New Age Islam
Sun Oct 25 2020, 11:53 AM

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

Selective Abortion Is “Unlawful and Haraam”: Darul Uloom Issues Fatwa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Selective Abortion Is “Unlawful and Haraam”: Darul Uloom Issues Fatwa

 

Killing Women, Children Is Un-Islamic: Al Qaeda 'India Chief'

ISIL Posts Online Target List Including British, American, Canadian, Australian Residents

The Islamic State's Leader in Bangladesh Is Probably Canadian

Indonesia Muslim Group Agrees On Single Hijra Calendar

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India

Selective Abortion Is “Unlawful and Haraam”: Darul Uloom Issues Fatwa

Killing Women, Children Is Un-Islamic: Al Qaeda 'India Chief'

Hizb-Ul Commander Wani Warns J&K Police, But Says Won't Target Amarnath Pilgrims

Swedish General to head UN mission to monitor India, Pakistan ceasefire

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Arab World

ISIL Posts Online Target List Including British, American, Canadian, Australian Residents

Car Bomb Kills Eight, Wounds At Least 30, in Eastern Baghdad

Saudis to Receive Combat Choppers after Removal from UN Child Killing List

Iraq Releases Footage 5 US Helicopters Landing in ISIL-Held Regions

Iraqi Forces Enter Central Fallujah in Anti-ISIL Offensive

Thousands of Iraqis Flee Homes as Offensive against ISIL Intensifies

Afghanistan Army Kills ISIL Commander, Five Militants in Nangarhar

Syrian Air Force Shatters ISIL Bases, Weapons, Vehicles in Raqqa

Army Advances in Eastern Ghouta, Recaptures New Blocks in Darayya

Syrian Army Ambush Blows Up ISIL Convoy Smuggling Fuel

Iran, Qatar Underline Strategic Bilateral Ties

Shiite Iraq’s gains against Islamic State spur fundraising in Saudi Arabia

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South Asia

The Islamic State's Leader in Bangladesh Is Probably Canadian

Taliban Militants Execute At Least 12 Hostages in Ghazni Province

ISIS commander Mullah Bozorg killed with his 5 fighters in Nangarhar

Key Haqqani network member killed in a drone strike in Paktika

7 terrorists killed in an airstrike in Ghazni province, MoD says

Afghanistan bans use of drone cameras amid security concerns

Execution of Nizami bodes ill for Bangladesh's future

Karzai off to US to participate in Muhammad Ali’s funeral

65 trucks of illegally extracted Lapis Lazuli seized by Afghan forces

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Muslim Group Agrees On Single Hijra Calendar

Indonesian Police Arrest Suspected Islamic State-Linked Militants 'Plotting Attack'

Indonesia, Australia agree to enhance intelligence, counterterrorism cooperation

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Africa

U.S. Sees No Major Islamic State Links To Boko Haram, Despite Claims

Libya: 'Islamic State' Loses Ground in Syria and Libya

Muslim South Africans fear for future of Ramadan traditions

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Mideast

Israel Revokes Travel Permits during Ramadan for Palestinians

18 ISIL Militants Killed In Turkish Shelling, Coalition Airstrikes in Syria

Turkish economy minister says Germany's ‘Armenian genocide’ bill threatens friendship

UK's Osborne, campaigning against Brexit, says Turkey won't join EU

Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up In Turkey’ by Özge Samancı

Israel clamps down after deadly Tel Aviv attack

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Europe

UN: Military Setbacks for Islamic State May Prompt More Attacks on West

France braces for threatened Islamic State attack on Euro soccer tournament

To keep the Islamic State and Russia out, we need to keep Britain in

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North America

Jailed Colombian Hacker Aiming At Islamic Terrorists

Dearborn Mosque Celebrates Muslim Holiday Postage Stamp

USS Harry Truman Hitting Islamic State Targets from Mediterranean

U.S. Muslim prof keeps job after condoning chopping off hands

Firm with Close Clinton Ties Lobbied For Islamic Bank Accused Of Financing Terrorism

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Pakistan

Hurried Funeral for Lahore 'Honour Killing' Victim

Khawaja Asif's Frustration over GHQ Meeting Reason for NA Outburst, Aitzaz Claims

KP chief minister likely to face another revolt

PTI leaders seek public apology from Asif

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/selective-abortion-is-“unlawful-and-haraam”--darul-uloom-issues-fatwa/d/107583

 

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Selective abortion is “unlawful and Haraam”: Darul Uloom issues fatwa

June 9, 2016

Lucknow: Islamic seminary, the Darul Uloom of Deoband, has issued a decree restricting selective abortion of female foetuses, calling the act “unlawful and against Islam” on Wednesday.

Deoband spokesperson Maulana Ashraf Usmani was quoted as saying by Times of India, “It’s a first fatwa against sex-selective abortions. The act is against Islam and there is no grace in  the eye of Allah for those doing it,”

Usmani added, “We appeal to Muslims to refrain from any act which discriminates the girl child. Our vicechancellor has termed sex-selective abortions cold-bloodedmurders.”

As per the government figures, the number of girls up to six years old per 1,000 boys in the same age group among Indian Muslims declined from 950 in 2001 to 943 in 2011.

siasat.com/news/darul-uloom-issues-fatwa-against-selective-abortion-968570/

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Killing Women, Children Is Un-Islamic: Al Qaeda 'India Chief'

8 Jun, 2016

NEW DELHI: Killing innocent women and children in bombings and suicide attacks is against the essence of jihad and the tenets of Islam, says Al Qaeda's Indian-subcontinent chief.

However, the chief, Asim Umar praised the 9/11 attacks on America that left some 3,000 persons, including hundreds of women and eight kids, killed in one of the worst terror strikes in history.

According to Indian intelligence agencies, Umar, who gave his "message to mujahideen in India and Pakistan" in Urdu, is originally from Uttar Pradesh but is now based in Pakistan .

“Prophet Mohammed has clearly and strongly forbidden the killings of non-combatant women and children," Umar said in the message posted online and authenticated by jihadology.net.

The website is a Jihadi material clearing house of a Richard Borow fellow, Aaron Y. Zelin, associated with the Washington Institute, who researches on jihadist groups and Salafi politics.

Al Qaeda is in a struggle with Islamic State (IS) to wrest back its leadership role among jihadis. IS has shown no qualms in killing women and children, often publicly. The message may also have been directed at Al Qaeda allies, the Taliban, which has often attacked women and children in Pakistan.

The Al Qaeda leader said a "superficial jihadi, who doesn't know much about human psychology, thinks that killing innocent women and children may weaken" the enemy.

"Such acts also create hatred and increases the number of our enemies," said Umar, a graduate from the famed Deoband Islamic seminary in India who changed his name from Sanaullah Haq . He hails from the Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh.

Umar is said to have joined Islamist extremist outfits after he disappeared from the state in 1995. He has also attended Islamic studies in the Jamia Uloom, Karachi -- the jihadi alma  mater of Masood Azhar and other jihadi leaders in Pakistan -- and has always been a fundamentalist in his outlook.

"Let's not blemish the jihad with the blood of innocents...with the bloodshed in markets , schools, universities and public places. You won't succeed by that. This is what your enemy  wants you to do to defeat you," he said.

Umar may have been referring to attacks in Pakistan by the Taliban. A gun and bombing attack by the Afghanitan-based Taliban at Peshawar Army Public School left 152 school children dead on December 16, 2014.

Some 30 students were also killed in a similar attack this year on the Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The militant leader also advised his fighters to "make certain that they use their resources judiciously to cause maximum damage to the enemy".

But contradicting his own advice on women and children, Umar cited the September 9, 2001, attack on America masterminded by then Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as the best  example of a guerrilla strike on the American landmarks.

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/killing-women-children-is-un-islamic-al-qaeda-india-chief/articleshow/52657629.cms

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ISIL Posts Online Target List Including British, American, Canadian, Australian Residents

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA) - The ISIL hackers posted the full names and home addresses of around 8,000 “targets” and urged extremist sympathizers to “kill them strongly” in a chilling new online threat.

The list includes 39 British residents as well as 7,848 Americans, 312 Canadians and 69 Australians which it wants murdered “as revenge”, Daily Express reported.

 It is not known if the list, which was published in English and Arabic, consisted of new names or those featured in earlier kill lists posted by the warped online ISIL activists.

Hackers claiming to be from the ‘Cyber Caliphate’ also posted satellite images of US air bases on its Telegram account, but the same images could be found on Google Earth.

The United Cyber Caliphate has previously published similar lists, such as one in 2015 revealing the full names of 3,600 New York residents as well as their addresses underneath the  headline: “We Want Them #Dead.”

The twisted online fanatics also reportedly hacked into US State Department records last year and released private information about 43 employees it wanted executed.

In November 2015, the cyber terrorists leaked details of 54,000 Twitter accounts, including passwords, in a show of online power that sent shockwaves through social media

According to a report by American intelligence firm Flashpoint, the United Cyber Caliphate was formed in April 2015 after a merger of several radical hacking groups.

But the report also revealed that the collective is “poorly organized”.

It is not known if there have already been any attacks on the individuals named on any of the terrorists’ lists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000465

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The Islamic State's Leader in Bangladesh Is Probably Canadian

Tamara Khandaker

June 9, 2016

The leader of Bangladesh's brutal offshoot of the Islamic State who was recently profiled in IS' official magazine may be Tamim Chowdhury, a former Canadian resident.

Dabiq, the slick English-language magazine from IS, calls Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif the "Amir of the Khilafah's Soldiers in Bengal." If the reports are right, Al-Hanif is actually  Chowdhury, a quiet former resident of Southern Ontario who, according to those who remember him, was hardly the fearless commander that he's made out to be in the magazine.

"Not many people knew him. The few people who knew him said he just kind of hung around the mosque in Windsor, was a skinny guy, was a shy kid."

The connection was first made by Daily Star, an English-language newspaper, reported that al-Hanif is simply the nom du guerre of the Bangladeshi-Canadian.

In the Dabiq interview, al-Hanif declared with pride that the emergence of ISIS militants in Bangladesh has "terrified the kuffar [unbelievers] in the region in general and in particular the  atheists and secularists who mock Islam and our beloved Prophet.

"But it is not the methodology of the Khilafah's soldiers to send mere threats to the enemies of Allah," he said. "Rather, we let our actions do the talking. And our soldiers are presently  sharpening their knives to slaughter the atheists, the mockers of the Prophet, and every other apostate in the region."

Not much is known about Chowdhury's life in Canada, but it is certainly likely that he is, in fact, al-Hanif. Amarnath Amarasingam, who researches foreign fighters at the University of  Waterloo, told VICE News he'd heard of Chowdhury from a community activist in Windsor, who mentioned he may be travelling to Syria several years ago.

While Amarasingam hasn't been able to confirm whether or not Chowdhury did, in fact, end up in Syria, his name later popped up in an ISIS study group website as someone who was  active in Bangladesh.

"Not many people knew him. The few people who knew him said he just kind of hung around the mosque in Windsor, was a skinny guy, was a shy kid," said Amarasingam. His age and

immigration history aren't known.The researcher suspects Chowdhury came onto law enforcement's radar because he knew Ahmed Waseem and Mohammed Al Shaer — two men who allegedly left Windsor to join ISIS in  Syria in 2013 — and that he left Canada "shortly after harassment from the police," who were questioning Waseem's known associates at the time.

In the Dabiq interview, al-Hanif calls on Bangladeshi police, army, and intelligence officers working under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to "develop some sense of shame and manhood  and free themselves from being slaves to a kafir woman," adding that they should quit their jobs before they "get a hold of them and slaughter them one by one."

Al-Hanif goes on to say that "many Muslims are responding to our call and joining the ranks of the soldiers of the Khilafah." Estimates, however, number the IS forces in that country at  roughly 100.

He also rants about Bangladesh's right-wing, Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami, blasting them for their failure to implement the "law of Allah" during their time in power and  congratulating "masses of cow-worshipping, pagan Hindus" on religious occasions, among many other perceived wrongs.

The Islamic State have been trying to turn Bangladesh into a foothold for their expansion, as extremist attacks have ramped up against religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country.

Al-Hanif said in the interview that a "jihad base in Bengal will facilitate performing guerilla attacks inside India," and goes on to say it will help advance attacks against Myanmar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Despite this, the government of Bangladesh has denied that IS is operating within the country at all.

The hacking to death of 70-year-old Hindu priest Ananda Gopal Ganguly, an attack that the IS province claims was committed by "soldiers of the caliphate," is the third such attack in just  two days. It follows the murders of the wife of an anti-terror police officer in Chittagong and a Christian grocer in Natore.

Ganguly was riding his bike to temple when he was approached from behind by three men, according to police. His body was found in a field in the Jhenaidah district, with his head  nearly severed from his neck.

"He left home this morning saying that he was going to a Hindu house to offer prayers," deputy police chief Gopinath Kanjilal told AFP news agency. "Later, farmers found his near- decapitated body in a rice field."

According to the Daily Star, militants have killed 47 people in the last 18 months, and ISIS has claimed responsibility for 28 of those killings, targeting religious minorities, scholars, and  foreigners, among others.

Despite all this, however, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu claimed yesterday that all was well.

"At least in one respect, the government is successful as they [the assailants] could not attack big government establishments and highways. Their strength has waned," he told BBC  Bangla, according to the Star, adding they are attacking "soft targets" only to make their existence known.

In a country with a rich history of freedom of expression and where secularism is a basic tenet of the constitution, the violence has forced many writers, who can't seek protection from  police because they risk being arrested for insulting Islam in their work, to flee for their lives or censor themselves.

"We've been calling on the government to categorically condemn the killings, which it has continually failed to do," Aura Freeman, a campaigner with Amnesty International, with a focus on Bangladesh, told VICE News. "In fact, it has essentially put the blame on the victims in many ways, and from our perspective, investigations into the killings have also been  inadequate."

Amnesty International, along with organizations like Pen Canada, has been relocating bloggers to other countries for their safety.

Bangladesh's Information Communication Technology Act limits freedom of expression when it comes to insulting the religion of the people, and the government has been criticized for a  lack of urgency in pursuing the perpetrators and for repeatedly citing the Act in response to the deaths of writers, pointing out that they were breaking the law.

"This type of mixed messaging coming from the government has essentially condoned the killing," said Freeman. "It's only encouraged more killings because there hasn't been a strong  stance against the perpetrators. It's almost permissible to kill someone because they criticize Islam."

news.vice.com/article/the-islamic-states-leader-in-bangladesh-is-probably-canadian

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Indonesia Muslim group agrees on single Hijra calendar

June 9, 2016

Indonesia's second biggest Muslim organization has thrown its voice behind Turkish and other international efforts to create a unified Islamic calendar to determine that religious days and  festivals fall globally at the same time.

Muhammadiyah said Wednesday that the absence of a single lunar calendar has left Indonesia -- the world's second most populous Muslim country -- celebrating important Islamic days at  different times.

"The establishment of an international Islamic calendar already has a very high level of urgency," kompas.com reported the chairman of Muhammadiyah, Haedar Nashir, as saying.

He said the enactment of a global Hijri calendar would stop holy days being practiced at different times, in particular the determination of the beginning of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

"The difference in determining one Ramadan, one Shawwal [the month after Ramadan] and so on became the base of a difference of opinion among the people, and that is extremely  negative for the brotherhood of Muslims," Nashir added.

In May, representatives from around 50 countries -- including Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt and the United States -- agreed on a proposal to create a unified calendar at an international  conference in Istanbul.

