New Age Islam
Mon Nov 23 2020, 09:57 PM

Islamic World News ( 10 Jan 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Ram Naam Draws Muslim Followers To Magh Mela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Ram naam draws Muslim followers to Magh Mela

 

India

Ram naam draws Muslim followers to Magh Mela

Ram Temple to be built after consensus: Muslim Rashtriya Manch

‘Malda not a fight between communities’

Indian leaders stress education for Muslim progress

‘Indian-origin terrorist ready to die for ISIS’

With backing of ISI, Jaish-e-Muhammad rises like a phoenix in Pakistan

Pathankot attack: NSA Ajit Doval denies saying talks with Pakistan cancelled

RSS body asks madrassas to hoist tricolour on Republic Day, Muslim entity hits back

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Arab World

Leader of Hezbollah Al-Nujaba: 120 World States Supply Arms to Terrorists in Syria

US Plotting to Create Autonomous Kurdistan Region in Syria

Saudi Analyst Advises Iran to Use Opportunity of Severed Ties to Omit Riyadh from Int'l Scene

Four killed in missile strike on Yemeni clinic

Syrian-Russian Warplanes Target ISIL Command Center in Raqqa City

Sudanese Colonel Killed in Clashes with Yemeni Troops

Daesh executes 5 people by big bulldozer in Iraq’s Mosul

‘Friendly fire’ by Iraqi drone kills 9 anti-IS fighters

Sudanese Colonel Killed in Clashes with Yemeni Troops

Syrian Fighter Jets Target Long Convoy of Militants' Trucks in Deir Ezzur

Gov't Forces Drive ISIL Back From More Lands North of Syria's Aleppo

Syrian Army Seizes Large Volumes of Militants' Munitions in Tartous Province

Jund Al-Aqsa Commander Killed in Northern Hama

Terrorists seize aid in Syria's Madaya, sell it to residents: Report

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Southeast Asia

Malaysian IS suicide bombers kill 33 in Middle East missions

The Muslim Chicken: A Bangi business by Malay Muslims who know halal

Serve syrup, cendol instead of alcohol in line with Islamic identity, Malaysia’s airlines told

Hindus launch an Islamic airline in Malaysia

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South Asia

US carries out drone strike in eastern Afghanistan

Seven Afghans kidnapped in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province

Pakistan vows response to any threat facing Saudi Arabia

Afghan forces retake city from Taliban

Afghan reconciliation process: Sartaj kicks off four-nation meeting with four guiding points

55,000 Afghan children to be vaccinated in fresh anti-polio drive in Balochistan

Preparatory meeting for peace talks with Taliban kicks off in Islamabad

Kabul police arrest woman for using false identification to meet the first lady

4 ‘Adamya Bangladesh’ members acquitted

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Pakistan

Pakistan to host 4-nation meeting on reviving Taliban Peace Talks

Afghan reconciliation process: Sartaj kicks off four-nation meeting with four guiding points

‘COAS green-lighted NAB action in DHA Valley scam’

Pakistan Stock Exchange formally launched

Threat to S. Arabia will evoke strong response, says army

CPEC crack widens

Seminaries reject govt proposals on registration

Nawaz Sharif to visit Switzerland on 20th

Pakistan to host 4-nation meeting on reviving Taliban Peace Talks

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Mideast

US Drones Attack Headquarters of Iraqi Popular Forces in Tikrit, Kill 9 People

Iraqi Leader Reveals Extensive Saudi, Qatari Funds for Terrorists

Jordan Releases Muslim Brotherhood Official From Prison

Four dead in missile strike on MSF clinic in Yemen

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Africa

Nigerians call for release of Shia cleric, Zakzaky

Key power station shelled in Libya's Benghazi, power cuts feared

Libya claims France struck ISIL in Sirte, Bin Jawad

Air strikes reported near Libya's Sirte

Uganda: Muslims seek presidential meeting over jailed men

Refugees attacked by mob in Cologne

Hollande visits main Paris mosque

Mosques in France open their doors to public

Syrian refugee invited to White House

US threatens to add Fatah to 'terror' list

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North America

Muslim sect promotes peace, condemns terror

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Australia

Muslim leaders including the Grand Mufti of Australia back fatwa against Islamic State

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Europe

Cologne assaults: Germany to release details of mob violence

Putin says he wants global cooperation against terrorism

Hollande visits main Paris mosque, a year after Hebdo attack

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Ram naam draws Muslim followers to Magh Mela

Kapil Dixit 

Jan 11, 2016

ALLAHABAD: A group of city-based Muslims have been following the ritual of writing the name of Lord Ram to deposit during the Magh Mela. As per the ritual, devotees write Ram's name several times and deposit it in the Ram Naam Bank.

"About 10 years ago, I read an article saying that writing Ram naam gives immense satisfaction and so I have been writing it for the past several years and receiving inner strength, energy, concentration and devotion" said Faisal Khan, who has also resolved to observe month-long Kalpwas (seclusion) on the banks of Ganga from Pauash Poornima on January 24 to Maghi Purnima on February 22. It gives him energy for the entire year, he said.

His group, Abdul Rab, Mohammad Amin Khan and Mukhtar, all observe every roza during Ramzan and offer namaz five times a day all year. They also know shlokas and mantras of the Bhagvad Gita by heart.

Faisal has been writing the name of Lord Ram in Hindi, English and Urdu, even in short-hand for the last eight years. Writing Ram naam with both hands, he said, "I have already written it over a million times."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/Ram-naam-draws-Muslim-followers-to-Magh-Mela/articleshow/50525446.cms

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Ram Temple to be built after consensus: Muslim Rashtriya Manch

Jan 10, 2016

RSS’ Muslim wing Muslim Rashtriya Manch has said that the Ram temple will come up in Ayodhya one members of all communities are taken into confidence on the matter.

Describing Lord Rama as “symbol of Indian-ness”, the Manch, patronised by senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, said it is making efforts to make Muslims aware of the “truth” that God is at the centre of faith for Hindus, while Mughal emperor Babar does not claim similar space for them.

It is believed that Babri Masjid was named after Mughal emperor Babar and built during his reign.

“Ram temple will come up, but only when we take each other into confidence. There is a need to speak to Muslims, members of other communities over this,” Mohammed Afzal, national convener of the Manch, said in Delhi recently on the sidelines of an event.

Afzal said Lord Rama is at the centre of faith of majority Hindus, but Babar is “not at the core of belief of Muslims” and added that the Manch is engaged in activities aimed at conveying this “truth” to members of the minority. “Babar was an invader. We are conveying the truth to our Muslim brothers,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/ram-temple-to-be-built-after-consensus-muslim-rashtriya-manch/story-COZ2h6IcPM23JKqFIn9RDL.html

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‘Malda not a fight between communities’

Suvojit Bagchi

Rights group says last Sunday’s incident that triggered unrest was the result of general lawlessness in West Bengal

A week after mob-led violence in Malda in north-central Bengal, a rights group has said the incident which triggered it was “not communal” in nature.

The Malda chapter of the civil rights organisation, Association for Democratic Rights (APDR), has issued a statement that last Sunday’s incident cannot be called “communal by a long shot.” Malda district secretary of APDR, Jishnu Roy Chowdhury, has blamed miscreants for “triggering” unprecedented violence, which is “a symptom of lawlessness in the State.”

“But it was never a fight between communities where Muslims targeted Hindus or vice versa, as reported by a section of the national press, especially television,” said Mr. Chowdhury. APDR, which has been routinely critical of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, issued the statement after a fact-finding exercise.

“Communal comments by a Hindu leader provoked an unfortunate incident in Kaliachak police station area in Malda. We condemn the fact that communal flavour has been added to the incident to incite people,” the statement said.

“Miscreants could take advantage of the incident due to negligence on the part of the administration and a religious campaign of extreme nature. However, the incident was not communal by a long shot. Even if the administration was late in responding, it acted positively to establish peace,” the statement, signed by Mr. Chowdhury, said.

The civil rights group also claimed that there was “an attempt to spread rumours of communal nature” and asked the local residents to distance themselves from such efforts.

Anjuman Ahle Sunnatul Jamat (ASJ) organised a rally in Malda on January 3 in the Kaliachak block to protest against an alleged derogatory statement made against Prophet Muhammad by a leader of a Hindu organisation in Uttar Pradesh. Contradictory reports emerged regarding the size of the gathering, a section of which turned violent, injuring over a dozen policemen, torching police vehicles and even firing shots. A 22-year-old person was injured in the incident. It was later reported by a section of the media that the incident was communal in nature, “escalating some tension” in the area, officials of Malda district police told The Hindu.

Initial investigations revealed that an escalation in police activity in the area to stop large-scale opium trade in Golapganj and Mehndipur under the blocks of Kaliachak irked the traders associated with the “business.”

The other factor that apparently escalated the violence was a rumour that the National Investigation Agency was setting up an office in Malda to monitor fake currency transaction, cow smuggling and drug trade.

Retired police officials attributed the Malda violence to “general lawlessness” in West Bengal as names of some of the local TMC leaders featured in the initial investigation. At least 10 persons have been arrested and the Home Ministry has sought a report. The BJP has set up a three-member fact-finding team that will visit Malda. The team, set up by BJP president Amit Shah, will be headed by party national general secretary and Member of Parliament Bhupender Yadav, a party release said.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/malda-not-a-fight-between-communities/article8089732.ece?css=print

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Indian leaders stress education for Muslim progress

11 January 2016

JUBAIL: India's Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) alumni observed Sir Syed Day at the Hadeed beach camp recently to pay tribute to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the university's founder.

Several important guests from India were conspicuous by their presence on the occasion. India's former Minister of State for Home, Communication and IT, and a senior Congress leader, Shakeel Ahmad was the chief guest, who noted that Indian Muslims should exercise their franchise with diligence and caution.

Referring to AMU's initiatives in opening Sir Syed public schools, Mairaj Uddin Ahmad, a former UP minister, urged AMU old boys to respond to the call by opening such public schools in their districts, states and cities.

“Empowerment through education can be our only savior in these difficult times,” Ahmad said.

Spread over 467.6 hectares, the premier educational institution is in Aligarh, a city located 130 km from Delhi, in Uttar Pradesh province. Students from all over India and abroad, especially Africa, West Asia and Southeast Asia study more than 300 courses that the university offers in traditional and modern branches of education.

The university has more than 28,000 students, 1,342 teachers and some 5,610 non-teaching staff on its rolls. The university now has 12 faculties comprising 98 teaching departments, 3 academies and 15 centers and institution. A special feature of the university is its residential character with most of the staff and students residing on the campus.

Educational Excellence Award was presented to Saadia Siddiqui, officiating vice principal girls of IIS Jubail, for her community services.

IIS Jubail's toppers, Heba Nasar, Atia Akram and Anam Sharaf, were awarded trophies for their academic excellence.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/863331

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‘Indian-origin terrorist ready to die for ISIS’

Jan 10, 2016

An Indian-origin Islamic State terrorist, believed to be the masked man in ISIS’ latest video who has been dubbed “new Jihadi John”, is ready to die for the terror group, his sister has said.

London-based Konika Dhar had received a message from her brother Siddhartha Dhar, also known as Abu Rumaysah, last year after he had skipped bail and fled the UK with his pregnant wife and four children saying, “I’m prepared for death”.

In a phone-call in October last year, he said, “Focus on the hereafter and don’t worry”.

Konika told ‘The Sunday Times’, “I told him from the very beginning when he arrived in Syria and made contact that I would love him to return home and live in our house with his family.”

But he said he cannot return because he believed that he would be arrested.

While the identity of Dhar as the masked man in a recent ISIS video threatening terrorist strikes on Britain has not been confirmed by security services, his sister has spoken of her fears that it may be her brother.

She pleaded with British Prime Minister David Cameron not to use drones to try to kill her brother because she believes he has been brainwashed.

“I believe my brother is unwell; he needs help and needs intensive care. I think it will be harder for him to make rational decisions based on his current state of health. He has been completely brainwashed…I’m very disappointed in the person he has become, but I still love him because he is my brother. I would rather see him rehabilitated in prison in the UK than dead on the Syrian battlefield,” she told the daily.

