New Age Islam
Wed Apr 24 2024, 07:42 AM

Islamic World News ( 25 Sept 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Shia, Sunni Stand Together For Eid Namaz in Lucknow, India

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 Sept 2015

Joint Shia-Sunni Namaz was performed in Lucknow to spread the message of universal brotherhood.



 Shia, Sunni Stand Together For Eid Namaz in Lucknow, India

 Haj Stampede: 14 Indians among 700 Killed

 Osama bin Laden had prior knowledge of 2008 Mumbai attacks: Book

 J&K govt suspends internet services in the state for 2 days

 India 'will reply' if Pak raises Kashmir issue at UN General Assembly: MEA

 For US, India sole option for UNSC seat: Pakistani daily

 Obama to meet India’s PM Modi at UN: White House



Arab World

 Sources Blame Saudi Deputy Crown Prince for Thursday Stampede in Mina

 Saudi Prince Arrested On Sex Crime Charge at Los Angeles Mansion

 Daesh Man Dressed As Woman Kills 25 at Houthi Mosque

 Over 120 Terrorists Killed in Aleppo

 3 Senior ISIL Commanders Killed in Baghdad

 Security men pleaded with Hajis to stay back...

 Iran, Morocco report highest death toll in Haj stampede

 Eye-Witnesses: Two Roads to Mina Closed by Saudi Security Forces before Stampede

 Haj stampede: Saudi Arabia under pressure for answers



South Asia

 US, NATO Review New Troops Withdrawal Options amid ISIS Rise and Resurgent Taliban

 High-Altitude Training Hosted For Afghan Pilots in US Air Force Base

 Not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other places

 Afghan, Indian, Iranian officials meet to finalize transit agreement on Chabahar port




 Pakistan Writes To UN about India's Plan to Build Wall along LoC

 Karachi Pilgrims Narrate Horror of Mina Stampede

 10 'militants' linked to banned organisation arrested in Gwadar district

 Biometric registration of 41,600 Afghans completed under NAP

 Pakistan runaway boy to be reunited with family after 5 years

 Eid ul Azha celebrated across Pakistan

 Eid message: PM Nawaz urges nation to rise above personal interests

 Lahore High Court website hacked again

 Pakistan to get $502m from IMF

 Pakistan court orders government to enforce climate law




 Migrants Keep Coming, Merkel Tells EU to Do More

 Residents Anxious About Islam Schoolwork Outside County

 Anticipating Islam’s Conquest of Europe and America at Al-Aqsa

 Man charged over allegedly mooning and abusing Muslim woman at Logan shops



North America

 Muslim Boy's Message for Ben Carson: 'I Will Become the 1st Muslim President'

 Looks like America agrees with Ben Carson’s anti-Muslim stance

 Pope calls for global abolition of death penalty



Southeast Asia

 US, Australia Embassies Warn Of Terror Attack in Malaysia

 In Malaysia Indian Muslim community sacrifices 200 goats, sheep on Eid ul Azha


Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Shia, Sunni Stand Together For Eid Namaz in Lucknow, India

Siddhartha Mathur, Ali Rizvi & Jayanta Deka,TNN

Sep 25, 2015,

Eid ul Azha Namaz in the ruins of Firoz Shah Kotla, New Delhi


LUCKNOW: On the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha on Friday, the historic Sibtainabad Imambara was witness to a unique citizen-driven initiative called 'Shoulder to Shoulder' (S2S) where a joint Shia-Sunni Namaz was performed to spread the message of universal brotherhood.

"They are those in pursuit of 'Satya' (truth) and those who cherish 'Satta' (power) and true religion lies in upholding truth," said Maulana Kalbe Sadiq at the historic event in which members of Shia and Sunni sects stood shoulder to shoulder to offer Namaz of Eid-ul-Zuha at Sibtainabad Imambara in Lucknow on Friday. The group of volunteers came together with the objective of ending differences between the two sects of the community which often lead to bloody riots and immense loss of lives and property.

Shia cleric Maulana Sadiq, who participated in the Namaz, added that he had met the highest cleric of his sect who advised him to refer to the Sunnis as one's 'Jaan' (life) and 'Rooh' (soul) instead of brothers and only then will the differences melt. "It is a welcome move that both sects are standing together to pray and this should be sustained and nurtured," he advised.

As per the mutual agreement, a Sunni imam Maulana Shehzad led the prayer at the Shia monument and everybody followed as per their individual manner, hands folded or otherwise. Endorsement had already been obtained from the highest religious authority Maulana Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani of Iran that it was all right to offer namaz in such a way. Moreover, clerics from both sects of Islam in the city had welcomed the initiative and as word spread, people from not just the city but from across the state and country too supported the cause.

"What better homecoming could have been there for me than this," beamed Rehan Ahmad Khan, an IIT-Kharagpur engineer who works in Dubai and had come home for Eid. Three generations of the Khans were there, including Rehan's father Zahoor and son Mustafa and they were only too happy to be here. "I pledge myself to the cause of unity," said the senior most.

"We have joined hands with a view towards unity members of a community with similar faith and to promote brotherhood, which is the very soul of Islam," said Mohammad Haider, a key organizer of the event, adding that the group will take the mission forward through community service and acts that promote peace.

"All members of the community want to co-exist peacefully and progress instead of suffering because of conflict created by people who have vested interests of the nefarious kind and self-serving motives," said Atif Hanif.

A good number of believers gathered at the venue to serve the noble cause and pray to the Almighty for the spread of peace, progress and prosperity.

Started as a WhatsApp group, the initiative turned into a Facebook event that went viral soon after. Inviting people to the historic moment, S2S Facebook page reads, 'We know each other since our childhood. We shared the same classrooms, same dreams, same fears, ate from the same lunch box. We even share the same memories. But we never stood shoulder to shoulder for Eid prayers. It's time for a change.'

The organisers said, "This is the need of the hour. The clashes between the two sects give the community and the entire city a bad name. We wanted to send out a strong message for unity and what's better than beginning it with a joint prayer."



Haj stampede: 14 Indians among 700 killed

Sep 25, 2015

NEW DELHI: Amid reports of fourteen Indians, including Mohammed from Kerala and Bibijan from Hyderabad, being killed at the Mecca stampede, Haj Committee of India CEO Ataur Rahman told TOI that any such information would be confirmed only on Friday.

Rahman said the stampede spot was far away from the Indian pilgrims' camp and the number of casualties and injured was likely to be very low.

"Our staff is engaged in identifying the bodies at the mortuary. We are verifying the information about injuries to Indian pilgrims," Rahman said. Around 1 lakh Indians have travelled to Mecca this year through the Haj committee while 36,000 have gone through private tour operators.

At least 13 Indians were injured among more than 800 being treated for wounds in Saudi hospitals, reported news agencies until late on Thursday.

Bibi Jan, 60, from Ranga Reddy district near Hyderabad died in the crush, while the second death was of Malappuram native Abdurahman, 51, in Kerala.

Initial reports said two more Malayalis died in Mina on Thursday. Sources said Kaniyankandy Aboobacker Haji from Thalassery and Kochikkaran Vadakeveettil Mohammed, 66, of Kodungallur, both of whom were adjacent to the stampede area, died following cardiac arrest on learning of the incident.

It was not clear until the filing of this report whether the two persons from Kerala were being counted as stampede deaths.

Abdurahman had been staying with his family in Riyadh for several years and he went to Mecca for Haj two days ago along with his wife, Suleikha, who was injured. She has been admitted to a hospital in Mina. The man from Tamil Nadu who has died during Haj is Shamsuddin, 69, from Nagapatnam, Tamil Nadu. Again, it wasn't clear whether he died in the stampede or due to illness as he was said to be ailing, sources said.

Bibi Jan's journey to Haj was made possible after her three sons pooled money to fund her pilgrimage over, but she was killed in the massive stampede at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina. She was accompanied by her 69-year-old husband Abdul Mazeed, who runs poultry feed business in Hyderabad.

Recalling the final moments, shocked family members described how Jan was desperately clinging on to Mazeed's hand when the stampede broke. As a sea of people fell one after the other, Mazeed could not hold on to her much longer, despite trying to pull her away from harm's way.

"I tried hard, but our hands were sweating and she slipped and fell and many men and women fell upon her. I shouted and cried for help, but when it was all over, I lost her forever," a sobbing Mazeed told Haj committee officials over telephone.

Bibi Jan's body will not be brought to the city. Instead, she is likely to be buried in Mecca, family members said.

Control rooms have been set up to provide information on the Hajis from Telangana and AP, but sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told TOI that since the death toll in the stampede is huge, the identification of the bodies will take some time.

In all, over 5,000 people from Telangana and 2,200 from Andhra Pradesh have gone for Haj this year. "The situation will be clearer by Friday. We are hopeful that most Hajis from the two states are safe," said an AP government official.



Osama bin Laden had prior knowledge of 2008 Mumbai attacks: Book

Sep 25, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden had prior information of the 2008 terror attack at Mumbai, a new book has said.

The book "Pakistan's secret war on Al-Qaeda" said that bin Laden had prior knowledge of the 2008 Mumbai attack.

"He wanted to establish an al Qaida state in Pakistan following the breakout of full-scale war between the two nuclear armed neighbours," reported Dawn, citing the book.

The revelations were made in the book authored by Azaz Syed, an investigative journalist and a former correspondent for DawnNews.

166 people were killed in the November 26-28 Mumbai terror attack mounted by 10 gunmen from Pakistan who sneaked into India and let loose a reign of terror.

One of them, Ajmal Kasab, was caught alive, tried, sentenced to death and executed later.



J&K govt suspends internet services in the state for 2 days

September 25, 2015

To prevent the misuse of social networking sites, the J&K government snapped all the internet services in the Valley for two days. The decision was taken after a high-level meeting was held in Srinagar in which officials gave feedback to government that there is apprehension of misuse of social networking sites in view of the beef ban in the state. On Thursday evening, IGs of both Jammu and Kashmir zones had asked all the internet service providers to snap 3G, 2G, GPRS, lease line and broadband services on September 25 and 26 to keep things under control over the beef controversy. While various local organisations in the Valley had threatened to slaughter bovine animals on Eid, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had threatened economic blockade of the Valley in case any such thing took place. To deal with law and order situation, the government has already cancelled the leave of police personnel and directed all deputy commissioners and SSPs to stay at their district headquarters on Eid. The services were snapped around 12 am on Friday and will remain suspended till 10 pm on September 26, sources said. The decision to suspend the internet connectivity of Eid-ul-Zuha has been criticized by the people and also termed it as a complete U-turn by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. The PDP leaders used to claim that once in power they will try to accommodate even their opponents and called it as the battle of ideas. Meanwhile, all the separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani have been placed under house arrest. Mirwaiz was to address the Eid sermon at Eidgah in the old city. Hurriyat (G) spokesperson said 70 of their activists have been detained by the police at various places. The biggest Eid congregation will be held in Eidgah in the old city.



India 'will reply' if Pak raises Kashmir issue at UN General Assembly: MEA

ANI | Sep 25, 2015

NEW YORK: Ministry of external affairs on Friday said that India will reply if Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raises the Kashmir issue in his address at the UN General Assembly.

On being asked whether India has taken notice of a statement reportedly made by Sharif in this regard, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said "When a statement comes from him (on Kashmir), then we will reply."

