New Age Islam
Fri Aug 14 2020, 10:14 PM

Islamic World News ( 7 Jul 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Shahi Imam of Kolkata Says Terrorists Are ‘Kafirs’, Wants Zakir Channel Banned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid in Kolkata on Thursday.

 

After Bangladesh's Dhaka, Islamic State's Next Target Is India

Bangladeshi Dentist, Singer and MBA Student Shown In Latest Islamic State Video

Intelligence Reports Confirm Iraq War Created ISIS

--

India

Shahi Imam of Kolkata Says Terrorists Are ‘Kafirs’, Wants Zakir Channel Banned

After Bangladesh's Dhaka, Islamic State's Next Target Is India

Seven Muslim Radicals from Bangladesh Sneak Into India

16 Kerala Muslim Youth Missing, Relatives Fear They Went To Iraq, Syria

Aligarh Muslim University all set to lose its minority status, decision to spark political slugfest

Fadnavis orders police probe into preacher Naik’s speeches, writings

--

South Asia

Bangladeshi Dentist, Singer and MBA Student Shown In Latest Islamic State Video

Islamic State Made Ramadan 2016 the Bloodiest Ever

Victory in Afghanistan Impossible Without Calling Taliban Terrorists

Australia pledges extra $300 million to help develop Afghan forces

Five ways the next president can salvage Afghanistan before it's lost

--

Arab World

Intelligence Reports Confirm Iraq War Created ISIS

Syrian Army Storms Terrorists' Positions near Lattakia Border with Turkey

ISIL's Attacks Repulsed by Syrian Soldiers in Deir Ezzur

Syrian Air Force Targets ISIL's Oil Tankers in Sweida Province

19 detained for Saudi Arabian bombings

Fierce Clashes Underway between Syrian Soldiers, Terrorists near Aleppo City

Syria: Gov't Forces Continue to Advance against Terrorists in Southwestern Damascus

--

Pakistan

Islamic Countries Must Adopt Joint Strategy to Tackle Terrorism: Mamnoon

Blair cannot absolve himself of deaths of thousands of Iraqis, says Imran Khan

Kashmir Has a Deep Resonance inside Pakistan

Dedicated PIA aircraft to carry PM, camp office back to Pakistan

--

Mideast

Iraqi Kurdish State Dream Crushed By Low Oil Prices, Political Division

CHP, MHP Oppose Turkish Citizenship for Syrians

Turkish Foreign Ministry calls French genocide denial bill a risk to freedom of expression

Turkey, Iran seek joint efforts against terrorism

Man fined over $2400 for ‘insulting’ policeman in Turkey

Lawyer asks Israel to destroy homes of Palestinian’s killers

--

Europe

Obama Urges European Leaders to Stand Firm against Russia and Islamic State

Germany Accuses Asylum Seeker of Aiding Paris Attacks Leader

French jihadist in Turkish jail seeks return to Europe with 4 wives, 7 kids

Germany arrests Pakistani accused of spying for Iran

--

Southeast Asia

Escalating ISIS Threat in Southeast Asia: Is the Philippines a Weak Link?

Malaysia may face more IS attacks

--

Africa

Gambia Bans Child Marriage

African Union to withdraw troops from Somalia by 2020

--

North America

Terrorist Who Slaughtered American Hiker Lauded On Palestinian TV

Half Of Americans Would Support A Ban On Muslim Immigration

FBI Investigates Shooting Up Of Islamic Centre in College Station

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/shahi-imam-of-kolkata-says-terrorists-are-‘kafirs’,-wants-zakir-channel-banned/d/107896

 

--------

 

Shahi Imam of Kolkata Says Terrorists Are ‘Kafirs’, Wants Zakir Channel Banned

July 8, 2016

THE SHAHI Imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan Masjid, one of the most powerful Muslim leaders of Bengal, on the occasion of Eid on Thursday condemned the recent attacks in Bangladesh, Medina and Baghdad and described the terrorists as “anti-Islam” and “kafirs” (one who does not believe in God).

Shahi Imam Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati also went on to slam Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for “misleading people” and demanded that his shows be banned in India. His speeches had reportedly inspired those who attacked the Holey Artisan Cafe attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 1.

“Human beings are behaving like Haivans (monsters). The almighty Allah’s own people have died. The circumstances are such now that we cannot differentiate between real and fake Muslims. What kind of a Muslim attacks Mecca Medina — our holiest place? A Muslim would never do that. It is not okay to attack anyone — Muslim, Hindu or Christian. I condemn this terrorism. These terrorists are anti-Islam. They are kafirs,’’ he said.

He added that the spurt in such attacks and increasing violence was sending a wrong message about Islam and Muslims to the international community and the “civilized world”.

Speaking about Ishrat Akhond and Faraaz Hossain — the two Bangladeshis killed the Dhaka attack — the Shahi Imam said: ‘’the boy was killed because while he knew Quran, he refused to leave his friends behind. The woman was killed because she didn’t recite the ‘Kalma’. What kind of Islam is this? I am the Shahi Imam of Bengal and I condemn this. Wearing certain clothes and eating certain food does not make you a true Muslim.”

He added that on his many visits to Bangladesh, he had told Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take a strong stand against such extremism. “She needs to create a strong administration,” he said.

The Shahi Imam went on to call for an investigation into Zakir Naik’s activities. “Let there be an investigation. Zakir Naik ulta pulta bolta hai (Zakir Naik speaks rubbish)… He is exhibiting Islam on television shows for his own personal good. I am the Imam of Bengal, but how many times do you see me preaching on TV?” he asked.

“Naik is also amassing huge wealth. Where is this money coming from? Who is funding him? The government needs to investigate this. He is but a simple man. He is not an Islamic scholar. Aise Islam nahi phelaya jata (Islam cannot be spread in this manner). Islam doesn’t give permission for such activity,” he said.

The Shahi Imam added: “I have already conveyed my concerns about him to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. I have told her that he is not a good person and demanded that his channel be banned in our country.”

“We are proud to say that in the last 50-odd years, there has been no such violence in West Bengal. The Quran does not permit this sort of violence. It says that such perpetrators are worse than janwars (animals). They don’t listen to the good in the Quran, but instead misinterpret it to suit themselves. This is not religion. Religion teaches us to live together. Our India is a secular India. This is not Islam. Islam does not teach brotherhood only among Muslims, Islam teaches brotherhood among all human beings,” said the Muslim leader.

Maintaining that the Union and Bengal governments had the full support of the state’s Muslims in fighting terrorism, he said: “We are a part of the fight against terrorism. Muslim and Hindu brothers will together fight the terrorists.”

The Shahi Imam further said that the porous Bangladesh border was a concern for Bengal and the country with unabated smuggling of arms, drugs, syndicate culture and a thoroughfare for illegal immigrants. “I have told the chief minister that she must be stern about the border issue. She has our support,” he said.

Claiming that RSS was contributing to the increasing polarisation being witnessed in the country, the Shahi Imam said: “Woh Bharat ko nahi samajhte, Bharat ka rang tiranga hai aur woh zafrani rang khilana chahte hai (They don’t understand India. India’s colour is the Tricolor and they want to saffronise it). They had said they will bring development. We haven’t seen any so far. Aise jhoot se desh nahi chalega (The country won’t run on lies).”

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/dhaka-attack-zakir-naik-islamic-preacher-ban-peace-tv-kafir-anti-islam-tipu-sultan-imam-2900159/

--

 

Bangladeshi dentist, singer and MBA student shown in latest Islamic State video

Jul 7, 2016

DHAKA: The three Bangladeshi youths who appeared in the latest ISIS video threatening of more terror attacks around the world have been identified as a dentist, an aspiring singer and an MBA student, officials said here on Thursday.

Model Naila Nayem's former husband Tushar is one of the three youths who appeared in a so-called Islamic State video released on Wednesday, days after Islamist gunmen stormed a popular restaurant in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave late on Friday and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners from Italy, Japan, India and the US, officials said.

Bangladesh army's late Major Washikur Azad's son Tushar (with longer beards in the video) married Nayem in 2011 but later they separated, bdnews24.com reported.

A dentist by profession, Tushar was missing for around two years. He completed secondary education at Adamjee Cantonment Public School and higher secondary at RAJUK Uttara Model College. He lived in Dhaka, the report said.

The youth appearing in the video with his face covered with Arabic-styled headdress has been identified by the sources as Tawsif Hossain, a former student of the Institute of Business Administration at the Dhaka University, it said. He was a student of the 18th batch of the institute but left the university without completing the course.

Hossain had been arrested before on charges of his involvement with Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). His family sent him to Austria later on, but his friends there said he was not there, the report said.

The other youth in the video was identified as Tahmid Rahman Shafi, one of the top 10 finalists of NTV's reality music show in 1995, it said.

Book homes from local hosts in 191+ countries

Shafi, who resigned from Grameenphone in 2011, is a son of late election commissioner Shafiur Rahman, his former colleagues and classmates in Notre Dame College have said.

He completed BBA at BRAC University and MBA at IBA, sources in the government said. They said he had once requested his father to join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but he refused. He had then left with his wife for war-torn Syria, the report said.

All the three youths spoke in Bangla. Only Shafi translated his speech to English.

The ISIS video released in a SITE Intelligence site on Tuesday. The message containing threats has gone viral on social media among Bangladeshis still recovering from the shock from the slaughter of 20 hostages and two police officers in Dhaka.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladeshi-dentist-singer-and-MBA-student-shown-in-latest-Islamic-State-video/articleshow/53104101.cms

--

 

Intelligence reports confirm Iraq war created ISIS

08/07/16

Intelligence reports examined and now released by the Chilcot inquiry appear to confirm Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) was created by the Iraq war, a view now apparently backed by Britain's Tory Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

The reports from the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which were previously classified, tell the story of the security services’ increasing concern that the war and occupation was fuelling ever more extremism in Iraq.

The evidence also appears to debunk repeated claims by former PM Tony Blair that IS began in the Syrian civil war and not Iraq, positioning the brutal group’s rise clearly within Iraq’s borders.

The Chilcot findings were backed up Thursday by serving Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond. He told The Foreign Affairs Committee “many of the problems we see in Iraq today stem from that disastrous decision to dismantle the Iraqi army and embark on a program of de-Baathification.”

“That was the big mistake of post-conflict planning. If we had gone a different way afterwards we might have been able to see a different outcome,” he said.

Hammond conceded that many members of Saddam’s armed forces today filled top roles in IS.

“It is clear a significant number of former Baathist officers have formed the professional core of Daesh [IS] in Syria and Iraq and have given that organization the military capability it has shown in conducting its operations.”

The documents show that by 2006 – three years into the occupation – UK intelligence chiefs were increasingly concerned about the rise of Sunni jihadist resistance to the Western-backed regime of Shia President Nouri Al-Maliki.

A March 2007 JIC report warned Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which it terms AQ-I, had “no shortage of suicide bombers. AQ-I is seeking high-profile attacks. We judge AQ-I will try to expand its sectarian campaign wherever it can: suicide bombings in Kirkuk have risen sharply since October when AQ-I declared the establishment of the notional ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ (including Kirkuk).”

Many leading Al-Qaeda figures had been pro-regime Baathists and members of the former Iraqi Army disbanded by the occupation. They are broadly accepted to have later formed the basis for IS.

The report describes AQ-I as being “in the vanguard.”

“Its strategic main effort is the prosecution of a sectarian campaign designed to drag Iraq into civil war” at the head of a number of other Sunni militia groups.

“We judge its campaign has been the most effective of any insurgent group, having significant impact in the past year, and poses the greatest immediate threat to stability in Iraq. The tempo of mass-casualty attacks on predominantly Shia targets has been relentless,” the spies argue.

Chillingly, an earlier report from 2006 appears to echo some of the realizations made late in the Vietnam War that there were also strong elements of nationalism driving the insurgency.

“They claimed that the label ‘jihadist’ is becoming increasingly difficult to define: in many cases distinctions between nationalists and jihadists are blurred. They increasingly share common cause being drawn together in the face of Shia sectarian violence.”

The reports appear to suggest that the conditions also somewhat echo the Afghanistan war, which by that time was already underway, in that the anti-coalition forces displayed a mix of ideological and economic drivers to resist the occupation.

“Their motivation is mixed: some are Islamist extremists inspired by the AQ agenda, others are simply hired hands attracted by the money,” the spies warn.

The religious sectarianism involved, however, was distinctly Iraqi and reflected the power battle between the deposed Sunni forces and the US-installed Shia regime which replaced it.

They also appeared to believe that AQ-I was composed of local and not, as was claimed at the time, foreign fighters.