The law student paints a picture of a mild mannered Arsenal football club fan who was born and raised a Hindu before he converted to Islam and took on the names of Abu Rumaysah and Saif al-Islam.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/indian-origin-terrorist-ready-to-die-for-isis/

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With backing of ISI, Jaish-e-Muhammad rises like a phoenix in Pakistan

by Praveen Swami

January 11, 2016

Hundreds gathered this New Year’s Eve at a seminary in Dera Ismail Khan, on the west bank of the Indus, to spend the evening listening to disquisitions on the life of the Prophet Muhammad. There was a student debate on the lessons of the Quranic-era battle of Uhud, and eulogies for jihadists from the city who had been killed in Kashmir.

Then, a videotape of the event shows, the Jaish-e-Muhammad jihad commander whose men were just then making their way across the Punjab border to attack the Pathankot airbase, delivered a mocking promise.

“People threatening to snatch away jihad from us can’t even snatch away your wooden toothbrush,” said Abdul Rauf Azhar, the military chief of the Jaish, and brother to Maulana Masood Azhar.

For more than five years, intelligence services across the world have warily watched the rebirth of the Jaish-e-Muhammad — documented in video, audio and published material obtained by The Indian Express.

Large meetings, like the one held in Dera Ismail Khan, have allowed the organisation to raise funds for a lavish new 16-acre headquarters in Bahawalpur, charitable operations, and military training camps. Estimates by India’s intelligence services show the Jaish may now have upwards of 500 trained jihadists at its disposal. “This is potentially the biggest danger to India after the Lashkar-e-Toiba”, a senior Indian intelligence official said. “The big difference is that the Lashkar is being watched by the world, and the Jaish isn’t.” The Jihad Empire Little noticed by the world, the Jaish has grown into one of the largest jihadist organisations in Pakistan. The foundation of its growth is hard cash. In 2010, the organisation put jihad veteran Maulana Ghulam Murtaza in charge of reviving the al-Rahmat trust, once run by Allah Baksh, the Azhar brothers’ father. The trust began soliciting funds in Pakistan and the Gulf monarchies, to build 313 mosques and seminaries. In 2010, a Jaish-affiliated publication said the trust was paying pensions to the families of at least 850 jihadists killed or imprisoned in India, as well as in other countries. Though some countries have proscribed al-Rahmat — the United States, in November 2010, imposed sanctions calling it the “operational front” for the Jaish, and the United Arab Emirates has followed — it continues to operate through publicly-advertised bank accounts in Pakistan. In addition, Pakistan’s government has issued legal permissions for Jaish-related publications to print, and to solicit advertisements. The weekly magazine al-Qalam — in which, Pakistani counter-terrorism officials say Masood Azhar publishes under the pen-name ‘Saadi’ — is openly sold, along with the daily Islam and weekly Zarb-e-Momin, dedicated to glorifying Taliban violence. Pakistan had begun shutting down the Jaish in 2003, in part in response to Indian and US pressure, brought to bear after its role in the attack on Parliament House in New Delhi was revealed. The growing fissure between General Pervez Musharraf’s military regime and the Islamists, though, was key: following two assassination attempts on Musharraf carried out by Jaish associates, the army came down hard. The US and UK had their own concerns, with growing evidence emerging of links between international jihadists and the Jaish. Rashid Rauf, who attempted to bomb a transatlantic flight, and the perpetrators of the London underground attacks, had passed through Jaish terror camps. The Loyal Jihadis In the years that the Jaish was proscribed, though, the Pakistan army came to believe Musharraf’s pro-US policies had only empowered jihadists — not a few of them breakaways from the Jaish itself. Efforts were made, notably, to win over Maulana Abdul Jabbar, a Jaish operative who had set up a breakaway faction linked to al-Qaeda after the 2003 crackdown. These, along with the Lashkar, were trusted, loyal jihadists. Testifying before the official inquiry into the attack which claimed Osama bin Laden’s life, former ISI chief Lieutenant-General Shuja Pasha lashed out at Musharraf for caving in “promptly and so completely to the United States demands that Shamsi airbase was given to them for drone strikes against people in Pakistan”. His thinking was widely shared within the ISI. In 2009, jihadists took 49 hostages in an attack on the Pakistan army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi. The ISI needed negotiators whom both they and the attackers trusted. Military aircraft were despatched to pick up top jihadist leaders — among them Abdul Rauf Azhar. Masood Azhar, Indian intelligence officials believe, is also valued for his old links with the Taliban. Nizamuddin Shamzai, who taught Masood Azhar and then created his organisation after his release in 1999, was sent by then ISI chief Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed to convince the Taliban to give up Osama bin Laden after 9/11. Shamzai reportedly ended up persuading Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar to fight, instead. His brother, Ibrahim, fought in Afghanistan as a teenager, and then persuaded the Taliban to give jobs there to his sister, Rabiya. In 1999, Rauf Azhar and Ibrahim are believed to have visited the Taliban on several occasions, as they stitched together the plot to hijack Indian Airlines IC814 — which would lead to Masood Azhar’s release, after five years in jail. “There’s no coincidence to the fact that the attack on the consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif took place at the same time as Pathankot”, says one Indian diplomat. “Someone was making a point.” The Message Tapes with The Indian Express show what that point is. At one February 2013 event, dozens of women linked to the organisation’s women’s wing gathered in Bahawalpur to hear Rauf Azhar praise Afzal Guru, the Kashmir resident hanged in 2013 for his role in the Parliament attack. Rauf vowed vengeance on India at the event, as he invited the women to read Guru’s posthumously-released book, which extols armed jihad and suicide attacks. Last year, Masood Azhar himself addressed a rally in Muzaffarabad held in Guru’s memory, to push forward his point. In Mazar-e-Sharif, the attackers left behind messages saying their act was intended to avenge Guru’s hanging. Three men carjacked by the assault team which hit Pathankot heard the same message. The Jaish, interestingly, was allowed to vocally support Bin Laden after his death — in defiance of stated Pakistani policy against the fugitive jihadist. In one eulogy, Masood Azhar described him as “our brother, a Muslim, the pride of the Arabs”. Rauf was even more explicit, attacking Pakistan’s political leadership for allowing a man “who gave his whole life for Islam to be martyred in Pakistan”. “The Americans have spilt Osama bin Laden’s blood”, Rauf warned, “and they will pay for it”.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/with-backing-of-isi-jaish-e-muhammad-rises-like-a-phoenix-in-pakistan/

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Pathankot attack: NSA Ajit Doval denies saying talks with Pakistan cancelled

Jan 11, 2016

Amid uncertainty over talks between India and Pakistan following the terror attack at the Pathankot Air Base, India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said in an interview to Dainik Bhaskar that “there will be no peace talks with Pakistan until India is satisfied with its investigation of the Pathankot attacks.”

However, Doval was quick to deny having said that the talks were cancelled, and told NDTV “we will talk only if Pakistan takes action”. Doval was quoted as saying that the foreign secretary-level talks that were to be held later this week ‘stood cancelled.’ “15 January ko Lahore mein hone wali Indo-Pak secretary level meet bhi cancel kar di gayi hai,” he was quoted as saying in the interview.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pathankot-attack-nsa-ajit-doval-denies-saying-talks-with-pakistan-cancelled/

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RSS body asks madrassas to hoist tricolour on Republic Day, Muslim entity hits back

January 10, 2016

New Delhi: RSS-affiliate Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) has asked the madrassas in the country to hoist tricolour on Indian Republic Day.

According to a Times of India report, MRM is carrying out a nationwide campaign to persuade madrassas to unfurl Indian flag in the compound on January 26.

"The campaign has been named 'Jhanda Falani' and is being carried out throughout the country," UP co-ordinator of MRM Merajidhwaj Singh was quoted as saying by TOI.

Full report at:

http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/rss-body-asks-madrassas-to-hoist-tricolour-on-republic-day-muslim-entity-hits-back_1843521.html

 

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Arab World

 

Leader of Hezbollah Al-Nujaba: 120 World States Supply Arms to Terrorists in Syria

Jan 10, 2016

"In the Syria war, 120 countries of the world supply the Takfiri terrorists with the state-of-the-art equipment and weapons," Kaabi said in a meeting with prominent Iranian Shiite cleric Ayatollah Alawi Gorgani in the Central city of Qom on Saturday night.

He voiced concern about the dire humanitarian situation in the besieged towns of Kafria and Foua'a regions in Idlib province, and said sending aid to these two towns is difficult due to the presence of terrorist groups.

Kaabi said that the Takfiri terrorists still attack the two Shiite-populated towns and despite the resistance forces' operations to break the siege of the two towns, they are still under the militants' control.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000483

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US Plotting to Create Autonomous Kurdistan Region in Syria

Jan 10, 2016

Al-Majhar website quoted informed sources in Iraq's Erbil and Syria's Kobani as saying that following the implementation of a plan to form the Kurdistan corps by training the Kurdish forces, the US will embark on necessary measures to form offices to create an autonomous Kurdistan in Northern Syria.

Based on the report, the Syrian Kurds believe that the US support will lead to the establishment of a Kurdish government in Syria.

According to al-Majhar, the US officials believe that it is possible for them to implement their plots given the loyalty of Barzani forces and Salih Muslim to Washington as well as their active participation in war against the Syrian army and the ISIL terrorists.

The analysis came after Turkish military expressed concerns to the US earlier this week over attempts by Syrian Kurdish groups to create a corridor in Northern Syria and changes to the demographic structure in the region in favor of the Kurds.

The message was delivered to General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had talks with Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen Hulusi Akar and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on January 6, Hurriyet Daily reported.

After talks in Ankara, Gen. Dunford visited US troops stationed at the Incirlik Base in Turkey.

The military talks were focused on the joint fight against Daesh militants in Iraq and on the recent development in Syria and Iraq, as well as other regional issues.

One of the most important issues the Turkish military addressed was attempts by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to cross the Euphrates River and enter the Azaz-Jarablus corridor.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020001094

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Saudi Analyst Advises Iran to Use Opportunity of Severed Ties to Omit Riyadh from Int'l Scene

Jan 10, 2016

Speaking to FNA on Sunday, Ali Abbas al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for (Persian) Gulf Affairs, underlined Saudi Arabia's abundant internal problems and its attempts to project the blame on others.

"The main reason behind Saudi Arabia's cut of relations with Iran is diverting the public opinion from the country's domestic problems while its economic condition is dire; we are witnessing these days vast public discontent with the al-Saud and the largest number of political prisoners all throughout Saudi Arabia's history," he added.

"The Iranians can easily use this opportunity since the Americans have become really exhausted with the al-Saud and therefore, the Iranians should focus on strengthening relations with Europe and the US," Ahmed underlined.

He said once relations between Tehran and Washington are resumed, the US doesn’t see any necessity to attach much importance to its ties with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced last Sunday that the country had severed diplomatic ties with Tehran and gave the Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.

The move was made after Saudi interior ministry announced last week that it has executed prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and 46 others. After the news was released, angry Iranian protestors stormed the Saudi embassy following which Riyadh announced severing diplomatic ties with Iran.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000378

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Four killed in missile strike on Yemeni clinic

Jan 11, 2016

DUBAI: A missile strike on a Doctors Without Borders clinic in Yemen killed at least four people on Sunday, the group said, condemning what it called a “worrying pattern” of such attacks.

The Paris-based medical humanitarian organisation said three of its staff members were among 10 people wounded in the raid, the third of its kind in four months in the war-ravaged country.

Two other members of staff were in “critical condition”, the group known by its French acronym MSF said in a statement.

Also read: MSF facility in Yemen hit by Saudi-led air strikes: MSF

MSF, which runs the facility, says toll may rise

“The numbers of casualties could rise as there could still be people trapped in the rubble,” it said, adding the missile hit the medical facility in the Razeh district of Saada province.

But all staff and patients had been evacuated, with the patients being transferred to another MSF-supported hospital in Saada, it said.

MSF could not specify whether the medical facility was hit in an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition or by a rocket fired from the ground.

Its director of operations, Raquel Ayora, denounced the strike and repeated that the organisation constantly shares the coordinates of its facilities with those fighting in Yemen.

“All warring parties are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical sites where MSF works,” said Ayora.

“There is no way that anyone with the capacity to carry out an air strike or launch a rocket would not have known” that the clinic was a functioning health facility supported by MSF, Ayora said.

“We strongly condemn this incident that confirms a worrying pattern of attacks to essential medical services and express our strongest outrage as this will leave a very fragile population without healthcare for weeks,” said Ayora.