“The congress has chosen the single calendar to practice across the whole world,” Mehmet Gormez, the head of Turkey’s religious affairs directorate, said at the two-day congress,  which brought together astronomers and officials to create a unified calendar.

He said the Hijri calendar would be presented to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for implementation among member countries.

On Wednesday, Muhammadiyah Chair Nashir said that the establishment of such a calendar is respectful to science.

He added that the organization had formally decided to accept calendar unification since 2015.

The Hijri is a lunar calendar used to determine religious occasions such as Ramadan and the Hajj pilgrimage. However, different interpretations of the Quran have led Muslims around the  world to celebrate religious events on differing days.

aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/indonesia-muslim-group-agrees-on-single-hijra-calendar/586361

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India

Selective abortion is “unlawful and Haraam”: Darul Uloom issues fatwa

June 9, 2016

Lucknow: Islamic seminary, the Darul Uloom of Deoband, has issued a decree restricting selective abortion of female foetuses, calling the act “unlawful and against Islam” on Wednesday.

Deoband spokesperson Maulana Ashraf Usmani was quoted as saying by Times of India, “It’s a first fatwa against sex-selective abortions. The act is against Islam and there is no grace in  the eye of Allah for those doing it,”

Usmani added, “We appeal to Muslims to refrain from any act which discriminates the girl child. Our vicechancellor has termed sex-selective abortions cold-bloodedmurders.”

As per the government figures, the number of girls up to six years old per 1,000 boys in the same age group among Indian Muslims declined from 950 in 2001 to 943 in 2011.

siasat.com/news/darul-uloom-issues-fatwa-against-selective-abortion-968570/

--

 

Killing Women, Children Is Un-Islamic: Al Qaeda 'India Chief'

8 Jun, 2016

NEW DELHI: Killing innocent women and children in bombings and suicide attacks is against the essence of jihad and the tenets of Islam, says Al Qaeda's Indian-subcontinent chief.

However, the chief, Asim Umar praised the 9/11 attacks on America that left some 3,000 persons, including hundreds of women and eight kids, killed in one of the worst terror strikes in history.

According to Indian intelligence agencies, Umar, who gave his "message to mujahideen in India and Pakistan" in Urdu, is originally from Uttar Pradesh but is now based in Pakistan .

“Prophet Mohammed has clearly and strongly forbidden the killings of non-combatant women and children," Umar said in the message posted online and authenticated by jihadology.net.

The website is a Jihadi material clearing house of a Richard Borow fellow, Aaron Y. Zelin, associated with the Washington Institute, who researches on jihadist groups and Salafi politics.

Al Qaeda is in a struggle with Islamic State (IS) to wrest back its leadership role among jihadis. IS has shown no qualms in killing women and children, often publicly. The message may also have been directed at Al Qaeda allies, the Taliban, which has often attacked women and children in Pakistan.

The Al Qaeda leader said a "superficial jihadi, who doesn't know much about human psychology, thinks that killing innocent women and children may weaken" the enemy.

"Such acts also create hatred and increases the number of our enemies," said Umar, a graduate from the famed Deoband Islamic seminary in India who changed his name from Sanaullah Haq . He hails from the Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh.

Umar is said to have joined Islamist extremist outfits after he disappeared from the state in 1995. He has also attended Islamic studies in the Jamia Uloom, Karachi -- the jihadi alma  mater of Masood Azhar and other jihadi leaders in Pakistan -- and has always been a fundamentalist in his outlook.

"Let's not blemish the jihad with the blood of innocents...with the bloodshed in markets , schools, universities and public places. You won't succeed by that. This is what your enemy  wants you to do to defeat you," he said.

Umar may have been referring to attacks in Pakistan by the Taliban. A gun and bombing attack by the Afghanitan-based Taliban at Peshawar Army Public School left 152 school children dead on December 16, 2014.

Some 30 students were also killed in a similar attack this year on the Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The militant leader also advised his fighters to "make certain that they use their resources judiciously to cause maximum damage to the enemy".

But contradicting his own advice on women and children, Umar cited the September 9, 2001, attack on America masterminded by then Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as the best  example of a guerrilla strike on the American landmarks.

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/killing-women-children-is-un-islamic-al-qaeda-india-chief/articleshow/52657629.cms

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Hizb-ul commander Wani warns J&K police, but says won't target Amarnath pilgrims

Jun 8, 2016

SRINAGAR: Burhan Wani , a wanted Hizbul Mujahideen commander, released a video on Tuesday in which he justifies attacks on the police and warns the media against calling militants 'terrorists'.

In a six-minute video that has gone viral on social media, Wani, 21, in a white T-shirt seated on a chair with white back ground condemns Jammu & Kashmir Police "for working against  the militants". He has been asking the youth to join "militancy" and help set up a "caliphate" (Islamic rule).

Although a Kashmiri, Wani speaks in Urdu in the video. He's suspected of having joined the Islamic State- a suspicion buttressed by his call for caliphate.

Burhan Wani carries a Rs 10 lakh reward on his head. Expressing his "gratitude" to Kashmiris, especially the youth, Wani says, "In our last video, we had warned police and asked them to  stay away from anti-freedom movement activities, but they didn't give any heed. Policemen are forcing us to attack them and now we will not warn them any more. I ask them not to  harass  youth, not to create 'naka' (posts) and stay inside in the camps."

He said the policemen are part of Kashmir but "they don't understand the policy of India that is pleased every time a militant or a local policeman gets killed here."

The Hizb commander also said his men have no plans to attack Amarnath pilgrims.

"They are pilgrims and we won't attack them. But if Sainik colonies or separate colonies on the pattern of Israel are created for Hindus, we'll target them. Pandits can come here and live in their respective places," Burhan said.

Confirming that one of his aides, Tariq Pandit, was arrested by the Army, Burhan said Tariq got some of the militant sympathizers arrested but "it won't affect the organization". Burhan  cautioned the media saying militants are not terrorists. "This land is ours. Kashmir is ours. We are not terrorists but it is the Army that are terrorists."

A school drop-out from South Kashmir's Tral, Burhan is seen as the new face of militancy in Kashmir. He left home in 2010, days ahead of his Class 10 examination to join the Hizb. The  militants, particularly HM outfit during ten days, killed nine security force men including six police men and three BSF jawans in various terror attacks.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Hizb-ul-commander-Wani-warns-JK-police-but-says-wont-target-Amarnath-pilgrims/articleshow/52656439.cms

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Swedish General to head UN mission to monitor India, Pakistan ceasefire

June 9, 2016

United Nations: A high-ranking Swedish military official will be the new head of the United Nations mission tasked with monitoring the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in  Jammu and Kashmir.

Major General Per Gustaf Lodin, 59, also a logistics expert, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission for the United Nations Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP) in India and Pakistan, the UN said.

Maj Gen Lodin succeeds Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who completes his two-year assignment as Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission for the UNMOGIP on July 2.

Pakistani rangers and Indian Border Security Force officers during a parade at the check post at the Wagah border Pakistani rangers and Indian Border Security Force officers during a  parade at the check post at the Wagah border India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC).

With a military career in the Swedish Army beginning in 1978, Major General Lodin most recently held the position of Director of Procurement and Logistics for the Swedish Armed  Forces.

Previous to this, he was the Deputy Director of the National Armaments for Sweden and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Swedish Armed Forces.

According to the Security Council mandate given in Resolution 307 of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working  boundary between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.

As of March 31 this year, UNMOGIP has 44 military observers, 25 international civilian personnel and 47 local civilian staff.

The observer group is financed by the United Nations regular budget and appropriations for biennium 2014 — 2015 are $19.64 million .

siasat.com/news/swedish-general-head-un-mission-monitor-india-pakistan-ceasefire-969389/

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Arab World

ISIL Posts Online Target List Including British, American, Canadian, Australian Residents

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA) - The ISIL hackers posted the full names and home addresses of around 8,000 “targets” and urged extremist sympathizers to “kill them strongly” in a chilling new online threat.

The list includes 39 British residents as well as 7,848 Americans, 312 Canadians and 69 Australians which it wants murdered “as revenge”, Daily Express reported.

 It is not known if the list, which was published in English and Arabic, consisted of new names or those featured in earlier kill lists posted by the warped online ISIL activists.

Hackers claiming to be from the ‘Cyber Caliphate’ also posted satellite images of US air bases on its Telegram account, but the same images could be found on Google Earth.

The United Cyber Caliphate has previously published similar lists, such as one in 2015 revealing the full names of 3,600 New York residents as well as their addresses underneath the  headline: “We Want Them #Dead.”

The twisted online fanatics also reportedly hacked into US State Department records last year and released private information about 43 employees it wanted executed.

In November 2015, the cyber terrorists leaked details of 54,000 Twitter accounts, including passwords, in a show of online power that sent shockwaves through social media

According to a report by American intelligence firm Flashpoint, the United Cyber Caliphate was formed in April 2015 after a merger of several radical hacking groups.

But the report also revealed that the collective is “poorly organized”.

It is not known if there have already been any attacks on the individuals named on any of the terrorists’ lists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000465

--

 

Car Bomb Kills Eight, Wounds At Least 30, in Eastern Baghdad

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A car bomb killed eight people and wounded at least 30 in Baghdad al-Jadida, an Eastern district of the Iraqi capital, on Thursday, police said.The explosion, which  targeted a commercial street, comes as Iraqi forces are trying to dislodge ISIL militants from Falluja, their stronghold just West of Baghdad, Swiss info reported.

The attack comes after, earlier this week, the first car bombing in Iraq’s holy Shiite city of Karbala in more than two years killed at least three people.

The blast in a neighborhood of Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) Southwest of Baghdad, also wounded 33 people wounded, an official at the governorate’s health directorate said. The  explosion was claimed by ISIL, which has carried out most such attacks in Iraq recently.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000351

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Saudis to Receive Combat Choppers after Removal from UN Child Killing List

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi Arabia set to receive 24 Hellfire-armed AH-6i Little Bird helicopters from US aeronautics contractor Boeing, a sale that would have been banned had the UN not  removed the Kingdom from their war crimes against children list.

On Wednesday, American multinational corporation Boeing announced that it would start delivering the choppers, being built at a production plant in Mesa, Arizona, to Riyadh by the end of the month, presstv reported.

The AH-6is are capable of being armed with Hellfire missiles, rocket launchers, miniguns, and machine guns.  

Boeing was given the $234-million military contract in August 2014 by the US army.

The delivery of the attack copters was thrown into uncertainty last week as the UN released the Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) report which said the Saudi coalition was  responsible for 60 percent of child casualties in Yemen last year, when it killed 510 children and injured 667 others.   

According to the Leahy Law, the US Department of State and Department of Defense are prohibited from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.

However, on Monday, the UN removed Saudi Arabia from the blacklist, drawing fire from multiple human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Oxfam and Human Rights Watch.

Following the move, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric noted that a final decision has not been made and that the kingdom had been removed from the list pending an upcoming review.  "I don't think it's a reversal of policy," he told reporters. "We will see what the review is and we will adjust the list as needed."

Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi said Ban’s decision to remove Riyadh from the blacklist was “irreversible and unconditional,” adding, “We were wrongly placed on the  list. We know that this removal is final.”

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015 in a bid to bring Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh who resigned from the presidency, back to power. More than 9,600 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000391

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Iraq Releases Footage 5 US Helicopters Landing in ISIL-Held Regions

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi Hezbollah sources released footage of 5 American helicopters landing in areas controlled by the ISIL in al-Makhoul mountains in Salahuddin province.

The footage released by al-Etejah news channel showed 5 US helicopters which landed in the ISIL-controlled areas in al-Mashak village behind al-Makhoul mountains.

Hezbollah's information center said that the helicopters landed in the region on April 4 after which the ISIL launched a large offensive against the Iraqi forces deployed in al-Makhoul  mountains but the attack was foiled by the army.

Al-Etejah had on the same date reported that unknown helicopters had landed in the region. The Iraqi Hezbollah later revealed that the helicopters belonged to the US army.

In a relevant development in the region last Sunday, the Iraqi army and Hezbollah resistance forces repelled an ISIL attack on their military positions in al-Makhoul mountains, killing over

two dozen terrorists.

A sum of 30 ISIL terrorists were killed while the army pushed them back from Al-Makhoul mountainous region located at a crossroad that links the three Iraqi provinces of Salahuddin,  Anbar and Diyala.

Tens of ISIL terrorists had tried to attack the Iraqi Hezbollah's military positions with heavy artillery.

Al-Makhoul mountains overlook the bordering areas of Iraq's Salahuddin province where the Iraqi Hezbollah resistance forces are closely monitoring the terrorists' movements.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000380

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Iraqi Forces Enter Central Fallujah in Anti-ISIL Offensive

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi military entered the Central districts of ISIL-controlled city of Fallujah, a spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Special Operations Command said.

The spokesman confirmed that Iraqi troops took control over the Shuhada-2 and  Nuaimiya neighborhoods in Fallujah, Sputnik reported.

"Operations began in the Central part of Fallujah. The offensive is being carried out in accordance with the Joint Special Operations Command plan," Yahya Rasul Zubaidi said.

The Iraqi army and militias launched the offensive to retake Fallujah on May 22. The city has been under the control of ISIL militant group since 2014.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000275

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Thousands of Iraqis Flee Homes as Offensive against ISIL Intensifies

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Local sources confirmed that 3,000 families have fled the Iraqi province of Anbar as the offensive against ISIL continues to deal severe blows to the terrorists.

The sources said since the beginning of the victorious operations by the Iraqi forces for the liberation of the city of Fallujah (60 km Northwest of Baghdad), Iraqi citizens have been able  to run away from the areas where they had spent years living under a blockade, hunger and terror since  January 2014, Ria Novosti reported.

Ismail al-Issawy, a management member of the central hospital in Fallujah, said that 1,500 families have fled the city center and about 500 families left Zobaa village, all headed towards the Iraqi Army and local voluntary troops positions in Anbar province.

He further said that 1,700 people left town of Saqlawiya, North of the city of Fallujah, after the area was liberated.

The security forces redirected all males who fled towns to a safe haven for verification and identity confirmation in order to prevent ISIL terrorists from possibly disguising themselves as  citizens.

Women and children were taken to a refugee camp in the city of Al- Amiriyah in Anbar province.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000332

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Afghanistan Army Kills ISIL Commander, Five Militants in Nangarhar

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)-The Afghanistan security forces killed an ISIL commander, Mullah Bozorg, along with five others during an operation in the Afghan Eastern province of Nangarhar, the  country's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, overall, 23 fighters from various militant groups were killed and three were injured during special operations in the country over the past 24 hours, while  eight others were arrested, Khaama Press reported.

Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, fighting the continuing Taliban insurgency, while other groups, such as ISIL have expanded their activities in the country.

In late May, the Afghanistan National Security Council, chaired by President Ashraf Ghani, adopted a strategy to counter ISIL, granting special powers to the country's security forces.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000424

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Syrian Air Force Shatters ISIL Bases, Weapons, Vehicles in Raqqa

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian warplanes launched several airstrikes on ISIL positions in the Northeastern province of Raqqa, killing dozens of terrorists and smashing their bases, arms and military vehicles, a source said on Thursday.

"The Syrian air force destroyed the ISIL vehicles and strongholds near al-Rasafah, 40km away from Raqqa city," a military source said.

The source added that tens of ISIL vehicles, some of them armored and equipped with machine guns, were destroyed and tens of militants were killed in the attack.