On a question that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be raising the issue in his address to the UN, Swarup said, "The first thing is, has any action been taken by the United Nations? If there is an action taken by the UN, we will respond appropriately, and if no action is taken by the UN, it itself tells that nobody has taken the cognisance."



For US, India sole option for UNSC seat: Pakistani daily

IANS | Sep 25, 2015

ISLAMABAD: India is the only option from Asia, especially in the eyes of the US, for permanent membership at the UN Security Council "no matter how unfortunate this is for Pakistan", a Pakistani daily said on Friday.

Describing the US and India as the new dynamic duo, an editorial in the Nation said they are "a terrifying combination".

The US has reaffirmed its support to India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC). Even though both countries have disagreed over the UN Security Council reforms, the US has made it clear that it is committed to India's inclusion as a permanent member of the Security Council.

"A number of members, including permanent members, have voiced strong disagreements. Pakistan, a member of the Uniting for Consensus group of countries which opposes any additional permanent members on the Security Council, told the 193-member Assembly that the document was partial and incomplete. It could not be the basis for a negotiated solution," it said.

With the successful conduct of the maiden strategic and commercial dialogue between India and the US, the stage is set for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's third summit with President Barack Obama on September 28.

"The United States also reiterated its support for India's membership in four major global non-proliferation export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group," said the daily.

"Pakistan should be worried."

"Their joint declaration has identified terrorism as a profound threat to global peace and security...They have pointed out 'the threat posed by entities such as Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, and the Haqqani Network, and other regional groups that seek to undermine stability in South Asia'," the editorial noted.

It went on to say that India now has a powerful ally, and "reason to remind us to provide justice for whatever wrong they think we have committed".

"Both countries have already jointly urged Pakistan to 'bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack'. Modi won't stop at this."

The editorial said that China and Russia, as permanent members, can and probably will provide balance to the US and Indian ambition.

"However, for the global community, better representation is why the UNSC permanent membership needed to be expanded in the first place. Asia has two permanent member countries; hardly representative of the gigantic continent. South America has none. Europe has two, and Germany has been gearing up for its own bid for a seat. If Europe and South America get better representation, it makes sense that Asia will too."

"India is the only option then, especially in the eyes of the US, no matter how unfortunate this is for Pakistan," it added.


Obama to meet India’s PM Modi at UN: White House

 AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, Friday 25 September 2015

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Monday, the White House said.

Senior Obama national security aide Ben Rhodes said the discussions would include issues related to a major climate conference, where countries are being asked to set emissions targets.

The two leaders held cordial talks in New Delhi earlier this year, marking a warming of relations that had been strained by a series of diplomatic upsets in late 2013.

Heading to New York for the UN General Assembly, Modi will address a sustainable development forum before traveling to Silicon Valley seeking to promote his country as open for business.

The Indian premier will meet Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and other Internet leaders as he pushes for investment in India’s IT sector, after coming to power in May 2014 pledging to revive India’s flagging economy.

Obama will be arriving in New York on Sunday afternoon, addressing the General Assembly on Monday and leaving the city on Tuesday afternoon.

The White House has already announced he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, and said further bilateral meetings could be added in the coming days.



Arab World


Sources Blame Saudi Deputy Crown Prince for Thursday Stampede in Mina


Sources revealed that the convoy of Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud caused panic among millions of pilgrims and started the stampede that has so far claimed the lives of 1,300 in Mina, near Mecca, on Thursday.

"The large convoy of Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the King's son and deputy crown prince, that was escorted by over 3,50 security forces, including 200 army men and 150 policemen, sped up the road to go through the pilgrims that were moving towards the site of the 'Stoning the Devil' ritual, causing panic among millions of pilgrims who were on the move from the opposite direction and caused the stampede," several Arab papers, including the Arabic language al-Dyar newspaper, disclosed on Thursday evening.

"That's why the ruler of Mecca has distanced himself from the case, stressing that the issue should be studied and decided by the King," it added.

No other source has yet confirmed the report, but observers said the revelation explains why two of the roads to the 'Stoning the Devil' site has been closed.

Eye witnesses said earlier that the Saudi police and security forces had closed two of the few roads to the stone column that were to be used by millions of pilgrims to do the 'Stoning the Devil' ritual in Mina today.

The stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj season killed more than 1,300 people and left over 2,000 of others wounded.

The stampede occurred during the ritual known as "Stoning the Devil" in Mina, about two miles from Mecca.

Some 131 Iranians have also lost their lives in the incident, while 150 others have been wounded.

Saeed Ohadi, the head of Iran's Hajj organization, accused Saudi Arabia of safety errors and mismanagement.

He said for "unknown reasons" the paths had been closed off near the scene of the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual where the accident later took place.

"This caused this tragic incident," he told the Iranian state television.

Eyewitnesses also said that even after incident the Saudi security and military forces closed all paths leading to the scene and the bodies of pilgrims have piled up on each other.

Others blamed Riyadh for mismanagement of Hajj ceremony, adding that many of the wounded pilgrims are dying of the hot weather conditions, which reached 46 degrees centigrade today, while police and the army have closed access roads to the site of the incident making the relief and rescue operations and trafficking of ambulances very difficult.

Pilgrims present on the scene are also complaining about insufficient number of medical teams and centres. Reports said hospitals are overwhelmed by the the large number of the wounded.

Twelve hours after the incident, the dead body of hundreds of those killed in the stampede are still piled up out in the streets.

Head of the Iranian pilgrims Qazai Askar in an interview with the state TV on Thursday evening complained that the Saudi officials do not allow other countries' relief and rescue squads to help.

"They have even prevented us from aiding our own pilgrims," he complained with surprise.

This is the third incident in the Hajj rituals this year.

In the first incident, a crane crash over the Grand Mosque of Mecca killed over 100 and injured hundreds more two weeks ago.

Ten days before the start of Hajj this year, a construction crane crashed through the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 107 people. At least 238 others suffered injuries when a powerful storm toppled the crane.

A week later, a fire incident at a Mecca hotel claimed the lives of several other pilgrims.

A Saudi analyst said on the condition of anonymity for the fear of his life that the two stampede and crane crash incidents were the result of rivalries between a part of the Saudi police and security service and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to display that the Saudi king and crown prince are incompetent and unable to handle the Hajj ceremony.

Rivalries are tough and deep among different royal families who are all descendant of the Al-Saud and see themselves entitled to the thrown. The present king is the first from Sodayri family of Al-Saudi to have ascended to power.

This is not the first time that hundreds die during the Hajj rituals.

The ceremony was the scene of stampedes and hundreds of deaths in the 1980s and 1990s as pilgrims passed a crowded bottleneck area leading to the small pillars on the ground.

Incidents during the Hajj

September 2015

At least 453 killed and over 700 injured in crush outside Mecca

January 2006

364 pilgrims were killed in a stampede at the entrance to a bridge leading to the stoning site in Mina, outside Mecca

February 2004

251 pilgrims were trampled to death during the stoning ritual

February 2003

14 Muslim pilgrims were crushed to death performing the stoning ritual

March 2001

35 pilgrims killed in stampede

April 1998

Around 180 pilgrims were trampled to death when panic erupted after several fell off an overpass at al-Jamarat

April 1997

343 pilgrims were killed and 1,500 injured in a tent fire at the overcrowded Mina camp. At a result, the tents are now fireproof and gas cooking cylinders are banned

May 1994

Around 270 were killed in a stampede

June 1990

1,426 killed in a stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel leading out from Mecca towards Mina and the Plains of Arafat

July 1989

Two bombs exploded, killing one and wounding over a dozen others.

July 1987

Over 400 killed during clashes between Saudi security forces and Iranian demonstrators in Mecca

December 1975

A fire in a tent city at Mina killed around 200 people. The fire was reportedly started by an exploding gas tank

The growing number of incidents and deaths during the Hajj rituals, including three this year, have caused increasing criticisms from the public and various Muslim states officials and elites who believe that Riyadh is incapable of running the Hajj ceremony, stressing that the Muslim site should be run by all the Muslim states and through a global Muslim world body such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Following the incident, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi blamed Saudi Arabia for closing the paths leading to a bottleneck in the tent city of Mina which caused the stampede and killed hundreds of pilgrims, stressing that the incident once again showed that Riyadh is not qualified to run the Hajj ceremony.

"The Saudi government showed that it is ineligible and incompetent to manage the Hajj ceremony," Boroujerdi told FNA on Thursday.

He also called on the Islamic countries to take a serious decision as soon as possible to protect the lives of pilgrims during the Hajj season.

Also after the crane crash in Mecca two weeks ago, several Egyptian religious figures joined the growing number of Muslim world elites and politicians demanding the change of authority in charge of running Hajj rituals from Riyadh to a collection of Muslim states.

"Many mistakes have been made during the Hajj ceremony in recent decades and the bloody Friday incident was not the first case and will not be the last either; therefore, unless a revolution doesn’t take place in the administration and management of the Hajj ceremony in Saudi Arabia, we will witness such incidents in future too," Sheikh Salman Mohammad, the advisor of Egypt's ministry of endowment, told FNA.

Also Ashraf Fahmi, a professor at Egypt's al-Azhar university, said that Saudi Arabia should admit its mistakes in handling the Hajj ceremony and take serious measures to correct the way it administers the ceremony.

Storms were lashing the Saudi city of Mecca when strong winds reportedly brought down the crane that was part of construction works.

Tons of rubble and debris crashed to the ground on top of scores of people gathering in the mosque for 6:30 prayers when a section of the crane crashed through the roof.

At least 107 people were killed and 238 more were injured when the crane collapsed on to the Grand Mosque during storms.

The crane operated for a company owned by Saudi Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Arab media disclosed following the incident early in September.

Meantime, other media sources claimed that the crane belongs to a German crane company operated by the Bin Laden family's consortium, who are heading the expansion of the Holy Mosque.



Saudi Prince Arrested On Sex Crime Charge at Los Angeles Mansion

REUTERS — 25 09 15

LOS ANGELES: A Saudi prince has been arrested on charges of trying to force a worker at a Beverly Hills estate to perform oral sex, Los Angeles (LA) police said on Thursday.

Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud, 28, was arrested on Wednesday and was released on $300,000 bond the next day, according to police and online jail records.

The LA Police Department's (LAPD) special consul division said the prince does not have diplomatic immunity, according to the LA Times and KCBS-TV.

The LA Times said police descended on the massive estate after a neighbour saw a bleeding woman screaming for help as she tried to scale the property's surrounding wall on Wednesday.

The $37 million home, in one of the most exclusive enclaves in the world, has been rented for weeks at a time by foreign nationals over the past year, the neighbour told the Times.

The prince is expected to be in court on October 19, court records show.

Attempts to reach him by telephone were unsuccessful and his attorney was not immediately known.

A call to the Saudi embassy was not immediately returned.



Daesh Man Dressed As Woman Kills 25 at Houthi Mosque


SANAA, Friday 25 September 2015: At least 25 worshippers performing Eid Al-Adha prayers were killed on Thursday when a Daesh suicide bomber disguised as a woman blew himself up at a mosque run by Yemen’s Houthi group, security sources said.

Daesh’s branch in Yemen said the attack at Al-Balili mosque, just outside the Old City of Sanaa, had killed or wounded dozens of “rejectionists.” The militant group uses that term to describe Shiites it deems to be heretics.

