New Age Islam
Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:55 PM

Islamic World News ( 8 May 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Saudi Mufti Recruits Syrian Children for Terrorism



New Age Islam News Bureau

9 May 2016


•  London Buses to Feature ‘Subhan Allah’ As Part of Advertising Campaign

•  New Fronts Emerge in Africa’s “Arc of Terrorism”

•  Taliban Commanders among 36 Killed In Afghan Army Led Operations, MoD Says

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Arab World

•  Saudi Mufti Recruits Syrian Children for Terrorism

•  Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri Urges Al-Nusra Front to Challenge ISIL in Syria

•  Iran Warns Takfiri Terrorists of Harsh Revenge in Syria Soon

•  Yemeni Source: Riyadh Impeding Progress in Peace Talks

•  4 Civilians Killed in Terrorist Rocket Attacks in Aleppo

•  Over 400 Terrorists Killed, Wounded In Gov't Forces' Offensives in The Last Two To Three Days

•  Syrian, Russian Warplanes Bomb Terrorist Centers in Khan Touman

•  36 Gunmen Turn Themselves in to Authorities in Syria's Damascus Province

•  Syrian Army, Allies Ready to Launch Fresh Operation East of Damascus

•  Iran Test-Fires New Long-Range Ballistic Missile

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Europe

•  London Buses to Feature ‘Subhan Allah’ As Part of Advertising Campaign

•  David Cameron: Brexit Would Hamper Fight against Islamic State and Put Peace at Risk

•  Non-Muslim refugees at mercy of other migrants, German group warns

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Africa

•  New Fronts Emerge in Africa’s “Arc of Terrorism”

•  Eight Police Killed Near Cairo in Attack Claimed By Islamic State; One of Its •  Deadliest

•  Somalia: 4 killed as extremists attack police headquarters

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South Asia

•  Taliban Commanders among 36 Killed In Afghan Army Led Operations, MoD Says

•  UNAMA Regrets the Execution of 6 Militants by Afghan Government

•  Details of terrorists executed in Kabul revealed

•  Haqqani network terrorist arrested in Kabul before targeting parliament

•  Taliban and Afghan police suffer casualties in Lashkargah city clash

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Mideast

•  Three Soldiers Killed in PKK Attack in Turkey’s South East

•  EU ‘Should Understand Turkey’s Conditions on Terrorism’

•  Israeli Forces Target 2 Female Students; Detain 14 Others in West Bank

•  Turkey stages cross-border operations against PKK and ISIL in Iraq and Syria

•  Civilian guards grilled over fatal shooting of Palestinian siblings

•  Israeli Islamic cleric starts nine-month prison term

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Southeast Asia

•  The Indonesian Muslim ‘Cyber Warriors’ Who Are Battling Islamic State Online

•  Islamic banks in Malaysia have better asset quality than Indonesia: Moody's

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Pakistan

•  Pakistani Activist Who Condemned Religious Extremism Gunned Down

•  ‘Pakistan doing nothing to stop opposition’s persecution in Bangladesh’

•  12 injured in grenade blast near Uzair’s home in Lyari

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India

•  Gujarat Muslim Gets 3 Years in Jail and Rs 10,000 Fine For Possessing 40 KG Of Beef

•  Tension over Use of Burial Ground by the Muslim Community

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North America

•  US struggles to convince Iraqis it doesn’t support Islamic State

•  'A big achievement:' Muslim leader earns US citizenship

•  Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at marks 50 years in Canada

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-mufti-recruits-syrian-children-for-terrorism/d/107243

 

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Saudi Mufti Recruits Syrian Children for Terrorism

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA) - Facing defection and death of thousands of its members in recent months, Jeish al-Fatah terrorist group has resorted to recruitment of children using a Saudi mufti.

Abdullah al-Mahisi is a Saudi mufti who makes speeches near the refugees' camps in Idlib to persuade children to join the terrorist groups.

Most of recruited forces for Jeish al-Fatah in Idlib are children fooled by Mahisi to enter the hell of Syria war.

The children undergo a 15-day training course to become prepared for war alongside the militants.

Jeish al-Fatah terrorist group has lost tens of its forces in Idlib and Aleppo in recent months due to the Syrian army and Russian air force attacks and it seeks to compensate for failures by using children.

Relevant reports in March also said that the ISIL is raising a generation of child killers from birth. That’s according to the latest report by London-based counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam.

The paper says that ISIL militants train children as soldiers, executioners and suicide bombers from an early age to make them “more lethal fighters than themselves”.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000604

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London Buses to Feature ‘Subhan Allah’ As Part of Advertising Campaign

May 9, 16


Photo: London Buses to Feature ‘Subhan Allah’ As Part of Advertising Campaign.

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Hundreds of British buses will carry adverts praising Allah as part of a campaign launched by the country’s biggest Muslim charity to help victims of Syria’s civil war.

Islamic Relief hopes the posters, which bear the words “Subhan Allah”, meaning “Glory be to God” in Arabic, will portray Islam and international aid in a positive light.

Buses will carry the advertisements in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and Bradford.

These cities have large Muslim populations and the charity hopes it will encourage people to donate generously ahead of the start of Ramadan on 7 June.

According to Islamic law, Muslims are supposed to donate 2.5 per cent of their income to the poor and needy.

Known as Zakat, the pratice is regarded as one of the “five pillars of Islam”.

Many people choose Ramadan to donate their Zakat, as the month of fasting is regarded as a month of blessings.

Muslims believe the rewards for all good deeds are greater during Ramadan than during the rest of the year, according to Muslim Aid.

The charity hopes the campaign will help young Muslims channel anger about the war in Syria and discrimination at home into humanitarian work, thereby preventing them from becoming involved with extremist groups.

Imran Madden, the UK director of Islamic Relief, said: “In a sense this could be called a climate change campaign because we want to change the negative climate around international aid and around the Muslim community in this country.

"International aid has helped halve the number of people living in extreme poverty in the past 15 years, and British Muslims are an incredibly generous community who give over £100 million to international aid charities in Ramadan.”

The new campaign will appear on buses from 23 May on 640 buses around the country.

The adverts will have a special resonance in London as the city elected its first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, on Thursday - despite a Conservative campaign which repeatedly accused him of having connections to extremists.

An estimated three million Muslims are believed to live in London - around 50 per cent of British Muslim population.

Transport for London (TfL), which regulates the advertisements appearing on the city’s buses, has a clause banning campaigns linked to a “political party or campaign” but does not prevent religious advertising.

It can ban ads if it believes the campaign is likely “to cause widespread or serious offence”.

In 2012, a Christian charity had its adverts cancelled by then Mayor Boris Johnson after it was accused of claiming to “cure” gay people.

In 2009, the British Humanist Association drew complaints after it ran a campaign saying “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.

In response, Christian groups ran a counter-campaign saying there “definitely is a God” a month later.

independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/muslim-charity-islamic-relief-allah-is-great-posters-buses-islam-positive-light-a7019396.html

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New Fronts Emerge in Africa’s “Arc of Terrorism”

May 9,16

At the UN Security Council meeting in May 2013, the President of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingé, warned of an arc of terrorism spreading across the continent from Mauritania to Nigeria extending into the Horn of Africa. Since 2013, the so-called arc has continued to spread, engulfing Burkina Faso and other states formally on the periphery of this band of insurgent activity in its wake. A series of attacks on both sides of the African continent have effectively redrawn the boundaries of the struggle taking place between global extremism and counter-terrorism efforts led by regional and international forces.

The attack on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso on January 15, 2016 was an unexpected extension of extremism sweeping the region. Despite attacks taking place at a hotel in Mali in November 2015 and on Grand-Bassam beach in Côte d’Ivoire in March 2016, Burkina Faso was described as being largely “off the radar of Islamist extremist groups.” In light of recent events, the country has now had to contemplate addressing new threats as security experts reassess the risk of extremist activity in the country. The attack, widely reported as “unprecedented” within the country, was described as an “incremental step in the deterioration of the security situation in the greater Sahel region” by The Washington Post. This recent spate of attacks in West Africa has been attributed to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), signaling what reports are now referring to as a “revival” of al Qaeda in Africa.

In the east, multiple actors have claimed responsibility for attacks that have only increased in intensity. East Africa has traditionally faced security threats from al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization. More recently, a new jihadist group, Jahba East Africa, announced itself as a new actor in the region, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In addition, Uamsho is an increasingly threatening Islamist separatist group active in Zanzibar. This confluence of actors has become an additional source of growing unease for the region’s security forces. As reported by The New York Times, existing schisms between the actors have increased the likelihood of fighting between groups, further complicating the security situation.

These various groups have raised significant security concerns, especially in countries that have historically been buffered from extremist attacks. The southern limits of al Shabaab’s activity was previously concentrated in Kenya, with isolated incidents in Tanzania. More recently, however, increased terrorist activities have taken place throughout Tanzania, attributed to al Qaeda and its offshoots. Largely unreported in international media, several incidents have been documented with increasing frequency in 2016 in multiple regions. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), 17 conflict events occurred in January 2015 alone, including pre-emptive raids on suspected militants, attacks on police stations, and locations frequented by tourists in Morogoro, Shinyanga, and Arusha. Notably, one attack occurred in Songea, an area near the border crossing with Mozambique and adjacent to neighboring Malawi. These new events located well within the interior of the country and close to its southern border mark a new expansion to the area threatened by terrorist attacks in the region.

The jihadist narrative has increasingly attracted disaffected youths from East African coast communities. Ambassador David Shinn, former U.S. Department of State Director of East African Affairs and previously U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, stated the following: “While the foreign fighter component of al-Shabaab in Somalia is relatively small, the largest number of foreign fighters in recent years has come from the Swahili coast in Kenya and Tanzania.” The recent incidents within the country’s interior and the pull of Kenyan and Tanzanian fighters to jihadist networks outside of al Shabaab’s traditional sphere of influence are both worrying trends.

The continued spread of the arc of terrorism has amplified the need to incorporate approaches that address the spread of extremist activities to so-called periphery states. As violent non-state actors engage in increasingly effective propaganda and continue to expand their areas of influence and operation, periphery states must be included in counter-terrorism measures and regional security strategies. Nation states on the boundaries of extremist activities will need more robust strategies to prevent such actors from taking root in areas traditionally outside of their areas of operations.

huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-fronts-emerge-in-afri_b_9865112.html?section=india

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Taliban commanders among 36 killed in Afghan army led operations, MoD says

Mon May 09 2016

Afghan Air Force target militantsAt least 36 militants were killed in the latest counter terrorism operations conducted the Afghan National Security Forces, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Monday.

“In the last 24 hours, as a result of the joint clearance operations of the Afghan security and defense forces aimed to topple down the insurgents and protect the lives and property of people  , 36 armed insurgents, including two of their commanders and were killed , tens were wounded,” according to a statement by MoD.

The statement further added that the operations were conducted in a number of the districts of Nangarhar, Paktia, Maidan Wardak, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Ghazni, Sar-e Pul, Herat, Jowzjan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar and Helmand provinces.

“In these joint operations of defense and security forces which were supported by heavy artillery and Air forces, 22 militants including a commander called Zurgay, were killed and seven wounded in the vicinities of Maiwand and Sha Wali Kot district of Kunar . Two armed militants including one of their group leaders named Abdullah was killed in Takhar as well as tow terrorists were killed, 7 wounded in central area of Sar-e-Pul and an armed militant was killed in Dand-e-Ghori district of Baghlan,” the statement added.