“Once more it is civilians that bear the brunt of this war,” she added.

Saada is the heartland of Iran-backed Shia Huthi rebels that the coalition has been bombing since March in support of Yemen’s beleaguered government.

MSF last month accused the coalition of bombing its clinic in Taez, southwest Yemen, wounding nine people including two staff members.

The coalition said it would investigate that claim although it has repeatedly insisted that it does not attack civilians.

In October, air strikes hit another hospital run by MSF near Saada without causing any deaths.

More than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen since March, about half of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1232215/four-killed-in-missile-strike-on-yemeni-clinic

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US carries out drone strike in eastern Afghanistan

January 11, 2016

KABUL : The United States conducted a drone strike in Afghanistan last week but a spokesman declined to confirm reports it had killed as many as 20 Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

Although the United States ended major combat in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, it still maintains a force for counterterrorism operations, along with advice and assistance offered to Afghan police and troops fighting the Taliban.

Nangarhar has become a stronghold for radical Islamic State militants fighting both Afghan government forces and the Taliban and there has been a series of drone strikes against targets in the province.

Asked about reports of a drone attack in Nangarhar, US military spokesman Col.

Michael Lawhorn said US forces had carried out a "counterterrorism strike" on Friday but did not specify a location nor estimate casualties.

"It is United States Forces Afghanistan policy not to discuss the details of counterterrorism operations," he said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Jan-2016/us-carries-out-drone-strike-in-eastern-afghanistan

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Saudi Analyst Advises Iran to Use Opportunity of Severed Ties to Omit Riyadh from Int'l Scene

Jan 10, 2016

Speaking to FNA on Sunday, Ali Abbas al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for (Persian) Gulf Affairs, underlined Saudi Arabia's abundant internal problems and its attempts to project the blame on others.

"The main reason behind Saudi Arabia's cut of relations with Iran is diverting the public opinion from the country's domestic problems while its economic condition is dire; we are witnessing these days vast public discontent with the al-Saud and the largest number of political prisoners all throughout Saudi Arabia's history," he added.

"The Iranians can easily use this opportunity since the Americans have become really exhausted with the al-Saud and therefore, the Iranians should focus on strengthening relations with Europe and the US," Ahmed underlined.

He said once relations between Tehran and Washington are resumed, the US doesn’t see any necessity to attach much importance to its ties with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced last Sunday that the country had severed diplomatic ties with Tehran and gave the Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.

The move was made after Saudi interior ministry announced last week that it has executed prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and 46 others. After the news was released, angry Iranian protestors stormed the Saudi embassy following which Riyadh announced severing diplomatic ties with Iran.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000378

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5 killed in missile strike on Medicins Sans Frontieres clinic in Yemen

10 Jan, 2016

At least five people have been killed in a missile strike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres medical facility in Yemen. The organization “strongly condemns this,” while adding that 10 people have been injured in the attack.

“We can confirm five dead people; we have transferred several injured to our other hospital in Sanaa, some of them are in critical condition,” MSF director of operations Raquel Ayora told RT.

"The hospital is no longer functioning. It's been decreasing its services to the civilian population over the last months, only running life-saving and essential services. And right now there is no capacity to provide medical assistance in this hospital," she added.

The facility, which was hit by a rocket on Sunday, is in Razeh in the north of the country. In a statement on Twitter, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) say they, "strongly condemn this and we reiterate to all parties to the conflict that patients & medical facilities must be respected."

"We haven't received ... any feedback [so far] from any of our contacts in the different lines of command, so we can not confirm if any investigation has been launched," the MSF official told RT.

According to MSF staff on the ground, one missile hit the Shiara Hospital, where the humanitarian organization has been operating since November, 2015. MSF say they are unable to say who was responsible for the attack, but mentioned planes were seen flying over the facility at the time the attack took place. The organization adds that the death toll could rise as there is the possibility that people are still trapped in the rubble.

“All the warring parties, including the Saudi-led coalition, are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical sites where MSF works and we are in constant dialogue with them to ensure that they understand the severity of the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and the need to respect the provision of medical services,” said Raquel Ayora, MSF’s Director of Operations.

MSF pointed out on their Twitter feed that this is the third severe incident the organization has had to deal with in the last three months.

“Our teams struggle on a daily basis to ensure the respect of health facilities,” the group stated.

Full report at:

https://www.rt.com/news/328425-yemen-msf-clinic-attack/

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Syrian-Russian Warplanes Target ISIL Command Center in Raqqa City

Jan 10, 2016

"The ISIL building, which was once a police station, was badly bombed by the Syrian and Russian fighter jets," the sources said.

"The ISIL reportedly has suffered a heavy death toll in the air attack," the sources added.

The Syrian and Russian air forces have carried out so many successful and meantime important joint offensives against the militant positions across the country since September 30, when Moscow officially ordered the country's' air force to joint the Syrian counterpart in anti-terrorism campaign.

FNA dispatches said Saturday that the Syrian and Russian fighter jets bombed scores of the militant groups' positions across the Northern province of Aleppo, , adding the militants suffered a heavy death toll in the air attacks.

One of the field commanders of the army in the Northern battlefronts told the FNA that the country fighter jets targeted the militant strongholds in Tal Rifat near al-Bab city in the Northern part of Aleppo and Tadif town East of Aleppo, surroundings of Hamidiyeh village East of Kuweires airbase and Deir Hafer in the Eastern part of Aleppo province, which ended in mass destruction of the militant groups' military vehicles and the killing and wounding of so many of them.

The source further added that one of the senior commanders of al-Shamiyeh Front, Munib Abu Canjou, was badly wounded in gun attack by unidentified attacker near al-Brij region.

"The militant groups' strongholds in Tal Hadiya near the ICARDA mount in the Southern part of Aleppo province came under massive strike of the Russian warplanes, which claimed the lives of many terrorists," the commander further told the FNA.

The commander further said that the Syrian fighter jets stormed the terrorist groups' positions near the towns of Kafr Hamra, Hayan and Bayanoun in the province.

"Also, the Syrian army's artillery shelled the militant groups' concentration centers in al-Bab, Deir Hafer and Tadif, ending in destruction of the military sites' infrastructures," the sources told the FNA.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000963

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Sudanese Colonel Killed in Clashes with Yemeni Troops

Jan 10, 2016

The Sudanese colonel was killed while fighting alongside the Saudi troops and pro-Hadi militias in the region of al-Waze'iya in the coastal province of Ta'iz on Saturday.

No further detail is available about the colonel.

Sudan has joined the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen in order to receive the Riyadh government's financial backup.

The Sudanese army has sent its troops to the port of Aden in Southern Yemen twice.

In a relevant development on Saturday, the chief commander of the UAE forces in Yemen was injured and three Blackwater mercenaries, including a French officer, were killed in an ambush of the Yemeni troops in Ta’iz.

"A special unit of the Yemeni army and popular forces attacked a convoy of the UAE and Blackwater forces in al-Sanameh region in the western part of al-Waze'iya of Ta’iz,” Arabic-language media outlets quoted a Yemeni military source as saying.

The UAE has recently hired Blackwater forces to replace its regular soldiers in Yemen to fight against the Yemeni army and Ansarullah fighters.

The Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries has launched an all-out aggression against the Yemeni nation since March 26 to help return former Yemeni president Mansour Hadi to power and prevent the Ansarullah revolutionary forces from ascending to power.

A vast part of Yemen’s infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, and people’s houses have been destroyed by the Saudi airstrikes and the Saudi-led coalition troops.

Thousands of Yemeni people, including children and women, have been killed and tens of thousands of them have been displaced.

On Friday, the Yemeni army and popular forces continued to inflict heavy losses on the Saudi army by destroying their military equipment and hardware and shot down another military helicopter in the province of Hajjah.

"The Yemeni forces hit an Apache helicopter in Midi region in Hajjah province," the Arab-language media outlets quoted informed Yemen sources as saying.

The Yemeni army and the popular forces have intensified their attacks against the Saudi forces and their military positions in recent week by destroying their warships and helicopters.

In a relevant development in late December, an ammunition depot and two Apache helicopters of the pro-Saudi forces were also destroyed in the Yemeni ballistic missile strikes in Southern Yemen.

In late August, the Yemeni forces downed another Saudi Apache helicopter in al-Khubah district of Jizan Province, on the Yemeni-Saudi border.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the attack.

On December 28, Yemen's army and popular forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the ninth Saudi vessel sinking in waters offshore Yemen in the last four months.

The Saudi warship was targeted with Yemeni missiles in the Al-Mukha coastal waters in the province of Ta'iz.

The sunken ship had repeatedly fired rockets at the residential areas in Ta'iz province, inflicting casualties and destruction there.

Other Saudi battleships that were approaching Yemen's coasts retreated fast following the attack.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000476

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Daesh executes 5 people by big bulldozer in Iraq’s Mosul

Jan 10, 2016

The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has crushed five civilians to death by a huge bulldozer in Iraq’s embattled northern province of Nineveh.

A local source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Daesh members carried out the gruesome execution in Mosul’s central neighborhood of al-Faisaliyah on Sunday, adding that the bodies were later dumped in a deep hole west of the militant-held city, Arabic-language al-Sumaria satellite television network reported.

The victims, whose hands had been tied, were accused of collaborating with the central government in Baghdad and voicing opposition to the radical ideology of the Takfiris.

This is not the first time Daesh Takfiris execute people by crushing them under a heavy vehicle. In June 2014, they ran over a Syrian man by a tank in the city of Homs.

Despite resorting to violence for a better management of the areas under their control, the terrorists have recently been losing ground to Iraqi forces.

Security forces managed to evacuate 635 civilians, mostly women and children, from the city of Ramadi in the western province of Anbar earlier on Sunday and transferred them to al-Habbaniyah Camp in the city of al-Khalediyah, 23 kilometers (14 miles) east of Ramadi.

These civilians had been besieged by Daesh militants in al-Sufiyah and al-Sejariyah east of Ramadi and had managed to break the siege.

The security forces also arrested 12 members of the terror group, who intended to escape in civilian disguise.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/10/445302/Iraq-Daesh-Mosul-Anbar-Ramadi-Baghdad-bulldozer/

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‘Friendly fire’ by Iraqi drone kills 9 anti-IS fighters

January 11, 2016

BAGHDAD/ BEIRUT - Nine fighters from a militia battling Islamic State were killed in northern Iraq when an Iraqi army aircraft fired at them in error, security and militia sources said on Sunday.

The fighters were responding to an Islamic State attack west of Camp Speicher, a former US base outside the city of Tikrit, said Ahmed al-Assadi, spokesman for the Hashid Shaabi, a coalition of mostly militias fighting the militants alongside Iraq's military. More than a dozen fighters were wounded, he said.

Colonel Mohammed al-Assadi, spokesman for the joint police and military operations command in Salahuddin province, said that at 10:30 pm (1930 GMT) on Saturday, an Iraqi army aviation drone opened fire due to mistaken coordinates. Assadi said the drone was being fired at from the ground and "fired on the advancing Jund al-Imam forces, killing nine and wounding around 15," he added, referring to the militia.

Spokesmen for Iraq's defence ministry and joint operations command were not immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate abducted two of the country's most prominent media activists from a radio station in the northwestern Idlib province on Sunday, opposition officials told AFP.

"Al-Nusra Front kidnapped at 0655 (0455 GMT) activists Hadi al-Abdallah and Raed Fares in the offices of Fresh FM where they work and live in Kafranbel," said Soner Taleb, head of media at the Syrian National Coalition.

Fares, Fresh FM's director, has previously been detained by Al-Nusra fighters, who disapprove of what they term the station's "secular tendency and support of apostates", Taleb said. According to a statement published by Fresh FM, Al-Nusra fighters stormed the radio station and confiscated its broadcasting and technical equipment as well as its electricity generators.

"The Al-Nusra members then gathered all of the revolution flags and burned them in front of everyone," the statement said.

The flag featuring three red stars over a green, white and black tricolour, in use before President Bashar al-Assad's father and predecessor came to power, is the symbol of Syria's uprising.

Al-Nusra fighters then arrested both Fares and Abdallah, the statement said.

Fares is widely known as the creator behind the often humourous protest posters of Kafranbel, written in English and Arabic and widely circulated online.

"Raed is the founder of Fresh FM, and he's an amazing person," said activist Ibrahim al-Idlibi.

