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Islamic World News ( 3 Sept 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Arabia’s Influence on Indonesia’s Growing Islamic Extremism

















Hajj pilgrims reflect on the journey of a lifetime, US Pilgrims: Hajj Shows Tolerance, Peace and Patience among Muslims

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Saudi Arabia’s Influence on Indonesia’s Growing Islamic Extremism

US Pilgrims: Hajj Shows Tolerance, Peace and Patience among Muslims

Angela Merkel Defends Refugee Policy, Says Islam Belongs To Germany

Myanmar Urges Rohingya Muslims to Help Hunt Insurgents amid Deadly Violence

Pakistan Concerned Over Plight of Rohingya Muslims

 

Southeast Asia

Saudi Arabia’s Influence on Indonesia’s Growing Islamic Extremism

Jakim: Refer Illegitimate Children Issues to Islamic Law

Muslim Medical Body Urges Myanmar to Allow Aid Workers In

Indonesia intervenes in effort to halt Myanmar violence against Rohingya Muslims

Rise of identity politics causing split in Indonesia, says researcher

Petrol bomb thrown at Myanmar embassy in Central Jakarta

Jokowi between Brics and a hard place: The Jakarta Post columnist

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North America

US Pilgrims: Hajj Shows Tolerance, Peace and Patience among Muslims

Victimized Muslims Get No Sympathy from U.S. Media

Toronto imam warns of 'fake news' after photo used in anti-Muslim article

Gulen pushes FETO members on anti-Turkey campaigns

American Muslims turn to Jewish experts for help with security at their mosques

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Europe

Angela Merkel Defends Refugee Policy, Says Islam Belongs To Germany

Violence against Rohingya Muslims Protested In Berlin

Islamophobic attack targets mosque in Netherlands

Why A Former Member of Holland’s Anti-Islamic Party Is Tweeting From Mecca?

Australia defends hard-line immigration policy as keeping out ‘undesirables’

Britain to send more troops to Iraq despite recent victories against Daesh

Germany rejects Turkey’s asset freeze request: Report

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South Asia

Myanmar Urges Rohingya Muslims to Help Hunt Insurgents amid Deadly Violence

Camps Reach Capacity as Rohingya Muslims Pour Into Bangladesh

Kabul offers peace dialogue to Pakistan

Ghani informs regarding investments worth billions of dollars on Afghan Air Force

Islamabad reacts at President Ghani’s remarks of ‘Peace with Pakistan First’

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Pakistan

Pakistan Concerned Over Plight of Rohingya Muslims

People Urged To Sacrifice Ego by Pakistan President to Bring Peace in Lives

'Pakistan will play its due role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan'

Gen Bajwa pledges army's full support for development of Balochistan: ISPR

Will face courts in Benazir murder case: Musharraf

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Arab World

More ISIL Terrorists Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Syrian Troops Reportedly Kill 120 Daesh Terrorists In Hama Province

Notorious ISIL Head-Chopper Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Saudi Arabia condemns Myanmar’s Rohingya attacks

Syrian Army Imposes Control over Terrorists' Main Passageway in Eastern Damascus

Arab Media: ISIL after Safe Haven in North Africa

Gov't Forces Tighten Noose on Terrorists in Central Syria

Government forces to reach Daesh-held Dayr al-Zawr in two days: Governor

Daesh evacuation bus convoy split into two by strikes in Syria, coalition says

Iraqi forces nab over 250 Daesh terrorists hidden among refugees

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India

Terrorism Is Biggest Enemy Of Mankind, Says Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

Pakistan resorts to ceasefire violation in Poonch district along LoC

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Mideast

Ben Dagher: We Will Not Allow Iran to Have A Foothold In Yemen

Netanyahu’s Wife Undergoes Lie Detector Test over Graft

Iran’s new defence minister says priority is to boost missile program

Houthi militias strengthen forces in Sanaa and surroundings

Yemeni forces kill five Saudi troops in border areas

Capable manpower can solve all problems: Ayatollah Khamenei

Iran: UN rights report political, based on misinformation

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Africa

Boko Haram Terrorists Kill 18 People in Northeast Nigeria

Somali Militants Kill 10 Troops in Bulogadud Base

Al-Shabab bombing kills 12 in Somalia's Puntland

Nigerians Should Focus On Values Which Unite, Buhari Advises

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-arabia’s-influence-on-indonesia’s-growing-islamic-extremism/d/112429

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Saudi Arabia’s Influence on Indonesia’s Growing Islamic Extremism

09/01/2017

LONDON—It went up in July, a 100-foot-tall testament to the fearless and fearsome warrior who became a god. And now it’s wrapped in a gigantic white sheet.

The statue of Guan Yu – a third-century Chinese General revered for his bravery and loyalty – met its undignified fate last month in the Indonesian province of East Java. Because of Guan Yu’s significance to Buddhism and Confucianism, which worship him as a god, hardline Islamic groups called it a blasphemous behemoth, took to the streets, and threatened to remove it. In response to the controversy, leaders at the Chinese Confucian temple where the statue stands decided to cover it.

This may sound like a strange turn of events for Indonesia, a diverse archipelago of at least 17,000 thousand islands which has developed the national motto “unity in diversity.” Perhaps because of that diversity, the world’s most populous Muslim nation at 260 million strong is known for its practice of a moderate, multicultural form of Islam – one that has long respected the rights of ethnic minorities, including the Chinese that make up less than five percent of the population.

In the past few years, however, it has started to change. The Guan Yu showdown is just the latest in a series of clashes which have destroyed or defaced a number of statues. This growing profile of Islamic fundamentalism is unprecedented. It has led to legislative proposals to ban alcohol, the imposition of Sharia law in some regions on non-Christians, the recent imprisonment of a rising political star – and at least 2,000 Indonesians who have trained in Syria to fight for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

But the good news, a well-known Indonesian political expert tells me, is that “These issues are all at the local level – limited to more-conservative regions – and not the national level. It’s all about local dynamics.” Indeed, a recent survey of the general Indonesian population conducted by SMRC Polling found that just two percent of Indonesians have sympathy for ISIS while 95% reject it. Whether or not local Muslim extremism will go national is uncertain. But what is undeniable is that this rising instability in the world’s third-largest democracy can be traced back directly to Saudi Arabia.

The two nations have long found themselves on opposite sides of religious divide. Nothing quite embodies this split like Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), a religious organization founded nearly a century ago as an alternative to the hardline form of Islam found in Saudi Arabia. With over 30 million members, it has become the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia and played a critical role in the country’s history (one of its chairmen became President in 1999). Throughout its existence, NU has used that position to counter extremist groups.

But NU’s influence in Indonesian public life, while still significant, has steadily eroded in recent years. The cause lies with a growing number of Saudi Arabian acolytes that practice an ultra-extreme form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, the basis for the most virulent forms of Islamic extremism around the world. For the uninitiated, Wahhabism advocates a medieval interpretation of the Koran, rejects modernity in all forms, and promotes, in the words of Saudi Muslim scholar Ahmed Ali, that any non-Wahhabis (including Christians, Jews, Confucians, and Shiite Muslims) “be hated, be persecuted, even killed.”

As I wrote in 2015, Saudi Arabia has reportedly spent $200 billion over the past three decades funding Wahhabi religious schools throughout the Muslim world. As former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it in a cable released by Wikileaks in 2009, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide ... a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups.” Riyadh-directed religious funding has sowed the seeds of political extremism from Paris to Pakistan — and is now working to establish that same foothold in Indonesia.

As the Boston Globe reported earlier this year, Saudi Arabia has supported more than 100 boarding schools and 150 mosques across Indonesia. But the center of attention remains the Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic (LIPIA), an Arabic-speaking, gender-segregated, and tuition-free university in Jakarta – where, as the Globe put it, “students learn an ultra-conservative form of Islam that favors hand amputation for thieves, stoning for adulterers, and death for gays and blasphemers.” The most promising students receive funding to continue their studies in Riyadh, and have gone on to become influential teachers, ministers, and right-wing political leaders.

Over the past fifteen years, these efforts have started to yield dividends. Last year, a study led by Dr. Didin Syafruddin of Jakarta’s Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University across five of Indonesia’s 34 provinces found that nearly 80 percent of Islamic education teachers support implementing Sharia law – “causing alarm,” as Voice of America reported, “among some moderate Muslim groups.” Meanwhile, local governments have passed nearly 500 local ordinances – from curfews to headscarf requirements to alcohol bans – based on the concepts of Sharia. Again, these developments are local and regional. They haven’t gone national – yet.

But these changing preferences have given rise to new civil society groups that promote a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Islamic vigilantes like Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) have grown rapidly in the past few years. As Karen Brooks, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, recently put it, this has led to a “troubling erosion of tolerance toward minorities in Indonesia.” A recent electoral campaign for one of the country’s most important political offices shows why this is such a troubling development for Indonesian democracy.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Chinese and Christian governor of Jakarta known as Ahok, entered his re-election campaign with the support of the President, a solid lead in the polls and a staggering 76% approval rating. But he faced significant opposition from Islamic groups, particularly the FPI, which argued against his candidacy in explicitly religious terms. Muslim organizations organized rallies decrying him as a blasphemer. They argued on the streets and in the mosques that Muslim voters could only support Muslim candidates. And, perhaps most chillingly, they filed blasphemy charges against him in court.

This strategy worked. Ahok lost the election in April. In May, he was convicted on blasphemy charges and sent to a detention center. He will spend the next two years in prison.

As Islamic groups mobilized against Ahok, the government – led by President Joko Widodo, a close Ahok ally – started to mobilize against them. In early July, the Indonesian Parliament empowered the President to unilaterally ban organizations whose beliefs run counter to those expressed in the Indonesian constitution. The announcement drew significant criticism from both human rights groups and Islamic organizations. But it was to no avail: a week after the announcement, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which supports a global Islamic caliphate in direct contradiction of Indonesia’s pluralist state ideology, was banned.

The implications of Ahok’s defeat and its aftermath are troubling. Rising religious intolerance can lead to poisonous identity politics. Islamist groups are already using the tactics that took down Ahok on other minority governors throughout the country. The effects could be chilling both for minority officeholders and minority involvement in political life.

An early March visit to Indonesia by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – the first such visit in 47 years – didn’t help. He announced an additional $6 billion of Saudi investment in the island nation, including funding for renovations to the LIPIA campus in Jakarta and the creation of three more LIPIA campuses in the cities of Makassar, Surabaya, and Medan. As usual, he also promised to help fight extremism.

The Indonesian government needs to be careful not to let Riyadh pull the wool – or a white sheet – over its eyes. If it does, Guan Yu’s statue won’t be the only thing that harkens back to the Middle Ages.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/saudi-arabias-influence-on-indonesias-growing-islamic_us_5943f9b8e4b0d188d027fdbb

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US pilgrims: Hajj shows tolerance, peace and patience among Muslims

TARIQ AL-THAQAFI

4 September 2017

MINA: US pilgrims said the Hajj was an annual gathering in which pilgrims feel fraternity and unity. They also praised the Kingdom’s efforts to organize the crowds.

Arab News surveyed several American pilgrims in Mina to learn their feelings about the Hajj, and the organization and preparedness they witnessed.

At the residence of the American pilgrims, Annewil Junil Camsel, a US citizen residing in Haiti, said that the whole world appreciates the ability of the Saudis to organize and control such massive crowds. “The hosting of more than 2 million pilgrims over a few days, and in a narrow geographical area, is very difficult,” he said.

Camsel also said “Saudi society is good, tolerant and cooperative.” He mentioned that he had lost his way when trying to find his tent, and when he approached several Saudis for directions, they insisted on taking him to its location.

Mutawwif Zaki Kamal of the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Turkey and Muslims of Europe, Americas and Australia, said that the “35 office” provides all necessary facilities and guidance and helps pilgrims perform their pilgrimage with ease.

“The American pilgrims love reading books, visiting historical places in Makkah and reading the biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),” Kamal said. He also pointed out “American pilgrims are organized and committed to all schedules.”

American pilgrim Mu’in Al-Haq said he came from the southern United States and this was his seventh pilgrimage. He said he “used to organize travel arrangements for Americans coming to Makkah during the Hajj season,” and that he has a great desire to revisit the holy sites as often as he can.

