ramadan and approach the feast of ‘Id al-Fitr.

The message, signed by French cardinal His Eminence Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is called: Christians and Muslims: Beneficiaries and Instruments of Divine Mercy.

Christians and Muslims:

Beneficiaries and Instruments of Divine Mercy

Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,

1. The month of Ramadan and ‘Id al-Fitr is an important religious event for Muslims around the world, focused on fasting, prayer and good deeds, and is esteemed by Christians, your friends and neighbors. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Christians all over the world, we extend best wishes for a spiritually rewarding fast, supported by good deeds, and for a joyful feast.

As is our cherished custom, we wish to share with you on this occasion some reflections in the hope of strengthening the spiritual bonds we share.

2. A theme that is close to the hearts of Muslims and Christians alike is mercy. We know that Christianity and Islam both believe in a merciful God, who shows his mercy and compassion towards all his creatures, in particular the human family. He created us out of an immense love. He is merciful in caring for each of us, bestowing upon us the gifts we need for our daily life, such as food, shelter and security. God’s mercy is manifested in a particular way, however, through the pardon of our faults; hence he is the one who pardons (al-Ghâfir), but the one who pardons much and always (al-Ghafour).

3. To underscore the importance of mercy, His Holiness Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to be celebrated from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016. In this regard he said: “Here… is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation” (“Homily”, 11 April 2015).

4. We, Christians and Muslims, are called to do our best to imitate God. He, the Merciful, asks us to be merciful and compassionate towards others, especially those who are in any kind of need. So too he calls us to be forgiving of one another.

When we gaze upon humanity today, we are saddened to see so many victims of conflicts and violence – here we think in particular of the elderly, and children and women, especially those who fall prey to human trafficking and the many people who suffer from poverty, illness, natural disasters and unemployment.

5. We cannot close our eyes to these realities, or turn away from these sufferings. It is true that situation is often very complex and that their solution exceeds our capacities. It is vital, therefore, that all work together in assisting those in need. It is a source of great hope when we experience or hear of Muslims and Christians joining hands to help the needy. When we do join hands, we heed an important command in our respective religions and show forth God’s mercy, thus offering a more credible witness, individually and communally, to our beliefs.

May the Merciful and Almighty God help us to walk always along the path of goodness and compassion!

6. We join our prayerful good wishes to those of Pope Francis for abundant blessings during Ramadan and for a lasting joy of ‘Id al-Fitr.

Happy Feast to you all!

From the Vatican, 10 June 2016

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran

President

Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.I.

Secretary

http://en.hawzahnews.com/detail/News/342657

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Europe’s Anti-Immigration Parties See Opening to Weaken EU Bonds

JUNE 18 2016

VIENNA—Europe’s anti-immigration, populist parties are working to strengthen their cross-border alliance, hoping to capitalize on recent electoral gains and next week’s U.K. referendum to start rolling back more than five decades of efforts to integrate the Continent.

The parties’ increasing coordination and their rising ambitions were on display here in the Austrian capital on Friday as the country’s Freedom Party hosted allies from France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the U.K., the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania. French populist leader Marine Le Pen met with the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer, whose near-win in this spring’s presidential elections represented one of the biggest electoral successes for a far-right candidate in Western Europe since World War II.

“We would like to deepen and extend our cooperation,” said Freedom Party Chairman Heinz-Christian Strache, “along the motto: ‘Patriots of all European countries, unite and work together!’”

The influx of refugees and migrants to Europe has boosted parties across the Continent that want to curtail immigration, particularly from Muslim countries, and to weaken or dismantle European Union bonds. Beyond Austria, the parties’ gains in the past year range from national parliamentary elections in Slovakia and Poland to state and local votes in Germany and France. A victory next week for the “Leave” campaign in Britain’s EU membership could bring the biggest boost yet for the euroskeptic movement.

“I hope that ‘Brexit’ will win, because that would be the start of a process that cannot be turned back anymore,” said Gerolf Annemans, a member of European Parliament who represented Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang at the Vienna gathering. Even if British voters choose to remain in the EU, he added, other countries will also start pushing for less EU integration, as the U.K. did, meaning that “the decomposing of the Union will be an inevitable fact.”

In a sign of the euroskeptics’ growing influence, mainstream European politicians who have long been in favor of deepening EU ties are cooling on those plans. Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s 73-year-old finance minister, said in an interview published last Saturday that a “Leave” vote in Britain should put a halt to efforts to centralize EU powers further.

“We couldn’t simply demand more integration as a result of a Brexit,” Mr. Schäuble told newsmagazine Der Spiegel. “This would be crude; many would be right in asking whether we politicians have still not understood.”

Germany’s anti-immigrant party, the Alternative for Germany, sent three senior representatives to Friday’s gathering—a significant move because some party officials had previously shunned foreign parties identified with the far right for fear of turning off voters at home.

“A German patriot loves what Germany once was, he loves what Germany could be, but he cries over the state in which Germany now finds itself,” a member of European Parliament for the party, Marcus Pretzell, told more than 1,000 people at a Freedom Party rally Friday night featuring the international guests. “We have come to change our countries. We have come to change Europe.”

In a news conference earlier Friday alongside her allies, Ms. Le Pen described her wish for a Europe in which individual countries could pick and choose which elements of European integration they want to participate in while having more control over immigration and other matters. Supporters of deep European integration argue that the bloc works best when all its members follow the same rules.

“Maybe this is the start of a Europe a la carte,” Ms. Le Pen said, referring to the coming British referendum.

Officials said the parties gathered in Vienna would seek to coordinate political campaigns and positions on international issues such as refugee policy. At the same time, they promised that they wouldn’t get too close and underscored that they had their differences—it was too much European integration, after all, that they were fighting against.

“Showing unity in a context where we plead for less unity—it seems paradoxical,” Mr. Annemands said. But, he added, “meetings like this show exactly that we have a vision of European cooperation out of the European Union.”

The apparent paradox reflected the tightrope that Europe’s populist, euroskeptic parties are walking as they look to expand their base of voters. While many Europeans say there is too much immigration and too much power in Brussels, they also often see benefits to the EU—from open borders to the single market. As a result, populist parties in Germany, France, Austria and elsewhere are eager to show their voters that they are able to cooperate across borders to achieve their common aims of rolling back EU centralization and limiting immigration.

“It’s not about deepening and deepening the cooperation ever more, a la EU,” said Austrian lawmaker Johannes Hübner, the Freedom Party’s specialist for foreign policy. “Our goal is a cooperation of parties that have common ground on various points.”

Officials said they chose to meet in Vienna in part to mark the Freedom Party’s near victory in last month’s presidential runoff. The party is contesting the result of that vote because of alleged violations in how mail-in ballots were counted, with a decision by the Constitutional Court due early next month.

Mr. Pretzell, of the Alternative for Germany, said the location of Friday’s meeting was also significant because Europe’s future had been determined in the city once before—at the Congress of Vienna 200 years ago, when diplomats divvied up the Continent among its powers.

“There has already once been a new order for Europe established in Vienna,” Mr. Pretzell said. “I hope that we will be a bit more successful and that we won’t repeat the errors of our forefathers.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-anti-immigration-parties-see-opening-to-weaken-eu-bonds-1466190274

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Belgian police detain 12 suspected of planning new attacks

JUNE 18 2016

Belgian police arrested 12 people suspected of planning new attacks after about 40 houses were searched across the country overnight, the federal prosecutor's office said on Saturday, as the prime minister prepared to convene a security meeting.

