New Age Islam
Mon Nov 30 2020, 04:10 PM

Islamic World News ( 26 Nov 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Seven Islamists Have Been Sentenced To Death for A 2016 Attack On A Café in Dacca in Which 22 People, Mostly Foreigners, Were Killed.







Seven Islamists Have Been Sentenced To Death for A 2016 Attack On A Café in Dacca in Which 22 People, Mostly Foreigners, Were Killed.

Indonesia Should Become Reference for Studying Moderate Islam: VP

Indonesia’s Alami Wants To Prove Islamic Finance Can Be Profitable

Australian Islamic Councils Issue Statement to Stand Up Against Islamophobia

Muslims to Mourn Babri Anniversary, VHP No To 'Shaurya Diwas'

Protesters — Mostly Muslims — Permanently Banned From Demonstrating Against LGBTQ Curriculum at UK Elementary School

U.N. Investigators Eye 160 Islamic State Militants over Yazidi Massacres

British Muslims Are Getting WhatsApps Urging Them to Vote Out 14 "Pro-Israel" Tory MPs

Pakistan Desires Strengthened Ties among Muslim Countries: Dr Firdous

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/seven-islamists-have-been-sentenced-to-death-for-a-2016-attack-on-a-café-in-dacca-in-which-22-people,-mostly-foreigners,-were-killed/d/120377

 

South Asia

Taliban’s Mullah Baradar met with the Foreign Minister of Iran in Tehran

Indian-American killed in attack on UN vehicle in Kabul city, confirms Pompeo

US, German Ambassadors in Afghanistan strongly reacts to arrests over sexual abuse of children report

Airstrikes kill 19 Taliban militants in Ghazni, Helmand and Laghman provinces

The man behind China's detention of 1 million Muslims

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Southeast Asia

Send IMM13 holders back to Philippines, Sabah leaders insist

S’pore Muslim athletes served pork at SEA Games 2019 in the Philippines reports not true, SNOC says

Bogor blasphemy trial: 'Mentally ill' defendant did not know about dog ban in mosque

Singapore’s Muslim athletes were not served pork at SEA Games: SNOC

Malaysia says Islamic State may shift operations to Southeast Asia

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Australia and New Zealand

New system needed to help Christchurch mosque shooting victims - fund manager

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India

25 Muslim Sanskrit Teachers Appointed In Colleges In West Bengal In The Last Two Years

Indian Gov't Justifies Communication Blockade in Kashmir in Supreme Court, Citing “Internet Jihad”

No Review Plea But Sunni Board Turns Cautious On 5-Acre Land

Landlines get a boost in J&K as shutdown affects mobile networks

Grenade attacks in held Kashmir leave two dead

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Europe

Javid refuses to condemn PM's slurs against Muslim women

Corbyn to Invite Hamas Supporting Muslim Association Of Britain To Downing Street If Elected

How fake news about Muslims is being used to spread hatred – Steve Cardownie

Muslim Council of Britain Accuses Conservatives of Islamophobia, Backs Chief Rabbi on Antisemitism

Birmingham pilgrims 'lose thousands' on cancelled Mecca trips

EU takes action against Islamic State's online activities

Indiana woman married to Moroccan man who joined ISIS and moved family to Raqqa pleads guilty to helping fund terror

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North America

Navy SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden Backs Trump, Eddie Gallagher in Battle Over Trident

Trump says will designate Mexican cartels as 'terror' groups

Trump pardons turkeys in Thanksgiving tradition, makes fun of impeachment hearings

Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror groups

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Mideast

Iran's foreign minister speaks with Islamic Jihad leader

'A Real Act of Kindness': Lebanese Christian to Donate Hitler's Hat, Nazi Artifacts to Jewish Group

Police in Fars Province Detain 15 Riot Leaders

IRGC Spokesman: Iran to Experience Sustainable Economy in Future

UAE Plotting for Separation of Key Port Town from Yemen

Several Road-Blockers in Iran Riots Detained by Police

Syrian Army Takes Full Control of Another Strategic Town in Southern Idlib

Prosecutors ask life term for New York man who wanted to die waging jihad for Hezbollah

Anti-Zionist Students in Chicago ‘Honour’ Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader, Members Killed in Gaza

Thousands rally in support of Israel's Netanyahu after graft indictment

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Pakistan

Pak Minority Groups Protest in Washington on 26/11 Anniversary

Imran Khan urged to reopen Khokhrapar border crossing with India

SC questions rules regarding tenure of an army chief's extension

Asim Bajwa made chairman of newly created CPEC Authority

JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah injured after attack by unknown assailants

Norwegian Flag Torched in Pakistan to Protest Quran Burning as Islam's Opponents Promise New Fires

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Arab World

Yemen's Houthis Welcome Release of 200 Prisoners by Saudi-Led Coalition

At Least 27 Current and Former Mecca Employees Have Now Made Written Complaints

Dubai Islamic Bank Proposes Noor Bank Acquisition via Share Swap

VCUarts Qatar organises symposium on Islamic art

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates Romanian President on his Re-election for New Presidential Term

Zambian President visits Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Top Islamic finance institutions vie for WIBC awards

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Mauritania on Independence Day

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Albania on Independence Day

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Africa

Lagos to Register Churches, Mosques in 2020, Give Reasons

Air Peace: Miyetti Allah, Yoruba youths blow hot, reveals plan over indictment of Allen Onyema

6 Muslim-friendly travel destinations in South Africa

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Seven Islamists Have Been Sentenced To Death for A 2016 Attack On A Café in Dacca in Which 22 People, Mostly Foreigners, Were Killed.

The attack on the Holey Artisan cafe in Dhaka was carried out by a group of five men, who took diners hostage.

Eight people were on trial, accused of planning and supplying the attackers with weapons. One man was acquitted.

The 12-hour siege was Bangladesh's deadliest terror attack. Most of the victims were Italian or Japanese.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, but Bangladesh disputed this, instead holding a local militant group responsible.

Since the attack, Bangladesh authorities have led a brutal crackdown on militants it sees as a destabilising force in the predominantly Muslim country.

Public persecutor Golam Sarwar Khan, speaking after the verdict was delivered, said the charges against the accused "were proved beyond any doubt".

"The court gave them the highest punishment," the prosecutor told reporters.

The seven convicted men were accused of belonging to Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), an outlawed group.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50570243

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Indonesia Should Become Reference for Studying Moderate Islam: VP

27 November 2019

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia deserves to become a reference point for the study of moderate Islam, Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin said at the expert meeting of Indonesia International Islamic University (UIII) on Tuesday. "Indonesia should become a place of reference for the development of moderate Islam," Amin said while making a keynote address.

Indonesia deserved to become a reference as it had the largest Muslim population in the world and was the world's third-largest democracy, he said.

Since Islam entered Indonesia in the eighth century, the development of Islam here was very rapid and was well received by native Indonesians.

"Islam entered Indonesia by peaceful means through trade activities and social relations between people. This condition made the development of Islam a part of the social and cultural relationships in Indonesia," the Vice President said.

The entire wealth and experience of Islamic travel in Indonesia contributed to the unity and integrity of the nation and made Indonesia a democratic country with the largest Muslim population in the world, he stated.

"With this fact, Indonesia deserves to be a reference to moderate Islam in the world," the Vice President remarked.

To make Indonesia a reference in studying the Islamic civilization, there is a need for a quality research and science center.

One of the forms of the research and science center was the establishment of a leading Islamic tertiary institution namely the International Islamic University of Indonesia (UIII) which has international quality with a global reputation, he said.

"We hope the UIII will be at the forefront in Islamic studies in general and become the center for world studies in the field of Indonesian Islamic studies," he said.

The UIII is also expected to become the center of the spread of Islamic culture and civilization which is modern and tolerant.

Islamic studies at UIII can combine two forms of Islamic studies, namely the mastery of Islamic religious sciences or normative studies and research on society or empirical studies, Ma'ruf hoped.

"The UIII is also expected to become an ambassador to promote Indonesia as a reference, compatibility of Islam and democracy as well as world reference in the realization of Islam which is a blessing for the universe," he remarked.

The UIII graduates are expected to be experts, scientists, and prominent Muslim scholars who are moderate, democratic, humanist and global-minded.

"Through this Expert Council meeting, we want to test the concept and the entire process in developing the vision, curriculum, governance and human resources regarding the establishment of the UIII. I hope that the experts and scholars can provide the input to enrich references for the UIII’s development in the future," he said.

The Vice President expressed his gratitude to all those who had helped to realize the establishment of the UIII.

All parties must work hard to complete various infrastructure developments and develop software, particularly refining the curriculum, governance and various supporting devices, VP Ma'ruf Amin added.

https://en.tempo.co/read/1277030/indonesia-should-become-reference-for-studying-moderate-islam-vp

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Indonesia’s Alami wants to prove Islamic finance can be profitable

Dima Djani was serving as a vice president of French investment bank Societe Generale when he got the calling to pursue a career in finance based on sharia principles. He then decided to leave his high-paying job to build a sharia-compliant peer-to-peer lending startup called Alami with his partners Harza Sandityo and Bembi Juniar in 2018.

Alami co-founders (from left): COO Harza Sandityo, CEO Dima Djani, and CBO Bembi Juniar / Photo credit: Alami

“My move was driven by personal and commercial reasons,” Djani told KrAsia in a recent interview. “As a Muslim, I find that building a fintech startup that complies with sharia law is fulfilling. Moreover, I see that although everybody talks about the big potential of Islamic finance in Indonesia, its penetration, especially in banking, is very low – less than 6%,” he said.

Djani also noticed that there are many inefficiencies in the industry, he said, and therefore, by utilizing technology, “many innovations can be launched to serve Indonesia’s already big fintech market.”

“We’re developing and reviving Islamic financing with tech because we’re targeting millennials. We hope that every time they hear about ‘Islamic finance,’ Alami will be the first company that comes to mind,” Djani said.

Alami started as an aggregator platform in 2018. However, according to Djani, Islamic financial and banking institutions were not ready to partner with fintech platforms back then. Djani and his partners promptly decided to pivot their business model into P2P lending, focusing on providing loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. The firm later obtained a registration from the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) in May 2019, and since then, the startup has channeled nearly 70 billion rupiah (US$4.96 million) to more than 50 SMEs.

Djani hopes to dispense a total of 80 billion rupiah (US$5.6 million) by the end of this year, and he targets to triple the number next year.

Earlier this month, Alami raised an undisclosed amount of investment commitment led by Golden Gate Ventures, with participation from Agaeti Ventures and RHL Ventures. The company will utilize the fresh capital to support talent acquisition and product development and strengthen its operational structure, Djani said.

He added that the funding round was conducted through a sharia-based scheme, becoming the first company in Southeast Asia to raise VC funding via such a system.

“In practice, the sharia profit-sharing scheme is quite similar to equity financing. However, no one has combined the sharia structure with VC fundraising before. Therefore, this investment commitment is very special as it has an added value for us,” he said.

According to Djani, there are various principles that a sharia finance company must strictly follow. Among them, interest payments (riba) are prohibited, as it is seen as an exploitative practice that favors lenders at the expense of borrowers. Any form of speculation (maisir) is also excluded, as well as participation in contracts with excessive risk (gharar).

Moreover, since Alami connects lenders and small enterprises, the nature of lenders and borrowers’ businesses also have to follow the Islamic law, which means that such individuals or companies cannot involve themselves in any forbidden activities like producing and selling alcohol and pork, gambling, prostitution, and so forth.

From fundraising to business operations, Alami is committed to complying with all sharia principles and values, Djani affirmed.

“For lenders, we give a commission in exchange for an interest fee, but we don’t charge late fees for borrowers. Generally speaking, sharia investment might not sound too competitive when it comes to maximizing profits [for lenders]. However, what we want to promote is that financing with sharia principles has a sustainable social impact,” he explained. “Fortunately, many lenders, especially millennials, are already aware of this concept and its benefits. So when they invest in Alami, they don’t only look for profits, but they are also keen to help others.”

Although Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Djani found many challenges when introducing and evolving his sharia product, especially due to the low literacy about fintech and sharia outcomes in society.

“I think the main challenge for all emerging startups is how to build a professional team that can make the right product that customers want and how to scale the business quickly. However, especially in our case, the perception of Indonesian people towards sharia-based finance is actually fragmented, which means one Muslim group might have a different opinion about sharia financing from other groups,” Djani continued.

Therefore, market education must be carried out continuously, and one way is by conducting extensive dialogues with various Islamic communities, Djani said.

Going forward, Alami will continue to promote and advocate Islamic finance as the company wants to prove that the sharia business is not only socially responsible but also “economically more profitable” than conventional counterparts. That’s because it targets “very niche markets,” said Djani.

In the near future, Alami plans to reactivate its aggregator platform, and the firm is also currently exploring opportunities to add individual loan services in collaboration with sharia banks. “Developing individual loans is more challenging for us because we don’t want to promote consumerism, and we want to make sure that the loans we channel will be used for activities that are not contrary to Islamic principles,” he said.

Alami will soon launch two new products, one of which is a “unique product that other conventional P2P lenders cannot offer,” Djani said, without revealing further information. “We’re also designing a system where lenders can make donations after getting a return. They can choose to donate in their charity of choice, and they will be able to monitor how the charity utilizes this money,” Djani added.

Djani hopes his company will become a one-stop sharia financial solution for all customers in Indonesia, and that more people will realize that sharia fintech can create long-term economic value, both for lenders and borrowers.

This report was first published on KrAsia.

https://www.techinasia.com/alami-prove-islamic-finance-profitable

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Australian Islamic Councils issue statement to stand up against Islamophobia

November 27, 2019

An Australian Muslim advocacy group expressed concern over a recent report that shows anti-Muslim behavior is increasing among people in the country.

“We have repeatedly expressed concern to government about the rising levels of Islamophobia, anti-Muslim rhetoric and the contributors of these issues. This is a problem for all of Australia,” the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils said in a statement on Tuesday.

The report, Mapping Social Cohesion 2019 by Scanlon Foundation Research Institute, was produced by Monash University researchers who used a survey based on 90 questions.

The findings shows that Australians have become more concerned about climate change, while their attitudes on immigration and democracy have remained stable over the past 12 months.

The report said that 42% of Muslims who were interviewed by the researchers for the report revealed that they faced discrimination in last 12 months because of their identity.

The report comes in the wake of an Islamophobic attack on a pregnant Muslim lady last week in Sydney who was wearing headscarf. The attack created outrage across the world.

“These results [of the survey] are a concern for us but unfortunately not a surprise,” said Rateb Jneid, who is president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Inc (AFIC).

“We believe that this situation has been contributed to by a range of issues including the way in which Muslims are conveyed in the public discourse,” Jneid added.

Jneid said that AFIC will engage with the government on this issue.

“The solution to changing this lies with all of Australia, Muslim and non-Muslim, migrant and indigenous, the political left and the political right,” he concluded.

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/australian-islamic-councils-issue-statement-to-stand-up-against-islamophobia-3505992

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Muslims to Mourn Babri Anniversary, VHP No To 'Shaurya Diwas'

Nov 27, 2019

AYODHYA: Muslims in Ayodhya led by one of the key litigants in the title suit, Haji Mahboob, will observe December 6 as 'Yaum-E-Gham' (day of sorrow) on the 27th anniversary of Babri demolition.

For the past three decades, Haji Mahboob, who is also president of Anjuman Muhafiz-Masajid wa Maqabir (organization to protect mosques and mausoleums), has been observing the demolition anniversary as day of sorrow. Earlier, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan would be a regular participant in the event.

However, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which had been celebrating the day as 'Shaurya Diwas', (day of bravery) has decided to end this tradition this year after the Supreme Court verdict.

Talking to TOI, central secretary of VHP, Purushottam Narayan Singh, said "Ab to Ram ka Mandir ban raha hai (now Ram temple will be constructed) so we won't hold any such programme."

Haji Mahboob told TOI the mourning session will be held in the morning of December 6 and senior Muslim leaders, including Asaduddin Owaisi and Zafaryab Jilani have been sent invites. On the Babri demolition anniversary, many Muslim organisations like Muslim League and Muslim Majlis also hold programmes to mark 'shahadat' (martyrdom day).

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/muslims-to-mourn-babri-anniversary-vhp-no-to-shaurya-diwas/articleshow/72251874.cms

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Protesters — mostly Muslims — permanently banned from demonstrating against LGBTQ curriculum at UK elementary school

A United Kingdom high court judge permanently banned demonstrations against an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum that have been taking place outside an elementary school for several months, BBC News said.

Justice Mark David John Warby ruled that an exclusion zone around Anderton Park School in Birmingham will remain, as the protests — undertaken by Muslims for the most part — have had a negative effect on students and staff, including 21 teachers who've been treated for stress, the outlet said.

Many parents and activists claimed the curriculum contradicts their Islamic faith and is not "age appropriate" since protests began in June, BBC News said.

The court last month heard that "untrue" and "harmful" allegations were made about the school on social media, including that a visiting imam claimed to parents there were "pedophiles" in the school, the outlet said, adding that other false claims included that the school had a "pedophile agenda" and staff were "teaching children how to masturbate."

"None of this is true," Warby said as he handed down the ban at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, BBC News said. "None of the defendants have suggested it was true, and the council has proved it is not true."

The lessons had been "misrepresented by parents," he said, according to the outlet, adding the school doesn't promote homosexuality and seeks to weave the language of equality into everyday school life.