5 armed militants including a one of the commanders named Alef were killed, 3 others wounded and in the vicinity of Dehrawood District of Uruzgan, one armed militant was gunned down, MoD said.

Additionally as a result of the clearance operation of ANA, six armed militants were killed in Andar district of Ghazni and Zurmat of Paktia, four others were wounded, the statement said, adding that Afghan National Army as National Defense Forces for the protection of people‘s lives and properties and for defeating and eradicating terror groups, will fight the enemies vigorously   and are ready to give sacrifices for bringing lasting peace and stability to people.

khaama.com/taliban-commanders-among-36-killed-in-afghan-army-led-operations-mod-says-0883 

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Arab World

Saudi Mufti Recruits Syrian Children for Terrorism

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA) - Facing defection and death of thousands of its members in recent months, Jeish al-Fatah terrorist group has resorted to recruitment of children using a Saudi mufti.

Abdullah al-Mahisi is a Saudi mufti who makes speeches near the refugees' camps in Idlib to persuade children to join the terrorist groups.

Most of recruited forces for Jeish al-Fatah in Idlib are children fooled by Mahisi to enter the hell of Syria war.

The children undergo a 15-day training course to become prepared for war alongside the militants.

Jeish al-Fatah terrorist group has lost tens of its forces in Idlib and Aleppo in recent months due to the Syrian army and Russian air force attacks and it seeks to compensate for failures by using children.

Relevant reports in March also said that the ISIL is raising a generation of child killers from birth. That’s according to the latest report by London-based counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam.

The paper says that ISIL militants train children as soldiers, executioners and suicide bombers from an early age to make them “more lethal fighters than themselves”.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000604

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Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri Urges Al-Nusra Front to Challenge ISIL in Syria

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The leader of al-Qaeda terrorist network has ordered the group's Syrian branch to form its own "emirate" to challenge the West in competition with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor, gave his backing to a plan for al-Nusra Front to create al-Qaeda's first sovereign state, the Telegraph reported. 

If the plan is carried out it could see two “states”, one for ISIL and another for the new al-Qaeda emirate, competing for territory and influence within the borders of war-torn Syria.

His announcement, in a speech recorded and posted online, followed multiplying reports that he has sent his senior lieutenants into North-West Syria to take advantage of the chaos induced by five years of civil war.

al-Nusra Front, which was set up by ISIL's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but split from him in 2013, fights alongside a number of other militant groups in the Syrian war.

During the ceasefire, some more secular groups turned on it, criticizing its attempts to apply a harsh version of Sharia law in areas where it was powerful. But as the ceasefire has crumbled, it has led a number of joint attacks on Syrian army positions.

Analysts in contact with other rebel groups were already predicting it would become more brutal in enforcing its social codes. The United States and its Western allies also fear that if it establishes territorial control it could use Syria as a base for attacking the West, as Osama bin Laden did in Afghanistan.

The decision marks a change in strategy for al-Qaeda, which has focused on building its networks and support base in Syria and around the region. But Zawahiri has been under pressure to assert himself as Baghdadi's "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria has become the public face of international jihad and a powerful rival recruitment tool for would-be militants. Gulf states like Qatar have also been trying to persuade al-Nusra Front intermediaries to disavow al-Qaeda and throw in their lot with other, Syria-focused rebel groups in return for aid, so he may have felt the need to reassert central control.

Zawahiri, who is in hiding and has a $25 million US bounty on his head, said he was “proud” of al-Nusra’s work and its connection to al-Qaeda.

If they create their government, and choose their emir, what they choose is our choice,” he said.

Zawahiri condemned ISIL and compared them to the Khawarij, a seventh-century militant group known for its brutality against fellow Muslims it decided were "apostates".

“The nation in Greater Syria has backed al-Nusra, realizing the difference between the correctness of its methods and the methods of the new Khawarij,” he said.

The audio tape is another salvo in the complex and long-running rivalry between ISIL and al-Nusra, two terrorist groups who share some goals but differ violently on their methods.

Jabhat al-Nusra is one of the dominant powers in North-Western Syria and has a toehold in Aleppo, the country’s largest city and the scene of fierce bombardment by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies.

Charles Lister, an analyst at the Middle East Institute who has interviewed leaders of Syria's militant groups, suggested that al-Nusra would become more repressive against civilians if it imposed an emirate.

“In all likelihood, incidents of capital punishment would dramatically increase, civilian freedoms would be restricted, and Nusra Front’s tolerance of nonreligious, nationalist, and civil opposition bodies would decline,” he wrote in Foreign Policy magazine.

The move could also put al-Nusra on a collision course with other rebel groups fighting against the Assad government.

“So far al-Nusra has been able to work with other factions, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA), by prioritizing the fight against Assad other its own long term objectives. The creation of an emirate would represent a significant shift in this strategy and will force other opposition groups to either back the "emirate" or fight it,” said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst with the Levantine Group.

al-Nusra Front has been at pains to present itself as a domestic Syrian group and a product of the 2011 uprising against the Assad regime, while pointing out that ISIL’s leadership is dominated by Iraqis. The arrival of al-Adel and a raft of other al-Qaeda leaders, including a relative of bin Laden himself, suggests it is about to reassert its credentials as both a local rebel group and a source of international militant activity, like its counterpart in Yemen.

In his audio message, Zawahiri urged the people of Syria to resist efforts to end the five-year civil war through a UN-brokered political compromise and eventual elections for a new government.

He argued that in the cases of both Algeria and Egypt, the parties who had won power through elections only to lose it again to coups carried out by the secular armed forces.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000646

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Iran Warns Takfiri Terrorists of Harsh Revenge in Syria Soon

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council (EC) Mohsen Rezayee warned the Takfiri terrorists in Syria to wait for a harsh revenge after killing a number of Iranian military advisors in Khan Touman region.

"Khan Touman in the Southern parts of Aleppo was liberated some months ago but the Takfiris misused the ceasefire, while no Syrian army warplanes and artilleries were active, and ambushed the Syrian forces and Iranian advisors and occupied that region few days ago," Rezayee, also former commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), wrote on his Instagram page on Monday.

Noting that the Saudi and Turkish army forces were also deployed to backup the Takfiri terrorists, he said that the Syrian army and popular forces inflicted heavy toll and losses on militants before they could occupy Khan Touman.

Rezayee called the Takfiri terrorists as the Zionist regime's protégés, and warned them to wait for a "harsh revenge".

He expressed confidence that final victory belongs to the resistance, the Syrian nation and government and the Islamic Iran.

His remarks came after the Syrian army and its allies killed nearly 100 Takfiri terrorists in Aleppo, including Khan Touman region, on Sunday.

Yesterday, the Syrian army pushed back an ISIL assault in the Eastern parts of Aleppo and killed 30 terrorists in air force airstrikes.

According to field sources, the ISIL launched an assault on Syrian government positions in al-Hammam village in Eastern Aleppo on Sunday.

"The Syrian army, backed by air force and artillery units, repelled the attack and killed 30 Takfiri terrorists," they added.

The sources said tens of militants were wounded and their weapons and equipment were destroyed in the army counterattack.

The reports came after the al-Qaeda-affiliated websites confirmed on Sunday that 30 of their militants were killed and 12 others were wounded during clashes with the pro-government forces in the strategic town of Khan Touman on Sunday.

The Syrian army and its allies increased their missile and artillery attacks on terrorists' positions in Khan Touman in the Southern parts of Aleppo, forcing the militants to request help from their comrades in other terrorist groups.

According to military sources, the terrorists' positions in Khan Touman were pounded by over 100 missiles around midday and forced a large number of Jaish al-Adl terrorists to withdraw from the region.

After the terrorist groups confirmed the death of tens of their members in Khan Touman, two teams of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and the so-called Turkmen Islamic Party came to their aide in Khan Touman and Khalediya, but they were caught in the Syrian army forces' ambush in Tal Bastawi region.

Also, the Syrian army announced on Sunday that its troops and their allies continued to push back the terrorist groups from their strongholds in the Southern part of Aleppo province and seized control over more territories near Khan Touman following several hours of non-stop battle.

The Syrian government forces, including the Iraqi and Lebanese Hezbollah, stormed the defense lines of the terrorist groups near Tal Bastawi and inflicted heavy casualties on the Takfiri terrorists before they fled the battlefield.

The Syrian military forces captured Tal Bastawi and started to fortify their positions there.

The pro-government forces, meantime, repelled the terrorists' offensive near the village of Abu Reil and killed at least 25 of them.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000385

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Yemeni Source: Riyadh Impeding Progress in Peace Talks

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A Yemeni peace negotiator underlined that Saudi Arabia and its allies have prevented attainment of any progress in the ongoing peace talks in Kuwait.

"The continuation of attacks and military siege of Yemen indicates the enemies' insistence on pushing the peace talks and consultations into failure," the Arabic-language media outlets quoted the source as saying on Monday.

He reiterated that the meeting which was slated to be held on Monday was cancelled due to the problems created by the Saudi delegation.

In a relevant development earlier in May, a Yemeni politician underlined that Saudi Arabia and its allies have prevented attainment of any progress in the ongoing peace talks in Kuwait.

"The non-stop violations of the ceasefire by Saudi Arabia and the problems created by the Saudi delegation in the ongoing peace talks in Kuwait City have resulted in the lack of success for the negotiations," Abdel Mansour al-Karami told FNA.

He noted that the agreements reached in the previous round of the peace talks in Switzerland topped the Kuwait meeting, but have not been dealt with so far.

"The Yemeni peace talks in Kuwait have not achieved any progress despite being underway in Kuwait for 10 days now," he added.

The continuation of Saudi air strikes on Yemen confirms that Riyadh has not stopped the hostilities and would go on its moves to make advances in several areas across the Yemeni territories.

Since March 26, 2015, Yemen has been under brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition. Thousands have been martyred and injured in the attack, with the vast majority of them are civilians.

Riyadh launched the attack on Yemen in a bid to restore power to fugitive president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is a close ally to Saudi Arabia.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000632

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4 Civilians Killed in Terrorist Rocket Attacks in Aleppo

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Four civilians were killed when terrorist groups fired rocket and mortar shells on a number of residential neighborhoods in Aleppo city and Aleppo countryside.

A source at Aleppo Police Command said that a little boy, a little girl, and two women were killed and 10 others were injured due to rocket shells fired by terrorists on al-Midan neighborhood, SANA reported.

The source added that the shells also caused the collapse of a house and damaged a number of houses and cars in the neighborhood.

Earlier, the source said terrorist groups fired a rocket shell on al-Jamilia neighborhood in Aleppo city, injuring four citizens and causing material damage to private and public properties.

Terrorist groups had also targeted the residential neighborhoods in Jam’yiat al-Zahraa, al-Ramousa, al-Assad area, and Karam al-Jabal in Aleppo city, causing massive material damage to private and public buildings.

The source added that the terrorist groups also fired rocket shells on the residential neighborhoods in Nubl and al-Zahra towns in the Northern countryside of Aleppo, causing material damage to citizens’ properties.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000800

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Over 400 Terrorists Killed, Wounded In Gov't Forces' Offensives in The Last Two To Three Days

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Military sources announced that at least 400 terrorists have been killed or wounded in the pro-government forces' offensives in the Southern part of Aleppo province in the last two to three days.