“In a security operation facilitated by God as part of the acts of revenge for Muslims from the rejectionist Houthis, brother Abu Omar Al-Hadidi waded into a crowd of apostate Houthis at Al-Balili temple, detonated his suicide belt causing dozens to perish or to be injured...,” the statement said.

Medics said at least 36 other people were wounded. A Houthi website gave a death toll of at least 10, while Arab media said it was at least 25.

Witnesses had earlier described a twin suicide attack on the mosque, where worshippers were celebrating Eid Al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice.

Nayef, who lives nearby, said he heard one explosion followed quickly by a second. “We gathered to rescue the wounded. The situation is very painful and blood is everywhere.”

The witnesses said the first blast shook the mosque soon after worshippers gathered for prayers. A second suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt when Houthi guards tried to stop him rushing deep inside the mosque.

“We rushed outside and summoned the ambulances,” one witness said. Houthi fighters sealed off the area and shouted at onlookers to stay away.

Also Thursday, four children and an adult were killed when Houthis and their allies fired mortar shells into a residential neighborhood in the city of Taiz, independent security officials and health officials said. At least 21 civilians were wounded, they said.



Over 120 Terrorists Killed in Aleppo

TEHRAN,  Sep 24, 2015 (FNA)

The Syrian army troops killed over 120 Takfiri terrorists in the province of Aleppo on Thursday.

According to informed sources, more than 120 terrorists were killed during military operations in various areas across Aleppo.

The Syrian forces also shot down a drone belonging to the Takfiri militants.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army made new gains in the countryside of Aleppo by seizing back new areas in the region, FNA dispatches said.

The army units opened heavy fire on the Takfiri terrorists in the surrounding areas of Kowaires Airport in Eastern Aleppo, and pushed them back.

The Syrian troops, meantime, seized back the strategic villages of Tal Reyman and al-Salehiya which are located near Kowaires Airport on Tuesday.

The ISIL terrorists have besieged the Kowaires airport for over 2.5 years now, but the airport itself is under the Syrian army's control. The Syrian army's helicopters supply foodstuff and other needs to the Syrian troops defending the airport.

The Kowaires Airport is strategically important because it is considered the frontline of the Syrian army in the Northern parts of the country near the borders with Turkey.



3 Senior ISIL Commanders Killed in Baghdad

Sep 24, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi airstrikes killed 3 senior ISIL commanders in the capital Baghdad.

Yasser al-Jumaily aka Abu Amar, Abu Obaida aL-Jasha'ami and the Australian terrorist, Abu Islam, were identified among the dead terrorists, reports said Wednesday.

Reports also said that a senior leader of the ISIL terrorist group who was a slave facilitator was killed in an airstrike in Iraq.

Abu Bakr al-Turkmani, who died Sept. 10 in a strike in Tal Afar in Northern Iraq, was a slave facilitator who had been involved in the sexual trafficking of Ezadi minority women.

In 2014, the ISIL terrorists massacred Ezadis, forced tens of thousands of them to flee, captured thousands of girls and women as spoils of war and used them as sex slaves.

The UN has said the atrocities committed against the small community may amount to genocide.

The news came after the death of French terrorist David Drugeon, who died in an airstrike near Aleppo, Syria, on July 5. He was killed while driving his car.

Drugeon was an explosives expert and a member of a network of veteran al-Qaeda operatives sometimes called the Khorasan Group, which plots attacks against the West.



Security men pleaded with Hajis to stay back...

SIRAJ WAHAB, Friday 25 September 2015

MINA: Tragedy struck Mina on Day 3 of the five-day pilgrimage on Thursday, when 717 people were killed in a massive crush and 805 others injured.

The accident comes close on the heels of a crane crash in Makkah’s Grand Mosque two weeks ago in which 111 people, mostly pilgrims, perished.

Eyewitness accounts were contradictory. Some said one large group of pilgrims was on its way to performing the dangerous ritual of the stoning of the devil on a bottleneck close to Souq Al-Arab Street on their way to Jamrat, clashing with another group that was coming back after completing the ritual from the same road.

The Interior Ministry said the stampede appears to have been caused by two waves of pilgrims meeting at an intersection.

Eyewitnesses told Arab News that it was jostling by some stronger pilgrims caught behind a slower group including elderly people that led to the disaster.

They said security personnel were pleading with pilgrims to stay back, but they were too caught up in their fervour to listen and continued to press ahead, resulting in a stampede.

Egyptian pilgrim Abdullah Lotfy, 44, said: “I saw someone trip over someone in a wheelchair and several people tripping over him. People were climbing over one another just to breathe.”

The stampede took place at around 8 a.m., at a time when two million pilgrims had marched into this tent city from nearby Muzdalifa, where they had spent Wednesday night under the open skies collecting their 50 pea-sized pebbles to perform the stoning ritual.

A visit to the accident site two hours after the tragedy revealed terrifying scenes. Bodies, clad in ihram — the two pieces of seamless cloth that pilgrims wear — were piled up by the hard shoulder of the street known as Sharea Al-Jadid, lying in heaps, their skin flayed off their bodies by the crush.

But many bodies showed no visible injuries and looked paradoxically peaceful, spread-eagled by the side of the road. A doctor at hand said most of them died of suffocation.

Survivors sat weeping inconsolably in the 45-degree heat, seeking any shade they could find in the concrete-and-rubble desert, completely traumatized by what they had seen. One old man was clinging to the lifeless body of a relative.

Medics had to pull out the corpses one by one.

Immediately after the accident, ambulances raced to the scene and carried the dead and the injured to hospitals in and around Mina. Most of the injured were too shocked to speak, and many were unconscious.

Throughout the day, the wailing of ambulances rent the air dampening the morale of the tired and exhausted pilgrims. The authorities and representatives of pilgrims advised them to refrain from performing the stoning ritual. Helicopters hovered overhead, alerting officials on the ground to bottlenecks.

However, at the multi-story Jamrat Complex, pilgrims continued to stone the devil, and many of them headed to the Grand Mosque to perform tawaf or circumambulation of the Kaaba.

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, himself performing Haj, visited the scene immediately after the tragedy.

Indian Consul General B.S. Mubarak said consular officials were able to indentify some Indians among the injured. But he said the street where the accident took place was not the one that Indian pilgrims normally take to Jamrat.

“Indian pilgrims go via Souq Al-Arab Street and Al-Jawhara Street, both of which are one-way going into the direction of the Jamrat Complex. This street is the one where our pilgrims come back after performing the stoning ritual,” he told Arab News.

Later in the day, Mubarak confirmed the death of one Indian from Jhakhand who had come for Haj duty. “His name is Neyazul Haque and he was working in Yanbu,” he said. Three other Indians are reported missing.

Pakistani diplomats were at the scene assessing the situation. There are reports that some Pakistanis were among the victims.

According to officials, most of the victims were of African, Arab and Iranian origin. The inquiry committee will reveal why those in charge of the pilgrim movement allowed pilgrims to head into that street from both directions.

The tragedy has cast a pall of gloom over the festive season and the entire Muslim world, occurring on a day when Muslims in the Arab world were celebrating the Eid Al-Adha.

“This is a tragedy that has completely shattered us,” said a woman outside Mina Al-Jisr Hospital. “I have never seen death from such a close quarter. I don’t know how I survived.”

Most of the injured and dead were taken to Mina Emergency Hospital, Mina Al-Jisr Hospital and other hospitals in Makkah, Muzdalifa and Arafat.



Iran, Morocco report highest death toll in Haj stampede

ARAB NEWS, 25 September 2015

MINA: Seven countries have claimed that their citizens were among the 717 pilgrims killed in Thursday’s Haj stampede in Mina, with Iran reporting 131 deaths.

Morocco had reported 87 dead, according to Moroccan media.

Saudi authorities have yet to provide a breakdown of the nationalities of the casualties.

The other countries that reported deaths among their pilgrims were India, 14; Pakistan, 7; Algeria and Indonesia, 3 each; and the Netherlands, 1.

The Philippines reported two deaths but not from the stampede. The duo died of heat stroke.



Eye-Witnesses: Two Roads to Mina Closed by Saudi Security Forces Before Stampede


 Eye witnesses blamed Saudi Arabia for the death of over 1,300 Hajj pilgrims during a stampede in the tent city of Mina, saying the country's police and security forces had closed two of the few roads to the stone column that were to be used by millions of pilgrims to do the 'Stoning the Devil' ritual today.

The stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj season killed more than 1,300 people and left over 2,000 of others wounded.

The stampede occurred during the ritual known as "stoning the devil" in Mina, about two miles from Mecca.

Some 131 Iranians have also lost their lives in the incident, while 150 others have been wounded.

Saeed Ohadi, the head of Iran's Hajj organization, accused Saudi Arabia of safety errors and mismanagement.

He said for "unknown reasons" the paths had been closed off near the scene of the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual where the accident later took place.

"This caused this tragic incident," he told the Iranian state television.

Eyewitnesses also confirmed the closing of two of the main paths leading to Mina by the Saudi security forces before the start of "stoning the devil" ceremony, and added that even after incident the Saudi security and military forces closed all paths leading to the scene and the bodies of pilgrims have piled up on each other.

Others blamed Riyadh for mismanagement of Hajj ceremony, adding that many of the wounded pilgrims are dying of the hot weather conditions, which reached 46 degrees centigrade today, while police and the army have closed access roads to the site of the incident making the relief and rescue operations and trafficking of ambulances very difficult.

Pilgrims present on the scene are also complaining about insufficient number of medical teams and centers. Reports said hospitals are overwhelmed by the the large number of the wounded.

Eight hours after the incident, the dead body of hundreds of those killed in the stampede are still piled up out in the streets.

Head of the Iranian pilgrims Qazai Askar in an interview with the state TV on Thursday evening complained that the Saudi officials do not allow other countries' relief and rescue squads to help.

"They have even prevented us from aiding our own pilgrims," he complained with surprise.

This is the third incident in the Hajj rituals this year.

In the first incident, a crane crash over the Grand Mosque of Mecca killed over 100 and injured hundreds more two weeks ago.

Ten days before the start of Hajj this year, a construction crane crashed through the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 107 people. At least 238 others suffered injuries when a powerful storm toppled the crane.

A week later, a fire incident at a Mecca hotel claimed the lives of several other pilgrims.

A Saudi analyst said on the condition of anonymity for the fear of his life that the two stampede and crane crash incidents were the result of rivalries between a part of the Saudi police and security service and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to display that the Saudi king and crown prince are incompetent and unable to handle the Hajj ceremony.

Rivalries are tough and deep among different royal families who are all descendant of the Al-Saud and see themselves entitled to the thrown. The present king is the first from Sodayri family of Al-Saudi to have ascended to power.

This is not the first time that hundreds die during the Hajj rituals.

The ceremony was the scene of stampedes and hundreds of deaths in the 1980s and 1990s as pilgrims passed a crowded bottleneck area leading to the small pillars on the ground.



Haj stampede: Saudi Arabia under pressure for answers

Paul Gallagher,The Independent | Sep 25, 2015

As the body count from the horrific Hajj stampede reached 719, the backlash started. Within hours, Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran had laid the blame for the deaths squarely on the heads of the House of Saud.

Saudi officials, by contrast, claimed "some pilgrims who didn't follow the guidelines issued" may have been responsible for the sudden crush on the half-mile-long, five-storey Jamarat Bridge near Mecca. They also pointed to the extreme heat and fatigue of some pilgrims as potential causes.