"He did not take up arms at all, not even for personal use... he always came up with new ideas, always strived to be better," Idlibi told AFP via the Internet.

According to Fresh FM employee Ahmad Buyush, Fares, 41, was a medical student when popular anti-regime protests began across Syria in March 2011. "Raed is the revolution, in all meanings of the word," he told AFP. He had been arrested by Al-Nusra in the past and had survived an assassination attempt two years ago, Buyush said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Jan-2016/friendly-fire-by-iraqi-drone-kills-9-anti-is-fighters

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Sudanese Colonel Killed in Clashes with Yemeni Troops

Jan 10, 2016

The Sudanese colonel was killed while fighting alongside the Saudi troops and pro-Hadi militias in the region of al-Waze'iya in the coastal province of Ta'iz on Saturday.

No further detail is available about the colonel.

Sudan has joined the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen in order to receive the Riyadh government's financial backup.

The Sudanese army has sent its troops to the port of Aden in Southern Yemen twice.

In a relevant development on Saturday, the chief commander of the UAE forces in Yemen was injured and three Blackwater mercenaries, including a French officer, were killed in an ambush of the Yemeni troops in Ta’iz.

"A special unit of the Yemeni army and popular forces attacked a convoy of the UAE and Blackwater forces in al-Sanameh region in the western part of al-Waze'iya of Ta’iz,” Arabic-language media outlets quoted a Yemeni military source as saying.

The UAE has recently hired Blackwater forces to replace its regular soldiers in Yemen to fight against the Yemeni army and Ansarullah fighters.

The Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries has launched an all-out aggression against the Yemeni nation since March 26 to help return former Yemeni president Mansour Hadi to power and prevent the Ansarullah revolutionary forces from ascending to power.

A vast part of Yemen’s infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, and people’s houses have been destroyed by the Saudi airstrikes and the Saudi-led coalition troops.

Thousands of Yemeni people, including children and women, have been killed and tens of thousands of them have been displaced.

On Friday, the Yemeni army and popular forces continued to inflict heavy losses on the Saudi army by destroying their military equipment and hardware and shot down another military helicopter in the province of Hajjah.

"The Yemeni forces hit an Apache helicopter in Midi region in Hajjah province," the Arab-language media outlets quoted informed Yemen sources as saying.

The Yemeni army and the popular forces have intensified their attacks against the Saudi forces and their military positions in recent week by destroying their warships and helicopters.

In a relevant development in late December, an ammunition depot and two Apache helicopters of the pro-Saudi forces were also destroyed in the Yemeni ballistic missile strikes in Southern Yemen.

In late August, the Yemeni forces downed another Saudi Apache helicopter in al-Khubah district of Jizan Province, on the Yemeni-Saudi border.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the attack.

On December 28, Yemen's army and popular forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the ninth Saudi vessel sinking in waters offshore Yemen in the last four months.

The Saudi warship was targeted with Yemeni missiles in the Al-Mukha coastal waters in the province of Ta'iz.

The sunken ship had repeatedly fired rockets at the residential areas in Ta'iz province, inflicting casualties and destruction there.

Other Saudi battleships that were approaching Yemen's coasts retreated fast following the attack.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000476

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Syrian Fighter Jets Target Long Convoy of Militants' Trucks in Deir Ezzur

Jan 10, 2016

"A 20-truck convoy, loaded with spare parts and equipment of oil facilities, was targeted by the Syrian fighter jets on a road along the highway heading al-Mayadin town in the Eastern territories of Deir Ezzur province," the army said, adding, "Almost the entire trucks were damaged in the airstrikes."

On Friday, the Syrian Army announced that its troops and popular forces fended off another major offensive of the ISIL near Deir Ezzur airbase, and killed at least 33 more terrorists.

"The ISIL launched an offensive at the Deir Ezzur airbase around the Southeastern perimeter of this large military base in Eastern Syria," the army said.

"Launching their preliminary assault from the strategic hilltop of Tal Kroum near the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River, hundreds of the ISIL fighters stormed the Syrian army's frontline positions at the Southeastern perimeter of the airbase, where they attempted to break past the first line of defense of the government forces and reach the security outposts," the army added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000563

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Gov't Forces Drive ISIL Back From More Lands North of Syria's Aleppo

Jan 10, 2016

"The Syrian soldiers and the country's National Defense Forces (NDF) stormed the ISIL defense lines near the villages of Qarah Kobra and al-Khirbet in the Northern territories of Aleppo province and forces them to retreat from the battlefield after leaving behind scores of dead and wounded members," the sources said.

The FNA dispatches said Saturday that the Syrian and Russian fighter jets bombed scores of the militant groups' positions across the Northern province of Aleppo, adding the militants suffered a heavy death toll in the air attacks.

One of the field commanders of the army in the Northern battlefronts told the FNA that the country fighter jets targeted the militant strongholds in Tal Rifat near al-Bab city in the Northern part of Aleppo and Tadif town East of Aleppo, surroundings of Hamidiyeh village East of Kuweires airbase and Deir Hafer in the Eastern part of Aleppo province, which ended in mass destruction of the militant groups' military vehicles and the killing and wounding of so many of them.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000788

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Syrian Army Seizes Large Volumes of Militants' Munitions in Tartous Province

Jan 10, 2016

"Our forces were informed by the army's intelligence units about a cargo of bombs, weapons and ammunition heading to Hama province," the army said.

"Our forces later intensified their security measures across Tartous' checkpoints, and ultimately found a vehicle loaded with explosive materials and bombs near Khirbet al-Maazah village," the army added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000727

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Jund Al-Aqsa Commander Killed in Northern Hama

Jan 10, 2016

Mohammed Fayez al-Hussein was killed in an army attacks on militants' positions in Morek in Northern Hama.

Earlier today, the Syrian Army announced that its troops alongside the popular forces attacked several positions of the militant groups of Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham in the Northern territories of Hama province, killing and wounding many terrorists.

"The Syrian government forces carried out several successful offensives against the concentration centers of Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham in Tal Wasit, Qarqour and al-Mansoura villages in the Northern part of Hama province, which claimed the lives of many terrorists and destroyed their heavy machineguns and military vehicles," the army said.

In the meantime, scores of al-Izza Jama'ah Takfiri terrorist group were killed or wounded as a result of the pro-government forces' assaults on their positions in Kafr Zita in the Northern part of Hama province," the army added.

Sources said also on Saturday that at least 11 terrorist were killed and many more were wounded in the Syrian army's ground and artillery attacks in the Northern and Eastern parts of Hama province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020001352

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Terrorists seize aid in Syria's Madaya, sell it to residents: Report

Jan 11, 2016

As an aid convoy sets off for Syria's southwestern town of Madaya, reports have emerged detailing the looting and exploitation of similar humanitarian consignments in the past by Takfiri terrorists in the area.

According to the Lebanese al-Manar TV on Sunday terrorist groups, including the so-called Jaish al-Fath and Ahrar al-Sham Movement, stored aid packages delivered to Madaya, which is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest Damascus countryside, last October and sold it to the locals at sky-high prices.

Residents in the area told the channel that terrorists bought women’s jewelry at low prices and exorbitantly overcharged them for food.

Terrorist groups are using the locals as human shields and exploiting them to receive more aid, the report added.

This as a new batch of aid is expected to leave for Madaya, which is surrounded by Syrian troops and allied forces.

The Syrian government recently agreed to facilitate the flow of relief aid into Madaya, which has been the scene of fierce clashes between pro-government forces and Takfiri group militants.

Full report at:http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/11/445335/Syria-Madaya-terrorist-relief-aid-crisis/

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysian IS suicide bombers kill 33 in Middle East missions

January 11, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — Two Malaysian suicide bombers blew themselves up in two separate incidents in Iraq and Syria last week, killing more 33 people in the process.

The two individuals are Mohd Amirul Ahmad Rahim, 26, and Mohamad Syazwan Mohd Salim, 31, according to The New Straits Times’ report today.

The English daily said the Terengganu-born Amirul detonated himself while in a car during clashes at the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Raqqa on December 29, while Syazwan detonated his suicide vest while clashing with a group of police officers at the Speicher military base north of Baghdad.

The NST report added that Amirul was among the 16 fighters who were killed the day the IS launched its offensive on the 44th Syrian Democratic Forces coalition, which resulted in the death of 21 Kurdish fighters.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-is-suicide-bombers-kill-33-in-middle-east-missions

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The Muslim Chicken: A Bangi business by Malay Muslims who know halal

BY BOO SU-LYN

January 10, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 ― The Muslim Chicken sells poultry, but no, the chickens are not followers of Islam ― they are slaughtered in a halal method by Malay-Muslims in a business run by Malay-Muslims.

The fact that Malay-Muslims are running the company based in Bandar Baru Bangi imports more significance to the halal label attached to The Muslim Chicken poultry, as opposed to businesses owned by non-Muslims who may not fully understand the halal method of animal slaughter, even if they employ Muslims to do the killing, the company’s director Irwan Kashmir said.

“The Muslim Chicken doesn’t mean that the chickens enter Islam, but it’s specially for Muslims who place importance on halal,” Irwan told Malay Mail Online in a recent phone interview.

Halal, which is Arabic for permissible in Islamic law, is big business in Malaysia, with the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) reported saying last August that its export expanded to RM38 billion in 2014 from RM32 billion the previous year, exceeding the RM19 billion target for 2020.

Various businesses in Malaysia are keen to adopt the halal tag, from bottled mineral water to trains. Among the most recent is a local airline that is marketing itself as Shariah-compliant.

Irwan said the more accurate name for the year-old The Muslim Chicken should be The Muslims’ Chicken, but the company decided against using the latter to avoid accusations of racism.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/the-muslim-chicken-a-bangi-business-by-malay-muslims-who-know-halal

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Serve syrup, cendol instead of alcohol in line with Islamic identity, Malaysia’s airlines told

January 11, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — All airlines in Malaysia should follow Rayani Air’s Shariah-compliant footsteps and take the Islamic route instead, controversial Chinese Muslim columnist Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah said today, even suggesting that airlines substitute alcohol for “syrup and cendol.”

Tee lauded Rayani Air for their Islamic approach, adding that all other airlines could also learn from the example of the Royal Brunei Airlines which also touts itself as one of the first few Islamic-oriented airlines in the world.

“I’ve always been saying that we should follow the ways of Brunei Airlines. Isn’t it that only 30 per cent of them are Muslim. How come they can accept it? The answer is simple, the leaders there have willpower.

“What about us? Not insistent. Caught in the voting game,” he said in his column in Malay daily Sinar Harian.

He added that Malaysian companies ought to be Shariah-compliant simply because Malaysia was an “Islamic nation” and should be respected by everyone.

“Why should non-Islamic companies follow the rules of Shariah? The answer, firstly, Malaysia is an Islamic nation. Islam is the federal religion. It must be respected by everyone. Islam already respects other religions, as long as it doesn’t interfere with us,” he said.

Tee gave several other suggestions for airlines to be more halal, one of which includes opting to serve local beverages instead of alcohol which isn’t a Malaysian product to begin with.

“Fifth, why not take a lesson from the plane that had to turn around simply because of a drunk passenger. If alcohol is so good, just ask the pilot to drink it first. Why must pilots be checked for their sobriety, from drugs and alcohol, before flying a plane.

“Sixth, tourists come not to drink alcohol but to look at the country, the culture and our way of life. Their quality of alcohol is far better than ours. What we serve them is also alcohol we imported from them. Why serve that to them, and not a beverage of our own? We should serve syrup and cendol,” he said.

The lecturer at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin also said that cabin crew uniforms should be made “less sexy” after having personally heard several grouses about having to work in the uniforms.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/serve-syrup-cendol-instead-of-alcohol-in-line-with-islamic-identity-malaysi

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Hindus launch an Islamic airline in Malaysia

Jan 11th, 2016

Rayani Air – a new airline- took off to the Malaysian skies in the last week of year 2015. Billing itself as Malaysia’s first Islamic airline, it claims to be Sharia compliant- halal food, no pork, no alcoholic beverages, prayer calls before flight take off, hijab-wearing Muslim female flight attendants , and non-Muslim staff also required to ‘dress decently’. There are numerous airlines from Muslim countries who offer Sharia compliant menus and rules, e.g. Royal Brunei, Saudi Arabian and Iran.