“We judge Al-Qaida in Iraq is the largest single insurgent network and although its leadership retains a strong foreign element, a large majority of its fighters are Iraqi.

“Some are drawn in by the opportunity to take on Shia militias: the jihadists’ media effort stresses their role as defenders of the Sunni,” the report concludes.

Prophetically, even before IS began to germinate in Iraq, one now-declassified Foreign Office memo from January 2003 warned “all the evidence from the region suggests that coalition forces will not be seen as liberators for long, if at all. Our motives are regarded with huge suspicion.”

rt.com/uk/349872-invasion-created-isis-intelligence/

--

 

Islamic countries must adopt joint strategy to tackle terrorism: Mamnoon

08 July,2016

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday received a call from Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim who extended the greetings of Eid-ul-Fitr to the president. Mamnoon Hussain, in reply, stated that Pakistan and Turkey were brothers and the countries were similar to a single soul in two bodies, reported Dunya News.

President Mamnoon also wished the Turkish PM and the people of Turkey a happy Eid. The president stated that both countries shall continue cooperating with one another in order to deal with terrorism. Mamnoon Hussain suggested that the Islamic countries need to adopt a joint strategy in order to tackle the menace of terrorism.

Binali Yildirim stated that Pakistan and Turkey had unanimous stance in regards to a number of issues and that both countries cooperated with one another over international forums. He added that Turkey supported Pakistan to the greatest extent over the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) issue, further stating that Pakistan shall continue to enjoy the support of Turkey in international forums in the future as well.

Turkish PM stated that the brotherhood between Pakistan and Turkey was strengthening as time passed. Yildirim thanked Mamnoon Hussain over Pakistan’s passionate and earnest support regarding the recent attack on Istanbul’s airport.

dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/344244-Islamic-countries-must-adopt-joint-strategy-to-tac

--

India

Shahi Imam of Kolkata Says Terrorists Are ‘Kafirs’, Wants Zakir Channel Banned

July 8, 2016

THE SHAHI Imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan Masjid, one of the most powerful Muslim leaders of Bengal, on the occasion of Eid on Thursday condemned the recent attacks in Bangladesh, Medina and Baghdad and described the terrorists as “anti-Islam” and “kafirs” (one who does not believe in God).

Shahi Imam Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati also went on to slam Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for “misleading people” and demanded that his shows be banned in India. His speeches had reportedly inspired those who attacked the Holey Artisan Cafe attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 1.

“Human beings are behaving like Haivans (monsters). The almighty Allah’s own people have died. The circumstances are such now that we cannot differentiate between real and fake Muslims. What kind of a Muslim attacks Mecca Medina — our holiest place? A Muslim would never do that. It is not okay to attack anyone — Muslim, Hindu or Christian. I condemn this terrorism. These terrorists are anti-Islam. They are kafirs,’’ he said.

He added that the spurt in such attacks and increasing violence was sending a wrong message about Islam and Muslims to the international community and the “civilized world”.

Speaking about Ishrat Akhond and Faraaz Hossain — the two Bangladeshis killed the Dhaka attack — the Shahi Imam said: ‘’the boy was killed because while he knew Quran, he refused to leave his friends behind. The woman was killed because she didn’t recite the ‘Kalma’. What kind of Islam is this? I am the Shahi Imam of Bengal and I condemn this. Wearing certain clothes and eating certain food does not make you a true Muslim.”

He added that on his many visits to Bangladesh, he had told Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take a strong stand against such extremism. “She needs to create a strong administration,” he said.

The Shahi Imam went on to call for an investigation into Zakir Naik’s activities. “Let there be an investigation. Zakir Naik ulta pulta bolta hai (Zakir Naik speaks rubbish)… He is exhibiting Islam on television shows for his own personal good. I am the Imam of Bengal, but how many times do you see me preaching on TV?” he asked.

“Naik is also amassing huge wealth. Where is this money coming from? Who is funding him? The government needs to investigate this. He is but a simple man. He is not an Islamic scholar. Aise Islam nahi phelaya jata (Islam cannot be spread in this manner). Islam doesn’t give permission for such activity,” he said.

The Shahi Imam added: “I have already conveyed my concerns about him to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. I have told her that he is not a good person and demanded that his channel be banned in our country.”

“We are proud to say that in the last 50-odd years, there has been no such violence in West Bengal. The Quran does not permit this sort of violence. It says that such perpetrators are worse than janwars (animals). They don’t listen to the good in the Quran, but instead misinterpret it to suit themselves. This is not religion. Religion teaches us to live together. Our India is a secular India. This is not Islam. Islam does not teach brotherhood only among Muslims, Islam teaches brotherhood among all human beings,” said the Muslim leader.

Maintaining that the Union and Bengal governments had the full support of the state’s Muslims in fighting terrorism, he said: “We are a part of the fight against terrorism. Muslim and Hindu brothers will together fight the terrorists.”

The Shahi Imam further said that the porous Bangladesh border was a concern for Bengal and the country with unabated smuggling of arms, drugs, syndicate culture and a thoroughfare for illegal immigrants. “I have told the chief minister that she must be stern about the border issue. She has our support,” he said.

Claiming that RSS was contributing to the increasing polarisation being witnessed in the country, the Shahi Imam said: “Woh Bharat ko nahi samajhte, Bharat ka rang tiranga hai aur woh zafrani rang khilana chahte hai (They don’t understand India. India’s colour is the Tricolor and they want to saffronise it). They had said they will bring development. We haven’t seen any so far. Aise jhoot se desh nahi chalega (The country won’t run on lies).”

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/dhaka-attack-zakir-naik-islamic-preacher-ban-peace-tv-kafir-anti-islam-tipu-sultan-imam-2900159/

--

 

After Bangladesh's Dhaka, Islamic State's Next Target Is India

Friday, July 8, 2016

New Delhi: After carrying out a barbaric attack in a Dhaka cafe last Friday, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is planning to target India.

Intelligence agencies have issued an alert, which says that the ISIS is looking for a chance to launch an attack on India.

The strengthening of the ISIS base in Bangladesh is a cause of major concern for India.

A call intercept of ISIS terrorists reveals a militant as saying: "A strong base in Bangladesh will help ISIS carry out terrorist strikes in India."

The alert also mentions that Bangladesh-based terrorist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has set up terror infrastructure in West Bengal and Assam.

The JMB is also recruiting from selected pockets of these states, reads the alert, a copy of which is with Zee Media. So far in the year, four people have been arrested from West Bengal for suspected links with the ISIS.

As per intelligence inputs, people associated with JMB and the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist political party, are associated with the ISIS.

Radicalisation through social media has become a headache for governments across the world. Most of the seven young Gulshan cafe attackers had gone missing several months ago in Bangladesh.

Recently, an Islamic State module was busted in Hyderabad, ringing an alarm bell for authorities.

All the suspects -- aged between 20 and 42 -- were allegedly plotting bomb attacks and indiscriminate firing at shopping malls and crowded places in Hyderabad, NIA sources had said.

Reports had said that the accused were allegedly planning to target places of worship, information technology corridors, and police stations.

zeenews.india.com/news/india/after-bangladeshs-dhaka-islamic-states-next-target-is-india-report_1904923.html

--

 

Seven Muslim Radicals from Bangladesh Sneak Into India

July 7, 2016

SHILLONG, July 7 - Seven radical Islamic terrorists have entered into India from Bangladesh today giving security agencies the slip, through the partially fenced South Garo Hills sector.

An intelligence report said the seven terrorists have slipped into India through the riverine border in Maheskhola in South Garo Hills.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma when asked about the intrusion, said, the security agencies are trying to locate the terrorists after learning they have entered into India.

“The intelligence agencies are trying to find out about the infiltration,” Sangma said while expressing surprise how the classified information was leaked to the media.

Intelligence sources said the seven terrorists crossed over to India from Bangladesh’s Mymensingh district. They crossed the river Kanai in the area.

One of the “leaders of the group” was carrying a map and was trying to find directions, the sources added. “There is a high alert along the international border with Bangladesh in Meghalaya sector and elsewhere in the country. However, taking advantage of the river these terrorists crossed over,” a senior intelligence officer said.

Incidentally, the BSF has a border outpost in the area known as Kanai Border Outpost. “We have received inputs about the infiltration from intelligence agencies, but we have been unable to corroborate it yet. We are on the job,” a senior BSF official told The Assam Tribune.

The terrorists crossed over to India following the massive crack down on Islamic fundamentalists in Bangladesh by security agencies. Throughout Bangladesh a large number of arrests have been made by security agencies, where terrorist modules and sleeper cells are being busted.

Bangladesh is struggling with the teeming number of terrorist organisations that include affiliates of ISIS, Ansarullah Bangla Team, Al-Qaeda, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, Purba Bangla Communist Party and others.

These terrorist organisations have mainly targeted religious minority groups and foreigners in the recent times. Recently, 13 people from the Hindu minority community, including one Muslim, were nabbed by the police and BSF in Garo Hills who fled their homes out of fear.

“The task of the BSF and other security forces are cut out to stop any infiltration at this juncture, which could have serious consequences on the security scenario in India,” an official said.

assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=jul0816/oth052

--

 

16 Kerala Muslim Youth Missing, Relatives Fear They Went To Iraq, Syria

Jul 08, 2016

At least 16 Muslim youth from Kerala’s northern Kasargode district have been missing for the past one month, sparking fear that they might have gone to Syria to join a terrorist outfit such as the Islamic State (IS).

The apprehension has gained ground since a Kerala journalist working in the Gulf state of Qatar joined a Sunni militia last year to fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

A relative of one of the missing youth told Hindustan Times that they left the country on June 6 on the pretext of going on a pilgrimage. Their phones are switched off now.

But one of the relatives got a WhatsApp message last week saying they all “reached their final destination”.

“We now fear that they might have reached the conflict zone, either in Syria or Iraq,” he said.

A doctor, his wife and eight-month-old child are among the missing.

The relatives are meeting Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday afternoon, seeking his help to trace them.

“All youngsters are from Thrikkaripur and surrounding areas. Initially relatives thought that they would come back but they are mistaken. We will seek the help of state and Union governments to trace them and bring them back,” said Kasargode MP P Karunakaran.

“These youngsters, all in their mid-twenties, used to meet regularly at a cultural centre in Thrikkaripur. There were no traces of any radicalisation. We have no idea how they got attracted to extremist ideology,” another relative said.

Last year, the United Arab Emirates deported four youth from the state for their alleged ties to the Islamic State (IS) group.

“Youngsters who go abroad are sitting ducks. We are helpless on such occasions. Fearing harassment from law agencies many parents keep mum. We have definite information that at least three dozen NRI youth from the state are off the radar,” a senior police officer said.

hindustantimes.com/india-news/6-kerala-muslim-youth-missing-relatives-fear-they-went-to-iraq-syria/story-HvtpIuAgojEGuzPqp5TdAN.html

--

 

Aligarh Muslim University All Set To Lose Its Minority Status, Decision to Spark Political Slugfest

July 7, 2016

The government has told the Supreme Court of India that it will withdraw its appeal, filed by the erstwhile UPA government, challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict holding that the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is not a minority institution.

"We (government) have filed an affidavit stating that we will withdraw the appeal," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, adding that an affidavit in this regard has been filed by the Centre in the apex court.

AMU FILES PLEA AGAINST HC VERDICT

Besides the Centre, the varsity administration had also filed a separate plea against the High Court verdict on the issue.

Rohatgi further stated that "AMU is not a minority institution" and referred to an apex court verdict of 1967, saying that it was not a minority institution as it was set up by the government and not by Muslims.

AMU: A CENTRAL UNIVERSITY NOT A MINORITY INSTITUTION

Earlier too, the top law officer had told the apex court that the AMU was set up by a central act and moreover, a five-judge Constitution bench in 1967 in the Aziz Basha case had held that it was a "central university" and not a minority institution.

Rohatgi had said that to circumvent the effect of the judgement, an amendment was brought in 1981 in the central act to accord the minority status to the university which has recently been held as unconstitutional by the High Court.

"You cannot override the Aziz Basha judgement. Union of India's stand is that according minority status to AMU would be contrary to the Aziz Basha judgement and it still holds good," the top law officer had submitted before the bench in April which had permitted the Centre to file an application and an affidavit within eight weeks to withdraw the appeal filed by it.

Filing an affidavit, Rohtagi said, "We go by the Aziz Basha judgement and therefore we are going to withdraw the appeal" made by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The Allahabad High Court had in January 2006 struck down the provision of the AMU (Amendment) Act, 1981 by which the University was accorded minority status.