Lead protester Shakeel Afsar, who has no children at the school, told BBC News he's "bitterly disappointed with the ruling and said the court is "one-sided" and that the judge, another official, and key witnesses had been white — as opposed to the "diverse" protesters.

"We can continue to protest in the same area that we have been protesting in since June this year," he added. "These young children are not being taught the status of law."

https://www.theblaze.com/news/protesters-mostly-muslims-permanently-banned-from-demonstrating-against-lgbtq-curriculum-at-uk-elementary-school

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U.N. Investigators Eye 160 Islamic State Militants Over Yazidi Massacres

Nov. 26, 2019

BY MICHELLE NICHOLS

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations investigators have so far identified 160 Islamic State militants accused of massacres of Yazidis in northern Iraq in 2014 and are building legal cases against them, the head of the team told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

The U.N. investigative team, created by the U.N. Security Council, started work a year ago to collect and preserve evidence for future prosecution of acts by Islamic State in Iraq that may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

"In relation to the Yazidi community alone, the crimes that targeted them, we have identified over 160 perpetrators of massacres against the Yazidis ... and we're focusing our work to build solid cases hopefully in relation to each of those that may be presented to domestic courts," said Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, head of the U.N. team.

U.N. experts warned in June 2016 that Islamic State was committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the minority religious community through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.

Islamic State militants consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers. The Yazidi faith has elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam.

Nadia Murad, who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney played a key role in pushing for the U.N. investigative team. Murad is a Yazidi woman who was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in 2014.

Islamic State overran the Yazidi faith's heartland of Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014, forcing young women into servitude as "wives" for its fighters and massacring men and older women.

Yazidi survivor Kachi, whose full name was withheld to protect him, addressed the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

"After shooting at us, ISIL members left to another place. I found myself under a pile of dead bodies," he told the council. "When I opened my eyes I saw three of my brothers. They were next to me. They were dead. So were my nephews and my cousins."

He said his wife and daughters were kidnapped and sold as slaves and that he had lost some 75 members of his family.

"Five years have passed and I can still hear my wife and my daughters screaming when the members of ISIL kidnapped them. I can also hear the voice of my daughter Lara, who was three months old when she passed away in captivity because of thirst and hunger," Kachi said.

He said the Yazidis now want justice.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Tom Brown)

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-11-26/un-investigators-eye-160-islamic-state-militants-over-yazidi-massacres

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British Muslims Are Getting WhatsApps Urging Them To Vote Out 14 "Pro-Israel" Tory MPs

November 26, 2019

British Muslims are being targeted with WhatsApp messages from a group urging them to vote out 14 Conservative candidates they accuse of “supporting Israel”.

The messages also allege that the Tories — who are each fighting to hold onto marginal seats with significant numbers of Muslim voters — are “Islamophobes” and “supporting Modi’s assault on Kashmir”, although no evidence is provided for these assertions.

Home secretary Priti Patel condemned the WhatsApp campaign, telling BuzzFeed News it was “shocking and divisive”.

The messages are part of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee's "Operation Muslim Vote", which is encouraging Muslims to vote for the Labour Party. MPAC has previously been criticised for its record on anti-Semitism.

A crowdfunder page for the campaign on the FundAmal website says: “Allah loves those who fight in His cause in a row as though they are a single structure joined firmly.”

The campaign is the latest controversial attempt to use WhatsApp to target religious groups during the election.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Hindu voters had received WhatsApps encouraging them to vote against Labour, claiming that the party was “anti-India”, “anti-Hindu” and "anti-Modi". The messages were widely condemned for seeking to inflame tensions between Hindus and Muslims ahead of the election.

MPAC’s effort to target Muslim voters uses comparable tactics, but instead urges Muslims to vote against 14 Tory MPs. One of the messages seen by BuzzFeed News said: “This is the Muslims’ opportunity to kick Islamophobes out of power!

“We intend to mobilise the Muslim communities and punish the Tory party for their blatant Islamophobia.

“We have targeted 14 Tory marginal seats who have MPs that have a record of enabling Islamophobia, supporting Israel and/or supporting Modi’s assault on Kashmir.

In ALL of those seats, Muslims can vote them out of power and hit the Tories HARD!”

The WhatsApp message includes a link to an MPAC crowdfunder page that explicitly explains: “We target marginal seats where the Muslim vote is larger than the current MP’s majority vote. In these seats, Muslim can make a definitive difference and have the biggest voices during and after elections.”

It includes a list of the 14 Tory MPs being targeted. Some of those on the list, such as Boris Johnson, Zac Goldsmith and Bob Blackman, have been criticised for their record on Islamophobia. But most of the 14 MPs have not been involved in any Islamophobia scandal.

MPAC’s crowdfunder page provides no explanation for its claims that these MPs are “Islamophobes”, “supporting Israel” or “supporting Modi’s assault on Kashmir”. It alleges that the MPs are "working against the interests of British Muslim communities".

https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexwickham/british-muslims-are-getting-whatsapps-urging-them-to-vote

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Pakistan desires strengthened ties among Muslim countries: Dr Firdous

Nov 27, 2019

JEDDAH: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said that Pakistan, being a pioneer member of the OIC, is desirous of promotion of cooperation among Muslim countries.

Talking to Pakistani community and media persons in Jeddah, Dr Firdous said Muslim Ummah should adopt a united approach and formulate a collective comprehensive strategy to cope with challenges being faced nowadays, Radio Pakistan reported.

She said Organisation of Islamic Cooperation OIC is a very important forum and Muslims of the world has great expectations from it.

Responding to a question, Dr Firdous said the PTI government has introduced reforms to strengthen institutions and provide relief to the common man.

Earlier on November 26, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan had arrived in Saudi Arabia on a two-day visit to attend the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Dr. Firdous was accorded warm welcome upon arrival at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia’s high officials, Pakistani ambassador and a representative of the OIC were present at the airport to welcome the special assistant. During her stay in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Firdous will also hold important meetings with the Saudi authorities.

https://arynews.tv/en/pakistan-strengthened-ties-muslim-countries/

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South Asia

 

Taliban’s Mullah Baradar met with the Foreign Minister of Iran in Tehran

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2019

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy political chief and head of the political office of Taliban in Qatar met with Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the political office of Taliban in Qatar said in a Twitter post that Mullah Baradar leading a delegation of Taliban leaders met with Mr. Zarif in Tehran on Tuesday.

Shaheen further added that Mullah Baradar and Mr. Zarif had an in-depth discussion regarding peaceful resolution of the issue of Afghanistan.

He also added that the two sides also discussed the issues of the Afghan refugees based in Iran and Mr. Zarif vowed to resolve the issues of the Afghans living as refugees in Iran.

The visit by Taliban delegation to Tehran takes place amid ongoing efforts to revive peace talks.

Meanwhile, the United States has repeatedly accused Iran of supporting the militant groups in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

“Iran provides a range of financial, political, training and material support to groups which would include Hezbollah, Iraqi Shia militant groups, the Houthis in Yemen, some Palestinian groups, the Taliban and Bahraini Shia militants,” the Department of Defense said in a statement on 19th of November.

https://www.khaama.com/talibans-mullah-baradar-met-with-the-foreign-minister-of-iran-in-tehran-04407/

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Indian-American killed in attack on UN vehicle in Kabul city, confirms Pompeo

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2019

The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that an Indian-American lost his life in the attack on United Nations vehicle in Kabul city on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Pompeo said Ani Raj, an American citizen from San Francisco who was working as an aid worker lost his life in the attack in Kabul city.

Pompeo further added that attacks targeting United Nations personnel helping the Afghan people are ‘unconscionable’.

Unknown gunmen hurled hand grenade on a vehicle of the United Nations in the vicinity of 9th district of city at around 6:20 pm local time on Sunday, according to interior ministry officials.

The officials further added that the attack killed a foreign national and wounded five others including 2 workers of the UN agency.

No individual or group including Taliban has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

https://www.khaama.com/indian-american-killed-in-attack-on-un-vehicle-in-kabul-city-confirms-pompeo-04405/

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US, German Ambassadors in Afghanistan strongly reacts to arrests over sexual abuse of children report

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019

The Ambassadors of the United States and Germany in Afghanistan strongly reacted to arrest of two civil society activists who had recently published an investigative report regarding the sexual of children in Logar schools.

John R. Bass, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan said in a Twitter that he was deeply disturbed by Soviet-style tactics of the National Directorate of Security. “It’s appalling to coerce confessions from civil society activists whose goal is to protect Afghan children.”

Peter Prugel, the Ambassador of Germany to Afghanistan said in a Twitter post “Serious concerned about the illegal detention of #HRDefenders #Mahmudi and #Hamidi. @NDSAfghanistan’s interference in this case of alleged child abuse is unacceptable! Allegations of most serious #HumanRightsViolations need to be thoroughly investigated, not silenced!”

Meanwhile, the National Directorate of Security said in a statement that the publication of investigative report by Mr. Mahmudi regarding sexual abuse of children in Logar schools has disturbed the public opinion, endangered the public order, security and lives of many people in Logar province.

The statement further added that the publication of the report also serious Mr. Mahmudi and his colleagues, forcing the NDS to transfer them to a safe place where they could also be questioned for clarifications regarding the major crimes they have mentioned in the report.

The National Directorate of also added that it was found during the investigations that the findings of Mr. Mahmudi lack documents and evidences and that he had prepared the report in an unprofessional manner in a bid to create a story based on which he could seek asylum for his family in another country.

The Logar civil society activists had stated in their report that they have registered at least 550 cases of sexual abuse of children in various schools in Logar province.

The activists also added that the number could further rise if further investigations are conducted.

https://www.khaama.com/us-german-ambassadors-in-afghanistan-strongly-reacts-to-arrests-over-sexual-abuse-of-children-report-04404/

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Airstrikes kill 19 Taliban militants in Ghazni, Helmand and Laghman provinces

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019

The security forces conducted multiple airstrikes in Ghazni, Helmand and Laghman provinces of Afghanistan in the past 24 hours killing at least 19 Taliban militants.

The military officials said Tuesday an airstrike in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province killed one militant of Taliban group.

The officials further added that three airstrikes in southern Helmand proivnce killed 7 militants of Taliban.

The security forces conducted the airstrikes in Marjah and Lashkar Gah districts and Nawah-Ye Barekzai of Helmand province, the officials added.

Another airstrike in Alingar district of Laghman province killed 8 Taliban militants, the officials said, adding that a similar air raid killed 3 Taliban militants in Alisheng district of the province.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the airstrikes so far.

https://www.khaama.com/airstrikes-kill-19-taliban-militants-in-ghazni-helmand-and-laghman-provinces-04403/

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The man behind China's detention of 1 million Muslims

Nov 27 2019

Newly revealed secret documents show that Communist Party official Zhu Hailun played a key role in planning and executing a campaign that has swept up more than a million Uighurs into detention camps.

After bloody race riots rocked China's far west a decade ago, the ruling Communist Party turned to a rare figure in their ranks to restore order: a Han Chinese official fluent in Uighur, the language of the local Turkic Muslim minority.

Now, newly revealed, confidential documents show that the official, Zhu Hailun, played a key role in planning and executing a campaign that has swept up a million or more Uighurs into detention camps.

Published in 2017, the documents were signed by Zhu, as then-head of the powerful Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party in the Xinjiang region. A Uighur linguist recognized Zhu's signature scrawled atop some of the documents from his time working as a translator in Kashgar, when Zhu was the city's top official.

"When I saw them, I knew they were important,'' said the linguist, Abduweli Ayup, who now lives in exile. "He's a guy who wants to control power in his hands. Everything.''

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/117766647/the-man-behind-chinas-detention-of-1-million-muslims

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Southeast Asia

 

Send IMM13 holders back to Philippines, Sabah leaders insist

November 27, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah leaders have taken Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman to task over his remark that many IMM13 refugee card holders wish to remain in the state, urging him to send them back to the Philippines.

Former Petagas assemblyman James Ligunjang said Azis should take a leaf from Malaysia’s experience with the Vietnamese refugees in Pulau Bidong, Terengganu in the 1970s.

The island, which was opened as a refugee camp on Aug 8, 1978, sheltered some 250,000 refugees who fled communist rule after the end of the Vietnam War. It was officially closed on Oct 30, 1991.

Ligunjang said the international community would not tolerate any refusal by the Philippines to accept its own citizens back into the country.

“The IMM13 holders cannot be treated differently from the Vietnamese,” he added.

Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah adviser Francis Goh meanwhile said Azis should prioritise Malaysia’s sovereignty.

“Nobody should come and stay in Sabah and then later give all sorts of excuses not to leave,” he said, adding that Azis should not continue defending the IMM13 holders by allowing them to remain in Sabah.

Many holders of the IMM13 document originally came to Sabah as refugees fleeing the civil unrest in the southern Philippines in the 1970s.

Azis had said that many of them, who are mostly second- and third-generation descendants, had no more family ties in the Philippines and preferred to remain in Sabah where they had been since birth.

However, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku leader Jeffrey Kitingan said it was not right for a deputy minister to speak on behalf of the Philippine government.

“Refugees normally come under UNHCR, and their repatriation should also be discussed with the UN agency,” he said.

He added that Malaysia and the Philippines have “a duty” to settle the issue.

“I have heard and read that they are ready to receive their people back home. So what is Azis talking about?”

He said the Philippines consulate had also come to Sabah to provide consular service, including the provision of passports and other documents.

“Understandably, there may be children or grandchildren of IMM13 holders who prefer to stay in Sabah, but that is not the issue.

“The issue is IMM13 holders or refugees. The same applies to holders of the kad burung-burung and census cards,” he said.

Many Sabah leaders have been urging the government to repatriate the 1MM13 holders, saying the unrest in the southern Philippines has ended.

There are an estimated 600,000 migrants in Sabah, including dependents or families of the original IMM13, kad burung-burung and census card holders.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/11/27/send-imm13-holders-back-to-philippines-sabah-leaders-insist/?utm_source=FMT+Media+Sdn.+Bhd.&utm_campaign=501931d7e9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dfafd0994c-501931d7e9-228005497

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S’pore Muslim athletes served pork at SEA Games 2019 in the Philippines reports not true, SNOC says

Belmont Lay

November 26 2019

Update, Nov. 27, 12.35am: This article has been updated to include the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) response saying that reports of Singapore athletes being served pork did not happen.

Singapore athletes were reportedly served meals containing pork at the Southeast Asian Games 2019 held in the Philippines, South China Morning Post reported.

Intervention

Philippine Muslim officials have supposedly even intervened as they are calling on SEA Games organisers to work quickly to ensure a sufficient supply of halal food, SCMP wrote.

Games organisers were said to have ignored reminders from the National Commission for Filipino Muslims (NCFM) to serve food with no pork in them.

Formal complaint lodged

SCMP also said Singapore team’s chef de mission, Juliana Seow, has written to the games organisers.

A NCFM representative said the matter is being resolved at the highest levels.

SCMP said Singapore, a non-Muslim country, is unhappy about the food, saying the menu is limited, lacked the nutritional value needed for athletes to perform, and drinking water is also scarce.

But Singapore is one of a number of nations fielding Muslim athletes, alongside Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

However, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said on Tuesday, Nov. 26 that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were not served pork at the 30th SEA Games.

A spokesperson for SNOC said that the “allegations” that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were served pork and that chef de mission Juliana Seow had spoken to Philippine media, as reported by SCMP, were untrue.

The SCMP article reported that Seow had told Philippine media that they were forced to order food from outside for their Muslim athletes, who were served kikiam, a kind of pork roll.

“The mentions in SCMP article related to these two allegations are not true,” said the spokesperson.

“Juliana did not speak with the Philippine media nor were our Muslim athletes served pork.”

“We have written to SCMP to seek a correction immediately.”

Seow told media in a statement on Monday that Singapore’s athletes and officials had encountered “teething problems” at the Games.

But they would work with local organisers to resolve these issues.

No mention of the serving of pork to Muslim athletes was made in Monday’s statement.

Seow also said: “What’s more important is to work with the organisers to address and resolve them (the teething problems), so that our athletes and officials can compete in a conducive environment.”

“We appreciate the efforts and hospitality of the Philippine organisers and volunteers in taking care of us and doing their best as hosts, and look forward to an exciting 2019 SEA Games.”

https://mothership.sg/2019/11/sports-singapore-sea-games-served-pork-muslim/

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Bogor blasphemy trial: 'Mentally ill' defendant did not know about dog ban in mosque

Wed, November 27, 2019

Suzethe Margaret, a woman who has been charged with blasphemy for entering a mosque wearing shoes and carrying her dog, said she did not know that she had to take off her shoes before entering the mosque. She also stated that she did not know that dogs, which are regarded as impure by Muslims, were not allowed inside mosques.

The incident took place in June at Al Munawaroh Mosque in Sentul, West Java. A video of it went viral on social media. Not long after, Suzethe, whose psychiatrist diagnosed her with schizophrenia, was reported to the police.

Suzethe is accused of violating the Blasphemy Law and Article 156a of the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

In a hearing that took place at the Cibinong District Court on Tuesday, a prosecutor, Anita, asked Suzethe whether or not she understood why she was standing trial. Suzethe answered saying that she understood, adding she went to the mosque because she heard voices in her head.