“Hajj is a global forum that allows everyone to have the opportunity to meet and become acquainted with each other, and share experiences. It is a universal occasion that brings together Muslims who are tolerant, equal in dress, rights and duties,” said Aref Hussein, an American pilgrim from Atlanta.

Hussein, who works for a gas company, said this was the fourth time he had come to Makkah on Hajj, which has allowed him to see new developments every year.

“The presence of Muslims from all over the world in Makkah at a specific time reflects the true meaning of life, and also shows the pilgrim as a lover of peace and coexistence, who renounces hatred,” he said.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1155511/saudi-arabia

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Angela Merkel defends refugee policy, says Islam belongs to Germany

September 4, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said although “radical Islamists” are perpetrating acts of terror in Europe, she still believed that “Islam belongs to Germany”. Merkel made the remarks on Sunday at the TV duel with Martin Schulz, chancellor candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), her major rival in the upcoming federal elections, as refugee and immigration issues are some of the prime focuses in the debate, Xinhua news agency reported.

Both Merkel and Schulz see no issue with Muslim immigration to Germany, but Merkel said the 2015 refugee crisis has left Germany with a “difficult task” of integrating new arrivals into society, making sure they find places in educational institutions and the labor market.

“People who don’t have the right to be in our country should leave it — people have already been deported,” said Merkel, defending her open-door immigration policy, calling for fighting the causes of such crises, like the violence in Syria.

Merkel called for cooperation with Turkey, Libya, Niger and other countries in solving refugee and immigration issues, and in the meantime opening channels for legal immigration. She also urged to better screening asylum seekers on for what reasons they come to Germany.

The SPD chairman Schulz criticized that Merkel had not voted with the European partners at the beginning of the refugee crisis in autumn 2015, however, Merkel defended her decision of two years ago to allow over about 1 million refugees to enter Germany, mostly from war-torn Middle East and North Africa, that she could not act otherwise. “It had to be decided,” Merkel said.

When talking about anti-terrorist efforts, Schulz said he could not ensure that terrorist attacks like the Berlin attack last December, which killed 12, could not repeat. The duel was broadcast by four German TV stations and was expected that up to 20 million viewers, about one fourth of German population, could watch it.

It was the only TV debate before German federal elections on September 24. Latest polls showed Merkel’s CDU party and their Bavarian CSU sister enjoying about 17 percentage point lead over Schulz’ SPD, which hoped to save the election campaign with the TV debate. However, according to the quick poll by Infratest dimap after the debate, about 55 per cent respondents believed that Merkel was more convincing, against 35 per cent of that of Schulz.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/angela-merkel-defends-refugee-policy-says-islam-belongs-to-germany-4827524/

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Myanmar urges Rohingya Muslims to help hunt insurgents amid deadly violence

September 3, 2017

Myanmar urged Muslims in the troubled northwest to cooperate in the search for insurgents, whose coordinated attacks on security posts and an army crackdown have led to one of the deadliest bouts of violence to engulf the Rohingya community in decades. The treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s roughly 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution.

Aid agencies estimate that about 73,000 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh from Myanmar since violence erupted last week, Vivian Tan, regional spokeswoman for UN refugee agency UNHCR, told Reuters on Sunday.

Hundreds more refugees on Sunday walked through rice paddies from the Naf river separating the two countries into Bangladesh, straining scarce resources of aid groups and local communities already helping tens of thousands. The clashes and military counter-offensive have killed nearly 400 people during the past week.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that violence against Muslims amounted to genocide. It marks a dramatic escalation of a conflict that has simmered since October, when a smaller Rohingya attack on security posts prompted a military response dogged by allegations of rights abuses. “Islamic villagers in northern Maungtaw have been urged over loudspeakers to cooperate when security forces search for Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) extremist terrorists, and not to pose a threat or brandish weapons when security forces enter their villages,” a report in state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said on Sunday.

ARSA has been declared a terrorist organisation by the government. The group claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks on security posts last week.

In Maungni village in northern Rakhine, villagers this week caught two ARSA members and handed them over to the authorities, the newspaper added. The army wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday that Rohingya insurgents had set fire to monasteries, images of Buddha as well as schools and houses in northern Rakhine. More than 200 buildings, including houses and shops, were destroyed across several villages, the army said.

While Myanmar officials blamed the ARSA for the burning of homes, Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh and human rights watchers say that a campaign of arson and killings by the army is aimed at trying to force out the minority group.

“Terror and destruction”

On a Twitter account believed to be linked to the ARSA, the group accused the Myanmar army of “causing terror and destruction to the ethnic Rohingya population”. About a hundred protesters gathered in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon on Sunday, calling for the authorities to step up security measures in northern Rakhine to protect ethnic Rakhine Buddhists. “I want the government to protect the people (from insurgents) without any hesitation,” said Zin Lin Aung, a university student.

More than 11,700 “ethnic residents” had been evacuated from northern Rakhine, the government has said, referring to non-Muslims. In Bangladesh, authorities said that at least 53 bodies of Rohingya had either been found floating in the Naf river or washed up on the beach in the past week as tens of thousands continue to try to flee the violence. A senior leader of al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has called for attacks on Myanmar authorities in support of the Rohingya.

Amid mounting anger over the violence against Rohingya in Indonesia, home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, a petrol bomb was thrown at the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta on Sunday, causing a small fire.

Separately, hundreds protested in Jakarta, calling on the Indonesian government to take an active role in bringing a halt to human rights violations against the Rohingya.

Former colonial ruler Britain said on Saturday that it hoped Suu Kyi would use her “remarkable qualities” to end the violence.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/myanmar-urges-rohingya-muslims-to-help-hunt-insurgents-amid-deadly-violence-4827035/

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Pakistan concerned over plight of Rohingya Muslims

Sep 03 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday expressed concern at the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a community facing serious human rights violations allegedly by the state authorities.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO) said the country expresses serious concerns at the plight of Rohingya Muslims and demands the Myanmar government to investigate the killings and displacement of Rohingya community.

The FO also said Myanmar should take strict action against those responsible for attacking Rohingya Muslims.

More than 2,600 houses have been burned down in Rohingya-majority areas of Myanmar’s northwest in the last week, the government said on Saturday, in one of the deadliest bouts of violence involving the Muslim minority in decades.

Meanwhile, about 58,600 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh from Myanmar, according to UN refugee agency UNHCR, as aid workers there struggle to cope.

Myanmar officials blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for the burning of the homes. The group claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks on security posts last week that prompted clashes and a large army counter-offensive.

But Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh say a campaign of arson and killings by the Myanmar army is aimed at trying to force them out.

The treatment of Myanmar’s roughly 1.1 million Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the Muslim minority that has long complained of persecution.

The clashes and army crackdown have killed nearly 400 people and more than 11,700 “ethnic residents" have been evacuated from the area, the government said, referring to the non-Muslim residents.

Human Rights Watch, which analysed satellite imagery and accounts from Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, said the Myanmar security forces deliberately set the fires.

"New satellite imagery shows the total destruction of a Muslim village, and prompts serious concerns that the level of devastation in northern Rakhine state may be far worse than originally thought,” said the group's deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson.

https://www.geo.tv/latest/156403-pakistan-expresses-concern-at

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Southeast Asia

 

Jakim: Refer illegitimate children issues to Islamic law

September 4, 2017

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 4 — Issues related to illegitimacy in this country should always be resolved by referring to the provisions in the Islamic Family Law or Enactment or the State Administration.

Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) director-general Tan Sri Othman Mustapha said this was agreed on unanimously at the muftis’ meeting held on August 21.

He said the meeting was attended by the Mufti of Selangor, Kelantan, Johor, Sabah, Penang, Melaka and Kedah, as well as the Deputy Mufti of Federal Territories and representative of Mufti of Sarawak.

He said this decision also involved representatives of the state Islamic religious affairs councils and departments, who also attended the meeting organised by Jakim to express a mutual agreement on illegitimacy issues.

“The provisions in the laws are also in line with the fatwa gazetted in the states and the resolutions of the MKI Fatwa Committee Conference on June 7, 2003,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

On July 27, the country was shocked by the Court of Appeal’s decision in allowing an illegitimate child of Muslim couple to use his or her father’s name.

It prompted the National Registration Department to file an appeal to the Federal Court against the decision through the Attorney-General's Chambers. — Bernama

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/jakim-refer-illegitimate-children-issues-to-islamic-law#Rxe50sisl58MM3TH.97

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Muslim medical body urges Myanmar to allow aid workers in

September 3, 2017

PETALING JAYA: The Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (Imam) has called on Myanmar to allow aid and relief workers to be immediately dispatched to areas in the country affected by conflict involving the ethnic Rohingya.

Its president Dr Jeffery Abu Hassan said the workers should be able to carry out their functions without fear of violence following reports of escalating persecution and killings of Rohingya people in Rakhine province.

Pointing out that the United Nations’ (UN) World Food Programme recently suspended its activities to provide food aid due to increasing violence, he urged the Myanmar government to allow Asean countries into the troubled areas to provide temporary shelter and other aid to refugees.

Myanmar should also work closely with her Asean neighbours to resolve the crisis amicably and peacefully, he added.

Jeffery said the violence was unacceptable by any standards of humanity.

“About 400 to 3,000 innocent men, women and children have been reported killed in the past week,” he said in a statement today.

“Ten thousand homes and shops were burnt and destroyed by the Burmese military. Women and children have drowned trying to cross the river Naaf into Bangladesh,” he added.

He said Imam and its partners in Southeast Asia who operated clinics and charitable activities for Rohingya refugees felt compelled to voice their concerns on the situation.

Describing it as “ethnic cleansing”, he said Human Rights Watch in its 2013 report and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) had called on Myanmar to end the incidents.

He also noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had on Sept 1 urged restraint and calm to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Rakhine.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/03/muslim-medical-body-urges-myanmar-to-allow-aid-workers-in/

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Indonesia intervenes in effort to halt Myanmar violence against Rohingya Muslims

Sep 4, 2017

Jakarta: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has sent his foreign minister to Myanmar to urge its government to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims, he said on Sunday after a petrol bomb was thrown at the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta.

The embassy attack, which police said caused a small fire, came in the early hours of Sunday morning against the backdrop of mounting anger in Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, over violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

A police officer patrolling a street behind the embassy spotted a fire on the second floor of the building at around 2.35am Jakarta time and alerted police officers guarding the front gate, a Jakarta police statement said.

A group of activists had held a protest at the embassy on Saturday, calling for the Nobel Prize Committee to withdraw the Nobel Peace Prize from Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, state news agency Antara wrote.

Protests continued on Sunday in Jakarta's city centre, with dozens of people calling for the Indonesian government to take an active involvement in efforts to end human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

President Jokowi, as he is popularly known, said he has sent Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Myanmar to hold "intensive communications" with involved parties, including the United Nations.

"Earlier this afternoon the Foreign Minister has departed to Myanmar to ask the Myanmar government to stop and prevent violence, to provide protection to all citizens, including Muslims in Myanmar, and to give access to humanitarian aid," President Jokowi said.

He added that concrete actions were needed and the Indonesian government was committed to helping solve the humanitarian crisis. The foreign minister will also travel to Bangladesh to prepare additional aid for refugees there.

The treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar's roughly 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution.

Myanmar on Sunday urged Muslims in the troubled north-west to cooperate in the search for insurgents it says has coordinated attacks on security posts and forced the army crackdown.

Aid agencies estimate that about 73,000 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh in the last week, while clashes have killed nearly 400 people during the past week.

Islamic villagers were asked to cooperate as security forces searched for Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) fighters, a report in state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said on Sunday.

ARSA has been declared a terrorist organisation by the government and claimed responsibility for last week's attacks.

While Myanmar officials blamed the ARSA for the burning of homes, Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh and human rights watchers say that a campaign of arson and killings by the army is trying to force out the minority group.

Full report at:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/indonesia-intervenes-in-effort-to-halt-myanmar-violence-against-rohingya-muslims-20170903-gya0af.html

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Rise of identity politics causing split in Indonesia, says researcher

Minderjeet Kaur

September 3, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: An Indonesian researcher today warned that the country was seeing a rise in identity politics, causing a split between Muslims and others.

Alissa Wahid, from Gusdurian Institute, Indonesia, said religious extremism is taking place with Muslims feeling they are the rightful owners of the world.