Another Sharia complaint airlines is set to hit the skies next year as London-based Firnas Airways plans to launch flights to South Asia with an alcohol-free halal in-flight menu, and interest-free finance as per Sharia. So Rayani Air does not claim to be the only Islamic airline in the world. However what is surprising is the fact that the airline is floated not by any devout hardcore Muslim but two Hindus- Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan.

More so in a Muslim-majority country like Malaysia which practices a moderate form of Islam where there is no religious pressures to start such airlines. Alagendrran told The Malay Mail that while they started the airline to tap into the growing Muslim travellers market, his airline should also appeal to other passengers. ‘This is not a matter of segregation… Anyone wishing to travel in a modest and alcohol free environment will feel right at home’.

Full report at:

http://www.newdelhitimes.com/hindus-launch-an-islamic-airline-in-malaysia123/

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South Asia

 

U.S. carries out drone strike in eastern Afghanistan

Jan 10, 2016

The United States conducted a drone strike in Afghanistan last week but a spokesman declined to confirm reports it had killed as many as 20 Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

Although the United States ended major combat in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, it still maintains a force for counter terrorism operations, along with advice and assistance offered to Afghan police and troops fighting the Taliban.

Nangarhar has become a stronghold for radical Islamic State militants fighting both Afghan government forces and the Taliban and there has been a series of drone strikes against targets in the province.

Asked about reports of a drone attack in Nangarhar, U.S. military spokesman Col. Michael Lawhorn said U.S. forces had carried out a "counterterrorism strike" on Friday but did not specify a location nor estimate casualties.

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-drones-idUSKCN0UO0B120160110

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Seven Afghans kidnapped in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province

Jan 11 2016

Seven Afghans have been kidnapped by unknown gunmen in restive Baluchistan province of Pakistan.

Reports suggest that guns were fired in Taftan area of Chagai District near the border with Iran which left two Afghans wounded on Sunday evening.

Following the gun battle, seven Afghans were taken to an undisclosed location, said Taftan Assistant Commissioner Murad Kasi.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/seven-afghans-kidnapped-in-pakistans-baluchistan-province-4485

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Pakistan vows response to any threat facing Saudi Arabia

Jan 11 2016

Amid growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has said that his country is standing by Saudi Arabia for responding to any threat.

“Pakistan holds its defence ties with KSA in highest esteem and re-asserted that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan,” states a statement released by Pakistani military’s media wing ISPR following a meeting of the visiting Saudi deputy crown prince and Defence Minister with Gen. Sharif at General Headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Sunday afternoon.

Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan comes two days after the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir visited Islamabad.

In his meeting with top Pakistani officials on Thursday, Al-Jubeir discussed terrorism and Riyadh’s tensions with Tehran over the execution of a Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr on terrorism charges.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/pakistan-vows-response-to-any-threat-facing-saudi-arabia-4483

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Afghan forces retake city from Taliban

January 11, 2016

KABUL - Afghan security forces have retaken a district in the north of the country, killing 30 Taliban fighters and capturing vehicles and weapons from the insurgents, the defence ministry said on Sunday.

The recapture is a welcome piece of good news for government forces, which have struggled to contain the spreading Taliban insurgency since international troops wound up most combat operations at the end of 2014. Combined army, police and special forces units took back Darqad district, on the border with Tajikistan, in the early hours of Sunday, the defence ministry said. “A clearance operation is going on and the situation is under control,” it added.

The Taliban briefly captured the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last year and have overrun large parts of the southern province of Helmand, where the United States has launched air strikes and deployed special forces to help badly squeezed Afghan troops and police. The fighting has continued as Afghan and Pakistani officials, along with counterparts from China and the United States, prepare for meetings in Islamabad next week to lay the ground for possible peace talks with the Taliban.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Jan-2016/afghan-forces-retake-city-from-taliban

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Afghan reconciliation process: Sartaj kicks off four-nation meeting with four guiding points

Jan 11, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday opened a meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee (QCC) aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.

The QCC interaction comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States (US) reflects an important consensus on the roadmap for peace talks. Taliban representatives have not been invited to the talks, vowing to talk only to the US and not to the Afghan government.

A first round of peace talks with the Taliban was held in July but collapsed after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their founder Mullah Omar.

Sartaj Aziz while addressing the four-nation meeting today said the talks aimed to outline efficient procedures which will provide a basis for smooth functioning of the group.

He emphasised the importance of not attaching pre-conditions to start of the negotiating process. "This, in our view, would be counter-productive."

"Threat of use of military action against irreconcilables cannot proceed the offer of talks to all the groups and their response to such offers."

Sartaj warned against prematurely deciding which Taliban factions are ready to talk.

"Distinction between reconcilables and irreconcilables and how to deal with the irreconcilables can follow once the avenues for bringing them to the table have been exhausted," he elaborated.

He proposed four points to help guide the reconciliation process:

Creating conditions to incentivise the Taliban to move away from using violence to pursue political goals and come to the negotiating table

Sequencing actions and measures appropriately to pave the way for direct talks with the Taliban

Using confidence-building measures to encourage Taliban groups to join the negotiating table

A realistic and flexible roadmap which broadly defines steps and phases but avoids unrealistic targets and deadlines is important for charting the course of action

At the start of the conference, Sartaj Aziz urged that participants avoid the media and work toward finding ways to get even the most intransigent Taliban to talk peace.

He said the gathering needs "to define the overall direction of the reconciliation process" and define goals "with a view to creating a conducive environment for holding direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban groups."

A senior official in Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed to Dawn Newspaper that Islamabad will be represented by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry during the talks, while Afghanistan will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.

Pakistan is expected to present a list of Taliban representatives willing to negotiate with Kabul at the meeting today, Javid Faisal, deputy spokesman to the Afghan Chief Executive, said on Sunday.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1232235/afghan-reconciliation-process-sartaj-kicks-off-four-nation-meeting-with-four-guiding-points

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55,000 Afghan children to be vaccinated in fresh anti-polio drive in Balochistan

SYED ALI SHAH

Jan 11, 2016

QUETTA: Amid tight security, the first anti-polio drive of the year would be launched in Quetta and other districts of Balochistan on Monday (tomorrow).

During the campaign 2.4 million children below the age of five years would be administered polio drops. This was stated by Dr Syed Saif Ur Rehman, Coordinator Emergency Operation Cell (EOC) while addressing a press conference in Quetta.

More than 55,000 children of Afghan refugees would also be administered polio drops during the campaign.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1232059/55000-afghan-children-to-be-vaccinated-in-fresh-anti-polio-drive-in-balochistan

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Preparatory meeting for peace talks with Taliban kicks off in Islamabad

Jan 11 2016

The preparatory meeting on discussing ways to restart the stalled peace talks with Taliban kicked off in Islamabad on Monday morning.

Pakistani Prime Minister’s senior aide Sartaj Aziz said there shouldn’t be preconditions for the reconciliation process.

“It is important that no preconditions are attached to the reconciliation process, as it will create difficulties in bringing Taliban to the negotiating table,” Aziz said, as he penned down four elements essential in the reconciliation process with Afghanistan, according to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune news.

“The primary objective of the reconciliation process is to create conditions to bring Taliban to the negotiating table and offer them incentives that can persuade them to move away from using violence as a tool for pursuing political goals.”

“Distinction between reconcilable and irreconcilable rules and how to deal with the irreconcilable can follow once all avenues of bringing them to the table have been exhausted,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/preparatory-meeting-for-peace-talks-with-taliban-kicks-off-in-islamabad-4483

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Kabul police arrest woman for using false identification to meet the first lady

Jan 11 2016

Kabul police have arrested a woman who falsely identified herself to meet the first lady Rola Ghan or Bibi Gul.

Abdul Rahman Rahimi, police chief of Kabul said the woman is a civil society activist who identified herself as wife of Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, second deputy to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), for meeting Rola Ghani.

According to Rahimi, whoever misusing names of high ranking government officials would face strict action.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/kabul-police-arrest-woman-for-using-false-identification-to-meet-the-first-lady-4484

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4 ‘Adamya Bangladesh’ members acquitted

January 11, 2016

A Dhaka court today relieved four members of non-profit organisation Adamya Bangladesh from charges of human trafficking placed against them.

Judge Mohammad Salauddin Ahmed of the fourth tribunal under Prevention of Women and Children Repression Act passed the order following the investigation officer’s appeal for acquittal.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/top-news/4-%E2%80%98adamya-bangladesh%E2%80%99-members-acquitted-200275

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan to host 4-nation meeting on reviving Taliban Peace Talks

January 10, 2016

KABUL: Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States will hold talks in Islamabad on Monday aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said on Saturday that the representatives will discuss a “road map for peace talks.” Kabul’s delegation to the one-day meeting is to be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, he said.

The talks were agreed upon during a visit to Kabul last month by Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.

Monday’s talks do not include the Taliban, who have been battling the US-backed government for nearly 15 years and have recently stepped up their attacks.

Talks with the Taliban have been on hold since July, when they collapsed after just one meeting following Afghanistan’s announcement that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years. The Taliban called off its participation and a second meeting was cancelled.

A subsequent power struggle within the Taliban has raised questions about who would represent the insurgents if and when the talks with Kabul are revived.

Pakistan is believed to have influence over the Taliban, but relations with Kabul have been tense in recent months. The two countries have long accused each other of backing the Taliban and other insurgents operating along their porous border.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took part in a regional conference last month in Islamabad, which called for the resumption of the Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations. Ghani was given a warm welcome at the meeting, which was also attended by US and Chinese representatives.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/10-Jan-2016/pakistan-to-host-4-nation-meeting-on-reviving-taliban-peace-talks

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Afghan reconciliation process: Sartaj kicks off four-nation meeting with four guiding points

Jan 11, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday opened a meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee (QCC) aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.

The QCC interaction comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States (US) reflects an important consensus on the roadmap for peace talks. Taliban representatives have not been invited to the talks, vowing to talk only to the US and not to the Afghan government.

A first round of peace talks with the Taliban was held in July but collapsed after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their founder Mullah Omar.

Sartaj Aziz while addressing the four-nation meeting today said the talks aimed to outline efficient procedures which will provide a basis for smooth functioning of the group.

He emphasised the importance of not attaching pre-conditions to start of the negotiating process. "This, in our view, would be counter-productive."

"Threat of use of military action against irreconcilables cannot proceed the offer of talks to all the groups and their response to such offers."

Sartaj warned against prematurely deciding which Taliban factions are ready to talk.

"Distinction between reconcilables and irreconcilables and how to deal with the irreconcilables can follow once the avenues for bringing them to the table have been exhausted," he elaborated.

He proposed four points to help guide the reconciliation process:

Creating conditions to incentivise the Taliban to move away from using violence to pursue political goals and come to the negotiating table

Sequencing actions and measures appropriately to pave the way for direct talks with the Taliban

Using confidence-building measures to encourage Taliban groups to join the negotiating table

A realistic and flexible roadmap which broadly defines steps and phases but avoids unrealistic targets and deadlines is important for charting the course of action

At the start of the conference, Sartaj Aziz urged that participants avoid the media and work toward finding ways to get even the most intransigent Taliban to talk peace.

He said the gathering needs "to define the overall direction of the reconciliation process" and define goals "with a view to creating a conducive environment for holding direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban groups."

A senior official in Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed to Dawn Newspaper that Islamabad will be represented by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry during the talks, while Afghanistan will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.

Pakistan is expected to present a list of Taliban representatives willing to negotiate with Kabul at the meeting today, Javid Faisal, deputy spokesman to the Afghan Chief Executive, said on Sunday.

Read: Pakistan to present list of Taliban open to peace talks at quadrilateral meeting

He said Pakistan’s list would include Taliban members who were and were not willing to participate in talks with Kabul on ending the 15-year war.

Sartaj Aziz, while speaking to AP, refused to say whether Pakistan was in possession of such a list.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1232235/afghan-reconciliation-process-sartaj-kicks-off-four-nation-meeting-with-four-guiding-points

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Afghan peace talks resume in Pakistan; Sartaj Aziz presents 4-point plan

JANUARY 11, 2016

Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday opened a meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee (QCC) in Islamabad aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.

The QCC interaction comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States reflects an important consensus on the roadmap for peace talks. The meeting will not include the Taliban.

A first round of peace talks with the Taliban was held in July but collapsed after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their founder Mullah Omar.