The division bench of the High Court had upheld the order of its single judge passed in 2005 by which it termed as "unconstitutional" the granting of minority status to AMU and 50 per cent reservation to Muslims in 2004.

AMU CAN'T BE CALLED MINORITY INSTITUTION

The Attorney General had on January 11 also made a statement in the apex court that AMU could not be categorised as a minority institution.

"It is the stand of the Union of India that AMU is not a minority university. As the executive government at the Centre, we can't be seen as setting up a minority institution in a secular state," he had submitted, adding that "the previous stand (of the UPA government) was wrong."

He had said the law laid down in Aziz Basha case by a five-judge bench of the SC on October 20, 1967 still holds ground.

AMU Act was enacted in 1920 dissolving and incorporating Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College. AMU (Amendment) Act in 1951 was passed by Parliament to do away with compulsory instruction in Muslim theology. The amendment opened membership of the Court of AMU to non-Muslims.

Changes were introduced by the 1966 amendment to AMU Act, which was challenged before the Supreme Court by S Aziz Basha. The SC dismissed the petition in 1967 holding that AMU was not a minority institution because it had been established by an Act of Parliament and had not been set up by Muslims.

Another amendment to AMU Act in 1972 made the academic and executive councils more democratic and drastically reduced the nominees of the Visitor.

indiatoday.intoday.in/story/aligarh-muslim-university-is-all-set-to-lose-its-minority-status/1/709803.html

--

 

Fadnavis orders police probe into preacher Naik’s speeches, writings

July 8, 2016

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday ordered a probe into the speeches, writings and other materials of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, president of Islamic Research Foundation, an official said here.

Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Padsalgikar has been directed to conduct the probe and submit a report to the state government, said the official from the chief minister’s office.

The enquiry follows mounting pressures from various quarters after Naik was accused of making inflammatory speeches which allegedly inspired the recent Bangladesh terror attacks.

Several Muslim organizations also have reacted in the matter with the Raza Academy staging a noisy protest outside the IRF’s offices in Dongri this afternoon.

“We are protesting against Naik for his fiery speeches, what he promotes.. this is not the way to teach or propagate the spread of Islam. He should be banned,” said Raza Academy founder-secretary M. Saeed Noori.

The protestors also condemned the recent spate of terror attacks globally including Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh and said Islam promotes and teaches peace.

“The perpetrators of such terror acts are not Muslims. Islam is a peaceful religion,” Noori said.

Born and living in Mumbai, the 50-year old Naik is a qualified doctor who left the medical profession to found the IRF which runs the Islamic International School and NGO United Islamic Aid for poor and destitute.

Considered an authority on “comparative religion”, Naik is the founder of Peace Television channel, Peace TV Bangla and Peace TV Urdu, and Dawah which invites people to understand Islam through dialogue.

Earlier on Thursday, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu indicated that Naik could face action if his preachings and teachings were found to be objectionable.

On Wednesday, Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai Arvind Sawant sought a ban on Naik’s speeches and movement as well as his television channels, to prevent him from making provocative speeches.

siasat.com/news/fadnavis-orders-police-probe-preacher-naiks-speeches-writings-983317/

--

South Asia

Bangladeshi dentist, singer and MBA student shown in latest Islamic State video

Jul 7, 2016

DHAKA: The three Bangladeshi youths who appeared in the latest ISIS video threatening of more terror attacks around the world have been identified as a dentist, an aspiring singer and an MBA student, officials said here on Thursday.

Model Naila Nayem's former husband Tushar is one of the three youths who appeared in a so-called Islamic State video released on Wednesday, days after Islamist gunmen stormed a popular restaurant in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave late on Friday and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners from Italy, Japan, India and the US, officials said.

Bangladesh army's late Major Washikur Azad's son Tushar (with longer beards in the video) married Nayem in 2011 but later they separated, bdnews24.com reported.

A dentist by profession, Tushar was missing for around two years. He completed secondary education at Adamjee Cantonment Public School and higher secondary at RAJUK Uttara Model College. He lived in Dhaka, the report said.

The youth appearing in the video with his face covered with Arabic-styled headdress has been identified by the sources as Tawsif Hossain, a former student of the Institute of Business Administration at the Dhaka University, it said. He was a student of the 18th batch of the institute but left the university without completing the course.

Hossain had been arrested before on charges of his involvement with Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). His family sent him to Austria later on, but his friends there said he was not there, the report said.

The other youth in the video was identified as Tahmid Rahman Shafi, one of the top 10 finalists of NTV's reality music show in 1995, it said.

Book homes from local hosts in 191+ countries

Shafi, who resigned from Grameenphone in 2011, is a son of late election commissioner Shafiur Rahman, his former colleagues and classmates in Notre Dame College have said.

He completed BBA at BRAC University and MBA at IBA, sources in the government said. They said he had once requested his father to join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but he refused. He had then left with his wife for war-torn Syria, the report said.

All the three youths spoke in Bangla. Only Shafi translated his speech to English.

The ISIS video released in a SITE Intelligence site on Tuesday. The message containing threats has gone viral on social media among Bangladeshis still recovering from the shock from the slaughter of 20 hostages and two police officers in Dhaka.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladeshi-dentist-singer-and-MBA-student-shown-in-latest-Islamic-State-video/articleshow/53104101.cms

--

 

Islamic State made Ramadan 2016 the bloodiest ever

Jul 7, 2016

A bombing in Bangladesh that killed four people Thursday punctuated the most terror-filled month in memory to close the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

This year's month of daytime fasting and prayer included a massive suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed nearly 300 people, an Istanbul airport attack that killed 45, a hostage-taking in Bangladesh that killed 22, an attack on security officials in Saudi Arabia, a bombing in Afghanistan that killed 64 and a shooting massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49.

Most of the victims overseas were Muslim.

“There’s no question, post 9/11, there’s not been a Ramadan with more terrorist attacks across the globe than this one,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

There have been Ramadan campaigns tied to insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan that resulted in enormous death tolls in past years, said William McCants, author of The ISIS Apocalypse at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“For the global jihad, attacks abroad far from the front lines, this has to be some sort of record,” McCants said.

The majority of the attacks were claimed or inspired by the Islamic State, which has launched a wave of terror around the world to show it remains a force to be reckoned with even as it loses territory in Iraq, Syria and Libya, the analysts said.

The Islamic State, which swept across large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014, lost city after city in Iraq this year, the latest being Fallujah. Fighting the militant group are the U.S.-led air campaign, the Iraqi military, Shiite militias trained and organized by Iran, U.S.-backed Kurdish militia, plus Russian and Syrian forces that occasionally strike Islamic State targets while fighting an anti-government rebellion.

Faced with this rapid loss of territory, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani issued a statement last month to prepare followers for severe setbacks and a future once again “in the desert without cities and without territory.”

Adnani was referring to the period from 2006 to 2012 when the group’s predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, was nearly decimated by U.S. forces and survived in a nearly dormant existence until a new opportunity arose from the political turmoil in Iraq and Syria, McCants said.

“Attacks abroad are meant to galvanize their followers and demonstrate they have ability to reach out and touch their enemy,” he said.

Islamic State terrorism threatens multiple countries across the Middle East and Africa, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, Gatenstein-Ross said.

While Egypt and Tunisia are fairly stable, terrorist activity there has virtually killed tourism, an important source of revenue, he noted.

While some attacks appear to be loosely connected to the Islamic State, such as the June 12 shooting in Orlando, the group's leaders in Syria and Iraq also advise local networks around the Muslim world to strike, Gartenstein-Ross said.

Turkish officials arrested at least 30 people in connection to the June 28 attack at the Attaturk airport.

Another example: Malaysian police said an explosive thrown into a club in Puchong was the work of a local network under direction from an external operations chief named Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi in Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria. Eight people were injured in the June 28 attack.

“This is a show of force, a signal to regional networks that ISIS is the best game in town,” Gartenstein-Ross said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

The attacks punish Islamic State enemies, spread the group’s message and show that the group can pull off a wide-scale campaign, he said.

The Islamic State “likes doing new things that other terrorist groups haven’t done,” Gartenstein-Ross said.

usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/07/07/islamic-state-made-ramadan-2016-bloodiest-ever/86815532/

--

 

Victory in Afghanistan Impossible Without Calling Taliban Terrorists

07/07/16

Policymakers need a refresher course on Afghanistan: Terrorists make their plans independently. They don’t follow the timetable of on-the-stump drawdown promises or primetime addresses by politicians. They don’t lay down the arms they feel Allah orders them to brandish to sit at a negotiating table with disbelievers or perceived puppet Muslim rulers. And they definitely aren’t just an armed insurgency as they blow up families.

Yet, while President Obama attributes his decision to keep steady troop levels in Afghanistan to “the realities of the world as it is,” he refuses to acknowledge that the Taliban are terrorists.

This, after all, would be admitting that the administration has made deals with terrorists, as evidenced by the swap of five Taliban commanders for Bowe Bergdahl in 2014—the year by which Obama pledged to leave Afghanistan.

“The Taliban is an armed insurgency. ISIL is a terrorist group. So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in January 2015.

The administration has yearned for Afghanistan to be wrapped up in a neat negotiations bow before Obama leaves office; and even after the latest bloody terrorist attacks, the White House ends up calling for a peace deal. Imagine the outcry if the administration called for Bangladesh to strike a deal with ISIS on a Sharia state after the Dhaka café attack.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fond of noting about Iran, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then what is it? …It’s time the world started calling a duck a duck.”

Afghanistan’s duck kicked off the new year with a suicide bomber in Kabul blowing himself up at a French restaurant popular with foreigners. This duck sent a suicide bomber to detonate next to a bus full of journalists, and another to blow up a line of Afghan police recruits. In April, it waged the deadliest attack in the capital since 2011, killing civil servants in the morning and bombing the news station that reported on the attack in the evening. They murdered 11 members of one family in a May roadside bombing. At the end of that month, the Taliban set up a fake highway checkpoint to kidnap and kill civilians.

These attacks are just scratching the surface of Taliban crimes. In the most insulting twist of all, the Taliban has touted the work of their “Department for the Prevention of Civilian Casualties.”

The Taliban who banned television during their reign of terror have now embraced all of the modern means of spreading terrorist propaganda, from videos to radio to their website in Pashto, Dari, Arabic, Urdu and English that features news reports with grossly inflated body counts, official statements, op-eds and Distributed Denial of Service protection from a U.S. company.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction stated in its quarterly report to Congress this January that “the Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001.”

In April, a spokesman for U.S. operations in Afghanistan said the Taliban were faring well with their opium poppy crop, and their old buddies al-Qaeda had established an “increased relationship” by which they’re sharing their “special skills” to make Taliban fighters “more effective.”

Obama trumpeted the May assassination of Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in his latest Afghanistan announcement but, within a few days of that drone hit, the Taliban seamlessly elected another leader. Haibatullah Akhundzada stressed that the Taliban will stay the course with no peace talks and a continued offensive. After all, they feel like they’re winning. Why should they give up?

“The Mujahideen have the same complete jihadist order, comprehensive organizational set-up and rock-hard and unbreakable unity,” the new leader said in his Eid al-Fitr message. “The same belief on the basis of which we started jihad years ago to implement Islamic Sharia is still vibrant.”

Obama said the United States “will continue to strongly support an Afghan-led reconciliation process” and called “on all countries in the region to end safe havens for militants and terrorists”—but accepting the Taliban automatically gives safe haven to terrorists, because that’s what they are and that’s how their friends and allies are designated.

Even Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who avoided calling the Taliban “terrorists” in hopes of a settlement, unleashed the T-word for the first time in an April speech to parliament.

Yet the administration is insistent on the Taliban as negotiating partners. Maybe the deal with state sponsor of terror in Iran clouded the president’s judgment on what makes a reliable negotiating partner—but the continued vicious attacks on Afghans determined to moved forward from the medieval era of Taliban rule should underscore that. As the mantra goes, we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

And if you want to keep Afghanistan on a 21st century path toward free elections, increased women’s rights and free media—if you really want to shut off the spigot of any potential terrorist haven—you have to start by calling the Taliban what they are: terrorists.

observer.com/2016/07/victory-in-afghanistan-impossible-without-calling-taliban-terrorists/

--

 

Australia pledges extra $300 million to help develop Afghan forces

Fri Jul 08 2016

Australia has pledged extra $300 million in a bid to help develop the Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF).

The latest commitment was reportedly made on Friday ahead of a major NATO summit in Warsaw summit on Afghanistan.

Australia will provide $100 million annually to the Afghan forces until 2020 which comes as the country had earlier pledged $500 million to the Afghan forces from 2010 to 2017.