"At first I did not know [why I was on trial]. But now I understand. I stood on trial for a blasphemy accusation. I went to the mosque with my dog Golda on June 30, 2019, at 12 p.m. At that time I wanted to see my husbands' wedding [in the mosque] because I heard voices in my head telling me to stop the wedding from happening," Suzethe said.

She said she drove her car at a high speed to the mosque, which was 10 minutes from her house, in order to stop the alleged marriage from happening. After parking her car, Suzethe took her dog to the mosque.

"People were telling me to leave but I said, 'I'll only leave if I get a passport,’" she said.

Suzethe said she worked at a private bank from 1992 to 1999, but she quit after getting married. In 2013, she said she was taken to a psychiatrist by her husband because she often threw fits, but she claimed she did not know the reason why at that time.

She further said she was on medication for a while but later stopped taking anything because she felt it did not improve her condition. She also said she felt completely fine and that her body got weaker when she was on medication.

After the incident, Suzethe was taken to RS Soetanto Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta, to be examined. She then was transferred to Marzuki Mahdi Hospital and was admitted for two months from July to August.

In the middle of her testimony at court, Suzethe claimed she was agitated and anxious. The trial was postponed for 15 minutes and resumed after Suzethe’s chair was replaced with a more comfortable one.

Suzethe's lawyer said her husband never arranged a marriage with someone else.

In a trial hearing on Oct. 16, Suzethe's husband, Firdaus Situngkir, said his wife had been accusing him of planning a marriage since May.

“A month before the incident, or around May this year, Suzethe kept asking me, ‘You’re planning to marry Eli, aren’t you?’” Firdaus told the court.

Firdaus said he was surprised to hear the question because neither of them knew anyone called Eli.

In a previous hearing, Henny, a psychiatrist from the police hospital, shared her psychiatric assessment of Suzethe.

She said when Suzethe first came to the police hospital, she was restless and unable to speak. Henny said that, at that time, Suzethe did not understand why she needed treatment. She also explained that Suzethe had stopped taking her medication for six months.

"Given her severe mental condition, the defendant should be closely monitored and treated in a mental hospital. When the symptoms occur, the actions taken by the defendant could harm not only herself but also others,” Henny told the judge. (nal)

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/11/08/parung-panjang-students-stage-rally-after-truck-accident-leaves-classmate-disabled.html

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Singapore’s Muslim athletes were not served pork at SEA Games: SNOC

By Matthew Mohan

27 Nov 2019

MANILA: The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said on Tuesday (Nov 26) that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were not served pork at the 30th SEA Games, refuting a South China Morning Post (SCMP) story.

In response to queries from CNA, a spokesperson for SNOC said that mentions in the SCMP article relating to the “allegations” that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were served pork and that chef de mission Juliana Seow had spoken to Philippine media were untrue.

“Juliana did not speak with the Philippine media nor were our Muslim athletes served pork,” said the spokesperson. “The mentions in SCMP article related to these two allegations are not true.

“We have written to SCMP to seek a correction immediately.”

The SCMP article stated that Ms Seow had told Philippine media that they were forced to order food from outside for their Muslim athletes, who were served kikiam – a kind of pork roll.

“Ramadan Aguan, information officer with the National Commission for Filipino Muslims (NCFM), said games organisers had ignored reminders from the body to serve halal food, which means no pork and meat that is slaughtered according to Islamic rituals,” reported the SCMP article.

“This week’s incident prompted the Singapore team’s chef de mission, Juliana Seow, to write a letter of complaint to organisers PHISGOC.”

In a statement to the media on Monday, Ms Seow said Singapore’s athletes and officials had encountered “teething problems” at the Games but would work with local organisers to resolve these issues.

There was no mention of the serving of pork to Muslim athletes in Monday's statement.

"What's more important is to work with the organisers to address and resolve them (the teething problems), so that our athletes and officials can compete in a conducive environment," Ms Seow said.

"We appreciate the efforts and hospitality of the Philippine organisers and volunteers in taking care of us and doing their best as hosts, and look forward to an exciting 2019 SEA Games."

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/sea-games-2019-singapore-muslim-athletes-not-served-pork-scmp-12127926

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Malaysia says Islamic State may shift operations to Southeast Asia

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - A Malaysian minister warned on Wednesday (Nov 27) that the Islamic State militant group may shift its base of operations to Southeast Asia after the death of its leader, according to a media report.

Authorities in the region have said it will be a long battle to thwart the jihadist group's ideology, even after Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest during a raid by US special forces in northwest Syria in October.

Malaysia will remain on guard against threats posed by fighters returning from abroad, online radicalisation and possible lone-wolf attacks, home minister Muhyiddin Yassin said at a meeting of ministers from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok.

"We believe that al-Baghdadi's death will open up another chapter in Daesh's terror operation. After losing much of its territory in Syria and Iraq, Daesh is also looking for a new base," Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by Malaysian news agency Bernama.

Daesh is the Arabic-language acronym for Islamic State and the name Malaysia commonly uses to refer to the group.

Muhyiddin, whose ministry oversees the police force, said Malaysia had foiled 25 planned attacks by Islamic State in the country and arrested 512 people with suspected links to the group over the past six years.

Malaysia has been on high alert since January 2016, when gunmen allied with Islamic State carried out a series of attacks in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Islamic State also claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on a bar in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in June 2016 that wounded eight people. It was the first such strike on Malaysian soil.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysia-says-islamic-state-may-shift-operations-to-southeast-asia

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Australia and New Zealand

 

New system needed to help Christchurch mosque shooting victims - fund manager

The man tasked with speaking to the grieving and injured after the Christchurch mosque shootings said bureaucracy was not set up to deal with traumatic events.

Raf Manji is an independent adviser to the Christchurch Foundation, which will distribute the remaining $9 million in funds to the victims and families of the shootings.

The foundation received a total of $11m in donations, of which $2m has already been distributed.

It has been just over eight months since a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques and wounded 40.

The two consecutive terrorist shooting attacks during Friday prayers on the 15 March this year began at the Al Noor Mosque in Riccarton and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre.

Mr Manji told RNZ's Nine to Noon that there were gaps in agency responses to the aftermath. He said a system that dealt quickly and practically with an extreme situation was needed.

Zekeriya Tuyan who died on May 2, after being shot at the Al Noor Mosque in ChristchurchZekeriya Tuyan Photo: supplied

Hamimah Tuyan's husband Zekeriya Tuyan was among the victims of the shootings.

He died from his injuries two months later, after a hard fight, and earned the nickname Eteru.

"My husband is not called Eteru for nothing.

"There was this popular Turkish movie out at the time, called Eteru, about a hero in Islamic history and people were calling him that, so he lived up to that nickname people had been calling him - that hero, Eteru."

Mrs Tuyan is now back in Singapore with her two sons.

She said at the time, no one could have done more than the doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers, some of whom learned Turkish in order to help.

"They were amazing, if amazing is ... it's underestimating the amount of work and heart they put into what they did for my husband and all the other people in the hospital.

"I can't thank them enough."

Shadia Amin's 68-year-old husband Ahmed Abdel-Ghany, along with a dozen of their friends, died at the Al Noor Mosque.

She worried about the young widows and their children, who she said remained vulnerable.

"This money ... it's a lot of money and some of them, they don't have experience enough. There should be a system in place to protect these widows, because some of them, they don't speak English, some of them, they don't work and they have kids."

Mrs Amin said it had been difficult to navigate all the different help available.

Sheik Hasan Rubel, his wife Afsana and daughter ArveenSheikh Hasan Rubel, his wife Afsana and daughter Arveen. Photo: supplied

Sheikh Hasan Rubel was shot three times inside the Al Noor Mosque.

The 34-year-old accountant was in constant pain and could work only half a day each week.

He was now battling with the knowledge he has high levels of toxic lead in his blood.

"That's causing some mental [health] problems.

"I strongly believe it will take some time, but I'm highly confident that I'll overcome those problems."

The former Christchurch City Councillor was appointed by the Christchurch Foundation as an independent adviser, to consult with the community, and recommend how the money should be distributed.

Mr Manji said most agencies had done the best the could, but civil servants were constrained by the rules under which they operated.

"For example, someone's got residency and they should be accessing the family tax credit, but oh, they can't because they haven't been here for a year.

"Well who cares, they've got the residency, and there were bits and pieces like that so we have been doing the support until they get the sign-off.

"I think when you're dealing with what is a small group of people - let's say 100 families, you can take that into a different system and deal with them through a single pipe."

Mr Manji said many agencies did a great job, but there was no way to ask how the victims felt.

"How can you really understand the needs of the community without going to talk to them, and that means you have to go to people's houses, sit down with them, have a cup of tea and let them talk to you about their experience, which is when stuff comes up you can help with."

The foundation will pay $70,000 to each of the widows and $25,000 to the bullet injured.

Several welfare funds to support the victims, including an education fund for the 50 children who lost their fathers, will also be set up.

Mrs Tuyan said they were eternally grateful.

"I extend my sincerest gratitude to each and every donor, individuals, groups and organisations for their phenomenal generosity and solidarity."

Mr Manji said it would be at least five years before the community was back on its feet.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/404277/new-system-needed-to-help-christchurch-mosque-shooting-victims-fund-manager

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India

 

25 Muslim Sanskrit teachers appointed in colleges in West Bengal in the last two years

West Bengal has shown the way to the country when the question of upholding secular values of Indian society has come up. At a time when the students of the BHU are protesting against the appointment of a Muslim Sanskrit teacher Feroz Khan there, 25 Muslim Sanskrit teachers have been appointed in different colleges in West Bengal in the last two years through Service Commission. Recently, Ramzan Ali was appointed in Belur Ramkrishna Vidya Mandir run by Ramkrishna Mission. The Principal welcomed him and said that religion should not be dragged in matters of education. Other Muslim Sanskrit teachers teaching in different schools and colleges of the state are Motiur Rahman, Akbar Ali, Hasina Khatun, Rafiqul Islam, Mohammad Israfil, Kabiri Hussain, Rajibul Khan, Haseen Parween, Abid Azad among others. Unlike in UP, there was no hue and cry over the appointment of Muslims as Sanskrit teachers.

NewAgeIslam News Bureau

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No review plea but Sunni board turns cautious on 5-acre land

NOV 27, 2019

BY AMAN SHARMA

The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board put a seal of approval on its chairman Zufar Ahmad Faruqi’s earlier announcement to not file a review plea against the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict, but it turned cautious on the contentious issue of accepting five acres of land on an alternative site for building a mosque.

“All further actions, in compliance of the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, including the issue of five acres of land in Ayodhya, are still in consideration of the board and no decision in this regard has been taken yet. The members of the board have asked for more time to formulate their views,” the board said in a statement on Tuesday.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had earlier this month appealed to the Waqf Board to not accept the land, saying it would not amount to contempt of court and that accepting such a barter would be against the Shariat.

“Let the land be offered first – let us see where it is offered. We will have to see what the Shariat says,” Waqf Board member Abdul Razzak told ET. He said he was the only dissenting member in the eight-member body on the decision of not filing a review petition.

Razzak was pointing to the two options given in the court judgement of November 9 – of either the Centre granting the five-acre land out of the 67 acres acquired for the Ram Janambhoomi complex or the state government allotting it elsewhere in Ayodhya city. The Hindu side is clearly uncomfortable with the first option.

Faruqi on Tuesday also alluded to confusion over the two options and said the board would wait for the land to be first offered by the central or the state government. The apex court had said that the land must be allotted within three months of its order. “This issue (of five-acre land) – we neither raised it nor demanded it from the SC. We also did not start any debate over whether the land should be accepted or not. The SC has directed that the land be given. So we are considering the matter. ..

Razzak said he had strongly advocated at the meeting that a review against the court judgement be filed, just as the AIMPLB has decided. “Filing a review is our legal right. I impressed upon the members regarding the same. But the majority of the members agreed with the chairman that a review should not be filed,” he said.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/no-review-plea-but-sunni-board-turns-cautious-on-5-acre-land/articleshow/72251945.cms

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Landlines get a boost in J&K as shutdown affects mobile networks

Nov 27, 2019

CHENNAI: The active mobile subscriber base in Jammu & Kashmir has almost halved from July to September. However, there was an increase in the state’s number of landline connections, which were the only communication link amid the communications clampdown that began in August.

From around 9.9 million active subscribers in July (just before the network shutdown on August 4), the total active subscriber base of the J&K circle stood at 4.9 million in September. The landline subscriber base of J&K, which has remained stagnant in the past, saw net additions of 1,073 and 14,731 connections in August and September respectively.

While the government shut down mobile services from August 4, when it revoked the state’s special status, landline phones were functioning till the end of August, and the government subsequently also resumed postpaid mobile services recently.

As the circle leader, Airtel’s active subscriber base reduced by almost 2.5 million from July to September, Vodafone-Idea’s by 0.5 million, and Reliance Jio’s by almost 1.5 million. Analysts said the missing subscribers constitute lost revenue for telcos, but the users continue to be part of the system until their numbers get permanently deactivated.

Jammu and Kashmir brings in just about 1% of the total Adjusted Gross Revenue for the operators, so the impact on telecom operators’ revenue has been minor, industry trackers added. The active subscriber base is arrived at using the peak Visitors Location Register (VLR) proportion.

Historically, while J&K’s VLR has always hovered around 85%, this ratio dipped to 58% and 42% respectively in the months of August and September as the state enforced a communications clamp down.

TRAI’s monthly subscription data also shows that total subscriber base declined by around 1.32 lakh and 1.25 lakh users respectively in August and September, which constitute roughly 1.2% of the overall mobile users in the state. These refer to users whose numbers get permanently deactivated owing to lack of use over a period of time. Historically, the state’s mobile user base has been growing by 1% month-on-month on an average. Interestingly, the suspension of mobile networks has also resulted in the Valley’s users looking toward the humble landlines for communication needs.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/landlines-get-a-boost-in-jk-as-shutdown-affects-mobile-networks/articleshow/72248368.cms

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Grenade attacks in held Kashmir leave two dead

November 27, 2019

SRINAGAR: At least two people were killed in grenade attacks in occupied Kashmir on Tuesday and two fighters were shot dead by Indian forces, officials said, in one of the region’s most violent days since New Delhi imposed a security clampdown there.

The Indian government shut down internet and phone lines and flooded the disputed region with security personnel to back its Aug 5 move to strip occupied Kashmir of its autonomous status and impose tighter central control.

Amid heightened tensions, suspected Kashmiri fighters carried out two grenade attacks on Tuesday, a top police official said.

One was thrown at a group of village councillors and government officials waiting outside an administration building in the village of Hakura, south of Srinagar. The police official said two people were killed and at least four injured.

The second grenade was lobbed into a store next to an entrance to the University of Kashmir in Srinagar, injuring three people, the official added.

The attacks were the worst on one day since the clampdown started. A grenade attack in early November killed one person.

The Indian government has insisted that “normalcy” is returning to occupied Kashmir, but locals are still cut off from the internet and dozens of political leaders remain in detention.

Food shops are only open for a few hours each day and no public buses and taxis have operated since the clampdown. Protests are held regularly.

A military spokesman claimed two fighters were killed in a siege in the Pulwama district on Monday and Tuesday. Media reports said both were Kashmiris.

An official said Indian forces cornered two fighters from the Hizbul Mujahideen group, killing one after a brief firefight on Monday night.

The other was shot dead in the early hours of Tuesday, he added.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1519033/grenade-attacks-in-held-kashmir-leave-two-dead

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Europe

 

Javid refuses to condemn PM's slurs against Muslim women

Sajid Javid has refused seven times to condemn Boris Johnson’s use of the terms “bank robber” and “letterbox” to describe Muslim women who wear a burqa.

Speaking at a campaign event in Bolton on Tuesday, the Conservative chancellor was asked seven times whether he would use those terms to describe Muslim women and he declined to give a direct answer.

Johnson has refused to apologise for writing in a Telegraph column last year that Muslim women wearing burqas “look like letter boxes” and that it was “absolutely ridiculous” that anyone should choose to wear one.

On a day when the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, faced trenchant criticism for his party’s record on antisemitism, Javid was questioned about his own leader’s use of language on Muslims.

Asked directly whether he would use a term like “letterbox” or “bank robber” to describe a Muslim woman in a burqa, Javid said: “The prime minister himself has been asked that question a number of times and he explained why he used that language – it was to defend the rights of women, whether Muslim women or otherwise … so he’s explained that and given a perfectly valid explanation.”

He added that any hatred was “unacceptable” and that the Conservative party was “absolutely at one on that”.

Asked a second time whether he would use those terms, Javid said: “You talk about articles that the prime minister has written in the past. I think he’s given an explanation of that.”

Pressed a third time on the same question, after being told that Islamophobic incidents rose by 375% in the week after Johnson’s column according to the monitoring group Tell Mama, Javid again refused to directly answer.

He said: “All politicians will choose their own words when they’re explaining whatever is the point they’re trying to get across.

“That particular article, the prime minister has explained what was the purpose of his article and how he was actually trying to defend the rights of women, in that case, to wear what they like.

“I think articles like that are best read in their entirety so people can understand the point being made rather than picking out certain words.”

Javid was asked a further four times whether he would use those terms and he refused to give a direct answer.

Javid was also asked whether he was disappointed that the Conservative party’s inquiry into Islamophobia – which he had pushed for – had been widened to include all forms of hatred.

He said: “I’m not disappointed. Nothing’s going to be watered down. We’re absolutely committed to doing everything we can, doing more, to root out any form of prejudice – there is no excuse for it – I am, the prime minister is. Nothing will be watered down.”