As the authorities sought to deflect criticism for the worst tragedy to befall the annual pilgrimage in 25 years, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the head of the central Hajj committee, provoked fury when he reportedly decided to blame "some pilgrims with African nationalities" for causing the stampede.

Tarek Fatah, an author, journalist and fellow of the Middle East Forum think-tank in Philadelphia, described the remark as a "display of Arab anti-black racism" in a message on Twitter that summed up the response of many on social media.

The new Saudi monarch, Salman, expressed his condolences and pledged a speedy investigation into the disaster - the second within two weeks after a giant construction crane came crashing down on the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the focal point of the Hajj, killing more than 100 people.

King Salman said he has asked for a review of "all existing plans and arrangements to improve the level of organisation and management of the movement" of pilgrims.

The death toll is at least 719, with more than 800 injured, but authorities warned that they expected the numbers to increase as they continued to count the bodies. A large proportion - at least 131 - were Iranians.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossesin Amir Abdollahian, told the official Irna news agency that his ministry had summoned the Saudi envoy to Tehran for an official protest over what he called the "inadequate performance of Saudi authorities" in the incident. And Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued an uncompromising statement: "The Saudi government should accept the responsibility for this sorrowful incident. Mismanagement and improper actions have caused this catastrophe."

A number of other nations are believed to have lost citizens in the disaster, including Indonesia, although numbers were not confirmed. The Foreign Office in London was "urgently seeking information" after reports of the crush and estimates that between 19,000 and 25,000 Britons were in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.

On the Jamarat Bridge, scores of bodies, dressed in the white garments traditionally worn during Hajj, lay scattered about as the injured were moved away on stretchers.

The giant structure allows 300,000 pilgrims an hour to carry out the "stoning of the Devil" ritual at Mina, on the outskirts of Mecca, which involves worshippers throwing stones and pebbles against three stone columns. The bridge was designed to ease the pressure of overcrowding and prevent people being trampled. It also houses thousands of tents where pilgrims spend the night.

The stampede happened after a surge of pilgrims at the intersection of two perpendicular streets as they were making their way towards an area overlooking the columns, according to the Saudi civil defence directorate. It said more than 220 rescue vehicles and 4,000 members of the emergency services were deployed to try to ease the congestion and provide alternative exit routes.

Deaths such as these have occurred numerous times during Hajj despite the use of surveillance cameras to limit the number of people converging on the site. The disaster is the worst to strike the pilgrimage since 1990 when at least 1,426 pilgrims perished in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites.

An Egyptian pilgrim, Abdullah Lotfy, 44, said: "I saw someone trip over someone in a wheelchair and several people tripping over him. People were climbing over one another just to breathe. It was like a wave. You go forward and suddenly you go back."

Mr Lotfy said that having two flows of pilgrims interacting in this way should never have happened. "There was no preparation. What happened was more than they were ready for," he said, referring to the Saudi authorities.

Worried friends and family took to social media in the hope of finding information about their relatives. Around two million pilgrims, including 1.4 million foreigners, are attending the Hajj. Sahri Jaffri, from Manchester, said: "News of deaths during the Hajj pilgrimage stampede is making me worry as my mom and her best friend are there. Please pray for their safety and for the others carrying out their pilgrimage too."

Shahid Mursaleen, from east London, said his uncle and aunt, Mohammed Tariq Aziz and Jan Aziz, from Pakistan, had only narrowly avoided being caught up.

"They heard screams. They saw people on the floor, maybe who had internal injuries. They saw people lying on top of each other," he said.



South Asia


US, NATO review new troops withdrawal options amid ISIS rise and resurgent Taliban

By KHAAMA PRESS - Fri Sep 25 2015

According to the Wall Street Journal quoting sources privy of the development, Gen. Campbell’s recommendations include keeping the current U.S. presence at or near 10,000; reducing it slightly to 8,000; cutting the force roughly in half; and continuing with current plans to draw down to a force of several hundred troops by the end of 2016.

The recommendations by Gen. Campbell comes as the officials believe that a resurgent Taliban or expanding Islamic State could pose a serious threat to the survival of the Afghan government.

The officials also believe that a smaller force of several thousand Americans still could be effective at backing the Afghan government.

The US officials had earlier said Washington would decide regarding the troops level to remain in Afghanistan after the fighting season which is due to conclude in the next couple of months.

The US Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Douglas Lute said late in June this year United States will decide regarding the troops withdrawal timeline from Afghanistan after the ongoing fighting season.

“Whether or not the U.S. adjusts its timeline is a decision to be made in Washington after this fighting season. Presidents Ghani and Obama agreed — I believe the visit was in February or March of this year — that this would obviously be a fighting season during which the Afghan forces would be tested. I think that’s proving to be true,” Ambassador Lute said.

He admitted that the current year will continue to be a challenging year for the Afghan Security Forces and said United States will remain the major troop contributor to the NATO mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016.



High-Altitude Training Hosted For Afghan Pilots In US Air Force Base

Thu Sep 24 2015

By Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs / Published September 23, 2015

Afghan pilots training in US Air Force Base

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — Afghan pilots, maintainers and instructor pilots from the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, came here this month to conduct high-altitude training in the mountainous terrain.

Since the beginning of 2015, four Afghan pilots have been training with the 81st FS to receive extensive knowledge and application of flying A-29B Super Tucanos, as well as the inner workings of Air Force fighter squadrons, to help them stand up their own squadron back in Afghanistan.

The 81st FS is a stateside air advisor unit with a deployed mission, said Lt. Col. Jeff Hogan, the 81st FS commander. When the first group of Afghan pilots and maintainers finish their year-long training, the 81st FS will send Air Force pilots and maintainers to Afghanistan for support.

“We’ll have a constant rotational presence in Afghanistan, helping mentor them as they stand up this new capability,” he said.

The end result of this training is for Afghanistan to have its own air force that can sustain itself, Hogan said, adding that the U.S. partnered with the NATO coalition since the initial invasion and is in a good position to help train the pilots.

“There are other nations that could have done it, but we certainly have the capacity and the know-how on how to train our international partners,” Hogan said. “It’s a core (Air Education and Training Command) competency. We train thousands of international students a year.”

The training is aimed at propping up an Afghan-run fighter squadron that can provide aerial fire support for Afghan ground forces, Hogan said. To achieve that, the 81st FS is training the pilots on four different missions, including close air attack, air interdiction, helicopter and convoy escort, and armed reconnaissance.

The aircraft the pilots train on will go back with them to Afghanistan at the end of their training, according to instructor pilots. They’ll replace the aging Mi-35 attack helicopters, which have limited capabilities.

The training initially began at Moody AFB, which has an elevation of around 200 feet and doesn’t compare to the high elevations in Afghanistan, according to 81st FS officials, who added that the Afghan pilots came to Peterson for more realistic training.

As with any mechanical equipment, performance is lower at a higher altitude, instructor pilots said. Since the air is less dense and has fewer molecules, aircraft can take longer to accelerate and it’s more difficult to get off the ground, they added.

“Peterson afforded us some great facilities,” Hogan said. “We’re very thankful for the support we’ve received here. This is probably the place that most closely approximated (Afghanistan) and what we were trying to do. We received a very warm welcome and we were thankful to get that.”

The most satisfying part of this training, Hogan said, is the opportunity to build another country’s air force.

“This airplane will allow us to truly start to step away from Afghanistan,” Hogan said. “When they can provide their own organic fires, support their own soldiers in the field and provide them with close air support capabilities — that will be the major turning point that allows our country to disengage.”



Not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other places

By KHAAMA PRESS - Fri Sep 25 2015

By Lailuma Sadid

Donald Tusk President of the European council said: Today, our debate must be based on facts, not illusions and emotions. In brief, the situation is the following: There are eight million displaced people in Syria, while about four million have fled to Syria’s neighbours. We should be talking about millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe from Syria alone.

 Recently I visited refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan and I heard only one message: we are determined to get to Europe. It is clear that the greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come. Therefore we need to correct the policy of open doors and windows. Now the focus should be on the proper protection of our external borders and on external assistance to refugees and the countries in our neighbourhood.

In light of this, leaders have agreed on increased help to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries in the region. More assistance will be offered in exchange for reinforced cooperation. At least additional 1bn euro will be mobilized for help to the refugees in the region via the UNHCR and the World Food Programme. Here, let me thank those leaders who replied to my request of last Friday and have already offered fresh money to the World Food Programme.

European president said One, conflicts in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq, will not end anytime soon.

Two, there are eight million displaced people within Syria, while about four million have fled from Syria’s to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. This means that today we are talking about millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe, not thousands.

Martin Schulz European parliament, said: Three, after my visits to Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and other countries in the region, I realised that our partners are expecting our help to solve their refugee problems rather than thinking of how they can help us. It is likely that more refugees towards Europe will flow through their countries, not less. Especially since almost all of them feel invited to Europe.

In light of this, the most urgent question we should ask ourselves tonight is how to regain control of our external borders? Otherwise it does not make sense to even speak of a common European migration policy. What is at stake is also the future of Schengen, and a sense of order and a common European spirit.

Today I will also propose to leaders to agree on a number of short-term measures such as:

more help for the refugees in the region through the World Food Programme and UNHCR;

more help for Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries in the region;

more help for the EU frontline countries; and

immediate strengthening of our external border control, through Frontex, the European Asylum Office and Europol.

These measures will not end the crisis, I am fully aware of this, but they are all necessary steps in the right direction. Today, we must prepare a concrete plan, which must finally appear in place of the arguments and the chaos we have witnessed in the last weeks. This plan must be our common plan. Nobody will be outvoted.

The stakes are huge. We must limit the global rise in temperature to 2 degrees C if we are to curb climate change and the resulting catastrophic droughts, floods and food crises. These natural disasters are behind an exponential growth of climate refugees who could number as many as 200 million in the coming years – even more than the number of war refugees,” said Gilles Pargneaux (S&D, FR), who drew up the resolution, after the vote.

Arrivals are spiking this summer as violence again explodes in Syria. With the eruption of the so-called Islamic State, Syrians are losing hope. More than 200.000 have lost their lives. Almost eight million have been displaced internally. Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are hosting more than four million registered refugees.

During my visits to refugee camps in the region over the past years, I was impressed by the generosity displayed by the hosting countries, but I also noticed that the situation is growing ever more desperate. This impression was confirmed to me in a phone call by H.M. the King of Jordan, Abdullah II bin al-Hussein last week, who very openly told me that his country is reaching its limits. On top of that, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Guterres informed the European Parliament that the UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies are running out of money – they are at a breaking point.

If their funding is not soon increased they will have to reduce services drastically in basic need services. The World Food Programme already saw itself forced to halve the assistance to almost 1.3 million vulnerable Syrian refugees in the region. Most of them now live off 50 cents a day.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, the European Union and its Member States are collectively leading the international response. But more efforts are urgently needed. The UN appeals for the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015 are covered only up to 40% and this gap is one of the main reasons for the increasing migration flows we are facing today. I urge you to increase your contributions to humanitarian and development assistance.

Pledges must be fulfilled in the coming days. The EU has already set up a Trust Fund for the refugees and host countries; this Trust Fund has the advantage of flexibility and speedy delivery. The EU and its Member States, the USA and the Gulf countries must immediately make more funds available – and act. As far as the EU side is concerned, you must decide here and now.