Europe is on high security alert, with the Euro 2016 soccer tournament underway in neighbouring France, after Islamist suicide bombers killed 32 people in Brussels in March following attacks in Paris last November in which 130 people died.

"In connection with a criminal investigation concerning terrorism ... 40 persons were taken for questioning. Twelve among them were arrested," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"The investigating judge will decide on their possible detention later today. The investigatory results necessitated an immediate intervention. The investigation continues."

A spokesman for Prime Minister Charles Michel said the government's security council - which includes the ministers of defence, justice, home affairs and foreign affairs - would hold a meeting at 1000 GMT (1200 CET). A news conference may take place afterwards, he added.

Investigators have found links between the Brussels and Paris attackers, some of whom were based in Belgium.

The Belgian federal prosecutor's office said no weapons or explosives had been found during the searches, which also involved 152 garage lockups.

A French police couple were stabbed to death outside their home in Paris on Monday in an attack claimed by Islamic State. In a video posted on social networks, the attacker, Larossi Abballa, linked it to the soccer tournament, saying: "The Euros will be a graveyard." [nL8N19601W]

A spokeswoman for Paris public prosecutor Francois Molins said two people close to Abballa would meet a judge on Saturday while a third one was released.

Seperately, a judiciary source told Reuters on Friday a 22-year-old man suspected of planning attacks on tourists had been jailed on terrorism charges after being arrested at the beginning of the week.

Flemish public broadcaster VTM said the people arrested overnight were suspected of planning an attack in Brussels this weekend during one of Belgium's soccer matches.

Belgian newspaper Le Soir said areas where fans watch matches were potential targets, as well as other crowded areas such as shopping centres and stations, citing a security source.

On Wednesday Belgian police received an anti-terror alert warning that a group of Islamic State fighters had recently left Syria en route for Europe planning attacks in Belgium and France, security officials said.[nL8N1971RN]

Public broadcaster RTBF said Belgium's crisis centre on Friday had placed several government ministers, including the prime minister, under heightened protection.

Also on Friday police arrested and detained a 30-year-old man named as Youssef E.A, a Belgian national, on suspicion of taking part in terrorist activities in connection with the Brussels attacks.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-attacks-belgium-idUSKCN0Z406F

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North America

Pakistan must deny safe havens to terrorist and extremist groups: Pentagon

Sat Jun 18 2016

Pentagon has said Pakistan should deny safe havens to the terrorist and extremist groups in its soil in a bid to help improve the security environment of the region.

The Department of Defense in its report to Congress “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” stated “Pakistan must play a role in reducing the threat from terrorist and militant groups in the region.”

The report further added that consistent mid-level military-to-military dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan on specific issues, such as the shared threat from Islamic Sstate – Khurasan, and occasional discussions at higher levels of the military and government early in the reporting period were encouraging.

“However, sustained Pakistani efforts to pressure the Haqqani Network and the Taliban and to disrupt active threat

streams are necessary to help decrease violence in the region, to reduce the threat posed by these groups, and to achieve lasting progress on counterterrorism issues,” the report said.

It also added that The United States continues to support the re-invigorated efforts of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, which includes the Afghan, Pakistani, and Chinese governments, to set conditions for an eventual Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process with the Taliban and other militant groups.

However, it said the prospects for a successful dialogue this reporting period were hampered and complicated by the Taliban’s April 19, 2016, HPA in Kabul, the Afghan government’s subsequent response imploring Pakistan to take more direct action against extremist groups seeking safe haven in Pakistan, and the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mansour.

“The United States continues to be clear with Pakistan about steps it should take to improve the security environment and deny safe haven to terrorist and extremist groups. These conversations continue to affect not only U.S. dialogue with Pakistan on security and stability in Afghanistan but also during discussion of other issues in the U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relationship such as security assistance,” the report added.

This comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for failing to take actions against the groups using the Pakistani soil to carry out attacks in Afghanistan.

The Afghan officials believe the notorious Haqqani terrorist network and the Taliban group leaderships are based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan.

http://www.khaama.com/pakistan-must-deny-safe-havens-to-terrorist-and-extremist-groups-pentagon-01284

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Edmonton's Ahmadiyya Muslim community condemns Orlando attack

JUNE 18 2016

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Edmonton has condemned the massacre of 49 nightclub-goers in Orlando last week.

“Islam as a religion has nothing to do with the behaviour of individual people,” said Mohyuddin Mirza, outreach director of the local Ahmadiyya community. “There’s nothing in the holy Qur’an which promotes or even tries to create such behaviour.”

Men, women and children from the community met at the Al-Hadi Mosque at 7005 98 Ave. Friday afternoon to pass a resolution condemning the killing of innocent people in the name of Islam.

Omar Mateen stormed the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last weekend and gunned down dozens before being killed by a SWAT team Sunday. Reports later emerged that the 29-year-old called 911 to pledge loyalty to the Islamic State during the rampage.

“These acts of violence are carried by evil people and we strongly condemn such actions. This event is especially hurtful that it took place in the month of fasting, when Muslims in general focus on personal morals and achieving inner peace,” the Ahmadiyya community said in a statement.

Although the community is “always worried” about Islamophobic backlash in the wake of the attacks, Mirza said there have been no incidents.

“Our motto is, ‘Love for all, hatred for none,’ ” he said. “What is needed is that teaching our children, our young right at an early age, that religion — any religion, especially Islam — doesn’t allow this kind of behaviour.”

There are slightly fewer than 1,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims in Edmonton, Mirza said. Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious movement founded in British India in the late 19th century.

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/edmontons-ahmaddiya-muslim-community-condems-orlando-attack

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Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield finds bullet holes in sign

JUNE 18 2016

PLAINFIELD, Ind.- Police are investigating an act of vandalism at the Islamic Society of North America which left the center's sign riddled with bullet holes. Last week, authorities say workers noticed the sign had been shot multiple times. This is the same center that was targeted by vandalism using graffiti last February.

"It is frightening," said Farial Khatri, who works at the center. "My first thought was thank God they didn’t come any closer to the building.”

Khatri says they will increase their security following the incident and will have an armed officer at their services this week. Police aren't yet sure what kind of gun was used in the vandalism.

Not surprisingly, some who worship at the center are scared and on edge. However, others say it's just a sad sign of the times.

“Its unfair, but you know what you’re going to have to live with it and I’m sure the authorities will take care of it," said Abraham Eljibry. "So I don’t think it's something to worry about at all.”

If you have any information about the incident, you're asked to call the Plainfield Police Department at 317-838-3565.

http://fox59.com/2016/06/17/islamic-society-of-north-america-in-plainfield-finds-bullet-holes-in-sign/

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Southeast Asia

Respect Muslims’ right to Shariah, PAS non-Muslim wing tells MCA

Saturday June 18, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — PAS’ non-Muslim wing told MCA’s Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker today to respect the rights of Muslims to champion their religious obligations, including the Islamist party’s bid to enhance Shariah court’s powers.