Javid, who served as home secretary before being promoted to chancellor in Johnson’s government, said Labour was one of the great political parties but that under Corbyn it had become “contaminated by the cancer of antisemitism, and that cancer begins at the very top”.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/26/javid-refuses-to-condemn-pms-slurs-against-muslim-women

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CORBYN TO INVITE HAMAS SUPPORTING MUSLIM ASSOCIATION OF BRITAIN TO DOWNING STREET IF ELECTED

Jeremy Corbyn announced today that he would invite the Muslim Association of Britain to Downing Street if elected, specifically name-checking a group that published the anti-semitic, blood libel, and was until recently led by Azzam Tamimi, a man with close links to Hamas in Gaza, who repeatedly declared that “we are all Hamas”. MAB’s spokesman Anas Al-Tikriti has said that the British people would burn as a result of the War on Terror and that the 7/7 attacks were an inevitable consequence of it:

When you are launching a ‘Race and Faith Manifesto’ and trying to emphasise your commitment to fighting anti-semitism, it is probably not a good idea to extend an invitation to a supporter of an organisation that tries every day to kill Jews…

“Jeremy Corbyn repeatedly states that he is doing everything he can to remove antisemitism inside the Labour Party. But the facts show otherwise. A number of Labour parliamentary candidates have now been exposed for their hurtful remarks against Jewish people, or for spreading vile conspiracy theories. Jewish members like me have been driven out. If the party is to regain any credibility as an anti-racist party it must immediately suspend all candidates who have breached IHRA guidelines. That is the least it can do to recognise the depths to which it has plunged.”

https://order-order.com/2019/11/26/corbyn-invite-hamas-supporting-muslim-association-britain-downing-street-elected/

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How fake news about Muslims is being used to spread hatred – Steve Cardownie

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Bigots are spreading fake stories about Muslims so don’t believe everything you read on social media, writes Steve Cardownie.

During a pub conversation last weekend, one of the company asked why Muslims don’t pay council tax, saying that he had seen it on the internet and that it must be true.

In fact his assertion was prompted by a Facebook post which claimed “that Muslims who use living areas within their homes” as a place of ­worship are exempt from paying ­council tax and carried a picture of a 2013 petition stating that this exemption “does not apply to other religions”.

So, he formed the view that all that was required was a prayer mat in any part of the house and the Islamic tenant would not have to pay a penny of council tax to their local authority, which was a disgrace.

His disgust at this blatant tax avoidance was taken up by one or two others in the company who took his statement at face value and were likely to pass on this little gem of information. This, of course, would help fuel the febrile imaginations of those individuals who would be only too happy to use this fact, as it would fit in perfectly with their jaundiced view of the world in general and the Islamic population in particular.

The problem is though that it is a load of absolute rubbish. The House of Commons Library stated in 2018 that this claim and others like it have “no basis in council tax law” adding: “It is not possible for owners of domestic property to avoid council tax by claiming that their property, or part of it, is used for religious purposes.”

The briefing went on to say that it would be “theoretically possible” for part of a home (not all of it) being used for religious purposes to be “separately valued for business rates, and to be removed from the council tax valuation list”.

The big lie

But it continued that in such a case the government body that applies property valuations for tax purposes “would have to be satisfied that this reflected the real use of the property”. It also points out that this “would be unlikely to make more than a minimal difference to the council tax bill on the rest of the property”.

Council tax is charged on homes and the only exemption or discount relating to religion is for members of a “religious communities” such as nuns living in a convent. There is no exemption that only applies to Muslims.

Other so-called facts do not bear scrutiny – such as Muslim families have many more children than normal when the evidence demonstrates that the average Muslim household in England and Wales has 2.3 children compared to 1.8 for households overall.

Another is that the Muslim ­population in the UK now stands at four million when the true figure, according to an analysis of the annual population survey in 2015 is nearer 3.1 million, which is equivalent to five per cent of the UK’s 65 million population.

Adolf Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, is said to have written: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This tactic is still being used to great effect today.

Whether it be Muslims, Jews or Catholics, all have been subjected to or are still being subjected to this form of misrepresentation. Muslims are on a long list of religions that have been denigrated in this fashion in order to stir up hatred and perpetuate myths in an effort to sow discord and division.

Social media provides the perfect platform from which to exploit this situation and users should be careful when accessing some web pages as they may be subjected to false information and unwittingly allow themselves to be used as part of this insidious plan.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/how-fake-news-about-muslims-is-being-used-to-spread-hatred-steve-cardownie-1-5052486

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Muslim Council of Britain Accuses Conservatives of Islamophobia, Backs Chief Rabbi on Antisemitism

27.11.2019

Accusations of racism have plagued both of the UK's largest parties in recent years, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn being attacked for failing to deal with anti-Jewish sentiment in his own party and Tory leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticised over Islamophobia among Conservative ranks.

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in a statement on Tuesday denounced the "unacceptable presence" of antisemitism in Britain.

In a statement responding to remarks made by the chief rabbi which criticised alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party, the MCB said that British Muslims should "listen to the chief rabbi and agree on the importance of voting with their conscience".

The spokesperson added that the chief rabbi's comments "highlighted the importance of speaking out on the racism we face, whilst maintaining our non-partisan stance".

They also agreed with the chief rabbi that "some politicians have shown courage but too many have sat silent".

However, the MCB also launched a scathing attack against Britain's ruling Conservative Party.

"It is abundantly clear to many Muslims that the Conservative Party tolerate Islamophobia, allow it to fester in society."

They accused the Tory party of approaching the issue of “Islamophobia with denial, dismissal and deceit” and that they had a "blind spot for this type of racism" and failed to take any steps towards solving it.

The Conservative Party leadership has pledged to open an inquiry into Islamophobia in its own party before the year's end.

A Conservative Party spokesman said:

The statement comes as chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis strongly criticised the Labour party on Monday for the issue of antisemitism within the opposition party, saying that "a new poison - sanctioned from the very top - has taken root".

He also said that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's claim of having attempted to remove antisemitism from the party was "mendacious fiction".

The announcement came just before Corbyn spoke at the party's race and faith manifesto launch, where he said that anti-Jewish racism was "vile and wrong" and that no future Labour government would permit it.

Accusations of antisemitism have plagued the Labour Party since the election of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015, seeing some MPs leave the party over the issue.

However, Corbyn has said he is making efforts to respond to the problem, releasing an educational webpage earlier this year on combating anti-Jewish racism.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201911271077410272-muslim-council-of-britain-accuses-conservatives-of-islamophobia-backs-chief-rabbi-on-antisemitism/

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Birmingham pilgrims 'lose thousands' on cancelled Mecca trips

Worshippers fear they will lose thousands of pounds after their Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca were cancelled.

Pilgrims, who each bought packages through travel agent Taha Travel, in Small Heath, Birmingham, said refunds were not received and the shop was closed.

One woman took 17 years to save for her family's summer trip to Saudi Arabia.

Jameil Kendawi, of Taha Travel, said he was trying to pay back funds.

Every year millions of Muslims make the journey to Mecca.

An investigation by BBC Midlands Today found at least 11 people paid for packages for their families, which were being sold by Taha Travel for up to £4,000 each.

'Disastrous news'

It is understood the firm was not Atol protected.

Mohammad Asif Qureshi, from Birmingham, said his family's bags were packed until they received the "disastrous" news they were unable to go on their trip.

"My wife is really depressed. It took her about 17 years she was saving," he said.

"I have never heard before of somebody doing this. I've truly trusted a person.

"I thought how can somebody do this kind of job on a pilgrimage."Shahnaz Latif said she had been preparing for the trip for five years and the disappointment was "very hard" for the family to deal with.

In September, Mr Kendawi, a director of Taha Travel, spoke to the BBC when he was in Iraq and said he was "let down by the Saudi authorities."

The BBC has contacted Mr Kendawi on several further occasions, but he failed to respond to requests for comment.

Rashid Mogradia, the chief executive officer from the council of British Hajjis, said people should look for licensed Hajj organisers to make sure the company had a Ministry of Hajj and Umrah licence accredited by the Saudi Ministry.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-50562083

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EU takes action against Islamic State's online activities

At the end of November, police and judicial authorities from several European Union countries intervened against the Islamic State and severely disrupted the online operations of the terrorist network.

The law enforcement operation, which lasted a total of four days, ended on Sunday, Nov. 24. Experts identified over 26,000 cases of content supporting the Islamic State and sent these materials to nine Internet service providers who were asked to block them.

The operation focused, among other things, on accounts and sites associated with Amaq News Agency, the Islamic State's propaganda authority.

"The IS disappeared from a large portion of the Internet," said Eric Van Der Sypt, a spokesman for Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office, at a Europol press conference. “At the moment, I can't say it's 100 percent; we'll see how things shake out. However, it will cost them a tremendous effort to come back,” he said about the radicals' presence on the Internet.

In addition to Europol, the Eurojust agency supported the intervention, in which 12 EU member states took part. Belgian authorities headed the operation, while in Spain, local police arrested a person suspected of having a central role in spreading the propaganda of the Islamic State.

Tech giants such as Google, Twitter, or Instagram, as well as the Telegram messaging service cooperated with the EU authorities.

Telegram, which allows encrypted communication, was reportedly the main part of online terrorist activities. Europol, however, highlighted its cooperation with Telegram and stated that its efforts resulted in pushing "a significant proportion of key players of the Islamic State network" off of the Telegram messaging platform.

“The IS is not just about the battlefield. Through media channels in our countries, they have radicalized and recruited a large number of foreign fighters,” said Van Der Sypt.

According to him, IS activities, against which the EU authorities intervened, are directly linked to the radicalization of European citizens.

https://rmx.news/article/article/the-eu-took-action-against-the-iss-online-activities

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Indiana woman married to Moroccan man who joined ISIS and moved family to Raqqa pleads guilty to helping fund terror group after she trafficked $30,000 in gold and precious stones

26 November 2019

An Indiana woman has pleaded guilty to providing financial support to the Islamic State group.  

Samantha Elhassani, 33, entered her plea Monday in a deal in which federal prosecutors agreed to drop more serious conspiracy charges against her and to request a more lenient sentence. 

Elhassani has been in federal custody since July 2018, when a military cargo transport plane moved her and her children to Gary, Indiana from Syria.

The children were placed with the Department of Child Services when Elhassani was first arrested.

In 2015, Elhassani, her husband, Moussa Elhassani, his brother Abdelhedi and Elhassani’s two children crossed the border into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria through Turkey, according to the government.

On Monday, Elhassani said that when her husband and his brother intended to join ISIS, she made three trips to Hong Kong between November 2014 and August 2015.

She transported more than $30,000 in cash, gold and precious stones to Syria and those assets were intended to be used by ISIS for funding, she said.

She replied 'no' when she was asked if she disclosed the cash and gold to customs officials. 

She also pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting people in providing material support to the Islamic State group. Elhassani is scheduled to go on trial on January 6 before U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon, Northwest Indiana News reported.

Defense attorneys claimed Elhassani spent 'two horrific years' in ISIS-controlled Raqqa before she lived in Syrian refugee camps with her children, where she was interviewed by the FBI on several occasions.

Elhassani's husband was killed in Syria, with Sally claiming he died in an airstrike while fighting for ISIS in 2017.

Her attorney, Thomas Durkin, had claimed earlier her case is 'quite different from any other national security case' he dealt with and that she was forced to go to Syria.

The government argues that Elhassani knew what she was doing when she decided to travel into dangerous territory with her children.

Samantha had been living for more than two years in Islamic State–controlled territory in Raqqa with her four young children before 2017.

The couple had three children together, Sarah, the eldest, and Miriam and Ishmael, who were both born in Raqqa after Moussa forced her to move there, Samantha claims.

Samantha also has a son called Matthew, 10, from a previous relationship who lives in Florida. He also traveled to Syria with the couple and was forced by ISIS soldiers to appear in sickening propaganda videos in which he threatened attacks against the West.

Elhassani, who is originally from Elkhart, Indiana, was charged on August 22 with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and ISIS and aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to ISIS.

The indictment states that from the fall of 2014 through the summer of 2015, Elhassani provided material support and resources to ISIS knowing that the organization was a designated terrorist organization.

Elhassani was also charged with aiding and abetting two individuals in providing themselves as personnel to ISIS.

The Department of Justice state she was alleged to have procured tactical gear and provided funds to support her husband and brother-in-law in joining ISIS.

In July 2018, Elhassani was transferred from the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to U.S. law enforcement and moved back to the U.S. with her children.

She was also charged with making false statements to the FBI in the Northern District of Indiana.

Samantha met Moussa Elhassani in her hometown in 2011 as one of his brothers, Yassin, was married to Samantha's sister, Lori.

Moussa had moved to the U.S. from Rabat, Morocco, in the early 2000s and had studied engineering at Fresno State University.

He never graduated from college but had moved to Indiana to help Yassin with his shipping company, ViaAddress. Lori was soon about to divorce Yassin so asked Samantha to move in with them so they could support each other.

One year after they met each other, Sam married Mousa in July 2012 in a small ceremony in Indiana. 

Last year Samantha spoke to CNN from a refugee camp in Northern Syria where she was living with her four children.

She claimed Moussa had told her they were going on holiday when she went with him to Hong Kong in 2014.

She claims he had convinced her to move to Morocco for a better life with the children, but they needed to go to Hong Kong first to transfer money.

At that point they had their daughter Syria and Samantha's son Mathew from a previous relationship with a U.S. soldier.

In January, 2015, documents filed in Federal Court in Indiana show that Samantha and her two eldest children Matthew and Sarah then traveled to Istanbul and onto Rabat in Morocco.

'Defendant has given several inconsistent explanations of this trip,' the government document reads.

'In one instance, she claimed that her family was considering a move to Morocco, and that the purpose of this trip was to check out cheap properties that were supposedly for sale.

'The government learned during its investigation that Defendant never went house hunting while she was in Morocco.'

The couple later went to Turkey from Hong Kong for what Sally believed to be a romantic getaway where he gave her presents.  

She claimed they then arrived at the Turkish border with Syria, on the edge of ISIS territory and she claimed she was forced to enter the war-ravaged country as she feared Moussa would take her daughter without her.

She told CNN in an interview last year: 'To stay there with my son or watch my daughter leave with my husband - I had to make a decision.

'Maybe I would never have seen my daughter again ever, and how can I live the rest of my life like that.'

'Once we got to Sanliurfa [Turkish border town], everything changed. I was like a prisoner in the room.

'This was years in the making. He separated me from my family. I could not see that he was the one that was wrong. It was always "no, my husband is right."'

People can think whatever they want but they have not been put in a place to make a decision like that,' she added. 

Inside the so-called Caliphate regime, Samantha claimed her life changed drastically and Moussa became unrecognizable to her.

She claims he bought Yazidi slaves who he argued would help her in the home while he was on the front fighting. He 'bought' two teenage girls called Soad and Bedrine and raped both of them in the house.

Sally told CNN of one of the girls: 'In every house that she was in before that was the same situation, but she did not have the support of someone like me.

'We constantly talked about going to see her mother. I was going to get her out and she was going to go back home.

'And no, no one will ever know what it is like to watch their husband rape a 14-year-old girl. Ever. And then she comes to you - me - after crying and I hold her and tell her it's going to be OK. Everything is going to be fine, just be patient.'

Samantha was also imprisoned by ISIS for trying to escape and for alleged espionage and at the time she was three months pregnant.

She claimed she was then taken to Black Stadium, a former soccer stadium in central Raqqa, and was subjected to beatings, rape and torture there.

She told Mother Jones in 2018: 'I was told that they were going to do everything to me that the Americans did to their brothers in Guantánamo Bay.

'You hear screams, you see blood on the floor. It’s all night: sleep deprivation, hunger, living in your own filth, regular beatings, the humiliation, electrocution. You stay in a cell that you can’t even stretch your legs in.

'There’s no toilet, there’s nothing. You just can’t imagine. They hang you up by the ceiling and they strip you naked and they beat you in front of a bunch of men.'

Samantha's son Matthew, a US citizen, was also forced to take part in an ISIS propaganda video where he threatened attacks on the West and President Donald Trump.

In late 2017, Samantha gave a smuggler $10,000 and a gun in exchange for driving her and the children into the desert where a truck took them to the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

She stayed in accommodation there until she was taken into federal custody in July 2019.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7727807/Indiana-woman-pleads-guilty-aiding-Islamic-State-group.html

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North America

 

Navy SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden Backs Trump, Eddie Gallagher in Battle Over Trident

BY ZACHARY STIEBER

November 26, 2019

The Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden said he supports President Donald Trump and fellow SEAL Eddie Gallagher in the battle over Gallagher’s Trident pin.“It’s like someone wanted a notch on their belt: They took down a SEAL,” Robert O’Neill told the Washington Times. “They were looking to advance their own agenda.”

The Navy started proceedings last week that could have led to the removal of Gallagher from the SEALs, prompting Trump to intervene again in the case and state Gallagher wouldn’t lose his Trident pin.

A military court acquitted Gallagher of murder earlier this year but sentenced to him to a demotion. Trump later ordered the Navy to restore Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer.

O’Neill said he feels Gallagher should be allowed to retire with his current rank and with the Trident pin, or as a SEAL.

“He’s a great guy. He’s a poster image of what a SEAL should be,” O’Neill said. “I’d go to war with him tomorrow.”