Sartaj Aziz while addressing the four-nation meeting, said the talks aimed to outline efficient procedures which will provide a basis for smooth functioning of the group.

He emphasised the importance of not attaching pre-conditions to start the negotiating process. “This, in our view, would be counter-productive.”

“Threat of the use of military action against irreconcilables cannot proceed the offer of talks to all the groups and their response to such offers.”

“Distinction between reconcilables and irreconcilables and how to deal with the irreconcilables can follow once the avenues for bringing them to the table have been exhausted,” he elaborated.

Full report at:

http://atimes.com/2016/01/afghan-peace-process-sartaj-kicks-off-talks-with-4-guiding-points/

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Pakistan vows response to any threat facing Saudi Arabia

Jan 11 2016

Amid growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has said that his country is standing by Saudi Arabia for responding to any threat.

“Pakistan holds its defence ties with KSA in highest esteem and re-asserted that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan,” states a statement released by Pakistani military’s media wing ISPR following a meeting of the visiting Saudi deputy crown prince and Defence Minister with Gen. Sharif at General Headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Sunday afternoon.

Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan comes two days after the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir visited Islamabad.

In his meeting with top Pakistani officials on Thursday, Al-Jubeir discussed terrorism and Riyadh’s tensions with Tehran over the execution of a Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr on terrorism charges.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/pakistan-vows-response-to-any-threat-facing-saudi-arabia-4483

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Threat to S. Arabia will evoke strong response, says army

BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

Jan 11, 2016

ISLAMABAD: While Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif assured visiting Saudi Defence Minister Mohammad bin Salman on Sunday of “strong response” to threats to his country’s territorial integrity, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for resolving its crisis with Iran through diplomacy and offered Pakistan’s good offices in this regard.

“Pakistan has historically pursued the policy of promoting brotherhood among member states of the OIC. Pakistan has also always expressed its readiness to offer its good offices to brotherly Muslim countries for resolution of their differences,” the prime minister was quoted by his office as having told the Saudi deputy crown prince.

Prince Mohammad met the army chief and the prime minister during his seven-hour stay here. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif received him at the airport, but curiously there was no counterpart meeting.

The Saudi prince, whose visit came close on the heels of one by Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, was reportedly here to find out how Pakistan could militarily assist his country.

The prime minister recalled the “historical, cultural, and religious” ties and reiterated the established commitment of standing with the “people of Saudi Arabia” in case of any threat to its territorial integrity, while also stressing the need for peacefully resolving the conflict.

PM offers Saudi prince help to diplomatically resolve crisis with Iran

In his meeting with the Saudi minister at the General Headquarters, the army chief delivered a stronger message — probably offering the visiting leader the sound bite that he came looking for.

Gen Sharif, according to ISPR, “re-asserted that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan”.

Negotiations between GHQ and Saudi officials on defence cooperation preceded Prince Mohammad’s visit. The discussions are being kept highly secret.

Although it is publicly unknown what the military has committed to the Saudis, Gen Sharif found it enough to say that the defence relationship with the country was held “in highest esteem”.

Amid speculations on the matter, a government source was reported as saying that the military had committed deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia.

However, the claim could not be verified and military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa was unavailable for comments because he is out of the country.

Defence Minister Mohammad told Gen Sharif that his country would extend “full support to Pakistan’s position on all matters”.

The execution this month of Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al Nimr and the subsequent reaction from Iran, including storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, sparked the crisis in the already tense relationship between the two countries. Saudi Arabia responded by cutting off its diplomatic relations with Iran and many of its Arab allies followed suit.

Foreign Minister Jubeir said after a special session of the Gulf Cooperation Council a day earlier that Saudi Arabia was mulling additional steps against Iran, but Defence Minister Mohammad hinted in a media interview that confrontation would not be allowed to escalate into an all-out war.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1232221/threat-to-s-arabia-will-evoke-strong-response-says-army

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CPEC crack widens

January 11, 2016

INAMULLAH KHATTAK

ISLAMABAD - A multi-party conference yesterday demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif construct the western route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor first, in line with the commitment he had made before political parties some seven months ago.

The all parties’ conference or APC held on Sunday was convened by Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) and was attended by religious parties, nationalist forces, leftists and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with all speakers unanimously denouncing the alteration in the original map of the corridor project.

In a resolution agreed by all, the APC called on the government to hand over the entire Gwadar Port Mega Project to Balochistan, besides asking it to ensure that western route of the corridor is completed on priority.

The multi-party gathering was attended by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) head Fazlur Rehman, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai, PPP senior leader Farhatullah Babar, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Liaqat Baloch and others.

PML-N leader and Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, Senate Deputy Chairman and JUI-F leader Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, JUI-F’s Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, PML-Q leader Mushahid Hussain, ANP stalwart Mian Iftikhar Ahmed and Hazara Democratic Party also participated in the event.

Despite that Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal assured the participants that smaller provinces will not be deprived of their economic benefits in the CPEC projects; political leaders expressed their doubts in government claims and assurances.

During the event a short but hot exchange of words was witnessed between Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldi and Minister Ahsan Iqbal when the former informed the leaders about the original map of the CPEC that was rejected by the federal minister.

The nationalist forces including PkMAP, National Party, ANP and others were of the opinion that the project will be unacceptable to the smaller provinces if the western route is built without its attached components including industrial zones, railway tracks, energy projects and fibre optic lines.

Mehmood Achakzai linked the successful execution of the multi-billion dollar investment project with the diplomatic relations of Pakistan with its neighbours, particularly India and Afghanistan, suggesting that Islamabad should be on same page with its neighbours to ensure security for the mega projects.

“Justice is prerequisite to implement the CPEC project. If you deny rights to smaller provinces then culture of gun will make inroads and it will be impossible to execute development schemes,” he said, adding injustice gives birth to hatred which becomes the main cause of conflicts leading to wars.

China on Saturday had requested that political forces in Pakistan must develop a consensus and forge unity in order to strengthen communication and coordination on the CPEC in order to create favourable conditions for the corridor.

A spokesman of the Chinese Embassy said, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the consensus reached between China and Pakistan, and has won popular support from the two peoples. The CPEC faces Pakistan as a whole, and will bring development and benefits to the people of Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/11-Jan-2016/cpec-crack-widens

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Seminaries reject govt proposals on registration

January 11, 2016

Iftikhar Alam

LAHORE - All boards of religious seminaries have unanimously rejected the government fresh proposals on Madaris registration, curriculum development and examination system, The Nation has reliably learnt.

The heads and upper councils of the five federations representing all Islamic schools of thought in their consultative meetings have decided to resist “unjustified” demands of the government on Madaris reforms.

Their decision prior to a meeting with the Interior Ministry on Wednesday is being considered an important hurdle in implementation of a vital point about Madaris registration and regularisation under National Action Plan.

Seminaries heads in their separate talks with The Nation also expressed their unwillingness to surrender the “autonomy of the Islamic seminaries.”

In their chat with this scribe, they felt more concerned about their “autonomy” rather to what they call the concern of the government and Western powers for bringing them into national streamline.

The government has recently proposed a new data form for collecting information about the religious seminaries. It also asked the Madaris to introduce compulsory subjects like Pakistan Studies, English and Mathematics in their curriculums with outlines suggested by the government. The Madaris students are required to appear before the Federal Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education for receiving Matric and Intermediate certificates.

“The mechanism for registration exists since 2005. The government wants change in it. We are ready to provide all necessary information but their (government) unjustified demands cannot be fulfilled,” Qari Hanif Jalandhari told The Nation.

Qari Hanif represents the Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arbia — the largest federation of Islamic seminaries around the world. More than 10,000 Madaris across the country are affiliated with the federation representing most powerful Deobandi school of thought.

The other federations are: Tanzeemul Madaris Ehle-Sunnat (Brelvi school of thought which also claims to be the largest board in Pakistan), Wafaqul Madaris Al-Salfia (Ehle-Hadith school of thought), Wafaqul Madaris Al-Shia and Rabtatul Madaris — the boards representing religious schools run under the banner of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Over three million male and female students are receiving religious education in the five boards. The soft spoken Qari Hanif termed the government demand cannot be implemented.

“We have no link with terrorism. We expressed our full willingness to open our account in banks and always ready to inform source of funding. But we are not agreed on the draft of new registration form proposed by the government. The proposal on examination of Madaris students under Islamabad Board is also unjustified. The negotiations are underway. We will present our point of view with arguments.” He held the government responsible over delay in implementation of Madaris reforms.

Head of the Tanzeemul Madaris Mufti Muneebur Rehman is out of the country but some Brelvi scholars who are not willing to be quoted and representing Tanzeemul Madaris also rejected government’s fresh proposals on the Madaris issue. Around 10,000 Madaris run under the Ehle-Sunnat Wafaq.

Wafaqul Madaris al-Salfia head Dr Zafar Yasin termed the bureaucracy the main hurdle in implementation of Madaris reforms.

He said that all the religious scholars agreed to cooperate fully with the government in the meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif where Chief of Army Staff and ISI DG were also present.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/11-Jan-2016/seminaries-reject-govt-proposals-on-registration

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Nawaz Sharif to visit Switzerland on 20th

January 11, 2016

ISLAMABAD:- Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will leave for Switzerland on 20th January on a four-day visit to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos. The prime minister will address the World Economic Forum.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/11-Jan-2016/nawaz-sharif-to-visit-switzerland-on-20th

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Pakistan to host 4-nation meeting on reviving Taliban Peace Talks

January 10, 2016

KABUL: Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States will hold talks in Islamabad on Monday aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said on Saturday that the representatives will discuss a “road map for peace talks.” Kabul’s delegation to the one-day meeting is to be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, he said.

The talks were agreed upon during a visit to Kabul last month by Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.

Monday’s talks do not include the Taliban, who have been battling the US-backed government for nearly 15 years and have recently stepped up their attacks.

Talks with the Taliban have been on hold since July, when they collapsed after just one meeting following Afghanistan’s announcement that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years. The Taliban called off its participation and a second meeting was cancelled.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/10-Jan-2016/pakistan-to-host-4-nation-meeting-on-reviving-taliban-peace-talks

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Seminaries reject govt proposals on registration

January 11, 201

LAHORE: All boards of religious seminaries have unanimously rejected the government fresh proposals on Madaris registration, curriculum development and examination system, The Nation has reliably learnt.

The heads and upper councils of the five federations representing all Islamic schools of thought in their consultative meetings have decided to resist “unjustified” demands of the government on Madaris reforms.

Their decision prior to a meeting with the Interior Ministry on Wednesday is being considered an important hurdle in implementation of a vital point about Madaris registration and regularisation under National Action Plan.

Seminaries heads in their separate talks with The Nation also expressed their unwillingness to surrender the “autonomy of the Islamic seminaries.”

In their chat with this scribe, they felt more concerned about their “autonomy” rather to what they call the concern of the government and Western powers for bringing them into national streamline.

The government has recently proposed a new data form for collecting information about the religious seminaries. It also asked the Madaris to introduce compulsory subjects like Pakistan Studies, English and Mathematics in their curriculums with outlines suggested by the government. The Madaris students are required to appear before the Federal Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education for receiving Matric and Intermediate certificates.

“The mechanism for registration exists since 2005. The government wants change in it. We are ready to provide all necessary information but their (government) unjustified demands cannot be fulfilled,” Qari Hanif Jalandhari told The Nation.

Qari Hanif represents the Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arbia — the largest federation of Islamic seminaries around the world. More than 10,000 Madaris across the country are affiliated with the federation representing most powerful Deobandi school of thought.

The other federations are: Tanzeemul Madaris Ehle-Sunnat (Brelvi school of thought which also claims to be the largest board in Pakistan), Wafaqul Madaris Al-Salfia (Ehle-Hadith school of thought), Wafaqul Madaris Al-Shia and Rabtatul Madaris — the boards representing religious schools run under the banner of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Over three million male and female students are receiving religious education in the five boards. The soft spoken Qari Hanif termed the government demand cannot be implemented.

“We have no link with terrorism. We expressed our full willingness to open our account in banks and always ready to inform source of funding. But we are not agreed on the draft of new registration form proposed by the government. The proposal on examination of Madaris students under Islamabad Board is also unjustified. The negotiations are underway. We will present our point of view with arguments.” He held the government responsible over delay in implementation of Madaris reforms.