Also, the Syrian fighter jets destroyed two ISIL bases in the Western parts of al-Rasafah which hosted a large number of weapons, ammunitions and military vehicles equipped with  machine guns, killing several ISIL members and injuring tens of others, the source said.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets, in several joint and separate combat flights, targeted the ISIL positions and military columns in different  parts of the Northeastern province of Raqqa and inflicted major losses on the militants.

The Russian warplanes struck two convoys of the ISIL military and logistic vehicles near the town of Abu Qabi'a South of Raqqa, which ended in the killing of several militants and  destruction of their vehicles.

The ISIL positions in al-Jabari region and in surroundings of al-Tabaqa airbase came under the joint bombardments of the Russian and Syrian fighter jets.

In the meantime, the Syrian air force carried out several sorties targeting gatherings and fortified positions of the ISIL near the town of al-Resafah, which claimed the lives of several  militants and destroyed a number of the group's machinegun-equipped vehicles.

Also reports said yesterday that a long convoy of ISIL fuel tankers moving in the Southwestern roads of Raqqa province was targeted by the Russian fighter jets.

The Russian air fleets tracked and targeted the ISIL several-tanker convoy on a road near the town of al-Mansourah, in which most of the tankers were set ablaze.

In the meantime, several ISIL members were killed or wounded in the bombardments.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000477

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Army Advances in Eastern Ghouta, Recaptures New Blocks in Darayya

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces launched an offensive against the terrorists in Darayya region in the Eastern parts of Damascus, and took control of new areas.

According to field sources, the army could win back control over a number of blocks and houses in the Southern parts of Darayya in Eastern Ghouta.

The victory was gained after severe clashes with militants which killed tens of them and injured others, the sources added.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian Army troops discovered and destroyed a network of nine tunnels connecting farms to villages in Eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian soldiers destroyed nine tunnels which connected Bala Farms to the villages of al-Mohammadiyeh and Beit Na'eem.

Several militants were killed or wounded and a large volume of the militants' arms and ammunition were also exploded in destruction of the tunnels.

Reports said earlier this week that the Syrian soldiers and popular forces struck the gatherings and concentration centers of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Western Ghouta,  inflicting major losses on the militants.

The Syrian government forces targeted positions of al-Nusra near the villages of al-Maqrousa and Harfa, which ended in the killing or wounding of several militants and destruction of their  military equipment, including machineguns.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000335

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Syrian Army Ambush Blows Up ISIL Convoy Smuggling Fuel

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army units ambushed a long column of ISIL military vehicles smuggling fuel in the strategic Ithriya-Salamiyah road, inflicting major damage on the convoy.

The attack which was launched near al-Adhib valley in Hama province killed several terrorists.

During the operations, the Syrian army also confiscated the ISIL's military vehicles and equipment used for discovering mines.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Syrian military forces repelled the ISIL attacks on their positions in Northeastern Hama for the second day in a row, forcing the terrorist  group to retreat from the battlefield.

The ISIL carried out its second large-scale offensive to take control over a strategic road connecting Sheikh Hilal to Ithriya near the province's border with Western Raqqa, but the Takfiri group's offensives were fended off by the strong defense of the Syrian soldiers.

The ISIL left behind scores of the dead and wounded members and fled the battlefield without any result.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000432

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Iran, Qatar Underline Strategic Bilateral Ties

Thu Jun 09, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani in a phone conversation underscored the strategic relations between the two  countries, and called for further enhancement of ties and cooperation.

During the phone talks on Wednesday, President Rouhani congratulated the Qatari leader on advent of the holy month of Ramadan, and said the Islamic Republic of Iran and Qatar share  many common grounds and goals and they can develop closer cooperation and hold regular consultations to reach their goals to serve the regional stability and development.

He underlined that international disputes should be solved through dialogue and cooperation of regional states.

President Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to hold consultations with such friendly states in the region as Qatar to promote regional security and stability.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been seeking good and interest of regional states, hoping that through cooperation, the neighboring states will be able to strive for stability and  tranquility of the region. Such an approach will guarantee interests of all the states," he added.

President Rouhani emphasized the need for strategic dialogue between Iran and regional states and wished Qatari government and nation success and prosperity.

Qatari Emir, for his part, said that Qatar honors sincere and very close relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, hoping for growing ties.

He said that Qatar seeks good and strategic relations between Iran and the Persian Gulf southern littoral states.

Referring to Tehran-Doha strategic relations, the Qatari leader said that relations are getting developed and expanded away from influence or intervention of a third country.

Both Iran and Qatar have recently augmented efforts to further expand ties and cooperation in all the different political, economic, defense, security, judicial and cultural fields.

The two Persian Gulf littoral states have signed several protocols in recent years to increase mutual cooperation.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in a meeting with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Ramihi in Doha underlined the need for the further expansion  of bilateral ties.

During the meeting in the Qatari capital in July, Amir Abdollahian and al-Ramihi explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating mutual cooperation.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950320000144

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Shiite Iraq’s gains against Islamic State spur fundraising in Saudi Arabia

Jun 08, 2016

Iraq’s current military offensive against the Islamic State in the city of Fallujah has sparked a flurry of new fundraising campaigns in Saudi Arabia.

“You cannot control the sympathies of people,” said Saudi Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, a spokesman for his government’s Interior Ministry. But what Saudi Arabia can control, he said, are potentially fake campaigns to raise money in the name of the “children of Fallujah” that actually funds terrorism.

Charitable solicitation or giving for any cause outside the country has been monitored by the government since 2004, and all private donations going abroad must use official channels, he  said. Some 226 people have been convicted of terrorism financing activities.

Turki spoke Wednesday to reporters invited to question him remotely at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. The Saudi mission has sharply stepped up its outreach and lobbying activities in  recent months, amid a new wave of allegations of foreign financing of the Sept. 11, 2001, alQaeda attacks in the United States.

Questions about possible official Saudi links to the attacks have ebbed and flowed in the past 15 years, although the official 9/11 Commission report, published in 2004, found no  evidence that “the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials” were involved in backing the hijackers.

The current allegations involve two separate but related issues. Many in Congress have been pushing for legislation that would allow victims of terrorism on U.S. soil to sue involved  foreign governments. That led to renewed pressure to release the 28 pages from a 2002 congressional report on the 9/11 attacks that were classified by the administration of President George W. Bush and not published.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, known as JASTA, passed the Senate last month by unanimous consent, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said that families of those  killed in the 9/11 attacks, as well as surviving victims, deserved both accountability and compensation.

The administration has said President Obama would veto the legislation as a “terrible precedent” that would eliminate sovereign immunity for all countries — including the United States, should anyone overseas decide to sue on the basis of U.S. actions.

Some who have read the 28 pages withheld from the report say that they describe a network of Saudis who helped facilitate the pre-attack activities of some of the 15 Saudis who  were among the 19 hijackers who turned passenger jets into missiles.

Former senator Bob Graham (Fla.), then the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that authored the 2002 investigation, has said that the missing pages “point a  strong finger at Saudi Arabia.”

Others who served on the committee disagree with Graham’s view but say the pages should be declassified. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the current Intelligence  Committee, said last month that she saw nothing in the pages that would implicate Saudi Arabia or any other government but that releasing the pages would “clear the air.”

The document has been described by several knowledgeable individuals, speaking anonymously to discuss classified information, as uncorroborated reports and allegations assembled into a work plan for the FBI. The results of the FBI investigation were turned over to the 9/11 Commission and reflected in its report.

Releasing the pages now, CIA Director John Brennan has said, would allow some to “seize upon that uncorroborated, unvetted information that was in there that was basically just a  collation of this information that came out of FBI files.” Taking the information as pointing to Saudi involvement, he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” would be “very, very inaccurate.”

The administration has said that declassification of the pages was being studied by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who will make a decision this month.

The Saudi government has long urged declassification of the pages, saying it has nothing to fear. But the prospect of the information’s being released out of context — without a point- by-point refutation available, at least in part, in the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission report, makes the Saudi government both nervous and angry, Saudi officials have said.

As they wait for Clapper’s decision, the Saudis have taken matters into their own hands. In recent weeks, the usually reticent government and embassy have released a 104-page white  paper on “Saudi Arabia’s Effort to Combat Terrorism and Terror-Financing,” along with a compendium of media and official statements playing down the importance of the pages.

In his news briefing Wednesday, Turki, of the Saudi Interior Ministry, noted that Saudi Arabia itself has suffered from terrorism, including “more than 63 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda and  the Islamic State,” 26 of those in the past two years, with more than 200 civilians and police officials killed.

U.S. concerns about wealthy Saudis funneling money to terrorist organizations have largely abated in recent years, according to U.S. Treasury officials who have spoken publicly about  steps the Saudi government has taken. “Any such thing actually is criminalized in Saudi Arabia,” Turki said.

The government, he said, monitors all appeals for “charitable” funds via television, the Internet and social media, and maintains a “990” number for private citizens to contact authorities to express any suspicions they have about fundraising campaigns.

washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/shiite-iraqs-gains-against-islamic-state-spur-fundraising-in-saudi-arabia/2016/06/08/10f99590-2db5-11e6-9de3- 6e6e7a14000c_story.html

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South Asia

The Islamic State's Leader in Bangladesh Is Probably Canadian

Tamara Khandaker

June 9, 2016

The leader of Bangladesh's brutal offshoot of the Islamic State who was recently profiled in IS' official magazine may be Tamim Chowdhury, a former Canadian resident.

Dabiq, the slick English-language magazine from IS, calls Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif the "Amir of the Khilafah's Soldiers in Bengal." If the reports are right, Al-Hanif is actually  Chowdhury, a quiet former resident of Southern Ontario who, according to those who remember him, was hardly the fearless commander that he's made out to be in the magazine.

"Not many people knew him. The few people who knew him said he just kind of hung around the mosque in Windsor, was a skinny guy, was a shy kid."

The connection was first made by Daily Star, an English-language newspaper, reported that al-Hanif is simply the nom du guerre of the Bangladeshi-Canadian.

In the Dabiq interview, al-Hanif declared with pride that the emergence of ISIS militants in Bangladesh has "terrified the kuffar [unbelievers] in the region in general and in particular the  atheists and secularists who mock Islam and our beloved Prophet.

"But it is not the methodology of the Khilafah's soldiers to send mere threats to the enemies of Allah," he said. "Rather, we let our actions do the talking. And our soldiers are presently  sharpening their knives to slaughter the atheists, the mockers of the Prophet, and every other apostate in the region."

Not much is known about Chowdhury's life in Canada, but it is certainly likely that he is, in fact, al-Hanif. Amarnath Amarasingam, who researches foreign fighters at the University of  Waterloo, told VICE News he'd heard of Chowdhury from a community activist in Windsor, who mentioned he may be travelling to Syria several years ago.

While Amarasingam hasn't been able to confirm whether or not Chowdhury did, in fact, end up in Syria, his name later popped up in an ISIS study group website as someone who was  active in Bangladesh.

"Not many people knew him. The few people who knew him said he just kind of hung around the mosque in Windsor, was a skinny guy, was a shy kid," said Amarasingam. His age and

immigration history aren't known.The researcher suspects Chowdhury came onto law enforcement's radar because he knew Ahmed Waseem and Mohammed Al Shaer — two men who allegedly left Windsor to join ISIS in  Syria in 2013 — and that he left Canada "shortly after harassment from the police," who were questioning Waseem's known associates at the time.

In the Dabiq interview, al-Hanif calls on Bangladeshi police, army, and intelligence officers working under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to "develop some sense of shame and manhood  and free themselves from being slaves to a kafir woman," adding that they should quit their jobs before they "get a hold of them and slaughter them one by one."

Al-Hanif goes on to say that "many Muslims are responding to our call and joining the ranks of the soldiers of the Khilafah." Estimates, however, number the IS forces in that country at  roughly 100.

He also rants about Bangladesh's right-wing, Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami, blasting them for their failure to implement the "law of Allah" during their time in power and  congratulating "masses of cow-worshipping, pagan Hindus" on religious occasions, among many other perceived wrongs.

The Islamic State have been trying to turn Bangladesh into a foothold for their expansion, as extremist attacks have ramped up against religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country.

Al-Hanif said in the interview that a "jihad base in Bengal will facilitate performing guerilla attacks inside India," and goes on to say it will help advance attacks against Myanmar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Despite this, the government of Bangladesh has denied that IS is operating within the country at all.

The hacking to death of 70-year-old Hindu priest Ananda Gopal Ganguly, an attack that the IS province claims was committed by "soldiers of the caliphate," is the third such attack in just  two days. It follows the murders of the wife of an anti-terror police officer in Chittagong and a Christian grocer in Natore.

Ganguly was riding his bike to temple when he was approached from behind by three men, according to police. His body was found in a field in the Jhenaidah district, with his head  nearly severed from his neck.

"He left home this morning saying that he was going to a Hindu house to offer prayers," deputy police chief Gopinath Kanjilal told AFP news agency. "Later, farmers found his near- decapitated body in a rice field."

According to the Daily Star, militants have killed 47 people in the last 18 months, and ISIS has claimed responsibility for 28 of those killings, targeting religious minorities, scholars, and  foreigners, among others.

Despite all this, however, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu claimed yesterday that all was well.

"At least in one respect, the government is successful as they [the assailants] could not attack big government establishments and highways. Their strength has waned," he told BBC  Bangla, according to the Star, adding they are attacking "soft targets" only to make their existence known.

In a country with a rich history of freedom of expression and where secularism is a basic tenet of the constitution, the violence has forced many writers, who can't seek protection from  police because they risk being arrested for insulting Islam in their work, to flee for their lives or censor themselves.

"We've been calling on the government to categorically condemn the killings, which it has continually failed to do," Aura Freeman, a campaigner with Amnesty International, with a focus on Bangladesh, told VICE News. "In fact, it has essentially put the blame on the victims in many ways, and from our perspective, investigations into the killings have also been  inadequate."

Amnesty International, along with organizations like Pen Canada, has been relocating bloggers to other countries for their safety.

Bangladesh's Information Communication Technology Act limits freedom of expression when it comes to insulting the religion of the people, and the government has been criticized for a  lack of urgency in pursuing the perpetrators and for repeatedly citing the Act in response to the deaths of writers, pointing out that they were breaking the law.

"This type of mixed messaging coming from the government has essentially condoned the killing," said Freeman. "It's only encouraged more killings because there hasn't been a strong  stance against the perpetrators. It's almost permissible to kill someone because they criticize Islam."

news.vice.com/article/the-islamic-states-leader-in-bangladesh-is-probably-canadian

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Taliban militants execute at least 12 hostages in Ghazni province

Wed Jun 08 2016

The Taliban insurgents have executed at least 12 people the group abducted from Ghazni-Paktika highway recently, local officials said Wednesday.

A security official in Ghazni confirmed that the dead bodies of 12 people shot dead by the Taliban insurgents have been found in Andar district.

The official further added that the identities of the deceased individuals have not ascertained so far.

This comes as reports suggest that some of the hostages were members of the security institutions and were shot dead by the Taliban insurgents on Tuesday night.

In the meantime, provincial govenror’s spokesman for Paktika, Pir Khel, said at least five policemen went missing from the highway on Tuesday and it is yet not clear if they are among  those executed by the Taliban insurgents.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the incident so far which comes as the group has increased hostage takings in various parts of the country during the recent  weeks.