Dismissing accusations that Gallagher committed illegal killings while in combat, O’Neill said that Gallagher was a tough leader.

“I heard a lot of the younger guys thought he worked them too hard. They had a different work ethic,” O’Neill said. “And they weren’t quite ready for the reality of war.”

Secretary of the Navy Robert Spencer was ousted over the weekend, saying he acknowledged his “termination” after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper asked him to resign after learning Spencer tried negotiating with the White House in the Gallagher case even while presenting a different portrayal of what was happening in public.

“This proposal was completely contrary to what we agreed to and contrary to Secretary Spencer’s public position,” Esper told reporters on Monday, adding he and Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Mark Milley “were completely caught off guard by this information and realized that it had undermined everything we had been discussing with the president.”

Military leaders have said the Gallagher case won’t move forward in light of the events that unfolded.

“I think at this point the secretary of defense has made decisions (and) the case is now, in my view, it is closed,” Milley said at the press conference.

“The secretary of defense, President of the United States, are all part of the process and made a decision, as far as I’m concerned, it is case closed now and it is time to move on and address the national security of the United States.”

Trump on Sunday said he wanted Gallagher to “retire peacefully with all of the honors that he has earned, including his Trident Pin.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/navy-seal-who-shot-bin-laden-backs-trump-eddie-gallagher-in-battle-over-trident_3157707.html

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Trump says will designate Mexican cartels as 'terror' groups

Nov 27, 2019

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said in an interview posted online Tuesday that he planned to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror groups.

The move comes after Trump called for a "war" on the cartels in early November when nine women and children from a Mormon community in northern Mexico were killed in a hail of gunfire. The victims were dual US-Mexican citizens.

"Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups and start hitting them with drones?" asked Bill O'Reilly, a conservative media personality, in an interview posted on his personal website.

"I don't want to say what I'm going to do, but they will be designated," Trump answered.

He added: "I will be designating the cartels ... absolutely. I have been working on that for the last 90 days.

"Designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process and we are well into that process."

Trump's remarks on Mexico came from a short sample of a longer interview available for paid subscribers on the O'Reilly website.

Mexican authorities reacted swiftly, with the foreign ministry saying that it has contacted US officials "to understand the meaning and scope of the remarks".

Mexico will also "seek a high-level meeting as soon as possible to present Mexico's position" and hear Washington's views, the foreign ministry said in an official translation of their statement.

Mexico will seek talks to "make progress with reducing the flow of arms and money from the United States to organized crime in Mexico, in addition to precursor chemicals and drug precursors that cross Mexican territory en route to the United States," the statement read.

Mexico has long complained about the flow of weapons bought in the United States and smuggled south of the border.

Foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard's reaction was more forceful on Twitter.

"Mexico will never allow any action that means a violation of its national sovereignty," he wrote.

He said that Mexican officials had already made their views known to Washington "as well as our resolution to deal with transnational organized crime."

The case of the slain Mormons has cast a spotlight on drug cartel-fueled violence in Mexico and leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's struggles to rein it in.

The victims, including twin eight-month-old babies, were killed as they drove on a remote road between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, a lawless region disputed by warring drug cartels.

Mexican officials say a drug cartel called La Linea (The Line) may have mistaken the victims for members of a rival gang. Relatives, however, believe the families were deliberately targeted.

US Mormons emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century, fleeing persecution for their traditions, including polygamy.

Now breakaways from the official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which banned polygamy in 1891, they have lived in Mexico for generations.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/trump-says-will-designate-mexican-cartels-as-terror-groups/articleshow/72252878.cms

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Trump pardons turkeys in Thanksgiving tradition, makes fun of impeachment hearings

Nov 27, 2019

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Tuesday used the high power of his office to pardon "Butter", a 47 pound (21 kg) turkey, during a US tradition at the White House where he also cracked jokes about Democrats' investigation into whether he should be impeached.

Both Butter and his alternate "Bread" escaped the fate of becoming the main course of a Thanksgiving feast and were sent to a special reserve in Virginia.

Standing at a podium in the Rose Garden, Trump said the birds had been raised to remain calm under "any condition."

"Which will be very important because they've already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff's basement on Thursday," he joked, referring to the House of Representatives intelligence committee chairman who has led the inquiry into whether Trump should be impeached for pressing Ukraine to investigate a political rival of his.

"It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey. But Bread and Butter, I should note, that, unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met."

While other presidents occasionally gave turkeys commutations starting with Abraham Lincoln, another Republican president, George HW Bush, was the first to make sparing one an official act, according to the non-profit Constitution Center. Trump's predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, is credited with starting the tradition of cracking "dad jokes" at the pardon.

The threat of impeachment may be looming larger each day, with Democrats expected to release a crucial report after Thanksgiving, but it did not stop the White House from reveling this week in the somewhat goofy pardoning tradition.

It posted videos of the turkeys checking into a special suite at the Willard Hotel, where political leaders have stayed in the past, and baseball card-like statistics on both Bread and Butter.

The National Turkey Federation introduced the birds in a press conference on Tuesday. In true Washington fashion, polling decided which turkey would receive the official pardon, with Americans sharing their preference for Butter on Twitter.

According to the White House, Butter enjoys listening to bagpipes and has a gobble style that is "rowdy." Bread prefers Bluegrass music and wants to master aerial yoga.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/trump-pardons-turkeys-in-thanksgiving-tradition-makes-fun-of-impeachment-hearings/articleshow/72250815.cms

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Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror groups

Nov 27, 2019

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has said that US will designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organisations.

"I will be designating the cartels," Donald Trump said on being asked about the issue during a radio interview on Tuesday.

Trump said he has been "working on that for the last 90 days", Efe news reported.

"You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process", the US President said.

When asked what measures he would take after the designation and if drone strikes were a possibility, he said, "I don't want to say what I am going to do".

Deadly violence by Mexican drug cartels has gained fresh attention in the US recently after the killing of nine Mormon women and children who were dual Mexican and American citizens.

After the massacre, Trump in a tweet offered to help Mexico "wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth".

Trump in his interview claimed to have offered to collaborate with Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the fight against the cartels, saying, "I've actually offered him to let us go in and clean it out. He so far has rejected the offer, but at some point something has to be done."

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard responded to Trump's statements Tuesday, saying that the country "will never allow any actions that signifies a violation of its national sovereignty. We will act firmly".

"I have already conveyed the (our) position to the EU as well as our resolve to tackle transnational organised crime. Mutual respect is the basis of cooperation," he added on Twitter.

Mexico's Foreign Ministry had earlier said it would seek a high-level meeting with the US "as soon as possible" and that it had contacted several US authorities "to understand the content and scope of what is stated" with regard to the planned designations.

The ministry said that from what it inferred from Trump, and from the information provided by the US authorities so far, "it is estimated that the meeting proposed by Mexico could take place in the near future."

The US has a long list of organisations it designates as terrorists, including Lebanon's Hezbollah, Palestinian Territories' Hamas, Colombia's National Liberation Army and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The designation of cartels as terrorist organisations could lead to new sanctions, as well as the allocation of more resources to combat them.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/trump-to-designate-mexican-drug-cartels-as-terror-groups/articleshow/72252522.cms

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Mideast

 

Iran's foreign minister speaks with Islamic Jihad leader

11.26.19

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday spoke on the phone with the Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhala.

Zarif commended the Iranian-backed terror group for “the heroism of the Palestinian people and its ability to stand up to the Zionist enemy."

https://www.ynetnews.com/article/BJ00zAn5nr

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'A Real Act of Kindness': Lebanese Christian to Donate Hitler's Hat, Nazi Artifacts to Jewish Group

11-26-2019

JERUSALEM, Israel - A wealthy Lebanese Christian businessman spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Nazi memorabilia at a controversial auction in Munich, Germany on Wednesday – not because he admires Hitler – but to keep the artifacts out of the hands of those who do.

Abdallah Chatila says he will donate the items, including Hitler's very own top hat, to a Jewish organization to make sure neo-Nazis will never get a chance to touch them.

"I wanted to buy these objects so that they would not be used for neo-Nazi propaganda purposes," Chatila, a mogul who has made millions from diamonds and real estate in Geneva, told Switzerland's Le Matin Dimanche newspaper.

"My approach is totally apolitical and neutral," he added.

along with Hitler's top hat, Chatila purchased a copy of Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto "Mein Kampf" and his lover Eva Braun's cocktail dress.

Chatila will donate the items to Keren Hayesod, an Israeli fundraising organization that works to help Jews immigrate to Israel and thrive in the land.

"Far-Right populism and anti-Semitism are spreading all over Europe and the world, I did not want these objects to fall into the wrong hands and to be used by people with dishonest intentions," he said.

Keren Hayesod's European director told France's Le Point magazine that the items will likely be given to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

European Jewish Association founder Rabbi Menachem Margolin was moved by Chatila's actions.

He called it "a real act of kindness, of generosity and solidarity."

Margolin also said Chatila has also agreed to join 100 European lawmakers on a trip to the Auschwitz death camp in January to receive an award.

"Such a conscience, such an act of selfless generosity to do something that you feel strongly about is the equivalent of finding a precious diamond in an Everest of coal," Margolin wrote Chatila in a letter, as reported by the Associated Press.

"You have set an example for the world to follow when it comes to this macabre and sickening trade in Nazi trinkets," he added.

Chatila's bold act against anti-Semitism comes as Europe is seeing a rise in anti-Jewish bigotry. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a survey last week that reveals nearly 25 percent of Europeans hold anti-Semitic beliefs.

Specifically in Germany, that number is 15 percent.

German Ambassador to Israel Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer said at a conference in Jerusalem last week that anti-Semitism is on the rise in the birthplace of the Third Reich.

"We are now witnessing, let me say, a new wave of anti-Semitism in Germany," said Wasum-Rainer.

One way Germany is combating this rise is by pushing to criminalize "hate speech" and anti-Semitism on and offline.

Earlier this year, Germany's top intelligence agency released a 40-page report, titled "Antisemitism in Islamism," which identities Muslim immigrant communities as a source of significant anti-Semitic violence against Jews in Germany.

According to the report, most anti-Semitic crimes in Germany are committed by far-right extremists and relatively few anti-Semitic crimes are attributed to Islamism. However, the agency warns that radicalization and calls for anti-Semitic violence among the Islamists "form the breeding ground for violent escalations."

"We consider any anti-Semitic incident as targeting the Jews and non-Jews of Europe," said Wasum-Rainer. "There is zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred in Germany."

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2019/november/damaging-winds-downpours-to-dlow-thanksgiving-travelers-from-ohio-valley-to-gulf-coast

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Police in Fars Province Detain 15 Riot Leaders

Tue Nov 26, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior police official in Iran's Southern province of Fars declared detention of 15 ringleaders of the recent riots that ignited after people's peaceful protest rallies against the gasoline price hike.

"15 main culprits behind the destruction and arson attacks on the banks and gas stations of the big city of Shiraz were arrested during the recent riots and unrests with efforts made by the public security police officers," Commander of Fars province's Law Enforcement Police Brigadier General Roham Bakhsh Habibi said on Monday.

He added that during the recent popular protest rallies in Shiraz city, a number of individuals misused the situation and destroyed the public properties.

Habibi said that identification and detention of the remnants of the rioters is specially on the agenda of the police force.

On November 15, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

Last Friday, IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said last Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on November 17 that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the capital city of Tehran poured to the streets on Monday to show allegiance to Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic and support for the country's security and might.

The rallies started at 14:30 local time (1100 GMT) with demonstrators moving towards Enqelab (Revolution) Square in Central Tehran.

The demonstrators shouted 'death to the US', 'death to Israel', 'death to Britain', 'death to the plotters' and 'death to the rioters' slogans.

They also carried the Iranian flags and placards with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei's images and remarks.

The ralliers also voiced their opposition to the hike in gasoline prices and other goods in Iran, but meantime, voiced hatred for the rioters who misused the recent protests to set ablaze the public and private properties and loot the big stores.

In similar rallies on Sunday, tens of thousands of people in Northern, Western and Southern Iran demonstrated to show allegiance to the Islamic Republic and Supreme Leader after the recent riots.

Demonstrators in the towns of Pardis and Baharesten in Tehran province, Nour, Savadkouh, Behshahr, Neka, Qa'em Shahr and Sari in Mazandaran province, Ahrom in Bushehr, Imam Khomeini port city in Khuzestan province and Sahneh, Sarpol Zahab, Gilan Qarb, Qasr-e Shirin, Kermanshah and Javanroud in Kermanshah province held massive rallies to condemn the rioters who misused the popular protests to destroy and set fire at public properties last week.

They shouted slogans, including 'death to the US' and 'death to Israel' to deplore their officials' interfering remarks against Iran as well as 'death to the rioters' and 'death to plotters' to condemn their acts of sabotage during the recent unrests.

The protestors also carried placards which called on the government to show more attention to people's welfare and living conditions and urged the judiciary to sue and seriously punish those who distorted security and tranquility of people in the recent riots.

Similar demonstrations have been underway throughout the country in the past few days.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980905000575

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IRGC Spokesman: Iran to Experience Sustainable Economy in Future

Tue Nov 26, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Public Relations Department Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif expressed confidence that despite all pressures and sanctions against Iran by enemies, the country would witness a sustainable economy in the future.

"The past 40 years were the years of confrontation against the enemy and stabilization of the Islamic Revolution and the next 40 years are the years of our flourishing and victory, and God willing, we will witness sustainable economy and this won't be just a motto," General Shari said, addressing a forum in the Southern Khark Island in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday.

He reminded that Iran has been entangled in a fully organized confrontation against the enemies in the past 40 years after the Islamic Revolution, implying that enemy plots and confrontation have had slowed down Iran's progress in economy.

In relevant remarks in August, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that over the past years, the enemies have consistently conducted any hostile measure against Iran but have failed, stressing that they will never achieve their goal to block the nation's path towards development.

“The US, Europe and even the former Soviet Union have tried every means in the past 40 years (to hit a blow at Iran) but they have failed,” he said.

The Leader pointed to the country's developments in the past years in political, defensive and economic spheres, saying, “The enemy cannot do a damn thing, and the next 40 years will be better for us, and worse for the enemies."

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980905001025

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UAE Plotting for Separation of Key Port Town from Yemen

Tue Nov 26, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- The UAE seeks to change the geographical, administrative and economic map of strategic and important regions in the Southwestern province of Ta'iz and the Southern province of Aden in Yemen.

The Arabic-language al-Arabi al-Jadid news website quoted informed sources as saying that the UAE wants to separate the port town of al-Mokha and the vital regions of Zabab, Moze'e and Bab al-Mandab from Yemen and create a special new region named Iqlim al-Mokha in a way that other areas, including the strategic Mion Island and Ra's al-Imran region near Ta'iz, would join the region.

They added that the UAE is after establishment of a Southern region to facilitate the country's occupation and control over the strategic waterways and wealth and resources of the regional people.

In recent months, the UAE has reportedly enhanced its military presence in Southern Yemen.

Reports have suggested that the UAE has been actively cementing its presence in Socotra Island in the Arabian Sea since the very beginning of the Saudi-led war on Yemen in 2015.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the former Saudi-sponsored government back to power.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980905000885

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Several Road-Blockers in Iran Riots Detained by Police

Tue Nov 26, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Law Enforcement Police forces in the Southern province of Fars have arrested several individuals who assisted the rioters in blocking the roads in different parts of Shiraz city.

"The detainees are opportunists who used trucks to pour construction waste in the streets across the province, specially Shiraz city, during the recent unrests and riots to block the roads, including the paths leading to Shiraz," Commander of Fars province's Law Enforcement Police Brigadier General Roham Bakhsh Habibi said on Tuesday.

He added that 8 individuals have been arrested in this regard by the police in their hideouts, adding that they have been handed over to the judiciary officials.

Deputy Commander of Iran's Law Enforcement Police Brigadier General Ayoub Soleimani announced on Tuesday that his forces continue efforts to identify and arrest the remnants of the ringleaders of the recent riots in the country.

"Now the Law Enforcement Police and security forces are identifying the leaders and are making round-the-clock efforts to arrest and introduce the main culprits behind the chaos and destruction of people's properties to the public opinion," General Soleimani told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

He, meantime, expressed pleasure that the vigilant Iranian people who were protesting at the gasoline price hike separated their path from the rioters since the very first hours of unrests.

On November 15, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

Last Friday, IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said last Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on November 17 that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the capital city of Tehran poured to the streets on Monday to show allegiance to Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic and support for the country's security and might.

The rallies started at 14:30 local time (1100 GMT) with demonstrators moving towards Enqelab (Revolution) Square in Central Tehran.

The demonstrators shouted 'death to the US', 'death to Israel', 'death to Britain', 'death to the plotters' and 'death to the rioters' slogans.

They also carried the Iranian flags and placards with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei's images and remarks.

The ralliers also voiced their opposition to the hike in gasoline prices and other goods in Iran, but meantime, voiced hatred for the rioters who misused the recent protests to set ablaze the public and private properties and loot the big stores.

In similar rallies on Sunday, tens of thousands of people in Northern, Western and Southern Iran demonstrated to show allegiance to the Islamic Republic and Supreme Leader after the recent riots.

