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Islamic World News ( 11 March 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Arabia Tells UN Human Rights Council ‘Shariah Is Sacrosanct’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Saudi Arabia Tells UN Human Rights Council ‘Shariah Is Sacrosanct’

 

Pakistan: Catholic Church Completes Urdu Translation of Catechism

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Arab World

Saudi Arabia Tells UN Human Rights Council ‘Shariah Is Sacrosanct’

Majority Of IS Recruits Are From Arab Countries, Reveal Documents

Islamic State Registration Forms Include Paris Attackers' Information

20 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Airstrikes East of Hama

FSA Commander Confesses to Collaboration with Israel in Video

ISIL Launches More Chemical Attacks on Iraqi People

Syria: Gov't Forces Drive ISIL Back From More Lands in Aleppo

Popular, Kurdish Fighters Repel ISIL Attack near Meng Airbase

Syrian Army Wins another Battle against Terrorists in Lattakia

Syrian Army Tightening Noose on Militants East of Damascus

Syrian Army Wins Back Several Heights in Mountainous Regions of Lattakia-Turkey Border

ISIL Commander Killed in Yemeni Warplanes' Raids in Ta'iz Province

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Pakistan

Pakistan: Catholic Church Completes Urdu Translation of Catechism

‘Uprisings against Taliban Should Be Supported’

Muslims Can Overcome Challenges thru Collective Effort: Dr Abd-Allah

F-16 deal becomes effective after end of mandatory period

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Africa

South Sudan: Women Raped 'As Reward for Fighters'

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India

Whitewash Walls of Mosques If Holi Colour Is Thrown: Bareilly DM’s Order

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South Asia

Security Forces Kill 24 Daesh Militants in Nangarhar

Car Bomb Explosion Leaves Suicide Bomber Dead In Helmand

Police Foil Rocket Attack on Kabul City, Seize 5 Bm1 Rockets

Senior Taliban commander among 10 killed in police operations

UK may deport Afghan interpreters

NDS prevents suicide attack in Takhar, 8 terrorists arrested

Afghan Air Force Not Ready Until 2020, Top US General Says

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Mideast

Israeli Forces Shut Palestinian Islamic Jihad Station

Turkish Interior Minister Signals New Wave of Anti-PKK Operations

Turkish Artillery Shells Town in Syria's Raqqa, Civilian Casualties Reported

Academic warns of integration problems due to low-skilled Syrians in Turkey

EU-Turkey deal ‘may break migrant trafficking chain in 10 days’

President Rouhani Vows Harsh Response to any Attack on Shiite Shrines

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Europe

Kyrgyzstan Experiencing Mosque Building Boom

Ireland commemorates end of military mission in Afghanistan

Russian spy pleads guilty in New York to posing as a banker

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North America

Buddhist Monk Mistaken For Muslim, Attacked In US

Trump's Islam Comments Draw Attacks As Republicans Discover Civility

Donald Trump Wins Human Rights Commission's Islamophobia Prize

Four injured in shooting at Muslim cemetery in Canada

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South East Asia

Indonesia second least literate of 61 nations

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-arabia-tells-un-human-rights-council-‘shariah-is-sacrosanct’/d/106631

 

 

Saudi Arabia Tells UN Human Rights Council ‘Shariah Is Sacrosanct’

BY ARAB NEWS MARCH 11, 2016

Saudi Arabia has told the United Nations Human Rights Council that it would not accept any recommendations that contravene Islamic law.

Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, made the comments recently at a meeting of the rights body attended by Heiner Bielefeldt, the special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, according to a report in a local publication.

Trad said Islamic law upholds the rights of all human beings and that Saudi Arabia’s justice system guarantees freedom of religion. He said Islam has stipulated that “there is no compulsion in religion,” according to a report carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

“Saudi Arabia is the sacred destination for all Muslims around the world. More than 10 million Muslims come to the Kingdom to perform Haj and Umrah, and non-Muslims come to the country for business and trade under fixed-term signed contracts.”

He said the country’s laws ensure that everyone has the freedom and right to worship in their special places and on the premises of their diplomatic missions. The homes and houses of everyone are considered “sacred places that cannot be entered unless authorized by their owners” or under certain legal requirements.

Saudi law stipulates that entry into any private residence can only happen with prior permission from the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution. Everyone living in the Kingdom must obey the country’s laws and respect its customs and traditions, said Trad.

However, he said that the Kingdom was disappointed that Bielefeldt did not adequately address the manner in which some people were insulting the beliefs of others. “We expected the rapporteur to issue recommendations to remind states of their obligation to develop laws that criminalize the behavior of those who violate the rights and beliefs of others.”

He urged Bielefeldt to denounce those people discriminating against Islam and Muslims, which included calling for them to be expelled and banned from certain countries, and practicing their beliefs.

eurasiareview.com/11032016-saudi-arabia-tells-un-human-rights-council-shariah-is-sacrosanct/

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Pakistan: Catholic Church Completes Urdu Translation Of Catechism

MARCH 12, 2016

A Vatican-approved Urdu translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has been published in Pakistan.

“We are so happy the work has been completed for this Holy Year of Mercy,” Father Robert McCulloch, procurator-general of the Society of St. Columban and a missionary in Pakistan for 34 years.

It took 13 years to complete the translation, Father McCulloch told the Vatican news agency Fides.

The book “will be useful for catechesis at all levels, for children, young people and adults,” the priest said, adding that many of Pakistan’s Muslim leaders Muslims have offered congratulations and intend to use it to better understand the Catholic faith.

Father McCulloch said the translation was a creative endeavor, as there was no direct Urdu translation for certain theological concepts, like transubstantiation.

“No term used in the catechism has been left in Latin or any other language,” he said.

“We had to coin new words in Urdu such as the translation of the concept of ‘transubstantiation’ and other concepts proper to the Catholic faith.”

eurasiareview.com/12032016-pakistan-catholic-church-completes-urdu-translation-of-catechism/

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Arab World

Saudi Arabia Tells UN Human Rights Council ‘Shariah Is Sacrosanct’

BY ARAB NEWS MARCH 11, 2016

Saudi Arabia has told the United Nations Human Rights Council that it would not accept any recommendations that contravene Islamic law.

Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, made the comments recently at a meeting of the rights body attended by Heiner Bielefeldt, the special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, according to a report in a local publication.

Trad said Islamic law upholds the rights of all human beings and that Saudi Arabia’s justice system guarantees freedom of religion. He said Islam has stipulated that “there is no compulsion in religion,” according to a report carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

“Saudi Arabia is the sacred destination for all Muslims around the world. More than 10 million Muslims come to the Kingdom to perform Haj and Umrah, and non-Muslims come to the country for business and trade under fixed-term signed contracts.”

He said the country’s laws ensure that everyone has the freedom and right to worship in their special places and on the premises of their diplomatic missions. The homes and houses of everyone are considered “sacred places that cannot be entered unless authorized by their owners” or under certain legal requirements.

Saudi law stipulates that entry into any private residence can only happen with prior permission from the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution. Everyone living in the Kingdom must obey the country’s laws and respect its customs and traditions, said Trad.

However, he said that the Kingdom was disappointed that Bielefeldt did not adequately address the manner in which some people were insulting the beliefs of others. “We expected the rapporteur to issue recommendations to remind states of their obligation to develop laws that criminalize the behavior of those who violate the rights and beliefs of others.”

He urged Bielefeldt to denounce those people discriminating against Islam and Muslims, which included calling for them to be expelled and banned from certain countries, and practicing their beliefs.

eurasiareview.com/11032016-saudi-arabia-tells-un-human-rights-council-shariah-is-sacrosanct/

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Majority of IS recruits are from Arab countries, reveal documents

11th March, 2016

majority of is recruits are from arab countries, reveal documents

• Up to 25 percent of the fighters are allegedly Saudis.

• The group's non-Arab recruits are topped by Turks, with French nationals coming second

• Documents are expected to help track IS fighters who have returned home

BERLIN A huge cache of leaked documents of the Islamic State has the names of 22,000 militants from 51 countries and the gold mine of data is authentic, said Germany's federal criminal police, in possession of the files numbering in thousands.

The documents are expected to help authorities track down and prosecute foreign fighters who returned home after joining the Islamic State extremist group, or identify those who recruited them in the first place.

The files are said to contain data on 22,000 Islamic State recruits from all over the world, including the United Kingdom and rest of Europe, the US, Canada, North Africa and Middle East.

The biggest chunk of the 1,736 files represents questionnaires which would-be terrorists had to fill out to be eligible to join the terror group.

Each form consists of 23 personal questions resembling a typical job application form, apart from several points. Most of the documents are penned in Arabic and stamped with Islamic State logos.

The German police announcement came after Britain's Sky News reported it had obtained 22,000 Islamic State files that detail the real names of fighters for the group, where they were from, their telephone numbers and even names of those who sponsored and recruited them.

In a joint report, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich and broadcasters WDR and NDR reported independently Monday that they had obtained "many dozens" of pages of such documents itself.

"This is a huge database there are more than something like 22,000 names, so this is very, very important," Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck, a research analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Russia's RT online news agency said that some of the Islamic State application forms appear were published by Zaman Al Wasl, a Syrian pro-opposition news site.

According to Zaman Al Wasl, the majority of Islamic State recruits are from Arab countries, with Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt accounting for two-thirds of the jihadists.

Up to 25 percent of the fighters are allegedly Saudis. The group's "foreign" (non-Arab) recruits are topped by Turks, with French nationals coming second.

The site claims that only 1.7 percent of Islamic State recruits are Syrians, and just 1.2 percent are Iraqis.

Separately, it speculates that Iraqis and Jordanians form the "backbone" of Islamic State forces only in Iraqi regions such as Mosul and Ramadi.

"It will give (the security services) an indication of not just who they are, where they come from, but will be able to potentially lead them to the individuals who radicalized these individuals as well as facilitated their departure," Afzai Ashraf, a counter-terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute, told the media.

southeastasiapost.com/index.php/sid/242096289

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Islamic State registration forms include Paris attackers' information

March 12, 2016  SkyNews

The names of several jihadis who carried out the Bataclan theatre massacre in Paris are documented in leaked Islamic State files, according to German media reports.

Among the thousands of IS registration papers were those of Samy Amimour, Foued Mohamed-Aggad and Omar Ismail Mostefai, said public broadcasters NDR and WDR, and newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The three men killed 90 people at the Bataclan during a gig by rock band Eagles of Death Metal on 13 November last year.

Mostefai was a 29-year-old French national from a Paris suburb, Amimour, 28, was a former bus driver from the suburb of Drancy, and Mohamed-Aggad, 23, was from Strasbourg.

On their entry into IS-controlled territory in 2013 and 2014, they stated that they wanted to become fighters for IS, although on the personal information sheet there was an option to become a suicide bomber.

In addition, German reports said the files contain an apparent reference to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who has been identified as the organizer of the Paris attacks.

Besides Abaaoud, French security authorities believe there was another man behind the Paris attacks, who is said to have been in Syria when they happened.

The German research team said it had now obtained data on several thousand IS members from a total of 22,000 documents, many of them duplicates, which were earlier obtained by Sky News.