“And non-Muslims are the enemy,” she told FMT.

Due to this perspective, she said the Muslims felt they should stop having any relationship with non-Muslims.

“They are using identity politics. That is the first thing they do to give the group an identity,” she added.

She said the group promoted the use of hijab for women, beards for the men and encouraged polygamy.

This group, which is growing in size, does not attend talks held by ulama as they feel they are not preaching the pure version of Islam, she added.

Earlier, Alissa gave a talk at the regional conference entitled, “State of Democracy in Southeast Asia: Achievements, Challenges, Prospects”.

Alissa is one of the children of former religious leader Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, who served as president of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001.

Alissa said Indonesia had been faring much better in terms of democracy than some Southeast Asian countries.

“But we cannot compare the situation now with that which existed before. We need to strengthen democracy in Indonesia again.

“There is identity politics. Political candidates are chosen based on their religious background.”

She said it has reached the point of threats where people were disowned by the community if they voted for candidates of a different religion.

Alissa noted that since last year, religious tensions have been high, with communities refusing to carry out burial rights if someone votes for candidates of a different religion.

She said with presidential elections approaching in 2019, she was worried that identity politics was gaining momentum in Indonesia.

One of the reasons for this was due to the election of the governor or mayor by members of the public, she added.

“Before, they were elected by members of parliament. Now, they are elected by the masses.”

In Indonesia, it is more a case of religious tensions rather than communal tension, she added.

For instance, a Christian girl was not allowed entry into a public school as the majority of the students were Muslims.

Only when the father raised the issue with authorities was the girl finally allowed into the school.

Another example was the rise of gated communities based on communities of the same religion.

Such practices served only to bring about inequality in human rights, Alissa said.

“Even though not very dominant, this movement is on the rise.”

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/03/rise-of-identity-politics-causing-split-in-indonesia-says-researcher/

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Petrol bomb thrown at Myanmar embassy in Central Jakarta

September 3, 2017

A petrol bomb was thrown at Myanmar's embassy in on Jl. Agus Salim in Central Jakarta early Sunday, police said, as anger grew across the mainly Muslim archipelago about violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar.

No one was injured in the incident, said Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono.

A patrolling police officer saw fire at the rear terrace on the second floor and immediately informed police who were guarding the embassy.

"We are still trying to catch the perpetrator," Agus told AFP.

Indonesians are becoming increasingly concerned at the treatment of the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.

Some 60,000 refugees, mostly Rohingya, have poured into neighbouring Bangladesh since the latest round of fighting broke out nine days ago when Rohingya militants attacked security instrallations.

Myanmar's army says nearly 400 people have died, among them 370 Rohingya militants.

Dozens of people on Saturday protested outside the embassy, demanding that Myanmar end the crisis. They called on the Nobel Prize committee to withdraw the peace prize awarded to Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/09/03/-petrol-bomb-thrown-at-myanmar-embassy-in-central-jakarta-.html

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Jokowi between Brics and a hard place: The Jakarta Post columnist

Sep 4, 2017

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - This year, China holds the presidency of Brics, the cooperation forum of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

China hosts the group's annual summit from Sept 3 to Sept 5 in Xiamen.

One item on the agenda of the meeting is "Brics-plus," an expansion of the group.

In March, Chinese representatives mentioned 11 countries as possible new members. They also talked up the prospect of Brics-plus during the June meeting of foreign ministers of Brics countries, and again when Brics leaders met on the sidelines of the Hamburg G20 meeting in July.

In August, Chinese news agency Xinhua hinted three times that Indonesia could be invited to join Brics following the Xiamen summit.

It is good to be wanted, but Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo may be pausing for thought.

Brics needs new initiatives to live up to China's view of the group's purpose. But the group still has limited cohesion. Only China and India are achieving good economic growth, while growth in Russia, Brazil and South Africa is at best anemic.

Trade and investment relations between the countries remain minimal, if it wasn't for their imports from China and their hosting of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI). Mutual economic cooperation in Brics remains limited.

Russia is lackluster about Brics, but supports it because it needs China's cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to retain influence in Central Asia.

India is increasingly hostile to China since India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi snubbed China's President Xi Jinping by not attending Xi's Belt and Road (B&R) Forum in Beijing in May.

Both countries may have pulled back from the flare-up of disagreement over Doklam and Ladakh in the Himalayas, but the issue remains unresolved.

Expansion of BRICS has been discussed since at least 2010. Nothing happened. But Brics cannot claim to lead the developing world without at least one predominantly Muslim member state. Among the 11 potential new members mentioned in March were Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

Pakistan is not an option because it would be vetoed by India, as happened when India prevented Pakistan from joining the SCO in July 2015.

The autocratic nature of the governments of Iran and Turkey is not formally a hindrance for Brics membership, but some current Brics members may object to inviting them. Of the two remaining countries, Indonesia is likely to be favoured, particularly by China.

Firstly, Indonesia is a G20 member. China could do with another ally in this forum to withstand pressures for China to float its currency and open up further to foreign trade and investment. Secondly, China may also see Indonesia as a possible ally in the China-Asean free trade agreement renegotiations and in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership discussions.

In both fora, China has to placate forum partners peeved by its claims in the East and South China seas.

But will Indonesia accept an invitation?

It will gain little in economic terms as Brics is not a trade bloc. But if Brics asks Indonesia directly, probably yes, because a refusal would embarrass all.

In addition, Jokowi needs China.

Since his 2014 election, he styled had himself as Indonesia's infrastructure president.

His government revised and expanded the Masterplan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia's Economic Development (MP3EI) infrastructure plan in 2014 and delivered the plan's next 5-year installment in early 2015.

Jokowi has since frequently donned a hardhat and wellies for yet another sod-turning photo op. Rightly so, because the Indonesian economy badly needs the stimulant of infrastructure improvement.

MP3EI was originally conceived as a series of public-private partnership-based projects, but reluctant private investor interest slowed the plan's execution.

Since 2015, interest in financing and constructing infrastructure projects in Indonesia has taken the form of a stampede of Chinese state-owned construction firms and their state-owned suppliers, in conjunction with finance from Chinese state-owned banks. Around the same time President Xi's B&R initiative started to take shape.

With references to B&R, Chinese firms have taken a greater share of infrastructure projects in Indonesia, joining B&R and MP3EI at the hip in the process.

As Indonesia's domestic private sector remained reluctant to act as the contracting parties, the government persuaded more state-owned firms to be local partners of Chinese firms in turnkey projects.

Chinese companies achieved a record US$4.8 billion (S$6.52 billion) turnover on their projects in Indonesia in 2015. And there is more to come.

The Heritage Foundation so far recorded the signing of US$11.5 billion worth of large Chinese construction projects in Indonesia during 2015-2017.

Indonesia's total foreign debt to China increased to US$15.5 billion in June 2017. Projects based on concessional Chinese lending may not yet be included, as they tend to have a long grace period before repayments are due.

Jokowi's penchant for Chinese construction activity may have peaked in 2015 with the awarding of the Jakarta-Bandung fast rail project, and promises of more loans and FDI from China.

Since then, the high-profile fast rail project he endorsed became mired in delays. Many Chinese nationals were found to be at work illegally at Chinese construction sites and companies in Indonesia. And Chinese companies proved reluctant to commit to the FDI projects that Indonesia's investment board had approved.

An indication of mixed feelings towards China is Indonesia's snub in July with the naming of part of the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea.

Accepting BRICS membership could therefore be an opportunity for Jokowi to express a desire for ongoing good relations with China.

On the other hand, Jokowi will be working towards re-election in 2019.

For Jokowi, the immediate advantage of accepting the invitation is that few people in Indonesia know much about BRICS. The government also has no explicit policy stance on BRICS.

It is possible that the implications of a decision to accept membership of BRICS with China as a dominant player will take time to sink in, possibly until after the 2019 elections.

But if the implications sink in sooner in Indonesia, membership of BRICS could add fuel to the smoldering coals of popular discontent about China's growing role in the country.

It adds to the issues of illegal Chinese workers and the growing bilateral trade deficit with China. This would be something Jokowi does not need in the lead-up to the 2019 elections.

Elections in recent years have shown that opponents are not likely to leave any of Jokowi's political stones unturned.

Full report at:

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/jokowi-between-brics-and-a-hard-place-the-jakarta-post-columnist

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North America

 

Victimized Muslims Get No Sympathy From U.S. Media

SEP 03, 2017

Libyan activist Hend Amry makes an important point about the relative lack of interest of television news in stories such as the persecution of the Burmese (Myanmar) Muslims by the Buddhist establishment:

When Muslims are perpetrators, as in Brussels, Paris and Barcelona, the mass media often goes into 24/7 coverage mode usually reserved for natural disasters and Trump’s tweet storms.

But the horrific attacks on the Rohingya Muslims of Burma (Myanmar), which have forced thousands to flee in recent days, have elicited no interest. I did keyword searches for Rohingya, Burma and Myanmar in Broadcast News in a major database. I got lots of hits for the BBC and AsianNews and a few from EuroNews. Nothing from US networks or cable news in the past week. Nothing. As a control, I searched Hurricane Harvey, and got hits from all the major US television media on the front page. In other words, a major human rights crisis is invisible to viewers of American television news.

As for other Muslim victims, I don’t need to bother to research. You will almost never see any mention in US television news of the severe human rights violations daily perpetrated by Israelis against the Palestinians of the West Bank, including theft of property, destruction of buildings and orchards, and assault. This is a low-intensity human rights catastrophe and has been going on for decades. But if Palestinians victimize Jews in Israel, then it is another 24/7 blanket coverage. It should be, and Jews should not be victimized. But you also have to cover what is being done to Palestinians who are militarily occupied.

Or take Yemen, which is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world now that al-Assad has won the civil war for the moment. The United States is backing the Saudi-led war on Yemen to the hilt, with logistical support and even help in choosing targets to bomb. The bombing began in spring of 2015. By now, you have millions living on the edge, who could fall into starvation is just one more thing went wrong. (Social scientists call this being “food insecure”). You have a massive cholera outbreak. Not to mention the people killed or wounded by Saudi and allied air strikes. Whatever you think of the battling sides in the war, surely we can all agree that the children being victimized are innocent.

But you’d go blind scanning the television in the US for news about the Yemen war. And remember, it is to some extent an American war! NBC’s intrepid Richard Engel, among the best in the business, is an exception here but even he hasn’t been given more than a spot or two over the past two years.

As for ISIL, most of its victims have been Muslims, but you’d never know that from the television news coverage.

In the old days, print newspapers were an important avenue for people to get news, but they have been eclipsed (even for our “president”) by broadcast news. And broadcast news is doing such a bad and imbalanced job of covering the world for viewers that it should be sued for malpractice or false advertising (I can almost never find any actual news on cable news channels).

The prejudices of top cable and network news executives are warping the consciousness of our whole country. In this bizarro world, Muslims are never victims and never presented sympathetically, while whenever some emerge as perpetrators, they are made out to be ten feet tall.

No wonder we’ve ended up with a president, shaped by right wing cable and you tube news “services,” who wants to ban Muslims. The prejudices of our billionaires are defining what “news” is and distorting national policy in dangerous ways.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/muslims-allowed-sympathetic-victims-u-s-media-perpetrators/

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Toronto imam warns of 'fake news' after photo used in anti-Muslim article

September 3, 2017

MONTREAL -- A Toronto-area imam is warning of the dangers of what he calls "fake news" after his photo was used in an article that was widely circulated online.

Ibrahim Hindy said on Sunday that his picture was used to accompany a story that said a Texas mosque turned away hundreds of non-Muslim victims who were seeking shelter during hurricane Harvey.

The story claims a group of flood refugees kicked down the door to the mosque outside Houston and confronted its imam, whose name is given as "Aswat Turads."

Hindy took to Twitter to point out that he is not the imam in question -- who he said he believes is fictional -- and has never been to Texas.

His response drew a flood of support and has been retweeted over 170,000 times.

"Honestly I just thought it was so bizarre," the Mississauga-based imam told The Canadian Press in a series of Facebook messages. "Why would they choose my picture? And the story made no sense to me."

"Later on I began to think about how these stories using my actual image could actually be dangerous and felt I should call it out."

Hindy, who is currently in Saudi Arabia for the hajj, or pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca, says he is consulting a lawyer on legal avenues to "try to stop and shut down hate."