"The entire anti-terrorism movements and offensives of the Syrian army and its allies are based on military logic and are not based on any emotional decisions, that is why the government forces are carrying out their operations in Khan Touman battlefield step by step," the sources told FNA, adding, "The most important matter is that the Syrian military forces have been capable of changing their positions in Khan Touman from defensive to offensive."

"The Syrian soldiers have prevented Jeish al-Fatah, al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham from moving towards al-Zarbeh and the neighborhoods of Rashedeen 4 and 5 from the Western and Northeastern sides of Khan Touman," they added.

"At least three tanks and several vehicles of the terrorist groups have been destroyed in the past two-three days and the Takfiri terrorists' centers in Kahn Touman, al-Zarbeh, Damascus-Aleppo highway, al-Eis and Rashedeen 4 have been heavily bombed by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets," the sources went on to say.

"In the meantime, the Syrian army's artillery, missile and mortar units have been pounding the terrorists' position in Khan Touman battlefield to weaken the defensive abilities of the militants and pave the group for safer and easier ground operation," they added.

"The Syrian army tracked and targeted a US-made TOW anti-tank missiles launching-pad near Khan Touman, which ended in the destruction of the site and the killing of the entire militants in the site," the source said.

Reports said earlier today that Syrian and Russian Air Force strikers, in a fresh series of joint combat flights, targeted the terrorist groups' positions in a key neighborhood of the town of Kahn Touman in the Southern part of Aleppo province and inflicted heavy death toll on the militants.

Strongholds of the Takfiri terrorists in al-Rashedeen neighborhood's Southern farms were massively targeted by the Syrian and Russian fighter jets.

The terrorists suffered a heavy death toll and their military equipment sustained major damage in the attacks.

The Al-Nusra and units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) claim to have taken back Khan Touman, but government forces say they are still in charge of key centers and blocks in the town.

The Syrian army alongside the National Defense Forces and Hezbollah fighters regained full control over the town of Khan Touman in December. Ever since then the city has fallen back to the terrorists twice, with the second time being this weekend.

Following an unsuccessful truce that was repeatedly violated by the terrorist groups, the Al-Nusra Front - the Syria arm of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group - could relocate some 20,000 terrorists to Northern Aleppo via Turkey's soil to launch a large-scale attack on

pro-government positions in several key cities in Aleppo province, including Khan Touman in the Southwest.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000786

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Syrian, Russian Warplanes Bomb Terrorist Centers in Khan Touman

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian and Russian Air Force strikers, in a fresh series of joint combat flights, targeted the terrorist groups' positions in a key neighborhood of the town of Kahn Touman in the Southern part of Aleppo province and inflicted heavy death toll on the militants.

Strongholds of the Takfiri terrorists in al-Rashedeen neighborhood's Southern farms were massively targeted by the Syrian and Russian fighter jets.

The terrorists suffered a heavy death toll and their military equipment sustained major damage in the attacks.

In relevant developments on Sunday, Several tanks and armored vehicles of the terrorist groups were destroyed by the Syrian Army troops' heavy missile fire near Khan Touman battlefield.

The Syrian army's missile units hit a T72 tank of terrorists and two more tanks of al-Nusra Front and a BMP vehicle, whose crew also were killed or wounded.

In the meantime, most of the supply lines of the terrorist groups in the Western part of Khan Touman to Rashedeen 4 and 5 and al-Khalediyeh were bombed by the heavy fire of the Syrian air fleet and the army's artillery and missile units.

Scores of the terrorists were killed or wounded in the shelling and several vehicles of the terrorists were destroyed in the attacks too.

The Syrian government force, including army men, the Iraqi and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and the National Defense Forces, have significantly advanced against the Takfiri terrorists in Khan Touman battlefield.

The Al-Nusra and units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) claim to have taken back Khan Touman, but government forces say they are still in charge of key centers and blocks in the town.

The Syrian army alongside the National Defense Forces and Hezbollah fighters regained full control over the town of Khan Touman in December. Ever since then the city has fallen back to the terrorists twice, with the second time being this weekend.

Following an unsuccessful truce that was repeatedly violated by the terrorist groups, the Al-Nusra Front - the Syria arm of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group - could relocate some 20,000 terrorists to Northern Aleppo via Turkey's soil to launch a large-scale attack on pro-government positions in several key cities in Aleppo province, including Khan Touman in the Southwest.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000585

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36 Gunmen Turn Themselves in to Authorities in Syria's Damascus Province

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- 36 wanted people from Damascus province turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities in Western Ghouta, official sources said Monday.

The sources in the province said that all the gunmen handed over their guns to the relevant authorities in the city of Darayya and asked for governmental pardon.

Syrian army has recently gained upper hand in so many battlefields across the county that has caused militants to flock military bases and asked for government's pardon.

Early in April, more than 150 militants, formerly members of different terrorist groups operating in Homs province, laid down their arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian officials as the pro-government forces keep on advancing across the province.

Local officials in the Central province of Homs announced that the number of surrendered militants in al-Rastan and Talbiseh reached 155 at the time, adding that they demanded the Syrian authorities to pardon them.

According to officials, most of the militants possessed weapons which were also seized by the authorities in Homs.

The militants formerly fighting in the Southern battlefields of the country surrendered to the Syrian government as the forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar Assad continue gaining ground across the country.

Also in April, 38 militants laid down their arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian officials as the pro-government forces keep on advancing across Hasaka province.

The militants surrendered to the competent authorities in Qamishli (a Kurdish-majority area in Northeastern Syria) in Hasaka province.

Early March, around 80 militants had also laid down their arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian officials in Damascus.

Also in March, more than 97 militants, formerly operating in Homs province, laid down their arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian officials.

Late February, around 250 militants in the Southern province of Dara'a laid down their arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian officials as the pro-government forces keep on advancing across the country.

Also in the same month, at least 59 militants in two provinces of Damascus and Idlib turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities.

Also, 27 Takfiri militants laid down arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian army in Homs, Hama and Idlib provinces in February.

Reports said also in late December that some 157 wanted militants turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities.

Some 117 wanted persons from Homs surrendered to be pardoned.

Meanwhile, 40 wanted persons from the provinces of Damascus and Hama also turned themselves in to the authorities.

Early in January, 86 wanted persons from Damascus province and Aleppo also gave up fight.

City officials also announced on December 22 that at least 15 militants laid down arms and surrendered to the competent authorities in Aleppo after the army and the country's popular forces' victories across the province.

Until last year, most surrendering cases happened in Homs and Damascus provinces, but now a growing number of militants lay down arms across the country. As the army scores more wins across Syria more militants lay down arms to save their lives.

Some 116 Takfiri militants turned themselves in to the Syrian army in Homs province on December 20.

On December 12, some 20 wanted Takfiri terrorists in Hama province gave up fight and turned themselves in to the authorities to enjoy the general amnesty issued by President Bashar Al-Assad that has been in place for the last several years.

Some 200 wanted militants from Zabadani region and Madaya in Damascus province also surrendered earlier in December.

"The Syrian government has vowed to pardon all those who lay down arms voluntarily and it has remained loyal to its pledge so far, and this has encouraged us to give up fight, specially considering that the government troops, National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah who also enjoy the air backup of the Syrian and Russian air forces has gained momentum in its battlefield victories," one of those who surrendered in Damascus on December 5 said.

President Bashar Assad’s government freed 270 militants within the framework of the country's reconciliation plan on December 11.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000651

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Syrian Army, Allies Ready to Launch Fresh Operation East of Damascus

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops, Hezbollah fighters and the National Defense Forces (NDF) are getting ready to carry out a large-scale join operation in Eastern Ghouta to push the terrorists back from more territories there, battlefield sources said Monday.

"Hundreds of the fresh soldiers have been dispatched to the Eastern battlefield of Damascus province to take part in a large-scale operation to end militancy in the region, particularly near the village of Hawsh al-Farah and the town of Madaya.

Reports said earlier today that 36 wanted people from Damascus province turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities in Western Ghouta.

The sources in the province said that all the gunmen handed over their guns to the relevant authorities in the city of Darayya and asked for governmental pardon.

Syrian army has recently gained upper hand in so many battlefields across the county that has caused militants to flock military bases and asked for government's pardon.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000698

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Iran Test-Fires New Long-Range Ballistic Missile

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran has test-fired a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000km in recent days, a senior Iranian commander announced on Monday.

Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi made the announcement while addressing a ceremony in Tehran today.

He said that the missile which hit the target with an 8-meter-margin of error was test-fired two weeks ago.

The General did not reveal any further detail about the exact date or location of the test.

On March 9, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully fired ballistic missiles as part of measures to assess its capabilities. Iran says its missiles are for defense and designed to carry conventional explosives only.

In relevant remarks in April, Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Army Brigadier General Abdolrahim Moussavi underlined that the country will continue developing its defense programs without paying heed to the West's hue and cry.

"We do not need anyone's permission to boost our defensive capabilities and we are always on alert to carry out orders of the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) and take honor in having the Iranian nation's support," General Moussavi said last month.

General Moussavi pointed to the enemies' threats against Iran, and said, "Whenever there are all-out threats, there should also be all-out defense."

"Everyone should see himself in the trench of defense to fight enemies' threats and all officials should take this important and basic principle into serious consideration and make efforts in this regard," he added.

General Moussavi warned that there are serious threats posed to the Islamic Republic of Iran in all areas.

He said that the enemies use any opportunity to strike a blow at the Islamic System, and said, "The US uses any opportunity to penetrate into the Islamic system and this has always been visible in political, military, economic, cultural and social fields."

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000675

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Europe

London Buses to Feature ‘Subhan Allah’ As Part of Advertising Campaign

May 9, 16

Hundreds of British buses will carry adverts praising Allah as part of a campaign launched by the country’s biggest Muslim charity to help victims of Syria’s civil war.

Islamic Relief hopes the posters, which bear the words “Subhan Allah”, meaning “Glory be to God” in Arabic, will portray Islam and international aid in a positive light.

Buses will carry the advertisements in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and Bradford.

These cities have large Muslim populations and the charity hopes it will encourage people to donate generously ahead of the start of Ramadan on 7 June.

According to Islamic law, Muslims are supposed to donate 2.5 per cent of their income to the poor and needy.

Known as Zakat, the pratice is regarded as one of the “five pillars of Islam”.

Many people choose Ramadan to donate their Zakat, as the month of fasting is regarded as a month of blessings.

Muslims believe the rewards for all good deeds are greater during Ramadan than during the rest of the year, according to Muslim Aid.

The charity hopes the campaign will help young Muslims channel anger about the war in Syria and discrimination at home into humanitarian work, thereby preventing them from becoming involved with extremist groups.

Imran Madden, the UK director of Islamic Relief, said: “In a sense this could be called a climate change campaign because we want to change the negative climate around international aid and around the Muslim community in this country.

"International aid has helped halve the number of people living in extreme poverty in the past 15 years, and British Muslims are an incredibly generous community who give over £100 million to international aid charities in Ramadan.”

The new campaign will appear on buses from 23 May on 640 buses around the country.

The adverts will have a special resonance in London as the city elected its first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, on Thursday - despite a Conservative campaign which repeatedly accused him of having connections to extremists.

An estimated three million Muslims are believed to live in London - around 50 per cent of British Muslim population.

Transport for London (TfL), which regulates the advertisements appearing on the city’s buses, has a clause banning campaigns linked to a “political party or campaign” but does not prevent religious advertising.

It can ban ads if it believes the campaign is likely “to cause widespread or serious offence”.