The documents were given to Sky News by a disillusioned convert to the terror organisation.

German police said it has access to the same type of documents and considered them highly likely to be authentic, but some experts have voiced doubts or urged caution.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Friday stressed the need to be "very careful" about the documents.

"We are extremely interested in information which would allow us to... neutralise terrorists but such information has to be authenticated," he said.

foxnews.com/world/2016/03/12/islamic-state-registration-forms-include-paris-attackers-information.html

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Syria: Gov't Forces Drive ISIL Back From More Lands in Aleppo

12 March, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Anti-terrorism operation of the Syrian Army and its allies in the Southeastern part of Aleppo province inflicted major losses on the ISIL terrorists and pushed them back from more key hills and villages in the region.

The Syrian government forces stormed the ISIL Takfiri terrorists' concentration centers near the strategic hills of Shobeib, forced them to retreat and imposed full control over the mentioned hills and its nearby villages.

The army attacks claimed the lives of several terrorists and destroyed their military equipment.

A report said on Friday that the Syrian army troops and their popular allies significantly advanced against the ISIL terrorists in the Southeastern parts of Aleppo province and moved towards the Euphrates and its nearby regions in Raqqa province.

"The Syrian army, Liwa al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigade), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Kataebat al-Ba’ath (Al-Ba’ath Battalions have secured the Southern bank of Al-Hamourat Lake in Southeastern Aleppo, while also making a substantial advance towards al-Maskanah Plain," the sources said.

"Al-Maskanah Plain is located along the Western bank of the Euphrates River (Lake Assad part), near the Jirah Military Airport and the Tabaqa Dam and Military Airport," the sources added.

"The area around Lake Assad is deeply entrenched with ISIL fighters and it has barely been threatened by any force in the last two years – so the Syrian Armed Forces will have their hands full," they said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000577

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All Gasoil Output to Reach Euro-4 Standard by 2018

12 March, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- All the gasoline produced by Iranian refineries will obtain Euro-4 standards by 2018, a senior petroleum official announced.

Abbas Kazemi, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Production Distribution Company (NIOPDC), told a gathering of senior NIOPDC executives on Thursday that in the current Iranian calendar year which ends on March 20, the company secured stable export of oil products, excluding gasoline, for the first time, shana reported.

He said laying pipelines in the border between Iran and Afghanistan for export of petroleum products curbed smuggling of the products to a large degree.

Kazemi said Iran's export of petroleum products will rise given the fact that NIOPDC has reduced supply of liquid fuels to power plants and has replaced them with gas.

He said the company is prepared to supply 70% of the country's need for fuel in the transportation sector by Euro-4 fuels and the percentage will reach 100% within the next 3 years.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000573

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Popular, Kurdish Fighters Repel ISIL Attack near Meng Airbase

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Popular forces in Syria in cooperation with Kurdish fighters vehemently repulsed ISIL's assault on areas near Meng airbase in the Northern province of Aleppo and killed a number of them, a military source said on Saturday.

"The ISIL militants attempted to infiltrate the key town of Meng and the two nearby villages of Al-'Alqamiyah and Ayn Daqnah, North of the Aleppo province, however the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fended off the attack and killed several fighters," the source said.

The source added that the local popular and Kurdish forces destroyed several heavily-armed pick-up truck of the ISIL and defused some explosive devices left by the militants in the area after they were made to retreat back to their lines.

The development occurred as earlier reports suggested that Turkish Army's artillery units continued to target concentration centres of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the YPG in a newly-captured town in the Northern part of Aleppo, leaving several civilians dead or wounded.

The Turkish artillery shelling of the Kurdish strongholds inside the town of Tal Abyadh near border with Turkey ended in the killing or wounding of several civilians.

The Kurdish forces have made considerable military gains against the ISIL in the Northern and North-eastern parts of Syria in recent weeks.

The YPG Kurds have recently bonded with the Damascus government. The Syrian army sent several arms cargoes to the YPG troops in the Northeastern province of Hasaka and trained the first group of Kurdish volunteer forces in the provincial capital city of Hasaka last month.

The SDF that is comprised of mainly Kurdish fighters as well as a few hundred Syrian Arab dissident forces have received trainings from the US and have been provided with scanty US-coalition air support in their battles in Raqqa province in Northeastern Syria; but in Northern and Northwestern battlefronts, they have been operating alongside the YPG and received the Russian air backup in their Aleppo wars that started with the conquest of Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates early in February.

Assisted by the Syrian army - that has along with popular forces and Hezbollah conquered almost all militant-held regions in Eastern, Southern, Western and Northwestern Aleppo province - and Russian air support, the Kurdish forces fighting against the terrorists in North-Northeast Aleppo province have been making striking advances against the Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and ISIL terrorists in February.

In February, the YPG and SDF fighters prevailed over the terrorists in the highly strategic city of Tal Rifat in Northern Aleppo and captured the city.

The YPG, who enjoyed the Russian air backup, prevailed the terrorists' positions from the Western direction and shook hand with the Kurdish units of the SDF who entered the town from the North.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000499

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Syrian Army Wins Another Battle against Terrorists in Lattakia

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and their popular allies drove the militant groups back from more strongholds in the Northeastern part of Lattakia following hours of bloody battle with al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups.

The Syrian soldiers, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Marines imposed full control over the Kinsibba Castle after a violent battle with al-Nusra Front, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The Kinsibba Castle is located just a few kilometers Northwest of the village itself; it was deeply entrenched with opposition fighters before it was captured by the Syrian Armed Forces.

With Kinsibba Castle under their control, the Syrian Armed Forces can now return their attention to the Turkish and Idlib borders.

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian army captured, at least, eleven heights and inflicted major casualties on the terrorist groups in massive operations in Northern Lattakia near the border with Turkey.

The militant groups could not resist against the heavy offensives of the Syrian Army and its popular allies and retreated from al-Qalah mountain, the heights of 394, 445.5, 438.5, 417.5, 400, 500, 656.6, 499.5, 409.5, and 529.5.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000535

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Syrian Army Tightening Noose on Militants East of Damascus

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army and popular forces have taken back more farms and villages from the militant groups in Eastern Ghouta enabling them to take yet another major stride in completing a circle of forces around the terrorists East of the capital, military sources said Saturday.

"The Syrian army backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) imposed full control over the small village of Hawash al-Mutayn and the Ali al-Aghawani Farms after a violent battle with al-Nusra Front," the sources said.

"Following the capture of the village and the farms, the Syrian Armed Forces advanced to the East Ghouta corn farms, where they were confronted by a large contingent of al-Nusra Front," the sources added.

"Not long after entering the corn farms, the Syrian Armed Forces seized the area, killing several enemy combatants and seizing 2 bulldozers from al-Nusra," they said.

"As a result of their gains, the Syrian army and its allies widen the gap between the two terrorist pockets in Eastern Ghouta, leaving several enemy combatants trapped near Deir Asafir," the sources went on to say.

In relevant developments in the province on Friday, the Syrian soldier attacked al-Nusra combatants in Shaher Farms near al-Marj region, which ended in the killing or wounding of dozens of terrorists and destroyed their military hardware in large scale.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000501

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20 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Airstrikes East of Hama

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian air force jets, in a series of intensive attacks, pounded the ISIL militants' positions in Hama province's Eastern regions, eliminating nearly two dozen terrorists and injuring many more, a military source said on Saturday.

"At Least 20 members of ISIL group were eliminated when the Syrian fighter jets pounded the military positions and gathering centers of the terrorist organization in several towns and villages in Eastern Hama including Uqairibat, Abu Dali, Soha, Jana al-Bawi, al-Qastal al-Westani, and Jub al-Rihan, which also resulted in the destruction of ISIL military equipment and transportation vehicles there," battlefield source said.

The Syrian fighter jets have intensified their air raids on militants' strongholds across the Northern province of Hama delivering growing losses and damage on the terrorists.

Earlier today, the terrorist groups sustained a significant number of losses in the Syrian army's ground and air assaults across the Northern province of Hama.

"The Syrian fighter jets carried out several combat flights over the concentration centers of the al-Nusra terrorist group in Northeastern regions of Hama province which ended in the elimination of at least 37 terrorists," battlefield reports said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000352

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FSA Commander Confesses to Collaboration with Israel in Video

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander, arrested by the rival al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support.

In a video uploaded to YouTube by the Executive Sharia Council in the Eastern Daraa region, a court established by al-Nusra in Southern Syria, Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the FSA's al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms, Times of Israel reported.

Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.

“The [opposition] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities,” Safouri said in the video.

While al-Nusra and the FSA have collaborated in the battlefield against Syria, friction has intensified as they began to implement their stringent version of Islam in the area, establishing local Sharia courts.

In the edited confession video, in which Safouri seems physically unharmed, he says that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias.

Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 5.56 millimeter bullets.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000417

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President Rouhani Vows Harsh Response to any Attack on Shiite Shrines

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- President Hassan Rouhani said the holy Shiite shrines in Iran, Iraq and Syria are the Islamic Republic's redlines, and if they come under attack by terrorist groups, the response will be harsh.

"The holy shrines of Ahlul Beit - the Shiite Imams and the Infallible Household of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) - are our redlines. If terrorist groups decide to target these holy sites, we will not take it nicely," Rouhani said Saturday, addressing a national forum to commemorate Iranian martyrs in Tehran.

He noted that young Iranians are always ready to defend the holy shrines in the country and in the neighboring states, adding that Iran would resort to any possible means to protect them.

In relevant remarks in November 2014, a senior military commander warned that Tehran would take tough and direct action in Iraq if Baghdad or other Iraqi cities which host the Shiite holy shrines come under attack by the terrorists.

"Baghdad, the holy shrines and the shrines of Shiite Imams are surely all among the Islamic Republic's redlines," the head of the ranks-and-files and joint affairs of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Mohammad Baqeri, said in an interview with Defa' (Defense) Press, reiterating that Tehran has not taken any direct military action in Iraq so far.

He warned that if the mentioned cities and holy shrines are threatened, "the Islamic Republic will take direct action" to kill the terrorists and destroy their headquarters.

Assuring the friendly states, including Iraq, that Tehran would help and support them until final victory, Baqeri said if the interests of Iran's friends and allies were threatened, the country would support and provide them with necessary trainings to confront any danger.

Speaking in an interview with the American CNN television in September 2014, President Rouhani also said Iran would resort to any possible means to protect the holy sites in Iraq, including those in Karbala and Najaf, and the country's capital city of Baghdad from the terrorist attacks.

The holy Shiite shrines are scattered in a number of regional Arab states, including Iraq and Syria, both of which enjoying Iran's military advice on how to fight the terrorists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000345

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Syrian Army Wins Back Several Heights in Mountainous Regions of Lattakia-Turkey Border

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army captured, at least, eleven heights and inflicted major casualties on the terrorist groups in massive operations in Northern Lattakia near the border with Turkey.

The militant groups could not resist against the heavy offensives of the Syrian Army and its popular allies and retreated from al-Qalah mountain, the heights of 394, 445.5, 438.5, 417.5, 400, 500, 656.6, 499.5, 409.5, and 529.5.

The heights and their nearby areas are under the full control of the army.