Head of the Tanzeemul Madaris Mufti Muneebur Rehman is out of the country but some Brelvi scholars who are not willing to be quoted and representing Tanzeemul Madaris also rejected government’s fresh proposals on the Madaris issue. Around 10,000 Madaris run under the Ehle-Sunnat Wafaq.

Full report at:

He said around 450 Madaris where 20,000 students are getting religious education were being run under Shia Wafaq.

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Nawaz Sharif to visit Switzerland on 20th

January 11, 2016

ISLAMABAD:- Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will leave for Switzerland on 20th January on a four-day visit to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos. The prime minister will address the World Economic Forum.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/11-Jan-2016/nawaz-sharif-to-visit-switzerland-on-20th

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Mideast

 

US Drones Attack Headquarters of Iraqi Popular Forces in Tikrit, Kill 9 People

Jan 10, 2016

"In an incident against which we have had warned several times in the past, the US-led coalition attacked the Jund al-Imam Battalion popular forces' headquarters at Speicher base in Tikrit," Spokesman for Asaeb Ahl Al-Haq Battalion (one of the popular groups fighting alongside the Iraqi army against the ISIL) Naeim al-Aboudi said on Sunday.

He confirmed that 9 people were killed and 14 others were wounded in the attack.

Aboudi condemned the attack, and said no excuse could justify the air raid as the region had earlier been purged of terrorists and only the Iraqi popular and security forces were stationed there.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020001248

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Iraqi Leader Reveals Extensive Saudi, Qatari Funds for Terrorists

Jan 10, 2016

"Saudi Arabia and Qatar are extensively supporting the Takfiri terrorists financially but surely victory belongs to the resistance groups," Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, the leader of Hezbollah al-Nujaba, a major Iraqi Shiite resistance movement fighting the ISIL, said in a meeting with prominent Iranian Shiite cleric Ayatollah Alawi Gorgani in the Central city of Qom on Saturday night.

He referred to the strong resistance groups formed in Iraq to fight against the terrorists, and said, "The Shiite and Sunni people are present in the popular Nujaba resistance group and they are confronting the Takfiri stream in Syria and Iraq."

In relevant remarks in December, Leader of the Lebanese Orthodox Party Masarik Roderick Khoury said that the fight against international terrorism should start with pressuring certain countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, now the main sponsors for militants groups in Syria.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941020000571

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Four dead in missile strike on MSF clinic in Yemen

January 11, 2016

DUBAI - Aid agency Doctors Without Borders condemned a missile strike on one of its clinics Sunday in northern Yemen, saying it had killed at least four people and wounded 10 others.

Three MSF staff members are among the wounded and two are in "critical condition", the agency said in a statement, adding that toll could rise as several buildings have collapsed. "The numbers of casualties could rise as there could still be people trapped in the rubble," MSF added.

The missile struck the medical facility in the Razeh district of Saada province, the agency said. All staff and patients were evacuated, with patients being transferred to another MSF-supported hospital in Saada, it said. MSF could not specify whether the medical facility was hit in an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition or by a rocket fired from the ground. MSF director of operations Raquel Ayora denounced the missile strike and repeated that the agency constantly shares the coordinates of its medical facilities with warring factions in Yemen.

"All warring parties are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical sites where MSF works," said Ayora. "There is no way that anyone with the capacity to carry out an airstrike or launch a rocket would not have known" that the hospital was a functioning health facility supported by MSF, Ayora said.

"We strongly condemn this incident that confirms a worrying pattern of attacks to essential medical services and express our strongest outrage as this will leave a very fragile population without healthcare for weeks," said Ayora." "Once more it is civilians that bear the brunt of this war," she added.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition bombing rebels in Yemen denied Sunday renewed accusations of dropping cluster munitions in the country after UN chief Ban Ki-moon said their use may be a "war crime".

Coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told AFP that the alliance "denies using cluster bombs in Sanaa", the Yemeni capital.

He was responding to a report issued Thursday by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), which quoted Sanaa residents describing a January 6 attack consistent with airdropped cluster bomb use.

Assiri said the coalition has admitted to previously using CBU-105 cluster bombs against rebel vehicles. "Now they don't have any more vehicles so we don't use it," he said.

He described HRW's report as "very weak", adding that "they didn't show any evidence." Assiri said the coalition didn't possess the specific munition detailed in the report, adding that 90 percent of coalition operations in Sanaa are directed against Scud missile launchers.

"You cannot use a cluster bomb against Scud launchers," Assiri said. "We have nothing to hide." There has been widespread international concern about the high number of civilian casualties in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition has been supporting Yemeni forces since March against Iran-backed Huthi rebels and their allies, who seized territory from the internationally-recognised government.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Jan-2016/four-dead-in-missile-strike-on-msf-clinic-in-yemen

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Africa

 

Nigerians call for release of Shia cleric, Zakzaky

Jan 10, 2016

Nigerian protesters have taken to the streets across the country to demand the release of prominent Shia cleric and the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, reports say.

According to media reports, the demonstrations were held in the states of Bauchi, Kano, Yobe and elsewhere on Saturday.

Carrying banners and posters of the Shia leader and chanting slogans, the demonstrators called for the immediate and unconditional release of Zakzaky, his wife and hundreds of his followers.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/10/445237/Nigeria-Zakzaki-Shia-cleric-Bauchi-Kano-Yobe/

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Key power station shelled in Libya's Benghazi, power cuts feared

Jan 9, 2016

A major power station in Libya’s second largest city has come under artillery attacks by unidentified “terrorists,” threatening widespread power cuts in east of the country, officials said.

The facility, which provides electricity to much of Libya’s government-controlled eastern portion, was struck by artillery fire twice on Saturday after an earlier shelling Friday evening, AFP reported citing a security official and a local engineer at the power station in Benghazi. 

According to the engineer, Mussa Suleimani, the attacks knocked out five of the six transformers at the facility and would likely extend power cuts, which has plagued the key eastern city, across the region in the east.

This is while Captain Adnan al-Baba, the spokesman for anti-terrorism squad of Libya’s internationally-recognized government, blamed “terrorists” for the shelling saying, "Howitzers were used in the attacks."

He further suggested the attack was an inside job insisting that for such guns to strike the target with precision "someone on the inside must supply the terrorists" with specific coordinates otherwise "it is impossible to target the power station."

Suleimani added, "It is the fifth time in two months that the power station... has been hit."

Consequently, he noted, outages of up to eight hours were to be expected in the area between Benghazi and the town of Musaed, nearly 500 kilometers farther east close to the Egyptian border.

"Specialised foreign firms will be needed to repair the transformers that have been damaged, but that will be difficult because of the bad security situation," the Libyan engineer explained.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/09/445186/Libya-Benghazi-power-station-artillery-fire-Mussa-Suleimani-Captain-Adnan-alBaba/

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Libya claims France struck ISIL in Sirte, Bin Jawad

11 January 2016

The Libyan National Army claims French aircraft has attacked an ISIL convoy on Sunday near the Libyan city of Sirte.

According to the LNA loyal to the West-backed Tobruk government, the air strikes against ISIL have beed conducted in Libyan cities of Sirte and Bin Jawad.

Sirte has been controlled for months by the armed group, which has used it as a base from which to try to expand its presence in Libya.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/168284/libya-claims-france-struck-isil-in-sirte-bin-jawad

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Air strikes reported near Libya's Sirte

11 January 2016

Unidentified aircraft attacked an ISIL convoy on Sunday near the Libyan city of Sirte, a resident told Reuters. The militant group has used it as a base from which to try to expand its presence in Libya.

The witness account could not be verified, and the air force allied to one of Libya's competing governments, based in the east of the country, said it had not carried out any strikes.

Also on Sunday, a spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guard said three boats had tried to attack the oil port of Zueitina.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/168283/libya-claims-france-struck-isil-in-sirte-bin-jawad

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Uganda: Muslims seek presidential meeting over jailed men

10 January 2016

Relatives and campaigners for 14 men charged with murdering 12 Ugandan Muslim clerics have protested in the country's capital, demanding an audience with President Yoweri Museveni.

The group peacefully marched in Kampala’s Kololo district on Sunday.

Spokesman Nyende Ayub said the group tried to meet the president on a number of occasions but so far in vain.

“So when the opportunity came we accepted to come so that we can express our dissatisfaction about the justice system in this country,” he told Anadolu Agency.

In January 2015, 14 Muslim men were charged and remanded in custody in relation to the killings of 12 Islamic clerics between 2013 and early 2015.

No official motive for the killings has been given.

However, the Muslim community believes there are close to 50 people who have been detained but never produced before a court.

Nyende said: “We do not believe they committed the crimes they are being accused of. We went to court, asking the government to provide evidence linking our people to such crimes, but they failed to produce this evidence.”

He is convinced most of the arrested Muslims are not guilty: “Whoever was involved in the crimes should serve the punishment due to them as per the law and whoever is innocent should go home.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/168274/libya-claims-france-struck-isil-in-sirte-bin-jawad

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Refugees attacked by mob in Cologne

11 January 2016

A group of Pakistanis and a Syrian were violently attacked by about 20 unknown assailants late Sunday in the German city of Cologne, police said.

With tensions running high over more than 500 reported assaults against women on New Year's Eve in the western city blamed on migrants, police said Monday that the mob attacked six Pakistanis, two of whom had to be hospitalised.

Shortly afterward, a group of five people attacked a 39-year-old Syrian national, injuring him slightly.

Sunday's violence, in the city centre outside the main railways station marked a new escalation since the rash of assaults occurred during year-end celebrations.

Police on Sunday said they had received reports of "groups of people seeking to provoke" and dispatched reinforcements to the area between the station and the city's iconic Gothic cathedral.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/168287/refugees-attacked-by-mob-in-cologne

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Hollande visits main Paris mosque

10 January 2016

French President Francois Hollande made an unannounced visit to the main mosque in Paris on Sunday, a year after extremist attacks in the French capital.

"The president had a short conversation and a moment of friendship and fraternity over a cup of tea," a French presidency official said.

Earlier, Hollande attended a low-key event to mark a year since 1.5 million people thronged Paris in a show of unity following the shootings at Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Jewish supermarket.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/168269/hollande-visits-main-paris-mosque

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Mosques in France open their doors to public

 10 January 2016

Hundreds of mosques across France are participating in a major open-house event this weekend, offering visitors the opportunity to come in for tea and a chat about Islam in a country shaken by extremist attacks.

Dubbed "a brotherly cup of tea", the weekend initiative took different forms with local mosques handing out hot drinks and pastries, offering guided visits, putting on debates and calligraphy workshops, and even inviting people to attend one of the five daily prayers.

Organised by the country's leading Muslim body, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), it aims to stimulate dialogue about Islam and create a greater sense of "national cohesion", a year after 17 people were killed in extremist attacks in Paris targeting satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.

"The objective is to create a space where people can be together and meet normal Muslim worshippers and all of our fellow citizens," CFCM president Anouar Kbibech told AFP.

The idea is to use the anniversary of the January 7-9 attacks to "highlight the real values of Islam, to set straight the cliches about links to violence and terrorism," he said, describing the venture as a "gesture of openness".

"Instead of dwelling on these tragic acts, it seemed more useful and important to celebrate 'the spirit of January 11'," he said, referring to the date last year when millions of people took to the streets in a mass show of solidarity.

- 'Preachers of hate' -

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/168255/hollande-visits-main-paris-mosque

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Syrian refugee invited to White House

11 January 2016

A newly arrived Syrian refugee with a harrowing story and a Muslim former U.S. soldier will be among the White House invitees at President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The White House on Sunday announced the names of the guests invited to join Michelle Obama in the gallery of the House of Representatives when legislators, Supreme Court justices and other dignitaries assemble to hear the president lay out his chief goals for the year. 

A first lady's choice of guests to the closely watched address often underlines the president's priorities, and this year is no different.

One of the guests, Refaai Hamo, arrived in Detroit only on December 18 with his surviving children -- three daughters and a son -- after spending two years in Turkey.

He had fled Syria after a missile fired by Syrian government forces destroyed the complex where he and his family lived, the White House said. Hamo's wife, one of their daughters and five other family members perished.

In Turkey, Hamo was diagnosed with stomach cancer. After being granted refugee status in the United States, he and his children are now trying to build a new life in Troy, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.

The selection of Hamo is a stinging reply from the Obamas to those Republican members of Congress who, in a preliminary vote, sought to block Syrian refugees from entering the country, for fear that terrorists might slip in among them.