In a statement, PAS Supporters Congress’s national information chief Dr Balachandran G Krishnan said no Muslim politicians can go against the Shariah, while the truth can only “prevail” if the Islamic code and laws are implemented.

“Where an explicit command of Allah or His Prophet already exist, no Muslim leader or legislator, or any religious scholar can form a judgement, not even all the Muslims of the world put together have any right to make the least alterations in it.

“Let the truth prevail. The truth will only prevail when the Shariah is implemented,” he said.

Balachandran said the party is merely within their “moral and religious obligations” to pursue the amendments for Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.

“Religious harmony can only be attained first, if we respect the belief and obligation of one’s religion. This in turn would allow us to be respected by others,” he said.

“How is the amendments going to affect all Malaysians is something that we have to wait and see. We tend to be jumping the gun and creating a lot of unpleasantness for peace loving Malaysians (Muslims and Non Muslims) with statements based on perception.”

Balachandran added that in commenting on such issue, it was crucial to differentiate a religious issue from political one, claiming that the Shariah legal system is based on the Quran and Sunnah — the documented practice of Prophet Muhammad.

On Thursday, the MCA’s Religious Harmony Bureau chairman Ti urged Malaysians must be allowed to discuss the amendments proposed by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as the law would inevitably influence the lives of all Malaysians and not just Muslims.

Hadi last month tabled his Private Member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and allow Islamic courts to impose any penalty save for the death sentence.

Umno and PAS have both insisted that the Bill is not for hudud and restricted only to Kelantan.

However, Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah revealed that the true intention of Hadi’s Bill is not simply to enhance the punitive powers of the east coast state’s Islamic courts but to ensure the same for all states nationwide.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/respect-muslims-right-to-shariah-pas-non-muslim-wing-tells-mca

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Indonesians get free fuel for reading Holy Quran during Ramadan

Jun 18, 2016

An Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company is offering motorists two liters of free fuel for reading one chapter of the Holy Quran during the holy month of Ramadan.

As motorists line up to fill fuel at some of the petrol pumps in the Indonesian capital, they are greeted by posters advertising free petrol if they read the Holy Quran during Ramadan. The state-owned Pertamina Company is hoping to encourage devout Muslims to read a chapter of the holy book.

Prayer rooms have been set up at gas stations, and have seen a steady stream of visitors. Jakarta resident Moetawakkir is among those who is keen is take up the offer available at five gas stations in Jakarta. He is hoping to have read the Holy Quran by the end of Ramadan.

“We all know that if we do something good we will get a reward. By reading the Holy Quran here every day, we can read the whole Holy Quran by the end of the month while our tank is full,” Moetawakkir said after nearly 30 minutes of reading on his second visit in two days.

The two liters made available for one chapter of the holy book is good enough to fill up half-a-tank of a motorcycle — the most common mode of transport in the country. Participants are required to fill up a registration form before they proceed to the prayer room where they can pick up a copy of the Holy Quran and read any chapter they like.

The Holy Quran reading session is done based on “trust and honesty” – the virtue promoted by the religion – as no official from the petrol station is monitoring the progress of each participant.

The programme organiser from Pertamina said the event is a way to promote Islam as it adds a “touch of religion” to the society in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. “We’d like to show appreciation to those who love reading the Holy Quran. We give two liters of free petrol for every one chapter of the Holy Quran that they read,” said Arif Budiman, who runs the Pertamina’s MT Haryono gas station. “This is not for profit.”

The promotion will run until the end of the holy month. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset. Ninety percent of Indonesia’s 250 million population are Muslims. They will join Muslims worldwide to celebrate the end of Ramadan with the Eidul Fitr festival which falls in early July.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/viral-and-trending/180616/indonesians-get-free-fuel-for-reading-holy-quran-during-ramzan.html

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Meeting Rohingya children’s daily needs

Saturday June 18, 2016

ABOUT 100 Rohingya refugee pupils study at the Al-Akhlas school in Selayang, which is a United Nations-registered education centre.

Apart from being provided basic education, the children who had been psychologically and physically abused when fleeing their home in Myanmar, are also helped to adjust to their new surroundings.

School founder Mark Bayoud, an Australian of Lebanese descent who also helps to manage Al-Akhlas, said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that the Rohingya ethnic minority need assistance.

“The UN declared the community as the ‘worst of the worst’. Some had entered Malaysia by walking from Myanmar, while others were brought in by smugglers who had abused them.

Bayound said, “The people are fleeing for their lives. Some of the children here have no families. The problem is that there is no clear path for them.

“I want to give the children the opportunity to achieve their dreams of becoming lawyers and doctors.

“I don’t want them to grow up being scared. I want to give them the opportunity to become leaders.

“It’s very hard for the Rohingya to get proper education as they are always oppressed,” he said

Bayoud said he set up the school after meeting Arfat Ganumia, a refugee who read law back home and who is now an Islamic Studies teacher at the school.

“I was impressed with his passion to educate the children and from there, we agreed to set up the school,” he said, adding that they managed to do so after receiving some funds.

Bayoud, 51, who is a semi-retired consultant specialist in banking and trade finance, added that the traumatised children were less afraid now and seemed more happy.

He said the school premises used to be a cyber cafe but it had slowly started to look like a school.

“We managed to set up an environment where the Rohingya could help each other. The teachers who were Rohingya refugees, are now teaching the children.

“But the problem here is also to remove the stereotype as Malaysians have a misconception about refugees,” he said, adding that Malaysians were also a generous lot.

Bayoud, who has been in Malaysia for nine years, hoped more Malaysians would help tutor the children, get them school uniforms and provide food for their families to break fast.

As of April this year, there are 53,410 Rohingya refugees registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia.

To offer help can visit the Facebook page “Lend a hand - KL”.

http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2016/06/18/meeting-rohingya-childrens-daily-needs-school-founder-hopes-more-malaysians-will-help-tutor-pupils-g/

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Pakistan

Pakistan Bans TV Show of Host Who Stood Up for Minority Group

June 17, 2016

Pakistan’s media regulation authority on Friday barred a television host from airing his show for speaking in favor of a frequently persecuted minority community in the predominately Sunni Muslim country.

The action by PEMRA came a day after the host, television actor Hamza Ali Abbasi, urged local media not to ignore persecution or killings of members of the Ahmadi community. He made the comments during his special show on the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

“Can an Islamic state declare a group Muslim or non-Muslim? Why is it so that when you speak in favor of a suppressed community like Ahmadis, you are also condemned and branded as being part of it?” Abbasi asked his panel of experts during his live show.

A host from another television station condemned Abbasi’s remarks in his own prime-time show. One of his guests, an Islamic cleric, said that “followers of Islam” would take action against Abbasi for committing blasphemy if the state failed to punish him.

PEMRA also banned that host, Shabbir Abu Taleb, and his guest cleric. 

Pakistan declared the minority Ahmadi community non-Muslim in 1974 under pressure from Islamist groups that denounce the Ahmadis as heretics for their belief in a prophet after the Prophet Mohammad.

The legislation bans Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslim and practicing the rituals of Islam.

Critics say the ethnic group has since faced daily harassment, intimidation and persecution on the basis of its religion in Pakistan, where critics say religious tolerance has declined in recent years.

http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-bans-television-shot-host-spoke-favor-minority-group/3381350.html

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Torkham border reopens after five days of friction

18/06/2016

PESHAWAR: The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham reopened on Saturday, after a closure of nearly six days during which the two sides skirmished over the issue of construction of a gate on the Pakistani side of the border.