The announcement of extra funding came two days after U.S. President Barack Obama said he had decided to postpone plans to cut the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Obama said Wednesday that the decision to keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan has been taken due to the situation in the country which remains ‘precarious’.

“As president and commander-in-chief, I have made it clear that I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again,” Obama said. “I strongly believe that it is in our national interests, especially after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested in Afghanistan over the years, that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed.”

The Department of Defense said Obama made the decision after consulting with the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson; his national security team; Congress and allies.

khaama.com/australia-pledges-extra-300-million-to-help-develop-afghan-forces-01428

--

 

Five ways the next president can salvage Afghanistan before it's lost

Fri Jul 08 2016

When President Obama announced Wednesday that 8,400 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan at the end of his term, he framed the decision as an effort to ensure “that my successor has a solid foundation for continued progress in Afghanistan as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves.”

As an Afghanistan veteran who knows a vigorous U.S. presence is needed to ensure stability and security, I believe the president is making the right call. But I’m hard pressed to see how he’s leaving a “solid foundation for continued progress.” Obama leaves behind an Afghanistan that’s in worse shape than it was when he took office — and it will be up to his successor to salvage the progress that has been lost.

I served with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan from 2006-2007, where I led a platoon that faced down determined Taliban fighters in repeated engagements over the course of a 485-day deployment.

When I returned home in 2007 after being wounded in combat, it was difficult being separated from my platoon after all we’d been through together. But I took solace in knowing our aggressive approach was getting results, and that the Taliban’s support was tenuous and weakening.

Fast-forward nine years and it appears my optimism was misplaced. The resurgent Taliban now commands more territory in Afghanistan than at any time since 2001. And while our counterterrorism strategy was ruthlessly effective in uprooting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the influx of Islamic State fighters in the last two years illustrates how quickly a failed state can serve as a magnet for terrorist groups.

The reason for these disheartening trends: the Obama administration has pursued a policy of slow motion retreat in Afghanistan for years. After a surge that boosted the total force to 100,000, the president has steadily reduced the troop presence, all the while telegraphing his desire to ultimately get out of Afghanistan.

The Taliban, and now the Islamic State, got the message. When President Obama declared an end to combat operations in December 2014, they kept right on fighting. They recognized the Obama administration’s timelines and deadlines as an encouragement to hold on until the Americans were gone. And thus we find ourselves today with a situation that is, at best, a fragile stalemate.

But the Obama administration has just over six more months in office, which means the true future of Afghanistan will rest in the hands of the next president. Regardless of who wins the race in November, they must be prepared to undo the wrongs of the last eight years:

Make the mission clear. The Obama administration’s dithering gave the impression that the president only wanted out of Afghanistan, which has sown confusion and uncertainty. As a result, many of those serving in uniform in Afghanistan are unsure of what they are doing or why. Clearly define the goals and what the end-state should look like—and then give them the tools they need to make it happen.

Rebuild and strengthen bonds of trust with military leadership. Particularly in Afghanistan, trust between the president and the military brass has been frayed. The next president must work to rebuild that mutual trust and listen to the advice of field officers. Start by paying close attention to Lt. Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and a strong leader with smart instincts.

Get our allies on board. Recent reports that NATO is set to approve continued training and support for the Afghanistan mission are reassuring. Obama’s successor should move swiftly to shore up this international support and ensure that our allies remain invested in the outcome.

Recognize and maximize the strengths we have. The U.S. military is the most powerful and effective fighting force the world has ever seen—but combat troops are stymied by restrictive rules of engagement that result in missed opportunities and missions without end. Hunting down bad guys, not nation-building, is their specialty. Give them the flexibility they need to get the job done.

Recognize the limitations of what can be achieved. No matter what happens, there is a zero percent chance that the tribal society of Afghanistan will emerge post-war as a strong, stable, advanced economy like Germany, Japan or South Korea (all of which, we should note, continue to host substantial U.S. military presences decades after the end of hostilities). But we can still guarantee a measure of stability and security to ensure that Afghanistan does not devolve into a haven for extremists and terrorist organizations—thereby creating the conditions in which the Afghan people can ultimately prosper.

The reality is that in spite of the Obama administration’s incoherence and diffidence, the conditions for a positive outcome in Afghanistan are there. It will be up to the president’s successor to achieve that outcome.

thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/286845-five-ways-the-next-president-can-salvage-afghanistan-before

--

Arab World

Intelligence reports confirm Iraq war created ISIS

08/07/16

Intelligence reports examined and now released by the Chilcot inquiry appear to confirm Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) was created by the Iraq war, a view now apparently backed by Britain's Tory Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

The reports from the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which were previously classified, tell the story of the security services’ increasing concern that the war and occupation was fuelling ever more extremism in Iraq.

The evidence also appears to debunk repeated claims by former PM Tony Blair that IS began in the Syrian civil war and not Iraq, positioning the brutal group’s rise clearly within Iraq’s borders.

The Chilcot findings were backed up Thursday by serving Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond. He told The Foreign Affairs Committee “many of the problems we see in Iraq today stem from that disastrous decision to dismantle the Iraqi army and embark on a program of de-Baathification.”

“That was the big mistake of post-conflict planning. If we had gone a different way afterwards we might have been able to see a different outcome,” he said.

Hammond conceded that many members of Saddam’s armed forces today filled top roles in IS.

“It is clear a significant number of former Baathist officers have formed the professional core of Daesh [IS] in Syria and Iraq and have given that organization the military capability it has shown in conducting its operations.”

The documents show that by 2006 – three years into the occupation – UK intelligence chiefs were increasingly concerned about the rise of Sunni jihadist resistance to the Western-backed regime of Shia President Nouri Al-Maliki.

A March 2007 JIC report warned Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which it terms AQ-I, had “no shortage of suicide bombers. AQ-I is seeking high-profile attacks. We judge AQ-I will try to expand its sectarian campaign wherever it can: suicide bombings in Kirkuk have risen sharply since October when AQ-I declared the establishment of the notional ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ (including Kirkuk).”

Many leading Al-Qaeda figures had been pro-regime Baathists and members of the former Iraqi Army disbanded by the occupation. They are broadly accepted to have later formed the basis for IS.

The report describes AQ-I as being “in the vanguard.”

“Its strategic main effort is the prosecution of a sectarian campaign designed to drag Iraq into civil war” at the head of a number of other Sunni militia groups.

“We judge its campaign has been the most effective of any insurgent group, having significant impact in the past year, and poses the greatest immediate threat to stability in Iraq. The tempo of mass-casualty attacks on predominantly Shia targets has been relentless,” the spies argue.

Chillingly, an earlier report from 2006 appears to echo some of the realizations made late in the Vietnam War that there were also strong elements of nationalism driving the insurgency.

“They claimed that the label ‘jihadist’ is becoming increasingly difficult to define: in many cases distinctions between nationalists and jihadists are blurred. They increasingly share common cause being drawn together in the face of Shia sectarian violence.”

The reports appear to suggest that the conditions also somewhat echo the Afghanistan war, which by that time was already underway, in that the anti-coalition forces displayed a mix of ideological and economic drivers to resist the occupation.

“Their motivation is mixed: some are Islamist extremists inspired by the AQ agenda, others are simply hired hands attracted by the money,” the spies warn.

The religious sectarianism involved, however, was distinctly Iraqi and reflected the power battle between the deposed Sunni forces and the US-installed Shia regime which replaced it.

They also appeared to believe that AQ-I was composed of local and not, as was claimed at the time, foreign fighters.

“We judge Al-Qaida in Iraq is the largest single insurgent network and although its leadership retains a strong foreign element, a large majority of its fighters are Iraqi.

“Some are drawn in by the opportunity to take on Shia militias: the jihadists’ media effort stresses their role as defenders of the Sunni,” the report concludes.

Prophetically, even before IS began to germinate in Iraq, one now-declassified Foreign Office memo from January 2003 warned “all the evidence from the region suggests that coalition forces will not be seen as liberators for long, if at all. Our motives are regarded with huge suspicion.”

rt.com/uk/349872-invasion-created-isis-intelligence/

--

 

Syrian Army Storms Terrorists' Positions near Lattakia Border with Turkey

08/07/16

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian military troops launched a fresh round of large-scale offensives to push back the militant groups from the mountainous regions in Northern Lattakia.

The Syrian army troops, whose offensive are aimed at recapture of the strategic town of Kinsibba and its overlooking hills, are currently storming Shalaf Castle hill and Tobal Castle hill in Southern side of Kinsibba.

Sources claim that this wide-scale offensive will not end with capturing Kinsibba, but is rather aimed at fully sealing the Turkish-Syrian borders in Lattakia and possibly even the Idlib-Turkish borders.

In relevant developments in the province on Wednesday, the Syrian army pushed back terrorists' attack on its positions in Lattakia province.

The army units fended off the Al-Nusra Front terrorists from their positions near Tal Baydha region for the fourth consecutive day.

Although the Takfiri terrorists had prepared for massive military operations near Tal Baydha region, the Syrian army prevented them from achieving their goal.

The strategic importance of Tal Baydha region is attributed to its proximity with Turkman region and the entrance gate to Jabal al-Akradeh and al-Qasatel strategic region.

Concurrent with the Syrian army's advances in Lattakia province, the Syrian government forces fortified their positions near Yarmoun factories in the outskirts of Aleppo city.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950418000180

--

 

ISIL's Attacks Repulsed by Syrian Soldiers in Deir Ezzur

08/07/16

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian military forces fended off ISIL's attacks on their positions near Deir Ezzur airbase, forcing the Takfiri terrorists to retreat from the battlefield.

The Syrian army men repelled ISIL's assaults on stronghold of the pro-government forces near the village of al-Jufrah, which not only left scores of the militants dead or wounded but destroyed the military equipment.

ISIL began its assaults by sending bomb-laden suicide vehicles towards the army's positions in Northern side of al-Jufrah; however, this terrorist attack was foiled before it could reach its intended target.

Following hours of clashes, the ISIL completely withdrew from the Northern farms of al-Jufrah.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday, the ISIL attacked the Syrian army's military positions along al-Jufrah road in Deir Ezzur province, but they were pushed back after of the army's heavy artillery and rocket fire.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950418000237

--

 

Syrian Air Force Targets ISIL's Oil Tankers in Sweida Province

08/07/16

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian fighter jets traced and targeted ISIL's fuel convoy in Eastern Sweida and destroyed most of the tankers, military sources said.

"ISIL's fuel convoy was on a road in Eastern side of Rusheideh, when the Syrian Air Force struck the terrorist group’s supply vehicles," the sources said, adding, "The convoy was completely destroyed by the Syrian Air Force, leaving a large stretch of highway engulfed in flames of exploded fuel tankers."

In relevant developments last week, the Syrian soldiers targeted a long convoy of ISIL's military vehicles in Northeastern Sweida.

The military column of ISIL on a road near the village of Khirbet Sa'ad was attacked by the army soldiers.

Several machinegun-equipped vehicles of the ISIL were destroyed and the convoy's guards were killed or wounded in the attacks.

In the meantime, the Syrian army's anti-terrorism operations near the village of al-Hafer close to the village of al-Qaser in al-Badiyeh region, ended in the killing or wounding of several ISIL terrorists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950418000206

--

 

19 detained for Saudi Arabian bombings

08/07/16

Saudi Arabia said a suicide bomber who attacked Prophet Mohammed's Mosque in the city of Medina on Monday was a 26-year-old Saudi citizen with a history of drug abuse.

Twelve Pakistanis and seven Saudis have been detained in relation to attacks that day.

Naer Muslim Hamad crossed a parking lot next to the prophet's mosque in Medina and detonated an explosive belt near a security headquarters, killing four soldiers, the state news agency SPA quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying.

"When security guards intercepted him he blew himself up," said the spokesman.

The statement also named three individuals who carried out bombings in the province of Qatif on Monday.

It said none of them had obtained Saudi IDs.

All of the men were in their early 20s and one had previously taken part in anti-government rallies.

Suicide bombers hit three Saudi cities on Monday in apparently coordinated attacks that targeted US diplomats in Jeddah and Shiite Muslim worshippers in Qatif, jolting the kingdom as people prepared to break their fast on the penultimate day of the holy month of Ramadan.

A Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman told Al-Ikhbariya TV that the Medina bomber had traveled outside the country several times, most recently early this year.

He said nitroglycerin from the blasts in Qatif and Medina seemed to match those found at the Jeddah attack suggesting they may have been coordinated.

The United Nations human rights chief described the bombing outside the Prophet Mohammed's Mosque in Medina as "an attack on Islam itself".