One of the websites carrying the article did not immediately respond to an email about Hindy's concerns.

However, the same site's "About me" section described it as "a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth."

"Names that represent actual people and places are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and do not in any way depict reality," reads the message on the site, which calls itself "America's last line of defense."

The origins of the article are unclear.

Hindy says he decided to speak out because he wants to confront those who use false stories to divide people and to prey on their fears.

He's encouraging people to instead focus on the real and positive stories in their communities, including those of the many mosques that have helped out during the hurricane.

Several news outlets, including the Associated Press, have reported on Houston-area mosques that offered to be temporary shelters for the Harvey evacuees.

Full report at:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/toronto-imam-warns-of-fake-news-after-photo-used-in-anti-muslim-article-1.3574063

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Gulen pushes FETO members on anti-Turkey campaigns

03 September 2017

Fetullah Gulen, the U.S.-based leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), has ordered his followers to support several global anti-Turkish campaigns to put pressure on Turkey and its leadership, Turkish judicial sources said Saturday.

According to sources in the public prosecutor’s office in the capital Ankara, which has been investigating how FETO plotted last year’s defeated coup, FETO members were ordered through the encrypted message app ByLock to support three global campaigns against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The ByLock smartphone app was allegedly used by FETO members for internal communication during FETO’s defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which martyred 250 people and injured over 2,000 others.

The app is believed to have been cracked by Turkish security agencies, allowing them to identify tens of thousands of suspected FETO supporters.

Nurullah Arslan, a former judge believed to have been an “imam” (a term the group uses to describe a senior member responsible for a specific branch of the terror network) of FETO’s members inside the judiciary, is alleged to have used the app to send encrypted messages to his fellow FETO members.

According to the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, Arslan’s messages ordered other FETO members to sign petitions on the official White House website and another on change.org promoting Kurdish independence as well as listing Turkey as a terror sponsor country and demanding that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan be brought before the International Criminal Court.

The campaign promoting an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq was launched in 2014, and the petition demanding the U.S. to “List Erdogan’s Turkey As State Sponsor Of Terrorism; Void U.S. Alliance With Turkey” was launched in 2015.

A petition was posted last year on change.org urging that Erdogan be brought before the International Criminal Court for his “hate crimes.”

Arslan allegedly told the FETO members that supporting the petitions was “important” and followed by Gulen himself.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/193615/huge-blaze-forces-hundreds-to-evacuate-in-los-angeles

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American Muslims turn to Jewish experts for help with security at their mosques

BY BEN SALES

August 31, 2017

With Islamophobic hate crimes on the rise, Muslim leaders are working harder to secure their mosques and institutions. Some are turning to Jewish experts for assistance.

A few Jewish organizations have partnered with local and national Muslim groups to advise them on best security practices and advocate jointly for stronger hate crime legislation. Cooperation between the two communities, which was growing late last year, is turning toward the particulars of staying safe in a nervous climate — how to prevent attacks and handle hate crimes.

“When people start to feel unsafe in Sabbath or Sunday or Friday services, that can make for a very complicated and challenging set of circumstances,” said Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, which advises Jewish groups and institutions on security and has worked with Muslim, Sikh, and Christian institutions on composing security plans. “Extremist groups have come to realize our houses of worship are an Achilles’ heel.”

Goldenberg has worked with Muslim groups for years, coaching them on everything from forming relationships with local law enforcement to receiving grants from the Department of Homeland Security to making sure staffers know what to do if there is an attack or a threat. The ADL and American Jewish Committee also have worked with Muslim leaders and institutions on reporting, preventing, responding to, and prosecuting hate crimes.

Muslims and Jews appear to have good reason to be vigilant. The Anti-Defamation League reported a 34 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2016 versus 2015. Islamophobic attacks went up 67 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the latest FBI statistics, and the number of anti-Muslim hate groups has nearly tripled in the last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Both communities have suffered high-profile hate incidents in the past few weeks. A Minnesota mosque was bombed in early August, and the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville targeted Jews with neo-Nazi slogans. Brandeis University, a nonsectarian Jewish school, received a bomb threat last week, though it’s unclear whether the threat was explicitly anti-Semitic.

Some Jewish institutions began forming security plans after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and SCN was founded three years later. Jewish institutions nationwide have received more than 100 bomb threats in 2017, most of which came in waves early in the year. The identity of the main hoaxer in those threats, a 19-year-old Israeli-American man, wasn’t known for months, leading the institutions to beef up security, and some hired guards or restricted entry to their buildings.

Muslims now hope to do the same for their mosques and other facilities.

Salam Al-Marayati, the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, has been consulting with Goldenberg on security since 2011, though he said that work has picked up since the presidential election in November. This year, Goldenberg provided the Los Angeles-based council with a plan to secure area mosques, including best practices on coordinating with law enforcement and procedures to follow during an emergency.

“All of that was unknown to the community, and with the help of Paul it became known,” Al-Marayati said. “That’s my goal in life: to find Paul’s counterpart in the Muslim community. He’s served that role for the lack of a security specialist.”

The ADL’s regional offices also provide local mosques with consulting similar to SCN’s — how to build relationships with law enforcement, how to monitor who enters and exits buildings, and the best ways to spread information about a threat or attack.

Over the past year, the ADL’s Houston office has held two briefings with the local Muslim community — one for schools, the other for community institutions. In addition to security best practices, the school briefing introduced administrators at the six participating schools and local law enforcement officers to each other.

“Jewish institutions will spend a little more time on specific things that might happen on special holidays, but any religious institution can be a target,” said Dena Marks, associate director of the Houston office. “So a lot of what we would tell the leaders of Jewish institutions we would tell the leaders of Muslim institutions, Christian institutions.”

Elise Jarvis, who heads the ADL’s community security efforts, said that one of the best ways to improve security would be for Muslim communities to increase reporting of hate crimes to police. Jews now are the target of more hate crimes than any other religious group in the United States, according to the FBI, but Jarvis said that Muslims may avoid reporting hate crimes due to a lack of trust in law enforcement. Al-Marayati said many Muslims resent “being treated as suspects.”

“There’s underreporting across the board,” said Jarvis, who said that if communities make sure to report incidents, “law enforcement are able to respond and identify those behind hate crimes.”

The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, a group of religious and communal leaders formed around the time of the presidential election by the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America, has been pushing for stronger hate crimes legislation federally and at the local level.

Robert Silverman, U.S. director of Muslim-Jewish Relations for the AJC, said the advisory council’s newly formed Dallas chapter will be examining how to oppose members of private militias who regularly stand outside synagogues and mosques brandishing their weapons — something that also happened in Charlottesville on the day of the far-right rally. The chapter hopes to advance legislation or regulations that would discourage such behavior.

Silverman said that a law increasing punishments for hate crimes would deter bigots from moving from intimidation to violence. The advisory council supports federal legislation to define attacks or threats on religious communal institutions as hate crimes.

Full report at:

http://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/american-muslims-turn-to-jewish-experts-for-help-with-security-at-their-mosques/

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Europe

 

Violence against Rohingya Muslims protested in Berlin

03 September 2017

A group of people held a demonstration Saturday in German capital of Berlin to protest the recent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Gathering in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Berlin, the protestors carried banners read “Stop genocide in Myanmar” and “We are all humans” in both English and German.

During the protest organized by a Turkish NGO, Turkish Community of Berlin and supported by some other NGOs in Berlin, a press release was read out, saying Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar were living under government's pressure and in inhumane conditions.

Highlighting the Rohingya people were alone, the protestors called for help for the suffering Muslims there.

Violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on Aug. 25 when the country’s security forces launched an operation against Rohingya Muslim community. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh though the country sealed off its border for the refugees.

Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A security clampdown launched in October last year in Maungdaw, where Rohingya form the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The UN documented mass gang-rape, killings -- including that of babies and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/193605/violence-against-rohingya-muslims-protested-in-berlin

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Islamophobic attack targets mosque in Netherlands

03 September 2017

An under-construction mosque in southeastern Netherlands was targeted by a group of far-right extremists, head of the mosque said on Saturday.

The far-right ‘Identitair Verzet’ movement hanged anti-Islam banners at the roof of Tevhid mosque which is under construction in Venlo city.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ahmet Dursun, head of Tevhid Mosque, condemned the incident and said there were many far-right extremists in their neighborhood, but they were not expecting such an attack.

“We’ve held talks with mayor and some other officials. They are supporting us," he said, adding: "We will take necessary measures not to experience such incidents again."

The group, which claimed the responsibility for the incident, draped banners reading “Stay away. The Netherlands belongs to us. We don't want mosque and Muslims in our neighborhood" both in Turkish and Dutch. They also shared the photos of banners on social media, and claimed they “occupied” the mosque.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/193603/islamophobic-attack-targets-mosque-in-netherlands

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Why a former member of Holland’s anti-Islamic party is tweeting from Mecca?

September 3, 2017

Arnoud Van Doorn, age 47, is wearing a white robe and a white hat (Islamic hat) and is not from a Dutch medical order. That is because these days he is sporting a smile as he performs Haj at Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

And he’s a happy Muslim, said The Guardian.

Who is Van Doorn? And why is he making the news around Europe and the Muslim world with a pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are expected to perform at least once in their lives?

The answer is that the man who converted to Islam only about six months ago in April this year was an influential member of the extremist party based in The Hague, Holland.

Van Doorn was a member of the Geert Wilders’ anti-Islamic Party for Freedom. Geert Wilders is a Dutch politician who campaigns against Islam in Holland and in Europe, with the wish to kick them all out of the Netherlands.

He was also a member of the city council in The Hague.

As a member of the anti-Islamic party, he was responsible, among other things, for producing the film Fitna, which argued that Islam, and Muslims generally, are violent, intolerant and bent on world-domination.

The film created a storm across the globe with extremist elements in the Muslim world vowing to murder all those who disparaged Islam with the film – a film that ended with a Quran apparently burning – which is offensive to Muslims.

Quite a conversion then, said The Guardian. Indeed. “According to some people I am a traitor,” he told al-Jazeera at the time, “but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision.”

Full report at:

http://www.theindependent.sg/why-a-former-member-of-hollands-anti-islamic-party-is-tweeting-from-mecca/

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Australia defends hard-line immigration policy as keeping out ‘undesirables’

3 September 2017

Australia said on Sunday it is stopping “undesirables” such as terrorists, pedophiles, organized criminals and drug smugglers from boarding flights to the country, defending its hardline immigration policy that has drawn criticism from rights groups.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that Australian Border Force Airline Liaison Officers were operating in major transit airports to push those threats “beyond our borders”.

Where other countries “allow people to arrive and then assess the threat then”, the “Australian model” was to bar those considered a threat.

“(Liaison officers) try to identify the threats - particularly given that we’ve got foreign fighters coming back through Southeast Asia and all over - the idea is to stop them getting on planes,” the minister told the Nine Network. According to media, immigration officials prevented 1,043 passengers from boarding flights to Australia since 2013.

Rise of anti-immigration politics

Australia has seen the rise of nationalist, anti-immigration politics with far-right wing parties such as One Nation garnering strong public support, while the popularity of the ruling center-right government has been languishing.

Under its policy on asylum seekers arriving by boat, Australia turns back unauthorized vessels at sea to their port of origin when it can and sends those it cannot to controversial camps in the South Pacific for long-term detention.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2017/09/03/Australia-defends-hardline-immigration-policy-as-keeping-out-undesirables-.html

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Britain to send more troops to Iraq despite recent victories against Daesh

Sep 1, 2017

Britain is set to send more troops to Iraq with the purported aim of fighting Daesh terrorists, who have already lost their major bastions in the Arab state in the face of successful Iraqi army operations.

“We are stepping up our contribution to the fight against Daesh and fulfilling Britain’s role as a key player in the global coalition,” British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Thursday.

The contingent of 44 “expert troops” is to be deployed for six months at the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s western Anbar Province to purportedly build infrastructure, including accommodation and offices.

“These extra troops will help support operations to bring the defeat of Daesh a step closer,” said the UK defense chief.

This brings the number of British troops at the airbase to more than 300 and the total in Iraq to around 600. The Ain al-Asad airbase also houses hundreds of US advisers as well as Iraqi and Danish troops.