We should be proud that Europe has become a beacon of hope for men, women, children, old and young fleeing from wars. They are seeking shelter in Europe hoping to find solace in our European values of freedom, justice and respect for human rights. European values which are put into practice every day by our citizens, who in train stations, market places and at border-crossings are handing out water and food to the refugees, clothes and toys. Not fear, but compassion and human decency demonstrated by our citizens must motivate our political decisions. Because today the whole world is looking at us and one day we will have to answer our grandchildren, when they ask us: “And what did you do when the Syrian people were running for their life from war?”

In 1951, after war-torn Europe had seen millions of people displaced – a convention was drawn up in Geneva which stated that if a person in their country had a “well-founded fear of being persecuted” they were to be granted protection as a refugee. Now, we are called upon to make good that pledge. For too long, we have turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Syrian people. For too long, we have turned our backs to the refugees embarking on a very dangerous journey to reach our shores. Compassion compels us to lend them a helping hand. But moral duty and international law do too.



Afghan, Indian, Iranian officials meet to finalize transit agreement on Chabahar port

By KHAAMA PRESS - Fri Sep 25 2015

The Afghan, Indian and Iranian officials have recently met to finalize an international transit corridor agreement, it has been reported.

The project – Chabahar transit corridor is defined as ambitious for India as the port will facilitate direct access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan besides providing investment opportunities for the Afghan businessmen and being a critical alternative trade route for Afghanistan.

The Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha quoted by The Times of India said “We are looking at a trilateral transit corridor MoU.”

Sinha further added that Iran has allotted land for the Afghan investors to invest in the attached free trade zone.

Afghanistan is expected to have sea-land access through the strategic Chabahar port in Iran by the end of next year as the work on the port has already begun by a joint venture of Kandla Port Trust (KPT) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

Access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway can be made from Chahbahar port using the existing Iranian road network and the Zaranj-Delaram road, constructed by India in 2009.

This would establish a direct road access to four of the major cities of Afghanistan – Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif.

The port will be also used to ship crude oil and urea, saving India transportation costs. It will also cut transport costs and freight time for India to Central Asia and the Gulf by about a third.





Pakistan writes to UN about India's plan to build wall along LoC

PTI | Sep 25, 2015

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has complained to the UN Security Council about India's plans to construct a wall along the LoC allegedly to convert it "into a quasi international border", drawing a strong reaction from India which said it will respond to this at the "appropriate time".

Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi has written two letters dated September 4 and 9 to the UN Security Council.

In the September 9 letter to President of the Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Lodhi expressed "deep concern" at the plan by India to construct a 10 meter- high and 135 feet-wide embankment (wall) along the 197- kilometre Working Boundary between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan.

India said one of Pakistan's letters to the UNSC is based on a "submision" made by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters here yesterday that India is aware of the two letters that have been written.

"I believe the second letter (dated September 9) is based on some kind of submission made by Salahuddin, who is a person that we consider to be a global terrorist. At the appropriate time we will respond to this," Swarup said.

The first letter dated September 4 states that there was no bilateral dialogue, Swarup said adding that the BSF and Park Rangers have already met.

"So that letter itself has contradicted itself that there is no dialogue. There has been a dialogue," Swarup said.

Swarup asked that "has any action been taken by the UN on these letters. That is the first question. If there is action taken by the UN we will respond appropriately. If there is no action taken by the UN then this will mean that nobody has taken cognizance," of the letters, Swarup said.

In the letter, Lodhi said that Pakistan "considers the embankment a permanent structure that will bring about a material change in the territory in violation inter alia of... Security Council Resolution...of 1948.

"The State of Jammu & Kashmir is internationally recognised disputed territory with a number of United Nations Security Council resolutions on the official status of Jammu & Kashmir awaiting implementation," Lodhi said.



Karachi pilgrims narrate horror of Mina stampede

SAHER BALOCH — September 25th, 2015

KARACHI: It was for the second time that Uzma Haq and her husband, Naveed Ahmed Usmani, survived a tragedy. The first time was the crane crash incident at the Grand Mosque and this time a stampede at Mina, five kilometres outside Makkah.

Speaking to Dawn over the phone from his hotel in Makkah, Mr Usmani, a resident of Shadman Town in Sakhi Hassan, said they had already performed the ritual of stone throwing early in the morning. “We reached Mina at around 7.30am, and it was already packed,” he said, while behind him a cacophony of voices and ringing of phones could be heard. “By the time we were ready to leave — after finishing our prayers between Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifa, Rami and Fajaar — there was no space to stand in the scorching heat. So, we quickly left for our hotel in Makkah,” he said.

As soon as the couple reached the hotel, they received phone calls and messages on their mobile phones. The first call was from their uncle Abdul Hayee from North Nazimabad, asking them if they were fine. Abdul Hayee, 57, was flicking through channels when a news story about a stampede in Mina caught his attention.

He frantically started dialling their phone, as the death toll increased from a hundred to two hundred within an hour. Speaking to Dawn, he said: “We often don’t keep a record of emergency numbers, though we should. In this case, we had asked them both to keep us informed about their whereabouts as this is the second accident that has happened within a month.”

On the other end, Naveed Usmani was counting his lucky stars. “We were in a group of 23 Pakistanis who reached Mina early. I was quite taken aback to know the death toll after the stampede. And it probably happened at the ground floor near Maktab 93 because usually people don’t wait; rather they push their way to get to the front, which causes people to get lost or, in extreme cases, stampedes occur. It also says a lot about the arrangements this time around.”

In other cases, as mobile networks were constantly busy, families tracked one another through internet-based services, such as WhatsApp, Tango and Viber, to keep track of their loved ones lost in Mina.

Another Pakistani, Mohammad Niaz, a resident of the Garden area, was looking for a friend he had made at Mina the last time he went for Haj. Narrating his friend’s ordeal, Niaz said Yunus Sheikh, a prayer leader at a small mosque near Mina, was looking for his family who got lost during the stampede.

Speaking to Dawn over the phone, Yunus Sheikh, of Burmese descent, said his wife and two daughters were standing near the Jamarat when the stampede began. “The crowd kept growing and I kept calling out their names, while thinking of going towards the hospital. But finally my wife called out to me and I found them huddled in a corner. My wife was trying to keep people from stepping on them,” he narrated, adding that they kept holding hands and finally made it to the tunnel from where instead of staying back at their camp, they left for Makkah instantly.

Abdul Aziz, an official working at the Mina camp for emergency services, said: “Seven Pakistanis have been rescued so far. Our officers from the Pakistani embassy are still on site and nothing has been confirmed concerning how many Pakistanis have died in the stampede.”

He added that those wanting to know about their loved ones could call on 00966125277560, the phone number of the Mina camp, or on the helpline numbers 00966125277537 and 009661254960000.



10 'militants' linked to banned organisation arrested in Gwadar district

SYED ALI SHAH — 25 09 15

QUETTA: Security forces claim to have arrested 10 suspected militants affiliated with a banned militant organisation in Balochistan's Gwadar district on Friday.

Frontier Corps (FC) spokesman Khan Wasey said FC and intelligence agencies' personnel conducted a raid in Gwadar and arrested 10 suspected militants.

The suspected militants were involved in target killing, extortion and bomb blasts in the area, Wasey said. Senior security officials are interrogating the suspects.

Security forces have intensified search operations in Gwadar district after a militant attack on Jiwani airport, near the Pak-Iran coastal border in the district on August 30.

Militants had opened fire at the airport, killing electronics superintendent Khalilullah. They also kidnapped, and later killed electronics engineer Mehmudullah Niazi.

Earlier in September, security forces claimed to have arrested eight 'militants' allegedly involved in the attack.



Biometric registration of 41,600 Afghans completed under NAP


RAWALPINDI: The biometric registration of more than 41,600 Afghan nationals has been completed in Punjab under the National Action Programme (NAP).

According to police sources, the biometric registration of Afghans staying in Pakistan legally began on January 8.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has already introduced a biometric machine and new passport reading facility at Benazir Bhutto International Airport after 10 Afghan nationals slipped through the airport for the United Kingdom on fraud documents last year.

Under the biometric system, fingerprints are obtained to verify the person’s identity.

Security officials believed that after the registration through the biometric system, it would be easier to trace illegal Afghans or those overstaying in the country.

They said the biometric registration of Afghans would help the law enforcement agencies check illegal immigrants as in some cases they entered Pakistan with valid travel documents but later violated the law by overstaying.

Security sources said more than 40 slums still existed in Islamabad even after the recent operation to clear the I-11 katchi abadi. None of the Afghan refugees evicted from the sector returned to their home country, said the sources, adding most of them resettled in different parts of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.



Pakistan runaway boy to be reunited with family after 5 years

September 25, 2015

A 15-year-old Pakistani boy, who had moved to Bangladesh along with his father and later sneaked into India alone, is all set to reunite with his mother this Eid.

A CA student from Bhopal traced the boy’s family in the neighbouring country via social media.

“Mohammad Ramzan got separated from his mother Begum Razia a few years ago (around 2010-11) when his father Mohammad Kazol took him to Bangladesh and remarried,” Hamza Basit, who came to the boy’s rescue after learning about his ordeal from a newspaper report, told PTI.

“All of it began when his step-mother started ill-treating him. Ramzan’s father too did him no good. So, Ramzan, one fine morning, about 30 months back, sneaked into India after someone advised him to do so, to pave way for his return to Pakistan,” 20-year-old Basit who is pursuing a chartered accountancy course here, said.

The runaway boy landed in Ranchi and moved to Mumbai, and then reached New Delhi before he was caught by the police here and handed over to a shelter home (Umeed) in October 2013, he said.

“After I came to know about Ramzan, I met him and narrated his ordeal across the border with the help of social media,” he said.

“What couldn’t be done in two years, was done in just 11 days with the help of social networking site Facebook, microblogging site Twitter and Whatsapp,” he claimed.

Activists at Karachi in Pakistan also helped Basit in his mission, by pasting Ramzan’s photos on the walls of Moosa colony after his appeal went viral.

One day, the boy’s step-father in Pakistan saw the poster and passed on the information to his wife (the boy’s mother) Begum Razia, Basit said.

Delighted, Razia contacted her son from Pakistan over the phone in Bhopal on September 18 with the help of a person in whose house she worked, he added.

Ramzan said, “I couldn’t believe my ears when my mother talked to me after five years. I also spoke to my sister Zora and my friends in Moosa Colony.”

They wept and my eyes welled up with tears of joy, he said.

When I told her (mother) that I eat non vegetarian food, she said, “Beta achche se rehna, kahin jana nahi, mein tumhe Pakistan bulaugi or tumhara manpasad non-veg khilaungi.” (Take care..Don’t go anywhere..I will bring you to Pakistan and feed you your favourite non-veg food).

“I have contacted the External Affairs Ministry and one Ashutosh Shukla of Prime Minister Office to re-unite Ramzan with her mother in Pakistan. The Karachi City’s Social Welfare Department has been of immense help to us,” Archana Sahay, Director of Childline and ‘Umeed’ said.

Ramzan has been living at ‘Umeed’ after the government railway police found him at the station on October 22, 2013.



Eid ul Azha celebrated across Pakistan

SEP 25, 2015

KARACHI: Eidul Azha was celebrated across Pakistan today with religious fervour and enthusiasm.

The day began with special prayers in mosques for the peace and progress of Pakistan and the Muslim Umma. People flocked to mosques in droves to offer Eid prayers, where religious scholars highlighted the significance of the occasion in their sermons.