The historic trade route was reopened for traffic after officials from both countries met early Saturday and the curfew was lifted at Torkham, security sources said.

The under construction gate at Torkham will be named after Major Ali Jawad, who died in Afghan firing, they added.

After the lifting of curfew, people are being thoroughly checked and those with complete travelling documentation are being allowed to enter Pakistan at Torkham. Thousands of people and transit trucks have been stranded on both sides due to the border closure

Firing between Pakistani and Afghan forces first broke out on Sunday at the crossing, about 45 kilometres west of Peshawar, over the construction of a new border post on the Pakistani side. An army officer was killed in Pakistan and two officials reportedly died in Afghanistan, while civilians and officials were wounded on both sides.

Afghanistan summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Tuesday to register its protest at the violence. Similarly, Pakistan summoned the Afghan charge d'affaires in Islamabad on Monday.

An illustration provided by the ISPR shows the Torkham border gate is 37 metres inside Pakistani territory.

An illustration provided by the ISPR shows the Torkham border gate is 37 metres inside Pakistani territory.

The two countries had, after diplomatic and military contacts a day earlier, agreed over ceasefire on Wednesday but there were disputed claims about the conditions on which the hostilities were to end.

Afghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal claimed that the resumption of work on the gate was not agreed upon in the meeting he held with Pakistani officials. The envoy had threatened to quit and return to his home country if the construction work was not stopped.

Security sources said the construction of the gate continued on Saturday, which Pakistan has said is being built to stop militants from crossing the border.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has long been porous and disputed. Afghanistan has blocked repeated attempts by Pakistan to build a fence on sections of the roughly 2,200-km-long frontier, rejecting the contours of the boundary.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1265669/torkham-border-reopens-after-five-days-of-friction

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US rules out mediating between Pakistan, Afghanistan

18/06/2016

WASHINGTON: The United States has ruled out mediating between Pakistan and Afghanistan, saying that it wants the neighbouring countries to work through their differences bilaterally.

At a Thursday afternoon news briefing, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Pakistan and Afghanistan were quite capable of doing so because they had resolved their differences in the past as well.

Weeks of tensions on the Torkham border crossing led to clashes recently between Pakistani and Afghan troops, causing several deaths on both sides.

“We are obviously very concerned (and) want both sides to ratchet down the violence and begin a dialogue to try to reduce the tensions, keep the crossing open, and have it done peaceably,” Mr Kirby told the briefing.

“This isn’t the first time that we have seen clashes even at that crossing, and they have been able to work through it in the past and we are absolutely confident that, with moral courage on both sides, they can continue to work through it,” he added.

But when asked if the United States had reached out directly to Afghanistan and Pakistan to reduce these tensions, Mr Kirby said: “I can say that we’ve discussed it at high levels with both governments.”

The US official said he was not sure if the border clashes could also affect the Afghan reconciliation talks, which he said was the right approach for bringing peace to the war-ravaged country.

“I haven’t seen any practical effect of it to date. These clashes have only just popped up in recent days. But that aside, we still want to see the reconciliation process move forward,” he said.

Mr Kirby also rejected a mediatory role for the United States in restarting the reconciliation process. “We have not taken a mediation role, and we have talked about this before. This is an Afghan-led process. We obviously support it and we want to see it succeed,” he said.

“But this is [Afghan] President Ashraf Ghani’s initiative; he’s taking it on. We know he wants to get it back on track and we fully support him in that effort, but this is not for the United States mediating between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said the US official.

Mr Kirby said there were plenty of shared threats and common challenges between Afghanistan and Pakistan and plenty of reasons for them to look for ways to work together.

He noted that in the recent past, the two sides had made some progress in cross-border cooperation and communication and in counter-terrorism effo­rts. “So… it’s too soon to say… just be­­cause there’s been some of this that the whole reconciliation process should be just thrown out the window, or that the differences between Afghanistan and Pakistan are irreconcilable and therefore not worth continuing to pursue dialogue and cooperation,” Mr Kirby said. “We are just not there yet.”

http://www.dawn.com/news/1265650/us-rules-out-mediating-between-pakistan-afghanistan

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‘Pakistan gate’ being built at Iran border

18/06/2016

QUETTA/LANDI KOTAL: With the row between Islamabad and Kabul over the construction of a gate at the Torkham border crossing still unresolved, Pakistani authorities on Friday started building a gate at the country’s border with Iran at Taftan to curb illegal trade.

Frontier Corps Sector Commander Brigadier Khalid Beg and Balochistan Collector Customs Saeed Ahmed Jadoon laid the foundation stone of the ‘Pakistan Gate’ at Taftan in Chagai district.

The construction of the gate will complete in two months at a cost of Rs15 million. It will be inaugurated on Independence Day (Aug 14).

Iran has already constructed a trade gate inside its border at Mir Java in Zahedan, capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province, and has been demanding that Pakistan build a similar gate on its side of the border. Iran has also erected 10-foot-high walls at various places along with its border with Pakistan.

Speaking at the Taftan ceremony, Brig Beg said the purpose of building the gate was to make border management more effective. He said it would be a trade gate and would facilitate thousands of traders and tourists crossing into Pakistan.

Mr Jadoon said the gate was being jointly constructed by the Balochistan customs and the Frontier Corps and it would be a symbol of the country on the border. He said that although the gate was needed by Pakistan to improve border management, it was also requested by the Iranians. It would help curb illegal trade on both sides of the border.

The government is also constructing a ‘Pakistan House’ at Taftan to provide facilities to people going to Iran and Iraq for pilgrimage.

“The construction of Pakistan House is in progress and will be completed soon,” said Chagai Commissioner Qadir Bakhsh Pirkani.

A large number of tribal elders, senior civil and military officials and other people attended the foundation stone-laying ceremony.

Torkham gate

Construction of the gate at Torkham continued on Friday, albeit at a snail’s pace, as the border crossing remained closed for the fifth consecutive day.

Officials said the construction work was under way with intervals because of hot weather and fasting by workers.

They said Torkham was still under curfew and no one was allowed to go near the border. The border closure resulted in a complete halt to all trading activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan with hundreds of trucks loaded with merchandise stranded on the main road connecting Peshawar with Torkham.

Meanwhile, Afghan security guards, who had vacated their posts near the border’s zero-point on Sunday, returned to their positions after a cessation in hostilities between the two countries.

Army and FC personnel remained alert on the Pakistan side of the border. Officials said they were still awaiting a high-level Afghan delegation comprising senior security officials for a ‘flag meeting’ at the border.

The Afghan delegation, which was expected to come to Torkham on Thursday, did not turn up till late Friday night.

Meanwhile, tribal elders in Landi Kotal offered to mediate in talks between the two countries to ease the tension. They termed the clashes between Afghan and Pakistani troops unfortunate and said they were ready to hold talks with elders from the Afghan side to settle the dispute.

Suspect held

A suspected Afghan natio­nal was arrested along with illegal weapons near the Chaman border on Friday, officials said.

FC personnel arrested the man near the Friendship Gate and seized two pistols and bullets from him.