The army is fortifying its newly-captured position and is planning to start mop-up operation.

The militant groups trying to take back their dead or wounded members after the army let them to do so.

Earlier reports said that the militant groups left behind scores of dead or wounded members and fled their strongholds near at least five villages in the Northern part of the coastal province of Lattakia near the border with Turkey under the heavy offensives of the Syrian Army and popular forces.

The Syria army alongside the National Defense Forces continued to push the militant groups back from more territories in the mountainous regions of the province and imposed full control over the villages of Haret Maz’aleh, Haret al-Tahoun, al-Qastal and Heer Debbin after several hours of intense battle with the militants.

The militant groups suffered a heavy death toll and their military hardware also sustained major damage in the Syrian government forces' assaults.   

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000369

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ISIL Commander Killed in Yemeni Warplanes' Raids in Ta'iz Province

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni army and popular forces backed up by the country's air force continued their advances in Yemen's Western and Southwestern provinces, killing notorious terrorists, including a senior ISIL commander, in heavy clashes.

"Notorious ISIL commander Abdel Motaz al-Tunessi was killed in the Yemeni air force's raids on his convoy in Ta'iz province in the Southwestern part of Yemen," Yemeni army commander Colonel Haroun al-Fathi told FNA on Saturday.

Colonel al-Fathi said that the terrorist groups such as the ISIL and the Al-Qaeda are being supported by the Saudi and Emirati forces.

He reiterated that Saudi Arabia is trying to weaken the Yemeni army and the popular forces by supporting the terrorist groups.

The Yemeni army and popular forces have changed their military tactics in their offensives against the Saudi forces in Ta'iz, Ma'rib and al-Jawf provinces since March 2, which has resulted in more military gains for them and inflicted heavy losses on the opposite side.

The Yemeni forces pounded Saudi Arabia's Sahn al-Jen military base in Ma'rib province, killing and injuring scores of Saudi forces.

Also on March 2, the Yemeni army's artillery units hit the Saudi forces' positions to the West of sports stadium in al-Wazeqiya region in Ta'iz province, killing tens of Saudi troops and injuring dozens more.

The Yemeni security forces arrested over 70 Saudi forces who intended to enter Ma'rib to take part in the war against the Yemeni forces.

In al-Jawf province, the Yemeni forces managed to seize back four important regions in Wadi Harab region to the East of al-Hazm city as well as Division 115 military base.

A newly-published report by the pro-Saudi camp in Yemen shows that over 1,600 Saudi-led forces have been killed in just Ta'iz province since March 26.

According to a report submitted by the Ta'iz governor general to fugitive Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah cabinet in Riyadh, a sum of 1,630 Saudi military servicemen have been killed since the outbreak of the Saudi war in late March.

Also on February 22, the Yemeni forces inflicted heavy casualties and losses on the Saudi and the Emirati forces in al-Jawf province, killing scores of them in heavy clashes.

Scores of militants were killed and wounded and their armored military vehicles were also destroyed in al-Khalifain front, FNA dispatches said.

Meantime, a group of other Yemeni forces killed a number of Saudi troops in al-Khanjar military base in al-Jawf province.

The Sabrin al-Maraziq region was also the scene of heavy clashes between the Yemeni forces and Saudi soldiers.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000351

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ISIL Launches More Chemical Attacks on Iraqi People

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL terrorist group launched another chemical attack on Iraqi citizens Southwest of Kirkuk province, the third such attack in the last one week.

"The ISIL fired two Katyusha rockets containing chemical agents against the civilian population in Al-Bashir village near the city of Taza in Southwestern Kirkuk," the Arabic-language media outlets quoted Spokesman of Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) as saying on Saturday.

The ISIL terrorists who are stationed in Bashir region have hit Taza region with a large number of Katyusha rockets in the last few days.

Most of the residents of Taza city are Turkmen Shiites.

In a relevant development on March 9, the ISIL terrorist group fired about 100 mortar shells containing chemical agents, including chlorine gas, against the civilian population in the city of Taza in Southern Kirkuk.

Also on March 9, informed sources disclosed that the ISIL terrorist group had launched fresh chemical attacks on Iraqi citizens in Diyala province.

"The ISIL fired 42 Katyusha rockets containing chemical poisonous substances such as chlorine gas," local sources in Diyala said.

They said that the residents of Diyala have been poisoned as a result of inhaling chlorine gas.

In a relevant development in mid-February, an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) source disclosed that the ISIL militants had attacked Kurdish forces with mustard gas in 2015.

The source, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the laboratory tests confirmed that chemical weapons had been used by ISIL fighters. The OPCW, however, has not officially identified who used the mustard gas.

The samples were taken after 35 Kurdish troops became ill on the battlefield last August while fighting ISIL militants southwest of Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

It represents the first known instance of chemical weapons use in Iraq since the fall of the country's former dictator Saddam Hussein, the source said.

Kurdish representatives announced in October that ISIL militants had used mortar rounds containing mustard gas against the troops, citing blood samples taken from the ill soldiers.

The revelation comes just three days after Central Intelligence (CIA) Director John Brennan stated that ISIL had used chemical weapons on the battlefield, stressing that the militant group may have more in its possession.

The OPCW also concluded in October that mustard gas had been used in neighboring Syria last year.

Experts believe the mustard gas used in Syria originated from an undeclared chemical stockpile, or that militants have gained the basic knowledge to develop and conduct a crude chemical attack with rockets or mortars.

The Syrian government gave up its own supply of chemical weapons – including stockpiles of mustard gas – under international supervision, after hundreds of civilians were killed with sarin nerve gas in a Damascus suburb in 2013.

Mustard gas is a Class 1 chemical agent, meaning it has very few uses outside of chemical warfare. It is known to destroy the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000480

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Pakistan

Pakistan: Catholic Church Completes Urdu Translation Of Catechism

MARCH 12, 2016

A Vatican-approved Urdu translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has been published in Pakistan.

“We are so happy the work has been completed for this Holy Year of Mercy,” Father Robert McCulloch, procurator-general of the Society of St. Columban and a missionary in Pakistan for 34 years.

It took 13 years to complete the translation, Father McCulloch told the Vatican news agency Fides.

The book “will be useful for catechesis at all levels, for children, young people and adults,” the priest said, adding that many of Pakistan’s Muslim leaders Muslims have offered congratulations and intend to use it to better understand the Catholic faith.

Father McCulloch said the translation was a creative endeavor, as there was no direct Urdu translation for certain theological concepts, like transubstantiation.

“No term used in the catechism has been left in Latin or any other language,” he said.

“We had to coin new words in Urdu such as the translation of the concept of ‘transubstantiation’ and other concepts proper to the Catholic faith.”

eurasiareview.com/12032016-pakistan-catholic-church-completes-urdu-translation-of-catechism/

 

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‘Uprisings against Taliban Should Be Supported’

Mar 12, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The former CIA station chief in Islamabad Robert Grenier has said he does not think the Taliban will “honestly” participate in peace negotiations and suggests that uprisings in Taliban controlled areas be supported in order to unsettle the insurgent group.

Mr Grenier was speaking at the launch of his book ’88 Days to Kandahar: a CIA Diary’ at the Institute of Strategic Studies. The book is about the role played by CIA, operating out of Pakistan, after 9/11 including the initiation of rebellion in southern Afghanistan’s Pashtun areas against the Taliban to the installation of Hamid Karzai as the leader of an interim government between Sept 11 and Dec 7, 2001.

Talking about the Taliban refusing to join the peace talks facilitated by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group until their conditions were met, Mr Grenier said: “Before the Afghan Taliban come to the table and agree to negotiate in good faith, they will have to be convinced that a military victory is beyond their reach”.

That, he said, is not the situation now.

Last year the Taliban gained a number of military successes, including a brief capture of Kunduz. It is believe that the group either control or maintain a significant presence in at least 30 districts in Afghanistan.

Former CIA official says strategy will work because people cannot live under Taliban control for long

Mr Grenier suggested that other than extending financial and military support to the Afghan government, the international community should “to a limited degree and with small but sustainable forces, also engage in insurgency in areas where the Taliban hold sway”.

Based on his experiences of starting an uprising against the Taliban which led to their fall in 2001, he said he is confident that encouraging uprisings in Taliban held areas could be a “wise” move and said there was limited international support for Afghanistan.

He said the strategy will work because people cannot live under the control of the Taliban for long and that “authentic and legitimate” leaders rise in different places against the group every now and then. He stressed that these leaders should be supported.

The former CIA official said that as long as “durable political settlement in Afghanistan” is not attained, the prospects of which he said were slim; the other stakeholders in the peace process need to be patient.

He expressed concerns that terrorists from other countries will find sanctuaries in Afghanistan and that reports of the emergence of Daesh were already coming.

“It is required of Afghanistan [and the international community] to help bring about a political settlement to prevent international terrorist organisations from establishing footholds there,” he said and cautioned that if this was not achieved, a third world war could break out.

Also speaking at the launch was Secretary National Security Division Mohammad Sadiq who listed off the challenges to peace in Afghanistan. He said Afghans lack the ability to take decisions as a group and do not have tolerance for each other. For a peace effort to succeed Afghanistan needs a peace lobby, he said but regretted that there wasn’t one because everyone was benefitting from war.

About the newly launched book, Mr Sadiq said it is a useful and informative account, which is also well scripted.

dawn.com/news/1245170/uprisings-against-taliban-should-be-supported

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Muslims Can Overcome Challenges thru Collective Effort: Dr Abd-Allah

Ashraf Ansari

Islamabad—Prominent American Muslim Scholar Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah says the Muslim world is trapped in dismal situation and confronted by history’s most difficult challenges which imperilled their civilization. The Muslim countries can overcome these challenges only through collective efforts.

The scholar, a convert to Islam, was delivering a lecture at Aiwan-e-Quaid here Friday on “Challenges to Islamic Ummah and Response”. Nazriya Pakistan Council arranged the lecture.

Dr. Abd-Allah said Pakistan has a crucial role to play in the Muslim world to surmount the challenges faced by the Muslims as a whole. He also appreciated Turkey’s response to the influx of Syrian refugees and for Ankara’s sympathy towards the misery of Syrian refugees.

He said the Muslims should revive the tradition of learning and draw guidance from great Muslim scholars of the past. They should study the works of great Muslim legal experts like Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Jaffer Sadiq. The Madrisas must revive their past status as seats of higher learning so that they spread real message of Islam. The Muslims should remain beware of extremism as this trend destroys the true spirit of the religion.

He said Muslims had no reason to suffer from inferiority complex as they are inheritors of great heritage based on Islamic values. They need to promote love and understanding among themselves to overcome their economic and social problems.

Dr. Abd-Allah stressed the need for Muslims to study their history objectively so that they are able to know where mistakes were made and where they took the right direction.

He said there are two centuries of darkness in the history of the Muslims starting from 1799 when Tipu Sultan was martyred while fighting for the cause of the Indian Muslims. The Muslims should learn from this dark era and try to avoid mistakes of the past.

Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Wymann-Landgraf) is an American Muslim born to a protestant family in Columbus, Nebraska. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Missouri with dual majors in History and English literature. Dr. Abd Allah read the autobiography of Malcolm X which inspired him to embrace Islam. He studied Arabic and Islamic studies and received his doctorate for a dissertation on the origin of Islamic law.

Mr. Zahid Malik, Patron Nazriya Pakistan Council and Editor-in-Chief Pakistan Observer in his vote of thanks said the need of the hour was that religious scholars should guide Muslims in facing the modern-day challenges. Equally urgent is the need to revive the spirit of Ijtehad. He noted that the Muslim world was in danger of fragmentation, and this challenge can only be met collectively. There was also the need to bridge the gulf that exists between religious scholars and the modern elite. The Muslims, he said, should foster harmony between them and reject narrow-mindedness, extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.

He also said the Muslims must focus on the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to overcome their difficulties and to promote human rights in their societies.

Mr Malik thanked the eminent American Muslim Scholar Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah for his enlightening lecture. He also thanked Gen. (R) Mohammad yusuf, Pir Mohammad Naqib-ur-Rahman and Muslim Ambassadors who graced the occasion. Ambassador Adel Elarbi of Tunisia, Ambassador Waled Abu Ali of Palestine, Ambassador Maj-Gen (R) Nawaf Khalifeh Ibrahim Saraireh of Jordan, Ambassador Saqr Mubarik Al-Mansouri of Qatar and Charge d’affaires of Azerbaijan Mr. Chengiz. Chairman NPC Dr. Naeem Ghani was also present on the occasion.

A large number of people from all walks of life attended the lecture.

pakobserver.net/2016/03/12/muslims-can-overcome-challenges-thru-collective-effort-dr-abd-allah/

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F-16 deal becomes effective after end of mandatory period

Mar 12, 2016

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s deal to purchase eight F-16 jet fighters from the United States became effective on Friday, a day after the US Senate rejected a measure to block the sale.

“We appreciate the leadership of the US Congress in consistently supporting Pak-US counter-terrorism partnership,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani while commenting on the Senate vote. “The vote is a demonstration of the strength and resilience of Pak-US Relationship.”

On Feb12, the US State Department notified Congress of its intention to sell $700 million worth of weapons to Pakistan, which included eight Block-52 F-16s. The department argued that the jets were critical to Pakistan’s efforts to deny terrorists a safe haven within its borders.

Congress had 30 days to convey its objection to the administration. After this mandatory period the deal would automatically become effective.

On Thursday, the US Senate rejected a measure to block the proposed sale by 71 to 24 votes

Although the mandatory period expires on March 12, the Senate adjourned on Friday and would not resume until Monday, which leaves no room to mount another measure for blocking the deal.

On Thursday, the Senate rejected a measure to block the proposed sale by 71 to 24 votes but Pakistan has to overcome another hurdle before the deal is finalised: Getting partial US financing, a little more than 50 per cent of the total, for the weapons.

Last month, the Obama administration earmarked $860m in aid for Pakistan for the next fiscal year, including $265m for military hardware.

dawn.com/news/1245205/f-16-deal-becomes-effective-after-end-of-mandatory-period

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Africa

South Sudan: Women Raped 'As Reward for Fighters'

Reuters | Mar 12, 2016

GENEVA: South Sudan's government operated a "scorched earth policy" of deliberate rape, pillage and killing of civilians during the civil war in 2015, a report published on Friday by the UN human rights office said.

"The report contains harrowing accounts of civilians suspected of supporting the opposition, including children and the disabled, killed by being burned alive, suffocated in containers, shot, hanged from trees or cut to pieces," the UN human rights office said in a statement.

The prevalence of rape "suggests its use in the conflict has become an acceptable practice by (government) SPLA soldiers and affiliated armed militias," the report said. Groups allied to the government were allowed to rape women in lieu of wages, it said. Between April and September 2015, the UN investigation recorded more than 1,300 reports of rapes in South Sudan's Unity State alone. In one incident soldiers argued over whether or not to rape a 6-year-old girl and ended up shooting her.

Even women inside UN protected camps were at risk when they went out to collect food or firewood. UN human rights Chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein said the number of rapes described in the report must only be a "snapshot of the real total", but the massive use as an instrument of war and terror had largely been off the international radar. "The scale and types of sexual violence — primarily by Government SPLA forces and affiliated militia — are described in searing, devastating detail, as is the almost casual, yet calculated, attitude of those slaughtering civilians and destroying property and livelihoods," he said.

In one of many incidents, SPLA forces reportedly rounded up 60 cattle-keepers and locked them in a container in the compound of a Catholic church. All but one suffocated within two days.

In the 12 months to November 2015, there were an estimated 10,553 civilian deaths in Unity State, 7,165 of them due to violence and 829 caused by drowning. The patterns of killing were not random, isolated or accidental, but appeared to be deliberate, systematic and based on ethnicity, the report said. Although all sides have committed atrocities that may amount to crimes against humanity, government forces were most responsible in 2015, the report said. There was little resistance in Unity State in 2015, leaving civilians at the mercy of government forces.

"This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war — yet it has been more or less off the international radar," the report said.

The SPLA, backed by mostly Dinka loyalist militias, is battling the mainly Nuer opposition group the SPLM-IO and its allies. South Sudan's war began in December 2013, throwing the world's newest country into chaos, killing tens of thousands, displacing more than 2 million, and plunging at least 40,000 into a famine.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/S-Sudan-offers-militia-women-to-rape-as-reward/articleshow/51366643.cms

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India

Whitewash Walls of Mosques If Holi Colour Is Thrown: Bareilly DM’s Order

Mrigank Tiwari | TNN | Mar 11, 2016

BAREILLY: A strange order for Holi has gone out in communally sensitive Bareilly, which has a roughly 50-50% Hindu-Muslim population. "White wash immediately the walls of mosques that have colour thrown on them," the administration has said even as it sent out directions for setting up of special teams of painters who will be on standby that day -- March 24. Groups of painters requisitioned by the Municipal Corporation and nagar panchayat would be deputed at spots close to mosques. No 'DJ music' would be allowed either during Holi processions.

In Bareilly city alone there are around 300 mosques and the number would be around 1000 in the entire district, said a Muslim leader, who said he was happy at the initiative the government was taking to contain any conflagration of communal violence.

Apart from what is locally referred to as 'DJ music', there would also be a complete ban on Akharas (wrestling clubs) carrying weapons like mace, sword and sticks as they invariably indulge in a "show of strength". Magistrates have been asked to identify areas where disputes have taken place in the past regarding the taking out of processions during festivals. The names of such spots would be entered in the record of the nearest police station.

The order, issued by the district magistrate (DM), states that circle officers (CO) should conduct "roof top-checking" in sensitive areas to ensure that bricks and stones are not collected or piled up to be thrown at people below.

Asked about the "whitewashing of walls" directive, Gaurav Dayal, the DM, said, "The idea is to pre-empt any tension which may arise because of religious sentiments of one community being hurt. After all, celebration of one community should not cause discomfiture to the other".

SP (city) Sameer Saurabh said, "We would be identifying anti-social elements from different areas who are in the habit of creating trouble. They would be served notice under certain sections of the IPC asking them to sign a bond before the court of a magistrate, and to give an undertaking that they will not create any law and order problem during the next 6 months."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/Whitewash-walls-of-mosques-if-Holi-colour-is-thrown-Bareilly-order/articleshow/51364311.cms

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South Asia

Security forces kill 24 Daesh militants in Nangarhar

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

Security forces have killed 24 fighters of the terrorist group of Islamic State (IS) which is also known by its Arabic name Daesh in eastern Nangarhar province.

The militants had reportedly planned attacks on security posts in Deh Sarak and Pansar areas of Achin district but security forces foiled their plan.

A counter attack was launched on them leaving 24 killed and their weapons destroyed.

Local officials said three dead bodies were left behind by the insurgents on the attack sites.

Nangarhar is the stronghold of Daesh in the eastern part of the country, with its center of command in Achin district, where the group is trying to establish a base of operations in its rugged mountains.

Coalition officials estimate between 1,000 to 3,000 Islamic State fighters are stationed in eastern Afghanistan.

khaama.com/24-daesh-militants-killed-in-nangarhar-4729

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Car bomb explosion leaves suicide bomber dead in Helmand

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

A would-be suicide bomber was killed and another one was injured in a premature suicide car bombing in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the suicide bombers detonated a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) in Lashkargah city after they were identified by the Afghan armed forces.

A statement by MoD said one of the suicide bombers was killed and another was injured in the incident and there were other casualties.

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

Helmand is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militants are actively operating and frequently carry out insurgency activities.

This comes as the Afghan forces ended a two-day Taliban siege of a government compound early on Friday after killing all 10 suicide bombers who launched coordinated attack in Greshk district.

According to the local security officials, at least 5 security personnel lost their lives and several others were wounded during the attack.

khaama.com/car-bomb-explosion-leaves-suicide-bomber-dead-in-helmand-0305

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Police foil rocket attack on Kabul city, seize 5 Bm1 rockets

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

rocket-attack-on-Kabul-city-foiledThe Afghan police forces have foiled a coordinated rocket attack plot by the anti-government armed militants on Kabul city by seizing 5 BM1 rockets.

Kabul police chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the rockets were seized and defused from Bagrami and Mosahi districts of Kabul before the anti-government armed militant use them for terrorist attacks.

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

No further details were given regarding the exact timing of the operation that led to the failure of the attack plot but the Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant during the recent months with the militants of the group staging deadly attacks across the country, including capital Kabul.

In the latest attempt to disrupt the security of the capital, a suicide bomber attempted to enter a government compound near the Presidential Palace but his explosives went off prematurely leaving only himself dead.

The Taliban militants carried out a deadly attack on the Ministry of Defense personnel late last month, leaving at least 15 dead and 31 others wounded.

According to defense officials, an Army Sergeants, 3 servicemembers, 1 civilian worker, 1 civil engineer, serving with the Ministry of Defense were martyred along with 4 civilians in the attack.

khaama.com/police-foil-rocket-attack-on-kabul-city-seize-5-bm1-rockets-0307

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Senior Taliban commander among 10 killed in police operations

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

At least ten militants including a senior militant commander were killed in latest clearance operations by the Afghan National Police (ANP) forces, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said.

A statement by MoI said the operations were conducted in Balkh, Takhar and Kapisa provinces of the country in the past 24 hours.

The statement further added that a militant was also injured and seven others were arrested and some weapons were seized by the security forces.

Two Taliban insurgents were killed during an operation in Kishindih district of Balkh, MoI said, adding that 7 others were arrested and 2 Ak-47 rifles along 5,000 rounds of PK machine gun ammunition were confiscated.

In a separate operation in Darqad district of Takhar province, seven militants were killed and 2 rocket launchers and an Ak-47 rifle was confiscated, MoI added.

A senior Taliban commander identified as Musafir was killed and one of his companions was injured, MoI said, adding that the police forces did not suffer any casualties during the operations.The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the operations so far.

khaama.com/senior-taliban-commander-among-10-killed-in-police-operations-0308

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UK may deport Afghan interpreters

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

Afghan translators who have made it to Britain will be kicked out after a ban on returning them to the war-torn country was lifted, UK’s Daily Mail reports.