In 2012, a Christian charity had its adverts cancelled by then Mayor Boris Johnson after it was accused of claiming to “cure” gay people.

In 2009, the British Humanist Association drew complaints after it ran a campaign saying “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”.

In response, Christian groups ran a counter-campaign saying there “definitely is a God” a month later.

independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/muslim-charity-islamic-relief-allah-is-great-posters-buses-islam-positive-light-a7019396.html

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David Cameron: Brexit would hamper fight against Islamic State and put peace at risk

May 9, 16

QUITTING the European Union would put peace and stability at risk and hamper the fight against terror, David Cameron has warned, as he made the "patriotic case" for a Remain vote.

The Prime Minister also insisted there is "safety in numbers" as he argued that staying in the 28-member bloc was crucial in the fight against Islamic State (IS).

Leave campaigners have had years to work out what would happen after a Brexit, but have failed to do so, he said.

In a speech at the British Museum, he warned that quitting was a reckless and irresponsible economic risk.

But Mr Cameron turned his focus on the impact that quitting would have on Britain's safety and international standing.

The UK must be strong in Europe if it wants to be strong in the world, the Prime Minister insisted, as he praised the EU for reconciling warring countries.

Mr Cameron said: "The serried rows of white headstones in lovingly-tended Commonwealth war cemeteries stand as silent testament to the price this country has paid to help restore peace and order in Europe.

"Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt?

"Is that a risk worth taking?

"I would never be so rash as to make that assumption."

heraldscotland.com/news/14479463.David_Cameron__Brexit_would_hamper_war_on_terror_and_put_peace_at_risk/

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Non-Muslim refugees at mercy of other migrants, German group warns

May 9,16

Berlin (dpa) - German refugee centres are not offering adequate protection for members of minority faiths, especially converts from Islam to Christianity, according to study published Monday by the Christian organization Open Doors Germany.

A report from the international mission, which was set up to support persecuted Christians around the world, said half of the 231 Christian refugees questioned in its survey reported being disadvantaged or bullied by Muslim migrants or guards.

Most of the migrants taking part in the survey came from Afghanistan or Iran.

A Protestant minister from Berlin said Christian refugees had been threatened after they refused to take part in an Islamic prayer organized by other migrants.

The Christian organization proposed that German authorities keep Christians, Yezidis and other non-Muslims together in larger groups in specially designated centres.

German authorities have struggled with the administrative logistics of an influx of more than 1 million migrants in the past year.

However the number of migrants arriving in Germany continued to drop since the start of the year, Germany‘s Office for Migrants and Refugees (BAMF) said Monday, with 16,000 registering for asylum in April, down from 90,000 in January.

Those numbers were mirrored by figures out of Greece - which has served as the entry way to Europe for many migrants in recent months - which showed on Monday that the number of arrivals there was also on the decline. Figures for the last three days showed only 138 arrivals, down from an average of 900 a day in March.

en.europeonline-magazine.eu/non-muslim-refugees-at-mercy-of-other-migrants-german-group-warns_454408.html

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Africa

New Fronts Emerge in Africa’s “Arc of Terrorism”

May 9,16

At the UN Security Council meeting in May 2013, the President of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingé, warned of an arc of terrorism spreading across the continent from Mauritania to Nigeria extending into the Horn of Africa. Since 2013, the so-called arc has continued to spread, engulfing Burkina Faso and other states formally on the periphery of this band of insurgent activity in its wake. A series of attacks on both sides of the African continent have effectively redrawn the boundaries of the struggle taking place between global extremism and counter-terrorism efforts led by regional and international forces.

The attack on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso on January 15, 2016 was an unexpected extension of extremism sweeping the region. Despite attacks taking place at a hotel in Mali in November 2015 and on Grand-Bassam beach in Côte d’Ivoire in March 2016, Burkina Faso was described as being largely “off the radar of Islamist extremist groups.” In light of recent events, the country has now had to contemplate addressing new threats as security experts reassess the risk of extremist activity in the country. The attack, widely reported as “unprecedented” within the country, was described as an “incremental step in the deterioration of the security situation in the greater Sahel region” by The Washington Post. This recent spate of attacks in West Africa has been attributed to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), signaling what reports are now referring to as a “revival” of al Qaeda in Africa.

In the east, multiple actors have claimed responsibility for attacks that have only increased in intensity. East Africa has traditionally faced security threats from al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization. More recently, a new jihadist group, Jahba East Africa, announced itself as a new actor in the region, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In addition, Uamsho is an increasingly threatening Islamist separatist group active in Zanzibar. This confluence of actors has become an additional source of growing unease for the region’s security forces. As reported by The New York Times, existing schisms between the actors have increased the likelihood of fighting between groups, further complicating the security situation.

These various groups have raised significant security concerns, especially in countries that have historically been buffered from extremist attacks. The southern limits of al Shabaab’s activity was previously concentrated in Kenya, with isolated incidents in Tanzania. More recently, however, increased terrorist activities have taken place throughout Tanzania, attributed to al Qaeda and its offshoots. Largely unreported in international media, several incidents have been documented with increasing frequency in 2016 in multiple regions. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), 17 conflict events occurred in January 2015 alone, including pre-emptive raids on suspected militants, attacks on police stations, and locations frequented by tourists in Morogoro, Shinyanga, and Arusha. Notably, one attack occurred in Songea, an area near the border crossing with Mozambique and adjacent to neighboring Malawi. These new events located well within the interior of the country and close to its southern border mark a new expansion to the area threatened by terrorist attacks in the region.

The jihadist narrative has increasingly attracted disaffected youths from East African coast communities. Ambassador David Shinn, former U.S. Department of State Director of East African Affairs and previously U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, stated the following: “While the foreign fighter component of al-Shabaab in Somalia is relatively small, the largest number of foreign fighters in recent years has come from the Swahili coast in Kenya and Tanzania.” The recent incidents within the country’s interior and the pull of Kenyan and Tanzanian fighters to jihadist networks outside of al Shabaab’s traditional sphere of influence are both worrying trends.

The continued spread of the arc of terrorism has amplified the need to incorporate approaches that address the spread of extremist activities to so-called periphery states. As violent non-state actors engage in increasingly effective propaganda and continue to expand their areas of influence and operation, periphery states must be included in counter-terrorism measures and regional security strategies. Nation states on the boundaries of extremist activities will need more robust strategies to prevent such actors from taking root in areas traditionally outside of their areas of operations.

huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-fronts-emerge-in-afri_b_9865112.html?section=india

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Eight police killed near Cairo in attack claimed by Islamic State; one of its deadliest

May 9,16

EIGHT policemen were shot dead on Cairo’s southern outskirts in an attack claimed Sunday by the Islamic State group, one of its deadliest in mainland Egypt.

The interior ministry said four assailants in a truck intercepted a van carrying the police officers in the district of Helwan, just south of Cairo, and sprayed them with automatic rifle fire.

It said those killed in the shooting overnight included a lieutenant and seven lower ranking policemen who had been on patrol in plain clothing.

In a statement circulated on social media, IS said “a squad of the soldiers of the caliphate” opened fire on the police van and then made off with their weapons.

It said the attack was carried out in retaliation for “women imprisoned” in Egyptian jails.

Jihadists have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in attacks, mostly in the Sinai Peninsula and also in and around Cairo, since the military toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Militants had carried out a previous attack in Helwan, killing a policeman standing guard outside a museum in June 2015.

IS jihadists, who are based in the sparsely populated Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, have repeatedly tried to make inroads into the capital, where police have had more success in quelling them than in Sinai.

They have claimed several attacks in Cairo, including the bombing of the Italian consulate in July 2015.

More recently militants have conducted hit-and-run attacks on policemen in Cairo and small scale bombings.

They often claim their attacks are in retaliation for a bloody police crackdown on Islamist supporters of Morsi, which has killed hundreds of protesters and imprisoned thousands.

They have also targeted foreigners.

Retaliation

In October, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from a south Sinai resort, killing all 224 people on board.

The group said it smuggled explosives concealed in a soda can on to the plane at Sharm El-Sheikh, a popular Red Sea resort in south Sinai.

That attack prompted Russia to suspend all flights to Egypt, and has lost the country hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism revenues.

The bombing came two months after IS militants abducted a Croatian oil worker near Cairo and beheaded him.

Police later tracked down the top IS operative in Cairo, who was linked to the Croat’s murder, and killed him in a shootout.

But efforts to crush the insurgency in Sinai have floundered despite a massive army campaign.

In March, Islamic State gunmen killed 15 policemen at a checkpoint near El-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.

The Islamic State group declared a “caliphate” nearly two years ago in areas under its control in Iraq and Syria.

The Sinai branch pledged allegiance to IS in November 2014, and since then its attacks have grown more sophisticated.

The military says it has killed more than 1,000 militants, occasionally publishing pictures of their bodies.

The statements are difficult to verify, with reporters having little access to the north of the peninsula.

Hundreds of multi-national forces soldiers are based in Sinai to monitor a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, and Washington has indicated it would cut its troops over the jihadist threat.

The Pentagon said last month it remained “fully committed” to the mission but wants to use drones to assume some of the riskier work.

mgafrica.com/article/2016-05-08-eight-police-killed-near-cairo-in-attack-claimed-by-is

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Somalia: 4 killed as extremists attack police headquarters

May 9,16

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A suicide car bomber struck the entrance of Somalia’s traffic police headquarters in the capital on Monday , killing four people and injuring nine others, said a police official.

Two police officers were among the dead and two armed extremists who tried to storm the traffic police premises in Mogadishu’s Abdiaziz district were also shot dead, said Capt. Mohamed Hassan.

Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack, which shattered a period of calm in the seaside city.

Despite being pushed out of Somalia’s major cities and towns, al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida, continues to carry out deadly guerrilla attacks across the country.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

washingtonpost.com/world/africa/somalia-4-killed-as-extremists-attack-police-headquarters/2016/05/09/75028ab4-15c4-11e6-971a-dadf9ab18869_story.html

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South Asia

Taliban commanders among 36 killed in Afghan army led operations, MoD says

Mon May 09 2016

Afghan Air Force target militantsAt least 36 militants were killed in the latest counter terrorism operations conducted the Afghan National Security Forces, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Monday.

“In the last 24 hours, as a result of the joint clearance operations of the Afghan security and defense forces aimed to topple down the insurgents and protect the lives and property of people  , 36 armed insurgents, including two of their commanders and were killed , tens were wounded,” according to a statement by MoD.

The statement further added that the operations were conducted in a number of the districts of Nangarhar, Paktia, Maidan Wardak, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Ghazni, Sar-e Pul, Herat, Jowzjan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar and Helmand provinces.

“In these joint operations of defense and security forces which were supported by heavy artillery and Air forces, 22 militants including a commander called Zurgay, were killed and seven wounded in the vicinities of Maiwand and Sha Wali Kot district of Kunar . Two armed militants including one of their group leaders named Abdullah was killed in Takhar as well as tow terrorists were killed, 7 wounded in central area of Sar-e-Pul and an armed militant was killed in Dand-e-Ghori district of Baghlan,” the statement added.

5 armed militants including a one of the commanders named Alef were killed, 3 others wounded and in the vicinity of Dehrawood District of Uruzgan, one armed militant was gunned down, MoD said.