The suspect is said to belong to Ghazni in Afghanistan.

He was handed over to the authorities concerned for interrogation.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1265654/pakistan-gate-being-built-at-iran-border

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MQM man implicates ex-lawmaker in Hakim Said murder case

18/06/2016

KARACHI: For a third consecutive day, another video statement regarding the interrogation of a high-profile inmate — this time belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement — mysteriously made its way to the media on Friday in which the suspect implicated a former provincial lawmaker of the MQM in the 1998 Hakim Said murder case.

TV channels aired a video clip of suspect Minhaj Qazi, the security in charge of the MQM’s Nine Zero headquarters, who was arrested in February this year and Rangers detained him for 90 days for grilling.

He was also booked in the 1997 murder case of former Karachi Electric Supply Corporation chief Shahid Hamid.

Video clip mysteriously reached TV channels which aired the footage

The 37-second video clip showed suspect Qazi sitting on a chair and apparently talking to his investigators, who were not seen in the footage since the camera was trained only on the suspect.

“Tell us, what you know about Hakim Said’s murder,” asked someone at the place of interrogation.

“When this murder took place I was not in contact with the MQM,” suspect Qazi began. “But the information is... Zulfiqar Hyder and others were in Karachi at that time and they were found involved then. And Mehmood Siddiqui of the APMSO, who was then the chairman of APMSO [the students’ wing of the MQM] had some hand in it.”

When he paused, someone in the background asked about Shakir. Upon which, Qazi said, “Shakir Langra and Imran Pasha were arrested... Nadeem Mota was arrested...one Aamir of Liaquatabad was also arrested.”

It was the third video statement leaked in as many days. On Wednesday and Thursday, TV channels aired two video statements, apparently recorded in Rangers’ custody, of former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain in which he was shown levelling allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari and his foster brother Owais Muzaffar aka Tappi.

His counsel, Anwar Mansoor Khan, and the Pakistan Peoples Party blamed the Rangers for forcing and torturing Dr Asim in custody to extract statements of their choice.

“Clearly Rangers, who have kept Dr Asim in their custody, are responsible for torturing Dr Asim, extracting a statement from him and then leaking its video footage to TV channels,” a PPP spokesman had said.

Likewise, the MQM held a press conference on Friday and said that the video of Minhaj Qazi might have been made by Rangers when he was in their 90-day custody.

Senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar said: “It is not difficult for them to use torture for extracting whatever statement they want from a person who is in their custody.”

“Amirullah was the prime accused in the Hakim Said murder case and he and all other MQM workers had been honourably acquitted on the orders of the high court and the Supreme Court,” he said.

Dr Sattar said that previously the video statements of Saulat Mirza and Khalid Shamim were aired by TV channels and this third video statement was also leaked just to malign the MQM and to create a space for “someone”.

He said that such video statements had no legal value and appealed to the Supreme Court to take notice of it.

He appealed to Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take notice of the video statement and a conspiracy to implicate the MQM again in the Hakim Said murder case.

Meanwhile, an MQM spokesman has categorically rejected contents of a report published in a section of the press about bank accounts of the MQM and party chief Altaf Hussain.

The spokesman said that the number of bank accounts maintained by the party and its chief Altaf Hussain “has always been as would be expected by a common person”.

He said that the MQM lawyers were writing a letter to the Scotland Yard seeking an explanation as the news report claimed to have been obtained information from the Scotland Yard.

Dr Ijaz Fatima, the mother of Dr Asim, moved the Sindh High Court on Friday against the airing of her son’s video statement by TV channels.

She filed a petition against law-enforcement agencies, including Rangers, and asked the court to restrain them from releasing her son’s statements.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1265663/mqm-man-implicates-ex-lawmaker-in-hakim-said-murder-case

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Rise in street crime in Karachi in first 10 days of Ramazan

18/06/2016

KARACHI: As law enforcement agencies count successes in ongoing operation against terrorists, banned outfits and militant wings of political and religious organisations, Karachiites face a sudden rise in street crimes, which has cost four lives so far during the first 10 days of Ramazan and raised fears for the days ahead.

Official data shows a sharp rise in cell phone and motorbike snatching in the first 10 days of holy month compared to crime rate during the corresponding period before Ramazan, indicating renewed activities of armed groups and individuals in the city despite ongoing Rangers-led operation.

“405 mobile phones were snatched at gunpoint during the first 10 days of Ramazan compared to 338 in 10 days before the holy month,” said an official citing figures compiled by the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC).

“Similarly, 84 motorbikes were taken away by armed snatchers compared to 81 in the corresponding period before Ramazan. The astonishing rise was witnessed in theft of motorbikes when 720 two-wheelers were taken away compared to 534 in corresponding period before holy month,” he said.

The rise in street crimes was sharply felt when the recent crime rate in Ramazan was compared with the trend observed in the holy month last year.

In 2015, both the security agencies and business community had broken the good news to nation that the operation against criminals in Karachi had resulted in record breaking retail shopping during the year and purchase of about Rs70 billion worth goods by Karachiites for Eid celebration, setting a 10-year high record.

The disappointed victims turned to social media to vent their angst at the menace of mobile snatching and different groups and individuals narrated their ordeals of having faced mugging in recent days since the onset of Ramazan.

CPLC chief Zubair Habib agrees that the reported number of mugging incidents is always much lower than the actual size of the crime as every victim do not report the incident.

Karachi police chief Mushtaq Ali Maher did not agree to the conclusion deduced from comparison of figures that the street crime had witnessed sharp rise during Ramazan and said that assessment could only be made after the end of holy month.

“I think the situation is stable. It has not worsened that much that raises concerns. We have utilised all our resources to keep a check on such incidents and bring their number down to a minimum level. For instance, we have decided to compile a list and data of criminals involved in street crimes and target killers who were arrested by police but were later released on bail. We need to keep a check on them because they are all professional criminals,” he said.

He, however, expressed concern over recent incident of armed mugging in which the victim had to pay with his life when he tried to resist. The story of the victim, Mohammad Anas who breathed his last a couple of days ago at a private hospital, went viral over social media.

A resident of North Nazimabad Block I, 20-year-old Anas was sitting with his friends outside his home when two armed men on a motorcycle tried to snatch their cell phones. They shot Anas in the head when he put up some resistance.

Four people have been killed during the first 10 days of Ramazan in different areas on resisting mugging attempts.

“We are deeply worried over such incidents and have also discussed the issue with officers concerned. But at the same time, we are very much hopeful to arrest all the criminals involved in recent killings during mugging attempts,” he said.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1265535/rise-in-street-crime-in-karachi-in-first-10-days-of-ramazan

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Mideast

Christians in Aleppo offer food to poor Muslims during Ramadan

Jun 17, 2016

 Despite the war raging around them, Syriac Orthodox Christians in Aleppo have decided to provide food to poor Muslim families throughout the Islamic month of Ramadan.

According to Agenzia Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo are offering breakfast and evening meals to “the poorest Muslim families” living in the predominantly Christian and Armenian Sulaimaniyah neighborhood of the city.

The distribution center for the food, which is prepared by the Christian families themselves, is located at the archdiocese’s Cathedral of St. Ephrem the Syrian.

Ramadan is a Muslim month of intense prayer and fasting which commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Meals are not taken during daylight hours, though food and drink are served before dawn and after sunset.