No group has claimed responsibility but DAESH militants have carried out similar bombings in the US-allied, Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdom in the past year, targeting minority Shiites and Saudi security forces.

Militant attacks on Medina are unprecedented.

The city is home to the second most sacred site in Islam, a mosque built in the 7th century by the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam, which also houses his tomb.

The Al Saud ruling family considers itself the protector of both sites.

DAESH has said the Saudi rulers are apostates and has declared its intention to topple them.

Monday's attacks highlighted how young Saudi men are being drawn to DAESH, which has launched attacks on Shiites in smaller Gulf Arab states and stepped up violence in the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

King Salman, in a speech on Tuesday marking Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that celebrates the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, said a major challenge facing Saudi Arabia was preserving hope for youth who faced the risk of radicalisation.

Salman said his country would strike with an "iron hand" against people who preyed on youth vulnerable to religious extremism.

Saudi security officials have said DAESH supporters inside the kingdom mainly act independent of the group in Iraq and Syria, its main areas of operation.

trtworld.com/mea/19-detained-for-saudi-arabian-bombings-139357

--

 

Fierce Clashes Underway between Syrian Soldiers, Terrorists near Aleppo City

08/07/16

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army has been engaged in heavy fighting with the militant groups in an industrial region in the Northern countryside of Aleppo, and has thus far captured several workshops, military sources announced on Friday.

"Tough battle in underway between the al-Nusra Front and Nouralddeen al-Zinki Movement with the Syrian government forces al-Lairamoun, which once was a booming industrial and economical hub," the sources said.

"The army has so far captured Shbeib Factory, a facility located at the line dividing the Industrial Area and the Bani Zeid Housing Complex; a notorious rebel-held district that acts as the launching pad of Hell Canon shells dropped at the government-held parts of Aleppo."

In relevant developments on Thursday, the Syrian army continued its advances in Aleppo province by cutting off the terrorist groups' strategic supply route of Castillo Highway in Aleppo province.

The Syrian army's control over Castillo Highway paves the way for besieging them in the Eastern part of Aleppo province.

The army units also seized back al-Malaah Farms after making a swift advance towards the terrorists' defense lines.

The capture of Castillo Highway also helps the Syrian army to maintain its grip over al-Mallah Farms.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950418000313

--

 

Syria: Gov't Forces Continue to Advance against Terrorists in Southwestern Damascus

08/07/16

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops, the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and National Defense Forces stormed the strongholds of Ajnad al-Sham in a key town in Western Damascus, pushing the militants back from more positions in the battlefield.

The Syrian government forces targeted the remaining farms under the control of Ajnad al-Sham in al-Alayeh district in Darayya, which inflicted major losses on the militants and forced them to retreat from the battlefront. 

the Syrian missiles and artillery units shelled positions on the militant groups in the Northern sector of the al-Alayeh district.

In relevant developments in the province on Wednesday, the Syrian army and resistance forces in clashes with the Jeish al-Islam (Army of Islam) terrorist group managed to seize back a strategic town in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside and took control of the terrorists' supply route.

The Syrian army and popular forces took full control of Meda'a town in Eastern Ghouta after heavy clashes with Jeish al-Islam terrorists.

The terrorists sustained heavy casualties in the heavy clashes with the Syrian army and resistance forces.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950418000286

--

Pakistan

Islamic countries must adopt joint strategy to tackle terrorism: Mamnoon

08 July,2016

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday received a call from Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim who extended the greetings of Eid-ul-Fitr to the president. Mamnoon Hussain, in reply, stated that Pakistan and Turkey were brothers and the countries were similar to a single soul in two bodies, reported Dunya News.

President Mamnoon also wished the Turkish PM and the people of Turkey a happy Eid. The president stated that both countries shall continue cooperating with one another in order to deal with terrorism. Mamnoon Hussain suggested that the Islamic countries need to adopt a joint strategy in order to tackle the menace of terrorism.

Binali Yildirim stated that Pakistan and Turkey had unanimous stance in regards to a number of issues and that both countries cooperated with one another over international forums. He added that Turkey supported Pakistan to the greatest extent over the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) issue, further stating that Pakistan shall continue to enjoy the support of Turkey in international forums in the future as well.

Turkish PM stated that the brotherhood between Pakistan and Turkey was strengthening as time passed. Yildirim thanked Mamnoon Hussain over Pakistan’s passionate and earnest support regarding the recent attack on Istanbul’s airport.

dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/344244-Islamic-countries-must-adopt-joint-strategy-to-tac

--

 

Blair cannot absolve himself of deaths of thousands of Iraqis, says Imran Khan

08/07/16

ISLAMABAD: Former Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair cannot absolve himself of the deaths of thousands of Iraqis, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Thursday.

“Shameful how Blair unrepentant over Iraq invasion despite findings of Chilcot report and only ‘regret’ is for loss of 179 UK soldiers in Iraq,” Imran said.

In a series of tweets, the PTI chief criticised Blair after an official inquiry concluded Wednesday that Britain’s decision to go to war in Iraq was a failure born of flawed intelligence, lack of foresight and “wholly inadequate” planning.

“How can Blair absolve himself of the deaths of thousands of Iraqis as a result of US-UK-led invasion and of chaos unleashed in the region,” he said.

2 How can Blair absolve himself of the deaths of thousands of Iraqis as a result of US-UK-led invasion & of chaos unleashed in the region?

Imran, who has been a vocal critic of US-led invasion in Afghanistan and human rights violations caused by US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, held Blair and his allies responsible for lawlessness that has engulfed Arab states.

“How can Blair absolve himself of extremism and civil wars that began in Arab states and continue to date as well as the emergence of ISIS,” he said.

The 63-year-old politician, whose party govern Pakistan’s northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, demanded accountability “for a war based on lies”.

“Surely there must be accountability for a war based on lies/deliberate misrepresentation causing continuing chaos, violence and death,” he said.

In the inquiry report chaired by John Chilcot, Blair’s statement to UK parliament in 2002 about the risk posed by Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and an intelligence dossier to the public that accompanied it were concluded to be presented with a “certainty that was not justified”.

Chilcot outlined a catalogue of failures made in the run-up to and aftermath of the war.

He said days before the invasion, Blair had been asked by the government’s top lawyer to confirm Iraq had committed breaches of a United Nations Security Council resolution, which would justify war.

Blair acknowledged such breaches had been committed but Chilcot said, “The precise basis on which Mr Blair made that decision is not clear.”

He also said Blair changed his case for war from focusing on Iraq’s “vast stocks” of illegal weapons to Saddam Hussein having the intent to obtain such weapons and being in breach of UN resolutions.

“That was not, however, the explanation for military action he had given before the conflict,” Chilcot said.

But Blair defended his decision to take Britain to war in Iraq in 2003.

Addressing a lengthy press conference following release of the inquiry report, he said: “I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer.”

dawn.com/news/1269487/blair-cannot-absolve-himself-of-deaths-of-thousands-of-iraqis-says-imran-khan

--

 

Kashmir Has a Deep Resonance Inside Pakistan

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Kashmir has a deep resonance inside Pakistan and the tense situation in the Valley “acts as bait and encourages radical elements” ‘to wage jihad to liberate fellow Muslims’, says former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

He also says that there will “always be a minority opinion sympathising with the activities of the jihadis” due to the staunch commitment of Pakistanis to the Kashmir cause.

“If that were not the case,” he says, “there would be no willing recruits from among the masses to the jihadi cause.”

However, among influential sections of public opinion and in the corridors of power it was realised that Pakistan’s policy of support to non-state actors had actually boomeranged on it, says the senior leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party who has dealt with India-Pakistan relations.

On the Pakistan-India dynamics, he says, “Pakistan-India relationship does have an impact radicalising elements among Muslims in Pakistan. Kashmir has a deep resonance inside Pakistan. Furthermore, the tense situation in the Kashmir Valley also acts as bait and encourages radical elements ‘to wage jihad to liberate fellow Muslims’.”

He feels normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India will help pluralistic and liberal forces in Pakistan besides helping the conditions of minorities in both countries.

Kasuri is also of the opinion that notwithstanding the initial romance surrounding the Mujahideen activities, the West and particularly Pakistan continue to pay a heavy price for this jihad and both are still suffering from its blowback.

“Over time, the West and Pakistan have had to contend with increasing linkages between terrorist groups of different orientations. Pakistan also discovered, to its horror, that some of the groups fighting in Kashmir could just as easily attack its own civilians and security forces.

In many cases, the intelligence and law enforcement agencies were also targeted. Public opinion in Pakistan began turning against the activities of violent groups for whatever cause,” he writes in an article in the Equator Line magazine’s latest issue, contributors to which are all Pakistanis.

Kasuri says that there was a growing recognition among the middle-classes and major sections of the media that Kashmir and other issues with India could not be resolved by resorting to violence by non-state actors and although their activities definitely attracted a lot of international attention, it was equally clear after 9/11 that the international community had lost any appetite for such activities.

“It came to be realised that Pakistan and India would have to find a negotiated settlement to Kashmir and other outstanding issues between them. I do not wish to convey the impression that, at the time when I assumed office, the support for jihadi groups had evaporated among all sections of public opinion. Due to the staunch commitment of Pakistanis to the Kashmir cause, there will always be a minority opinion sympathising with the activities of the jihadis,” he writes.

According to Kasuri, there are many reasons for the rise of fundamentalism in Pakistan and it may be helpful to look at the subject from at least four perspectives.

“First, Pakistan’s political and constitutional struggle to create a new dispensation after Partition; this determined the role of the ulema allowing for its expansion under General Zia-ul-Haq. This, in turn, contributed later on to the strengthening of the fundamentalist forces.

Second, the situation since 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union and Pakistan’s role in resisting it with the help of the entire Western world, China and the Islamic fraternity with Saudi Arabia taking a lead role (along with the general spread of radicalism throughout the Muslim world for various reasons – falling outside the scope of this article) greatly strengthened the fundamentalists and militants.

Third, the Pakistan-India dynamic helped strengthen reactionary elements inside Pakistan at the expense of the liberals.

The fourth factor we have to consider is the situation in Pakistan in the post Zarb-e-Azb operation by the Pakistan Army to clear the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of the terrorists who had taken refuge there and created an infrastructure to support their activities,” he writes.

kashmirlife.net/kashmir-has-a-deep-resonance-inside-pakistan-kasuri-110407/

--

 

Dedicated PIA aircraft to carry PM, camp office back to Pakistan

07/07/16

RAWALPINDI: A dedicated Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft has been deputed to transport Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his London camp office back to Pakistan, PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani said on Friday.

"Due to the prime minister's health issues, PM Office had partly been shifted to London where a camp office had been set up," said a statement issued by the airline.

"Now that the PM has recovered after his surgery and is allowed to travel, the whole camp office has to be shifted back to Pakistan. On PIA's regular flights, so many seats were not available, due to which the only option was to depute a dedicated aircraft," the statement said.

The statement did not, however, mention a date for the PM's return to Pakistan.

Shahbaz Sharif flew to London earlier this week for Eid holidays and will likely return to Pakistan with the premier.

Local media reports claim the prime minister is scheduled to return to Pakistan on July 9 after doctors gave him the go-ahead.

PM Nawaz underwent open-heart surgery at a London hospital on May 31.

The need for the surgery arose after the premier went through a cardiac procedure called Atrial Fibrillation Ablation in 2011, "during which certain complications occurred resulting in perforation of heart", Maryam Nawaz earlier told the media.

Many had called it a politically prudent decision to leave the country at a time when opposition parties were exerting pressure on the government in the wake of the Panama leaks, however, the same reason necessitated the visit, a PML-N office-bearer had told Dawn.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen last week said the party’s preparations for launching a "massive protest movement" over the Panama Leaks soon after Eidul Fitr were in full swing.

Government and opposition leaders had agreed on May 18 to form a 12-member parliamentary committee — including six members each from both sides — that will draft the Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the proposed commission to be headed by the chief justice of Pakistan for holding an inquiry against those owning offshore companies as revealed by the Panama Papers leaks.

Both government and the opposition parties had agreed that besides concentrating on the individuals named in the Panama Papers, the committee will also go after those who received kickbacks and commissions, as well as those who had their loans written off illegally.

On May 31, the committee ended its fourth meeting without even discussing the issue.

According to independent observers, the committee may not reach consensus because both sides are poles apart as far as their expectations are concerned.

An investigation published April 3 by an international coalition of more than 100 media outlets based on 11.5 million records and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from the internal database of Panamaian law firm Mossack Fonseca details how politicians, celebrities and other famous people use banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets.

According to documents available on the ICIJ website, the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's children Maryam, Hasan and Hussain "were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies".

