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

Islamic World News ( 8 Sept 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Sporadic calls for 'jihad' in Pakistan rallies against Rohingya crackdown

Photo: Muslim world denounces Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya; West reticent

 

West insincere about plight of Rohingya Muslims: Analyst

China tells world to respect Pakistan's anti-terror fight

Iran will adhere to nuclear deal even if US withdraws, AEOI chief says

Malala Yousafzai calls for "global community" to protect Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority

North America

West insincere about plight of Rohingya Muslims: Analyst

People gathered in Washington to protest Myanmar

'US obsession with containing China encouraged Myanmar's Nakba-inspired Rohingya op'

Trump discusses Gulf crisis with Qatari Emir

9/11 Commission chairmen: We aren't beating the terrorists yet

US court deals blow to Trump travel ban

Man accused of murder at Canadian mosque back in court

Delingpole: Islamic State and Hillary Supporters Beg Hurricane Irma – ‘Destroy Trump’s America!’

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/west-insincere-about-plight-of-rohingya-muslims--analyst/d/112481


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Pakistan

China tells world to respect Pakistan's anti-terror fight

Sporadic calls for 'jihad' in Pakistan rallies against Rohingya crackdown

World’s biggest war against terrorism fought by Pakistan: CJCSC

PTI seeks UN intervention over Rohingya genocide

Christian teenager in Pakistan beaten to death by classmates after drinking from same glass as Muslim boy

IIC member, son abducted in Quetta

Military courts hand death sentence to 4 terrorists, confirms COAS

Jamat Ahle Hadees Balochistan ameer kidnapped from Quetta

Pakistan Election Panel Refuses to Recognise Hafiz Saeed's Political Front

Pakistan, China call for fresh talks with Taliban

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Mideast

Iran will adhere to nuclear deal even if US withdraws, AEOI chief says

Worshipers Stage Rally in Tehran, Call for Halt to Genocide of Muslims in Myanmar

ANALYSIS: Revealing the brutal repression of Kurds in Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu's wife indicted on corruption charges

Turkish minister says EU accession talks 'no child's game'

Erdogan criticizes US for charging ex-minister over Iran bans

Palestinians in Gaza, elsewhere grappling with ‘crisis of hope’: ICRC chief

Turkey accuses Germany of using EU as ‘tool’ in row

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South Asia

Malala Yousafzai calls for "global community" to protect Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority

Rohingya crisis: Muslim villages in Burma's Rakhine state burned to the ground as hundreds of thousands flee

When children become shield for militants

US asked to condition Afghan aid to recognition of Durand Line

Bangladesh wants 'safe zones' to ease Rohingya crisis, but seen unlikely

Protests across Asia over Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya Muslims

We want an end to this atrocity

CMP to get counter terrorism unit

Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims protest Rohingya killings, Nobel Institute says it can’t strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her Peace prize

Hatred on the rise among the Afghans, Karzai warns US

Taliban leader among 7 killed, wounded in Maidan Wardak airstrike

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia ready to provide temporary shelter for Rohingya fleeing violence

China tightens restrictions on religious freedom

Myanmar's Rohingya strife roils Indonesian politics

An Indonesian town rooted in tradition

Singapore Muslim and Buddhist leaders concerned over violence

Malaysian NGOs rouse Muslims to defend Rohingyas

DAP’s Syerleena reports post depicting her as anti-Islam

Top court allows NRD to appeal in ‘bin Abdullah’ case

Cynthia Gabriel slams Trump for ‘gigantic gift to Najib’