The courts stopped the Government from deporting Afghans seeking asylum in the UK after judges ruled the country was too dangerous.

But the case was taken to the Court of Appeal and Home Secretary Theresa May has now won the right to lift the blanket ban.

The victory for the Home Office means two interpreters currently in Britain, whose cases are still being processed, are likely to be sent back – even though last year was one of the bloodiest on record for civilian deaths in the country.

Another three of them have already been told they face deportation because their claims for asylum had failed.

Following the ruling they are expecting to be deported within weeks as flights resume to the Afghan capital Kabul, which has been hit by a recent wave of suicide bombings and attacks.

Lawyers claim there are at least three more interpreters in the system who face being sent back home from Britain as a result of the court ruling.

They fled the country and reached the UK on boats and lorries after facing threats from the Taliban because they were branded ‘infidels’ and spies for working for the British.

Last night, a former army translator known as Ahmed, who faces deportation after his asylum claim was rejected, said the heroic translators were being ‘punished’ for Europe’s migrant crisis.

He said: ‘This is another devastating bold to those who risked their lives for Britain.

‘Afghanistan is more dangerous than it has been since the Taliban left yet the UK believes it is safe for us to be sent back.

‘It will end with our blood on the streets because of our service. The fact we are being sent back will mark us out too.

‘We, the translators, and our countrymen are being punished because of Europe’s migration crisis. This decision would not have been made without it.’

Yesterday the leader of the Liberal Democrats branded David Cameron’s policy on Afghan interpreters ‘shameful’.

Tim Farron threw his weight behind a Daily Mail campaign to give sanctuary to the translators who risked their lives on the battlefield to save British soldiers during the 13-year war.

Speaking on the first day of the Lib-Dem spring conference in York, Mr Farron said: ‘The idea that we could deport loyal interpreters smacks of an out of touch government.

‘David Cameron, when leader of the Opposition, used to say the same thing over the mistreatment of the Gurkhas and now he sits idly by and lets this happen. This shames Britain, shames our values and shames our brave our armed forces.’

In 2009 when the Gurkhas faced deportation and were fighting for the right to live in the UK, Mr Cameron said: ‘We owe them a debt of gratitude.’

The Prime Minister called for a new immigration category to be introduced for those who served in the Armed Forces abroad.

But while he has been in power, not a single Afghan interpreter has been allowed to come to Britain under an ‘intimidation scheme’ designed for interpreters facing attacks by insurgents.

Mr Farron said it was a ‘disgrace’ that under the Conservatives, loyal interpreters could be sent back to a war-torn country.

He said: ‘These interpreters put themselves and their families at huge risk to help our servicemen and women.

‘It is now critical that we recognise the work they did to help us and now, in return, help them in their hour of need.

‘These people put their lives on the line to help our country and this is how we repay them.’

Another ten interpreters are on their way to Britain after desperately fleeing Afghanistan and paying people smugglers because they were facing death threats from the Taliban.

At least another five interpreters are believed to be stuck at Calais trying to jump into lorries to get to the UK.

The Mail previously revealed how a 31-year-old interpreter living in northern England had his asylum claim rejected after a judge ruled it was safe for him to go back to Kabul.

A blanket ban on deportations back to the war-ravaged country was imposed in August last year amid concerns that it was too dangerous.

The ban resulted from a case brought by a group of Afghan asylum-seekers, including a boy known as HN, who was 14 when he entered the UK alone in 2007.

The Upper Tribunal had ruled that, while several provinces in Afghanistan were not secure, the capital Kabul was safe enough for returns.

HN’s lawyers appealed and while the courts assessed this decision, judges agreed a rare blanket ban on all deportation flights to Afghanistan.

Removing that injunction last week, the Court of Appeal judges emphasised they were making their decision for legal reasons – because HN’s appeal had been dismissed.

khaama.com/uk-deporting-afghan-interpreters-4730

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NDS prevents suicide attack in Takhar, 8 terrorists arrested

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s national intelligence agency has prevented a suicide attack in northeastern Takhar province.

A statement released by NDS on Saturday states that Mohammad Farouq alias Usman was made ready for suicide bombing by the so-called governor of Taliban for Takhar province Mawlawi Taib.

The statement adds that Farouq was arrested during a special operation along with seven other militants Najibullah S/O Abdul Ghafoor, Khadimullah S/O Mohammad Ali, Zayedullah S/O Habibullah, Hajatullah S/O Mohammad Zahir, Muhibullah S/O Abdul Bari, Qari Niamatullah S/O Mohammad Zarif, Niamatullah S/O Abdul Munir in the provincial capital Taloqan.

According to the statement, after receiving consecutive defeats in northern provinces, terrorists have been trying to carry out suicide bombings to spread fear.

But they won’t be allowed to reach to their evil aims, the statement adds.

khaama.com/nds-prevents-suicide-attack-in-takhar-4728

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Afghan Air Force Not Ready Until 2020, Top US General Says

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

Afghan Air Force Staff Sgt. Mohammad Shafi, one of the Afghan flying crew chief students, make sure the Mi-17 is clear while Tech. Sgt. Travis Willingham, a flying crew chief air advisor, helps advise Staff Sgt. Shafi during his first flight mission at Shindand, Afghanistan.

The Afghan air force will not reach necessary strength levels until 2020, according to a top U.S. general.

Voice of America reports that General John Campbell, who ended his command of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan last week, told reporters Friday that some aircraft procured for the force would not arrive in Afghanistan until 2018.

The force would then need an additional two to three years to train the pilots needed for the new aircraft, he explained.

“2020 is probably a good guess,” Campbell said.

Afghan aviation capabilities saw significant progress in the 18 months in which the general led international forces there, although, he said, the United States “started way too late” in developing the nation’s air force.

For example, in 2014, the Afghan air force conducted 85 aerial support missions; in 2015, that number increased to 4,485.

Future improvements

The force will double the number of A-29 turboprop attack aircraft in the next couple of weeks, according to Campbell. It will also add eight to 10 MD-530 armed helicopters — which the general referred to as “little birds” — to the Afghan air arsenal this fighting season.

“Those have made a difference in Nangahar, in Helmand,” he said.

However, the United States and NATO must still build, train and advise Afghan attack controllers needed to direct the action of their combat aircraft during offensive operations.

These controllers are required to positively identify targets and help prevent civilian casualties.

khaama.com/afghan-air-force-not-ready-until-2020-top-us-general-says-4726

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Mideast

Israeli forces shut Palestinian Islamic Jihad station

Sat, March 12 2016

Palestinian attackers opened fire at Israeli troops in the West Bank and wounded two soldiers before fleeing Friday night, the Israeli military said. Soon afterward, Palestinian gunmen in Gaza fired several rockets at southern Israel, causing no injuries.

The attacks followed a morning raid by Israeli forces of a TV station run by the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in the West Bank as part of a crackdown to curb months of violence that Israel says has been fueled by incitement in the Palestinian media.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the head of the Falestine al-Youm — or "Palestine Today" — was detained in the raid in Ramallah early Friday morning. She said Farouq Elayan, 34, had been incarcerated in the past for activities in the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group. The outlet, which also publishes material on social media sites, encouraged Palestinians to attack Israelis, she said.

In a statement, Falestine al-Youm said two other two staff members had also been arrested and that their equipment was confiscated. Islamic Jihad has carried out suicide bombings and shootings in the past.

Israel faces near-daily Palestinian assaults on civilians and security forces that have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans since September.

At least 179 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire in that time, the majority of them said by Israel to have been attackers while the rest died in clashes with Israeli forces.

Israel has long pointed to the glorification of attackers in Palestinian media and social networking sites as a major factor in the recent bloodshed.

Palestinians say it stems from anger at nearly five decades of Israeli rule in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and frustrations at not achieving statehood.

On Friday afternoon, a Palestinian attacker stabbed and wounded a 29-year-old Israeli man, before running ran away in Jerusalem's Old City, police said. It later displayed a picture of the weapon used, a kitchen knife with a white handle that had been left at the scene. The Palestinian attacker was found and arrested after a short chase, police said.

thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/12/israeli-forces-shut-palestinian-islamic-jihad-station.html

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Turkish interior minister signals new wave of anti-PKK operations

ANKARA ,March 12 2016

Interior Minister Efkan Ala signaled on March 11 the start of new operations against militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey, following the conclusion of military operations targeting the militant group in two southeastern towns.

“Eight districts have been cleared. But there are still trenches and barricades in Yüksekova, downtown Şırnak and Nusaybin. The information we have gathered shows bombing traps placed there, so clearances will be conducted in those districts too,” Ala told reporters in Ankara on March 11, heralding fresh military operations in Yüksekova, a district in the southeastern province of Hakkari; the central district of the southeastern province of Şırnak; and Nusaybin, a district in the southeastern province of Mardin.

“No matter where they are, all barricades will be removed. We’re going to start operations after necessary preparations,” Ala said, adding that curfews would be announced to residents of Nusaybin, downtown Şırnak and Yüksekova before going into effect.

“The starting of operations has been communicated to our citizens by local officials a few days – or sometimes half-a-day - in advance,” he stated.

Turkey has recently conducted sweeping ground operations targeting the PKK in the southeast, with local governors imposing curfews in several towns to remove militants from the area as well as to remove barricades and trenches.

Clashes during operations against the militant group have seen casualties among Turkish security forces, militants and some locals.

Most recently, Specialized Sergeant Vedat Öz, who was wounded on Feb. 18 in clashes with the PKK in Sur, a district in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, succumbed to his injuries late on March 10, the Turkish General Staff said in a written statement, extending condolences to the friends and family of the soldier.

Öz was being treated at the Gülhane Military Academy (GATA) in Ankara when he died.

The General Staff said in a separate written statement early on March 11 that seven PKK militants were killed in Sur on March 10, after a 103-day military campaign in the southeastern district ended on March 9.

“Overall, 279 members of the separatist terrorist organization have been killed in operations in Sur, 206 barricades have been removed, and 365 improvised explosive devices [IEDs] have been deactivated,” the General Staff said in a written statement on March 10, released as a first official report of the number of militants killed during large-scale operations in Sur, which has been under a blanket curfew since Dec. 2, 2015.

The army also stated that patrols, searches and checks were still ongoing in Sur to fill trenches and remove barricades created by PKK militants.

Sur is the restive central district in the city of Diyarbakır where prominent lawyer and human rights activist Tahir Elçi was shot dead during clashes that erupted after gunmen opened fire at a police post on Nov. 28, 2015.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-interior-minister-signals-new-wave-of-anti-pkk-operations.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96351&NewsCatID=338

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Turkish Artillery Shells Town in Syria's Raqqa, Civilian Casualties Reported

Sat Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish Army's artillery units continued to target concentration centers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) in a newly-captured town in the Northern part of Aleppo, leaving several civilians dead or wounded.

The Turkish artillery shelling of the Kurdish strongholds inside the town of Tal Abyadh near border with Turkey ended in the killing or wounding of several civilians.

Reports said on Friday that deployment of a large number of ready-to-fight forces only 40 kilometers from Raqqa and 60 kilometers from Deir Ezzur has enabled the Kurdish fighters to capture the two key cities in rapid large-scale operations in the near future.