The data leak revealed the financial wheelings and dealings of over 200 Pakistanis, including the late Benazir Bhutto, Rehman Malik and other prominent politicians and businessmen.

dawn.com/news/1269499/dedicated-pia-aircraft-to-carry-pm-camp-office-back-to-pakistan

--

Mideast

Iraqi Kurdish state dream crushed by low oil prices, political division

08/07/16

Economic woes triggered by a big drop in global oil prices and political divisions that have sharpened over the last years have crushed Iraqi Kurds’ long-term dream of founding an independent state.

Around three years ago, when a barrel of oil was $110, when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was not as big a threat to the region and the world, when Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani’s legitimacy was not under strain and when international actors supported the process, Iraqi Kurds were voicing their dreams of forming an independent state.

Barzani even met U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington and told him about this desire, but this dream has hit rock bottom due to five main developments in the region and the world.

The fall of the oil price from a high of $110 to as low as $26 has resulted in significant changes for Iraqi Kurds not only in terms of their dreams but also their daily lives.

From being called the “new Dubai” with the accompanying building boom, Arbil now stands as a city that is full of abandoned building sites.

The economic crisis is “the foremost problem that threatens the existence of Kurdistan,” said Qubad Talabani, the KRG’s deputy prime minister.

Back in 2011, the KRG decided to sell the oil it drilled in its area via Turkey, risking the money Baghdad would send to Arbil. This strategic decision caused problems inside the country and between Ankara and Baghdad too but due to the high oil prices at the time, the KRG continued to pursue its decision.

But when global oil prices dropped, around 1.5 million people who had been added to the civil service to cut down on the risk of political risks began to go without their salaries. The financial problems civil servants have been experiencing have also affected the country’s economy, leading to a halt at many constructions sites.

The Planning Ministry said that around 4,000 projects had been halted due to a lack of permission, 500 of which are schooling projects.

Political struggle

Political battles have also taken their toll on the dreams of an independent state.

There are three influential parties in the KRG: Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Nawshirwan Mustafa’s Movement for Change (Goran), which split from Talabani around nine years ago. There are also two Islamists parties – the Kurdistan Islamic Union (Yekgirtu) and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal Islami), although they are not as influential as the first three parties. But the Kurds in KRG are so overwhelmed and angry at the corruption and political struggles that they do not even want to name a party to support.

Barzani’s presidency was supposed to end in 2013 but it was prolonged for another two years, after which he was again supposed to depart in August 2015, but did not, citing the ISIL threat and economic hardships. Parties entered into negotiations but failed to reach a deal, leading to Goran being removed from the KRG cabinet and Arbil. Goran subsequently took refuge in Sulaymaniyah, where Talabani has a strong hand.

Some have suggested that the political chaos could be solved by granting autonomy within autonomy, in which Barzani would control the Arbil and Duhok regions and Talabani would control Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk with a similar autonomous status, with all the entities to be linked to central Iraq.

ISIL threatens the region

The third reason for the disruption of the idea of an independent state is the ISIL threat, which has also caused other problems threatening the existence of the possibility of an independent Kurdistan.

Since ISIL captured Mosul, which lies 50 kilometers from Arbil, ISIL has changed the balance in the KRG. An Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga commander said that when ISIL attacked the region in 2014, they saw their flaws as the peshmerga could not defend Makhmur or Sinjar and there was no coordination between each other inside the Peshmerga forces.

The ISIL threat has also altered the security risks and increased the investment risks and the amount of expenditures on security.

1.8 mln refugees for 5.5 mln inhabitants

Another effect of ISIL is the number of migrants living in the area. While the KRG population is around 5.5 million, the current number of migrants and displaced people in the region is 1.8 million.

Only 250,000 of these people are from Syria and fit the definition of a refugee but the rest are Iraqis who have fled their homes and sought refuge in the Kurdistan region. Because most of the people do not fit the international term of a refugee, the United Nations and international charities cannot fund these people, referring them instead to Baghdad, only for the Iraqi government to refuse to help the KRG due to the political crisis.

At the same time, international powers also do not want an independent Kurdish state in the Iraq, with Washington rejecting such an idea to avoid disrupting the fight against ISIL and irking Baghdad.

hurriyetdailynews.com/iraqi-kurdish-state-dream-crushed-by-low-oil-prices-political-division.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101348&NewsCatID=352

--

 

CHP, MHP oppose Turkish citizenship for Syrians

08/07/16

Representatives of two Turkish opposition parties have voiced their criticism of a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) plan to provide Turkish citizenship to around 3 million Syrian refugees, saying the government’s plan amounted to “political populism,” while questioning the motives behind the move.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Secretary General Kamil Okyay Sındır said the government’s arguments for the plan were unacceptable, while Mehmet Günal, the deputy head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), warned such a move would discourage Syrians from going back to their countries.

The criticism from both parties about the ruling AKP government’s intention to give Turkish citizenship to Syrian refugees was voiced during the visit of an MHP delegation to the CHP’s headquarters.

Sındır underlined the importance of having peace in Syria and said, “We do not find it correct to provide citizenship to refugees while hiding behind other political thoughts.”

Günal reminded that many Turkish-origin migrants had several unresolved problems. “Their problems have remained unsolved since the 1990s. While those citizenship problems of Turkish-origin people continue, you start talking about giving citizenship to Syrians. This looks to us like political populism,” he said.

A new law is required to enable Syrians to become Turkish citizen, said Günal, adding there was a need of analysis from sociologists and other experts before taking such a decision.

“We are wondering whether this [citizenship issue] is part of the negotiations. Is there something else behind the scenes of the deals done with Russia and Israel? That’s what we thought when this issue came to the agenda in such a rush. Syria needs to normalize. Some of the Syrians need to go back. If you start talking about this, even those who are planning to go back, won’t go back. It was wrong in terms of substance and timing,” said Günal.

Sındır recalled that the government used the argument the refugees who will be given citizenship constituted a “qualified work force” and continued:

 “That means you are discriminating. That means you are in the understanding of not treating a refugee as a treaty but as someone to benefit from. We have many unemployed qualified workers, in all fields. When we have so many jobless qualified people in health, engineering and several other areas and as if we lack human resources, the government is trying to push the argument that the Syrian refugees will provide the human resources. This is not acceptable. We should not compromise from human rights and freedoms, both on domestic issues but on the Syrian refugee issues as well.”

Separately, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli also voiced criticism on the issue.

“When Syria will find peace one day, it will be a national duty for them [refugees] to go back to their countries. Those who would prefer to stay in Syria would be fugitives. It would be a great contradiction for a person who has lost the qualification of being a Syrian citizen to have the qualification of being a Turkish citizen. Let’s continue to help them but let’s not run after small calculations,” he said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-mhp-oppose-turkish-citizenship-for-syrians.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101341&NewsCatID=338

--

 

Turkish Foreign Ministry calls French genocide denial bill a risk to freedom of expression

08/07/16

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has cautioned that a French bill criminalizing the denial of “genocide,” unanimously passed by the lower house of the French parliament on July 1, had the potential to unlawfully limit freedom of expression, while a former diplomat has claimed the bill was related to the “personal interests” of French politicians.

“We have closely followed the preparation and adoption processes of the draft amendments to the Law on the Freedom of Press that the French National Assembly adopted concerning criminalization of the denial of war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide under certain conditions,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç in a written statement released late on July 6.

“In the event that the draft is enacted in its present form, it has the potential to pose the risk of unlawfully limiting the freedom of expression, especially impinging on the jurisprudences of the ECtHR [the European Court of Human Rights] and the Constitutional Council of France,” said Bilgiç in the statement, which came in the form of an official answer by the spokesperson to a journalist’s question.

“We will also closely follow the upcoming process at the French senate in the near future regarding the draft, which has not yet been enacted,” said the statement.

“We expect that the French senate will remove the elements that may have the potential to pose the risk of limiting the freedom of expression from the draft,” concluded the statement.

The French bill set out penalties of up to a year in prison and a 45,000-euro ($50,000) fine for those who publicly deny “genocide,” reported Agence France-Presse.

The two houses of the French parliament passed a similar law in December 2011 and January 2012, though the country’s constitutional court later struck down that law, ruling that it is an infringement on freedom of speech. In July 2012, French President Francois Hollande confirmed plans for a new law with representatives of the Armenian community.

‘An issue completely relating to the personal interests of French politicians’

In an interview with the Azerbaijan Press Agency (APA), Osman Korutürk, a former ambassador of Turkey to Paris, remarked that France’s adoption of a bill criminalizing genocide denial was “not due to love for Armenians.”

“This is an issue completely relating to personal interest of French politicians, not for their love to Armenians. There are Armenians in France’s different regions who own great wealth,” said Korutürk, a former Istanbul deputy for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), in the interview posted on July 6.

“They can influence the policy. One of senior advisors of Hollande in the election was Armenian. Hollande had promised Armenians that this bill will be adopted. After the parliament adopted the bill with the initiative of a politician like [former French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, who did not obey rules of law, the Constitutional Council of France had rejected the bill because it was against freedom of speech and expression, human rights. We were happy at that time that the Constitutional Council of France foregrounded the human rights [because] France is the cradle of the freedom. Now, the bill with the same content was adopted by the parliament with the initiative of Hollande. Compared to [the] previous bill, a small amendment was made in it: to criminalize ‘genocide’ denial, the ‘genocide’ does not need to be confirmed by any independent court,” said the retired veteran diplomat.

“Therefore, despite [the fact that] no independent court [has] passed [a] ‘genocide’ decision about [the] 1915 events, they planned to include it in the list of other formal genocides,” said Korutürk, referring to the Ottoman-era mass killings of Anatolian Armenians.

“This time, the Constitutional Council of France may not reject the bill. [The] Turkish government has sent the representatives of [the] other three parties in the [Turkish] parliament, who are engaged in this issue, to relevant countries to struggle politically, diplomatically and legally… [against] such issues,” he also said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-foreign-ministry-calls-french-genocide-denial-bill-a-risk-to-freedom-of-expression.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101356&NewsCatID=510

--

 

Turkey, Iran seek joint efforts against terrorism

July/07/2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, have exchanged Eid al-Fitr greetings amid a call from Tehran to stage a joint fight against terrorism.

Rouhani expressed his sorrow about a June 28 terror attack at Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport that claimed 47 lives, according to a statement on the website of the Iranian Embassy in Ankara.

“The struggle against terrorism requires close cooperation between the two countries and the serious steps by the two countries against this evil will surely eradicate terrorism in the region,” Rouhani told Erdoğan on the phone, according to the embassy. 

Turkish authorities said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for the attack.

Turkish presidency sources also said Rouhani highlighted the importance of international cooperation against terrorism, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Thanking Iran for expressing sympathy with Turkey over the recent terrorist attacks, Erdoğan highlighted the necessity for concerted action against terrorists, according to the website of Tasnim News Agency.

The Iranian leader “touched the deep partnerships between the two countries and highlighted that the conditions are suitable for both countries to develop relations in all fields,” the embassy said.

Rouhani also said rapidly implementing trade accords between the two countries would be an important step forward to developing mutual relations.

Tehran and Ankara have been engaged in a major row over Syria, with the former actively supporting President Bashar al-Assad and the latter calling for the Syrian leader to go.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a July 4 interview with French daily Le Monde that Ankara had been in talks with Russia and Iran to discuss the future of Syria.   

“Turkey still believes Syrians and the opposition do not want to accept al-Assad. Al-Assad used chemical weapons and barrel bombs to kill 500,000 people,” he said.       

“We are resolute about further developing our realistic, friendly and peaceful relationships – from Russia to Israel, Egypt to Syria, Iraq to Iran, and EU countries to the United States. We will continue to do so,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the same day, describing the situation in Syria as “unsustainable.”

Turkey has been involved in a broad diplomatic campaign to mend its ties with neighbors, with Erdoğan talking on the phone with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to end a crisis that was precipitated by Turkey’s downing of a jet last year and Ankara signing a deal with Israel to put an end to frozen ties following a 2010 Israeli attack on a Turkish aid flotilla bound for Gaza that claimed 10 lives.

Turkey has been in talks with Russia, another supporter of the al-Assad regime, over the fight against terrorism in Syria.

Anadolu Agency reported that Erdoğan also talked on the phone with Khaled Mashaal, the political leader of Hamas.

Mashaal extended condolences to Erdoğan over a helicopter crash late on July 5 that claimed the lives of seven soldiers and civilians.