This year, Ramadan lasts from June 5-July 5. It ends with the holiday Eid al-Fitr, which breaks the fast.

A communique released by Syriac Orthodox archdiocese said the initiative is a simple gesture aimed at expressing solidarity between people of different religious backgrounds with the hope that it will, in time, help to restore the peaceful coexistence that existed among Syria’s various religious and ethnic communities before the war.

The Syriac Orthodox Church is an Oriental Orthodox Church. These Churches reject the 451 Council of Chalcedon, and its followers were historically considered monophysites – those who believe Christ has only one nature – by Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox.

The Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo is still formally under the authority of Archbishop Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, who was kidnapped near Turkey in April 2013 along with the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Boulos Yazigi.

Aleppo is a hotly-contested city in Syria's north: with a pre-war population of 2.3 million, it was Syria's largest, but the population has now dwindled to around 1 million. The Syrian civil war, which began in the spring of 2011, spread to Aleppo in July 2012. It has been divided into government- and rebel-controlled sectors for years.

Three hospitals in the rebel-held portion of the city were hit by air strikes earlier this month.

Since the Syrian civil war began it has claimed the lives of more than 270,000 people. There are more than 4.6 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, and an additional 8 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/christians-in-aleppo-offer-food-to-poor-muslims-during-ramadan-60501/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email

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Experts pass judgment on meaning of ‘skeleton mosaic’ in Turkey's south

June 18, 2016

Professors at Mustafa Kemal University in the southern province of Hatay had shed light as to a mysterious message discovered on a mosaic that produced a variety of different interpretations.

The phrase on the mosaic reads “run to food,” “inconvenient time” and “cheer” but it can also be translated as “be cheerful, live your life,” according to Hatay Archaeology Department Professor Hatice Pamir and Hatay Archaeology Museum Director Nilüfer Sezgin, who have prepared a report on a mosaic.

The unique mosaic, which has been dubbed the “skeleton mosaic” – appropriately so given the prominence it gives to a skeleton – belonged to the dining room of a house from the third century B.C., was unearthed in April in the ancient city of Antiocheia.

A phrase written on the ancient mosaic reportedly read “Be cheerful, live your life,” piquing the interest of experts. But writer and researcher Murat Bardakçı claimed the writing on the mosaic was wrongly interpreted.

“The mosaic says, ‘You get the pleasure of the food you eat hastily with death,’” wrote Bardakçı in daily Habertürk on April 27, while adding that it could be a quotation from a famous person of the era.

The report about the phrase on the mosaic prepared by Pamir and Sezgin was recently published in the magazine of the Koç University Research Institute of Mediterranean Civilizations, Adalya, clarifying the phrase’s meaning.

Thirty-page translation

Speaking about the report, Pamir said the mosaic was made of three pieces and should be evaluated within context where it was found.

“There are three pieces. It reads ‘run to food’ on the figure looking at the shadow clock. The figure behind this one can be interpreted as a warning about inconvenient time. In the third scene, there is a skeleton motif with ‘cheer’ written on it. But a phrase should be interpreted within its context. You cannot translate it as ‘cheer’ only. This is why its translation is 30 pages. This is a scene from a feast. When we look at all three pieces, it expresses the feeling of being cheerful.”

Pamir said such mosaics were called talking mosaics and told stories.

“It gives information about its era, people’s feelings and traditions in this era. If the mosaic only said ‘cheer,’ the meaning would be different. But it is interpreted differently because it has a context. The skeleton motif is a metaphor here. It reads ‘be cheerful’ but we interpret it as an invitation to a feast.”

Pamir said that when the mosaic was first found, it was interpreted as “be cheerful, live your life,” which was not wrong.

“This is an invitation to cheer. With the skeleton motif, the theme of death is also used. The themes of life and death are both there. The translation ‘be cheerful, live your life’ is not wrong,” Pamir said.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/experts-pass-judgment-on-meaning-of-skeleton-mosaic-in-turkeys-south.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100601&NewsCatID=375

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Doğan calls to ‘band together’ against terror

June 18, 2016

Doğan Holding Honorary Chairman Aydın Doğan has called on Turkey to “band together” in order to put an end to terrorism, during a Doğan Publishing Principles Committee meeting held in the Bodrum district of the Aegean province in Muğla on June 17.

Hürriyet Chairwoman Vuslat Doğan Sabancı and Doğan Publishing Group representative Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ also attended the meeting, in addition to members of the group’s committee and editors-in-chief of its publications.

“We need to band together as a nation and cooperate to end terror. Whether it be the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] or ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], we need to continue the fight against all forms of terror, without making a distinction,” Doğan said in his address to the participants, while extending his condolences to the families of “over 500 officers and police who were martyred in the past year.”

Doğan criticized the propaganda efforts by a number of media outlets accusing Doğan Holding of “supporting terrorism,” defining the claims as “ridiculous.”

“We, the media, condemn and curse all acts of terror. Our publications are clear and definitive,” the honorary chairman said, adding such accusations “do not inflict harm on us but weakens the fight against terror.”

As part of his remarks, Doğan also touched upon an ongoing rift between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition parties over abolishing Turkey’s parliamentary system for a strong presidential system.

“On the matter of the constitution, another priority of the government, we need to wait for the developments. Mr. Prime Minister [Binali Yıldırım] stresses that the constitution should be amended to come in line with the notion of an elected president while leaders of opposition parties continue their [negative] stance against a presidential system. As media, our responsibility lies in informing the public about systems [of governance.] We need to inform the public in an objective manner, studying the applications [of the systems used] around the world,” Doğan said.

A recent recognition by German lawmakers of the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as “genocide” was another issue discussed by the chairman, as he “condemned” the Bundestag’s June 2 approval of a resolution entitled “Remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in 1915 and 1916.” 

“The German parliament’s decision on allegations of a so-called genocide was unfair and irrelevant. I condemn this decision,” he said, arguing against parliaments acting as “judicial authorities.”

“The allegations that we have been steering some media outlets in Germany are utter nonsense. We do not have an intention, a power or an effort to steer German media. I want to express this clearly,” Doğan stated. 

Doğan also warned against a rise in radical tendencies across the world, especially xenophobia and Islamophobia.

“The rhetoric of enmity, especially against Muslims, that is prevalent in the election campaigns in Europe and in the United States truly saddens me. Some do not avoid exploiting Islam, a religion of peace and tolerance, for their dark and violent actions, while others exploit these marginal incidents and ahodopt a defamatory and exclusionist rhetoric against the Islamic world,” he said.

“I believe that we, as media, need to convey the harms of this unhealthy and conflictual environment to the society in the most correct manner. We should also be louder in our calls for common sense. In this general environment that I have been trying to depict, independent and objective publishing is increasingly more important,” Doğan added.

Doğan also clarified the debate surrounding Petrol Ofisi (POAŞ), an oil refinery retailer previously owned by Doğan Holding, defining the indictment as “baseless” and “inconsistent.”

“Our job is difficult. On the one hand, we are attacked by some segments of the media almost every day. On the other hand, we are struggling against cases – all of which are legally bizarre,” Doğan said, adding the last example of this was the POAŞ indictment.