"The SDF and YPG have kept advancing almost daily towards Raqqa and Deir Ezzur cities from the North while government troops are pressing on from the West," the sources said.

The YPG Kurds have recently bonded with the Damascus government. The Syrian army sent several arms cargoes to the YPG troops in the Northeastern province of Hasaka and trained the first group of Kurdish volunteer forces in the provincial capital city of Hasaka last month.

The SDF that is comprised of mainly Kurdish fighters as well as a few hundred Syrian Arab dissident forces have received trainings from the US and have been provided with scanty US-coalition air support in their battles in Raqqa province in Northeastern Syria; but in Northern and Northwestern battlefronts, they have been operating alongside the YPG and received the Russian air backup in their Aleppo wars that started with the conquest of Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates early in February.

Assisted by the Syrian army - that has along with popular forces and Hezbollah conquered almost all militant-held regions in Eastern, Southern, Western and Northwestern Aleppo province - and Russian air support, the Kurdish forces fighting against the terrorists in North-Northeast Aleppo province have been making striking advances against the Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and ISIL terrorists in February.

In February, the YPG and SDF fighters prevailed over the terrorists in the highly strategic city of Tal Rifat in Northern Aleppo and captured the city.

The YPG, who enjoyed the Russian air backup, prevailed the terrorists' positions from the Western direction and shook hand with the Kurdish units of the SDF who entered the town from the North.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000420

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Academic warns of integration problems due to low-skilled Syrians in Turkey

March/12/2016

While 70 percent of Syrians in Germany are university graduates, only two percent of Syrians in Turkey are skilled workers, a senior academic at Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center has said, warning over the difficulties of integrating Syrians in the country.

Murat Erdoğan predicted that the number of Syrians in Turkey is forecast to exceed four million by 2026.

“We are talking about a Turkey where 45,000 Syrian babies are born every year. If we fail to manage this process it will be disastrous,” he said, briefing a parliamentary sub-committee on refugee rights.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan announced on his Twitter account that as of March 10, the official number of Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey since the civil war broke out has reached 2,733,784. Of these refugees, 282,815 are being hosted at 26 camps around the country, he added.

Speaking at the parliamentary committee earlier in the week, Erdoğan said the total number of refugees in Turkey - including those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Iraq - was around 3,200,000.

Over 52 percent of all refugees in Turkey are under 18, he added.

“Over the last four years, a very sizable portion of these children have not had any schooling. We also know that the quality of schooling for those who have seen education is not very good. Some have been living in camps for four years. Supposedly they are being given Turkish courses, but many cannot even speak enough Turkish to be able to say their names,” Erdoğan said.

“Every day 125 babies are born. This number will increase and I think we will be talking about more than four million Syrians by 2026,” he added, urging the authorities to take stronger measures to deal with potential problems.

“The number of Syrians in Turkey with a skilled profession appears to be only two percent. In Germany, the number of Syrians who are university graduates is 70 percent, while only five percent are illiterate. In Turkey, however, 50 percent of Syrian refugees are illiterate and only 40,000 of them say they are university graduates,” Erdoğan told the committee.

“These children, who come from traumatized regions and who have fled bombs and executioners, will soon become discriminated people in Turkey. They will become people from whom others distance themselves, asking ‘Is he Syrian?’ This will lead to other kinds of aggression and disharmony,” he warned.

“So far the number of Syrians with a criminal record is low. But many are only now getting adapted to the system. They have come from a dictatorship and criminal incidents are only likely to increase. We need to be prepared for this,” Erdoğan added.

hurriyetdailynews.com/academic-warns-of-integration-problems-due-to-low-skilled-syrians-in-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96321&NewsCatID=347

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EU-Turkey deal ‘may break migrant trafficking chain in 10 days’

Murat Yetkin - ISTANBUL

March/12/2016

Refugees and migrants are helped by volunteers on their arrival aboard a dinghy at Mytilene on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. AP Photo

Refugees and migrants are helped by volunteers on their arrival aboard a dinghy at Mytilene on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. AP Photo

The migrant trafficking chain into the EU between Turkey and Greece could be broken within “10 days at most” if a final deal can be reached between Ankara and Brussels, a ranking government official told the Hürriyet Daily News on March 11.

The official, who is closely involved in the issue but asked not to be named, said that once the political framework is settled with the EU it would be possible for the Turkish and Greek government to establish a “legal framework” that could “break the chain of migrant trafficking” in a short period of time.

Underlining that the Turkey-EU meeting in Brussels scheduled for March 18 was of key importance, the official described the possible mechanism between Turkey and Greece to stop the illegal migrant flow across the Aegean Sea as follows:

- The entire process has to work on a strong legal basis. That would mean an implementation agreement between Turkey and Greece after a deal is reached between Ankara and Brussels. “We think the EU might have some counter proposals and we are ready to discuss these for the sake of an agreement that could take pressure off the shoulders of Turkey, Greece and the EU as soon as possible. We don’t want the Aegean Sea to be mentioned with the deaths of unfortunate Syrian or other migrants in the hands of human traffickers. The NATO patrol in the Aegean, in which both Turkish and Greek navies are taking part, is proof of this wish,” the official said.

* Once a deal with the EU is reached, Ankara wants to propose taking back all migrants who leave Turkey for a Greek islands - regardless of their nationality, Syrian or otherwise. “This needs the full cooperation of the Turkish and Greek immigration agencies on the Turkish coast and on the Greek islands. If agreed, we will take all refugees, put them on ferries, treat them well with food, tea and coffee, and them take back to the Turkish coast. The EU will pay the cost of this operation,” the source said.

* A different procedure would be applied for Syrians, owing to the situation of war across the border. “As we cannot send the refugees back to civil war-hit Syria, some of them could stay in the camps and some of them could stay with their relatives in Turkey, all in cooperation with the [United Nations Refugees High Commission] UNHCR. Regarding those from other countries – such as Afghanistan, Somalia, or any other place - we will apply U.N. deportation principles, put them onboard planes and send back to their own countries,” the official stated.

* He also cited one key condition for this process to go into effect: No migrants should be left on designated Greek islands before Turkey starts taking migrants back. “We believe that if can implement this plan then we can break the chain of migrant trafficking across the Aegean into the EU within a week or at most 10 days. Once it is heard that all migrants smuggled to Greece are sent back to Turkey and they cannot reach the EU, the route will lose all its attraction and control will be secured much more easily,” the official said.

In this week’s meeting between Turkey and EU leaders in Brussels on March 7, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu presented a new proposal to stop illegal migration from war-torn Syria and other countries, including the sharing of all migrants who used the Aegean-Balkan route in order to double the 3 billion euro fund, reactivating EU membership negotiations with Turkey, and securing free travel for Turkish citizens within Schengen states.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 18, as part of the EU Council meeting.

hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-turkey-deal-may-break-migrant-trafficking-chain-in-10-days.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96341&NewsCatID=409

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Local rivalry key to understanding Turkey’s Kurdish question

March/12/2016

Party members stand during the second general assembly of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) at Ahmet Taner Kışlalı Sports Hall in Ankara on Jan. 24, 2016. AFP Photo

Party members stand during the second general assembly of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) at Ahmet Taner Kışlalı Sports Hall in Ankara on Jan. 24, 2016. AFP Photo

Turkey’s Kurdish issue is often framed simply as “Turkish military vs. Kurdish militants.” Since the collapse of the peace process last summer, hundreds of soldiers, militants and innocent civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands of locals displaced from their homes. Since 1980 tens of thousands have died and swathes of southeastern Anatolia have been militarized.

While there is no doubting the ferocity of clashes between the state and militants, internal Kurdish dynamics are also key to understanding how the issue will develop. Those dynamics are the subject of “Rival Kurdish Movements in Turkey: Transforming Ethnic Conflict,” an interesting new book by Mustafa Gürbüz, a policy fellow at George Mason University and adjunct lecturer at the American University in Washington DC.

Gürbüz focuses on competition between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), pro-Kurdish political parties, the outlawed Islamic Kurdish militant group Hizbullah, and the Gülen movement. He spoke to HDN about his book (reviewed here) and about how Turkey’s Kurdish question can return from the brink amid the current surge in violence.

The book explores how competition in civil society and civic institutions transforms conflict, forcing various Kurdish actors to moderate and try to build their reputation as non-violent actors. Explain what you found doing the research for the book.

I suggest going beyond the idea of the "Turkish state vs. Kurds." I look at the local dynamics between other actors, analyzing complex local engagements. Civic society competition and the culture of local competition can provide institutional mechanisms in which various Kurdish actors see their best interests lying in reputation-building as non-violent actors, instead of waging violence.

Of course one could ask a legitimate question about why competition should be through non-violence - why not “outbidding” through violence instead? Why not competing through attacks on the Turkish state? After all, this is the case for the rivalry between Hamas and the PLO, for example, or between al-Qaeda and ISIS. But such outbidding through violence is mostly observed in the "emergence" period of revolutionary groups. It was seen in the PKK's early years, but not today.

The nature of the contender groups in the local context also matters. The PKK has competed with the non-violent Gülen movement, for example. In this context of competition it could destroy the PKK's credibility if it uses too much violence. The book also looks at the case of [outlawed Kurdish Islamic militant group] Hizbullah. Hizbullah is much weaker than the PKK, so why would it now try to outbid the PKK in violence? In fact it has been non-violent activism that has contributed to the revival of Hizbullah from the ashes in recent years.

In the book you describe how this non-violent civic competition takes many forms. In the competition for public support ethnic nationalists soften their approach to religion, while religious groups with links to Hizbullah start to utilize “Kurdish” themes. What are some practical examples of this happening on the ground?

A striking example is the competition over Kurdish Islam. The ethnic-focused political parties started to use Kurdish imams in the 1990s. Back then the PKK's engagement with Islam was more likely to be just a short-term political or tactical shift. But it transformed into a longer term political strategy. It was explicit in Öcalan's writings and in the peace message that he gave in 2013 at the start of the peace process between the PKK and the Turkish state. There was an increasing expression of religion used by the Marxist PKK revolutionaries.

On the other hand, it is interesting to see the language of Hizbullah changing. This was a kind of reaction to the PKK's outreach to Islam. Hizbullah activists claimed the authenticity of Kurdish Islam, but through ethnic and symbolic nationalism. It placed a new emphasis on itself as "Kurdish" as well as "Islamic." One striking example is the figure of [20th century Kurdish Sunni Muslim theologian] Said Nursi. The revolutionary Kurdish movement and Hizbullah both employed Said Nursi in an interesting way. The PKK discourse transformed him into a revolutionary figure and the Hizbullah discourse turned him into an Islamic and ethnic Kurdish figure. These two narratives contesting Said Nursi was also a message to the Nursi-inspired Gülen movement, because Said Nursi was long seen as the Gülen movement's intellectual figure.

So a local dynamic over Said Nursi symbolism was an expression of competition over Kurdish Islam in the region.