Minister to lift block after Steam disables god-fight game download

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Africa

Nigeria’s leading Islamic coalition condemns violence against Rohingya Muslims

Al-Shabaab Beheads 5 Non-Muslims in Christian-Majority Kenya

South Sudan Christians Must Submit To Islam Or Starve

Tunis protesters demand justice for Myanmar’s Rohingya

Nigeria: Ahmadiyya Faults Persecution of Rohingya Muslims

Nigeria: Islam Abhors Stigmatisation of Widows, Nasfat Affirms

African leaders to hold new Libya talks

Libya: Royal grandson suggests restoring 1951 charter

Amnesty says ‘horrific’ violence in Central African Republic

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India

Agra: Braj region's Muslims come out in support of Rohingya Muslims

ISI’s covert act prompted Modi-Kyi anti-terror pact

Jawed Habib booked for insulting Hindu Gods, apologises

BMMA releases final draft of Muslim Family Law

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Arab World

Saudi Arabia suspends any dialogue with Qatar: SPA

Syrian Army Makes Fresh Strategic Gains in War on Terrorism in Deir Ezzur

Russia claims killing of Islamic State ‘Minister of War’ in Syria

Saudi ambassador to Turkey: KSA has stood by Rohingyas for 70 years

Lebanon mourns soldiers killed by IS

US Army Continues Rescue Operations for ISIL in Eastern Syria

Trump underscores to Tamim importance of Riyadh Summit commitment, Iran threat

ISIL Retreats from Strategic Position near Deir Ezzur City under Syrian Army Attacks

FSA Militants to Hand over Checkpoints at Border with Jordan to Syrian Army

Trump speaks with leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar

US approves $3.8-billion arms sales to Bahrain amid its crackdown on dissent: Report

Sayyid Qutb and the disillusionment with Western secularism

Syria strongly denies alleged role in Khan Shaykhun chemical attack

Iraqi troops find dozens of bodies in mass grave near Tal Afar

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Europe

Turkey accuses Germany of using EU as 'tool' in row

The five most feared buzzwords associated with Islam in the West, and what they really mean

Record number of refugees reach Greece in August

Europe’s Muslims are more integrated than we think

Muslim convert who prayed with London Bridge terrorist before he went on to kill eight people is jailed for six months for having a fake Spanish ID

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:

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Sporadic calls for 'jihad' in Pakistan rallies against Rohingya crackdown

September 08, 2017

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Pakistan's major cities Friday to condemn a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, with many carrying placards stating "Shame on Aung San Suu Kyi".

The largely peaceful rallies were spearheaded by Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), but other groups including mainstream political parties joined in.

Leaders including JI chief Sirajul Haq called for an end to the "genocide" of the Rohingya and for Pakistan to break off relations with the government in Myanmar.

Pakistan has previously expressed "deep anguish" at the violence.

Many protesters also slammed Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader, over her silence. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has faced criticism for failing to condemn the violence, leaving her global reputation in tatters.

A senior United Nations representative told AFP Friday that more than 1,000 people may already have been killed in the military-led crackdown, which has seen 270,000 mostly Rohingya civilians flee to Bangladesh in the last two weeks alone.

Others have died trying to flee the fighting in Rakhine state, where witnesses say entire villages have been burned since Rohingya militants launched a series of coordinated attacks on August 25, prompting the crackdown.

In Karachi, which hosts one of the largest Rohingya populations outside of Myanmar, more than 2,000 people demonstrated outside the Karachi Press Club.

"If our leader gives the call, we will lay down our lives for the Burmese Muslims," one protester, Maulana Ahmed, told AFP.

In Islamabad, a similarly sized crowd gathered at the entrance to the diplomatic enclave, inside which the Myanmar embassy is situated.

Many carried placards reading: "Why are these Muslims being killed? What is their crime?" as chants of "Allahu Akbar", or "God is the Greatest", reverberated.

There were also some sporadic calls for "jihad", or holy war.

Security forces with protective riot gear stood nearby and containers blocked off access to the enclave, with some small scuffles.

But police appeared relaxed as the demonstrators, some armed with batons, showed no signs of trying to go further into the diplomatic area.

Protests were also held in deeply religious neighbouring Afghanistan Friday.

Hundreds of placard-waving men marched in the eastern city of Jalalabad in support of the Rohingya while smaller demonstrations were held in the capital Kabul, including one outside the compound of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and other cities.

Earlier in the week the Afghan foreign ministry condemned the "barbaric and inhumane attacks". The Taliban insurgents have also spoken out in support, urging followers to help the "oppressed Muslims".