Demonstrators in the towns of Pardis and Baharesten in Tehran province, Nour, Savadkouh, Behshahr, Neka, Qa'em Shahr and Sari in Mazandaran province, Ahrom in Bushehr, Imam Khomeini port city in Khuzestan province and Sahneh, Sarpol Zahab, Gilan Qarb, Qasr-e Shirin, Kermanshah and Javanroud in Kermanshah province held massive rallies to condemn the rioters who misused the popular protests to destroy and set fire at public properties last week.

They shouted slogans, including 'death to the US' and 'death to Israel' to deplore their officials' interfering remarks against Iran as well as 'death to the rioters' and 'death to plotters' to condemn their acts of sabotage during the recent unrests.

The protestors also carried placards which called on the government to show more attention to people's welfare and living conditions and urged the judiciary to sue and seriously punish those who distorted security and tranquility of people in the recent riots.

Similar demonstrations have been underway throughout the country in the past few days.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980905000990

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Syrian Army Takes Full Control of Another Strategic Town in Southern Idlib

Tue Nov 26, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued their advances in the Southern countryside of Idlib, and regained full control of another strategic town there.

The Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the Syrian Army has recently gained new achievements in its battle with the Takfiris in Southern Idlib, and took full control of al-Seir strategic town.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian Army managed to take control of the key towns of Um al-Khalakhil and al-Zarzour in Southern Idlib.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency reported that the Syrian Army continued its military operations against the Tahrir al-Sham al-Hayat (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and Ajnad al-Qoqaz in Southeastern Idlib province.

Sputnik quoted a battlefield source as saying that the Russian fighter jets provided aerial support for the Syrian Army's military operations towards Um al-Khalakhil.

The source said that the Syrian Army managed to block the Al-Nusra Front's supply routes towards Um al-Khalakhil and imposed full control over the town.

It noted that over 50 terrorists were killed and wounded in clashes, and a major part of their military grid was also destroyed.

On November 14, the Syrian Army kicked off the second phase of its military operations in Southeastern Idlib from air and by using artillery attacks.

Al-Nusra Front has regained control over 70 percent of Idlib province as well as the Western and Northwestern regions of Aleppo.

People in Idlib have staged several protest rallies against terrorists, specially Tahrir al-Sham, in the past few months, calling for the withdrawal of terrorists from the occupied territories.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980905000530

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Prosecutors ask life term for New York man who wanted to die waging jihad for Hezbollah

Nov. 26, 2019

By Tom Winter and Robert Windrem

Federal prosecutors have recommended a life sentence for an American citizen and New York resident who spied for Hezbollah inside the U.S., considered himself a "sleeper agent" of the international terror group, and called his family "the bin Ladens of Lebanon."

Prosecutors said in a sentencing memo released Tuesday that Ali Kourani was "focused on Hezbollah’s jihad, and preoccupied with martyrdom — that is, dying for Hezbollah’s terrorist cause."

"Although the defendant now sits in jail," wrote prosecutors, "there is no way of knowing with certainty when or how Hezbollah, Iran, and the IJO will use the intelligence the defendant collected to cause harm."

The case against Kourani has provided a unique look into how one of Iran's most formidable proxy forces operates inside and outside the U.S. Prosecutors revealed the group's drive to accumulate bomb-making materials from China and stockpile them globally, and to surveil terror targets in the U.S. and abroad.

Kourani was found guilty at trial in May of all eight counts against him, including charges he provided support to Hezbollah, received military training from Hezbollah, and obtained his U.S. citizenship in 2009 in order to be an agent of the group, which is officially designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. government.

According to the sentencing memo, "He spent years helping Hezbollah and Iran prepare to strike strategic and vulnerable targets around New York City, such as federal facilities housing day care centers, critical infrastructure, counterterrorism command posts, and international airports, as well as members of the NYPD, the Mossad, and the Israel Defense Forces ('IDF')."

With tensions between the U.S. and Iran high, experts believe that should the two countries come to blows, Hezbollah could play a key role, carrying out attacks both domestically and against U.S. targets overseas.

When Kourani was convicted, the head of the FBI in New York, William Sweeney, said the arrest was a reminder of the group's intentions in the U.S.

"With so much focus rightly on ISIS and self-radicalized terrorists currently, the public may not realize the established, historical extremist groups are still operating and actively recruiting members," Sweeney said.

NBC News terrorism analyst Nicholas Rasmussen, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said he believes the Kourani case fits "very much into the modus operandi that Hezbollah employs around the world."

"All of this in my mind is part of a very well developed Hezbollah and Iranian 'playbook' that sits on the shelf (metaphorically speaking) ready to be utilized at the time and place they deem it necessary."

Kourani is slated to be sentenced on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in a federal courtroom in Manhattan.

Now 35, Kourani told the FBI that he got his first training from Hezbollah at age 16 in his home country of Lebanon. Training at the Hezbollah camp included military tactics and how to fire an AK-47 assault rifle and a rocket launcher.

He said he was eligible for the training because of family connections with the group. He said he considered his family to be the "bin Ladens of Lebanon," according to the unsealed federal complaint against him, and said his brother was the face of Hezbollah in Yatar, Lebanon.

Hezbollah, a largely Shia Muslim group with a power base in Southern Lebanon, is part of the country's elected government. It is also a proxy force for Iran, and fought a war with Israel in 2006 after raining rockets on Israeli civilians. Two separate Hezbollah bombings in Lebanon in 1983 killed 241 U.S. Marines and 29 people at the U.S. embassy. Hezbollah operatives are also blamed for lethal bombings against Jewish targets in Argentina in the 1990s.

Kourani moved to the U.S. in 2003. He told the FBI he was not formally recruited by Hezbollah until 2008, when he joined the group's international arm, known variously as the IJO, the External Security Organization, or 910.

Kourani said he was encouraged to seek U.S. citizenship by his Hezbollah handler, who went by the pseudonym Fadi, in order to ease his movement across borders.

He became a naturalized citizen in 2009, and according to prosecutors traveled to China eight days after obtaining his U.S. passport in order to secure bomb-making materials for Hezbollah.

Kourani purchased ice packs in order to repurpose their ammonium nitrate pellets for explosives, say prosecutors. According to court documents, Kourani "went to China to develop connections to potential suppliers of ammonium nitrate in 2009, at a time when the IJO was in the early phases of planning attacks using the explosive chemical."

Stashes of the ice packs were found around the world between 2012 and 2015. At least one attack tied to the packs resulted in the death of six Israelis in Bulgaria.

One former U.S. intelligence official said there was no indication that Hezbollah planned to carry out anything imminent using the explosives found in some of the caches found around the world. Instead, the belief in intelligence community was that Hezbollah was "pre-positioning" caches of explosives and other materiel around the world for use in case of hostilities.

In the sentencing memo, prosecutors said "the defendant still has not disclosed the true objectives of his 2009 trip to China for the IJO. This is all part of the IJO tradecraft [his handler] Fadi taught the defendant in Lebanon, including 'how not to provide an interrogator or a questioner with any weaknesses to leverage.'"

Between 2009 and 2015, Kourani told the FBI he also surveilled at least four federal buildings in New York City at the request of Hezbollah, including offices of the FBI and the Secret Service, shooting video.

Living in the Bronx, he told the FBI he thought of himself as a "sleeper agent" for Hezbollah. He said Hezbollah liked to "develop 'sleepers' who maintained ostensibly normal lives but could be activated."

He also told the FBI he received another round of military training from Hezbollah in 2011, where he fired machine guns, submachine guns and a Glock pistol.

Kourani's first brush with U.S. law enforcement was not for terrorism but for counterfeiting, which Hezbollah operatives have long used to finance operations in the U.S.

On Nov. 8, 2013, the NYPD stopped Kourani because boxes of shoes were blocking his rear windows. Officers found 190 pairs of counterfeit Uggs boots in his car, and charged him with traffic offenses and possession of counterfeit goods.

In 2015, Kourani returned to Lebanon and received more military training, according to prosecutors.

When he returned to the U.S., he was detained at JFK Airport in New York. When federal agents discovered his phone was missing his memory card, they searched his possessions and found it hidden under a travel sticker on the back of Kourani's passport.

By April 2016, after the discovery of the ice pack caches, the FBI had made contact with Kourani. He initially cooperated, telling the bureau of his life as a sleeper. When he stopped cooperating two years later, the government indicted him.

According to the sentencing memo, "The defendant spent almost 15 years lurking in the shadows as a terrorist supporting Hezbollah’s objectives of targeting Americans and Israelis around the world. While purporting to be a student and businessman in New York City, he collected attack-planning information for the IJO and waited patiently for orders to attack. And the preoccupation reflected in the defendant’s laptop with the concept of 'martyrdom' ... indicates that he wanted very much to participate in such an attack."

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/prosecutors-ask-life-term-new-york-man-who-wanted-die-n1091421

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Anti-Zionist Students in Chicago ‘Honor’ Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader, Members Killed in Gaza

NOVEMBER 26, 2019

Anti-Zionist students held a “die-in” protest in downtown Chicago last Wednesday to “honor and remember” Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who were killed during recent hostilities with Israel, including an Islamic Jihad commander and other operatives who were acknowledged by name.

The rally — organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Chicago, a city-wide network of campus activists — sought to condemn Israeli attacks on Gaza, and “honor and remember the 36 Palestinians that were killed in Gaza last week,” the group said in a social media post on Sunday.

Dozens of people were in attendance as SJP members used a megaphone to broadcast the names of Palestinians who died amid an escalation of violence with Israel, which one speaker described as “a two-day attack on the people of Gaza, killing 36 innocent Palestinians.”

The first name read, according to a video recording shared by SJP Chicago, was of Bahaa Abu al-Atta, a senior Islamic Jihad commander who was killed by a targeted Israeli strike on Nov. 12. His assassination led to an exchange of hostilities that saw more than 450 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza at Israeli communities, and dozens of Israeli attacks on Islamic Jihad targets.

Gaza health officials reported that 16 civilians were among the 34 Palestinian fatalities recorded over two days of fighting, indicating that 18 were affiliated with terrorist organizations. The Israeli military has stated that around 25 of those killed were Islamic Jihad members, and shared photos of some wearing the terrorist group’s uniforms. It also announced an investigation into a strike that killed several members of the same family, including minors.

Nearly 60 Israelis sustained injuries or received treatment for shock linked to rockets attacks from Gaza, which damaged homes, businesses, and public infrastructure.

Yet Islamic Jihad — which is blacklisted by the United States and European Union, and aims to replace Israel with an Islamist Palestinian state — was not acknowledged at the SJP die-in, which repeatedly portrayed the Palestinian casualties in the recent clashes as civilians.

The protesters — whose ranks included members of SJP at DePaul University, Benedictine University Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago — also made a point to chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a slogan that has been used by Hamas and other Palestinian nationalists to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of Israel.

SJP Chicago’s protest bears similarities to a memorial installed at Oberlin College in Ohio on Wednesday, which sought “to commemorate the lives of these 34 Palestinians who died at the hands of Zionist Settler Colonialism.” The memorial, sponsored by Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine and Oberlin Jewish Voice for Peace, also failed to mention that many of the fatalities were members of Islamic Jihad.

A spokesperson for Oberlin has since acknowledged that the installation “offended some members of our large and diverse community,” and expressed the school’s opposition to “all forms of anti-Semitism, as we do all forms of prejudice and oppression.”

“Oberlin students, like all citizens, are entitled to their own thoughts and expressions and are individually accountable for how they engage in public discourse,” the spokesperson added. “The opinions presented by the installation were solely those of the student groups that created it and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.”

SJP Chicago did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/11/26/anti-zionist-students-in-chicago-honor-palestinian-islamic-jihad-members-killed-in-gaza/

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Thousands rally in support of Israel's Netanyahu after graft indictment

Nov 27, 2019

TEL AVIV: Several thousand Israelis rallied on Tuesday in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he faces the gravest threat to his political survival after corruption charges and two failed elections.

Held under the banner "Stop the Coup", the protest failed to draw the huge crowds its organizers - members of Netanyahu's Likud party - had hoped to attract and only a handful of the faction's senior lawmakers and cabinet ministers attended.

Netanyahu was charged on Thursday with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies wrongdoing in all three of the criminal cases and has cast the investigations against him as an attempted coup aimed at ousting a popular right-wing leader.

Israeli media put the number of demonstrators at about 2,000 to 3,000 people while Likud said 15,000 attended the rally.

"The legal establishment's goal is to topple an elected prime minister," said Ron Nahmani, 70, who had come to the protest. Addressing the crowd, Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar said the justice system was playing a part in a leftist conspiracy.

Netanyahu's centrist rival Benny Gantz, who heads the Blue and White party said on Twitter: "In a healthy democracy, a prime minister does not organize a demonstration against the justice system."

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who made the decision to charge Netanyahu, said that attacks on the legal system had gone too far.

"I'm hearing threats. I'm hearing baseless slander. It's shocking," Mandelblit said at a judiciary conference in southern Israel. Two of the lead prosecutors on the Netanyahu investigations have had to have bodyguards assigned to them, he said.

Netanyahu, Israel's longest serving leader and in power since 2009, presently heads a caretaker government after two inconclusive elections this year. He is not obliged by law to leave office over the charges and has vowed to stay in power.

But the indictment against him, the first of a sitting Israeli premier, has prompted calls from the center-left opposition for him to step down, and has stirred up a leadership challenge from within his Likud party.

Israel is facing unprecedented political turmoil after neither Netanyahu nor Gantz failed to form a coalition government following elections held in April and in September. With the political deadlock unresolved, Israel could be facing a third ballot within a few months.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/thousands-rally-in-support-of-israels-netanyahu-after-graft-indictment/articleshow/72251744.cms

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Pakistan

 

Pak minority groups protest in Washington on 26/11 anniversary

Nov 27, 2019

WASHINGTON DC: Members of minority groups from Pakistan on Tuesday held a protest outside the country's embassy in Washington against Islamabad's role in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, as well as to demand capital punishment for the attack's mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

Mumbai had come to a standstill 11 years ago on November 26 when 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists who came to the city via sea route from Pakistan carried out a series of coordinated shooting and bombing attacks that killed 166 people and injured over 300 in India's financial capital.

The protesters gathered outside the embassy also raised the issue of the killings and enforced disappearances of minorities in Pakistan. The demonstrators carried placards reading "Stop Mohajir genocide" and "Free Balochistan".

"We are here to pay tribute to the victims of 26/11 terror attack, as well as the victims of terror attacks elsewhere. At the same time, we call for the end of killings of minority groups in Pakistan," a protester told ANI.

The terrorists who entered Mumbai struck at multiple sites in the city including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station, Cama Hospital, Nariman House business and residential complex, Leopold Cafe, Taj Hotel and Tower, and the Oberoi-Trident Hotel.

India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to take action against the terrorist groups operating from its soil. However, the architects of Mumbai attack like Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Sufayan Zafar continue to receive military patronage.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/pak-minority-groups-protest-in-washington-on-26/11-anniversary/articleshow/72253033.cms

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Imran Khan urged to reopen Khokhrapar border crossing with India

Nov 27, 2019

WASHINGTON: Congratulating Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for showing "admirable magnanimity" in the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims, a US-based advocacy group has urged him to now reopen the Khokhrapar-Munabao border with India for millions of Hindu and Muslim devotees.

The opening of the Khokhrapar border would facilitate millions of followers of Saint Moinuddin Chishti to visit Dargah Ajmer Sharif in India's Rajasthan state. It will also allow Hindu pilgrims to visit the Hinglaj Mandir in Balochistan province of Pakistan, said the Voice of Karachi.

The group represents Mohajirs, Urdu-speaking Indian Muslims who settled in Pakistan after the Partition. It says on its website it is "committed to raise global awareness about the plight of the Pakistan's largest city, Karachi".

"Now that your government has shown admirable magnanimity by opening the Kartarpur crossing making it convenient for Sikh pilgrims to visit their sacred places in Pakistan, I would request you on behalf of millions of Muslim and Hindu followers of Saint Moinuddin Chishti and Hinglaj Devi respectively to show similar generosity by opening Khokhrapar-Munabao border with immediate effect," the group's Nadeem Nusrat said in a letter to the Pakistan prime minister.

"Your favourable response will not only win you millions of hearts, but it will also help ease tensions in the region by improving people-to-people contact. The failure to do so, on the other hand, would justifiably reinforce rumours and speculations about the real intentions behind the opening of Kartarpur crossing," Nusrat said.

He said millions of Muslims and Hindus living in Pakistan and India have been facing difficulties in visiting the two places of worship since 1947. "Fortunately, both issues could quickly be resolved with the same level of kindness you have demonstrated in the Kartarpur crossing issue," he said.

Millions of Muslims from India who had settled in urban areas of Sindh Province of Pakistan, still deeply revere Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti, and want to visit his shrine in India, Nusrat said.

This should not be an issue because Pakistan's Sindh Province shares its border with India's Rajasthan state, and the journey from Sindh's Khokhrapar border crossing to Ajmer Shrine is just a few hours long.

"However, this border crossing is closed for years, which forces the visitors to undertake an almost four-time longer journey to Ajmer Shrine via Punjab and Delhi. This unnecessary longer journey also places a substantial financial burden on visitors whose overwhelming majority comes poor and middle-class people," the group said in the letter.

"If you look at it from a human perspective, it is a blatant case of the violation of millions of peoples' fundamental religious rights," he said.

Hinglaj Mandir is a sacred Hindu temple on the Makran coast in Balochistan province.