Additionally as a result of the clearance operation of ANA, six armed militants were killed in Andar district of Ghazni and Zurmat of Paktia, four others were wounded, the statement said, adding that Afghan National Army as National Defense Forces for the protection of people‘s lives and properties and for defeating and eradicating terror groups, will fight the enemies vigorously   and are ready to give sacrifices for bringing lasting peace and stability to people.

khaama.com/taliban-commanders-among-36-killed-in-afghan-army-led-operations-mod-says-0883

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UNAMA regrets the execution of 6 militants by Afghan government

Mon May 09 2016

militants hanged in KabulThe United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has said it regrets the execution of 6 militants convicted of terror offences.

“In line with the continued call of the United Nations for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, UNAMA regrets the execution of six alleged perpetrators of serious crimes and crimes against civilians,” a statement by the UN mission said.

The statement further added that the United Nations notes that there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty and that the use of capital punishment does not contribute to public safety.

“UNAMA encourages the Government of Afghanistan to expedite legal reform, which would allow death sentences to be commuted to life imprisonment,” the statement added.

The militants executed early on Sunday included a Haqqani terrorist member as well as an affiliate of the al-Qaeda terrorist network who were mainly involved in high profile attacks including the assassination of former president and high peace council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani.

The execution of the followed days after the Taliban group claimed responsibility for a deadly attack in capital Kabul which left at least 64 dead and 347 others wounded.

The attack sparked furor among the Afghan people and officials, forcing President Ghani to announce the government’s stance regarding peace efforts to end the violence through reconciliation process.

A list of the militants convicted of terror offences was forwarded to President Ghani after he announced the government’s decision to suppress the militants by adopting the military option.

khaama.com/unama-regrets-the-execution-of-6-militants-by-afghan-government-0882

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Details of terrorists executed in Kabul revealed

Sun May 08 2016

terrorists hanged in KabulThe details of six terrorists executed by the Afghan government have emerged which include a member of the Haqqani terrorist network as well as an al-Qaeda terrorist network affiliate.

The remaining four terrorists belonged to the Taliban militants group who were hanged to death earlier today.

One of the suspect has been identified as Khan Agha who was also well known as Abdul Rahman, according to a latest of the executed terrorists.

Rahman was an al-Qaeda affiliated and was involved in attack on deputy intelligence chief Abdullah Laghmani and another senior intelligence chief official who were assassinated in Laghman province.

The second terrorist appearing on the list has been identified as Hamidullah who was a Taliban group member and was involved in plotting an attack on former president and high peace council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani.

The third terrorist has been identified as Mohammad Ismail who was a member of the Haqqani terrorist network and was involved in an attack on Finest Super Market that led to the killing of a human rights commission along with several other civilians.

Hujatullah is the fourth terrorist appearing on the list who was a Taliban group member and was involved in an attack on a bus in Paghman district of Kabul which left at least 9 civilians dead.

The fifth terrorist appearing on the list is identified as Mohammad Osman who was a Taliban group member and was involved in an explosion that left 7 policemen dead.

Ikmal is the sixth terrorist who was a Taliban group member and was involved in an attack on Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan hospital in Kabul which left 4 security personnel dead and 22 others wounded.

khaama.com/details-of-terrorists-executed-in-kabul-revealed-0879

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Haqqani network terrorist arrested in Kabul before targeting parliament

Sun May 08 2016

Afghan parliament building KabulA Haqqani network terrorists have been arrested by the Afghan intelligence operatives before the suspects manage to target the parliament building.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said the terrorist was looking to attack the parliament building with BM12 rockets.

No further details regarding the exact location where the terrorist was arrested by the intelligence operatives.

This comes as the Afghan intelligence operatives foiled attack plots by the notorious Haqqani terrorist network in Kabul city by arresting 3 suspects in connection to the attack plots on Wednesday.

The intelligence operatives foiled at least four large attack plots by Haqqani terrorist network in capital Kabul last month.

Haqqani network was formed in the late 1970s by Jalaluddin Haqqani. The group is allied with al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban and cooperates with other terrorist organizations in the region.

The network is accused of staging numerous cross-border attacks from their base in North Waziristan, including the 19-hour siege at the US Embassy in Kabul in September 2011.

khaama.com/haqqani-network-terrorist-arrested-in-kabul-before-targeting-parliament-0878

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Taliban and Afghan police suffer casualties in Lashkargah city clash

Sun May 08 2016

militants killed in Kunar clash_censoredAt least 10 Taliban insurgents were killed during a clash in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan late on Saturday night, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Sunday.

“10 armed Taliban were killed following an armed attack last night, after a group of armed Taliban attacked the Afghan National Police check post in Baba Ji region, 4th district of Lashkar Gah City capital of southern Helmand province,” a statement by MoI said

The statement further added that 10 Taliban militants also sustained injuries during the gun battle with the Afghan forces.

According to MoI, a number of the Afghan National Police forces also suffered casualties during the attack.

“Unfortunately, during this attack, three Afghan National Police officers were martyred and four others were wounded,” the statement said.

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

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

Meanwhile, the Special Operation Forces of the Afghan National Army (ANA) conducted a night raid in southern Helmand province targeting a prison run by the Taliban insurgents on Friday.

According to Ministry of Defense, at least 60 people kept in the prison were released during the operation, leaving at least 2 militants dead and 3 others wounded.

khaama.com/taliban-and-afghan-police-suffer-casualties-in-lashkargah-city-clash-0877

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Mideast

Three soldiers killed in PKK attack in Turkey’s southeast

May 9, 2016

Three soldiers were killed on May 8 in an explosion in the Nusaybin district of the southeastern province of Mardin, where operations by security forces are being carried out against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

A hand-made explosive placed by PKK militants in a house in the Fırat neighborhood of Nusaybin exploded while security forces were conducting searches inside.

Gendarmerie Specialized Sergeant Mehmet Kılınç, Ferhat Aktaş and Cengiz Poyraz were heavily wounded in the blast, but later succumbed to their injuries at the Nusaybin State Hospital.

Meanwhile, a total of 12 PKK militants were killed in operations in Mardin and the southeastern provinces of Şırnak and Tunceli, the Turkish General Staff announced.

The General Staff said in a statement that eight PKK militants were killed in Nusaybin, bringing the total number of killed PKK militants in the district to 347.

It also added two PKK militants were killed in Şırnak, increasing the total number of killed PKK militants in the province to 321, and another two militants were killed in Tunceli.

According to the statement, eleven PKK militants were caught in the Çukurca district of the southeastern province of Hakkari.

A number of weapons, hand-made explosives and organizational documents were also seized during the operations in three provinces, the statement said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/three-soldiers-killed-in-pkk-attack-in-turkeys-southeast.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98893&NewsCatID=341

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EU ‘should understand Turkey’s conditions on terrorism’

May 9, 2016

Lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens would be a very significant - though long-delayed – development, according to Sedat Aloğlu, a former member of parliament who has long worked on Turkey’s prospective accession to the EU.

“It would show that the EU wants to establish closer relations with Turkey,” Aloğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News, describing the development of relations between Ankara and Brussels as a “win-win situation” but warning of the difficulty of getting the green light from the European Parliament.

How do you asses the latest developments, with the European Commission issuing a positive recommendation in favor of visa-free travel?

I find the decision of the Commission a positive but delayed development. Visa requirements should have been lifted much earlier and I blame the EU for this delay.

It also saddens me that visa-free travel has been linked to the recent refugee deal. Still, at the end of the day perhaps a positive outcome will come out of something sad. This is going to be a hot topic of debate within the EU. Visa-free travel will be considered a kind of “ransom” given to Turkey to stop the refugee flow.

How do you see the period ahead?    

I expect the European Council to also give a green light for visa-free travel. The real problem will come with the European Parliament, because by its nature it is more populist. Its members prefer to focus on short-term issues, rather than the mid- and long-term interests of their countries or the EU.

But the future of the EU, and the future of Turkish-EU relations, should be managed with the vision of statesmen. The visions of statesmen were behind the founding treaty of the EU, which was a project of peace and a genuine project of partnership and civilization. The EU still has a huge chance to challenge Huntington’s theory of the “clash of civilizations.”

I said it in 2003 and I still believe it: Developing relations with Turkey will amount to a “second enlightenment” for the EU. Flourishing relations between Ankara and Brussels is a win-win situation. The EU should not see Turkey as a rival. So in the negotiation and voting process within the European Parliament, leading EU member governments should keep a very close eye on their parliamentarians. In fact, I’d also hope that the U.S. would lobby certain countries. Despite everything, the U.S. remains a country with great influence over the Western world.

Do you think recent political developments in Turkey, such as the expected change of the prime minister and government, to affect the process?

This is an issue dealt with between states. Governmental changes will not affect the process The EU should not use this change against the process. The Turkish government will fulfil the rest of the criteria.

What do you think Turkey should to do to secure a positive outcome from the European Parliament?

The Turkish Parliament should not leave all responsibility to the government. This is a national issue. It is above political parties. Our parliament, with all its members, should establish very close ties with the European Parliament. It would also be beneficial for all the foreign capital companies in Turkey to lobby their own countries. Representatives of civil society – such as the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey [TOBB], the Turkish Industrial and Business Association [TÜSİAD] and the Foreign Economic Relations Council [DEİK] - should start lobbying activities.

This has come to such point that, especially because of its link with the refugee deal, any problems with it will create certain outcomes that will be very hard to repair. We need to do everything we can to prevent such a possibility. In the event of a negative outcome [on visa-free travel] then the government will have the right to suspend the refugee deal.

Obviously there are many things we need to do to reach higher standards. But it would be much more useful if the rhetoric is based on positive criticism rather than negative criticism.

If a European Parliament MP asks, “Why should I say yes? What good will it do for those who voted for me?” What would you say?

There are no simple answers. Local politicians have to talk about daily issues, but here we are talking about a long-term vision, serving the peace of Europe and the world. Flourishing Turkey–EU relations would be to the benefit of all sides, both economically and socially.

But what would you say if that European MP insisted, saying they are afraid of a big flow of Turks coming to Europe?

Visa-free travel means freedom to travel, not freedom to work. It does not mean that Turkish citizens will start flooding to Europe and take Europeans jobs. EU countries should perform their controls properly so there are no illegal stays, but such fears in the past have been proven wrong. In any case, Turkish citizens are not so mobile.

The migration of Turks to Germany in the 1960s is a different thing, involving a number of cultural differences. But the situation of today’s Turkey is very different than it was the past.

What about European concerns over Turkey’s apparent slide into authoritarian rule. Does granting visa-free travel not mean supporting an anti–democratic government?

No. Visa-free travel should not be tied to democratic standards. It should not be right to make it conditional on democratic standards. If we want to be constructive, if we want to act as a friend, we need to get closer and put forward constructive criticism. Ever since the 1980s Turkey has been living with terrorism, which has revived recently. That is a major reason why we are facing difficulties in the transition to implementing universal standards, and why we are having setbacks in this transition.

We should not forget Turkey’s special conditions. I have always worked so that Turkey reaches the highest democratic standards. But as I said to a former EU enlargement commissioner, we shouldn’t use the term “democratization” for Turkey. Turkey has already accumulated plenty of democratic experience over the years. We should instead be talking about upgrading democratic standards for Turkey.

More important than becoming an EU member is walking on that road and reaching higher standards. What matters is for Turkey to reach higher standards through this partnership. We have shortcomings, but we can overcome them by getting closer to EU, not by moving away.