How was the unprecedented performance of the Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP] in the June 2015 general election and the collapse of the peace process in the weeks afterward related to this question of internal Kurdish dynamics? Many people have remarked on a possible rivalry between HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

We first need to put Öcalan into context. As a captured leader of the PKK movement, Öcalan has been striking a balance between the radical flank of guerrilla leaders in the mountains and the political leaders in Kurdish parties. So Öcalan as a balancer is an opportunity for the state; officials can negotiate with him in a way that they cannot do with guerrilla leaders.

The peace process was seen as an opportunity for Kurdish politicians to emphasize non-violent engagement and emphasize how they are supporting peace, supporting a united umbrella of a democratic Turkey that fits in with the "democratic republic" thesis of Abdullah Öcalan. The successful election campaigns of the HDP after two years of ceasefire and a peace process were the fruit of this engagement. Look at the numbers: It doubled its vote from 6.5 percent to 13 percent in June 2015, getting the attention of the Turkish left and many conservative Kurds. This success gave unprecedented reach and influence to young leaders like Selahattin Demirtaş and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who gained prominence because they were increasingly perceived as reasonable actors for a permanent peace.

The complexity of the issue lies here. In a way the PKK has had a monopoly over Kurdish politics for some time, so the shift to multivocality within pro-Kurdish organizations is not easy. Traditional players are being replaced by a variety of actors under the forces of social competition. The issue is now going beyond Öcalan. Öcalan has become a symbolic figure while the guerrilla forces and pro-Kurdish politicians have more of an ability to play the game.

So I feel that the PKK guerrilla leaders are now engaged in a major internal competition to claim the HDP's electoral victory last summer. They claim it was their own victory, but actually it was an unprecedented challenge to PKK hegemony.

Still, I was in Diyarbakır on the day of the June election. Kurdish youths were chanting the slogans of guerrillas and I didn't hear the name of Demirtaş. I guess it was a message that the youth organizations, the core activists, remain under the influence of more radical flanks. There is a competition going on and those slogans were a clear message to me that this electoral victory would be claimed by both the politicians and the guerrilla forces.

Today of course Turkey’s southeast is once again shaken by violent clashes and the ruling AKP is talking about lifting the immunity of HDP deputies. What’s the prospect that Kurdish actors can get back into the dynamic of non-violent civil society competition?

There are two things to address in this question. One is about how to approach these links between moderate parties and radical flanks. The second is about reviving civic competition, in which the AKP is also an actor.

Regarding the first issue, we need to understand that this problem is not peculiar to the Kurdish case. In general, revolutionary movements develop a two-fold strategy. On the one hand they maintain a strong guerrilla force to wage violence against the state; on the other hand they aim to build institutional bases in civil society through political parties and non-violent organizations. In my book I argue that increasing institutional activism in the civic sphere enables revolutionaries to build both legitimacy and institutional credibility. When they gain credibility they get benefits from this tactical shift towards moderation. As they benefit more, they see their interests lie more in non-violent activism. Also their institutional resources - personnel, money, material resources - are transformed.

So the issue needs to be seen as how we can make the radicals get engaged; how to make them understand that their best interests lie in non-violent activism. My argument is that we need to develop a smart strategy. Strategic engagement appears to be key to transforming ethnic conflict.

Let me put it this way: The PKK did not have to make an Islamic opening. Likewise, Hizbullah was not forced into publishing pro-Kurdish journals. These strategic moves were not necessary but the larger context encouraged these actors' decisions. Ideological movements are often reluctant to pursue these broader engagement strategies because of their deep concern about keeping the purity of their ideologies. But these movements took courageous steps to make strategic engagements. Such steps could be extremely important in the final outcome. Moderation can emerge in the field of civic competition.

The other issue is about how civic competition can be revived after the violence of the past few months. There are major challenges to reviving the peace process because there are the same faces, the same people, and there is an increasing mistrust between the parties. But the first step now should be seeking a ceasefire - even just a tactical one. Conflict transformation literature teaches us that a small tactical step can sometimes turn into a big strategy. The second critical thing will be the emergence of strong political leaders, moderate voices such as Demirtaş and others. I call this upcoming era a "post-Öcalan" era in Kurdish politics. They now have a more charismatic voice among Kurdish youth and Turkish leftist youths and this is an important asset.

But Öcalan is still this totemic figure. All activists constantly invoke him and even for these new generations his word is still an order. Even though some have only ever known him behind bars, he still has this enormous symbolic importance.

How Öcalan plays the game is important. He needs to balance between the two. I expect that if there is a ceasefire coming it will be through the channel of Öcalan. Because that's the only channel that the pro-Kurdish politicians and the guerrilla forces can utilize, as well as the state and the AKP leaders. But what about local dynamics within the HDP or within the guerrillas in the mountains? What about changes in the situation in Syria and the PYD, which are also shaping the wider region? All of this is really beyond Öcalan.

The situation in Syria is growing in importance for Turkey's Kurdish issue. How has it shaped the issue up to today and how will it shape it in the future?

The Kurdish issue has become a global phenomenon with the Syrian war. Over the next decade, I expect these global and local dynamics to enable Kurdish actors to express their self-determination points more clearly. They will be emboldened and more powerful in terms of discourse and in terms of resources to claim the right of self-determination. If we look at the cantons of the Syrian Kurds across Turkey's border, they are now increasingly perceived as a legitimate local government by the international community. Turkey may not accept it but this is the case. In Europe and the U.S. this is a big shift.

After the fight against ISIS, it is very interesting to see there are local and global implications to the “secularism” of Kurds. The “secular self-determination” claim has gotten Western elite support in the wake of the radical Islamic threat. I expect Kurdish ethno-nationalism to become symbolically and resourcefully more powerful than ever before. It's entirely possible to see de-facto autonomy among Kurds in Syria - like the initial phase of the [Kurdistan Regional Government] KRG in northern Iraq. In the Turkish context this would have consequences, which could lead to the southeast becoming more independent in its governance - at least at local levels. But European-style federalism? There are big challenges to that. Holding a plebiscite as happened in Scotland seems unlikely. Such an official change in Turkish policy may only be seen after a formally independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

hurriyetdailynews.com/interview-local-rivalry-key-to-understanding-turkeys-kurdish-question-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96320&NewsCatID=386

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Europe

Kyrgyzstan Experiencing Mosque Building Boom

MARCH 12, 2016

Islam is experiencing a revival in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, with the number of mosques rising from 39 at independence in 1,991 to some 2,300 today. A field study by doctoral student Yanti Hölzchen of the collaborative research center ResourceCultures has found that at the same time, there is a desire among Kyrgyz of all ages to practice a moderate form of Islam – particularly among 20-40 year olds.

Hölzchen is investigating the role of religion in Kyrgyzstan, which as a nation is undergoing considerable change.

At independence, the focus was on creating a new national identity and on a return to Kyrgyz traditions. For several years, the discourse has been dominated by a reformed Islam imported primarily from Turkey, South Asia, and Saudi Arabia. Cultural anthropologist Professor Roland Hardenberg is researching this reorientation within the ResourceCultures collaborative research center – investigating the role of Muslim foundations, religious schools and mosques as drivers of change in today’s Kyrgyzstan.

Islam and other religions were suppressed in Soviet times. Mosques and religious schools were destroyed, religious gatherings banned, Islamic scholars were persecuted and religious rituals were prohibited. Towards the end of the Soviet era there were few Kyrgyz with significant knowledge of religious practices or of the holy scriptures; to be Muslim was increasingly an ethnic characteristic – a Kyrgyz was a Muslim by definition, even if he or she did not believe in God or drank alcohol.

The relatively sudden change in attitudes is reflected in the mosque building boom – but also in clothing, daily rituals and social ties, also subjects of Hardenberg’s research.

Hölzchen lived for twelve months in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and in the northeast of the country, living with local families, visiting mosques and madrasas, institutes of Theology, and Muslim foundations. She interviewed imams, practising Muslims, representatives of the media and of various Muslim institutions – exploring the reasons for the increase in mosque building, particularly in the past 15 years.

Nearly two-thirds of the mosques in the area Hölzchen investigated were financed by funds from Saudi Arabia, the rest from other Arab countries; but in many cases, village communities wanting a mosque used Kyrgyz foundations as mediators to arrange funding from abroad. The building boom also reflects the country’s economic development – many Kyrgyz cement their new wealth by building a mosque. And villagers working together make an important contribution to constructing a village place of worship. The way was paved by laws guaranteeing religious freedom introduced in 1991. They allow religious representatives and Muslim foundations from outside Kyrgyzstan to carry out their activities in the country; and native Kyrgyz can undergo religious training abroad, be part of a Muslim network, and make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Knowledge of the Koran and of Muslim values is being disseminated via mosques, madrasas, theological institutes and the activities of both Kyrgyz and foreign foundations.

“The desire to learn all this, to teach and practice Islam by the book, is increasing in Kyrgyzstan, particularly among 20-40 year olds,” Hölzchen said.

Religious knowledge is becoming a resource; Hölzchen described how it creates new communities and changes existing social relationships, values, and practices. She observed for instance how earlier Kyrgyz Muslim practices are increasingly being replaced by new ones which are more closely oriented towards the Koran and Sharia law.

She said Islam has positive connotations in Kyrgyzstan: “Most Kyrgyz see it as a peaceful religion which urges its followers to morally better behavior. Many people say that today sales of cigarettes and alcohol are down, and that people are less aggressive. But it must be said that there is considerable fear of terrorism and extremism; and a lot of events are held – some of them in conjunction with international NGOs – to explain about extremist Islam.”

Generally speaking, Christians and Muslims coexist peacefully in Kyrgyzstan, said Hölzchen. “My hope for Kyrgyzstan is that the atmosphere of tolerance I experienced there remains.”

eurasiareview.com/12032016-kyrgyzstan-experiencing-mosque-building-boom/

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Ireland commemorates end of military mission in Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 12 2016

Ireland end mission in AfghanistanResolute Support (RS) Headquarters held a ceremony Sunday to mark the completion of the Irish Defense Forces military mission to Afghanistan, according to a statement by the alliance.

The statement further added Resolute Support Commander General John W. Nicholson and the command’s senior military and civilian leadership hosted the event.

Following 15 years of unbroken service with both the NATO ISAF and RS missions, the final contingent of seven Irish Defense Forces personnel will redeploy to Ireland, the alliance added.

To date, 226 Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers from the Irish Defense Forces have served in a variety of appointments within the Headquarters based in Kabul, Afghanistan.

From 2001 until 2012 the Irish Defense Forces held the senior Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) appointment in the NATO mission, where they led the Counter IED capability build-up based on over 3 decades of bomb disposal experience in Ireland and the Middle East.

In his speech Lieutenant General Timothy Radford, Deputy Commander RS, thanked the Irish Contingent for their “hard work, commitment, good humour and characteristic warmth that you have brought with you to Kabul.”

The Irish National Flag was lowered for the last time at HQ RS and handed over to Lt Col Rossa Mulcahy the Senior Irish Officer in Resolute Support.

khaama.com/ireland-commemorates-end-of-military-mission-in-afghanistan-0309

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Russia and Ukraine discuss prisoner transfers

11 Mar 2016

Ukraine has asked Russia to repatriate several high-profile prisoners, raising hopes for an exchange that could free controversial detainees caught up in the confrontation between the two countries.