"A large number of Hindu worshippers every year undertake a four-day pilgrimage to the Hinglaj Mandir. The deity is also worshipped and visited by many Hindus in India who want to visit this temple but face the same challenges as do the followers of Saint Moinuddin Chishti," Nusrat said.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-urged-to-reopen-khokhrapar-border-crossing-with-india/articleshow/72251424.cms

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SC questions rules regarding tenure of an army chief's extension

Naveed Siddiqui

Haseeb Bhatti

November 27, 2019

The Supreme Court is hearing a case pertaining to the extension/reappointment in incumbent Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa's tenure.

The three-year term of Gen Bajwa, who is reaching the age of superannuation [60 years] next year, as Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) is ending on Thursday and he can continue his service if the SC decides the case in his favour before Nov 29.

Farogh Naseem (right), who is representing the Army Chief today, arrives at Supreme Court. — DawnNewsTV

An SC bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah is hearing the case. The army chief is being represented by Farogh Naseem, who resigned from his post as law minister yesterday to pursue the case, while Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan is arguing on behalf of the government.

At the outset of the hearing, CJP Khosa said that media had misunderstood yesterday's proceedings and clarified that the court had not taken suo motu notice. "We are continuing your petition," the top judge told the petitioner who was in court today.

'What is the duration of a tenure?'

Justice Shah inquired if a retired general can be appointed as army chief, to which AG Khan said: "Maybe a retired general can be appointed [army chief] but there is no precedent."

Justice Shah also observed that Article 243 of the Constitution talks about the appointment of an officer and asked: "Does it mention the period of appointment as well?"

Justice Shah asked if a general can continue to work if his tenure is extended two days before his retirement.

"Where does it say that it is a three-year term [for an extension]?" he asked. The attorney general admitted that the period of the tenure is not specified in the rules.

"The term tenure is used but the duration has not been specified anywhere," AG said.

"The matter of the period of army chief's tenure is very important," the chief justice said. "In the past, five or six generals have granted themselves extensions. We will look at this matter closely so that this does not happen in the future.

"This is an extremely important matter [and] the Constitution is quiet about this," he added.

The chief justice also noted that the federal government can only suspend a retirement after an individual retires.

He further said that the retirement of an army chief "can be temporarily delayed" if a war is underway. The attorney general, however, argued that the delay in retirement is not temporary.

The AG said that according to Article 176 of the Army Act, officials can be granted an extension of two months in case of a war.

"According to the law, during a war, the army chief can stop officers' retirements," the CJP noted. "However, the government wants to stop the army chief's retirement."

The chief justice pointed out that Army Rules and Regulations Section-255 only concerned officers.

"The section that you amended is not about the army chief at all," Justice Khosa said. The attorney general explained that he had just received the amended document to which Justice Miankhel responded: "We didn't even get that."

The hearing was adjourned till 1pm.

Cabinet's approval

As the hearing started around 9:30am today, AG Khan took to the rostrum and said he wished to "clarify something". "I referred to army rules yesterday. The court wrote 'law' in its order," the AG said, to which the chief justice said: "The court had given its order after looking at your documents."

Referring to the point raised by the court yesterday that only 11 members of the cabinet had earlier approved the extension, Justice Shah observed: "Answers were not submitted in the time fixed for cabinet members."

"According to Rule 19, silence can mean an agreement," the AG said, and submitted fresh documents to the court.

He said that under Article 243 of the Constitution, the cabinet cannot send recommendations for the army chief's appointment.

"If the recommendation of the cabinet is not required, then why was this matter sent to the cabinet twice?" the chief justice inquired.

"The army chief commands the military. The president appoints the army chief on the prime minister's recommendations," the attorney general told the court.

Justice Shah said that it is "very clear that the prime minister is the one who sends recommendations for army chief's appointment".

Suspension of notification

In an unanticipated development on Tuesday, CJP Khosa had suspended the federal government's notification of Gen Bajwa's extension and issued notices to the army chief, defence ministry and the federal government.

The Supreme Court said the AG could not refer to any provision in any legal instrument regarding extension in service of the army chief upon completion of his first term for his re-appointment.

Shortly after the extension order was struck down by the top court, the cabinet amended Section 255 of the Army Rules and Regulations (ARR) and included the words “extension in tenure” to meet the legal lacuna in the rule.

It also emerged that the federal cabinet in its two sittings, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi approved a fresh notification for the extension of the COAS.

It is pertinent to mention that over the past two decades, Gen Raheel Sharif is the only army chief to have retired on time.

Tuesday's court proceedings

The chief justice a day earlier rejected an application for the withdrawal of a petition that was filed against Gen Bajwa's extension after noting that both the appellant and his lawyer were absent from the court. He took up the original petition in public interest under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

During yesterday's hearing, AG Khan, who was in attendance inside the courtroom on his own when called upon by the court, presented photocopies of documents leading to an order passed by the president approving the summary sent to him by the prime minister along with his advice for extension/reappointment of Gen Bajwa as COAS for a fresh term of three years after expiry of his first term in office.

The court then went through the documents and noticed a number of defects like the summary for extension was initially moved by the defence ministry. Justice Khosa had observed that "the summary and approval of the army chief's extension is not correct".

The order said that Prime Minister Imran Khan himself had passed an order appointing the current army chief for a second term on August 19, whereas under Article 243 of the Constitution it is the President who is the appointing authority for that office.

That mistake, the order said, came to the prime minister's notice straight away and on the same day i.e. August 19 a summary was moved from the PM Office to the president who approved it and the premier's advice was apparently accepted and acted upon.

The top court further observed that it appeared that even that process was found to be flawed and on that very day it was realised that the prime minister or the president could not take these actions without the approval of the cabinet and, thus, on August 20, a summary was moved for approval of the cabinet.

Following yesterday's court hearing, the federal cabinet passed a fresh notification that was approved by the president on the same day.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1519144/sc-questions-rules-regarding-tenure-of-an-army-chiefs-extension

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Asim Bajwa made chairman of newly created CPEC Authority

Aamir Yasin

November 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday announced the appointment of retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa as chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA) amid the opposition’s criticism of formation of the authority.

According to a notification issued by the Establishment Division, the competent authority appointed retired Lt Gen Bajwa as chairman of the CPECA, which comes under the planning and development ministry. “The new chairperson will get MP-I scale for a period of four years from the date of assuming the charge of the office with immediate effect and until further orders,” it stated.

Retired Lt Gen Bajwa had served as Commander Southern Command before his retirement. He remained director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations from 2012 to 2016.

The government had established the CPECA through an ordinance in October, before the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Beijing. The basic aim of forming the authority is to ensure timely completion of the CPEC projects. The prime minister has said the CPECA will help ensure coordination among the departments concerned.

JUI-F chief says opposition will oppose the authority at all available forums

The authority has reportedly been given vast powers to summon any information related to CPEC activities and impose penalties on those who fail to do so.

Opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party, have already rejected the CPECA and termed it a violation of recommendations of the parliamentary committee concerned.

While the PPP criticised the creation of the CPECA and said it undermined the authority of parliament, the PML-N was of the view that it would create problems and complications in collaboration between the ministries and departments. This would create bureaucratic hurdles and limitations that would hamper and stall the CPEC, they claimed.

On Tuesday, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also criticised the formation of the CPECA and said the government was making the corridor project controversial.

Speaking at a press conference after a multi-party conference, he said there was no need to establish a separate authority for the CPEC project, adding that it negated the parliamentary committee’s decision against such a body. He said the opposition would oppose the authority at all available forums.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1519047/asim-bajwa-made-chairman-of-newly-created-cpec-authority

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JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah injured after attack by unknown assailants

Nisar Ahmad Khan

November 27, 2019

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Mufti Kifayatullah was injured in an attack on Baidra road in Mansehra early Wednesday morning.

Along with Kifayatullah, two of his sons — Shabbir Mufti, Hussain Mufti — and friend Jan Mohammad were also injured in the attack. They were taken to King Abdullah Teaching Hospital.

Police spokesman Mohammad Sohail confirmed the attack and said more information will soon be shared with media.

According to medics, the injured JUI-F leader had sustained injuries on his back, hand and other parts of his body.

Following the incident, Kifayatullah's son Hussain lodged the First Information Report (FIR) at City police station under Section 324 (attempt to murder), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Hussain said that attackers had intercepted their vehicle and attacked them iron rods.

"Attackers are those against whom Mufti sahib speaks publicly and we moved police for [an] FIR against [the] unknown attackers," Kifayatullah's elder brother, Habibur Rehman said.

According to Rehman, Kifayatullah was on his way to Mansehra from Islamabad when a group of people in two vehicles intercepted the car at Baidra road and attacked them.

"Though attackers didn’t want to eliminate Mufti Kifaytullah and his sons, it was a strong message for him not to speak against them," said Rehman.

Last month, Kifayatullah was taken into custody for 30 days under Section 3 (power to arrest and detain suspected persons) of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) and shifted to Haripur jail.

Following this, the Peshawar High Court had ordered his release on bail.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1519142/jui-f-leader-mufti-kifayatullah-injured-after-attack-by-unknown-assailants

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Norwegian Flag Torched in Pakistan to Protest Quran Burning as Islam's Opponents Promise New Fires

27.11.2019

A demonstration during which Islam's central religious scripture was set alight has triggered a searing debate on the limits of freedom of speech in Norway and sent a ripple across the Muslim world.

The Quran burning that occurred during an event by Stop Islamisation of Norway (SIAN) has sparked strong reactions in the Muslim world.

While Turkey and Iran issued their formal condemnations, the Norwegian flag was torched during a demonstration in Karachi, alongside the US flag, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK reported.

Hashtags like #Boycottnorway and #Norwayattackonislam are gathering momentum on Twitter, together with calls to ostracise the Scandinavian nation for its perceived lack of respect for religion.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg received many comments about the Quran burning on her Instagram page, even in seemingly unrelated posts, such as one about women's football.

Trude Måseide, the head of communications at the foreign ministry, said the authorities were monitoring the situation closely and distancing themselves from the flag burning.

“Violation of the Norwegian flag is an instrument that we refrain from precisely because we do not want an increasingly polarised social debate,” Måseide said. She stressed that provocations and incitement with disrespectful actions contributes to conflict. “Although this is legal and within the freedom of speech, we are clear that we disagree,” she told NRK.

Telenor, Norway's leading telecom company, said they were closely following the reactions in social media and calls to boycott. Spokeswoman Hanne Knudsen said the company was working fully to maintain regular operations. In a tweet, Telenor stressed that respect for others was one of their core values and condemned acts “that don't respect religion”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry summoned the Norwegian ambassador to inform him that the Quran burning “hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world, including those in Pakistan”. By contrast, the Muslim man who attacked SIAN activists won a lot of praise, including from the Pakistani Armed Forces spokesperson Asif Ghafoor.

Within or Outside the Limits of Free Speech?

The Quran burning in Kristiansand, which ended in a violent clash and arrests, has sparked a heated discussion in Norway, with many politicians and journalists arguing that the police violated the principles of free speech by interfering and stopping it.

Justice Minister Jøran Kallmyr stressed to NRK that burning the Quran was “part of the freedom of speech, whether we like it or not” and therefore fully legal.

Others, such as Liberal Party heavyweight and former Norwegian parliament vice president Abid Raja, condemned both the Quran burning and the flag-burning response as “destructive actions for the entire society”. His party colleague Odd Einar Dørum, however, went so far as to draw parallels between Quran burning burning and Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass 1938, when Nazis carried out massive pogroms against Jews, the newspaper Dagbladet reported.

New Fires Promised

Meanwhile, SIAN, an organisation set up in the early 2000s to stop the proliferation of Islam, pledged reruns of the Quran burning.

Muslims currently make up about 5.7 percent of Norway's population, following a steep rise amid mass immigration.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201911271077413279-norwegian-flag-torched-in-pakistan-to-protest-quran-burning-as-islams-opponents-promise-new-fires/

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Arab World

 

Yemen's Houthis welcome release of 200 prisoners by Saudi-led coalition

Nov 27, 2019

SANAA: The Houthis on Tuesday (local time) welcomed the Saudi-led coalition's announcement to release 200 of their rebels to support peace efforts aimed at ending the nearly five-year war in Yemen.

"We welcome the step announced by the Saudi-led coalition today," said Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, deputy head of the Houthi group, in a tweet.

Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency quoted coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki as saying on Tuesday that the move was aimed at paving the way for a larger and long-delayed prisoner swap agreed upon last year, Al Jazeera reported.

The coalition also said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency earlier that it would ease restrictions on Yemeni airspace to allow flights out of the Houthi-held capital, Sanaa, to transport people requiring medical treatments abroad.

The two sides signed a United Nations-brokered peace deal in Sweden last December, but are yet to implement it.

"The decision aims to further implement the Stockholm Agreement which includes the exchange of prisoners," al Maliki said.

The Houthis had in September unilaterally released 350 prisoners, including three Saudis, after extending an offer to halt cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia if the coalition ended air attacks on Yemen.

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Houthi rebels who have now taken control of much of the country's north.

The Saudi-UAE-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis overthrew from power the internationally-recognised government in Sanaa, which the coalition seeks to restore.

The five-year civil war has left tens of thousands of people dead, most of them civilians, according to relief organisations, and has pushed millions to the brink of famine in what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/yemens-houthis-welcome-release-of-200-prisoners-by-saudi-led-coalition/articleshow/72252889.cms

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At Least 27 Current And Former Mecca Employees Have Now Made Written Complaints

27/11/2019

The number of current and former Mecca employees who have made formal complaints about alleged bullying at the beauty brand has almost doubled to 27 in a matter of days, according to Young Workers Centre (YWC).

Last week, Mecca announced it had hired an independent HR specialist in response to the complaints of alleged bullying, first published anonymously by Instagram account @estéelaundry.

YWC, a trade union outfit which calls itself a “one-stop-shop” for young workers wanting to learn more about their rights, had received 14 formal complaints at the time, and saw an “influx” as news of the allegations were published across Australian media.

Those making complaints include both current and former employees, YWC told PEDESTRIAN.TV, and are or were employed across retail stores, distribution centres, and head office.

“It’s clearly a widespread issue,” director Felicity Sowerbutts told P.TV

“There’s clearly a strong sentiment from employees but also the broader community that they’re disappointed that Mecca has these issues of bullying which are coming to the forefront.”

Former Mecca employee Narita Salima started a petition on Megaphone, a project of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, to demand a review into the alleged bullying.

At the time of writing, the petition has over 340 signatures.

Sowerbutts says YWC will contact Mecca in the “near future” to let them know about the petition and demand that correct measures be taken to control the risk of bullying.

“These corrective measures need to include training for all managers to make sure they can provide a psychologically safe workplace for the employees they manage.”

For now, YWC is in the process of reaching out to all current and former employees who lodged complaints, in order to effectively map out the best next step for them.

A former employee, who P.TV has identified as Leah*, worked at Mecca for a year and a half as a colour specialist and alleges the bullying started “pretty much straight away”.

“I’m more introverted I guess and for some reason they just singled me out as the easiest target,” she says.

Leah was “constantly being critiqued” by senior colleagues and often felt “nitpicked” and “micro-managed”.

“[It was] constant, constant, to a point where I was walking on eggshells all the time because I was terrified that whatever I was doing, I was doing wrong.”

Leah, who had worked at another cosmetics company before starting at Mecca, says she never had a problem at her previous workplace.

“I was so confident and I really flourished there and then at Mecca I just turned into a withdrawn – I turned into a pale version of myself.”

She says the bullying started as “little manipulative comments”.

“[It was] subtle things like throwing you in the deep end constantly, putting you on show in front of customers, putting you on show in front of your other colleagues that you work with, making examples of you, [and] diminishing feelings.”

In a statement issued in response to the media coverage, Mecca says it is treating all the issues raised “seriously”.

As well as hiring an independent consultant, Mecca has commenced listening tours around stores to recognise what the company can do better.

“To be clear, we have zero tolerance for bullying, harassment, and discrimination of any kind. To that end, we have expanded the number of reporting channels our team can use to ensure that issues are reported in real time, so we can thoroughly investigate, and act on any matter,” it said in a statement.

Mecca says it has a “very low rate” of bullying complaints, “0.2 per cent of our workforce has made a bullying complaint in the past two years”, and says all complaints were thoroughly investigated with appropriate action taken.

You can read Mecca’s full statement, including a Q/A, here.

*Not her real name.

https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/mecca-allegations-bullying-complaints/

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Dubai Islamic Bank proposes Noor Bank acquisition via share swap

26 NOV 2019

The board of Dubai Islamic Bank has proposed the acquisition of Noor Bank through a strategic investment via a share swap.

The board’s proposal for the strategic investment is by issuing new shares in DIB for an in-kind contribution of 99.999% of Noor Bank’s issued share capital held by Noor Investment Group and Emirates Investment Authority that will become strategic investors in DIB, it said in a bourse filing on Monday (Nov 25).

The share swap ratio is 1 new DIB share for every 5.49 shares of Noor Bank through the issuance of 651,159,198 new DIB shares in aggregate.

UAE’s largest standalone Islamic bank will convene a general assembly on December 17 to seek shareholder approval for the proposal.

It will meet again on December 24 in case of no quorum, the bank said.

UAE currently has six standalone Islamic banks: DIB, Emirates Islamic, Noor Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, and Ajman Bank. DIB's acquisition of Noor Bank will cut that number down to five.