For example, recently I think we are headed in the wrong direction on the issue of lifting the immunities of certain MPs. The delimitation of immunities is very vague in Turkey, like nowhere else in Europe. A change to this is necessary and the change should be made in line with EU standards. This current issue of lifting MPs’ immunities could create trouble in the European Parliament. I wish we could leave it until after negotiations in Strasbourg.

But Europeans who have concerns about political Islam are wondering about whether the Turkish government, as well as Turkish society, wants to share EU values?

There has recently been a debate about secularism. The EU could argue that it is a truly secular body, rather than a “Christian group,” by developing relations with Turkey. European MPs should ask whether they really want Turkish democracy to consolidate? If so, then work for the development of relations rather than seeking excuses to break then.

What will be the consequences of visa-free travel for Turks?

Above everything, it would be a statement of intention. It would show that the EU wants to establish closer relations with Turkey and that, in turn, will make it easier for Turkey to respond to political expectations.

Do you share the criticisms of the deal from the perspective of refugees’ rights?

If there is any party to be criticized on this it is the EU, not Turkey. We are not the ones closing the doors. We welcome everyone who comes to our lands. The EU was not able to handle such an unusual flow. Extraordinary conditions require extraordinary measures.

There may be room for criticism of the deal, but we needed to start somewhere. Turkey has assumed a historic mission and made tremendous sacrifices, which are appreciated neither by the EU nor by the world. Leaving aside the visa issue, the EU should be much more supportive of Turkey. I hope that after some time the EU will endorse a healthier approach on the refugee issue.

hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-should-understand-turkeys-conditions-on-terrorism.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98894&NewsCatID=510

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Israeli Forces Target 2 Female Students, Detain 14 Others in West Bank

May 9, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli forces stormed the Central West Bank Town of Birzeit North of Ramallah in aد overnight attack targeting two female students and detained at least 14 other Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory.

Locals said Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian woman, identified as Alaa Assaf who studies engineering at Birzeit University after they stormed the Assaf family's house, damaging their stuff, before taking Alaa to an unknown location, Ma'an News Agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities delivered a military order to another female student from Birzeit University, identified by locals as Asmaa Qadah, and banned her from entering the city of Ramallah and the town of Birzeit for five months. Israeli forces recently released Qadah after she served several months in custody.

Also in the district of Ramallah, Israeli forces detained Rami Audah from Qalandiya refugee camp, locals said.

In the Southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, Iyad Taqatqa, 20, was detained in the village of Beit Fajjar. In al-Khader, Israeli forces detained Zeiniddin Sayil Issa, 18, Qasim Yasin Issa, 18, Hasan Issa, 18, Ahmad Issa, 18, Rabee Issa, 18, and Ali Issa, 18.

In the Northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, locals sources said Israeli forces detained Thabit Nassar, a nurse from the village of Madama. He had previously served 12 years in Israeli custody. Israeli forces also detained Abd al-Qadir Hanani from the village of Beit Furik near Nablus.

In occupied Eastern Jerusalem Israeli forces detained Firas Mahmoud and Mahmoud Atiyeh, 17, in the neighborhood of Issawiya. Muhammad Mashahra was detained in the of Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed nine detentions were made overnight. She said two Palestinians were detained near Nablus, four near Ramallah, one near Bethlehem, and two near Hebron.

Around 7,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer.

The majority were detained in predawn detention raids carried out by the Israeli military, including in areas under full Palestinian jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords.

Israeli forces carried out an average of 92 raids per week since the start of this year according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950220000730

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Turkey stages cross-border operations against PKK and ISIL in Iraq and Syria

May 8, 2016

Turkey stages cross-border operations against PKK and ISIL in Iraq and Syria

The Turkish military has conducted cross-border operations against both the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group in northern Syria over the past two days, amid rocket attacks targeting the country’s southeastern border province of Kilis and ongoing security operations against the PKK.

A group of 20 Turkish special forces teams reportedly conducted operations in ISIL-held areas in northern Syria at around 1.30 a.m. on May 7 to scout the region to help destroy missile launchers, after a 10-day intelligence and preparation process. U.S. and Russian military officials were also reportedly informed of the operation.

The special forces teams later returned to the country in the morning hours following a four-hour operation, according to reports.

In the morning hours of May 7, the Turkish military carried out four separate air strikes against ISIL positions in northern Syria, as part of a joint effort and intelligence with the U.S.-led coalition forces.

A total of 48 ISIL militants were killed in the airstrikes as Turkish and U.S. officials at the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana identified ISIL targets in northern Syria upon intelligence.

F-15s, F-16s, and A-10 warplanes hit ISIL targets three times in the Baragitah, Havar Kilis, Harcele and Delha region of northern Syria at 5.47 a.m, 6.13 a.m and 7.41 a.m. respectively. Initial footage showed that 44 ISIL militants were killed in the three air operations while a number of militants were wounded. The final operation was conducted at 11.45 a.m. in the Karaköprü region, where an additional four ISIL militants were killed.

Two Katyusha rockets were fired from ISIL positions in Syria on the southeastern province of Kilis at 1.20 p.m. following the air strikes. No casualties were reported in the rocket attack.

Turkish armed forces responded to the attack by shelling ISIL targets with howitzers from the border.

In the evening hours on May 7, reconnaissance and surveillance vehicles spotted ISIL positions in the Suran region north of Aleppo and the Baragidah and Kuşacık regions northeast of Tal el Hişn.

A total of 55 ISIL militants were killed in the shellings, while three vehicles and three rocket launchers belonging to the jihadist group were also destroyed. The moment of destruction was also recorded via reconnaissance and surveillance vehicles.

Turkey has been hit by a series of rocket attacks from ISIL-controlled areas in Syria since mid-January, killing over 20 people and injuring scores of others.

In response, the Turkish army has been shelling ISIL positions and firing multiple rockets after unmanned aerial vehicles spotted where the rockets were fired from.

Meanwhile, cross-border operations continued early on May 8, as Turkish warplanes targeted PKK positions in northern Iraq.

Turkish F-16 and F-4 2020 warplanes destroyed shelters, ammunition stores and weapon pits belonging to the PKK in the Kandil, Metina, Zap and Gara regions of northern Iraq between 2.00 a.m. and 4.30 a.m.

The jets returned to their bases in Turkey after the operation.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-stages-cross-border-operations-against-pkk-and-isil-in-iraq-and-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98873&NewsCatID=352

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Civilian guards grilled over fatal shooting of Palestinian siblings

May 8, 2016

Police suspect that the guards were wrong to shoot the Palestinians — a woman and her teenage brother — at the West Bank crossing outside Jerusalem in late April, although at the time police said the woman had thrown a knife at security forces and that her brother was carrying two blades.

During the interrogation that took place in the past two days, the guards said they felt the siblings posed an immediate threat to their lives, the TV report said.

The investigators reportedly said the privately contracted guards were not authorized to shoot.

The police had said Thursday they would investigate suspicions of unlawful conduct by the guards.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court imposed a gag order on the details of the investigation, as well as the names of the guards.

Maram Hassan Abu Ismail, 23, and her brother Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16 — both from the central West Bank village of Surif — were killed by the civilian guards and not by Border Police, a preliminary probe determined last Sunday.

According to the police account of the incident, Abu Ismail and her brother raised suspicions after approaching the checkpoint in the wrong lane — intended for vehicles rather than pedestrians.

Police said Abu Ismail then hurled a knife at security personnel before she was shot. The knife was recovered at the scene, and a spokeswoman said a second, identical knife was found on Taha’s belt, along with a Leatherman-style multi-tool.

Two weeks ago, Israel Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that Abu Ismail was spotted walking toward guards with her hand concealed inside her purse, and that security personnel fired only after calling on her to stop several times.

Their father, Salah Abu Ismail, 61, from the village of Katana north of Jerusalem, told The Times of Israel in a telephone interview a day after the incident that his daughter had arrived at the crossing to obtain a permit to enter Jerusalem for medical treatment. He insisted that neither of his children was carrying a knife.

The Military Police said Sunday that a Border Police officer guarding the busy West Bank crossing at the time complied with protocol and arrest procedures by firing warning shots into the air as the siblings approached guards at the checkpoint in a suspicious manner. One of the guards from a privately contracted security firm fired at them moments later.

When police wrongdoing had been ruled out, authority over the investigation was transferred from the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department to the Israel Police.

The investigation of the shooting at Qalandiya has been handed over to the Judea and Samaria District police,” Samri said in a statement Thursday.

Police have so far refused to release footage of the incident, classifying it as evidence in an ongoing investigation, despite demands from the Abu Ismail family.

The Defense Ministry often contracts guards from private companies to bolster its security presence at major crossings between Israel and Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Professionally subordinate to the police, the private guards don’t usually come into contact with Palestinians crossing through the checkpoints, and are frequently stationed behind concrete barriers to generally reinforce Israeli security.

Qalandiya, and the adjacent crossing between the West Bank and Israel, has been a flashpoint of conflict in the recent wave of violence that has rocked the area since September of last year.

As part of a larger effort to boost Israeli-Palestinian economic ties, the Finance Ministry is planning to improve the much-criticized conditions at crossings where tens of thousands of Palestinians enter Israel daily from the West Bank to work.

In an effort to ease heavy congestion from both pedestrians and cars in the area, Israel last Monday opened a new crossing from Jerusalem into the West Bank at Dahiat el-Barid, just southeast of the capital.

timesofisrael.com/guards-grilled-over-fatal-shooting-of-palestinian-siblings/

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Israeli Islamic cleric starts nine-month prison term

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Israeli Arab Muslim leader Raed Salah started a nine-month prison sentence on Sunday for fomenting riots at Jerusalem”s Al-Aqsa mosque.

Salah was accompanied by about 100 well-wishers, including Israeli Arab lawmakers, as he arrived at the prison in the city of Beersheba in southern Israel”s Negev desert, an AFP journalist said.

At a farewell rally earlier in his home town of Umm al-Faham, in the north of the country, he exchanged hugs with supporters, local news agency Q-Press, considered close to the Islamic Movement, reported.

It is an honour for me to enter prison to defend and protect Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem,” it quoted him as saying.

I enter prison by the will of God, not the will of Netanyahu.”

Salah leads the radical northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered banned last year after accusing it of encouraging violent protest that contributed to the October outbreak of a wave of unrest that has so far killed 203 Palestinians and 28 Israelis.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, Israeli authorities say.

Salah has previously spent time in Israeli prisons for offences ranging from incitement to spitting on a policeman to funding Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas.

His latest jail spell comes after the Israeli Supreme Court last month denied him leave to appeal against convictions for incitement to violence and racism.

The convictions stem from a 2007 rally against Israeli construction work near the Al-Aqsa compound, in which he urged “all Muslims and Arabs (to) start an intifada (uprising) to support holy Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque.”

In clashes with Israeli police which followed, a number of officers were injured.

The protests reflected fears among Muslims that Israel was planning to change rules governing the site, the third holiest in Islam.

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/05/08/Israeli-Islamic-cleric-starts-nine-month-prison-term.html

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Southeast Asia

The Indonesian Muslim ‘cyberwarriors’ who are battling Islamic State online

Monday, 09 May, 2016

A group of Indonesian “cyberwarriors” sit glued to screens, as they send out messages promoting a moderate form of Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

Armed with laptops and smartphones, some 500 members of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) – one of the world’s biggest Muslim organisations – are seeking to counter the Islamic State group’s extremist messages.

“We’ll never let Islam be hijacked by fools who embrace hate in their heart,” tweeted Syafi’ Ali, a prominent member of the NU’s online army, a typical message to his tens of thousands of followers.