“We have come face-to-face with an indictment that is completely baseless, inconsistent and acontextual. I should not repeat myself as we have already announced it to the public,” Doğan stated, referring to a March 23 statement issued by Doğan Holding responding to seven “baseless claims” about POAŞ. The statement underlined that the retailer had been cleared through tax examinations and lawsuits several times before.

“We will continue our legal battle against this indictment, which is against reason, logic, the law and conscience, [which claims] the formation of a criminal organization to evade a non-existent tax. We trust objective law and our rightfulness,” he said.

The honorary chairman nonetheless called for reconciliation, as Turkish society remained increasingly polarized.

“In this environment of polarization in Turkey, it is necessary to reconnect opposing sides, to find points of reconciliation. Independent and objective publishing is one of the components that can best support this [effort]. Becoming part of the polarization, adopting a partisan stance [on] every issue, increases the polarization and prevents people from understanding each other. Despite all hardships, we are working towards ensuring independent, diverse and objective publishing,” Doğan told the audience.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/dogan-calls-to-band-together-against-terror.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100620&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish FM, US deputy secretary of state discuss Manbij operation, refugee deal

June 18, 2016

A delegation led by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed ways to strengthen U.S.-Turkey cooperation on security and counterterrorism with their Turkish counterparts during a day-long meeting at the Foreign Ministry on June 17.

Blinken also met with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who hosted him at their respective offices.

Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News that Çavuşoğlu offered his condolences to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Blinken about the June 12 shooting on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed and at least 50 were injured.

Blinken also gave his condolences to Çavuşoğlu about recent terror attacks in Turkey.

“The fact that a joint and determined struggle must be waged against terrorism was stressed in the meeting,” the sources said.

“Including the Manbij Operation, which is being carried out in Syria with the support of the international coalition against DEASH [Daesh/the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL], updates about the fight against DEASH were discussed in detail. Minister Çavuşoğlu conveyed our sensitivity about the PYD-YPG issue to Blinken,” the sources added.

Turkey regards both the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and the PYD’s militia forces, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), which is fighting ISIL jihadists, as off-shoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been in a reignited conflict with Turkish security forces since July 2015.

The same sources also stated that views were shared on the U.N.-backed Geneva peace talks for Syria, the Turkey-EU agreement on irregular migrants, and the issue of ensuring visa-free travel to Turkish citizens in the Schengen region.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-fm-us-deputy-secretary-of-state-discuss-manbij-operation-refugee-deal.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100637&NewsCatID=510

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Turkey appeals to flamboyant nationalist Zhirinovsky for softening Putin’s stance

June 18, 2016

Turkey’s outgoing ambassador to Russia, Ümit Yardım, met with Zhirinovsky in Moscow to this aim in recent days before President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a congratulatory message to Russia’s Vladimir Putin for a Russian national holiday.

Yardım had a tête-à-tête with Zhirinovsky in a private residence in the Russian capital a few weeks ago and they talked about Turkey-Russia relations, reliable sources based in Moscow told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Turkish Foreign Ministry officials have confirmed the meeting.

“Our ambassador has been in contact with Liberal Democratic Party leader Zhirinovsky; likewise he has been with a lot of interlocutors in the Russian Federation and it is true that a meeting in this context was held a short while ago,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told the Daily News on June 17.

“In principle, we do not share the content of these kinds of meetings. Notwithstanding, during the meeting, in the nature of things, the state of Turkey-Russia relations was also dealt with. Following the Nov. 24 incident, with its proposal for founding a joint commission, Turkey displayed its posture aimed at leaving the issue in the past in a constructive way,” the senior diplomat, speaking under customary condition of anonymity, said, referring to the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) downing of a Russian plane along the Syrian border on Nov. 24, 2015.

“We have resumed this approach recently with congratulatory messages sent at the highest-level,” the diplomat said.

On June 14, sources from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office leaked the president’s message to Putin for a Russian national holiday which was sent on June 12 on the occasion of Russia Day.

“We expect Russia to approach the issue in a prudent way from now on and give ear to our call for dialogue,” the diplomat said.

The downing of the Russian jet sparked an unprecedented crisis in the two nations’ relationship, which has been exacerbated by Moscow’s role in the Syrian war.

Turkey says the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Ankara of a “planned provocation.”

Turkology and ‘deep state’

Zhirinovsky, a Turkologist by profession and former student-intern in Turkey, is widely described as “the clown prince of Russian politics.”

Kremlin’s current spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, is also a Turkologist. Both Zhirinovsky and Peskov are known to deliver their opinions to Putin in regards to relations with Turkey, the same Moscow-based reliable sources told the Daily News.

His eccentric scolds set aside, Zhirinovsky is accepted by the Russian public as a figure who voices convictions and arguments that cannot be uttered by “the deep state in Russia,” in his own style, the same sources added.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-appeals-to-flamboyant-nationalist-zhirinovsky-for-softening-putins-stance.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100629&NewsCatID=510

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In Israel, Huckabee defends Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric

June 18, 2016

During a visit to Israel, Mike Huckabee, an ex-governor of Arkansas and former candidate in the US Republican presidential primaries, defended the anti-Muslim rhetoric of presumptive nominee Donald Trump, whom Huckabee said would make a “great president” for the Jewish state.

“It’s not racist. I think a lot of people are acting like what Donald Trump is saying is so unbelievable,” Huckabee told Israel’s Army Radio Thursday in reference to the Republican presidential candidate’s call in December for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. “Actually, what he’s saying is what every country on earth does right now.”

“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but virtually all the terrorists who are doing the kind of murders we’re seeing in America are Muslims,” Huckabee said.

Data from the New American Foundation shows that of the 28 deadly domestic terrorist attacks carried out in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, 10 of those attacks were related to Islamic extremism and 18 were carried out by right-wing extremists.

Huckabee, a supporter of Israel and Jewish causes who ran unsuccessfully in the party’s primaries in 2008 and 2016, said Trump would be “a great president for Israel,” who “unlike Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama will see that the partnership with Israel is as essential to Washington just as it is essential for Jerusalem.”

Last year, after Trump called for a ban on Muslim immigration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying he “rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” adding, “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”

Of Israel’s 8 million citizens, 1.4 million, or 17.5 percent, are Muslim, according to its Central Bureau of statistics.

Huckabee also said the Obama Administration was failing at dealing with extremist Muslim terrorism, because it does not label it as connected to radical Islam, including after the June 11 slaying by an American man of 49 people in Orlando. The perpetrator of that attack expressed his sympathies for the Islamic State terrorist group.

“The policies of our current administration have not been helpful in going after ISIS in part because you can’t treat a disease unless you identify it as what it is. The president was more angry over a Republican calling him out for not using the term radical Islam than he seemed to show for the act of terrorism itself,” Huckabee said.

On Tuesday, Obama dismissed this criticism in a televised address, in which he said: “Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction. Since before I was president, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism,” Obama said.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-israel-huckabee-defends-trumps-anti-muslim-rhetoric/

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Former Israeli PM Says Israel Faces ‘No Existential Threat’

Jun 17, 2016

At Israel's Herzliya Conference on national policy this week, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak accused the current government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, of fascism. Although Barak served as Netanyahu’s defense minister, he sounded off on the prime minister's aggressive national security agenda.