Large congregations of worshippers gathered for Eid prayers at Islamabad's Faisal Mosque and Lahore's Badshahi Mosque. After offering Eid prayers, the faithful sacrificed animals to mark the 10th of Zilhaj.

Eidul Azha or the Festival of Sacrifice celebrates the end of the Haj pilgrimage to Makkah and commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's (A.S.) readiness to sacrifice his son to show obedience to God.

Eid celebrations had kicked off in parts of Khyber Pakthunkhwa on Thursday, while partial Eid was observed in other parts of the province, Dawn newspaper reported.

However, most of the country celebrate Eid on Friday in line with the announcement of the central moon-sighting body, Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.

The federal and provincial governments chalked out elaborate security arrangements across the country on the occasion to ward off untoward incidents, Radio Pakistan reported.

Civic authorities in different cities and towns also made special arrangements for the disposal of offal and other waste generated during the slaughter of animals across the country.

On the occasion of Eid, President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif extended Eid greetings to the nation and urged Pakistanis to share the joys of Eid with the poor and under-privileged.

The president asked people to remember the sacrifices of the armed forces fighting terrorism. PM Nawaz encouraged the masses to "rise above personal, sectarian, and party interests" in order to eliminate extremism.

President Mamnoon Hussain offered Eid prayers at the State Guest House in Karachi, after which he exchanged greetings with fellow worshippers.



Eid message: PM Nawaz urges nation to rise above personal interests

September 25th, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged the nation to rise above personal, sectarian and party interests to get rid of extremist approaches.

“We should work on converging our spirits of sacrifice towards the unity of nation and Muslim community world over. This is the basis of Islamic teachings,” the prime minister said in his message to the nation on Eidul Azha.

“If we devote our intent of sacrifice on true objectives, this would promote mutual harmony, brotherhood, tolerance and equilibrium in our lives.”

Mr Sharif felicitated the countrymen and all Muslims on the festival.

“We are grateful to Allah Almighty who blessed us with this auspicious eve yet for another time. I pray that may these happy moments come over and over again in your lives. Aameen,” he said.

Eidul Azha is a day of remembrance of the obedience of Hazrat Ibrahim and the reverence of Hazrat Ismael when they set an extraordinary example of sacrifice and selflessness, the premier said.

He said Islam regarded this act of submission to Allah an obligatory practice for affluent Muslims.

“Sacrifice means devoting one’s self for upholding high moral values.”



Lahore High Court website hacked again

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2015

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court website seems highly vulnerable to hacking as it was hacked for the second time on Thursday.

An Indian allegedly hacked the website last year and now some unidentified person has done it putting the data/information of the high court at risk.

The hacker left a message saying, “We are not damaging the data of the website but the index.” The unidentified hacker further said the LHC website was very vulnerable to hacking and the acts of “illegal control” of the website would be continued in future. “The hacking spree would be continued till freedom of Palestine.”

However, the IT department of the court restored the website.



Pakistan to get $502m from IMF

September 25th, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will get about $502 million from the IMF by the end of this month as the Fund’s executive board is scheduled to meet in Washington on Monday (Sept 28) for the eighth review.

The approval of the fresh tranche by the board would be merely a formality since the staff mission which held talks with a Pakistani team led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Dubai last month, has already declared that the country’s economy continues to improve. The board acts on report by the staff mission.

Take a look: Accord reached with IMF for release of $500m tranche

Both IMF and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have observed that the real GDP growth is expected to increase to 4.5 per cent during 2015-16, helped by macroeconomic stability, low oil prices, planned improvements in the domestic energy supply and investment related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

While IMF says that despite declining exports, the external current account deficit narrowed to 0.8pc of GDP in 2014-15 owing to favourable oil prices and strong growth of remittances, ADB in its latest report says that the exports are expected to increase only slightly after two years of stagnation, as manufacturing continues to suffer under energy shortages and low cotton prices may see a modest increase.

The budget continues to rely on domestic sources for deficit financing, supplemented by external financing and higher privatisation proceeds equal to 0.2pc of GDP, it says.

The ADB report says notable risks to the budget estimates include failure to achieve a significantly higher provincial fiscal surplus and the Federal Board of Revenue collecting less tax than projected. So far, the provincial fiscal surplus has remained below budget estimates, contributing to higher deficits.



Pakistan court orders government to enforce climate law

AHMAD RAFAY ALAM —September 25th, 2015

A high court in Pakistan has set a legal precedent – both at home and internationally – by ordering the government to enforce its own climate change policy and establishing a climate change commission to oversee the process.

An individual farmer, Asghar Leghari, brought a public interest litigation case against the government in the Lahore High Court on 31 August.

Leghari, who relies on agriculture for a living, argued that the government had not taken steps to develop the required resilience to climate change as set out in the 2012 National Climate Policy and Framework.

Quoting from the policy, the farmer stated that climate change threats have led to "major survival concerns for Pakistan, particularly in relation to the country’s water security, food security and energy security".

Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah noted that climate change "appears the most serious threat faced by Pakistan" and ordered representatives from government ministries and departments to appear before the court and explain what progress had been made under the framework to meet the challenges.

Days later, government representatives told the court that 734 action points had to be addressed by various interested parties. Out of these, 232 must be completed by 2016.

The joint secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change admitted that, "by and large the response of various departments … has not been positive".

Representatives of the irrigation, agriculture and forestry departments, Ministry of Water and Power, Federal Flood Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others also failed to show that tangible progress has been made in delivering adaptation measures.

In light of this apparent inaction, the judge observed that "climate change is a defining challenge of our time…it is a clarion call for the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan…like the right to life which includes the right to a healthy and clean environment and right to human dignity."

Invoking fundamental rights and constitutional duties, the judge called for existing environmental jurisprudence to be fashioned to meet the more urgent and overpowering needs of climate change. He also became the first judge to recognise the principle of "climate change justice".

The judge directed each ministry and department to nominate a focal person who would work with the Ministry of Climate Change and ensure the implementation of the framework.

The judge also ordered the establishment of a Climate Change Commission to monitor its effective implementation.

Under the judge’s instructions, the commission will be chaired by eminent jurist and environmental lawyer Parvez Hassan and comprise representatives of the government, international environmental Non-Governmental Organisations, environmental lawyer Saima Khawaja and counsel for Asghar Leghari.

The court has adjourned the matter until 5 October.

Open door for climate litigation

This case is the first time the Pakistani judiciary has taken up a matter relating to climate change.

Whilst the commission’s role is to review policy implementation, the court’s orders go much further than mere administration. It has established the principles upon which the concept of "climate change justice" can be developed in our legal system. The door is open now for citizens to hold their elected representatives legally accountable for inaction on climate change.

This case follows hard on the heels of the successful Urgenda case brought against the Dutch government, and shows that courts will increasingly be used to enforce political accountability and ensure climate justice in the future

The Copenhagen Accord reached at United Nations (UN) climate summit in Copenhagen one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in history referred to climate change as "one of the greatest challenges of our time".

Across the world, there is growing acknowledgement of governments’ role in addressing climate change challenges.

United States President Obama has made it the mission of the remainder of his presidency to place climate change centre-stage in American politics.

A recent Papal encyclical speaks of a "revolution" necessary to avoid runway global warning. There is even an Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change a fatwa on greenhouse gas emissions and their consequences.

Pakistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change but, despite having a national climate policy, no one appears to care.

It has required a court of law to summon the authorities for us to see their hand-wringing and poor excuses for inaction.

Roots of paralysis

This is not entirely without reason.

Pakistan’s national climate policy was announced in 2010, the eve of the 18th constitutional amendment. That political milestone devolved the subjects of environment pollution and ecology to the provinces, and has made climate concerns as much a provincial matter as a federal responsibility.

But until then, environmental regulation in the provinces never rose above issuing clearances for projects and controlling polluting industry. Climate change, adaptation, mitigation, United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention, conference of the Parties all remain foreign terms to the provinces.

Following this, the government abolished the Ministry of Environment and established a Climate Change Ministry until 2014, when austerity measures led to its budget being slashed and its status downgraded to a division. In 2015, the division was upgraded again to a ministry under senator Mushahidullah Khan.

Whilst the minister remained active and vocal on climate issues until his recent resignation only months before the UN climate summit in Paris, the ministry’s ability had been limited by lack of resources and the fact that most climate adaptation was, in fact, now a provincial matter.

A recent study, conducted jointly by WWF and Lahore University of Management Sciences, found that none of the provinces had any climate adaptation policy to speak of.

Challenges ahead

The framework, prepared in light of the vulnerabilities identified in the national climate policy, sets out appropriate adaptation actions at the federal, provincial and local levels.

It is a remarkable document that lists out the measures that need to be undertaken to provide the adaptation and mitigation measures necessary to meet the climate challenges.

The only thing missing are price tags. And this is where enforcement of policy becomes questionable and the job of the Climate Change Commission challenging.

Urgent climate adaptation for a developing country like Pakistan means spending money that may already have been committed elsewhere. At present, with local government elections around the corner and another general election not too far off, public spending for climate adaptation is not a priority.

The challenge for the commission will be to identify climate adaptation initiatives that provinces can take up as development projects. The challenge before the court is to navigate a course of climate awareness and policy implementation that does not offend the perceived mandate of the federal and provincial governments.

This article was originally published on The Third Pole and has been reproduced with permission.






Migrants keep coming, Merkel tells EU to do more

AFP — 25 09 15

BUDAPEST: Thousands of migrants streamed through the Balkans on Thursday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned after an emergency summit that Europe still had to get to grips with its biggest post-war refugee crisis.

French officials meanwhile said a young African was killed by a Channel Tunnel train while trying to get to Britain, the latest of thousands of deaths this year of people desperate to start a new life in Europe.

Hungarian police announced 10,046 migrants, a new daily record, had arrived on Wednesday from Croatia, while Austrian authorities said on Thursday that 8,100 had entered from Hungary in the previous 36 hours.

But Budapest is planning to seal its border with Croatia as early as this weekend or the beginning of next week, according to government sources quoted by Hungarian news websites.

Migrants, many from war-torn Syria, are pouring through the Balkans on a zig-zag trek to northern Europe, particularly Germany, which they see as a beacon of stability and prosperity.

The previous record in Hungary was set on Sept 14, when 9,380 migrants crossed just before the country effectively sealed its border with Serbia with razor wire.

That closure — and subsequent clashes with riot police on the border — led thousands of migrants to enter Croatia, quickly overwhelming authorities who then started bussing them to the Hungarian frontier.

On Tuesday almost 9,000 migrants entered Croatia, also a new high. Over the last week, more than 44,000 refugees have entered the country from non-EU Serbia.

That influx has fuelled tensions between the two countries. In tit-for-tat moves overnight, Croatia and Serbia further restricted traffic at the last major crossing point still open between them, Tanjug news agency reported in Belgrade.EU leaders agreed at their summit early on Thursday to boost aid for Syria’s neighbours — home to millions of refugees fleeing years of civil war and the ravages of Islamic State extremists — to stop them coming to Europe.

The leaders agreed to mobilise an additional one billion euros ($1.12 billion) for the UN refugee agency and the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as more help for Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Balkan countries.

The run-up to the summit had seen major divisions open in the 28-nation bloc, especially between western and former communist eastern members.

But EU president Donald Tusk said he was sure the “risky blaming game” was over.

“Tonight we have a common understanding that we cannot continue like we did before,” Tusk told a press conference.