They are trying to hit back at IS’s sophisticated internet operations, which have been credited with attracting huge numbers from around the world to their cause.

Internet propaganda is believed to have played a key role in drawing some 500 Indonesians to the Middle East to join IS, particularly among those living in cities where it is easier to get online.

The dangers of the growing IS influence in Indonesia were starkly illustrated in January when militants linked to the jihadists launched a gun and suicide bombing attack in Jakarta, leaving four assailants and four civilians dead.

It was the first major attack in Indonesia for seven years, following a string of Islamic militant bombings in the early 2000s that killed hundreds.

As well as firing off tweets, the NU members have sought to dominate cyberspace by establishing websites promoting the group’s moderate views, an Android app and web-based TV channels, whose broadcasts include sermons by moderate preachers.

The initiative has been building momentum for a while but started to pick up pace a few months ago. A handful of cyber warriors operate from a small office in Jakarta, while the rest work remotely, and the group mostly communicate with one another over the web.

But it will be an uphill battle and the NU, which has been promoting moderate Islam for decades, conceded they have previously struggled to take on IS’s hate-filled messages.

“NU has for a while wrestled with this radical propaganda,” said Yahya Cholil Staquf, secretary general of the NU, which claims at least 40 million followers.

“Every time we defeated them, it didn’t take long for them to regain their strength.”

The online drive comes as the NU is set to take its campaign to promote their tolerant form of Islam onto the international stage this week, with a two-day meeting from Monday of moderate religious leaders from around the world.

They aim to showcase their particular brand of the Muslim faith, known as “Islam Nusantara”, to counter the IS jihadists’ radical interpretation of Islam.

Meaning “Islam of the Archipelago” – Indonesia is the world’s biggest archipelago, comprising over 17,000 islands – it is accepting of diversity and stresses non-violence.

It grew up organically in Indonesia, as the religion entered the country gradually and had to mix with existing traditional beliefs such as praying at tombs, making it a naturally tolerant form of Islam.

Nowadays, most of the approximately 225 million Muslims in Indonesia practise a moderate form of Islam.

The NU wants to persuade Muslims from around the world to look for inspiration to Indonesia, where religious minorities and a multitude of ethnic groups mostly coexist harmoniously, rather than to harsher forms of Islam from the Middle East.

The group nevertheless has a long way to go to fight the rising tide of IS propaganda.

Despite their good intentions, the NU cyber warriors appear amateur next to IS’s well-funded set-up.

The jihadists, who control huge swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, have a sophisticated online operation, using social media, apps and slickly produced videos.

They send about 200,000 tweets a day into the United States alone, according to US officials. It even has its own news agency, Amaq, which is often the first to report that IS is claiming responsibility for attacks.

In Indonesia, there are two main ways that IS propaganda spreads – by supporters posting on websites and apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Line, and through returnees from the Middle East preaching the group’s radical ideology.

Most of the NU’s online army are volunteers, often reaching into their own pockets to cover costs.

“ISIS has oil, while the only oil we have is for hair,” Ali said, explaining the project’s start was delayed for more than a year due to funding problems. Oil smuggling has been a key revenue source for IS.

Robi Sugara, a terrorism expert from NGO the Indonesian Muslim Crisis Centre, welcomed the NU’s online approach.

“It’s a good strategy to make Google searches fill up with moderate Islamic content,” he told AFP.

“The battleground for Islamic ideology has moved to the internet, and by producing as many moderate websites as they can, they can keep more minds healthy.”

scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/1942241/indonesian-muslim-cyberwarriors-who-are-battling-islamic

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Islamic banks in Malaysia have better asset quality than Indonesia: Moody's

Sun May 08 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic banks in Malaysia are able to outperform their Indonesian counterparts in terms of asset growth and growth stability, says Moody's Investors Service. "The outperformance of Malaysian Islamic banks reflects to a large part the Malaysian banks' more established franchises, deeper market penetration, and long-standing regulatory support," says its senior analyst Simon Chen. Banks in both the neighbouring countries are recording slower growth in Islamic financing, reflecting the broader slowdown in their respective economies. The lowdown in Indonesia is far more pronounced, with growth in the Islamic financing sector slowing sharply to below 10 per cent year-on-year in 2014 and 2015 from in excess of 50 per cent in 2011. "By contrast, growth in the same sector for Malaysian banks during 2014 and 2015 registered well in excess of growth rates for conventional loans." The Islamic banking sector accounts for 27 per cent of the total banking system assets versus 5 per cent in Indonesia. There is also a more diversified portfolio mix in Malaysia. In a report entitled "Islamic Banking - Indonesia and Malaysia: Market Depth and Regulatory Support Underpin Malaysian Islamic Banks' Resilience in Current Down Cycle," Moody's said the asset growth and asset quality of Islamic banks in both countries will diverge further. The non-performing financing (NPF) ratio on the Islamic assets of Malaysian banks are falling below their conventional loans unlike the case of Indonesian banks where the ratio has far surpassed the non-performing loan ratio of their conventional loans. "The superior performance of Malaysian banks in terms of their Islamic banking portfolios reflects their greater success—when compared with other Islamic jurisdictions—in integrating this financing channel into their core franchises and establishing themselves as mainstream institutions both for retail and corporate customers. "This situation reflects in turn Malaysia's pioneering role in establishing comprehensive legal, tax and regulatory frameworks to facilitate Islamic finance,"added Chen.

nst.com.my/news/2016/05/144643/islamic-banks-malaysia-have-better-asset-quality-indonesia-moodys

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Pakistan

Pakistani activist who condemned religious extremism gunned down

May 9, 2016

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN)Khurram Zaki spent years denouncing Islamic extremists in his homeland. He apparently paid for it with his life.

The Pakistani human rights activist was gunned down at a restaurant in Karachi on Saturday night, fellow activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir said.

The Hakimullah faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Zaki's death.

"Our four friends in Karachi riding on two motorcycles targeted Khurram Zaki successfully," faction spokesman Qari Saifullah said.

Zaki, 40, was an editor for "Let Us Build Pakistan" -- a blog aimed at supporting "a progressive, inclusive and democratic Pakistan." He was known for condemning radical militants such as the Pakistani Taliban.

"His death is the grim reminder that whoever raises voice against Taliban ... in Pakistan will not be spared," the blog stated Sunday. "And when they have to murder, they never fail."

'A principled and courageous stance'

One of Zaki's most notable acts came after the Pakistani Taliban killed at least 145 people, including 132 children, in the 2014 Peshawar school massacre.

Zaki stood up to radical cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, who had refused to condemn the attack. The activist led a public campaign against the controversial imam, who revered Osama bin Laden.

"Khurram Zaki took a principled and courageous stance," Zaki's website stated after his death.

The blogger may have predicted his own killing. Zaki had told Nasir that he was getting threats from unknown sources due to his activism, Nasir said Sunday.

Parliamentarian Nafisa Shah mourned Zaki's death.

"Shocked and grieved to learn that a courageous rights activist #KhurramZaki has been killed in targetted attack in #Karachi," Shah tweeted. "Terrible news."

An international trend

Zaki's death in Pakistan comes after a spate of deadly attacks against Bangladeshi activists.

n the past two years, at least eight atheists and gay rights campaigners have been killed in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi bloggers speak out despite danger

The situation in Pakistan has become more dangerous in recent years, Human Rights Watch said.

"Pakistani journalists and activists faced an increasingly hostile climate in 2015 due to harassment, threats, and violence from both state security forces and militant groups," the group said in its World Report 2016.

edition.cnn.com/2016/05/08/asia/pakistan-activist-khurram-zaki-killed/

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‘Pakistan doing nothing to stop opposition’s persecution in Bangladesh’

May 9, 2016

KARACHI: Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Pakistan chief Senator Sirajul Haq has criticised the government of Pakistan for its “failure and criminal silence over extrajudicial killings in Bangladesh on the pretext of so-called war crimes”.

He urged the international community to play its due role in stopping the Bangladeshi government from politically victimising and persecuting opposition leaders.

The JI chief made this demand while speaking a protest rally taken out by JI Karachi chapter from the Numaish intersection to the See Breeze building on Sunday against the Bangladeshi government.

The participants in the rally were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against ‘injustices’ of the Bangladeshi government.

The JI chief said that the Bangladeshi government was executing its political rivals through a controversial tribunal.

He claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government was betraying those who supported the then united Pakistan and were now being executed through ‘the kangaroo courts’.

Expressing grief and anger over the Pakistani government’s behaviour, he said the JI leaders had approached several government high-ups to discuss the issue with them, but the rulers were not ready to take any step in this regard.

He said his party had also contacted several diplomatic missions for release of political prisoners in Bangladesh, but all were of the view that nothing could be done without the active role of the Pakistani government as the state was also a part of the pact in 1971 under which it had been decided that no cases would be filed against anyone.

The JI chief said it was a matter of great shame for the nation that even the elected government “did not dare” to take up the issue at the platform of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

dawn.com/news/1257177/pakistan-doing-nothing-to-stop-oppositions-persecution-in-bangladesh

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12 injured in grenade blast near Uzair’s home in Lyari

May 9, 2016

KARACHI: At least 12 people, including two alleged gangsters, were injured in a grenade explosion near the residence of arrested leader of the banned Peoples Amn Committee Uzair Jan Baloch in Chakiwara on Sunday evening, officials said.

City SSP Fida Hussain said that one suspected gangster identified as Kamran was carrying a hand grenade in Singulane-5 when it fell from his hand on the road and exploded.

Around a dozen people standing near an internet café, including two passing by girls, sustained injuries. They were taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi for treatment. None of them sustained life-threatening injuries, the SSP said. He added that Kamran and his accomplice Zohaib Hasan, who had also been injured in the explosion, were taken into custody. They belonged to the gang led by Uzair Baloch, he said.

The police said it was the second such incident in the same vicinity.

dawn.com/news/1257181/12-injured-in-grenade-blast-near-uzairs-home-in-lyari

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India

Gujarat Muslim Gets 3 Years In Jail And Rs 10,000 Fine For Possessing 40 KG Of Beef

May 9, 2016

A local court in Gandevi taluka of Navsari district sentenced a man to three years imprisonment for possessing beef. Judicial magistrate first class C Y Vyas on Friday sentenced Rafik Illyasbhai Khalifa (35) to three years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him, while convicting him under relevant sections of the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2011.

Notably, keeping, buying, selling or transporting beef or beef products is banned in Gujarat.

Public prosecutor M N Vasava said, "The man was found possessing 40kg beef and this was proved during his and panch members' cross-examination. We demanded an exemplary punishment and are happy at the judgment." The judge observed that, "Cow is associated with the religious sentiment of a community. So committing such a crime threatens peace in the society. If the accused is given jail term, others will refrain from committing such a crime. The plea of the defence that the court should be lenient because the accused was from a poor financial background, was not justified."

Rafik, a resident of Devda village in Gandevi taluka, was arrested on October 8, 2014, after two members of a cow protection group caught him transporting two bags containing 20kg beef each, on his motorcycle. The beef was estimated to be worth Rs4,000. Gandevi police, which filed the FIR, had got the samples tested at a forensic science laboratory (FSL) which confirmed them as beef. The accused was booked under sections 6(B)(1)(2)(3) and 8(4) of Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2011 and sections 429 (causing mischief by killing animals) and 114 (abettor present when offence committed) of the IPC. However, the court held him guilty only under sections of the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2011.