The group kidnapped at least 47 passengers from an highway in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan earlier today wihch is the second kidnapping from the same highway within  almost one week.

khaama.com/taliban-militants-execute-at-least-12-hostages-in-ghazni-province-01205

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ISIS commander Mullah Bozorg killed with his 5 fighters in Nangarhar

Wed Jun 08 2016

A commander of the loyalists of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group was killed during an operation in eastern Nangarhar province.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said at least five other ISIS loyalists were also killed during the operation conducted in Kot district.

Kot is a key district in eastern Nangarhar province where the ISIS loyalists started their operations.

The Afghan security forces have been busy in clearing the district from the presence of ISIS loyalists during the past several days.

At least 5 loyalists of the terror group were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Afghan Air Force on Monday in Kot district, while 11 of them were killed and 14 others were wounded  in a similar raid in this district earlier.

The Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) together with the US forces in Afghanistan are regularly targeting the loyalists of the terror group.

The US forces stepped up airstrikes against the loyalists of ISIS after they were granted more authorities by the US President Barack Obama.

In the meantime, the Afghanistan National Security Council (NSC) last week approved in principle the strategy to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group as the 

loyalists of the terror group are attempting to expand foothold in the country.

khaama.com/isis-commander-mullah-bozorg-killed-with-his-5-fighters-in-nangarhar-01207

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Key Haqqani network member killed in a drone strike in Paktika

Thu Jun 09 2016

A key member of the Haqqani terrorist network was killed in a drone strike in southeastern Paktika province of Afghanistan.

According to the provincial government media office, the airstrike was carried out late on Tuesday night in Sarwaza district.

The key Haqqani network member killed in the raid has been identified as Sirajuddin Khademi who was reportedly providing logistics support to the fighters of the terror network.

The airstrike also destroyed some weapons belonging to the terror network but local civilians casualties were reported in the raid.

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

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/key-haqqani-network-member-killed-in-a-drone-strike-in-paktika-01208

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7 terrorists killed in an airstrike in Ghazni province, MoD says

Wed Jun 08 2016

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Wednesday at least 7 terrorists were killed in an airstrike in the restive Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

According to MoD, the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Geru district and at least six motorcycles belonging to the terrorists were also destroyed.

In a separate operation in Moqor district, at least five suspected militants were arrested by the Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers.

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

Ghazni is among the volatile provinces in southeastern Afghanistan which falls on the main highway connecting Kabul with the southern provinces.

The Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the insurgent groups are active in a number of its districts where they often carry out insurgency activities.

The Ministry of Defense said Tuesday at least 14 terrorists were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Afghan Air Force in Nawa district of Ghazni.

The Afghan forces have stepped up operations against the militant groups across the country which comes amid deteriorating security situation as a result of the Taliban-led insurgency.

The Taliban group announced its spring offensive earlier in the month of April and vowed to carry out more attacks across the country.

khaama.com/7-terrorists-killed-in-an-airstrike-in-ghazni-province-mod-says-01206

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Afghanistan bans use of drone cameras amid security concerns

Wed Jun 08 2016

Afghanistan bans drone cameraAfghanistan has put a ban on the use of drone cameras amid fears that the device could be used by the militant groups for surveillance purposes.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the decision to put a ban on the use of drone cameras has been taken by the National Security Council of Afghanistan.

According to MoI, the decision was taken following proposals received by the local and international media agencies to capture video shots.

The ministry urged all media institutions to prevent from the use of drone cameras, insisting that such a device could create security issues for the security organs of the country due to  its vast coverage.

It is yet not clear if such drones have been used by the anti-government armed militant groups so far.

This comes as the security situation of the country has sharply deteriorated amid rampant Taliban-led insurgency across the country.

The Taliban group has intensified its attacks in various provinces of the country since they announced their spring offensive earlier in the month of April.

khaama.com/afghanistan-bans-use-of-drone-cameras-amid-security-concerns-01203

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Execution of Nizami bodes ill for Bangladesh's future

Talha Ahmad

Jun 09, 2016

In May, the Bangladeshi government executed the most high-profile person convicted of war crimes. This execution bodes ill for future of the country.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's largest Islamic political party, was accused of war crimes committed during Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971.

However, the legal framework underpinning the tribunal and its conduct has come under severe criticism from international bodies including the United Nations and all major human rights organisations.Atrocities on both sides Bangladesh's war of independence was a bloody affair. While there is no agreed account of the scale and extent of the crimes committed, neutral observers have accepted that grave crimes were committed on both sides.

Although atrocities committed by the Pakistani army and their collaborators are well known in the West, less discussed are the lynch mobs and reprisals against those opposing  independence.

One of the enduring images that came from this time was that of the Mukti Bahini, or the freedom fighters, bayoneting suspected collaborators for the Pakistani army.

Prominent Bengalis who opposed independence were forced to flee, go into hiding or face a brutal backlash including being tortured and murdered.

Though narratives coming from that time are polarised, the grievances surrounding the 1971 war are real and the need for closure to that period of Bangladesh's history is necessary.

Such calls are usually associated with the pro-independence bloc which has actively called for the current war crimes process. Yet, there is consensus and wide support for a fair,  transparent and robust trial.

Indeed, almost all of the accused, including Nizami, had expressed their readiness to clear their name in front of a proper and fair trial which upholds international standards.

Unfortunately, in addition to failing to meet fundamental requirements for a fair trial, the current tribunal's jurisdiction is only to try the Bengalis who collaborated with Pakistan army.

Flawed justice and political show trial

Nizami's trial - like those before and after him - is riddled with flaws (PDF). And sadly, the evidence is overwhelming to support claims that many of these flaws are intentional to  predetermine the outcomes of these trials.

This was given credence by leaked conversations of Nizamul Haque Nasim, the chairman of the tribunal, with a Brussels-based Bangladeshi lawyer linked to previous campaigns against  some of those facing trials.

Some see the war crimes tribunals in Bangladesh as ultimately the clash of progressive secular liberalism and the regressive, increasingly militant Islamic puritanism.

Some of the conversations were specific and serious, which essentially amounted to a tri-party collusion between government, judiciary and pro-independence campaigners to  predetermine outcomes of the trials.

The current chief justice who chaired the Appellate Division bench in Nizami's verdict was named in one of the leaked conversation as a party to the whole collusion.

However, the tribunal's most serious flaw is its consistent imposition of severe restrictions on the accused to produce witnesses in their defence.

For example, 16 charges against Nizami were all serious and carried the death penalty. These charges were related to numerous events, which were not necessarily factually or  geographically linked. Yet, Nizami was only allowed to call four witnesses.

An 'uncivil' civil society

The failure of the judiciary to facilitate justice is compounded by Bangladesh's dysfunctional civil society.

The trials exposed how "uncivil" its civil society really is. Criticisms of the legal framework and conduct of the trials had come from numerous quarters.

Yet, Bangladeshi media and civil society have either ignored these criticisms or accused those criticising of acting on Jamaat's instructions.

Moreover, Bangladesh's "secular" establishment - writers and intellectuals - have used their pens to extol the virtues of these trials, while branding opponents as Islamists for daring to  quibble over the rule of law.

They were aided by mass demonstrations organised by the Ganajagaran Mancha, the group that has been consistently vocal in demanding the death penalty for the war criminals of 1971.

While in the West they continue to be celebrated as the vanguard for secular and liberal values, they are anything but - a mass, reminiscent of lynching mobs that came together  demanding the execution of the 1971, accused without any regard for due process.

The movement was kicked off when it tried to put pressure on the Supreme Court of Bangladesh to change the life sentence verdict on one of the accused, Abdul Quader Mollah.

While the Bangladeshi government has cracked down and prevented mass rallies opposing these executions, they have allowed and often facilitated this "liberal" and "progressive"  platform which has since celebrated every execution that has taken place on the streets.

Clash of values

Some see the war crimes tribunals in Bangladesh as ultimately the clash of progressive secular liberalism and the regressive, increasingly militant Islamic puritanism.

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has used this misconceived notion to her maximum advantage. In strange ways her hands have been strengthened by a series of  unfortunate and barbaric killings of individuals, activists and authors known for their unconventional - and at times - highly contested opinions about Islam and Muslims.

These incidents, together with several killings of people from minority faith groups, have supported the claim of a clash between rising Islamic extremism and increasingly "threatened"  secular liberal tradition.

However, this clash of values is a false dichotomy. Bangladesh's Islamic political forces have many flaws, but a leaning towards violence or hatred of minority faith communities is not  one of them.

Killing, violence and attacks on minority communities are too common in Bangladesh and have been for many years. While none of them has ever been properly investigated, and the  perpetrators never tried in a judicial process that can withstand international scrutiny, the fingers have often been pointed to the politicians belonging to the ruling party for  orchestrating such violence.

Moreover, there is nothing liberal about calling for an execution without regard to due process, suppressing free speech, stifling political opposition or enforcing blackout of media  coverage of those the "liberal" elites disapproves. That only re-enforces the illiberal mentality and attitude the secular-liberals claim to be fighting against.

What the future holds

The reality on the ground - influenced by complex political interests, challenging economic reality and a fast-evolving society - makes any prediction or, indeed, suggestion for progress  harder.

With the scope for free speech all but squeezed, the prevailing sociopolitical view is giving life to intolerance.

However, the Bangladesh government, media and civil society alone are not to be blamed. The international community - inter-state organisations, pressure groups and media - have all  been too willing to accept a simplistic narrative of secular liberalism versus rising Islamist extremism as the real problem in Bangladesh.

This is evident from the international attention given to the horrific murders of a handful of activists whose causes resonated with Western society.

Even though their murders were rightly condemned and given attention to, hundreds of others continue to be victims of political murder and violence - especially when they belong to  one of the Muslim religious parties or groups.

But their plight is hardly recorded in the international media. This is despite them being targeted and killed for holding a certain socio-political view.

In turn, Bangladeshi centre-right and religiously inspired activists view Western civil society and the media with mistrust. Extremists have preyed on this, questioning the value of  democracy in ensuring their rights and liberty.

aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/06/execution-nizami-bodes-ill-bangladesh-future-160606122512879.html

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Karzai off to US to participate in Muhammad Ali’s funeral

Thu Jun 09 2016

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai left Kabul for United States on Wednesday to participate in the funeral ceremony of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Karzai will participate in the funeral which has been scheduled for Thursday in Lousville city of Kentucky State.

Ali died at the age of 74 in a US hospital on Saturday as he spent several days being treated for respiratory complications.

He had suffered for three decades from Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive neurological condition that slowly robbed him of both his legendary verbal grace and his physical dexterity.

He was previously hospitalized for several days in December 2014 and January 2015 after suffering a severe urinary tract infection initially thought to be pneumonia.

Although weakened by illness, Ali continued to loom large on national stage as he recently waded into the nation’s political fight after GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.

Ali visited Afghanistan in 2002 for three days as he serving as the peace ambassador of the United Nations.

khaama.com/karzai-off-to-us-to-participate-in-muhammad-alis-funeral-01211

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65 trucks of illegally extracted Lapis Lazuli seized by Afghan forces

By KHAAMA PRESS - Thu Jun 09 2016

The Afghan security forces have seized at least 65 trucks of Lapis Lazuli illegally extracted from a mine in northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Sediq Sediqi told reporters Wednesday that the police forces are doing their best to prevent the illegal extraction of Lapis Lazuli.

Sediqi confirmed that the illegal mining are fueling war and unrest in the country as the mining has been one of the main source of financing the insurgency in the country.

He said those who were working to illegally extract mines in Badakhshan province have been arrested by the security personnel.

According to Sediqi, the Afghan forces have managed to prevent the extraction of minerals in central Logar and southeastern Khost provinces of Afghanistan.

In the meantime, a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, said the government will pave the way for the legal extraction of Lapisa Lazuli in Badakhshan once the security  situation improves.

This comes as the Global Witness in its report released on Monday said the illegal mining of the minerals also funnels millions of dollars into the hands of corrupt warlords besides fuelling  the conflict in the country.

The report by Global Witness further added at least 12,500 tonnes of lapis worth about $200 million have been extracted since 2014.

According to the report much of the mining have been done illegally or in a way that avoided nearly $30 million in government taxes.

The report also adds that the northeastern Badakhshan province where lapis lazuli is concentrated has been “deeply destabilized” by violent competition

khaama.com/65-trucks-of-illegally-extracted-lapis-lazuli-seized-by-afghan-forces-01209

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Muslim group agrees on single Hijra calendar

June 9, 2016

Indonesia's second biggest Muslim organization has thrown its voice behind Turkish and other international efforts to create a unified Islamic calendar to determine that religious days and  festivals fall globally at the same time.

Muhammadiyah said Wednesday that the absence of a single lunar calendar has left Indonesia -- the world's second most populous Muslim country -- celebrating important Islamic days at  different times.

"The establishment of an international Islamic calendar already has a very high level of urgency," kompas.com reported the chairman of Muhammadiyah, Haedar Nashir, as saying.

He said the enactment of a global Hijri calendar would stop holy days being practiced at different times, in particular the determination of the beginning of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

"The difference in determining one Ramadan, one Shawwal [the month after Ramadan] and so on became the base of a difference of opinion among the people, and that is extremely  negative for the brotherhood of Muslims," Nashir added.

In May, representatives from around 50 countries -- including Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt and the United States -- agreed on a proposal to create a unified calendar at an international  conference in Istanbul.

“The congress has chosen the single calendar to practice across the whole world,” Mehmet Gormez, the head of Turkey’s religious affairs directorate, said at the two-day congress,  which brought together astronomers and officials to create a unified calendar.

He said the Hijri calendar would be presented to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for implementation among member countries.

On Wednesday, Muhammadiyah Chair Nashir said that the establishment of such a calendar is respectful to science.

He added that the organization had formally decided to accept calendar unification since 2015.

The Hijri is a lunar calendar used to determine religious occasions such as Ramadan and the Hajj pilgrimage. However, different interpretations of the Quran have led Muslims around the  world to celebrate religious events on differing days.

aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/indonesia-muslim-group-agrees-on-single-hijra-calendar/586361

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Indonesian police arrest suspected Islamic State-linked militants 'plotting attack'

June 9, 2016

Indonesian police have arrested three suspected militants with links to Islamic State, officials said on Thursday, saying the men had planned a bomb attack during the fasting month of  Ramadan in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The men were arrested late on Wednesday in the country's second-largest city, Surabaya, with bomb-making material, guns and a suicide-bomb vest, police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar  said.

"Their plan was to attack using a bomb during the holy month of Ramadan," Amar told reporters, adding that their target was the police.

"They had prepared a suicide bomb."

Ramadan began this week.

Authorities are on high alert after a militant attack in the heart of the capital, Jakarta, in January in which eight people, including the four attackers, were killed.

Islamic State claimed responsibility, marking the first time known supporters of the group, which is based in the Middle East, had carried out an attack in Southeast Asia.

Amar said the suspects arrested on Wednesday were believed to have been guided by Islamic State teachings and that officials were investigating where they got their weapons.

reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-security-idUSKCN0YV0ZT

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Indonesia, Australia agree to enhance intelligence, counterterrorism cooperation

Thu, June 9 2016

Jakarta and Canberra have agreed to enhance counterterrorism cooperation following a meeting in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday.

The "Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Council on Law and Security" is a follow-up to the first meeting of the same name held in December 2015 in Indonesia, where delegations from both  countries discussed ways they could coordinate to address international security threats.

Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the head of Indonesian delegation, said the meeting was fruitful, particularly in addressing terrorism  threats and capacity enhancement for specific programs.

"The meeting is important for both countries to assess the gainful achievements over the year [of cooperation]," Luhut said in a statement.

As in the previous year, a number of security and law issues such counterterrorism measures, cyber security, and intelligence sharing operations were the focus of the meeting.

National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti, National Counterterrorism Agency ( BNPT ) chief Comr. Gen. Tito Karnavian and the Law and Human Rights Ministry's director general of  immigration, Ronny F. Sompie, were among the Indonesian delegation.

At the meeting Luhut shared Indonesia's success in mapping the global terrorist group Islamic State’s ( IS ) movements in Southeast Asia, where the group intends to establish a caliphate.

Information sharing with Australia regarding the matter was ongoing, Luhut said, adding that he was optimistic about the capability of both countries to tackle the issue.

Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the enhancement of cooperation was important as Indonesia and Australia faced the same threats from the Middle East-based terrorist groups that had also attacked their allies abroad.

"This [cooperation] is also our chance to learn about law enforcement as well as intelligence sharing, and we will continue to collaborate," Keenan said.

Meanwhile, Australian Attorney-General Senator George Brandis, who chaired the country's delegation alongside Keenan, asserted that both countries were committed to combating  terrorism financing, deradicalization, as well as cyber security.

In addition, taking the cooperation to the next level would serve both Jakarta and Canberra's interests in improving measures to prevent terror attacks in their own territories, Brandis  said.

In relation to a transfer of funds from Australia to Indonesia allegedly used to finance terrorist groups, Luhut said officials of both governments were now in the process of investigating  the matter.

Both delegations said the second meeting had once again resulted in concrete outcomes.

thejakartapost.com/news/2016/06/09/indonesia-australia-agree-to-enhance-intelligence-counterterrorism-cooperation.html

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Africa

U.S. sees no major Islamic State links to Boko Haram, despite claims

Thu Jun 9, 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After Boko Haram killed more than two dozen soldiers in Niger last week, it claimed the attack in the name of Islamic State-West Africa Province -- a title  meant to tell the world it is an arm of the Syria-based extremist group.

But U.S. officials tell Reuters they see no evidence that Boko Haram has received significant operational support or financing from Islamic State, more than a year after the brutal West  African group's pledge of allegiance to it.

That assessment, detailed by multiple U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, suggests Boko Haram's loyalty pledge has so far mostly been a branding exercise designed to  boost its international jihadi credentials, attract recruits, and appeal to the IS leadership for assistance.

The U.S. view of Boko Haram, which won global infamy for its 2014 kidnapping of 276 school girls, as a locally-focused, homegrown insurgency is likely to keep the group more to the  margins of the U.S. fight against Islamic State in Africa.

The U.S. military’s attention is largely centred on Libya, home to Islamic State’s strongest affiliate outside the Middle East and where the United States has carried out air strikes. No such direct U.S. intervention is currently being contemplated against Boko Haram, officials say.

"If there is no meaningful connection between ISIL and Boko – and we haven't found one so far – then there are no grounds for U.S. military involvement in West Africa other than  assistance and training," said one U.S. official, using an acronym for Islamic State.

"This is an African fight, and we can assist them, but it's their fight," the official added.

In public comments, senior U.S. officials have said they are closely watching for any increased threat to Americans from Boko Haram and any confirmation of media reports of deepening  ties with IS.

Despite suffering a series of setbacks, Boko Haram remains lethal. It launched its deadliest raid in over a year last week, killing 30 soldiers and forcing 50,000 people to flee when it took  over the Niger town of Bosso. Chad has sent 2,000 troops to Niger to prepare a counterattack against the group, two senior military sources said on Wednesday.

U.S. military action against ISIL in Iraq and Syria is conducted under legislation Congress passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and authorizes the use of American military power against "those responsible for" those attacks. As the Obama administration has interpreted it, that includes Islamic State as a third-generation descendent of Osama bin Laden's core al-Qaeda group, but not Boko Haram, said the official.

U.S. officials acknowledge their intelligence about the internal structure and leadership of Boko Haram is imperfect.

But the United States has closely tracked ISIL's leadership, finances and other activities, including its cooperation with other groups such as its branch in Libya, to which Islamic State has sent fighters, commanders and other support.

Multiple U.S. officials said they have seen no evidence that Islamic State leaders, based in Syria and Iraq, have transferred significant amounts of cash or weapons or sent high-level  representatives to Nigeria.

The absence of such evidence comes as the administration of President Barack Obama debates how Washington and its allies can best support Nigeria and its neighbours. Some U.S.  lawmakers already argue that U.S. aid to the region has been too heavily weighted towards security.

DEBATE ON ASSISTANCE

U.S. security assistance to the four African countries plagued by Boko Haram - Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon - has soared to more than $400 million since 2014, surpassing aid for  governance, human rights, education and rebuilding infrastructure, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report.

The Obama administration is poised to approve the sale of 12 attack aircraft to Nigeria, Reuters reported last month.

The United States also has offered to send a Special Operations mission to advise Nigerian units, and has dedicated more intelligence and surveillance assets to help African forces fight  Boko Haram.

Still, some U.S. government experts warn that defeating it requires Nigeria to boost policing, education and development in its Muslim-dominated northeast and to crack down on  corruption.

Administration officials say that it's easier to win congressional support for military assistance to fight extremist groups - especially if defence contracts are involved - than it is to muster  backing for steps to attack radicalism at its roots.

While it is estimated to have killed more than 15,000 people since 2009, Boko Haram has not attacked U.S. interests and has deep roots in Nigeria's Christian-Muslim divide, which long  predates the Syrian-based Islamic extremist group.

Those uncertainties have fuelled tension over how best to combat the group, and even how to characterize it. In public, U.S. officials rarely call the group Islamic State-West Africa  Province, the name it adopted in March 2015.

There have been periodic reports of cooperation between Boko Haram and ISIL's Libyan branch. In April, the New York Times cited a U.S. general in reporting that an arms convoy  believed bound for Boko Haram from Libya was intercepted in Chad, providing one of the first concrete examples of cooperation.

PROPAGANDA SUPPORT

A U.S. counter-terrorism official, however, said that American intelligence has no evidence to support that report. The region is awash in arms, and it's nearly impossible to determine  who is sending what to whom, this official said.

U.S. officials told Reuters that they assess that slicker Boko Haram videos prominently displaying Islamic State logos were produced by ISIL operatives outside the region.

"It was clear to us that there (were) not guys in Nigeria sitting at their laptop putting this stuff together," one official said.A senior U.S. intelligence official said that some Boko Haram  fighters have travelled to Libya to "work with Islamic State elements", and that its shadowy leader Abubakr Shekau has established a relationship with the IS Libya branch.

But another U.S. official viewed Shekau's pledge of allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "primarily as a rebranding exercise" aimed at boosting the stature of his group, whose leaders previously said it was aligned with al-Qaeda.

U.S. officials and private experts say they fear that as the African military pressure intensifies, the extremists could shift from a regional campaign of suicide bombings, rape and pillage to striking international targets.

"The resources and intent of ISIL to attack Western targets, combined with Boko’s ability and strength in that part of Africa is a mix that causes great concern," another U.S. official said.

Senator Chris Murphy, a Foreign Relations Committee member, said that whatever its cooperation with Islamic State, Boko Haram is so deadly that Nigeria and its neighbours should get U.S. help to crush the group.

"I think we have an interest in combating this group regardless of their connection to ISIL," he said.

af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN0YV0BZ?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true

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Libya: 'Islamic State' Loses Ground in Syria and Libya

8 JUNE 2016

The US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance is prepared to enter the northern Syrian town of Manbij, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The SDF made inroads in the past week by advancing to the outskirts of Manbij, where it aims to dislodge the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in control of the city.

Iraqi troops have advanced on the IS-held city of Fallujah. Militarily speaking, victory appears to be in sight. But new challenges await.

The United Nations refugee agency says IS has placed residents in harm's way to try to prevent attacks on their fighters. Some 3,700 people have fled the militant-controlled city since  Iraq lauched a bid to reclaim it. (31.05.2016)

"Any moment that we want to enter it, we can. But because of the presence of civilians ... we are being cautious about entering the city," Manbij Military Council's Sharfan Darwish told  Reuters news agency.

"I can say that the matter of liberating Manbij is settled," Darwish added. "When the time comes, we will enter it."

Army Colonel Christopher Garver, a spokesman for the US-led military campaign against IS, said the SDF suffered casualties during the weeklong campaign to surround the Syrian city near the Turkish border, adding that about 12 SDF fighters were killed and more than 100 wounded.

"We assess that Daesh will fight hard to retain Manbij," Garver added, referring to the militant group by its Arabic acronym. The militant group's members began evacuating some areas of  Manbij, leaving them booby-trapped in their wake, Darwish noted.

A breakaway from terrorist organization al Qaeda, "Islamic State" is a Sunni militant group that is believed to have formed in response to disillusionment and frustration due to the failed rule of governments in Syria and Iraq. Its flag reads "Muhammad is the prophet of God" and "There is no god apart from Allah" - lines that are valid for all Muslims, not just "IS."

The "Islamic State" aims to create a "caliphate" - a state where the traditional values of Islam and Sharia law must be adhered to. Due to the instability of regions in Syria and Iraq, the  "Islamic State" has been able to capture land in the two countries.

A key difference is the brutality "Islamic State" has used to strike fear into its enemies and innocents by cruel beheadings and ruthless violence. In contrast to this, it is said to govern the regions it takes over. As Middle East expert Shadi Hamid told PBS: "They provide social services. They run local government. They provide some modicum of law and order."

Though "IS" is active in Syria and Iraq, the Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram recently declared its support. It's like a competition in cruelty: while Boko Haram is responsible for  13,000 deaths, "IS" has injured or killed at least 24,000 people. Terrorist group al Qaeda has distanced itself from "IS" with its offshoot Nusra Front even fighting against "IS".

Something else that distinguishes the "IS" is its followers. More than 20,000 foreign fighters have joined the group, with more than 4,000 come from Western Europe and North America,  according to an ICSR report. Here are the countries where most people have gone to fight. But, there are more fighters per capita heading to fight from some smaller countries like  Sweden and Belgium.

What are Western governments doing to stop 'Islamic State'?

Since August 2014, a US-led coalition has carried out airstrikes on "Islamic State" targets in Syria (1,422 strikes) and Iraq (2,242 strikes), according to a BBC report. Some governments have also been active within their own countries: Germany is set to prosecute at least 30 suspected militants returning from Syria, while Saudi Arabia, for example, arrested 93 suspected militants in April 2015.

The Libyan frontMeanwhile, Libyan government forces, advancing towards the militants' coastal stronghold of Sirte, captured military barracks used by the group.

"Our forces are in full control of Tagreft barracks, and military engineers are inspecting the zone to clear anti-personnel mines," the forces of the Government of National Unity (GNA), the UN-backed unity government, said in a statement.

In February 2015, IS shocked the world when it released a video showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya, marking its first major action in the North African  country.

In April, US Army General David Rodriguez, who heads Africa Command, said 'IS' has seen the number of its fighters in Libya double in the past year, reaching up to 6,000.

The top commander of US forces in Africa said local militias tried to curb the militant group's presence, but political infighting contributed to a security void across the country.

allafrica.com/stories/201606090562.html

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Muslim South Africans fear for future of Ramadan traditions

Thu Jun 9, 2016

day's sunset formed silhouettes of local Muslims congregating anxiously on Cape Town's shores to glimpse the new moon that would signal the start of Ramadan in South Africa.

As the gathering's silence grew with the winter chill, the pronouncement that Ramadan was starting was made by Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, chief arbitrator of the Crescent Observer  Society.

This gathering is a tradition dating back to the 17th century after Muslims from the Indonesian archipelago were brought in as slaves by the Dutch. It is a tradition that is in danger of  becoming a memory of what communities in South Africa once did to commemorate their beloved Ramadan. Hendricks, speaking to Anadolu Agency, says: "It was only 60 years ago that  we formally instituted an organization to manage the moon sighting, and it is sad to see that today we find a decreasing number attending it. "Our forefathers had to sight the moon in  secret, as Muslims were not initially allowed to publicly practice their religion." Agmat Davids has been attending Ramadan moon sightings since the age of 11. For him, the problem  extends further than the decreased attendance. The traditions of Ramadan he treasures and holds dear are being neglected or forgotten. Davids, now 63, reflects upon how the traditions  forming bonds between diverse ethnic populations are fading as younger generations displace their elders. "I have seen the Ramadan of my grandparents and parents," he said. "It is not

the same as it was. There is a bridge broken between my generation and the ones that now follow." In 1960, the oppressive apartheid government introduced the Group Areas Act, which  confined certain ethnic groups to specific localities. This led to clustered Muslim areas, promoting tradition as part of everyday life. Davids says: "Ramadan was not a meal kept in one house but a meal [where] neighbors walked in and smiled over the table covered in food. Nowadays, this is considered strange and rude."

The loss of this tradition has closed off houses from their community. But in some areas the spirit of exchanging small meals with neighbors and friends still lingers. "I go next door with  pies in Ramadan. I get a lollipop and a plate of snacks to take home," seven-year-old Hafeeza Moosa, says: "It lets me feel part of my neighbor's house." Her father, Farouk, says that she is  the only child in their area who still does this. "Fifteen years ago the streets in Ramadan were full of neighbors' children. I am trying to keep alive this tradition that brings social  cohesion. I walked to the neighbors with food when I was a child," he says. Now little children are rarely seen energetically filling the streets, delivering food to neighbors; teenagers  feel too embarrassed to knock on doors to pass on sweet treats or savory meals. Abdul Raaziq Ismail, 14, says: "I am not a bad Muslim if I don't go. This is something little children can do.  I can do other stuff. They [neighbors] have enough food already."

The sentiments from Davids and Moosa are in line with research by Abdulkader Tayob, an Islamic studies professor at the University of Cape Town. Tayob states that previous set areas,  which were bound by law, are now porous, allowing for young newlyweds to move to areas that do not have an established Islamic culture. This separates youths from their elders, who  are the main community transmitters of traditions. These youths now determine the priority of those traditions practiced in their childhood to the importance of their adult lives. "When  I moved from home there was the gap in the religious spirit that I experienced as a child in Ramadan. It is not here, because this is not a Muslim community. This is an area I live in for  career convenience," said Davids' daughter Shafeeka, 22. Tayob says that a particular stream of perceived Western modernization has individualized spirituality among young people,  rather than making it community-based. "It's challenging to find that the youth consider Ramadan traditions to be something separate from themselves. So there's this lack of effort to do it and instill it in their children," says Hendricks.

According to Tayob, the traditions in the holy month are more than religious culture being expressed but value practices that strengthened relations between Muslims.

Youth on traditions

Suleiman Bham, 28, has moved between cities in South Africa and agrees that Ramadan's traditions are not being maintained properly by young people. "Some of the special nights are

catered with food after late evening Ramadan prayers at mosques. We would go there to be with our Muslim communities. Now, it has become events for people to attend and socialize  over food. It is empty of that Ramadan spirit," he complains. The religious experiences of these traditions are still yearned by some youths, even though it is being neglected. Kashiefa  Solomons, a mother of three teenagers, says: "If I try to motivate them to go sight the moon or go next door with food or to help me make badam milk, there are always excuses. They  have no time for traditions but time for their phones."