The Anbar Province cities of Ramadi and Fallujah were among the first to fall to Daesh, when the terror group first emerged in the Iraq and began its sweep across its northern and western parts in 2014.

In their first major gains against Daesh, Iraqi government forces backed by Popular Mobilization Units – better known as Hashed al-Sha’abi -- managed to retake the two strategic cities several months later.

Too late

Observers have raised questions about the timing of the British deployment as Iraqi government forces and allied forces have successfully been going after Daesh terrorists from town to town, pushing the terror group to the brink of fall in the country. They cite the West's failure to commit troops when Daesh was overrunning Syrian and Iraqi cities one after another.

In July, Iraq liberated the northern city of Mosul, which used to serve as the terrorist outfit’s main urban stronghold in the country, following a months-long offensive, described by an American general as “the toughest urban battle since World War II.”

In the latest victory on the battlefield, Iraq on Thursday declared that its forces had retaken the northern city of Tal Afar and the surrounding region of Nineveh.

Daesh currently controls barely 10 percent of the country, according to the US-led international coalition, which claims to be fighting the terror group in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Iraqi forces are now going for Hawija, 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, as well as a few pockets of territory near the Syrian border.

The deployment of extra British troops also coincides with an upcoming referendum on the independence of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

The controversial referendum will be held on September 25 in the three Kurdish region provinces. It will also be held in areas of dispute between the Kurdish and Iraqi governments, which are currently under Kurdish military control.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/01/533640/Asad-airbase-Daesh-UK

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Germany rejects Turkey’s asset freeze request: Report

Sep 2, 2017

A high-circulation German magazine has reported that authorities in Berlin have turned down a request by Ankara for imposing financial restrictions on those believed to have played a role in last year's coup attempt in Turkey.

Der Spiegel said on Saturday, without naming its sources, that in June the German Foreign Ministry officially refused to freeze the assets of members of the network of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric who is accused by the government in Ankara of masterminding the abortive coup of July 15, 2016.

Turkey had submitted the request and a list of 80 names in April, demanding that Berlin exclude them from Germany’s financial system.

German authorities, however, responded by saying that there were no legal grounds for financial watchdog BaFin to crack down on the Gulen movement and its supporters, said Der Spiegel.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry has yet to comment on the report, which also claimed that extradition requests sent from Turkey to Germany had increased his year. It said 56 such requests had been submitted this year, already exceeding the total number in 2016.

Germany’s refusal to freeze the assets of Gulenists comes against the backdrop of tensions between Berlin and Ankara since a crackdown unfolded in Turkey over the coup. Germany has repeatedly criticized Turkey’s mass arrests and dismissals of state workers and military personnel, which according to official statements, have affected more than 150,000 people.

Turkey has also arrested and prosecuted several German nationals over links to the failed coup, further angering German officials. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Berlin should react decisively to the detention a day earlier of two more German citizens in Turkey. The two, of the Turkish origin and identified as K.A. and S.A, were arrested on Thursday in Antalya airport, a popular Mediterranean tourist destination, over alleged links to the Gulen network.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/02/533793/Germany-Turkey-Gulenists-crackdown

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South Asia

 

Camps reach capacity as Rohingya Muslims pour into Bangladesh

September 03, 2017

Aid officials said relief camps were reaching full capacity as thousands of Rohingya refugees continued to pour into Bangladesh on Sunday fleeing violence in western Myanmar.

Some 73,000 people have crossed the border since violence erupted on August 25 in Myanmar's Rakhine state, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Vivian Tan.

The violence and the exodus began after Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar police and paramilitary posts in what they said was an effort to protect their ethnic minority from persecution by security forces in the majority Buddhist country. In response, the military unleashed what it called “clearance operations” to root out the insurgents.

Another aid official said on Saturday that more than 50 refugees had arrived with bullet injuries and were moved to hospitals in Cox's Bazar, on the border with Myanmar.

Refugees reaching the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip described bombs exploding near their homes and Rohingya being burned alive.

Both Myanmar's security officials and Rohingya insurgents are accusing each other of atrocities. The military has said nearly 400 people, most of them insurgents, have died in clashes.

Aid workers said that large numbers of refugees required immediate medical attention as they were suffering from respiratory diseases, infection and malnutrition. The existing medical facilities in the border area were insufficient to cope up with the influx and more aid and paramedics were needed, aid workers said.

“We fled to Bangladesh to save our lives,” said a man who only gave his first name, Karim. “The military and extremist Rakhine are burning us, burning us, killing us, setting our village on fire.”

He said on Saturday he paid 12,000 Bangladeshi taka, or about $150, for each of his family members to be smuggled on a wooden boat to Bangladesh after soldiers killed 110 Rohingya in their village of Kunnapara, near the coastal town of Maungdaw.

“The military destroyed everything. After killing some Rohingya, the military burned their houses and shops,” he said. “We have a baby who is 8 days only, and an old woman who is 105.”

Satellite imagery analysed by Human Rights Watch shows hundreds of buildings had been destroyed in at least 17 sites across Rakhine state since August 25, including some 700 structures that appeared to have been burned down in just the village of Chein Khar Li, the rights watchdog said.

The government blames the insurgents for burning their own homes and killing Buddhists in Rakhine.

Longstanding tension between the Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012, forcing more than 100,000 Rohingya into displacement camps, where many still live.

Bangladeshi police said Thursday that three boats carrying refugees had capsized in the Naf River, killing at least 26, including women and children.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1355575/camps-reach-capacity-as-rohingya-muslims-pour-into-bangladesh

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Kabul offers peace dialogue to Pakistan

02-Sep-17

KABUL: Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani in his Eidul Azha message reached out to Pakistan offering “comprehensive negotiations” to bring peace to their troubled relationship.

Like most Muslim countries, Afghanistan is celebrating Eid on Friday, while in Pakistan it is being celebrated on Saturday.

“Ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been steadily deteriorating amid spate of allegations about cross-border terrorism among other disputes,” the Afghan president said.

While addressing political elites and journalists at the Presidential Palace on Friday in connection with Eidul Azha, President Ghani also renewed calls for peace with the Taliban, and for resuming political dialogue with Pakistan to overcome the differences.

“From here, I have a message for Pakistan: We are ready for comprehensive political talks. Peace with Pakistan is in our national agenda,” Ghani said who has long been blaming Pakistan for ‘waging an undeclared war’ against Afghanistan.

Afghanistan routinely accuses Pakistan of harbouring Taliban insurgents, while Islamabad says its enemies have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The two countries also squabble relentlessly over the border that separates the two. Known as the Durand Line, Afghanistan refuses to accept it as the international border.

Firefights between the armies have broken out as Pakistan seeks to fence it.

Last month, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed upon the need to restore mutual trust following persistent rift between the two neighbours.

A delegation from Pakistan led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua visited Kabul on August 15 for bilateral political consultations with the Afghan officials.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), a wide range of issues, including the Afghan peace process, security along the Durand Line and bilateral trade were discussed.

This was the first formal face-to-face interaction between the high-ranking officials from both sides following May 31 deadly truck bombing in Kabul that killed up to 150 people, mostly civilians.

The Afghan president pointed out major changes in Afghanistan’s foreign policy, saying that the past four decades’ wishes of Afghans would come true in the near future. President Ashraf Ghani said it was the time for anti-government armed groups to choose the path of peace “if they are Afghans and are not the tools of others”.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/02-Sep-17/kabul-offers-peace-dialogue-to-pakistan

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Ghani informs regarding investments worth billions of dollars on Afghan Air Force

Sep 04 2017

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Sunday informed regarding the investment plans worth billions of dollars on the Afghan Air Force.

He said with the announcement of the new US strategy for Afghanistan, the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission’s activities have increased.

President Ghani further added that six billion dollars will be invested on the Air Force in the next four years.

The Afghan President made the remarks during his visit to eastern Nangarhar province where he met with the 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan army.

The remarks by President Ghani came as the United States has also stepped up approving new contracts for the Afghan Air Force as well as the ground forces.

The United States Department of Defense during the recent weeks informed regarding the award of at least two contracts worth $727 million and $69.3 million.

The commander of the United States Central Command General Joseph L. Votel requested the US Congress to approve the budget for the Afghan forces Blackhawk program.

In his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in March this year, Gen. Votel informed regarding the significant capability gaps in Afghan Air Force and said “The DoD-request of $814.5M for FY17 for the first year of our plan to recapitalize the Afghan fleet provides funding to procure 53 UH-60s, with refurbishment and modification of the first 18; 30 additional armed MD-530F helicopters; 6 additional A-29 attack aircraft; and five AC-208s.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/ghani-informs-regarding-investments-worth-billions-of-dollars-on-afghan-air-force-03365

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Islamabad reacts at President Ghani’s remarks of ‘Peace with Pakistan First’

Sep 03 2017

Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawajah Asif on Saturday reacted at President Ghani’s remarks regarding Kabul’s readiness to hold peace talks with Pakistan.

Asif told reporters “Pakistan’s position on Afghanistan is very clear: we want to see peace and stability in the country.”

Insisting that Pakistan will contribute and play its due role in all the initiatives taken to peace in Afghanistan, Asif said “We already have bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral and multilateral mechanisms for dialogue and interaction with Afghanistan in place.”

He said those mechanisms should be utilised to their full potential.”

In his message on the first day of Eid Al-Adha, President Ghani said the Afghan government is fully prepared for the peace talks and negotiations with Pakistan for peace is on the agenda of the government.

He was apparently gesturing towards his previous remarks where he insisted that peace talks with Pakistan is important and should come first before holding talks with the anti-government armed militant groups.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/islamabad-reacts-at-president-ghanis-remarks-of-peace-with-pakistan-first-03369

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Pakistan

 

People Urged To Sacrifice Ego by Pakistan President to Bring Peace in Lives

02-Sep-17

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday greeted the nation on the occasion of Eidul Azha.

“On the joyous occasion of Eidul Azha, I wish to felicitate the nation and pray to Almighty Allah to accept the prayers and sacrificial offerings of the Pakistani nation and the Muslim Ummah to make it a source for earning Allah’s blessings, Amen,” he said in his message.

“Hajj and Eidul Azha are two obligations which are based on the spirit of self-sacrifice. Both these obligations relate to sacrifice of life and property. The Almighty Allah through the Sunnah of His two great prophets reminded the mankind that the essence of humanity is that they subject their every act to this injunction of the Holy Quran wherein it has been ordained: ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds’,” the message stated.

“This spirit of worship can make this world a heavenly place to live in because with this training mankind learns to let go of their ego which is the real root cause of all problems. Be it our national challenges or international crisis; if they are evaluated minutely one finds that ego has been at the core of every issue. Therefore, it is imperative to seek Allah Almighty’s blessings by sacrificing our ego to make this world a place of heavenly abode,” he said.

“On this auspicious occasion of Eidul Azha, acting in the spirit of sacrifice we must look after our brethren who, oppressed by the vicissitudes of life, have lagged behind economically. We should also remember in our prayers all those sons of soil and their families who sacrificed their present for our future. Similarly, we should also offer special prayers for our Kashmiri brethren who are valiantly striving to win freedom from the occupying force,” he said.

Punjab CM: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the Muslim Ummah and the Pakistani nation on the eve of Eidul Azha.

In his message of felicitations, the Chief Minister said that the religious festival of Eidul Azha was celebrated throughout the world in remembrance of great sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) which he gave for Allah’s blessings and benediction. “Public service and helping the needy and the orphans in our joys is the real spirit and message of the Eid. And, the actual philosophy is to share its joys with the deprived segments and the impecunious strata of the society,” he said.

He said that the Eid day required that the emotions of mutual love and affection be promoted by setting-aside differences.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/02-Sep-17/people-urged-to-sacrifice-ego-to-bring-peace-in-lives

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'Pakistan will play its due role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan'

Naveed Siddiqui

September 02, 2017

"Pakistan's position on Afghanistan is very clear: we want to see peace and stability in the country," said Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Saturday in response to Afghan president's message on normalisation of bilateral relations through talks. Speaking at the Presi­dential Palace in Kabul after Eid prayers on Friday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had sent a message to Pakistan, saying Afghanistan was “ready for comprehensive political talks. Peace with Pakistan is in our national agenda”.