Netanyahu, Barak argued, is embarking on a “covert agenda” to prevent a separate Palestinian state and turn Israel into an “apartheid state.”

“But if it looks like budding fascism, walks like budding fascism and quacks like budding fascism, that’s the situation,” he concluded.

Barak then insisted that Israel faces no serious threats.

“He also said Israel faces “no existential threats” from regional enemies, and accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of magnifying the threats from terror groups and other enemies by comparing them all to Nazi Germany. “Hitlerization by the prime minister cheapens the Holocaust,” he said. “Our situation is grave even without [comparisons to] Hitler.”

It’s astounding to hear this kind of rhetoric from one of Israel’s former leaders. Perhaps Barak didn’t hear Iran bragging about its ability to "level" Iran with missiles in mere minutes. Or, he ignored the swarm of terrorists aggregating in the Gaza Strip planning attacks on Israel, such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. On the same note, he also must have turned a blind eye to the Palestinian terror attacks being waged in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other major cities. The Israeli Defense Forces has published a detailed post about these threats and more on its blog.

But yes, keep insisting Netanyahu is naive and paranoid.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2016/06/17/former-israeli-pm-accuses-netanyahu-of-fascism-n2179559

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Africa

West Africa: Crisis in Africa's Sahel, Hotbed of Militancy, Overlooked By Donors

17 JUNE 2016

Africa's arid Sahel, a fertile breeding ground for militancy and organised crime, has been neglected by donors who must tackle the region's displacement crisis to stem radicalisation and refugee flows, a leading aid agency said on Friday.

Millions of people have been uprooted by violence or smuggled across borders by militant groups and criminal networks in a region long ignored by the humanitarian community, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The United Nations last December appealed for a record $2 billion for the Sahel's 2016 aid plan, but it has been less than a quarter funded to date.

The Sahel band, which stretches from Senegal to Eritrea and lies south of the Sahara desert, topped the NRC's annual list of neglected displacement crises, followed by Yemen and Libya.

At least 4.5 million people in the Sahel have been forced from their homes by violence, a number which has tripled since 2014, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"Preventing conflict and refugee flows, stopping terrorist groups from taking root and combating organised crime are all intertwined," said NRC senior adviser Richard Skretteberg.

"You can't fight terrorism without creating development, and can't beat organised crime unless you solve the refugee crisis and create jobs," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

With its vast, loosely controlled desert expanses and porous borders, the Sahel has proved to be fertile soil for the rise of Islamist militancy in one of the world's poorest regions.

The combination of poverty, increased drought and shrinking water resources, and a lack of work is leaving people prey to recruitment by militant groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram and Islamic State, Skretteberg said.

More people could be recruited as the Sahel's population continues to boom, and militants and criminals smuggling people to Libya and across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe feed off each other and exploit corruption and weak governance, he added.

"Terror creates conflicts and refugees, and weakens state institutions, which criminals know how to exploit. Criminal activity helps ensure a constant flow of money to terrorists."

Aid agencies in the Sahel must consider organised crime in their response as gangs often target the most vulnerable people, trafficking and abusing them for profit, Skretteberg said.

They should also prioritise protection and education to prevent children and young men from being recruited by militants and give them hope of finding work in the future, he added.

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201606180001.html

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Explore Ethiopia’s Islamic citadel

18 Jun '16

Addis Ababa - “Faranjo! Faranjo!” is the repeated shout in the backstreets of Harar, in the nearby hill villages and from the depths of the camel market.

The word means quite simply “foreigner” - essentially, you've been spotted, usually by excited children. Otherwise Harar Jugol, a Unesco World Heritage city - said to be Islam's fourth holiest city on account of its 82 mosques - that was once a prosperous, independent kingdom, lives a strangely insular existence.

http://www.iol.co.za/travel/world/africa/explore-ethiopias-islamic-citadel-2035115

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Corpses and silence after Boko Haram’s Niger strike

JUNE 18 2016

BOSSO — Rotting bodies, looted buildings and a grim silence mark the once bustling town of Bosso in southeastern Niger following one of Boko Haram’s deadliest ever attacks in the west African nation.

In the empty, dusty streets, soldiers outnumber the few remaining residents — including the elderly who were unable to flee the insurgents, and some who have returned briefly to collect their possessions.

“Corpses littered the streets,” said Abdelaziz Zembada, a 50-year-old local shopkeeper on a visit to see if it was safe to return for good.

Boko Haram attacked a military post in town on June 3, killing 26 soldiers, including two from neighbouring Nigeria, and a number of civilians as well.

Everywhere, there are traces of people’s rush to escape.

A single abandoned sandal rests in the courtyard of a building. Pots, pans and containers are scattered on the ground. Inside one earth-and-straw home there is nothing, save a mattress and broken tea cups.

Behind a sheet of corrugated metal, a rotting goat gives off a putrid odour. A man’s unclaimed body decomposes in a local authority building. Witnesses believe there are more undiscovered dead scattered throughout the town.

Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency has left at least 20,000 people dead in Nigeria and made more than 2.6 million homeless in its quest to form a hardline Islamic state.

Extending the attacks to neighbouring countries, the group’s ascendancy has prompted a regional military fightback involving troops from Niger, Chad and Cameroon as well as Nigeria.

Zembada, the shopkeeper, said he and his wife managed to whisk three of their children to safety, but a four-year-old daughter was among those killed in the attack.

“When we came back to get her, that’s when the shell landed,” he said. “My daughter was inside with two of my neighbour’s children... She hasn’t been buried yet.” During the assault the local military contingent was overrun, its barracks looted and a handful of their armoured vehicles, trucks and cars were torched.

In the charred ruins of their dormitory, only skeletons of beds are still identifiable.

All the town’s public buildings — gendarme offices, the town hall and an administration centre — were pillaged.

A local school and health centre, where someone had scrawled “Boko Haram” on a chalkboard, were not spared either.

In addition to what they took from the buildings, the attackers also carted off some 200 tonnes of grain that were supposed to feed needy locals.  Niger’s military claim to have regained full control of Bosso, but it refuses to reveal the exact size of its force.

“Soldiers are there. It is a consequential number,” said Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum.

“Within a few weeks we will repopulate Bosso and the residents will return to their lives,” he said.  For now, many residents are shuttling back and forth between neighbouring towns and Bosso to pick up what is left of their belongings.

“We spent the night of (June) 3 on the roof and ran away on foot in the morning with the whole family,” said El Hadj Abba Makani, a father of 10 with two wives, as he loaded all he could into a battered 4x4.  “We are afraid, but if everyone comes back we will too,” said the shopkeeper.

Some residents are already home, beginning the struggle to rebuild lives shattered by the attack.

“We’re discouraged. We want people to come back,” said Souleymane Salissa, a barber.

His home and shop were looted, but he is back and managing to get by with business from the soldiers. In addition to cutting hair he also offers a service to charge mobile phones.

“Things are getting better, even if yesterday we heard gunfire,” Salissa said. “(But) if you hear ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest), that’s when you have to worry.”

http://www.bdlive.co.za/africa/africannews/2016/06/18/corpses-and-silence-after-boko-harams-niger-strike

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pm-al-abadi--fallujah-has-returned-to-the-nation-and-mosul-is-the-next-battle,-daesh-will-be-defeated/d/107692

 

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