Hope for the future Muslim refugees and expats that have settled in South Africa are upholding these traditions because of their universal values and similar practices in their home country. Sudanese refugee Isa Salih says: "I don't have much here but Ramadan is nicer when I share with my South African brothers in Islam. It's like we are connected in our hearts." A Turkish mosque that opened four years ago in Johannesburg has revitalized the spirit of Ramadan for some locals. "I have been to the Turkish-built mosque in Johannesburg in Ramadan and the environment was very welcoming. It was a community that let my spirit feel again what I thought was lost," Bham said. Although attendance has fallen for the moon sighting, Hendriks feels that this is only temporary. "The relevance is there to sustain the Crescent Observer Society, because there is a formal institution to maintain it. These traditions of our beloved month need a solid platform to build on," he said. Hendricks recommends that the traditions should either be formalized or institutionalized in order to retain not only the spirit of Ramadan but heritage as well. Davids thinks the solution is to reconnect the youth to the nostalgia of Ramadan's traditions. He feels that social media should be used to maintain and promote traditions.

Even though he admits that he does not know how to use Facebook and other social media, he knows that his children are informed about it and should use it to compliment the  traditions of old.

Unless South African Muslims find a way to preserve their heritage, Ramadan traditions that instilled community values and strengthened societal bonds will be left to wither in the history of their elders.

dailysabah.com/religion/2016/06/09/muslim-south-africans-fear-for-future-of-ramadan-traditions

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Mideast

Israel revokes travel permits during Ramadan for Palestinians

Jun 09, 2016

Israel on Thursday suspended most special permits for Palestinians to visit Israel during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and beefed up police patrols in Tel Aviv, after two Palestinians carried out a shooting in Tel Aviv Wednesday night that killed four Israelis.

COGAT, an Israeli defense body, said 83,000 permits for Palestinians in the West Bank to visit relatives in Israel during Ramadan had been frozen. Israel considers the Ramadan permits a  goodwill gesture toward Palestinians.

The special Ramadan permits were also suspended for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including permits to visit relatives in Israel, travel abroad and attend prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in  Jerusalem, COGAT said.

In addition, the military has frozen Israeli work permits for 204 of the attackers' relatives, and is preventing Palestinians from leaving and entering the West Bank village of Yatta, the  attackers' home village. COGAT said entering or leaving will only be permitted for humanitarian and medical cases.

In Tel Aviv, extra police units have been mobilized, mainly around the city's central bus station and train stations, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Israelis quickly returned to  routine: the outdoor cafe area where the shooting took place was open to customers on Thursday morning.

Two Palestinians opened fire near a popular open-air market in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, killing four Israelis and wounding nine others, in one of the deadliest attacks in an eight-month wave of violence.

The shooting occurred at the Sarona market, a series of restored buildings that have been transformed into a popular tourist spot filled with crowded shops and restaurants. The complex is across the street from Israel's military headquarters and is often filled with tourists and young soldiers in uniform.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his defense minister and security leaders shortly after the attack and then traveled to the scene. He called the attack a "cold blooded  murder by despicable terrorists," according to a statement from his office.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, welcomed the attack but did not claim responsibility for it. Hamas official Mushir al-Masri called the shootings a "heroic operation" and the group later issued an official statement promising the "Zionists" more "surprises" during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

cbc.ca/news/world/israel-permits-palestinians-1.3623741

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18 ISIL militants killed in Turkish shelling, coalition airstrikes in Syria

Jun 09, 2016

A total of 18 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants were killed in Syria on June 9 in shelling by Turkish artillery units and air operations conducted by the U.S.-led coalition,  the General Staff has announced.

Turkish artillery units destroyed 14 ISIL targets that were allegedly preparing to stage attacks with a barrage of 61 shells. According to initial examinations, 18 ISIL militants were killed in  the shelling and coalition air strikes.

Two armed vehicles, one gun emplacement and one defense building belonging to the jihadist group were also destroyed in the shelling.

In addition, opposition forces retook eight villages from the jihadist group, while the Marea-Azaz corridor was reopened due to the shelling and air strikes.

hurriyetdailynews.com/18-isil-militants-killed-in-turkish-shelling-coalition-airstrikes-in-syria-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100269&NewsCatID=352

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Turkish economy minister says Germany's ‘Armenian genocide’ bill threatens friendship

Jun 09, 2016

Turkey's economy minister said the Bundestag’s approval of a resolution recognizing the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as “genocide”  threatened the friendship between the two countries, but he stopped short of detailing specific retaliatory measures.

Asked whether any economic steps could be taken against Germany, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said the response should be in the "same areas" as the German resolution, suggesting  Ankara may be more likely to take political measures than announce any trade sanctions, Reuters reported on June 9.

Put forward by the ruling left-right coalition and the opposition Greens, the resolution entitled “Remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in 1915 and 1916” carries the contentious word throughout the text.

Yerevan has long sought international recognition of the “genocide,” but Ankara rejects the use of the term to describe the World War I-era killings and argues that it was a collective  tragedy in which an equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.

Ankara put up fierce opposition before and after the vote, recalling the Turkish envoy to Germany and summoning the German chargé d’affaires in Ankara for consultations.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also slammed Germany for approving the bill, saying his country would never accept the accusation that its forefathers committed genocide.

“Hey Germany, what do you want to do? What is your problem? First, say it. When I talked to her [German Chancellor Angela Merkel], do you know what she said to me three or four  days before that incident? She said: ‘I will do my best.’ Is it your best not to attend the vote in parliament? If you had an honest manner here, you would attend. Well, a lady voted no,  the second no would be your vote and I would applaud you,” Erdoğan said, adding that they were neither honest nor sincere.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-economy-minister-says-germanys-armenian-genocide-bill-threatens-friendship.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100273&NewsCatID=510

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UK's Osborne, campaigning against Brexit, says Turkey won't join EU

Jun 09, 2016

British finance minister George Osborne said Turkey would not join the European Union, rebutting one of the arguments made by campaigners who want Britain to leave the EU and who are forecasting higher migration if Turkey joins the bloc.

"I don't think it's going to happen in my lifetime," Osborne told BBC television on June 8, ahead of Britain's EU membership referendum on June 23. "Is it going to be a member of the  European Union? No, it's not."

Campaigners seeking to get Britain out of the EU have put immigration at the centre of their push and have said Turkey joining the EU could add to the big flows of migrants already  arriving in the country.

Fears among some voters that the numbers of people coming to Britain is out of control is seen as one of the main weaknesses of the "In" camp backed by Osborne and Prime Minister  David Cameron.

Opinion polls have shown the rival "In" and "Out" camps running almost neck and neck with just over two weeks to go until the referendum.

Osborne was questioned about Cameron's previous support for Turkey to join the EU. In 2010, Cameron said he would be the "strongest advocate" for Turkish membership of the bloc.

"Turkey has gone backwards. There are concerns about democracy and human rights there," Osborne said. "British government policy is that it should not join the European Union today."

Last month, Cameron dismissed the assertion from "Out" campaigners that Turkey would join the EU soon, joking that its current progress towards accession meant it would not become a  member until the year 3000.

Turkey said in May that EU membership remains a strategic goal and a deal to liberalise visas for Turks visiting the bloc should accelerate the accession process.

Vote Leave, the main "Out" campaign ahead of the referendum, responded to Osborne's comments by saying the British government's position on Turkey was not clear.

"The government must now urgently clarify whether its policy on Turkey has changed. Is it now promising to veto Turkish membership?" a spokeswoman for the group said.

Osborne also said in his interview with the BBC that the government was sticking to its target of bringing net migration into Britain to below 100,000, something it has missed by a wide  margin in recent years. He said improving economies in other European countries would help dampen migration into Britain.

"As both economies grow, the European economy and the British economy, you don't have this exceptional situation you've had for the last couple of years where you've had very weak  economies on the continent of Europe," he said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/uks-osborne-campaigning-against-brexit-says-turkey-wont-join-eu.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100272&NewsCatID=351

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Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up In Turkey’ by Özge Samancı

Jun 09, 2016

“Dare to Disappoint,” a graphic novel depicting growing up in Turkey from the 1970s, fits more wisdom into fewer pages than many more self-consciously learned books. Writer and  illustrator Özge Samancı strikes a delicate balance of angst and humor, creating a winning formula full of charm and wit. The book is currently only available in English (a Turkish version is in the pipeline), but it has already sold well in Turkey. For both locals and outsiders there is plenty to enjoy.

Much of its popularity in Turkey is probably down to Samancı’s presentation of the unique quirks of life during the years she describes. Readers nod along as they recognize details from  their own childhood. Posters for warring left-wing and right-wing factions are pasted onto walls in the background during the turbulent 1970s, though of course Özge is too young to  understand any of them. Elsewhere we see glimpses of Bruno Amadio’s ubiquitous “The Crying Boy” portrait - no doubt baffling to outsiders but amusing to locals in Turkey.

But generally the tone of the book is inclusive. The local color will be familiar to anyone who has grown up in Turkey, while its protagonist’s anxieties will be familiar to anyone who has  grown up at all. Samancı describes her experiences in a liberal, non-religious lower-middle class family in the western city of İzmir. There is pressure to excel academically as the only  route to a secure future, and there is also pressure from an overbearing society. Both are recognized by Özge’s father when he warns at one point: “In this country, if you are a woman  and you don’t have a job, you are zero, nothing, nothing!”

Things are easier for Özge’s older sister Pelin, who sails through school with high grades and few of her sibling’s insecurities. She ends up qualifying to study computer engineering at the  prestigious Bosphorus University, while Özge later studies mathematics at the same university – much to the chagrin of her father, who wanted her to enter the engineering department.  Despite falling in love with the relaxed and open atmosphere at Bosphorus University, as a student Özge struggles academically and with personal troubles. Samancı presents serious issues with a lightness of touch, but the novel includes episodes of genuine trauma, including an attempted rape on the college campus.

Her social observations are drolly perceptive. “The ways Turkey dealt with the issue of religion reminded me of our broken radio,” a confused young Özge remarks at one point. “When I turned the knob just a little bit it was too loud. There was no in-between.” Pictures of the Turkish Republic’s secular founder Atatürk are ubiquitous, but a deep well of social  conservativism is also inescapable.

The book balances a basic modern Turkish history lesson with a poignant bildungsroman describing Özge’s journey of self-discovery in a tough world. Generally the illustrations are  minimalist, full of white space and restrained lines. At times they reminded me of illustrations in my high-school French textbook, but at other times it is creative and full of surprises: Maps, diagrams, doodles, ink stamps, pasted in objects.

Overall “Dare to Disappoint” is quirky without being irksome; whimsical but with a wise center; delicately judged and never overwhelmingly heavy. It ends with not so much a twist, but a rewarding revelation. The overall effect is life-affirming in a quiet, understated way.

*Follow the Turkey Book Talk podcast via iTunes here, Stitcher here, Podbean here, or Facebook here.

hurriyetdailynews.com/dare-to-disappoint-growing-up-in-turkey-by-ozge-samanci.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100252&NewsCatID=474

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Israel clamps down after deadly Tel Aviv attack

Jun 09, 2016

Israel clamped down on Palestinian movements and boosted security June 8 after two Palestinians shot dead four people at a popular Tel Aviv nightspot, the deadliest attack in a months-long wave of violence.

Officials said they were suspending entry permits for 83,000 Palestinians during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in a move that was likely to further stoke tensions following the June 8 night shooting that shocked Israelis. 

The attack saw two Palestinians dressed in black open fire as patrons sat at a cafe terrace at the Sarona Market in Israel's commercial capital, police said. 

A witness said it seemed at least one of the gunmen had been sitting at the cafe before standing with a rifle and firing. 

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld could not confirm reports that the attackers were disguised as ultra-Orthodox Jews, but said they had been wearing black suits.

Five people were wounded in addition to the four killed, and the shooting spread panic, with police clearing the area and crowds running for cover.

Details on the victims were not yet clear. 

Police said one of the attackers was arrested, while the other was wounded by gunfire and had undergone surgery. 

The market and complex of bars and restaurants is located across the street from Israel's defence ministry and main army headquarters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene of what he called the "cold-blooded terrorist murder" after returning from a trip to Moscow and conferred with senior colleagues,  including newly installed hardline defence minister Avigdor Lieberman.

"We discussed a range of offensive and defensive steps which we shall take in order to act against this phenomenon," Netanyahu's office quoted the premier as saying.

"There will be intensive action by the police, the army and other security services, not just to catch every accomplice to this murder but also to prevent further incidents."

Police said the two attackers were cousins from the Hebron area in the West Bank, and one of the Israeli authorities' first moves was to revoke tens of thousands of entry permits. 

"All permits for Ramadan, especially permits for family visits from Judea and Samaria to Israel, are frozen," said a statement from COGAT, the defence ministry unit which manages  civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank.    

Israelis refer to the West Bank by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria. 

It said that 83,000 Palestinians would be affected, adding that hundreds of residents of the Gaza Strip who had received permits to visit relatives and holy sites during Ramadan would  also have access frozen. 

It said it had frozen permits for 204 relatives of one of the alleged attackers. 

Ramadan began on the night of June 5, and thousands of Palestinians visit the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam, each week during Ramadan. 

The shooting drew international condemnation, with the United States calling it a "horrific terrorist attack". 

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, said "all must reject violence and say no to terror". 

"I am also shocked to see Hamas welcome the terror attack. Leaders must stand against violence and the incitement that fuels it, not condone it," he said in a statement. 

spokesman for Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai quoted him as saying "we will not be able to put a policeman on every street corner."

"The lone assailant can appear from any corner," he said. "That is the reality with which we have to live."   

The city however said in a statement it was increasing security at schools and municipal buildings.          

Violence since October has killed at least 207 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

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

Others were killed in clashes or by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

The violence has steadily declined in recent weeks, though attacks have continued to occur.

Shooting attacks such as the one that occurred June 8 night have been rare, though Tel Aviv has seen two other major incidents in recent months.    

In March, as US Vice President Joe Biden visited, a Palestinian went on a stabbing spree along the Tel Aviv waterfront, killing an American tourist and wounding 12 people. 

On January 1, an Arab Israeli killed three people in a rampage in Tel Aviv. 

Many analysts say Palestinian frustration with Israeli occupation and settlement-building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured  leadership have fed the unrest.

Israel says incitement by Palestinian leaders and media is a leading cause of the violence.

Last week in Paris, representatives from 28 countries, the Arab League, European Union and United Nations met to discuss ways of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

negotiations have been at a complete standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

Following last week's meeting, France hopes to hold an international peace conference before the end of the year.

Israel strongly opposes the French plan, calling instead for direct negotiations, while the Palestinians support it.

hurriyetdailynews.com/israel-clamps-down-after-deadly-tel-aviv-attack-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100270&NewsCatID=352

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Europe

UN: Military Setbacks For Islamic State May Prompt More Attacks On West

June 09, 2016

The Islamic State's military setbacks in Syria and Iraq may prompt the extremist group to stage more attacks on Western, Russian, and other international targets, a top United Nations  official has said.

UN Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman briefed the UN Security Council on his latest assessment of the threat posed by IS on June 8, saying the group has been militarily weakened by  simultaneous assaults on its territory by U.S.-backed forces in Iraq and Russian-backed forces in Syria.

However, the progress is not yet irreversible, he said.

"Given its recent military setbacks, [IS] may be moving into a new phase, elevating the role of its affiliates, trying to move funds outside the current zones of conflict, and increasing the  risk of complex, multiwave, and international attacks" like the ones in Paris and Brussels, he said.