Asif, while speaking to the media about President Ghani's message, said that Pakistan will contribute and play its due role in all the initiatives taken to that end [bring peace to Afghanistan]. "We already have bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral and multilateral mechanisms for dialogue and interaction with Afghanistan in place — those mechanisms should be utilised to their full potential."

He added that both sides, during their recent interactions, recognized the need for cooperation on all fronts — political, military, and intelligence.

Relations between Islamabad and Kabul have mostly remained strained, except for a brief bonhomie at the start of President Ghani’s tenure in 2014. The two countries have a long-running border dispute, with Afghanistan refusing to accept the Durand Line as the international border.

Their armies skirmished because of border disputes and Afghanistan’s resistance to Pakistan’s attempts to fence the porous border for checking unauthorised crossings. Both sides have also squabbled over terrorist sanctuaries accusing each other of harbouring terrorists.

Full report at:

Pakistan has consistently supported a political settlement of the Afghan conflict.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1355553/pakistan-will-play-its-due-role-in-bringing-peace-and-stability-to-afghanistan

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Gen Bajwa pledges army's full support for development of Balochistan: ISPR

September 03, 2017

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, during a visit to Gwadar and Turbat on Sunday, pledged the military's "full support" for the development of Balochistan, the military's media wing said.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief visited Gwadar and Turbat on the second day of Eidul Azha and met with soldiers and officers.

Talking to the troops, Gen Bajwa reportedly said the development of Balochistan was "extremely important" for the progress of Pakistan. All ongoing development projects in the province shall be completed, Bajwa was quoted as saying.

The ISPR further said that Gen Bajwa promised that army will "extend support to all state institutions in this regard".

The army chief also visited the family of Major Jamal Sheran, who was martyred in a suicide blast in Hayatabad on July 17.

On Saturday, the first day of Eid, Gen Bajwa had visited Rajgal valley, where the army has recently completed the Khyber Four operation.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1355579/gen-bajwa-pledges-armys-full-support-for-development-of-balochistan-ispr

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Will face courts in Benazir murder case: Musharraf

Javed Hussain

September 03, 2017

Former president Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Sunday that he will face the courts in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case in Pakistan after his health improves.

In a statement issued by the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) secretariat, Musharraf said that the recent court verdict was not against him as his case is still pending.

Terming American journalist and lobbyist Mark Siegel's statement "meaningless", Musharraf said that his lawyers had already refuted the comments.

Siegel, in his testimony in 2015, had claimed Musharraf had threatened Bhutto with dire consequences if she chose to return to Pakistan from exile.

The former dictator also said that his legal team was looking into the issue of his property's seizure and that he, or his family, would take appropriate legal action after consultation. He claimed that he was wrongly included in the case on a political basis.

A joint investigation team had implicated Musharraf in the case, saying that his government did not provide adequate security to the former prime minister despite her repeated requests.

Earlier this week, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) acquitted five Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) suspects and announced 17-year imprisonment for two police officials in Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Apart from Musharraf, five other men — Baitullah Mehsud, Ahmad Gul, Iqramullah, Abdullah, and Faizullah — were also declared absconders.

The case had lingered on for nearly ten years. During the case, 68 witnesses appeared on behalf of the prosecution and recorded their testimonies. The police presented three charge sheets before the court, whereas the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented five.

The judge hearing the case was changed eight times.

In 2013, FIA's special prosecutor in the case was killed by unknown assailants. Doctors said he had been killed with 10 bullets targeting his chest and shoulder.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1355572/will-face-courts-in-benazir-murder-case-musharraf

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Arab World

 

More ISIL Terrorists Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Sep 03, 2017

The army men managed to break through ISIL's defense lines near the water reservoirs South-West of Deir Ezzur city, killing the entire members of a group of terrorists.

The army units further seized weapons and ammunitions of the militants.

In the meantime, the army soldiers, backed up by the country's Air Force, stormed ISIL's concentration centers in the depth of Badiyeh and destroyed ISIL's last stronghold in Harbisheh region South-West of the province, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.

Also, the army said that it has fortified the newly-captured positions in region.

Reports said earlier today that the army men seized control over several heights near Mount al-Bashari, the villages of Rajm al-Hajaneh and Mount Safiyeh, deploying forces only 30km to Deir Ezzur city.

The army men and popular fighters, backed by the Russian Air Force, also liberated several square kilometers of the desert terrain over a short period in both Homs and Deir Ezzur provinces.

The army units managed to advance against ISIL from Wadi al-Zoweihak region in Eastern Homs to the village of Haribsheh near the border with Deir Ezzur, seizing control over a 12km-long chunk of the al-Sukhnah-Deir Ezzur highway.

As a result of this advance, the Syrian government forces have positioned themselves within 16 km of al-Shoula, which is the last major town located directly West of the Deir Ezzur province’s capital.

A military source said, meantime, that if the army men capture al-Shoula they will be able to win control over al-Sukhnah-Deir Ezzur highway for the first time in recent years.     

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960612001435

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Syrian troops reportedly kill 120 Daesh terrorists in Hama province

Sep 3, 2017

Syrian army units, aided by pro-government fighters and Russian air force, have killed 120 members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the western-central province of Hama, pushing the terrorists out of the town of Uqayribat, their last major bastion in the restive province, a report says.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that the Daesh terrorists “were killed in clashes in and around the town of Uqayribat in the eastern Hama countryside.” The fierce clashes with Syrian forces occurred during the previous 24 hours, it added.

Uqayribat fell to Daesh in 2014 and has since been used by the Takfiri terrorists to launch attacks against government-held areas, including a vital road, which according to the observatory, is “the only lifeline” for the Syrian government “between Aleppo and central and southern Syria.”

On Friday, Syrian army troops took over the town but Daesh managed to recapture most of it in a counteroffensive on Saturday. However, an intense barrage of artillery fire unleashed by Syrian forces against the Takfiri positions in the volatile town on Sunday morning flushed them out.

According to the observatory, multiple airstrikes carried out by Russian warplanes aided the government forces to clinch the victory over terrorists in Uqayribat. The report added that victorious troops then advanced toward a number of villages to the west that still remained under the control of Daesh.

Back in June, government forces, supported by heavy Russian airstrikes, carried out a major counterterrorism operation on Daesh-held areas in Hama. Some parts of the province's rural north are still under the control of other militant groups.

Elsewhere in its report, the monitoring group noted that “by consolidating their control of (Uqayribat) and ousting Daesh from the surrounding villages,” Syrian troops managed to oust terrorists from the whole of Hama province.

Six of the 14 provinces of Syria are neighbors to Hama, which makes it strategically vital to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as it cuts access of armed groups in Idlib to the capital Damascus in the south, and the government’s coastal heartlands to the west.

Syrian army soldiers on Saturday also regained control of an area north of Mannoukh village in the central province of Homs, inflicting heavy losses on the Daesh ranks and its military equipment. Elsewhere in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, Syrian and Russian fighter jets pounded the Daesh positions and fortifications.

In the past few months, Daesh has suffered multiple defeats across Syria, notably in the city of Raqqah, its de facto capital in the Arab country. It has also been heavily battered in neighboring Iraq, particularly by losing its main Iraqi base of Mosul in July.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/03/533894/Syria-Daesh-Hama-Uqayribat-Homs-Assad

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Notorious ISIL Head-Chopper Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Sep 03, 2017

The Arabic-language al-Hadath news reported that Mohammad Fahad has been killed in an ambush operation of army soldiers in Deir Ezzur.

Al-Hadath added that the Saudi head-chopper was the one who decapitated a number of the Syrian soldiers and later dispatched the videos of the beheadings to the families of victims.

Reports said earlier today that the army men seized control over several heights near Mount al-Bashari, the villages of Rajm al-Hajaneh and Mount Safiyeh, deploying forces only 30km to Deir Ezzur city.

The army men and popular fighters, backed by the Russian Air Force, also liberated several square kilometers of the desert terrain over a short period in both Homs and Deir Ezzur provinces.

The army units managed to advance against ISIL from Wadi al-Zoweihak region in Eastern Homs to the village of Haribsheh near the border with Deir Ezzur, seizing control over a 12km-long chunk of the al-Sukhnah-Deir Ezzur highway.

As a result of this advance, the Syrian government forces have positioned themselves within 16 km of al-Shoula, which is the last major town located directly West of the Deir Ezzur province’s capital.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960612001036

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Saudi Arabia condemns Myanmar’s Rohingya attacks

3 September 2017

Saudi Arabia’s mission to the United Nations tweeted the Kingdom’s condemnation for the recent attacks on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

“Acting upon KSA responsibility as the leader of the Islamic Ummah. Saudi Arabia has called for a resolution to condemn the atrocities and human rights violations committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar,” the mission tweeted.

“KSA has reached out to members of the Security Council to address the recent human rights violations against the Rohingya on its agenda. KSA has expressed its concern to Secretary General, which resulted in a condemnation from the United Nations. Upholding its responsibility.”

“Saudi Arabia will continue its efforts to find a lasting solution to the plight of the Rohingya Muslims.”

More than 2,600 houses have been burned down in Rohingya-majority areas of Myanmar’s northwest in the last week, the government said on Saturday, in one of the deadliest bouts of violence involving the Muslim minority in decades.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/09/03/Saudi-Arabia-condemns-Myanmar-s-Rohingya-attacks.html

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Syrian Army Imposes Control over Terrorists' Main Passageway in Eastern Damascus

Sep 03, 2017

The army men imposed control over Harmaleh passageway between Jobar and Ein Terma that was one of the main supply lines of Al-Nusra in the Eastern countryside of the capital.

Also, the army soldiers pushed Al-Nusra back from several buildings and positions South of Ein Terma parallel to al-Mat,halaq al-Janoubi region.

The army units further detonated a tunnel under a network of tunnels that had lined terrorists' positions East of al-Mat'halaq to the depth of Jobar, killing tens of terrorists.   

Reports said earlier today that the army men managed to push Al-Nusra terrorists to areas around Sonbol petrol station in Ein Terma region and imposed control over several buildings.

The army units further embarked on rapid fortification of the newly-captured positions.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960612001501

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Arab Media: ISIL after Safe Haven in North Africa

Sep 03, 2017

"The Syrian government forces' advances have left a few options for ISIL and it seems that ISIL can just find hideouts in the three regions of Derna, Benghazi and Cert in Libya," al-Qods al-Arabi newspaper wrote in an analysis on Sunday.

"They also use Libya as a training center for training and equipping suicide bombers, specially those who come from Tunisia," it added.

The newspaper also referred to al-Qaeda Leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar's presence in Libya, and said he is the main obstacle to ISIL's advance in Southern Libya, Niger and Northern Mali unless the ISIL works out an agreement with him for alliance.

For more than two years, fighters from the ISIL have exploited civil war chaos in Libya to establish control over large stretches of the coastline and pockets of territory elsewhere.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960612001341

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Gov't Forces Tighten Noose on Terrorists in Central Syria

Sep 03, 2017

The army men stormed the remaining pockets of ISIL's strongholds in Eastern Hama and captured the towns of al-Makimen al-Janoubi, Rasm al-Ahmar, Na'eimeh, Jadideh and Tanhaj and al-Seib region, tightening circle of forces around ISIL-held regions.

A military source, meantime, said that al least 38 ISIL terrorists have been killed and a large volume of their military equipment have been destroyed in the attacks, adding that the terrorist front in Eastern Hama has completely collapsed.

Reports said earlier today that the army men, backed up by Russian fighter jets, stormed the remaining pockets of ISIL terrorists in Eastern Hama and liberated the town of Aqayrabat.

Aqayrabat was main center of ISIL in Hama and the start line of terrorists' attacks on army positon in Eastern Hama and the road connecting Hama to Aleppo.

A military source said that a large number of ISIL terrorists have been killed or wounded in Aqayrabat liberation operation, adding that the army plans to continue to free other terrorist-held regions in Eastern Hama.

In the meantime, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, “The units of the 4th tank division of Syrian government forces, in collaboration with the 5th Volunteer Corps and military intelligence unit (Mukhabarat), liberated the town of Aqayrabat.”

“The operation to destroy a large group of ISIL fighters in the Eastern part of the Hama province was carried out with the active support of the Russian Air Force.”