Dubai Islamic Bank was designated by the UAE central bank in 2018 as systematically important. It is the only standalone and full-fledged Islamic bank out of four financial institutions the regulator considers “too big to fail”.

The bank posted 0.08% increase in net profit to 1.262 billion dirhams ($343.6 million) for the three months ending September 30 compared to the same quarter a year ago.

© SalaamGateway.com 2019 All Rights Reserved

https://www.salaamgateway.com/story/dubai-islamic-bank-proposes-noor-bank-acquisition-via-share-swap

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VCUarts Qatar organises symposium on Islamic art

November 27 2019

The eighth Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art, recently took place at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in Education City.

It is considered “one of the world’s most prestigious events on the Islamic art and architecture calendar”, according to a press statement.

This year’s theme was ‘The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art’. It featured panel discussions and debates on subjects ranging from ‘Seas Imagined and Depicted in Middle Eastern Art, Maps and Geography’ and ‘Transoceanic Movement, Muslim-Centred Design and Architecture in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries’ to ‘Islamic Art in 11th-14th Century Chinese Port Cities’.

Eminent scholars from institutions such as Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, SOAS University of London, University of Vienna and University of Melbourne spoke at the symposium, and it attracted more than 200 attendees over two days from Qatar and places as far afield as Canada, the US and Australia. This was the “largest ever attendance” for the symposium, which was established in 2004, the statement noted.

In his speech welcoming the attendees, VCUarts Qatar dean Amir Berbic said: “We have more than 40 participants, panel organisers, paper presenters and fellows here from all over the world.

With rich content, shared viewpoints and open discussions, and a concurrent gallery exhibition, this symposium is meant to be a vibrant forum of exchange for all participants and attendees.”

The symposium co-chairs were VCUarts Qatar Art History professors Dr Radha Dalal, Dr Jochen Sokoly and Dr Sean Roberts.

The 2019 Hamad Bin Khalifa Travel Fellowship Recipients were also announced at the symposium.

The Hamad bin Khalifa Travel Fellowship was created through sponsorship from Qatar Foundation, VCUarts in Richmond, Virginia, and VCUarts Qatar in order to provide financial support to scholars who wished to attend the conference.

The Fellows are Dr Sara Keller, a Junior Fellow at the Max-Weber Centre, University of Erfurt (Germany); Holley Ledbetter, a PhD candidate in the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan; Dr Ridha Moumni, a Fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University; Jenny Peruski, a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University; and Jahfar Shareef Pokkanali, a PhD candidate at the department of Asian and Islamic Art History, University of Bonn.

For the first time in the decade-long history of the Travel Fellowship, the co-chairs invited applicants to present new and cutting-edge research in a workshop dedicated to the symposium’s theme. The five fellows selected represent a wide and talented cross-section of scholars currently engaged in the field of Islamic art.

The symposium included an exhibition at the university’s Gallery, titled ‘The Sea is the Limit’. The exhibition runs until December 7 and is open to the public.

https://www.gulf-times.com/story/648710/VCUarts-Qatar-organises-symposium-on-Islamic-art

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates Romanian President on his Re-election for New Presidential Term

2019/11/26

Riyadh, Nov. 26, 2019, SPA -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of congratulations to President Klaus Werner Iohannis of Romania on his re-election for a new presidential term of office.

In his cable, the King wished the President all success and his people steady progress and prosperity.

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2003474

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Zambian President visits Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Tue 26-11-2019

ABU DHABI, 25th April 2019 (WAM) -- President Edgar Lungu of Zambia visited today the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, SZGM, in Abu Dhabi,as part of his official visit to the country, accompanied by top Zambian officials.

Lungu began his tour by visiting the tomb of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who promoted tolerance, coexistence and peace throughout the world, followed by the mosque’s halls and sections, where he was briefed by cultural specialists about its mission to spread the values of coexistence, tolerance and acceptance, as promoted by the Founding Father.

The President of Zambia, accompanied by Dr. Yousif Al Obaidli, Director-General of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, SZGMC, toured the mosque and was briefed about the history, components, and the various architectural styles that have been used in its construction.

President Lungu, was also briefed on the mosque’s noble message that promotes coexistence, tolerance, and openness to other cultures, and highlights the honest and peaceful essence of Islam.

At the end of the visit, SZGMC officials offered Zambian President a copy of the book, entitled, 'Spaces of Light', which it published, as well as another book, 'Houses of Allah', which explains the history of famous mosques, including the SZGM.

The SZGM is managed by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, monitored by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and was founded on the national and cultural values promoted by Sheikh Zayed.

http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302806353

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Top Islamic finance institutions vie for WIBC awards

Top performing Islamic Financial Institutions from the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa are vying for the WIBC Leaderboard Awards in Global Islamic Banking to be announced during the World Islamic Banking Conference in Bahrain next month.

WIBC Awards recognise the best performing financial institutions at the global and regional levels.

Held under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain and in strategic partnership of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the 26th World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2019) will take place from December 2 to 4 at The Gulf Hotel Bahrain.

Over 1,200 participants, 50+ country representations, 98+ partners, and 60+ high-profile speakers will provide breakthrough insights that will help Islamic Finance realise its global value proposition.

A testament to its vision of advancing the global Islamic banking industry, the WIBC 2019 will continue in its endeavour of enhancing the performance and quality of key Islamic financial institutions by means of the 5th WIBC Leaderboard, a statement said.

Group CEOs of leading banks will gather at the CEO Power Table. They include: Renowned Islamic banking and finance expert Stefano Bertamini, Chief Executive Officer, Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia; Mazin Manna, Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, UAE; Dr Adnan Chilwan, Group Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Islamic Bank, UAE; and Mazin Al-Nahedh, Group Chief Executive Officer, Kuwait Finance House, Kuwait. They will address challenges and opportunities in a dynamic market by analysing risks, driving profitability, managing capital adequacy & legal lending challenges, growing wave of M&As in the banking & financial sector, market disruptive forces, digital transformation and customer optimization.

Other key sessions include Regulators’ Power Table to address harmonization of global Islamic finance standards and regulators’ responsibility, an exclusive presentation Global Economic Outlook: Assessment & Forecast by IMF, Digital Transformation, New Trends in Fintech Influencing the Future of Islamic Finance, Project Financing via Sukuk among others.

Confirmed Speakers at the WIBC so far include:  Godwin Emefiele - Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria; Dr Sami Al-Suwailem- Acting Director General, Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), Jihad Azour - Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund; Khalid Hamad Abdul-Rahman Hamad - Executive Director of Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain; Omar Mustafa Ansari - Secretary General, Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial  Institutions (AAOIFI), Abdulhakeem Y Alkhayyat - Managing Director and CEO of KFH Bahrain; Ali Adnan Ibrahim - Global Head of Sustainability and Social Responsibility at Al Baraka Banking Group; Bashar Al Natoor - Global Head Islamic Finance, Fitch Ratings; Najeeb Haider, Principal Strategy Officer - Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB);  Hassan Jarrar - CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank; Nitish Bhojnagarwala - Vice President - Senior Credit Officer, Financial Institutions Group, Moody’s Investors Services Middle East Limited; Mustafa Adil - Head of Islamic Finance at Refinitiv; Khalid Saad - CEO of Bahrain FinTech Bay; Noor Azmi Mat Said - CEO of SME Corporation Malaysia; Khalid Al Kayed - CEO of Bank Nizwa; Naser Almohri - Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at ABC Islamic Bank; Qamar Saleem - Global Technical Lead, ME Banking Practice Group, International Finance Corporation; Richad Soundardjee - CEO of Societe Generale Middle East; Sheikh Esam Mohamed Ishaq - Shari’a Supervisory Board Executive Member at the Islamic Finance House; Sohaib Umar – Advisor, Islamic Finance Development at the Central Bank of Bahrain; Suhail Bin Tarraf - COO of Emirates Islamic Bank; and Simon Galpin - Senior Advisor, Bahrain Economic Development Board.

Introduced in 2015 and forming the basis of the annual WIBC Performance Awards is the WIBC Leaderboard: a first-of-its-kind comprehensive assessment tool aimed at helping the Islamic finance industry to critically appraise the challenges and growth opportunities that lie ahead.

The WIBC Leaderboard ranks Islamic banks in comparison to their key competitors at the global and regional levels, based on various robust financial and governance metrics. These metrics comprise: Financial Stability (Total Capital and Tier 1 Capital Ratios, Loan-Loss Reserves (LLR) to Gross Loans Ratio, Loan-Loss Reserves (LLR) to Non-Performing Loans (NPL) Ratio, Non-Performing Loans (NPL) to Gross Loans); Financial Performance (Return on Average Assets (ROAA), Return on Average Equity (ROAE), Cost-to-Income Ratio (CIR), Assets Growth) and Governance and Social Responsibility (Financial Disclosure Index, CSR Disclosure).

In addition to the individual metrics, banks will be ranked on the basis of an aggregate score, which forms the apex of the WIBC Leaderboard. This aggregate index holistically ranks entities on the basis of the aforementioned financial and governance measures. The data employed in creating the assessment framework has been sourced primarily from Orbis Bank Focus.

Top performing Islamic financial institutions will be vying for 13 categories of the awards this year:

1. Best Performing Bank – Globally; 2. Best Performing Bank – MENA; 3. Best Performing Bank – Asia;

4. Best Performing Bank – Levant; 5. Winner of CSR Award; 6. Top Islamic Bank (Financial Performance); 7. Best Islamic Bank (Financial Stability); 8. Biggest Islamic Bank by Assets; 9. Best Islamic Digital Bank; 10. Fastest Growing Islamic Fintech bank; 11. Top Law Firm (M&A for Islamic Financial Institutions); 12. Top Advisory Company for M&A (M&A for Islamic Financial Institutions); 

13. Top Consultancy Firm for M&A (M&A for Islamic Financial Institutions).

WIBC 2019 is partnered with some of the biggest and oldest Islamic Financial Institutions globally including Ithmaar Bank, Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), Bank ABC Islamic, Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB), First Energy Bank, Al Baraka Banking Group, The Perth Mint, Moody's Investors Service, Eiger Trading, DDCAP Group, Keypoint, FitchRatings, Tejoury, GPS & Sadad.     

The theme for the 26th WIBC  “Mega Trends in Banking and Finance” is in line with the conference’s steady vision to serve as a compass for the global Islamic finance and banking industry, with the three-day forum expected to draw participation from over 1,300 global industry leaders, policy makers, innovators and stakeholders, all focused on generating breakthrough insights that help navigate through the complexities of the global financial system.

http://www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_361293.html

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Mauritania on Independence Day

2019/11/27

Riyadh, November 27, 2019, SPA -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of congratulations to President Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ghazouani of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania on the anniversary of his country's Independence Day.

The King wished the President constant good health and happiness and the Government and people of Mauritania steady progress and prosperity.

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2003594

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Albania on Independence Day

Riyadh, November 27, 2019, SPA -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ilir Meta of the Republic of Albania on the anniversary of his country's Independence Day.

The King wished the President constant good health and happiness and the Government and people of Albania steady progress and prosperity.

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2003592

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Africa

 

Lagos to register churches, mosques in 2020, give reasons

November 27, 2019

By Wale Odunsi

The Lagos State Government says plans are on to register religious houses in 2020, to ensure sanity in the state.

The Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, made this known on Tuesday in Alausa, Ikeja, during a Stakeholders Meeting with the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC).

She said that having a database of all religious bodies in the state would enable ease of reference, as well as ensure effective communication.

“We need to know our number, then we can know what we need, we can know where we belong, we can know what we are doing.

“So, we are coming up with the registration forms and we need your cooperation as religious bodies that represent us at the local government level.

“We will ensure that we have it on a platform that will be automated, then you can do it anywhere, it is not compulsory that you come to Alausa for the registration,” the commissioner said.

She said that once the platform was ready, religious bodies would be trained on how to use it for registration and at no cost.

Akinbile-Yussuf explained that the purpose was to have easy access to Churches and Mosques in order for them to benefit from government programmes.

She said that the Ministry of Home Affairs would collaborate with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources through the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), to eradicate noise pollution emanating from places of worship.

The official noted that Lagos could only be a 21st Century economy if there was a good environment devoid of noise pollution.

“We want to charge NIREC officials to ensure that they promote good environment by addressing all complaints by communities over noise pollution,” she said.

https://dailypost.ng/2019/11/27/lagos-to-register-churches-mosques-in-2020-give-reasons/

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Air Peace: Miyetti Allah, Yoruba youths blow hot, reveals plan over indictment of Allen Onyema

November 26, 2019

By Seun Opejobi

The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Socio-cultural Association and National Committee of Yoruba Youths, have expressed worries over the sudden indictment of the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema in the United States, US, for fraud.

The groups warned that they won’t fold their arms and allow the alleged persecution of the Air Peace Chairman.

In a statement signed by Comrade Odeyemi Oladimeji and Engr. Saleh Alhassan the National Secretary, the groups lamented that Onyema’s sudden indictment portends international conspiracy to rubbish one of the few outstanding entrepreneurs in Africa.

The statement reads: “The sudden purported indictment of Barr Allen Onyema who has been doing business for decades in the US, and for many years he has never been found wanting until now, raises fundamental questions about the bad timing and the growing suspicion of many Nigerians over the motive behind targeting our own distinguished Allen Onyeama.

“Onyema has over the years built a reputation of integrity, a promoter of peace and a hard-working man, and cannot be allowed to be dragged in the mud by a western conspiracy.”

The groups also said the airline boss has been impacting the continent with footprint of integrity as a Nigerian dedicated to the service of Nigeria and Nigerians in difficult situations at various points in time, using his hard-earned income and God-given wealth of wisdom.

“As law-abiding citizens, we will not object to any process aimed at promoting transparency and accountability. Yet, we will not fold our arms akimbo and watch helplessly and hopelessly as one of our finest is being coerced and pulled down in broad daylight, without an iota of any subsisting clear evidence from a joint investigation between the US law enforcement agencies and Nigeria counterparts to determine the veracity of the claims before unleashing this dreadful move, deliberately aimed at tainting the image of Onyeama.”

https://dailypost.ng/2019/11/26/air-peace-miyetti-allah-yoruba-youths-blow-hot-reveals-plan-over-indictment-of-allen-onyema/

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6 Muslim-friendly travel destinations in South Africa

27 NOV 2019

In the last 10 years, Muslim travel across the globe has seen significant increases. As one of the fastest-growing tourism segments, Muslim travel spend is set to rise to $300 bn by 2026.

And South Africa can most definitely benefit from this. The local market has already seen a significant influx of young Muslim travellers from all over the world, and thanks to our own rich Muslim culture, many of our offerings are already suited to tourists.

With the upcoming holiday season, there will no doubt be many Muslim holiday-makers visiting South Africa. In anticipation, here is a guide to the top destinations to venture to that are either halal or Muslim-friendly. From the bush to the coast and city breaks, we've got an adventure for every kind of traveller.

Buckler’s Africa Lodge by BON Hotels

Buckler’s Africa Lodge by BON Hotels is a luxury lodge boasting 16 self-contained units. Ranging from two- to four-sleeper options, Buckler’s is the ideal destination for a romantic retreat or exciting family getaway.

This lodge is particularly attractive due to its halal certification, welcoming Muslim travellers from around the world. Since it is classified as ‘dry’, alcohol will not be sold on the property, but guests are welcome to bring along their preferred beverages for the duration of their stay.

Located close to the Crocodile Bridge Gate near the Kruger National Park, Buckler’s Africa Lodge by Bon Hotels is conveniently placed along the banks of the Crocodile River, affording guests breathtaking views of the park.

Whether you’d like to laze on the deck and watch the animals of the park go about their day or get a headstart on the lions with an early morning safari, an array of activities suited to your taste is available.

Latitude

If you’re looking for a more fast-paced holiday, with the melting of cultures and endless foodie and cultural experiences, Cape Town is the ideal city. Set your home base up at Latitude, Sea Point’s latest aparthotel concept that allows for independent living with the added comfort of hotel-quality services to cater to your needs.

If you’re travelling solo, with friends, or as a family, Latitude is perfectly located for access to the best food, culture and adventure the city has to offer.

Mojo Market

This location is great if you’d like to explore the city on foot, or with minimal driving. Within five minutes’ walk is the famous Mojo Market, open seven days a week, with over 30 food stalls and various lifestyle offerings and live music. Be sure to check out Meat Up and B&R Biltong, certified halal stalls with yummy eats!

Coco Safar

Also in Seapoint, you will find Coco Safar, a luxury all-day cafe serving speciality coffee and rooibos, but if you’re more laidback and fancy a quick cuppa, head to Bootleggers and try one of their renowned coffees.

Andalousse Moroccan Cuisine

For something a bit more exotic, pop round for a dinner at Andalousse Moroccan Cuisine, a Muslim-owned restaurant in Seapoint that offers the incredible flavours of Morocco.

Africamps

If you're a nature lover keen for a break from the bustle of city life, but the idea of getting shut-eye in a sleeping bag is putting you off, glamping may just be your new best friend.

Get the best of both worlds with the escapism of the outdoors, without having to sacrifice your fully-fitted kitchen and luxurious bathroom facilities. AfriCamps Boutique Glamping at Ingwe in Plettenberg Bay is conveniently situated just 10 minutes away from the beach, making this glamping site ideal for fishing trips.

Be sure to chat to one of the local guides for expert tips on making that catch, and pick one of the many scenic spots for a picturesque picnic by the sea for the whole family to enjoy.

https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/444/198381.html

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