As part of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, the president also spoke to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Erdoğan congratulated Nazarbayev on his birthday and discussed the Kazakh president’s upcoming visit to Turkey in August.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-iran-seek-joint-efforts-against-terrorism-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101347&NewsCatID=510

--

 

Man fined over $2400 for ‘insulting’ policeman in Turkey

July/07/2016

A man has been fined more than 7,000 Turkish Liras (around $2400) for “insulting” an on-duty police officer during a basketball game, after the officer yelled at his nine-year-old boy with Down syndrome for accidentally hitting his pants.

On Jan. 10, Mustafa Yıldız brought his wife and two children, including Emircan Yıldız, who suffers from Down syndrome, to watch a basketball game between Torku Konyaspor and Trabzonspor in the Central Anatolian province of Konya.

The family sat among Trabzonspor fans, where a police officer, identified as R.G., was on duty.

According to reports, Emircan Yıldız left a mark on the officer’s pants after inadvertently hitting him a few times out of excitement, prompting the policeman to order Mustafa Yıldız to “take his child to the other side.”

“This is a special kid. Why are you acting like this? You ill-mannered man,” Yıldız reportedly said to the officer.

Yıldız filed a complaint against the officer after the game, saying the officer insulted him, which in turn led R.G. to press charges against the father.

While dismissing Yıldız’s complaint for lack of adequate evidence, the court ruled that Yıldız insulted the police officer by calling him “ill-mannered.” Yıldız was sentenced to pay a fine totaling 7,080 liras, in addition to R.G.’s legal expenses, which was another 1,800 liras. The fine was postponed for five years and will be rescinded if Yıldız does not commit a crime during this period.

“Emircan doesn’t know what it is to make something dirty because he is a special child. I reacted to the police officer because he made my son sad and made him cry. But I will appeal to a higher court to reverse this judgment,” Yıldız said, adding his son was traumatized by the incident.

hurriyetdailynews.com/man-fined-over-2400-for-insulting-policeman-in-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101335&NewsCatID=339

--

 

Lawyer asks Israel to destroy homes of Palestinian’s killers

July/07/2016

JERUSALEM — A lawyer for the family of a Palestinian teen whose 2014 murder was part of a chain of events that sparked the Gaza war says he wants Israel to punish the teenager’s killers in the same way it does Palestinian militants.

Lawyer Mohannad Jubara is petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court to demolish the family homes of the Israeli three men who abducted 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir and burned him to death in 2014.

The attackers say it was in revenge for the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens by Palestinians allied with the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Israel says it carries out demolitions of militants’ homes to deter future attacks. Palestinians consider it collective punishment.

Jubara said this week that he wants the same policy applied for Abu Khdeir’s killers.

washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/lawyer-asks-israel-to-destroy-homes-of-palestinians-killers/2016/07/08/98589d3a-44e7-11e6-a76d-3550dba926ac_story.html

--

Europe

Obama urges European leaders to stand firm against Russia and Islamic State

08/07/2016

In a column published in the Financial Times, he argued that the UK's looming exit makes the Nato alliance a more important force for co-operation in the region.

"I believe that our nations must summon the political will, and make concrete commitments, to meet these urgent challenges. I believe we can - but only if we stand united as true allies and partners," he wrote.

The president's words were published as he opened two days of meetings with European Union and Nato leaders in Warsaw.

Mr Obama began his day by meeting European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. The White House said he was urging the leaders to step carefully in the exit negotiations, which have not yet been formally triggered by Britain and could take up to two years.

"I am confident that the UK and the EU will be able to agree on an orderly transition to a new relationship, as all our countries stay focused on ensuring financial stability and growing the global economy," Mr Obama wrote.

Mr Obama's trip, which includes a stop in Spain, is expected to be his last trip to Europe as president.

The task of trying to shape the talks to serve US interests and mitigate damage will largely fall to his successor, but in his remaining time in office, he has sought to use his popularity in Europe and his presidential megaphone to defend international co-operation and the "European project" and will urge other leaders to speak up more forcefully.

The White House has acknowledged that Mr Obama's message has to some degree failed to persuade on both sides of the Atlantic. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has suggested he would seek to pull back from Europe, even hinting the US could withdraw from Nato, the 67-year-old cornerstone of European security. His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has suggested she would continue, if not deepen, Mr Obama's approach, but she has rejected the president's push for massive multinational free-trade agreements.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Moscow's hostile actions in Ukraine have spurred the alliance to raise its defences on the eastern flank.

He spoke to reporters before the Nato summit opened to approve, among others, the presence of four battalions in Poland and the Baltic states. These nations feel threatened after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and continues to back separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Mr Stoltenbeg said: "No-one was talking about reinforcing deterrence" before the action in Crimea.

He added that deterrence and defence combined with constructive dialogue are the best approach in ties with Russia, adding that the Russia-Nato Council will meet next week.

A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said Moscow is willing to co-operate with Nato although it acts towards Russia like an enemy.

Dmitry Peskov said Moscow "has always been open for dialogue" with Nato, especially to fight what it sees as a "genuine threat" - terrorism.

Mr Peskov added: "Russia is not looking (for an enemy) but it actually sees it happening. When Nato soldiers march along our border and Nato jets fly by, it's not us who is moving closer to the Nato borders."

independent.ie/world-news/obama-urges-european-leaders-to-stand-firm-against-russia-and-islamic-state-34867199.html

--

 

Germany Accuses Asylum Seeker of Aiding Paris Attacks Leader

08/07/2016

BERLIN—German prosecutors Thursday accused an Algerian asylum seeker of helping scout potential routes into Europe for the alleged ringleader of the November Paris attacks.

Germany’s federal prosecutor said a 20-year-old identified as Algerian Bilal C., who is already behind bars for theft and fraud, is suspected of having been a member of Islamic State and having kept  Abdelhamid Abaaoud informed about the situation along the refugee route through Europe.

The prosecutor’s office said Bilal C. traveled on Abaaoud’s orders from Syria along the so-called Balkan route that was used by hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees last year to escape the Middle East and Africa, and passed information to Abaaoud along the way.

The detention of Bilal C., who had requested asylum in Germany, is the latest evidence that Islamic State was trying to use record migration to Europe last summer to smuggle operatives into the continent.

In the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people, two of the attackers used the refugee route from Greece to enter Europe, according to authorities. The revelation added to fears of terrorism and the security risks from migration, pushing EU leaders to take increasingly tough measures to limit the flow.

Abaaoud, the alleged architect of the November Paris attacks, is suspected of having slipped into Europe from Syria through unchecked borders, French officials have said.

The Belgian-born terrorist is suspected of having planned and coordinated three teams of attackers who carried out the assaults on the French capital. French authorities are also investigating whether Abaaoud was involved in other attacks and plots against Europe. He was killed in a shootout with police in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis days after the attacks.

The German federal prosecutor’s office said Bilal C. received the order from Abaaoud in June 2015 to explore potential smuggling routes along the Balkan route after he joined the terror organization Islamic State in Syria in late 2014.

After receiving the order, Bilal C. between June 2015 and August 2015 traveled from Syria via Turkey, Greece, Serbia and Hungary to Austria and continuously kept Abaaoud informed about border checks, waiting times and access routes, the prosecutor’s office said.

During those trips, Bilal C. also kept another man informed,  Ayoub El Khazzani, who had attempted a terrorist attack aboard a Thalys train in August 2015, which was thwarted by the quick action of four passengers.

The prosecutor’s office said that Bilal C. kept Mr. El Khazzani informed about potential smuggling routes, especially from Turkey to Greece.

German officials, after initially playing down the risk of terrorists sneaking into Europe as part of last year’s influx of refugees and migrants, have in recent months warned repeatedly about security risks of the migrant flow.

They say that while Islamic State has more reliable means of sending terrorists to Europe—for example, by dispatching radicalized EU citizens—smuggling in attackers posing as migrants can serve the group’s purpose by inflaming anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe.

Bilal C. ended his zigzags across Europe in Germany in August 2015, the month when migrant numbers entering Europe surged dramatically. About one million people from Syria and elsewhere arrived in Germany seeking asylum last year, at a rate of as many as 10,000 a day, many of them entering the country without the background checks typical for people applying for a visa.

Bilal C. registered as an asylum seeker in Germany but got into trouble with police for stealing and collecting asylum-seeker benefits in two different cities under different identifies, officials said.

On Wednesday, a court in Aachen near the Belgian and Dutch borders sentenced him to eight months in youth prison for theft and fraud, said a court spokesman. On Thursday, an investigating judge issued a new arrest order on the new allegations.

The federal prosecutor said there is no evidence that Bilal C. continued to operate on behalf of Islamic State after arriving in Germany.

wsj.com/articles/germany-accuses-asylum-seeker-of-aiding-paris-attacks-leader-1467904592

--

 

French jihadist in Turkish jail seeks return to Europe with 4 wives, 7 kids

08/07/2016

A French jihadist who fought for Al-Nusra and Islamic State in Syria since 2013 and who is UN blacklisted apparently feels pangs of remorse. He is being held in a Turkish jail and has asked France to take him back, along with several relatives, French media reported.

The French citizen, whose name hasn’t been revealed to the media, joined Al-Nusra front in Syria back in 2013, France’s BFM TV reported. Later he joined Islamic State terrorists and allegedly made quite ‘a career’ within their ranks.

The extremist was allegedly working in jihadists’ finance affairs and also recruited women for terrorist groups. He even reportedly managed to recruit one of his wives the same way. According to BFM TV’s information, he was put on a UN terror blacklist.

However, recently the 23-year-old jihadist seemed to have become disillusioned with the group. He decided to go back to his motherland, France. And not alone – he was planning to make it with his four wives and seven children.

While in Syria, the jihadist contacted the French authorities and explained that he could not stand “the sickness” of the Islamic State terrorists and regretted his actions.

The man was detained at the Syrian-Turkish border. Now he is being kept in a Turkish jail, reportedly along with his big family.

Ankara reportedly refused his extradition to France. The man contacted a lawyer in France, explaining that it is hard for his family to stay in jail and some of his children are just months old.

He reportedly explained that his kids were born on Syrian soil but have no birth certificates as they were born in a state that is not recognized by France. He was apparently referring to Islamic State.

According to BFM TV, French services are considering negotiating with Ankara to try and bring the seven children of the jihadist to France where they can receive benefits and be placed in a nursery or with a host family.

rt.com/news/349926-french-jihadist-wives-children/

--

 

Germany arrests Pakistani accused of spying for Iran

08/07/2016

BERLIN: German authorities have arrested a Pakistani man accused of spying for Iran on the former head of a group that promotes German-Israeli relations.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday that the 31-year-old, identified only as Syed Mustufa H. in keeping with German privacy rules, was arrested on Tuesday in the northern city of Bremen.

They said in a statement that he was "in contact with an intelligence unit attributed to Iran," without elaborating. He is alleged to have spied on the former head of the German-Israeli Society and people close to him, among others, and handed over information to Iran in October.

The ex-head of the German-Israeli group, former lawmaker Reinhold Robbe, told the Bild newspaper that he wasn't surprised by the alleged espionage and he "will not be intimidated."'

dawn.com/news/1269508/germany-arrests-pakistani-accused-of-spying-for-iran

--

Southeast Asia

Escalating ISIS threat in Southeast Asia: Is the Philippines a weak link?

Jul 8, 2016

Singapore (CNN)Since videos of Southeast Asian recruits fighting under the black flag of ISIS emerged two years ago, the appeal of the terror group has been gradually growing in the region.

Several militant groups in Indonesia have already sworn fealty to ISIS, as did those behind the Jakarta bombing, while in Malaysia, "lone wolf" ISIS sympathizers have been active on social media. Several hundred Southeast Asians are now in Syria and Iraq, where they have formed Katibah Nusantara, which claims to represent Southeast Asians fighting for the ISIS cause.

An upsurge in ISIS-related activity in the southern Philippines has heightened concerns that the region could soon become a de facto "wilayat," or province of the "Islamic State."

edition.cnn.com/2016/07/07/opinions/isis-southeast-asia-liow/

--

 

Malaysia may face more IS attacks

Jul 8, 2016

Analysts have said that Malaysia should prepare itself as it may face more Islamic State (IS) attacks, following the first confirmed IS-linked attack in a Puchong nightspot last month.

"In terms of why Malaysia is a target, struggles over the specific nature and extent of Islamisation are keen in Malaysia," said Meredith Weiss, associate political science professor with The State University of New York at Albany, as reported by Forbes.

The article said that the "hardcore" IS resents Malaysia's moderate Islam as well as the government's condemnation of the terror group's violent approach to making believers more puritan.

IS also sees a chance to convert disgruntled low-income earners in Malaysia into attack planners in the future in the country, it said.