Russian planes destroyed terrorist strongholds and their armored hardware. The jets also targeted ISIL's artillery positions, control points and communication outposts.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960612001003

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Government forces to reach Daesh-held Dayr al-Zawr in two days: Governor

Sep 4, 2017

The governor of the Daesh-held province of Dayr al-Zawr has said that the Syrian army will reach the city within the next 48 hours.

“The heroes of the army will arrive at Dayr al-Zawr in 24-48 hours at the most," said Mohammed Ibrahim Samra on Sunday.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the army has reached the border of the besieged garrison’s camp on the western edge of the city.

It added that intense fighting has broken out between the Daesh terrorists and the newly-arrived forces who are trying to link up with their besieged allies in the eastern Syrian city, which has been held by the terrorists since 2014.

According to Syrian military sources, a large number of terrorists have been killed during the operations which began earlier in the day.

“We carried out at dawn a successful raid against one of Daesh terrorists’ barricades in the direction of the Water Resources area with several bombs when we approached the area, killing all the terrorists at the site,” said one of the troops engaged in the operations.  

Earlier in the day, a high-ranking American military commander said the US-backed militia from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will take part in the operation to retake the troubled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr from the extremists.

In the past few months, Daesh has suffered multiple defeats across Syria, notably in the city of Raqqah, its de facto capital in the Arab country. It has also been heavily battered in neighboring Iraq, particularly by losing its main Iraqi base of Mosul in July.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/04/533935/Syria-daesh-army-Dayralzawr

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Daesh evacuation bus convoy split into two by strikes in Syria, coalition says

Sep 3, 2017

A convoy evacuating members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is trying to reach areas under control of the terrorists in eastern Syria, has been split into two with some buses remaining in a desert area and others reportedly turning back into government-held regions.

The so-called US-led coalition announced the news in a statement on Sunday, saying that “one group remains in the open desert to the northwest of al-Bukamal [bordering Iraq] and the other group has headed west towards Palmyra.”

Last week, the Syrian government agreed to a deal between the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and Daesh. The agreement allows the transport of Daesh members from the strategic and mountainous region of Qalamoun close to the border with Lebanon to eastern Syria. The ceasefire deal, which took effect on August 27, ended the anti-terror campaign on the Syrian-Lebanese border.

The convoy of 17 buses, transporting 300 lightly-armed terrorists and about 300 family members, began its journey late last month, but according to the Sunday statement, warplanes of the US-led coalition raided the convoy over the past week, stranding the vehicles.

It said some 85 Daesh members had been killed and about 40 of the group’s vehicles, moving in the vicinity of the convoy, had been targeted by airstrikes. It went on to say that the vehicles included a tank, armed technical vehicles and transport vehicles, which had been used for facilitating the movement of Daesh terrorists to the Iraqi border.

The coalition also blocked the convoy from entering Daesh-held areas in eastern Syria near Iraqi territories by making roads impassable and destroying bridges through airstrikes. The coalition said it opposed the evacuation agreement as “being a lasting solution.”

On Saturday, Hezbollah warned the United States that six buses stranded in desert included elderly people and pregnant women, accusing Washington of stopping humanitarian assistance from reaching the buses. “Only the Americans will bear the responsibility” for what happens to the wounded and elderly evacuees," the resistance movement said.

The resistance movement also announced that 11 buses had already crossed out of regions held by the Syrian government and were no longer the responsibility of Hezbollah or Damascus.

On August 19, the Lebanese military launched an anti-terror operation on the Syrian border. Hezbollah and the Syrian army also started a simultaneous offensive against Daesh in Syria’s western region of Qalamoun. The August operation came on the back of a successful military offensive by Hezbollah a month earlier against Takfiri elements on the outskirts of Lebanon’s northeastern border town of Arsal.

In recent months, Daesh has been taking heavy blows from the Syrian and Iraqi armed forces, losing swathes of territory it used to hold.

Since 2014, Hezbollah and the Lebanese military have been defending Lebanon on the country’s northeastern frontier against foreign-backed terrorist groups infiltrating from Syria.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/03/533919/Syria-Daesh-evacuation-convoy-Iraq-US-airstrikes-Lebanon-Hezbollah

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Iraqi forces nab over 250 Daesh terrorists hidden among refugees

Sep 3, 2017

Iraqi security forces have arrested more than 250 Daesh infiltrators, who had disguised themselves as civilians and slipped out of Tal Afar in the wake of a joint multi-pronged operation by government troops and allied fighters to push the Takfiri terrorists out of the northern city.

A security officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said police forces extracted 272 Daesh members at a refugee camp in Hammam al-Alil district, located about 25 kilometers south of Mosul, on Sunday as they were screening the internally displaced persons there.

The officer added that the extremists will be transferred to a detention center after Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) holiday, noting that the captured Takfiris come from Russia, the North Caucasus region of Chechnya, Afghanistan, France and Britain.

On August 31, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the city of Tal Afar and the entire Nineveh province had been purged of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The recapture of Tal Afar was made possible with the help of Iraqi army soldiers, Federal Police Force, Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi and the Interior Ministry's elite rapid response forces.

An Iraqi military official said on Friday that government forces, backed by Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters, are preparing to launch a major military operation aimed at liberating the town of Hawija in the oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk from Daesh terrorists anytime soon.

The unnamed official said Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) has formed a new force, dubbed Operation "We Are Coming, Hawija" to retake the town, located 45 kilometers west of the provincial capital city of Kirkuk.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/03/533901/Iraqi-forces-weed-out-Daesh-militants-disguised-civilians-fleeing-Tal-Afar

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India

 

Terrorism is biggest enemy of mankind, says Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

September 4, 2017

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said terrorism is the biggest enemy of mankind and the biggest danger to the world peace. He stressed on the need for international community to come together and curb it mercilessly. Addressing the 78th session of Institut de Droit International (IDI), Institute of International Law, at the NALSAR University of Law here this evening, Naidu said India in later years and particularly after the September 11 attacks put considerable effort in fighting international terrorism.

“Several conventions resulted from the efforts exerted under the auspices of the United Nations. Mention may be made in this connection of the SAARC convention on the suppression of international terrorism as well as the Indian proposal to conclude a comprehensive convention on suppression of international terrorism now under consideration of the UN,” he said.

“…That’s the need of the hour…the biggest danger to the world peace is from terror. Terror has no religion, it has no colour and it has no sex. But, unfortunately some people are trying to mix terror and religion for their own narrow political and partisan ends. The world community must be aware of the evil designs of these forces and see to it that we all come together for an agreement at the earliest to have a comprehensive convention on suppression of international terrorism,” the vice president said.

Naidu further said “Terrorism is the biggest enemy of the mankind. I underline and I urge upon the international community particularly the lawyers and professionals to come to some understanding and bring stringent laws in their respective countries and broad international agreement on fighting terror and ending all sources of terror.”

He said “what has happened in India the pain was not felt by others earlier but now today what has happened in the US, what has happened in European countries and different parts of the world.

“Everybody is becoming a victim…that’s why I said it’s an enemy of humanity and it should be curbed mercilessly. And it should be curbed legally, politically and administratively and it should be curbed by creating awareness among the people.”

Naidu underlined the need for entire humanity to speak in one voice to condemn terror of any kind.

“There cannot be any justification at all for terror. However great the cause may be, there are legal methods. Now we are living in a civilised world.

“World is moving on and we are living in a global village and we are not living in isolation…we must all resolve to come together and take strong resolve to put an end to this menace of terror which is enemy of the mankind, which is affecting the progress of people of world community,” he said.

India is keen to see the conclusion of this important convention in the near future without further delay in view of the growing incidents of international terrorism, which are threatening world peace, the vice president added.

India’s foreign policy is based on sovereign equality of states, non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with principles articulated in Article 33 of the United Nations, he said.

India attaches huge importance to the implementation of international statutes and the rule of law, and is a firm believer in promotion of peace and justice globally, said Naidu.

The Institute of International Law is meeting for the first time in India in its long history of nearly 150 years.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/terrorism-is-biggest-enemy-of-mankind-says-vice-president-m-venkaiah-naidu-4827140/

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Pakistan resorts to ceasefire violation in Poonch district along LoC

September 3, 2017

Pakistani troops on Sunday resorted to mortar shelling, besides automatics and small arms fire at various forward Indian positions in Mendhar and Mankote areas of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani troops initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing along the LoC in Krishna Ghati sector around 8.50 am. The Indian army retaliated strongly and effectively to the provocation and the exchange of fire continued till 10 am.

With Pakistani troops off and on resorting to unprovoked firing on Indian side, there has been no let up in tension along the LoC. This has been despite both sides holding a flag meeting at Chakkan Da Bagh on August 23, with Pakistani troops assuring their Indian counterpart of maintaining peace and tranquility along the LoC.

As a result of continued escalation, there has been no exchange of Eid greetings and exchange of sweets between India and Pakistan at any place along the LoC in Jammu region including Chakkan Da Bagh on Saturday. Instead, they resorted to firing in Balnoi area where they had hit a BSF ASI Kamaljit Singh a day earlier.

Owing to frequent incidents of unprovoked and indiscriminate firing from across the border, there has been no cross LoC travel and trade between Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir through Chakkan Da Bagh on Poonch-Rawalakot road for the last over two months.

Since May 1 this year, nearly a dozen people have been killed and many others injured in unprovoked and indiscriminate mortar shelling and small arms fire at frequent intervals on the Indian side of the LoC by Pakistani troops in Rajouri and Poonch districts.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistan-resorts-to-ceasefire-violation-in-poonch-district-along-loc-4826921/

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Mideast

 

Ben Dagher: We will not allow Iran to have a foothold in Yemen

4 September 2017

Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Ben Dagher vowed not to allow Iran to have a foothold in his country.

This came during his meeting Sunday in the interim capital of Aden, with the commander of the Saudi forces in the Arab alliance, Brigadier Sultan bin Islam, and a number of officers of the Kingdom.

“We will not allow Iran to exist or to spread its culture or destructive project in Yemen and the entire Arab region,” Ben Dagher said.

He added: “The Yemeni people stand supported by the countries of the Arab alliance to thwart this project.”

The head of the Yemeni government said that Operation Al-Hazm Storm, led by Saudi Arabia, came at a time of divergence and changed the equation of forces. It foiled Iran’s ambition to expand and control Yemen and threaten the security and stability of the Arab world, especially neighboring countries and regional and international shipping.

Ben Dagher discussed with the commander of the Saudi forces the security and military aspects of the liberation of the remaining areas under the control of the Houthi militias and deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh, how to establish peace and disarm the militias.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/09/04/Ben-Dagher-We-will-not-allow-Iran-to-have-a-foothold-in-Yemen.html

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Netanyahu’s wife undergoes lie detector test over graft

Sep 4, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife has undertaken a lie detector test after being accused of misusing public funds.

Netanyahu family lawyer Yossi Cohen told Israeli public radio on Sunday that Sara Netanyahu "took the test" that he described as "very tough" and "humiliating."

He further said the premier’s wife underwent the examination at a privately operated polygraph facility, without elaborating on the questions she was asked or the test results.

Sara Netanyahu was questioned last month on suspicions she used state funds for personal housekeeping expenses at the couple's official and private residences.

Private broadcaster Channel Two said at the weekend that the attorney general was expected to indict her by September 10. However, the results of the polygraph test are not admissible as evidence in Israeli criminal trials.

Netanyahu himself is facing corruption charges.

Police have been interrogating Netanyahu over allegations that he unlawfully accepted lavish gifts from wealthy supporters and separately held talks with the publisher of a top-selling Israeli newspaper for positive coverage in exchange for diminishing the impact of a free pro-Netanyahu daily.

The four-term premier has rejected any allegations of misconduct saying repeatedly that he is the target of a campaign by political opponents. His family spokesman said Netanyahu would withstand what he described as a "witch-hunt" designed to force him from office.

Earlier this month, a former chief of staff to Netanyahu agreed to testify against him in the two cases involving the premier, after he reached an agreement with the prosecutors.

Protesters urge Netanyahu’s imprisonment

On Saturday night, hundreds of Israelis staged a protest near the attorney general's house in the city of Petah Tikva, calling for the imprisonment of Netanyahu.

The rally is part of a weekly demonstration against government corruption. The demonstrators have long criticized Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s handling of the investigations into Netanyahu and urged him to quit.