The Russian ministry of justice confirmed on Friday that it has received a request to repatriate four Ukrainians serving jail terms in Russian jails. Meanwhile, it said the two countries are separately considering appeals from 13 Russians jailed in Ukraine to serve out sentences in their home country.

“The Russian and Ukrainian justice ministries are currently looking at the transfer of 13 Russian citizens, sentenced by Ukrainian courts, to serve out the rest of their sentences in Russian territory,” the ministry said.

The ministry said it would take 30 days to consider the Ukrainian request, and that any repatriation would be carried out under the 1983 convention on the transfer of sentenced prisoners.

Friday’s statement came a day after Aseniy Yatsenyuk, the Ukrainian prime minister, said he had ordered justice officials to inform the families of Oleg Sentsov, Yury Soloshenko, Alexander Kolchenko, and Gennady Afanasyev, about plans to bring them home.

The four men were jailed last year on what critics say were fabricated charges of terrorism designed to punish them for being pro-Ukrainian activists.

Mr Sentsov, Mr Kolchenko, and Mr Afanasyev were arrested in their native Crimea in May 2014 and accused of organising terror attacks against pro-Russian groups in region, which had been annexed from Ukraine by Russian troops two months earlier.

They denied the charges, saying they have been prosecuted for their support of the Maidan revolutionary movement that overthrew Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine, in February 2014.

Mr Sentsov, an up-and-coming film maker, and Mr Kolchenko, an anarchist political activist, received 20 and 10 years respectively.

Mr Afanasyev, who originally testified against his co-accused before withdrawing his testimony, saying it had been extracted under duress, was sentenced to seven years.

Mr Soloshenko, the 73-year old former director of a Ukrainian defence factory, was jailed for six years in October for attempting to smuggle missile components out of Russia.

Ukraine holds several high profile Russian prisoners, including Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, two self-confessed members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency who were captured in east Ukraine in May last year.

Although the prisoners in question to not include Nadia Savchenko, the Ukrainian army officer charged with murder, her lawyers have said that they hope she may eventually be released in similar deal.

Mark Feygin, a lawyer for Ms Savchenko, said it was premature to say whether there is deal forming to resolve the case of Mr Sentsov and others.

“If here is some kind of deal, however, it would obviously be a very healthy and positive thing,” he said by telephone. “I think Nadia’s only chance of getting home would be in a political decision probably involving a similar exchange,” he added.

Lieutenant Savchenko, 34, denies murdering two Russian journalists in a battle in east Ukraine in June 2014. A Russian court is expected to pass sentence in her case on March 20 and 21.

Miss Savchenko suspended a life-threatening “dry” hunger strike in protest at her detention after receiving a letter purporting to be from Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, on Thursday.

The letter later turned out to have been written by practical joker who had previously faked a telephone call between Elton John and Vladimir Putin.

Mr Feygin said the “prank” was actually a “provocation organised by the intelligence services,” and that Ms Savchenko had halted her hunger strike for numerous reasons unconnected to the letter.

telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/12191197/Russia-and-Ukraine-discuss-prisoner-transfers.html

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North America

Buddhist monk mistaken for Muslim, attacked in US

Mar 11, 2016

In a hate-fuelled attack, a 66-year-old Buddhist monk was assaulted in the US with the attacker apparently mistaking him for a Muslim.

Kozen Sampson, a Buddhist monk, said he was attacked during a visit to Hood River in Oregon state.

The brown robe-clad Sampson's car door was kicked into his head by a man who abused him and then fled on foot, according to the Hood River Police Department.

Police described the assailant as a white male with brown hair. Investigators are probing the incident that took place on February 29 as a possible hate crime.

Sampson told the New York Daily News he suffered a small cut, some memory loss and was "stunned for a minute or two" after the man attacked him on his trip to take his dogs to obedience training.

"I know that that was an angry thought that this person had, but Muslims have to deal with this every day," said Sampson.

"Could you imagine living with such anger? Our hope is that we can find a way that people can release this anger and fear," he said.

"It's really not about me. It's about loving kindness and taking care of all of our people," Sampson said.

He said the man, who seemingly thought he was Muslim based on his clothing, attacked him for no reason.

"I pulled over, someone ran up and yelled. I turned around, they kicked the door, hit me in the side of the face and knocked my head into the frame of the car," Sampson was quoted as saying by KATU-TV. He said the man also abused Muslims.

But instead of anger and hatred towards that man, Sampson said he only feels forgiveness and compassion.

"I don't know the Islamic faith well, but I do know that Muslims are our brothers and sisters and I would encourage everyone to just take a hard look at how supportive are you of all God's children," Sampson said.

deccanherald.com/content/533875/buddhist-monk-mistaken-muslim-attacked.html

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Trump's Islam comments draw attacks as Republicans discover civility

REUTERS, Mar 12, 2016

MIAMI: United States Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump came under fire from his rivals on Thursday for saying Muslims hate the US at a debate where the gut-punching attacks of earlier forums gave way to a suddenly civil tone with a serious focus on the issues.

Trump, who has voiced skepticism about US military involvement abroad in the past, for the first time said America's effort against the militant Islamic State (IS) might require between 20,000 and 30,000 US troops, a number similar to what some Republican hawks have proposed.

The CNN-hosted debate at the University of Miami was crucial, coming days before votes in Florida and Ohio that will determine whether US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Governor John Kasich will be able to continue with their increasingly long-shot candidacies.

With previous assaults on Trump having failed to knock him down, Rubio and US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas chose a more civil approach, raising questions about Trump's policy positions without attacking him personally.

Trump, for his part, used the debate to try to attract establishment Republicans, saying he is generating support from non-Republicans who could help carry the party to victory in the Nov 8 election. And he eschewed the inflammatory, personal attacks on his rivals that have drawn both cheers and boos in prior debates.

“The Republican Party has a great chance to embrace millions of people that it's never known before. They are coming by the millions. We should seize that opportunity,” he said.

But he stuck to positions that many establishment Republicans reject, such as his belief, as stated in television interviews, that followers of Islam “hate us".

“We have a serious problem of hate. There is tremendous hate,” said Trump, who has proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.

Rubio, Cruz and Kasich said the US needs to maintain good relations with Muslim countries in the Middle East to help in the fight against IS.

“We are going to have to work with people in the Muslim faith even as Islam faces a serious crisis within it,” Rubio said.

Rubio also defended American Muslims as patriots.

“If you go anywhere in the world you're going see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims,” he said.

“Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America,” he added.

Focus on conservative credentials

Rubio shifted to a more positive tone after his anti-Trump tirades of the past two weeks. But he and Cruz repeatedly sought to raise questions about Trump's policy positions from trade to the Middle East.Cruz pointed to areas where Trump has been a late-comer to the conservative movement, such as his past support for Democratic causes and candidates.

He also noted how Trump has asked his supporters at rallies to demonstrate support by raising their right hand, a scene that produced photographs that some critics said looked like Nazi Germany.

“At Donald's rallies recently he's taken to asking people in the crowd to pledge their support to him. I have to say I think that's exactly backwards. We are here pledging our support to you, not the other way around,” Cruz said.

Trump, in discussing how he would consider placing between 20,000 to 30,000 US troops on the ground to defeat IS, vowed to complete the mission quickly and bring troops home to focus on rebuilding the United States.

“We really have no choice, we have to knock out ISIS,” Trump said. “I would listen to the generals, but I'm hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000.”

It was the most detailed view yet of Trump's thinking about IS.

He has previously talked of “knocking the hell” out of IS without offering specifics.

Next Tuesday's Florida and Ohio Republican primaries both award delegates on a winner-take-all basis, meaning that the winner of the popular vote is awarded the state's entire slate of delegates.

So far, 25 states and Puerto Rico have held nominating contests, and Trump has amassed a solid lead in the delegate race.

According to the Associated Press, Trump has 458 delegates, followed by Cruz at 359, Rubio at 151, and Kasich at 54.

Clinching the Republican nomination requires 1,237 delegates.

There are a total of 367 delegates at stake on Tuesday, including a total of 165 in Florida and Ohio.

Trump on Thursday appeared to try to appear more presidential, something he has pledged often in the past to do so but never has.

On Thursday he modulated both the tone of his voice and the tenor of his remarks, which in prior debates have drawn sharp criticism for being vulgar.

“I would say this, we're all in this together. We're going to come up with solutions, we're going to find the answers to things, and so far I can't believe how civil it has been up here,” Trump said.

The two-hour debate included a sober discussion of pressing foreign and domestic policy challenges, including illegal immigration, reform of Social Security, free trade deals, the role of the federal government in education and Israel.

dawn.com/news/1245013/trumps-islam-comments-draw-attacks-as-republicans-discover-civility

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Donald Trump Wins Human Rights Commission's Islamophobia Prize

Mar 12, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Chairman of the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission Massoud Shajareh announced that the leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has won the commission's prize of the world's biggest Islamophobia supporter.

"We have been trying to prevent the spread of Islamophobia for years and granting this prize in four different sections to the candidates: Islamophobia in Britain, Islamophobia in the media, Islamophobia in news, movies and books, and Islamophobia in the world," Shajareh said on Saturday.

"This year, British Prime Minister David Cameron won the prize for Islamophobia inside Britain; SKY NEWS presenter Kay Burley won the prize of Islamophobia in news; the Homeland series in the movie section; the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo in the media section; and Donal Trump was the winner of the world's biggest Islamophobia supporter prize," he added.

Representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations joined other leaders of the American Muslim community at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., earlier this week to demand that Donald Trump apologize for his latest Islamophobic claim that "Islam hates us".

The American Muslim leaders outlined how Trump's Islamophobic rhetoric, and that of other Republican officials, is to blame at least in part for the recent unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim hate incidents nationwide.

Last Wednesday, Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "I think Islam hates us." "We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us — anybody."

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941222000564

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Four injured in shooting at Muslim cemetery in Canada

Mar 12, 2016

COCHRANE: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said four men were shot at a Muslim cemetery just outside of Calgary on Friday afternoon.

Sgt. Jack Poitras said the shooting happened near Cochrane and the injured people were being treated at Calgary hospitals.

A police spokeswoman at the scene said all suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said there was a funeral at the cemetery and a group of people remained at the site following the service.

Poitras said it appears the shooting involved people who were in the group.

Zouheir Osman, who is in charge of the cemetery, said a service for a 21-year-old man was taking place before the shooting. He said he left shortly before the shots were fired.

Osman said he didn't believe the shooting had anything to do with the man being remembered at the funeral.

However, Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy said he spoke with two people who attended the funeral and they suspect the shooting was gang-related.

“It did not seem to be a hate crime,” Soharwardy said. “It looks like it was a turf war or gang war or some type of revenge.”

The funeral was for a Pakistani man named Hamza Nazir, said Soharwardy, who knows the family. He said he doesn't know the cause of the young man's death.

Despite police assuring the public there was no danger, a heavily armed police tactical team remained outside the Calgary Foothills Hospital on Friday evening.

dawn.com/news/1245217/four-injured-in-shooting-at-muslim-cemetery-in-canada

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-arabia-tells-un-human-rights-council-‘shariah-is-sacrosanct’/d/106631

 

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