Meanwhile, another accused, Hanif Yusufbhai Mamniyat, a butcher arrested in connection with the same case, was acquitted by the court for want of evidence against him.

indiatimes.com/news/india/gujarat-muslim-gets-3-years-in-jail-and-rs-10-000-fine-for-possessing-40-kg-of-beef-254760.html

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Tension over Use of Burial Ground by the Muslim Community

May 9, 2016

Noida: Tension prevailed in Ilabas village under Phase II police station area on Sunday over the use of a burial ground by the Muslim community. According to a local resident, he has an ancestral plot where Muslims were allowed to bury the dead for some time. He recently won a legal battle which confirmed that he was the real owner of the plot, he said.

On Sunday, a group of Muslims arrived at the site with the body of a 65-year-old man who died on Saturday due to prolonged illness. They wanted to bury his body at the plot but its owner and others refused them entry. According to members of the Muslim community, they were using the site as a burial ground for several years. "We were refused entry. Since we have no other burial ground, we could not bury the body," said the deceased's cousin.

The owner of the land said, "There was a court battle and we won the case. Now they can't claim the rights of burial anymore." The situation became tense and the village elders held a meeting. Rajender Pradhan, a former village head, then donated a piece of land for the burial ground and resolved the issue.

Bacchu Singh, city magistrate, said he reached the spot when he came to know about the issue. "We found that the disputed land was not a registered burial ground. The two parties had also fought a case in the district court over the issue. A local resident donated the land at some distance and the burial was done in the afternoon. The issue has been resolved," he said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Tension-over-use-of-burial-ground/articleshow/52181713.cms

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North America

US struggles to convince Iraqis it doesn’t support Islamic State

May 9,16

BAGHDAD — For nearly two years, U.S. airstrikes, military advisers and weapons shipments have helped Iraqi forces roll back the Islamic State group. The U.S.-led coalition has carried out more than 5,000 airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq at a total cost of $7 billion since August 2014, including operations in Syria. On Tuesday a U.S. Navy SEAL was the third serviceman to die fighting IS in Iraq.

But many Iraqis still aren’t convinced the Americans are on their side.

Government-allied Shiite militiamen on the front-lines post videos of U.S. supplies purportedly seized from IS militants or found in areas liberated from the extremist group. Newspapers and TV networks repeat conspiracy theories that the U.S. created the jihadi group to sow chaos in the region in order to seize its oil.

Despite spending more than $10 million on public outreach in Iraq last year, the U.S. government appears to have made little headway in dispelling such rumors. An unscientific survey by the State Department of Iraqi residents last year found that 40 percent believe that U.S. policy is working to “destabilize Iraq and control its natural resources,” and a third believe America “supports terrorism in general and (IS) specifically.”

Skepticism about U.S. motives is deeply rooted in Iraq, where many still blame the chaos after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein on American malice rather than incompetence. The conspiracy theories are also stoked by neighboring Iran, which backs powerful militias and political parties with active media operations.

Among the most vocal critics is al-Ahad TV — a 24-hour satellite channel funded by Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an Iranian-backed militia allied with the Iraqi government. The channel airs front-line reports and political talk shows where the allegedly harmful role of the U.S. government frequently comes up.

The U.S. “aims at weakening Iraq and the Arab world as well as the Shiites,” al-Ahad’s spokesman Atheer al-Tariq said. “They spare no efforts to destabilize Iraq and neighboring countries in order to continue selling weapons and strengthening their presence in the region through establishing more military bases,” he added.

While supervising the channel’s war reporting last year, he claimed to have witnessed incidents when U.S. forces helped IS. As Iraqi security forces prepared to enter the city of Tikrit in April, he said two U.S. helicopters evacuated senior militants. A few months later, during an operation to retake the Beiji oil refinery, crates of weapons, ammunition and food were dropped over militant-held territory, he said.

“Is it logical to believe that America, the source of technology and science, could fire a rocket or drop aid materials in a mistaken way?” he asked.

Videos uploaded to social media by front-line militiamen purport to tell a similar story. One shows U.S. military MREs, “meals, ready-to-eat,” as well as uniforms and weapons said to have been found in an area held by IS. Another shows the interrogation of a captured IS militant. “Check out his boots, they are from the U.S. army,” a fighter says. Another fighter points to a pile of rocket-propelled grenades he says were made in the U.S. and shipped to IS.

There are more plausible explanations for U.S. supplies being found in the hands of the extremists.

When IS swept across northern and western Iraq in the summer of 2014 it captured armored vehicles, heavy weapons and other U.S. equipment that had been provided to Iraqi security forces at a cost of billions of dollars. And despite the U.S. military’s technical sophistication, it’s not unheard of for airdrops or strikes to miss their mark in the heat of battle.

The U.S. Embassy and the U.S.-led coalition have invested considerable time and resources in refuting the allegations.

Both run Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and hold regular press conferences, and U.S. officials frequently appear as guests on Iraqi TV networks. With a budget of $10.67 million for the 2015 fiscal year, the public diplomacy section for Iraq is the third largest in the world, according to a 2015 report by the State Department’s Special Inspector General.

“There are a lot of players out here on this information and media battle space,” said U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren, the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition.

“The Iranians have something to say every day, the Russian have something to say every day, ISIL has something to say every single day, so we need to make sure that this coalition and this Iraqi government is also saying something every day,” he said, using an alternative acronym for IS.

“This coalition is here to fight ISIL,” he said, “not provide them MREs.”

But if there is a media war underway, the U.S. appears to be losing it. In December 2014, 38 percent of Iraqis had a favorable view of the U.S., but by August 2015 that had dropped to just 18 percent, according to the State Department’s unscientific survey.

A group of Iraqi men smoking cigarettes and sipping tea outside a Baghdad shop selling books and newspapers said their skepticism extends beyond U.S. officials. They say Iraqis are well aware that most media outlets are run by political parties furthering their own agendas.

“Iraqi media isn’t professional, it’s all just ideology,” Abu Muhammed said, asking that his full name not be used for fear of reprisals.

But he said the accusations of U.S. support for IS are hard to ignore because of America’s confusing tangle of regional alliances. “The U.S. is always fighting groups on one side that they also support on the other side,” he said. He pointed to Syria, where the U.S. supports Syrian Kurdish fighters who are considered terrorists by NATO ally Turkey.

Others simply can’t understand how the world’s most powerful military hasn’t been able to defeat the extremists.

“They took out Saddam in two weeks, but they can’t finish IS in two years?” asked Falih, another Iraqi who asked that his last name not be used out of security concerns. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

recorder.com/Iraq-Unpopular-americans-2012734

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'A big achievement:' Muslim leader earns US citizenship

May 9,16

LOGAN, Utah — As a Ph.D. student in civil and environmental engineering at Utah State University in 2001, Palestinian native and Muslim Said Ghabayen became a local voice for peace following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"This is not my Islam," Ghabayen tearfully said at a memorial service at the Ellen Eccles Theatre the week after the attacks, effectively becoming one of Cache Valley's most prominent Muslim representatives.

Now, after eight years of undergoing the legal processes, Ghabayen has earned his American citizenship, the Herald Journal reported.

"It's a big achievement, especially coming from unstable and crowded places like those in the Middle East," Ghabayen said. "Here in America, the opportunities are great. I've wanted a good future for my family, for my children. For that future, it is great to have this."

Ghabayen, a married father of six, first came to Cache Valley to study at Utah State University under a Fulbright Scholarship. In his time at the university as a doctoral student, Ghabayen served as leader of the Arab Student Association and president of the Logan Islamic Center.

His involvement on campus as a voice for Islamic individuals in the valley led to his involvement in the formation of the Cache Community Connections, a group of interfaith religious and civic leaders, following the 9/11 attacks in an effort to bring greater understanding to the community about Islam during a time of confusion. CCC is still operating today.

"At that time, people's first impression of Islam was what was seen in the news, which does not always convey an accurate picture of our faith," Ghabayen explained. "People put a label on a certain religion based on one individual they know who practices it, and then they generalize it. The CCC started at a critical time where people were in a state of confusion, but the CCC helped us to understand one another and reduce this confusion."

Former Logan mayor Doug Thompson, who helped to form the CCC alongside Ghabayen, called Ghabayen an excellent source of comfort in the times following the attacks. In 2004, Thompson declared April 26 to be "Said Ghabayen Day" in recognition for his contributions to the valley during a farewell reception, as Ghabayen returned to Palestine for three years as part of his scholarship.

"Said is just a great guy," Thompson said. "He's humble, he's kind, and he's a perfect example of what I feel Islam represents. When he was approached to speak at our memorial service, he was more than happy to participate. He felt bad about the men who had done this in his religion's name and shared in all of our grief."

Former Logan Municipal Council member Dean Quayle echoed Thompson's sentiments, noting Ghabayen frequently shared his culture and traditions with anyone wishing to learn more.

"He's soft-spoken, but he's truly a very faithful man," Quayle said. "He's an absolutely wonderful man, and we've enjoyed having him as a member of our community."

Ghabayen's return to Logan in 2007 started his path to citizenship. Sponsored by USU, Ghabayen received an immigrant visa and then became a permanent resident, receiving his green card. Following a five-year naturalization process, a year-long background check through the Department of Homeland Security and a final interview and civics exam, Ghabayen received his citizenship Monday, April 18.

The rest of Ghabayen's family received their citizenship last October through a similar process, although Ghabayen's youngest children received their citizenship automatically after Ghabayen's wife earned her own.

Ghabayen said although his youngest children have now spent more of their lives in the United States instead of Palestine, he still retains his Palestinian roots and hopes to maintain some of the traditions of his homeland.

"There were difficult parts to living in Palestine, but there are still many things I would like to keep," Ghabayen said. "Keeping extended family close is still important to me, and I'll miss the food and the perfect Mediterranean weather we used to have in Palestine. For my wife and I, we may miss those things more than our children who have grown up here, but I would like to not lose those things for them."

Ghabayen noted it was also easier to practice his faith as a Muslim in Palestine but said Logan's community has been nothing but welcoming to Muslims.

"Logan is truly a very good place," Ghabayen said. "We Muslims are not that many, but we feel through the years that we have been safe and welcomed here. Here in America, there is a good freedom to practice your religion. At its center, this is what the United States is about."

heraldextra.com/news/local/faith/a-big-achievement-muslim-leader-earns-us-citizenship/article_5547129b-7682-544b-89bd-f23edb823cd7.html

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Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at marks 50 years in Canada

SUNDAY, MAY 08, 2016

The Canadian contingent of a Muslim sect that promotes peace and morality celebrated 50 years of being in this country on Sunday.

Thousands converged on Nathan Phillips Square to mark the 50th anniversary of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, an international Islamic revival movement founded on the belief that their messiah came in the form of its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

Sunday’s event included speeches from Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“This is our home, and this is the land we love,” Lal Khan Malik, national president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, told the crowd.

Malik spoke of fundraising efforts to help those displaced by wildfires in northern Alberta.

Tory called Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada “a community committed to building Canada.”

Wynne remarked they have made “the community strong.”

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada launched a campaign late in 2014 to fight youth radicalization. That announcement came following the killing of two soldiers on Canadian soil by homegrown jihadists.

torontosun.com/2016/05/08/ahmadiyya-muslim-jamaat--marks-50-years-in-canada

 

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-mufti-recruits-syrian-children-for-terrorism/d/107243

 

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