Protesters also staged similar rallies in Jerusalem al-Quds, Tel Aviv and Nes Ziona.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/04/533948/Israel-Netanyahu-wife-polygraph-test

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Iran’s new defence minister says priority is to boost missile program

3 September 2017

Iran’s new defense minister said Saturday the priority was to boost the country’s missile program and export weapons to shore up neighboring allies.

“In combat fields, especially in missiles, we have a specific plan to boost Iran’s missile power,” said General Amir Hatami, who was appointed defense minister earlier this month, in a speech carried by the ISNA news agency.

“God willing, the combat capabilities of Iran’s ballistic and cruise missiles will increase in this term,” he added. Hatami also said Iran would look to export weapons “to prevent war and conflict”.

Export of weapons

“Wherever a country becomes weak, others become encouraged to raid it... Wherever necessary, we will export weapons to increase the security of the region and countries, to prevent wars,” he said.

Hatami is the first defence minister to be selected from the regular army, rather than the elite Revolutionary Guards, in more than two decades.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/03/Iran-Defense-Minister-Priority-is-to-boost-missile-program.html

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Houthi militias strengthen forces in Sanaa and surroundings

2 September 2017

Yemeni sources said that the Houthi militias intensified the armed checkpoints and security barriers in Sanaa’s streets, and reinforced its supervision over the military leaders loyal to the ousted Saleh.

The sources revealed that the Houthis summoned hundreds of their members from different fronts, and deployed them in Sanaa, and prepared special troops to fight a quick battle with Saleh loyalists.

A Special Forces batch was advanced by Houthi militias called the “quick intervention”, this batch is highly combative, on the occasion of their graduation; they carried out a military maneuver in one of the suburbs of Sana’a, as per the same sources.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/03/Houthi-militias-strengthen-forces-in-Sanaa-and-surroundings-.html

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Yemeni forces kill five Saudi troops in border areas

Sep 3, 2017

At least five Saudi troops have been killed in a Yemeni retaliatory attack following the kingdom's airstrikes on its impoverished neighbor.

Four Saudi troops were hit by Yemeni snipers in Saudi Arabia's Alab border area, while another one was killed by Yemeni snipers at a military base in the 'Asir region.

Riyadh has been involved in more than two years of a devastating campaign against Yemen.

Meanwhile, at least two Yemeni civilians were killed after their car was targeted by Saudi jets in the western province of Ma’rib.

On Saturday, Yemeni army and allied forces launched a missile attack against a military base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Jizan region, inflicting casualties on Sudanese mercenaries there.

PressTV-Yemeni forces hit Saudi base in Jizan with missile

Yemeni army and allied forces have launched a missile attack against a military base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Jizan region.

Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported that a medium-range Qaher M-2 ballistic missile had precisely hit the al-Mosem base in Jizan on Saturday.

Since March 2015, Yemen has been crippled by a deadly Saudi-led war aimed at eliminating the Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstalling a Riyadh-friendly former regime.

Saudi Arabia has also achieved neither of the objectives despite spending billions of dollars on the war and enlisting the cooperation of dozens of its vassal states as well as Western countries.

Houthi and tribal fighters and allied army factions have been jointly fighting back the Saudi-led invaders.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/03/533932/saudi-troops-yemen-retaliatory-airstrike

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Capable manpower can solve all problems: Ayatollah Khamenei

Sep 3, 2017

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says all existing problems in Iran can be overcome through taking advantage of capable manpower that abounds in the country.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iranian Army's Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base and other senior commanders and officials of the base in Tehran on Sunday.

The Leader said capable manpower plays an unparalleled role in the progress of various sectors, including the Armed Forces.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei called for unrelenting efforts aimed at taking advantage of the country's talented manpower in order to overcome shortages and satisfy existing needs.

“Numerous advances in different sectors such as the Armed Forces as well as science and technology prove that the country's young and highly-motivated manpower is also capable and the children of Iran are cause of pride both inside the country and in scientific and technological centers of the world,” the Leader stated.

Ayatollah Khamenei lauded coordinated efforts made by the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) through the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base and also praised the base's cooperation with Iran’s Defense Ministry, universities and other scientific centers to overcome the existing shortages.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/03/533886/Iran-Leader-Islamic-Revolution-Ayatollah-Seyyed-Ali-Khamenei-Khatam-alAnbiya-manpower

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Iran: UN rights report political, based on misinformation

Sep 3, 2017

Iran has lambasted a recent report by a UN rights rapporteur as “politically-charged and selective,” saying it has been devised based on misinformation.

UN Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir voiced concern in the Thursday report about alleged hunger strike by prisoners in Iran protesting against what she described as their conditions of detention.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi dismissed the claims on Sunday, saying both the report and the official’s mission were based on “a resolution relying on purely political and selective goals and malice of certain countries with a special agenda.”

The Islamic Republic, hence, completely rejects the report and considers it unacceptable, he added.

"Unfortunately, despite the frequent, detailed and well-founded responses of the Islamic Republic of Iran to unfounded allegations, the content of the report continues to be based on a series of inaccurate information and inappropriate prejudices about the human rights situation in Iran, using unreliable sources, which seriously compromises the credibility of the report," he said.

"Unfortunately, the Special Rapporteur seems to have been blind to numerous human rights progresses in Iran," Qassemi added.

Jahangir, the spokesman said, "has continued to use vague phrases and expressions of concerns, based on unreliable information, to present a dark and one-sided view of the human rights situation In Iran, which undoubtedly undermines the principle of impartiality and professional work of the rapporteur."

"We believe that taking advantage of the political, repetitive and selective approaches by a limited number of countries in the field of human rights, especially at a time when the international community is witnessing a failure to heed the flagrant violations of human rights and human tragedies by the terrorist groups they support in countries like Yemen, Bahrain, Myanmar, and so on will only lead to a weakening of the status of human rights around the world and become a scandal for human rights defenders," he added.

Back in March, Jahangir had issued a report criticizing Iran over a range of allegations, including execution of juveniles, imprisonment of religious minorities, torture of political prisoners and child marriage.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/03/533875/Iran-UN-Special-Rapporteur-Asma-Jahangir

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Africa

 

Boko Haram terrorists kill 18 people in northeast Nigeria

Sep 2, 2017

Suspected Takfiri Boko Haram militants have killed at least 18 people in northeastern Nigeria near the border with Cameroon in the latest surge of lethal assaults by the terror outfit in the restive region, local sources say.

The deadly incident took place on Friday, when a group of knife-wielding terrorists launched a stabbing attack against people in Banki, a border town some 130 kilometers southeast of Maiduguri, the capital city of the northeastern state of Borno, said Modu Perobe, a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force, a regional vigilante group.

The death toll was also confirmed by Abor Ali, the leader of a local community.

Boko Haram terrorists often launch deadly assaults against military convoys, unleash members with explosive vests and litter the surrounding roads with mines in the ravaged corner of the country's northeast.

Last month, the Boko Haram militants killed at least 27 people in a number of rural areas in Borno, the epicenter of the eight-year-long conflict with the terror group.

In the past few months, a number of bomb attacks by suspected members of Boko Haram have taken place in the capital of Borno state and its environs. Mosques, markets, camps for those displaced by the conflict in Nigeria and civilians have been targeted across the region.

The terror group has reportedly killed 190 people since June.

In December 2016, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power the year before with a pledge to eradicate Boko Haram, announced that the army had “crushed” the terror group by retaking its last key bastion, deep inside the thick Sambisa Forest in Borno.

The group has, however, resorted to sporadic shooting and bombing attacks in the northeast of the African country, spreading panic among local residents.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly terrorist attacks in Nigeria since the beginning of its militancy in 2009, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 20,000 people and made more than 2.7 million others displaced.

The United Nations has warned that around 8.5 million people in the worst affected areas of northeastern Nigeria are now in need of humanitarian assistance.

Back in February 2016, the Lake Chad Basin countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, together with a contingent from Benin, launched a campaign to confront the threat from Boko Haram in the region.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/02/533731/Nigeria-Boko-Haram-Borno-Banki-UN-Cameroon-Chad

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Somali militants kill 10 troops in Bulogadud base

Sep 3, 2017

The Takfiri al-Shabab militants have killed more than 10 soldiers in an attack on a base in southern Somalia.

Abdulahi Mohamed, a senior security official, said on Sunday that the assailants drove a truck loaded with explosives into the main entrance of the base in Bulogadud area before attacking the soldiers.

The militant group claimed responsibility for the deadly assault in a brief statement posted on a pro-Shabab website. The statement said "three technical vehicles were looted" in the assault.

"There was an attack on the military base in Bulogadud this morning... the initial information indicates that more than 10 soldiers were killed," media outlets quoted Mohamed as saying. "There was a car bomb blast and gunfire followed. The forces retreated from the base initially but they later regained control."

Ahmed Mohamud, a resident in a nearby village, told AFP that the militants "burned down everything and left."

Bulogadud is located about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from the port town of Kismayo, which has come under several militant attacks in recent years.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-aligned militant group, was forced out of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, by African Union troops in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and carries out attacks against government, military and civilian targets.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/03/533893/Somalia-Shabab-Bulogadud

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Al-Shabab bombing kills 12 in Somalia's Puntland

Sep 1, 2017

The al-Shabab Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed 12 people, including five soldiers, in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

The Puntland military said the attack was carried out in the village of Af-Urur, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the city of Bossaso, on Friday.

Major Mohamed Ismail, a Puntland military officer, said the explosion was caused by a bomb "planted near the khat market of Af-Urur."

Af-Urur lies near the Galgala hills, an area held by the terrorists, who have attacked and seized the town several times. In June, al-Shabab terrorists killed 38 people there.

The Friday attack coincided with Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), an important festival on the Islamic calendar that marks the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The Takfiri group’s military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, said, "We are behind the attack in Af-Urur village. We killed five soldiers and injured 10 others."

Al-Shabab has stepped up its deadly bombings in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, since the new government took office in February.

Somali has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab since 2006.

The Takfiri group was forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and carries out attacks against government, military and civilian targets.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/01/533698/Explosion-Somalia-Puntland-Shabab

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Nigerians Should Focus On Values Which Unite, Buhari Advises

3 SEPTEMBER 2017

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to channel their energy and resources toward values which unite the country rather than divisive debate.

He gave the advice in his remarks at the 2017 Eid al Adha lunch in Abuja where he was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The president noted that the country was deliberately made by God to be diverse, adding that diversity was the strength of the nation.

"Our energy and resources should not be spent on debates about division of the country; we must focus our minds on what God wants us to be.

"We should build that nation that God wants us to build from the beginning," he stated.

Referring to the pains associated with child delivery, the president observed that "all that we are hearing today is the noise and pain of that country that God wants to give birth to."

He reaffirmed his belief in one indissoluble country, saying God had given the country enormous human and material resources to be great.

The president explained that Nigerians were carrying out exploits in many parts of the world, and urged the elite to make such sacrifice that Prophet Ibrahim made to sacrifice his son for the attainment of the destiny of his people.

He recalled that in spite of the successes recorded in degrading Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east Zone, pockets of opportunistic attacks were still being carried out by the terrorists.

He, however, said that such attacks were temporary.

The president advised Nigerians to always remember the significance of the Eid celebration of sacrifice which was what gave God excitement about those He created.

According to him, God loves the willingness to make great sacrifice and Prophet Ibrahim made the sacrifice to fulfil his destiny and that of his nation.

Earlier, the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, represented by the Interior Minister, Abdulrahman Danbazau, used the opportunity to thank Nigerians for their prayers and support for Buhari while he was out of the country.

She recalled the successes recorded by the country under the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and called for more support for the administration.

She also thanked Nigerians for sustaining the peace in the country and urged them not to relent as there could be no meaningful development without peace.

Goodwill messages were also delivered by some Christian faithful invited to the lunch.

Former Christian Association of Nigeria Chairman in FCT, Israel Akanji, noted that it was the nature of Islam and Christianity to invite non-adherents to participate in their celebrations.

He said the welfare of the Muslim is the welfare of the Christian as well as the joy of all.

"We are all to live as one and to promote oneness of Nigeria" Mr. Akanji added.

A guest lecturer, Mainsuna Yahaya, who spoke on the significance of the Eid al Adha, said it had spiritual, social economic and civilizational imperatives which all should endeavour to achieve.

The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, in a vote of thanks said the country's journey was endless but fruitful.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201709040007.html

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