Also at Michelle Obama's side will be Naveed Shah, a Muslim and former U.S. soldier, who was a child when his parents immigrated to the country from Pakistan. Shah joined the army in 2006 and served in Iraq.

The symbolism there is also unmistakable, at a time when Donald Trump, the frontrunning Republican presidential candidate, has fanned anti-Muslim feelings among some Americans, proposing to temporarily ban all Muslims from the country.

One seat will be left vacant Tuesday in hommage to the victims of gun violence, at a time when Obama has been struggling against Republican opposition to tougher laws on gun ownership.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/168291/syrian-refugee-invited-to-white-house

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US threatens to add Fatah to 'terror' list

10 January 2016

Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s central committee, has alleged that the U.S. was threatening to add the movement to Washington’s list of "terrorist" groups if it attempted to have Israeli leaders indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Zaki made the assertions in a speech he delivered in Jordan on Saturday to mark the 51st anniversary of the "Palestinian National Revolution".

"Fatah sees 2016 as the year of [Palestinian] national unity, during which it will reconsider its relationship with Israel," he said.

The movement, he added, "has diverse means of putting pressure on Israel, including the submission last year of complaints to the ICC against Israeli leaders for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories".

Last April, ICC spokesman Fadi al-Abdullah announced that Palestine had formally joined the court "as a full-fledged member".

Since then, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has submitted several complaints to the ICC accusing Israel of having committed war crimes and of pursuing a policy of illegal settlement construction.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/168275/canada-takes-lead-to-limit-nuclear-weapon-production

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North America

 

Muslim sect promotes peace, condemns terror

January 10, 2016

Members of a Muslim sect spoke of peace Saturday at the Belleville Public Library as part of their ongoing effort to demystify Islam.

Their Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a minority sect, the followers of which call themselves the Ahmadi.

The group, based in Maple, Ont., has made several past trips to Belleville, and Saturday’s stop was one of hundreds being made to more than 35 Canadian towns and cities.

Organizers said the goal was to present “the true Islam.” They described their sacred text, the Holy Qur’an, as requiring all Muslims to leave peacefully. They also denounced violence, especially terrorism, saying it was based upon flawed interpretations of the Qur’an.

“‘Love for all, hatred for none’ is our slogan and we are spreading it all over the world,” said member Aziz Hafiz-Zadeh, one of three men who spoke to the audience.

Zaki-Ud-Din, the group’s outreach co-ordinator, said the term “jihad” has been misconstrued. The root word, they said, refers to a person’s internal struggle.

“Jihad is not to kill anyone,” Hafiz-Zadeh said. “Jihad is to reform yourself.”

The speakers and several audience members agreed that the basic teachings of major religions – requiring peace and respect for all – are essentially the same.

“If you are really sincere, live out the commandments of God Almighty. The world would be a very different place,” said Hafiz-Zadeh.

Of the 47 people who attended, about two-thirds – nearly all white retirees – stayed for the more than one-hour opening talk.

Zaki-Ud-Din invited listeners to research Islam.

“Everything is open,” he said.

The Ahmadi said many of the misperceptions of Islam are the result of cultural or political differences.

“A lot of people mix culture and religion and people think it is the same thing,” said Hashir Ahmed.

“Islam gives permission to defend oneself,” Ahmed said, noting the prophet Muhammad fought only in self-defense.

He said new Arabic editions of the Qur’an must be exact copies of the original.

But scholars have made inaccurate translations and other errors, Ahmed said, and those versions are used by some radical groups. Though the basic principles of Sharia law are in the Qur’an, Zaki-Ud-Din added, “wrong interpretations” of Sharia law are used for “fanatical ideas.”

Asked about the role of women – and the absence of women in the delegation – the Ahmadi said women speakers are part of the tour but no women were available for the Belleville open house.

Full report at:

http://www.intelligencer.ca/2016/01/10/muslim-sect-promotes-peace-condemns-terror

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Australia

 

Muslim leaders including the Grand Mufti of Australia back fatwa against Islamic State

January 3, 2016

Australia's leading imams have backed a fatwa against the Islamic State terrorist group, warning that any support for the group contradicts Islamic teachings.

In a New Year message to the nation's Muslim community, the Grand Mufti of Australia together with prominent imams from NSW and Victoria have given their religious opinions and urged congregations, particularly the youth, to listen to their religious leaders.

The Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, who is the leading representative of Australia's Sunni Islamic scholars,  said "most Islamic Legal Circles and Fatwa Boards have condemned ISIS, declaring that Islam is innocent of all these barbaric actions despite ISIS using the term Islamic in its name. The term 'Islamic State' has been usurped by ISIS," he said, using one of several acronyms for IS.

 "We stand with all organisations that have condemned ISIS and declared innocence from its inhumane actions.

"Locally we would like to bring to the attention of our youth, and those who lead them, that ISIS is a trick designed to prey on youth, either by their being killed or locked up in prison. We doubt the origins of ISIS because since it was established it has not done one thing for the benefit of Islam and Muslims. Rather its actions and barbaric acts have been against the way of God," he said.

"Therefore we warn our youth regarding the deceitful propaganda that ISIS uses through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We remind our youth in Australia that social media and the medium of the internet cannot be a trusted means regarding religious knowledge."

Dr Mohamed's comments come as Muslim leaders around the world, including 70,000 clerics in India, have issued a fatwa against terrorist groups including ISIS and after the Australian National Imams Consultative Forum released a document, Australian Muslim perspective on some key contemporary concerns, addressing religious issues raised by IS's activities and recruitment.

Full report at:

http://www.smh.com.au/national/muslim-leaders-including-the-grand-mufti-of-australia-back-fatwa-against-isis-20160101-glxtbp.html

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Europe

 

Cologne assaults: Germany to release details of mob violence

Jan 11, 2016

COLOGNE: German authorities are on Monday set to release the first details of their probe into a rash of assaults on New Year's Eve blamed on migrants, as police revealed that the number of complaints filed has topped 500.

Ralf Jaeger, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, is expected to unveil the details when he faces a grilling by regional lawmakers over the crime spree against women that has piled pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her liberal stance towards refugees.

Even though no formal charges have been laid, Cologne police have said those suspected over the rampage near the city's railway station were mostly asylum seekers and illegal migrants from North Africa.

After far-right protests erupted in Cologne during the weekend, a sister group of the xenophobic PEGIDA movement is due to hold another rally later Monday in the eastern city of Leipzig.

In the face of outrage over the Cologne violence, Merkel has taken a tough line against convicted refugees.

She has signalled her backing for changes to the law to ease expulsion rules, with officials within her ruling coalition expected to swiftly negotiate the proposals this week.

Police said late Sunday that more than a week on from New Year's Eve, some 516 complaints had now been lodged, including 40 per cent that are related to sexual assault.

Witnesses described terrifying scenes of hundreds of women running a gauntlet of groping hands, lewd insults and robberies in the mob violence.

The scale of the Cologne assaults has shocked Germany and put a spotlight on the 1.1 million asylum seekers who arrived in the country last year.

It has also fuelled fear, with a poll published by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper saying that 39pc of those surveyed felt police did not provide sufficient protection, while 57pc did.

And just under half (49pc) believed the same sort of mob violence could hit their hometown, reported the newspaper which headlined its article with the question: “Is the New Year's Eve scandal the result of wrong policies?

“A separate poll by broadcaster RTL found that 57pc of Germans feared crime would rise along with the record influx of asylum seekers, while 40pc disagreed.

Nevertheless a majority -- 60pc -- said their opinion of foreigners has not changed, while 37pc said they have become more critical and negative about newcomers.

'Assaults were planned' -

Justice Minister Heiko Maas has said he believed the violence in the western city of Cologne was organised. “For such a horde of people to meet and commit such crimes, it has to have been planned somehow,” he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Quoting confidential police reports, Bild am Sonntag said some North Africans had sent out calls using social networks for people to gather in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Separately in Hamburg, police said they had received 133 criminal complaints for similar violence during the northern city's own New Year's Eve celebrations.

Pakistanis, Syrian attacked in Cologne amid tension

Police say a group of Pakistanis and a Syrian have been attacked in Cologne amid tensions over New Year's Eve assaults in the city that have been blamed largely on foreigners.

They say six Pakistani nationals were attacked Sunday by a group of around 20 people and two of them were briefly admitted to a hospital.

Also on Sunday evening, a Syrian man was attacked by five people. He was injured but didn't need treatment.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1232250/cologne-assaults-germany-to-release-details-of-mob-violence

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Putin says he wants global cooperation against terrorism

Jan 11, 2016

MOSCOW: Russia wants to fight terrorism jointly with the rest of the world, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published on Monday, while again accusing the West of exacerbating international crises that had contributed to it.

"We are faced with common threats, and we still want all countries, both in Europe and the whole world, to join their efforts to combat these threats, and we are still striving for this," Putin said in a wide-ranging interview with Germany's Bild newspaper.

"I refer not only to terrorism, but also to crime, trafficking in persons, environmental protection, and many other common challenges," he said. "Yet this does not mean that it is us who should agree with everything that others decide on these or other matters."

Russia's air force is attacking targets in Syria and Moscow says it aims to undermine the militant Islamic State (IS) group, which has been joined by thousands of Russian citizens and now poses a serious threat to national security. The group claimed responsibility for downing a Russian airliner over Egypt in October, killing 224 people.

'Coup d'etat'

But Russia has not joined a United States (US)-led coalition carrying out strikes on IS in Syria and Iraq, and Washington and its allies say Moscow's strikes are only aimed at helping embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stay in power.

Putin said previous Western military interventions in Iraq and Libya had contributed to an upsurge in terrorism in these countries and elsewhere, reiterating what he had told the United Nations General Assembly in September.

He hit out at Nato's expansion towards Russia's borders after the Soviet Union's demise in 1991 and at an anti-missile shield being erected by the US, accusing the West's expansion after the Cold War of exacerbating international crises.

Putin has repeatedly called the toppling of Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovich in 2014 after months of pro-European street protests "a coup d'etat", and has accused the West of inspiring and assisting it.

'Peace clause unfulfilled'

In February last year, France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine agreed on a set of peace accords, known as the Minsk agreements, which have helped to stop the war between pro-Moscow separatists and government troops in southeast Ukraine.

But a key clause of the peace deal, which stipulates a new Ukrainian constitution that enshrines the autonomy of the rebel regions, remains unfulfilled, Putin said.

"Everyone says that the Minsk Agreements must be implemented and then the sanctions issue may be reconsidered," Putin told Bild, referring to Western sanctions imposed on Russia.

"This is beginning to resemble the theatre of the absurd because everything essential that needs to be done with regard to implementing the Minsk Agreements is the responsibility of the current Kiev authorities."

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1232252/putin-says-he-wants-global-cooperation-against-terrorism

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Hollande visits main Paris mosque, a year after Hebdo attack

January 11, 2016

PARIS - French President Francois Hollande made an unannounced visit to the main mosque in Paris on Sunday, a year after militant attacks in the French capital.

“The president had a short conversation and a moment of friendship and fraternity over a cup of tea,” a French presidency official said.

Earlier, Hollande attended a low-key event to mark a year since 1.

5 million people thronged Paris in a show of unity following the shootings at Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Jewish supermarket.

Mosques across France opened their doors to the public this weekend in a bid by the Muslim community to build bridges following a series of militant attacks that rocked France in 2015.

Several thousand people gathered in Paris Sunday in a low-key ceremony to mark a year since a million and half citizens thronged the French capital in a show of unity following militant attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.

People attending the event in the Place de la Republique were searched by armed police before standing around a simple stage and a monument covered in the red, white and blue French flag.

President Francois Hollande unveiled a plaque next to an oak tree planted in the square in memory of the victims of the militant outrages that rocked France in 2015, beginning with the shootings at Charlie Hebdo.

Veteran rocker Johnny Hallyday performed a short song and the army’s choir gave a rousing rendition of the Marseillaise.

The understated event was a far cry from January 11, 2015, when four million citizens rallied across France, in the biggest mass demonstrations since the end of World War II.

The outpouring of support for freedom of expression was crowned by a huge march in Paris that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

France’s year of militant bloodshed culminated in the coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in Paris on November 13 that killed 130 people and were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Jan-2016/hollande-visits-main-paris-mosque-a-year-after-hebdo-attack

 

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