Forbes also noted that Malaysian officials have been among the most vocal in the world against IS and have backed US efforts to suppress them.

"Malaysia is naturally viewed as a thorn in IS' worldview and ideology," says Phuong Nguyen, associate fellow at the Southeast Asia Program of US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

She added that IS has decided to attack Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand because its supporters within Southeast Asia took a "cue" from its call to target "so-called non-believers" during Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims.

Those who support IS in Malaysia may include people who feel "alienated" on the poor side of a wealth gap, said Singapore Nanyang University international studies teacher Oh Ei Sun.

According to government statistics in 2014, about one percent of Malaysians live in poverty.

The article said that some of the poor, who are easily swayed by religion, can be turned into recruits for IS.

"Where Muslims are a majority, there's an effort to make it more puritanical," Oh said.

Meanwhile, Weiss said that future attacks may target the police and the government at large.

The extent of Islam in Malaysia “has perhaps fed aggravation with the state and police, at least among those already inclined to be disgruntled and short-fused,” Weiss said.

On June 28, there was a grenade blast at a nightspot in Puchong, which injured eight people.

The inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar later said that the attack had IS elements, making it the first confirmed IS-linked attack in Malaysia.

malaysiakini.com/news/347936

--------

Africa

Gambia bans child marriage

Friday, July 8, 2016

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has announced a ban on child marriage in the predominantly Muslim west African nation, threatening heavy jail terms for those who break the new rules.

Speaking to a group of Muslim elders in Banjul on Wednesday, Jammeh said: "As from today, July 6, child marriage is illegal and is banned in The Gambia".

"Anyone who marries a girl under 18 years will spend 20 years in jail. The girls` parents would spend 21 years in jail and anyone who knows about it and fails to report the matter to the authorities would spend 10 years in jail," he added.

"The Imam and those that preside over the marriage ceremony would also be sent to jail. If you want to know whether what I am saying is true or not, try it tomorrow and see."

Jammeh instructed lawmakers to pass legislation reflecting the new ban before July 21.

In December, legislators passed a bill criminalising female circumcision and introducing prison terms of up to three years for anyone flouting the ban, a month after Jammeh branded the practice outdated and ordered its immediate cessation.

Jammeh declared in November that the practice was not required by Islam -- the religion of around 95 percent of the country`s 1.8 million population -- and that it should be consigned to history, according to a government spokesman.

zeenews.india.com/news/africa/gambia-bans-child-marriage_1904752.html

--

 

African Union to withdraw troops from Somalia by 2020

Jul 7, 2016

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The African Union says it plans to withdraw its forces from Somalia by the end of 2020 after years of trying to secure the Horn of Africa country against extremist group al-Shabab.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council statement issued this week comes after a series of challenges for the 22,000-strong multinational peacekeeping force, including funding issues that left some troops without pay for the past few months.

The statement says that under its exit strategy, security responsibilities will be transferred to Somalia’s military gradually between 2018 and December 2020.

The decision comes after the council met June 29 on the force known as AMISOM.

Somali officials could not immediately be reached for comment because of the Eid holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The AU council’s statement also said the European Union, the force’s largest funder, has decided to accelerate the payment of AMISOM’s troop allowance.

The EU earlier this year cut its funding to the AU mission in Somalia by 20 percent, prompting Uganda, the largest troop contributor, to say it would withdraw its more than 6,000 troops from the Somalia mission by December 2017.

The force also includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.

Although al-Shabab was ousted from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in 2011, it continues to wage a deadly guerrilla campaign that includes suicide bombings. It claimed responsibility for two deadly attacks on hotels in Mogadishu last month.

washingtonpost.com/world/africa/african-union-to-withdraw-troops-from-somalia-by-2020/2016/07/07/ee8f600a-4459-11e6-a76d-3550dba926ac_story.html

--

North America

FBI Investigates Shooting Up Of Islamic Center In College Station

08/07/2016

College Station, TX -- The FBI has joined local police in investigating an early-morning Thursday shooting of the Islamic community center in College Station, according to media reports.

The College Station Police Department received a call at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday alerting to about four gunshots fired in the 400 block of Stasney Str., KBTX reported. Upon their arrival to the scene, police found the Islamic Community of Bryan-College Station community center at 415 Stasney St. had been struck with what is believed to have been gunfire, the station reported.

The building reportedly sustained exterior damage to the entrance of the center and its windows. There was no one in the center at the time of the shooting, and no injuries were reported.

Anti-Muslim sentiment has spiked in the wake of attacks last year in Paris, San Bernardino, Calif., and other recent attacks believed be inspired by extremists. The American Civil Liberties Union reports existing and proposed mosque sites nationwide have been targeted for vandalism and other criminal acts as well as with heightened efforts to block or deny needed zoning permits for facilities' construction and expansion.

Often fomented by political rhetoric, attacks or suspicion aimed at Muslim centers occur in Texas more often than in other states, according to ACLU data.

In May, FBI investigators also stepped in to investigate veiled threats made made on Facebook against a Houston-based Islamic center, the Islamic Da'wah Center downtown at 201 Travis.

"Need to blow this place up," read one of the more threatening posts directed at the Houston center, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. "We don't need this s**t in Texas."

Arsalan Safiullah, an attorney with the Council on American Islamic Relations, said he was tipped off about the posts shortly after they were posted May 6.

Five months prior to that in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, roughly half of them carrying rifles -- gathered outside a mosque to protest extremism and immigration by Syrian refugees, as the Dallas NBC affiliate reported. The protesters were members of the so-called Bureau of American-Islamic Relations, which is viewed as an anti-Islamic organization.

"Some of us carry guns because we want to be able to defend ourselves," one BAIR member, David Wright, told the news station at the December protest, explaining why his members felt compelled to bring weapons to demonstrate outside a mosque. "If you're protesting Islam extremism in public, you're a terrorist target. So we don't want to be the helpless victims."

The latest anti-Muslim incident in College Station this week is under investigation, and members of the public with any information about the shooting are asked to notify the College Station Police Department. The number to call is (979) 764-3600.

With the expansive Texas A&M University in its midst, the Bryan-College Station area is popularly referred to as "Agglieland," given the campus presence in College Station. The sister cities are located in the Brazos Valley region of the state in East Texas.

patch.com/us/across-america/fbi-investigates-shooting-islamic-center-college-station

--

 

Half of Americans would support a ban on Muslim immigration

Jul 8, 2016

Half of Americans would support a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, according to a poll conducted by Reuters, involving thousands of people. 50.0% of the polled group of more than 4,400 individuals said they would favor a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, whereas 42.0% disagreed with such an action and the remaining 8.0% were unsure what should be done.

The poll, which had been active since the 6th June, had previously shown that more people agreed with new Muslim immigration but the balance swung to the opposing viewpoint after the tragedy that unfolded in Orlando’s gay night club, Pulse.

The Orlando Pulse Night Club Shooting

In the early hours of the morning on 12th June, Omar Mateen entered the night club, armed with a SIG Sauer MCX semi automatic rifle as well as a hand gun. Although he was noticed by an on duty police officer who attempted to prevent him going into the club, he managed to get in anyway and began shooting at the hundreds of people who were there enjoying a Latin night, socializing with friends and partners. He shot 102 people, injuring 53 of them and killing another 49 as people cowered behind the bar and tried to hide in the restrooms. One woman saved her own life by piling dead bodies on top of her to ‘play dead’ while another person described using his bandanna to stem the flow of blood from a victim’s gunshot wound.

After a three hour stand-off due to concerns about bombs being present, police finally ended the carnage by driving their armoured vehicle through the building and executing him to stop him harming anymore people.

Mateen’s Boast about ISIS Untrue?

During his terrifying rampage, he had pledged not to stop shooting until America stopped bombing his country and swore allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq. He also telephoned 911 to declare his sympathies for the Boston Marathon Bombers and contacted News 13 in Orlando to boast about being the shooter.

The news quickly spread among Arabic websites with praise given to him for his murderous actions. However, proclamations that the plot was an ISIS one were not written in the usual form that ISIS write in, leading to speculation that the announcements were fake.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) confirmed that they could not find any link between Omar Mateen and ISIS and the FBI said he had not had any contact with ISIS before his crimes. However, he was obsessed with watching ISIS beheading videos and his ex-wife was of the opinion that he had bipolar disorder, although this was never diagnosed. She characterized him as violent and unpredictable and said he had an issue with substance abuse. Since the senseless killing of so many innocent people who were just out having fun has turned public  opinion with a slim majority believing that a temporary ban on new Muslim immigrants would be best for the security of American citizens.

Donald Trump Gaining Support for His Views on Immigration

Donald Trump said that all persons from countries that have a history of terrorism against the United States should not be allowed entry into the country and that families who have settled here are becoming radicalized, bringing shariah law, hate against women, gay people and Christians to the western spheres. While he is gaining support for his views, he clashed with Hillary Clinton who warned against demonizing a whole nation of people on the basis of what a few have done. The larger majority of Muslim-American’s are appalled that mass-murder is being carried out in their name.

‘We Will Not Let it Define Us’, Say Muslim-American Community

Muslims across the country have been expressing their sorrow and gathering to remember the victims and Muslim organizations have issued a joint statement extending their condolences to the families of the victims. They pointed out that hate fuelled violence has no place in any religion and that the Quran tells Muslims not to be brutal or aggressive because God doesn’t love brutal aggressors. While questions undoubtedly need to be asked about immigration policy, it’s important to remember this, so that hate doesn’t breed more hate, a situation that religious extremist groups like ISIS are actually banking on.

The best way that communities can fight terrorism is to join together as together we are stronger.

michronicleonline.com/2016/07/08/half-of-americans-would-support-a-ban-on-muslim-immigration/

--

 

Terrorist who slaughtered American hiker lauded on Palestinian TV

08/07/2016

A woman who was stabbed and left for dead by Palestinian terrorists who butchered her American friend in 2010 said Wednesday she was enraged by a government TV report that labeled one of the killers a “heroic prisoner.”

Kay Wilson, 52, was hiking near Jerusalem with Kristine Luken when Kifah Ghneimat attacked them with a machete. Luken, who was 44, was killed in the brutal attack, and Wilson, a British-Israeli national, was stabbed 13 times. The attack, and Wilson's heroic tale of survival, made international headlines at the time, and was back in the news last month.

“I think I’m numb…I’m stunned, absolutely stunned…it’s so rage invoking,” Wilson told FoxNews.com about the video, which aired on official Palestinian TV and was reported on

In the stomach-turning video, Ghneimat’s mother cheerfully discusses her son’s favorite Ramadan dishes and laments his imprisonment.

The Palestinian TV host referred to Ghneimat as a hero, and his mother described him as “kind and calm,” adding his favorite meals were “meat with tahini” and “chicken with rice.”

The softball feature treatment of a vicious killer was a slap in the face to Wilson, who suffered more than 30 crushed bones at the hands of Ghneimat.

“As far as [the mother] is speaking, her son did nothing wrong… I think she is so far gone into her own delusion and deception,” said Wilson.

The friends had been hiking outside Jerusalem when Ghneimat and his accomplice, Iyad Fataftah, approached them. Wilson initially pretended to be a Christian tourist like Luken, but the terrorists turned murderous upon discovering her Israeli ID and Star of David.

Ghneimat confessed to investigators that his only motive for the attack was to kill Jews, and that he didn’t have a solid reason, according to a confession introduced at trial.

Wilson played dead with her eyes open, watching as her assailants fatally hacked Luken, who prayed to Jesus as she died. Wilson almost bled to death while trekking barefoot and gagged for more than a mile in search of help.

Ghneimat is serving two life sentences and another 60 years of imprisonment, PMW reported. His mother pleaded for his release in the video, in part so he can educate his son who “does not have respect for his mother.”

Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, said Palestinian terrorists are idolized in their communities.

“When children see all this honor being bestowed on terrorists, they want to be honored too,” Marcus told FoxNews.com. “The worst incitement to terror is the glorification.”

Despite the attack, Wilson insisted she doesn’t feel hatred toward Muslims, noting that “it was an Arab Muslim Israeli surgeon” who “used his knife” to save her life. 

foxnews.com/world/2016/07/07/terrorist-who-slaughtered-american-hiker-lauded-on-palestinian-tv.html

--

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/shahi-imam-of-kolkata-says-terrorists-are-‘kafirs’,-wants-zakir-channel-banned/d/107896

 

New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Womens in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Womens In Arab, Islamphobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism, Moderate Islam, Moderate Muslims, Progressive Islam, Progressive Muslims, Liberal Islam, Liberal Muslims, Islamic World News

Loading..

Loading..