Tusk said EU leaders also agreed to strengthen the bloc’s outer frontiers, pointing to a “change in the way of thinking about our external borders”.

He added they also agreed to set up controversial “hotspot” reception centres in frontline states — probably in Greece and Italy — to quickly sort people fleeing conflict from economic migrants.

On the eve of the summit, interior ministers decided to relocate 120,000 refugees, defying opposition from eastern states Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia.

The decision was approved by a majority of countries under the EU’s system of votes, weighted according to the member.—AFP



Residents anxious about Islam schoolwork outside county

MURFREESBORO — After more than a half-dozen speakers showed concerns abut Islam's role in state educational curriculum, Rutherford County Schools Director Don Odom said Thursday he does not want promotion of any religion through social studies classes.

"The key factor here is that (the teaching) is historic and not trying to proselytize one way or another," Odom said during the county's Board of Education meeting.

Each of the seven speakers’ referenced concerns about what they alleged was taught in school systems outside of Rutherford County, including the Franklin Special School District, Maury County Schools and Cheatham County Schools.

Several parents and community members spoke of projects or presentations outside of a basic textbook that exhibited the Islamic faith in a way they found offensive, including requiring students to allegedly learn the Muslim declaration of faith.

"We've been at it for three years, and we're not going to let it go away," said Pam King, a Murfreesboro resident. "It's been getting worse and worse and worse,"

Only one speaker, Murfreesboro resident Scott Kozimer, made allegations tied to a Rutherford County Schools student, saying his son had to read the Quran during the state's standardized testing last spring.

He asked for assurances that the board would have a plan in place in case these types of assignments or potential religious accommodations occurred or were requested.

"There are going to be more demands on us, and we need to be prepared for these across the board," Kozimer said.

Odom directed many of the comments tied to social studies standards to the state Department of Education, which Odom said would open a public comments system for new social studies standards on Jan. 1.

Why Tennessee is reviewing social studies standards

Odom said he wants to ensure what is taught about religions through middle school classes is fact-based and accurate. The school directors said that educators teaching social studies were shown district-endorsed resources they could use to enhance the teaching of different world religions.

After the meeting, he said elements of Christianity like the Ten Commandments and the New Testament are also used as supplemental objects when the religion is taught in class.

School board member Lisa Moore said she wants the school system to do its best to balance the need for students to learn social studies based on state standards, but also provide a truthful and accurate assessment of world religions.

Moore, who was elected to the board after advocating for changes in previous social studies curriculum reforms, feared what is currently taught in seventh grade could lead to what what she called "indoctrination".

"I do think between the textbooks and some of the things we've seen in other counties, the curriculum coming out now is elevating it to a high level of concern," Moore said.

ATLAS resources approved

During the meeting, the school board allocated money from a federal grant to hire a part-time assistant for the ATLAS program that helps homeless and at-risk children in the district.

More than 650 children are already in the program geared to help students without a a stable and adequate night-time residence, said Kim Snell, who leads the ATLAS program. In past years, no more than 600 students were enrolled by October, she said.

The program frequently enrolls more than 1,000 children by the end of a school year, Snell said.

The new assistant would help Snell handle some of the procedural elements of the program, Odom said.

"One of the problems is that's she's by herself," Odom said.

In other business, the board also approved the purchase of updated networking equipment to better handle and secure the Internet demands required for standardized testing in the district. The $150,303 purchase was made through the budget allocation for new technology in the district.



Anticipating Islam’s conquest of Europe and America at Al-Aqsa

Jerusalem Post Israel News, 25 09 15

Any European who would oppose Muslim immigration by arguing that the current waves of desperate people hoping to find safety and prosperity north of the Alps will pave the way for a hostile attempt to conquer Europe for Islam would certainly be denounced as an “Islamophobe.” But what do you call it when a preacher at the Al-Aqsa mosque – which is usually described as Islam’s “third-holiest” place – passionately announces that “soon, we will trample them [Europe’s Christians and Jews] underfoot, Allah willing”?

In an address delivered some two weeks ago at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Ayed argued according to a translation provided by MEMRI that in Europe, “all the hearts are infused with hatred toward Muslims.” According to the Sheikh,

“Europe has become old and decrepit, and needs human reinforcement. […] they have lost their fertility, so they look for fertility in their midst. We will give them fertility! We will breed children with them, because we shall conquer their countries – whether you like it or not, oh Germans, oh Americans, oh French, oh Italians, and all those like you. Take the refugees! We shall soon collect them in the name of the coming Caliphate. We will say to you: These are our sons. Send them, or we will send our armies to you.”

If this sounds “Islamophobic,” the politically correct thing is of course to simply ignore this story – and this is just what most of the mainstream media seem to have done.  It almost goes without saying that this is not the first time that politically inconvenient stories from the Muslim world have been ignored. Frequently these are stories that would show deeply ingrained Muslim Jew-hatred; however, the arguably very belated revelations in a recent New York Times report about the shocking “tolerance” adopted by the US military regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children by its Afghan allies also provide a more general indication of how eagerly western institutions apply double standards that downplay or ignore profound evils in Muslim societies. 

Personally, I would agree that the above cited remarks by the Al-Aqsa preacher are not necessarily newsworthy. After all, one can find fanatics who come up with deranged rants in every creed. But since Muslims claim the Al-Aqsa mosque as Islam’s “third holiest” site, one should assume that the Islamic Waqf – which was left in charge of the whole Temple Mount after Israel’s victory in the Six Day War 1967 – would ensure that crackpots don’t get a platform in this supposedly so important mosque.

Unfortunately, however, the hate-filled rant envisioning a Muslim conquest of Europe was by no means a unique incident. Over the past year, MEMRI has documented several similar “sermons,” and one can only speculate how many go undocumented and what is preached in local mosques all over the Muslim world.

On July 24, Sheik Ahmad Al-Dweik declared in an address at the Al-Aqsa mosque that the “Caliphate” promised by Allah “will be the number one country in the world.”

“It will fight the U.S. and will bring it down. [The Caliphate] will eliminate the West in its entirety. […] Allah promised that there would be an Islamic state, and that we would prepare for the West whatever strength and steeds of war we can, in order to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Islam and of Allah, until we become those who command and Islam rules [the world].”

Similar remarks were made by two other persons speaking at the mosque in early July.

In March, another preacher addressing worshipers at the Al-Aqsa mosque on two different occasions recalled Islam’s history of conquest and declared:

“today, the religion and ideology of Muhammad – including Islam’s men of Truth, the men of the Caliphate and of jihad – are laying siege to America, despite its nuclear arsenal. They are laying siege to Europe and to the fabricated democracy, the great lie.”

“America will be trampled by the hooves of the horses of the Caliph of the Muslims, Allah willing. This is the promise of Allah.”

In February, Palestinian political researcher Ahmad Al-Khatwani (Abu Hamza) urged his fellow Muslims at Al-Aqsa to treat “Islam in a political manner, on the basis of the Islamic creed in its political sense.” He explained:

“If the Muslims accept Islam as a political and ideological foundation and guide, they will be able to confront America and its war on the Muslims, and they will be able to vanquish it with ease. We pray that Allah will enable the Muslims to wage war on America and against its true terrorism. May He grant victory to the Muslims, and may they raid America on its own land and the land of heresy everywhere.”

In January, a cleric speaking at the Al-Aqsa mosque praised the terror attacks in Paris as “defense of the Prophet Muhammad.”

Last November, a Palestinian publicly prayed in the Al-Aqsa mosque:

“Oh Allah, annihilate America and its coalition. Oh Allah, enable us to cut off their heads. Oh Allah, help our brothers, the mujahideen in the land of Iraq and Syria.”

These “sermons” seem to indicate – and encourage – support for the savagery of the Islamic State terror group.

In addition, there are plenty of examples showing incitement of Jew-hatred in the vilest and most primitive terms imaginable.

The video clips show that most of these rants are not formal sermons with worshipers listening attentively. It seems more like a Muslim version of Speakers’ Corner, where anyone – any man, that is – who feels like delivering a hate-filled rant against the Jews and the West can do so at Islam’s “third holiest” site. Men and young boys mull around, some stop to listen; but in general, the reaction of the audience shows that no one regards it as unusual to come to a supposedly very sacred place of worship and hear non-Muslims demonized and Islam exalted as destined for the bloody subjugation of the non-Muslim world.

So it seems that Muslims are quite flexible when it comes to perceived violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa. As the recent violence has shown once again, the mere idea that non-Muslims might dare to even just think about a prayer while visiting the Temple Mount easily enrages Muslims, whereas they apparently don’t mind at all when self-styled “defenders” of Islam use the Al-Aqsa mosque to stockpile rocks, debris and incendiary devices to attack police and visitors. Likewise, nobody seems to have a problem with fanatics bellowing out hate-filled rants at Al-Aqsa on a fairly regular basis.

To be sure, there are a few individual Muslims who have sharply criticized Muslim conduct at Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount, notably the well-known writer Qanta Ahmed who has repeatedly published heart-felt calls for tolerance and peaceful co-existence. Last December, a Jordanian preacher even explicitly suggested that a part of the Temple Mount platform “where there are trees” should “be allocated for the prayer of the Israelites.”

But those lone voices are drowned out by overwhelming support for Muslim hypocrisy and supremacism. As I have argued previously, the Temple Mount has become a symbol of Muslim fanaticism, and those who most like to invoke the platitudes about Islam as a religion of peace are perhaps most cowed by the constantly repeated threats of Muslim violence. The well-practiced reflex of deferring to threats of Muslim rage was starkly illustrated when the UN Security Council (UNSC) published a warning about the recent violence avoiding any mention of the historic Jewish ties to the Temple Mount by referring to the compound only with the Arabic term “Haram al-Sharif,” and demanding that “Muslim worshipers at the Haram al-Sharif must be allowed to worship in peace, free from violence, threats and provocation.”

As documented above, the reality ignored by the UNSC is that Muslim worshipers at the Haram al-Sharif are absolutely free to indulge in violence, threats and provocation.

While Israel may have little choice but to constantly try to appease the always simmering Muslim rage about as yet unfulfilled dreams of Islam’s global domination, Arab leaders and media try their best to pour fuel on the flames.  Particularly noteworthy is perhaps that Al Jazeera chose to promote incitement even in English: there is little doubt that the news network knows (or could know) about the vile rants that are regularly delivered at Islam’s “third holiest” place; yet, it featured a contemptible “analysis” explaining “Why Israel wants a religious war over Al-Aqsa.”

This is quite plainly what psychologists call projection: since the days of the Palestinian leader who later became notorious as “Hitler’s mufti” – who is still considered a Palestinian hero – Arab and Muslim leaders, as well as activists like Ali Abunimah, have fabricated Jewish or “Zionist” threats to “Al-Aqsa” (increasingly understood not only as the mosque, but the entire Temple Mount compound) to incite often lethal violence.

It should not be overlooked that this incitement also serves as an important tool to prop up Muslim “solidarity.” The powerful Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was established in 1969/70 after the guards employed by the Islamic Waqf failed to prevent a mentally ill Australian Christian tourist from entering the mosque to set a fire there. At the OIC website, there is no hint of the negligence of the Islamic Waqf guards; instead, the implication is that the “criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque” happened because Jerusalem is “occupied.” Palestinian media regularly repeat the libel that the Australian was a “Jewish terrorist;” most recently it was featured in TV programs and media commentaries marking the anniversary of the arson towards the end of August. Similarly, the previously cited Al Jazeera screed also implies that the 1969 arson happened because “Jews wanted to take the Noble Sanctuary.”