He noted that the group's defeats in Syria and Iraq have led to a "marked increase" in the number of foreign fighters returning to their home countries in the West, Russia, and elsewhere, where they may be under orders to orchestrate attacks.

rferl.org/content/un-military-setbacks-islamic-state-iraq-syria-prompt-more-attacks-on-russia-west/27787645.html

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France braces for threatened Islamic State attack on Euro soccer tournament

Jun 8, 2016

PARIS — As fans await Friday’s kickoff of the 2016 UEFA Euro soccer tournament — among the most anticipated and popular sporting events in Europe — French officials are bracing for the  worst.

The Union of European Football Associations tournament — hosted by France this year — will officially open at the Stade de France, the same Paris venue where Islamic State militants  detonated suicide bombs in November.

Since the attacks, which left 130 dead across Paris, an official “state of emergency” has remained in effect. But many people wonder whether French authorities have done enough to  stop another terrorist strike.

Some, including the U.S. and British governments, see the tournament as a major target for Islamic State and al-Qaeda operatives: hundreds of thousands of spectators packed in enclosed spaces, and an anticipated audience of billions watching live around the world.

Authorities believe that the same terrorist cell of Islamic State militants that attacked Paris in November and Brussels in March had initially planned an attack on Euro 2016.

After the Brussels attacks, Mohamed Abrini, the “man in the hat” seen in surveillance footage at the Brussels Airport before his companions detonated suicide bombs, reportedly told  investigators that Euro 2016 had been the group’s ultimate target.

In late May, a recorded message attributed to Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the official spokesman for the Islamic State, threatened a “month of calamity” for Western “nonbelievers” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which started Sunday and ends July 5.

The message also urged European Muslims to carry out attacks on European civilians.

Both the State Department and Britain’s Foreign Office have issued travel alerts for citizens attending the tournament.

In an interview, Jean-François Martins, who is in charge of tourism and sports for the French capital as a special assistant to Paris’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said authorities have taken every  possible precaution.

“Each weekend in France, we have a football game,” he said. “We know how to do it.”

“We are doing everything to prevent a terrorist attack, and we are also equally preparing ourselves to respond to one,” Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s interior minister, told reporters  earlier this month.

To measure prevention mechanisms and police response times, the government has staged numerous simulated terrorist attacks.

But a test of security measures at the Stade de France late last month undermined the government's initiatives: At the end of a match, fans were still able to overrun security, as well as enter the stadium with prohibited devices such as fireworks and smoke bombs.

France is under “a very high level of threat, and yet no precise plan has been detected,” lamented Michel Delpuech, the regional police chief in Lyon.

On Monday, Ukrainian authorities announced the arrest of a 25-year-old Frenchman on charges of attempting to smuggle firearms and weapons into France for a series of attacks allegedly planned for the month of the tournament.

According to Ukrainian security officials, the suspect — later identified only as Grégoire M. — had amassed 275 pounds of dynamite, two rocket-propelled grenades, five Kalashnikov  rifles, more than 5,000 cartridges and 20 balaclavas.

French investigators on Tuesday disputed the Ukrainians’ account of a terrorist plot, telling Reuters that the suspect was more likely involved in a smuggling operation.

Still, the month-long tournament presents a formidable security challenge.

Unlike the Olympic Games — typically held in one urban area — the Euro tournament takes place at venues in 10 cities across France. Fifty-one games will be played between Friday and  July 10.

About 100,000 security personnel will be deployed to guard the sporting venues.

In Paris, the fan zone will be at the base of the Eiffel Tower, an area of 130,000 square meters — more than 32 acres — where about 92,000 fans are expected to turn out, Martins said.  The Paris fan zone claims to feature the world's largest-ever outdoor video screen.

The extra security precautions there will include, most prominently, a heightened police presence, with about 1,500 police and security officers — about one officer per 65 fans. Metal  detectors, electronic magnetic controls and security cameras will scrutinize everyone who attempts to enter, he said.

France will also stage the annual Tour de France bicycle race in July, another event that spans many locations throughout the country for weeks.

Speaking Sunday on French radio, President François Hollande argued for hosting the games as planned.

“We have invested all the means to succeed, and we must not allow ourselves to be pressured by the threat,” he said.

Martins echoed that sentiment: “If we stop living, if we stop celebrating football, it will be a victory for them, a victory for the terrorists."

washingtonpost.com/world/europe/isis-has-threatened-the-euro-tournament-have-french-authorities-done-enough-to-fend-off-another-attack/2016/06/08/c96e0bd9-fbe3-

4a05-b46b-40b2a5834107_story.html

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To keep the Islamic State and Russia out, we need to keep Britain in

Thu Jun 9, 2016

Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, represents New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate, where Lindsey Graham, a Republican, represents South Carolina.

As members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, we value Britain as the United States’ strategic bridge to Europe, and we’ve been outspoken in urging the British people to vote  to stay in the European Union in this month’s referendum.

The United States has a profound national interest in Britain remaining a member of the E.U., and in NATO remaining the cornerstone of our global security architecture, especially in the  face of a newly aggressive Russia.

To say that Britain and the United States have a “special relationship” is an understatement. For more than a century, American and British soldiers have fought and bled together in  battle. Together, we have forged the world’s strongest democracies, defeated the mightiest totalitarian empires and anchored NATO, the most successful defensive alliance in history.  Our partnership is critical to U.S. national security and to the global order in which the United States and Europe are preeminent.

We cannot think of a group or nation that presents a threat to France, Germany and the United States that doesn’t also present a threat to Britain. When we closely examine the United States’ friends and foes, they almost perfectly overlap with those of our major European allies. The commonality of interests regarding national security threats is overwhelming, and it is our strong belief that there is security and safety in numbers. Going it alone would, we believe, present serious national security challenges for Britain, and we would lose a valuable partner and voice that has been integrated in our common European defense strategy.

It is in our mutual economic interest for Britain to continue to lead from within the E.U. With nearly half of its exports going to Europe, Britain needs a strong say in setting the rules for  trade with the nearly 450 million consumers across the English Channel — and this includes being party to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being finalized between the United States and the European Union. Likewise, the United States benefits from trade with the E.U., the world’s largest economic union. The E.U. generates trade flows with the  United States of nearly $2.7 billion a day and accounts for nearly 7 million U.S. jobs. No one should discount the E.U.’s role in creating U.S. jobs and providing a rich market for our goods  and services.

The national security reasons for Britain to stay anchored in the E.U. and NATO are equally compelling. The United States agrees strongly with Britain’s views on combating terrorism,  fighting nuclear proliferation and sanctioning Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. We take heart knowing that our friend is advocating for these positions at E.U. councils and summits,  where the United States is not at the table.

A British exit from the E.U. would open a Pandora’s box of new problems for Europe. Already, European cohesion is being undermined by terrorism, the migration crisis and Russia’s  aggression and political meddling. A British vote to leave the E.U. would likely trigger a second referendum on Scottish independence, which, if successful, would weaken Britain and  strand its Scotland-based submarine nuclear deterrent. Moreover, secession could be contagious, with other countries following Britain out of the E.U. and separatist movements in Spain and elsewhere gaining new momentum.

We understand the temptation for Britain to pull up the drawbridge and try to separate itself from Europe’s problems. On this side of the Atlantic, we have our own isolationist, “America  first” voices. But history tells us that isolationism is a dead end. For centuries, Britain ensured its independence by engaging with Europe, including intervening against Napoleon and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Then, in the 1930s, as the wolves devoured Europe, both Britain and the United States initially opted for isolationism. We chose a separate peace and got a cataclysmic war. We are indebted to the generation of American and British leaders who, as close allies, led our countries through that conflict and then helped build the multinational institutions, notably the E.U.’s precursors, to prevent its recurrence.

Today, once again, Europe is threatened. Terrorists have launched barbaric attacks in Europe’s great capitals. Russia is attempting to dismember sovereign European countries and sow division across the continent. All of which makes this the worst possible time for Britain to exit the European Union.

Britain is an island geographically but not geopolitically. Today more than ever, its own prosperity requires a successful and secure Europe. “Europe today is facing a series of grave  security challenges,” said 13 of Britain’s most senior former military commanders in a recent statement. “Britain will have to confront these challenges whether it is inside or outside the  EU. But within the EU, we are stronger.”

We agree. The United States is — and must be — committed to a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. We rely on the E.U. and NATO as the bedrock undergirding Europe’s economic  success and national security. This bedrock is far stronger with Britain as a member. Later this month, people in Britain will decide for themselves whether to stay in or leave the E.U.  Respectfully, we urge our friends to stay.

washingtonpost.com/opinions/to-keep-the-islamic-state-and-russia-out-we-need-to-keep-britain-in/2016/06/08/9bb60b2a-2cdc-11e6-b5db-e9bc84a2c8e4_story.html

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North America

Jailed Colombian hacker aiming at Islamic terrorists

June 09, 2016

Colombian hacker Andres Sepulveda claims he rigged elections across Latin America for more than a decade. In a sit-down prison interview with CCTV America’s Michelle Begue,  Sepulveda says who his next target will be-from behind bars.

Andrés Sepúlveda is serving a 10-year sentence in a Colombian prison after pleading guilty to espionage and hacking.

This 31-year-old Hacker was caught during Colombia’s 2014 presidential elections-allegedly working with the candidate challenging incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos. The  authorities accused Sepulveda of spying on Colombia’s ongoing peace talks. He says he wanted to use the information obtained to discredit Santos.

But recently, Sepulveda claimed to have rigged nine Latin American elections in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. In 2012 and 2013 he said he worked against then President  Hugo Chavez. In 2012, he said he worked for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s campaign.

But Sepulveda said he is ready to put this part of his past behind him.

He has found a new and even bigger target. In the last 20 months, Sepúuveda says he has been working on software that he claims can help the United States fight Islamic State.

He calls it the Social Media Predator. He said he can no longer work on it, because the government stripped him of computer privileges after the interview was published.

He wants to give the software to the U.S. government or any NGO. He claims it can also help fight child pornography by identifying potential predators.

Sepulveda says he doesn’t like people to describe him as rehabilitated, he’s just taking aim at a new target-Islamic terrorists.

cctv-america.com/2016/06/08/jailed-colombian-hacker-aiming-at-islamic-terrorists

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Dearborn mosque celebrates Muslim holiday postage stamp

June 8, 2016

Officials are slated to gather Friday at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn to mark the U.S. Postal Service release of stamps commemorating Muslim holidays.

A “First-Day-of-Issue” ceremony is planned for noon at the mosque on Ford Road. It coincides with the Postal Service’s issue of an “Eid” stamp that marks two major periods in the  Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr, which ends the holy month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.

Those expected to participate in the event include USPS representatives, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, Muslim American Youth Academy students and Sam Salamey, chief judge at  Dearborn’s 19th District Court, mosque officials said in a statement.

The 2016 Eid stamp features gold-colored calligraphy created by acclaimed calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya of Arlington, Virginia, according to the Postal Service web site.

Muslims across Metro Detroit began observing Ramadan on Monday — launching a month of daily fasting, prayer and charitable efforts. Eid al-Fitr, or the “feast of fast-breaking,”  traditionally lasts several days, and this year is in early July.

Typically following about two months later is Eid al-Adha, which coincides with the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad.

detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2016/06/08/dearborn-mosque-celebrates-muslim-holiday-postage-stamp/85625482/

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USS Harry Truman Hitting Islamic State Targets from Mediterranean

June 8, 2016

The Truman is hitting ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria from the Mediterranean and has “now dropped more bombs on ISIS than any other vessel in America’s fleet,” according to CNN’s tally.  They have flown 1,800 sorties and dropped 1.5 million pounds of ordnance on the terror state.

“Iraqi Security Forces seem close to winning back the Iraqi stronghold of Fallujah. In northern Syria, a pro-U.S. coalition of Kurdish and Arab troops is pushing ISIS out of the Syrian-Turkish  border area and closing in on the extremists’ self-declared capital of Raqqa,” says the report.

CNN held some interesting interviews with pilots and crew aboard the Truman, including ordnance technicians explaining how the bombs must be assembled before they can be loaded  onto warplanes for delivery. Due to humanitarian concerns about civilian casualties from intensified American airstrikes, the Truman’s pilots have been using smaller 500-pound bombs.

By all accounts, these airstrikes have taken a toll on the Islamic State. However, air support will become less useful as the fighting in Fallujah moves into the city, where tens of  thousands of civilians remain trapped, under threat of execution if they refuse ISIS orders to serve as human shields. Fallujah residents have said they fear being hit by U.S. and coalition  airstrikes, but if they try to flee the city, Islamic State snipers pick them off.

Similar conditions will presumably occur in the Syrian theater as Islamic State forces are driven back into occupied urban areas.

CNN notes that the Harry Truman is only scheduled to remain in the Mediterranean for “several more weeks,” and the crew is already “under strain because their deployment has been extended by a full month.”

This fast-paced air campaign has little to do with President Obama’s barely-remembered “degrade and ultimately destroy” strategy, which he formerly claimed would take years, perhaps even decades to bottle up the Islamic State and wear it down.

Growing dissatisfaction from the American public — enraged by the Islamic State’s slaughter of hostages, near-genocide of the Yazidis, capture of more Iraqi territory, and threats to U.S.  security — forced a change in strategy, as did the astounding failure of Obama’s plan to train a “moderate Syrian rebel” force to handle ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the regime of dictator Bashar  Assad in Syria.

When the Russians began hammering Syrian insurgents with airstrikes and producing overnight battlefield changes, the last vestiges of Obama’s slow-motion strategy were quietly  forgotten. (Alas, the insurgents Russia was hammering were not ISIS for the most part. In fact, a suspicious number of them were the same rebels Obama recruited for his all-star team,  but they were quietly forgotten, too.)

Bombs are raining down on ISIS, and aggressive ground operations are under way, exactly as Obama’s critics recommended years ago. Once upon a time, this president foolishly dismissed  ISIS as the “junior varsity team” of terrorism, but now the best-of-the-best crew of the amazing USS Harry Truman is working overtime to beat them, once and for all.

breitbart.com/national-security/2016/06/08/uss-harry-truman-hits-isis-syria-iraq/

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U.S. Muslim prof keeps job after condoning chopping off hands

June 8, 2016

What happens to an American college professor when he openly and publicly endorses Shariah law as practiced by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS?

Apparently nothing.

Just ask Bassem Al-Halabi, associate professor of engineering and computer science at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

See Halabi’s Linkedin page.

It’s been more than two weeks since he made the inflammatory comment at an “Islamophobia” panel discussion sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA. He is still employed at the public university and being paid by U.S. tax dollars, WND has confirmed.

The event, held on the campus May 23, took an unexpected turn when Halabi, who is the university’s student adviser to the MSA and one of several “experts” to speak on “Islamophobia” in America, took a stance in defense of hardline Islamic law.

Here is what he said:

“Where there is no Shariah, Islamic Shariah, they die in dozens and hundreds every day because of organized crime. People kill people, other people or steal pizza for $10 – so when  Islamic Shariah is saying about capital punishment – so even though it sounds like it is severe but if that is the solution to prevent any crimes, then it still has a lot of rules and regulations.  I will just mention one and stop here, which is let’s say cutting off the hands of a person if they steal. It sounds very severe. It sounds very barbaric, I know. But if takes one or two  people to have their hands cut off, and then there’s no more stealing and there’s no more stealing in the whole nation – that’s a much better resolution than having hundreds of people  die every day.”