It is thus hardly surprising that the OIC currently plans once again “to hold an emergency meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the OIC Member States to discuss the Israeli violations in the occupied city of Al-Quds and ways to stop the Israeli aggressions on Al-Aqsa Mosque.” In addition, the OIC secretary general recently sent a letter to the heads of major international organizations voicing “his strong condemnation of the Israeli attacks on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque” and warning “that burning parts of the mosque, attacking worshipers inside it by occupation forces, and arresting those stationed in its courtyards are crimes, aimed at freedom of worship.”

In the same letter, the OIC insists without the slightest sign of embarrassment that Jews and Christians should be denied freedom of worship on the Temple Mount.

This shameless hypocrisy is perhaps inevitable as long as freedom of worship for Muslims at Al-Aqsa includes the freedom to indulge in vile fantasies of Islam’s coming conquest of the non-Muslim world.



Man charged over allegedly mooning and abusing Muslim woman at Logan shops

September 24, 2015: A Queensland man has been filmed exposing his bum to a Muslim woman and her children after an alleged foul-mouthed rant.

A 45-year-old Logan man has been charged with allegedly mooning and verbally abusing a Muslim woman at a Waterford West shopping centre.

The 35-year-old woman, who was in her car at the centre, filmed part of the incident on her phone, which occurred on Wednesday.

“Do you want a proper photo? Here,” a man can be heard saying, before allegedly exposing his bottom to the women and her children.

Earlier, he allegedly yelled “What are you looking at, you f---ing Muslim?”, the woman told Mail Online.

“‘They're all terrorists, look at those suckers, they’re all unemployed, they come to Australia on boats, they bludge off the dole’ he was yelling,” she said.

“He was so aggressive and hateful.”

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said her children were confused and scared by the incident.

Many people looked on and laughed at her situation and none stepped in to help, she said.

Police said that the man’s behaviour was intolerable.

“The Logan community is made up of many different ethnic, cultural and religious groups and is a very tolerant and law abiding community and this sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances,” Logan Police district officer Chief Superintendent Marty Mickelson said.

“Local detectives are also investigating whether an offence against the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act had been committed and that further charges may be laid in the future.

“Police will prosecute anyone detected behaving in this manner to the full extent of the law.”

The man has been charged with public nuisance and wilful exposure and is expected to face Beenleigh Magistrates Court on October 13.



North America


Muslim Boy's Message for Ben Carson: 'I Will Become the 1st Muslim President'


Sep 25, 2015,

Yusuf Dayur, a 12-year-old boy from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has a message he wants presidential candidate Ben Carson to hear.

"I will become the first Muslim president!" Dayur declares in a video that his mother, Shukri Abukar, uploaded to Facebook and YouTube. "And you will see that when I become president, I will respect people of all faiths, all colors and all religions."

The middle-schooler's father, Hassan Mohammed, told ABC News that Dayur felt compelled to make the video after he heard Carson would not support a Muslim as president of the U.S.

"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," Carson told NBC's "Meet the Press." "I absolutely would not agree with that."

Ben Carson Would Not Support a Muslim as President

Carly Fiorina Says Ben Carson 'Wrong' On Muslim President Comments

Ben Carson Defends Muslim Remarks: 'Our Real Problem Is Our Politically Correct Culture'

Mohammed said his son "absolutely does not agree" with Carson and that he was "blown away" when he watched his son in the video that was recorded this past Monday.

"He represented himself in such a professional way," Mohammed said. "I wasn't expecting a 12-year-old to be able to respond to a presidential candidate this way. He's brilliant."

In the video, Dayur starts by asking Carson a series of questions.

"Mr. Carson, what if someone told you that you couldn’t become president because of your color?" he asks. "What if someone told you that you couldn’t become president because of your race? What if someone told you that you couldn’t become president because of your faith? That’s what you did to me."

He adds that Carson "shattered" his dreams when he said he didn't believe a Muslim should be president.

"People would say that black people couldn’t become president," Dayur says. "Guess what? I’m black and I’m Muslim ... I will break that Muslim boundary. I will become the first Muslim president."

Mohammed says his son is serious and plans to begin his political career as president of his high school.



Looks like America agrees with Ben Carson’s anti-Muslim stance

By Andrea PeyserSeptember 25, 2015 | 3:23am

Ben Carson is a hell of a lot craftier than he looks. Still polling behind the slipping Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and closely eating surging Carly Fiorina’s exhaust in the latest CNN/ORC poll, the mealy-mouthed retired pediatric neurosurgeon, 64, has been reluctant to say boo to a goose — or to slam Trump for his demonstrably dumb claim that vaccines cause autism in children.

So Carson lobbed the political equivalent of a Hail Mary pass in a cynical ploy to get himself noticed. And it seems to be working, big time.

He lit into an issue that, fair or not, unites many Americans, not all of them Republicans: the belief that an adherent of the Islamic faith should not be elected president.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,’’ Carson, sounding sure of himself for a change, declared in an interview broadcast on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this past Sunday.

“I absolutely would not agree with that.’’

In these days of militant Islam, a time when an entire religion is under fire for the bloodthirsty actions of a violent fringe, most Republicans and — dirty little secret — even some Democrats, agree with the good doctor that a Muslim can’t be trusted with access to the United States’ nuclear codes.

He doubled down on his remarks in an interview published Monday in The Hill newspaper. Whoever wins the presidential election should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran,” Carson said.

He added, “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”

Holy smoke.

Carson, an evangelical Christian, was blasted by some of his fellow Republican presidential candidates, was called on to drop out of the race by the leader of the nation’s largest Muslim-American advocacy group, and was slammed by Democratic prez hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton. (She herself engaged in Islamic fear-mongering during her failed 2008 bid for the White House by declaring that Barack Obama was not a Muslim “as far as I know.’’)

Trump was roundly criticized for failing to correct a man who asserted during a New Hampshire campaign event that President Obama was a non-American-citizen Muslim, rather than an American-born Christian.

But Trump has since pandered in Trump-like fashion. “I love the Muslims,’’ he said, adding that he’d consider running with one as his vice-presidential candidate or naming a Muslim to his Cabinet.

The truth is that Carson may have stumbled upon a breakout issue.

A Gallup poll released in June found that 38 percent of American voters would not vote for a well-qualified Muslim presidential nominee from their own party — a view shared by 54 percent of

Republicans surveyed, 39 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats.

Carson tempered his remarks a notch in a TV interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that aired Monday night. “Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have, and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them,’’ he said.

But he’s showing no real sign of backing off his words. Why should he?

There were just under 2.6 million US Muslims in 2010, less than 1 percent of the population, but growing.

Carson’s fund-raising has been strong after “Meet the Press’’ aired, and his campaign has added more than 100,000 new Facebook friends, the candidate’s camp claimed. “The money has been coming in so fast, it’s hard to even keep up with it,” Carson said Wednesday on Fox News Channel.

“While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20,’’ Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett told The Associated Press. “People in Iowa particularly, are like, ‘Yeah! We’re not going to vote for a Muslim either,’” he said.

When he rejected a Muslim presidential candidate, Carson dared American voters to ask themselves if they’d follow his lead. The people of this country pride themselves on tolerance.

But Ben Carson exposed the fact that, for a number of us, fear overwhelms the march to multiculturalism. Big time.

Blas’ boasts dead wrong

Mayor de Blasio is in deep denial. Even as 11 murders tore through New York City during the week ending Sunday — a 450 percent increase over the two that marred the same period last year — Hizzoner stressed that crime, overall, has gone down in the city this year.

That doesn’t make me feel safer.

This week, a Bronx green- cab driver with three young sons and a pregnant wife was shot and killed on the job.

And the father of a 7-year-old Bronx girl whose leg was grazed by a stray bullet railed that the city needs more neighborhood cops and a return to the gun-finding police tactic of stop, question and frisk — decimated under the deBlasio administration.

The mayor has chalked up the violence to a gang problem. He needs to quit minimizing the savagery — and do what it takes to end it.

Sure hope he didn’t b-oink him

Calling PETA! A soon-to-be-published unauthorized biography claims that British Prime Minister David Cameron placed a “private part of his anatomy” into the mouth of a dead pig as part of a dinner-club initiation ritual as a student at the University of Oxford, smoked pot in his dorm room and entertained a slew of gorgeous ladies.

Which brings up questions, such as — how did the pig die?

“Perhaps this is a case of mistaken identity,’’ the authors, a retired member of Parliament and a journalist, write in “Call Me Dave.’’

So why write this at all?

Eww York City rat

“Pizza Rat’’ is the symbol of a decaying city. The hungry rodent stars in a now-viral video posted on YouTube, dragging a cheese slice down the stairs of a New York City subway station. Ratso dared return for two more bites before scurrying off, videographer and comic Matt Little told The Post.

The cocky critter will not be exterminated. Think about that before boarding a train. Or ordering lunch.

Farewell, Yogi

“I really didn’t say everything I said.”

So goes a quotation attributed to Yogi Berra, the Yankee catching great, Met and Yank manager and philosopher king who died Tuesday at age 90. He took that final fork in the road.

Rest in peace.



Pope calls for global abolition of death penalty

Sep 25, 2015

WASHINGTON: Pope Francis on Thursday called for the global abolition of the death penalty before lawmakers in the United States, where capital punishment is still practiced in several states.

"The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development," Francis said in his speech to Congress.

"This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred," he added.

"I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation."

Immigration reform activists hold a banner in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 24, 2015 before Pope Francis addresses a Joint Session of Congress on the third day of his six-day visit to the US. (AFP)



Southeast Asia


US, Australia embassies warn of terror attack in Malaysia

Sep 25, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: The US and Australian embassies in Malaysia have warned of a potential terrorist attack at a popular hawker street in Kuala Lumpur.

The U. Embassy issued an advisory Thursday saying it has credible threat information and urged its citizens to avoid Alor Street, located in a shopping belt in the city center, and its immediate surrounding areas.

It says terrorist organizations had in the past planned attacks to coincide with significant dates, but gave no details.

The Australian Embassy issued a similar alert to its citizens based on the U.S. threat warning.

A police spokesman says a statement will be issued later Friday.

Malaysia has arrested more than 100 supporters of the Islamic State group in the past two years, some of whom were allegedly plotting attacks in the country.



In Malaysia Indian Muslim community sacrifices 200 goats, sheep on Eid ul Azha

24 September 2015

The Indian Muslim community in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, had an enjoyable occasion here.

Kampung Pandan Madrasah chairman Pakri Mohamed Mohd Ismail, 67, said the annual ritual of sacrifice was a must at each festival over the past 30 years, since the madrasah was built.

“Today, 200 goats and sheep were sacrificed and the meat distributed to various people,” he told Bernama today.

He said the ritual began at 10am with the assistance of 150 people to process the sacrificial animals and the meat was then distributed to participants, orphans and the poor.

Apart from that, Pakri Mohamed said 23 goats were sacrificed and cooked at the site as a feast for 2,000 people.

“It appears there is not much difference between the Aidiladha celebration of the Indian Muslims and the other communities. It is just that we prefer to sacrifice goats, and briyani is an essential item served at the occasion,” he said. – Bernama, September 24, 2015.