Audible gasps could be heard from the audience as Halabi spoke these words.

“As you might expect, this caused a bit of consternation among those in the audience (is that ‘Islamophobic’?), so an Islamic scholar seated next to al Halabi quickly interjected to  ‘clarify’ what the professor had meant: He was referring to Islamic State (ISIS) law, and not anything that would apply here in the United States.”

WND contacted Florida Atlantic University’s media relations department repeatedly seeking comment on whether professor Halabi had been disciplined in any way for his controversial  comments.

Joshua Glanzer, vice president of media relations for FAU, was called twice and emailed.

WND confirmed through a switchboard operator for the department of engineering and computer science that Halabi is still employed as a professor at the university. Calls to his office went unanswered, and his voicemail said it was not receiving messages.

“One wonders which of Caitlyn Jenner’s appendages the good professor would want amputated?” said Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of “Legacy of Jihad” and several other books about the history Islam.

Part of Shariah law includes harsh treatment of homosexuals and transgenders. Shariah comes from the Quran and from the teachings of Muhammad.

Kudos for honesty

But Bostom said Halabi is to be commended, not chastised, for his honesty.

“In all seriousness, the man is simply a pious, Shariah-compliant Muslim making a mainstream Islamic argument for the ‘justice’ of the Shariah,” he said. “Welcome to post-constitutional  America, where even Supreme Court Justice Kagan promoted Shariah at Harvard Law School under the rubric of the al-Sanhuri lecture series, etc.”

Clare Lopez, vice president of policy and analysis for the Center for Security Policy, a think tank in Washington, also took a sanguine view of the matter.

“In some sense, honest discussion about what Islamic law (Shariah) really entails is not altogether a bad thing,” she told WND.

“Instead of castigating this professor, who’s not radical at all, merely honest, they ought to invite him to convene a panel presentation to discuss a full range of Shariah injunctions, most  especially to focus on the seven Hudud crimes and punishments … as long as he agrees to cite specifically and only to the authoritative Islamic sources, such as Quran, Sunna and relevant  tafsirs,” she added.

“I think such a presentation could be enormously useful to an academic audience that is terribly ignorant about such things,” Lopez said. “It would certainly help them to understand why words like ‘extremist,’ ‘Islamist’ and ‘radical’ have no meaning in this context. Shariah defines Islam.”

WND has reported on many questionable teachings from professors over the years espousing everything from communist ideals to Shariah law.

WND reported recently that Yasir Kazi, an American imam and professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, was teaching that Christians were “filthy” in the sight of Allah.

Time to wake up?

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said Americans should wake up and smell the coffee, before it turns poisonous.

“Never question the sincerity and authenticity of a true believer who follows Shariah law,” said Bachmann, who tried to get Congress to pass laws against Shariah but got zero  cooperation.

“Freedom of religion, other than Shariah, doesn’t exist under Islam,” she said. “Americans need to wipe the cobwebs from their minds and understand that true Islam means to  exterminate the non-Islamic believer. Really.”

Lopez said Muslims are obligated to obey Shariah and their failure to do so will count against them on the Day of Judgment, according to Islamic doctrine, just as obeying Shariah will  weigh in their favor.

“Nothing ‘extremist,’ ‘Islamist’ or ‘radical’ about this: Obedience to Shariah is simply what it means to be Muslim,” she said. “Accurate, honest discussion about Shariah is to be  encouraged in the academic environment.”

Zero action, zero news coverageCarl Gallups, a pastor for the last 30 years at Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Florida, said Florida Atlantic University has been caught with its pants down and should be given an award for holding a double standard of epoch proportions.

“What if this ‘professor’ (AKA Muslim Brotherhood operative in the U.S.) had been a Christian or a Jewish professor and passionately advocated the United States convert to a system of  law based on strict Old Testament or Christian law?” Gallups asked. “I have little doubt under today’s Islamic slanted, politically correct environment if he would still be employed at a  major publicly funded U.S. university like Florida Atlantic.”

It’s also telling that no coverage to Halabi’s comments has been provided by CNN, Fox News or any of the other major American newspapers or TV networks.

“I seriously doubt the mainstream media would be silent about a Jewish or Christian professor spouting ‘radical’ ideas that would throw us back centuries to when homosexuals were put  to death, or when women were stoned for being prostitutes or adulterers,” said Gallups, author of “Final Warning” and other books.

“I do not recall having seen any coverage of the FAU Muslim professor’s comments by the mainstream media outlets. What are they afraid of? More importantly, what are they hiding?  Surely a story of this magnitude would have been on their ‘newsworthy’ radar? It certainly would have been if the speaker had been a conservative Christian or an Orthodox Jew.”

If a conservative evangelical pastor were to appear at a lecture hall in a public university and espouse that “Christian law” should be applied to the Muslim nations and culture, and how  “superior” that law is to Islamic Shariah, Gallups said it would be major news.

According The United West, professor Halabi has a record for battery and assault (on a United West employee) and was subsequently ordered to complete an anger management course.  He also was found guilty of sending “thermal imaging devices” to Syria, and is a “colleague of, and co-author with” convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian.

From a Christian perspective, Gallups said pastors and church-going Christians also need to make their voices heard on this developing double standard being propagated by the hard left  and typically goes unchallenged.

“Christians in America had better start standing up and speaking out against this continual onslaught of Shariah brainwashing happening within our constitutional republic,” he said. “If we continue to check out from being the salt and light that Jesus called us to be – we will soon losing everything. And, I can promise you, our children and grandchildren will not, in the  future, call our generation ‘The Greatest Generation.’ Rather, we will be known as the generation that lost their heritage to Islamic dominance.”

wnd.com/2016/06/u-s-muslim-prof-keeps-job-after-condoning-chopping-off-hands/

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Pakistan

Hurried funeral for Lahore 'honour killing' victim

Jun 09, 2016

LAHORE: An 18-year-old girl murdered by her mother for marrying the man of her choice was discreetly buried before dawn Thursday by her in-laws, as activists and politicians  condemned Pakistan's latest gruesome honour killing.

Zeenat Bibi was set on fire Wednesday in a low-income neighbourhood of Lahore. None of her relatives sought to claim her body, police said Thursday, leaving her new husband's family  to bury her charred remains in the dark in a graveyard near the city.

“There was a peace and calm in the area during the funeral prayer and burial,” the officer in charge of the local police station Sheikh Hammad Akhtar told AFP.

Akhtar said the husband, 20-year-old Hasan Khan, had launched a complaint in the killing against his bride's mother, Perveen Bibi, who is in police custody.

The victim's family told AFP how Perveen ran into the street after the murder and began beating her chest, shouting: “People! I have killed my daughter for misbehaving and giving our family a bad name.”

An AFP reporter said Zeenat's family home was closed and locked Thursday.

Neighbour Muhammad Asghar said the family had left, adding: “Why have they gone when everybody is coming to share their grief?”

Hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan each year for so-called “honour”, but it is rare to hear of such atrocities being carried out by women.

Khan said on TV that the couple had eloped, but he had reluctantly allowed Zeenat to return to her family home after they promised they would hold a celebration and not harm her.

Police have also detained one of Perveen's sons-in-law, and are searching for another of her sons. Investigators said they were still awaiting the official results from a post-mortemreport.

Rights activists condemned the killing Thursday as Senator Sherry Rehman called for the federal government to detail the steps it was taking to prevent such violence.

“Women continue to face violence in the most atrocious form despite the prevalence of legislation against such acts,” Rehman told the Senate Thursday.

That a family could turn against their own child “shows that there something flawed in law and society”, said Hina Gilani, a human rights activist in Lahore.

“Anybody, whether father, mother, can do it because they have the satisfaction that they can get away with it,” she said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to eradicate the “evil” of honour killings after a documentary highlighting the issue won an Oscar in February, but no fresh legislation has been tabled since then.

Last week 19-year-old Maria Sadaqat was tortured then burned alive for refusing a marriage proposal from a school principal's son in Murree.

In April a young woman was strangled and then her body set ablaze because she helped a friend elope in Mardan, another case that sparked revulsion.

dawn.com/news/1263763/hurried-funeral-for-lahore-honour-killing-victim

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Khawaja Asif's frustration over GHQ meeting reason for NA outburst, Aitzaz claims

Jun 09, 2016

ISLAMABAD: PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan claimed Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s inappropriate language against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief whip Shireen Mazari in the National Assembly  (NA) on Wednesday was a result of his frustration following a meeting at the General Headquarters (GHQ) earlier this week.

Speaking exclusively to DawnNews, the senator was of the opinion that the meeting at GHQ, where top ministers were summoned and "sat like schoolchildren" was most astonishing.

"Ministers were never summoned in such a way to a meeting at the GHQ during the PPP government," he claimed.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif convened a meeting termed "extraordinary" meeting on Tuesday with key ministers managing affairs in the Prime Minister's absence, including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, PM’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry.

The first civil-military huddle on national security since Prime Minister Sharif left for London for his heart surgery was believed to have been prompted by some specific concerns even  though a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations said it was held for deliberations on “issues related to external and internal security situation of the country, including CPEC”.

The NA session on Wednesday was disrupted when opposition lawmakers, including PTI's Shireen Mazari, protested during Asif's speech on loadshedding during Ramazan.

Asif asked the speaker to "silence this tractor trolley" while pointing towards Mazari and referred to her voice as 'masculine'.

When Mazari protested and argued with the speaker, who was trying to blame opposition lawmakers for the ruckus, Asif said: "I am not going to apologise, they can do whatever they  want."

Following the incident, the speaker ordered Asif's remarks against Mazari be expunged from the record.

dawn.com/news/1263751/khawaja-asifs-frustration-over-ghq-meeting-reason-for-na-outburst-aitzaz-claims

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KP chief minister likely to face another revolt

Jun 09, 2016

PESHAWAR: Just two years after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister punctured a pressure group of the members of provincial assembly using his special political manoeuvring skills,  another such group is in the making by the National Assembly Members of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf this time.

“It is not just a one-day job so we have decided to set up a pressure group of MNAs, local government representatives and around five MPAs,” said MNA Eng Dawar Khan from Tank. He  said that they were not demanding development funds for themselves but wanted to speak up for the rights of the people, who had been disappointed.

They wanted the party to implement what was promised in the manifesto. It was not implemented which affected the performance of the party in the province.

Majority of the MNAs hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were unhappy with the performance of the party, holding Chief Minister Pervez Khattak responsible for not working on the  manifesto of PTI as promised, said a disgruntled parliamentarian while another disappointed MNA, who has left PTI for the same reasons, confided how Chief Minister Pervez Khattak used  to belittle MNAs of the party.

Disgruntled MNA says they don’t demand development funds but want to speak up for the rights of people

“He (Pervez Khattak) is a seasoned politician whereas Imran Khan has yet to learn a lot about the politics,” said a parliamentarian, explaining why despite complaints from MNAs and some  MPAs even about rampant corruption in the province has not spurred ever PTI chairman to take it up seriously with the chief minister in the past.

Sources said that PTI chairman Imran Khan held a meeting with the chief minister and MPAs over the ‘rumours’ that some disgruntled MPAs had joined hands with the party MNAs, who  had been speaking openly in media against Mr Khattak and holding him responsible for poor performance of the party in the province.

The chief minister, in a handout issued here on Wednesday, took himself serious notice of the recent statements of the party MNAs, saying he felt sorry at such “outrageous statements”  issued to the media by the parliamentarians instead of bringing it into Imran Khan’s notice.

MNA Dawar Khan, on the other hand, took this handout as merely a statement, which reinforced the fact that the issue existed. He said that they had brought it into the notice of Imran Khan and there was not any sign from him which suggested that he disagreed with them or disapproved what they were saying.

This scribe tried to contact Mushtaq Ghani, special assistant to chief minister on information, regarding details about meeting held by PTI chairman Imran Khan but he did not respond.

However, a handout issued by the spokesman for chief minister said that statements of the MNAs to media were regrettable. The statement said that Mr Khattak was taking the province  on a path of progress by following party’s manifesto and following merit.

“The MNAs have nothing to do with the developmental funds and they should work for the rights of the province at the federal level,” said Mr Khattak in his statement.

Dawar Khan said that chief minister was right to say that MNAs had nothing to do with development funds just as the MPAs had nothing to do with it yet he was pleasing MPAs with such benefits and perks himself.

He said that local government representatives were elected to do all the development work with the funds. However, any man on the road would confirm how PTI had not followed its  own manifesto.

“There is no DG at Ehtesab Commission and the head of the Anti-Corruption Establishment is also not there. It is happening during the government of a party, which promised  accountability,” said Dawar Khan.

Reports also said that the opposition members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly earlier criticised the government for not giving them proper share in the development funds and using the money in the constituencies of MNAs.

The house was informed that Rs20 million was allocated for water supply schemes in Peshawar’s NA-4 constituency from where PTI MNA Gulzar Khan was elected, while Rs40 million was allocated to the constituency of MNA from Lakki Marwat, said an MPA, who himself had been part of a disgruntled pressure group formed back in 2014 against corruption in the province but later gave into the political manoeuvring of Mr Khattak.

MPA Javed Naseem, who raised voice against Mr Khattak and accused him of corruption, did away with his ways when he was made a parliamentary secretary. Many MPAs of the ruling  PTI have not only raised their salaries and perks and privileges than the members of the previous provincial assembly but they also have membership of several committees and many  have been made parliamentary secretaries, assistants and advisers.

dawn.com/news/1263717/kp-chief-minister-likely-to-face-another-revolt

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PTI leaders seek public apology from Asif

Jun 09, 2016

LAHORE: Former PTI Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhry and the party Women’s Wing Punjab president have reprimanded Defence Minister Khwaja Asif for his insulting remarks against PTI’s Shireen Mazari and demanded that he should apologize publicly.

Mr Chaudhry chided Khwaja Asif, saying the minister should not have spoken insulting remarks against the PTI leader on the floor of the house.

He said almost all PML-N ministers and leaders needed to learn respecting women and added that no hue and cry would save Khwaja Asif from being de-seated from the assembly.

He said the nation was suffering due to incapability of Khwaja Asif in reducing loadshedding in the country as he also could not ensure power supply during sehr and iftar timings.

He said the Punjab government had also failed in controlling prices in Ramazan bazaars.

Ms Bukhari asked Mariam Nawaz to establish a cell for moral training of federal and provincial ministers. She regretted that the ministers had never shown respect to women.

SARWAR: PTI leader Chaudhry Sarwar has demanded judicial inquiry into the Recosine medicine case and demanded registration of an FIR on behalf of victims against the government.

He said the law of the jungle was prevailing in the province in the absence of the accountability system.

YASMIN: PTI leaders Dr Yasmin Rashid and Waleed Iqbal have said that the youth is a precious asset of the party.

They said the PTI had given maximum tickets to youth leaders with a mindset that the country should get fresh blood in the shape of well-educated leaders of the youth.

Speaking at a workers convention organised by the youth wing of PP-139, Dr Yasmin said the PTI had given maximum party tickets to young leaders in the local government elections.

She said the PTI was fighting against opportunist politicians and the outdated system.

Later, PTI Youth Wing’s Lahore president Usman Hamza along with Dr Yasmin and Waleed Iqbal presented notifications to different youth leaders with regard to their assignments.

dawn.com/news/1263695/pti-leaders-seek-public-apology-from-asif

 

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