Malaysia and Bangladesh also saw protests Friday evening.

The Rohingya have long been subjected to discrimination in mostly Buddhist Myanmar, which regards them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Sep-2017/sporadic-calls-for-jihad-against-rohingya-crackdown-in-pakistan-rallies

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West insincere about plight of Rohingya Muslims: Analyst

Sep 8, 2017

The US and other Western governments are not sincere about their criticism of the Myanmar government for committing atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims, says a former US Senate policy adviser and diplomat.

“I’m always very suspicious of the motives of the Western governments and Western media when they take up the cause of a Muslim minority in some country,” said James Jatras, who is also a specialist in international relations and legislative politics in Washington.

“We remember how the West did the same thing with the Kosovo Albanian Muslims in Serbia in the 1990s,” Jatras told Press TV on Friday.

“It seems to be a lot of this is crocodile tears; that they will make a big show of showing concern, but what they’re really trying to do is cover up their own actions in places like Iraq and Libya and Syria,” he added.

US and UK officials have expressed concerns about the deadly violence against the Rohingya but refused to address calls for international sanctions against Myanmar, and also avoided to blame Myanmar’s de facto ruler Aung San Suu Kyi over her complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

The large-scale violence began about two weeks ago when a group claiming to defend the Rohingya launched attacks on several border and police posts north of Rakhine, killing several officers. The army, backed by Buddhist mobs, then embarked on a massive “clearance operation,” which according to many eyewitnesses, has forced tens of thousands from their homes.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, confirmed Thursday that some 164,000 Rohingya Muslims had fled Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine to seek refuge in camps in Bangladesh since a harsh crackdown against them started on August 25.

Refugees who have made it into Bangladesh have also recounted the violence by Myanmar troops and Buddhist mobs, saying they set their homes ablaze, sprayed bullets indiscriminately and stabbed civilians. The refugees say they were ordered to abandon their homes or be killed.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534488/US-Rohingya-Myanmar-James-Jatras

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China tells world to respect Pakistan's anti-terror fight

09-Sep-17

BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday asked the international community to acknowledge Pakistan's efforts in countering terrorism, and reiterated Beijing's continuing and firm support for Pakistan's fight against terrorism.

Addressing a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at the State Guest House, he said, "The government and people of Pakistan have made huge sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and such efforts and sacrifices are there for everyone to see."

He said that China recognises Pakistan's efforts in countering terrorism and fully supports its iron brother in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity. "Both the countries are making joint efforts for peace in the region."

The Chinese foreign minister said that Sino-Pak relationship was strong and unbreakable and added that Beijing would continue to play its role for the progress and development of Pakistan.

Terming Pakistan an important country in the fight against global terrorism, he acknowledged unprecedented sacrifices rendered by Pakistan during the war against terrorism.

About Afghanistan, he said peace and stability in that country was in the interest of both China and Pakistan, adding, "China wants improved relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Khawaja Muhammad Asif thanked his Chinese counterpart for acknowledging Pakistan's sacrifices and providing an unflinching support to Pakistan in its war against terrorism.

He also thanked China for its support and affirmed Pakistan's support for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of One Belt, One Road initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"China and Pakistan enjoy friendly relations based on history, mutual trust, equality, harmony, non-interference and common agenda of socioeconomic development," he added.

Pakistan, he said, deeply valued China's support for Pakistan's territorial integrity and asserted Pakistan's support for One China policy and China's interests in Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and South China Sea.

The foreign minister said there was no military solution to the Afghan problem, adding that peace and stability could be brought in that country through a political solution. "It is Islamabad's firm view that maintaining regional security is a critical priority, and focus should remain on peaceful solutions."

He said that Pakistan had been making efforts to improve relations with Afghanistan, adding that before coming to Beijing, he had a telephonic conversation with his Afghan counterpart.

Khawaja Asif said this was the first high-level contact between the two neighbours after announcement of US President Donald Trump's revised policy towards Afghanistan.

He also vowed to provide full security to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, adding that stern action would be taken against anyone threatening the project.

Upon his arrival at the State Guest House, Khawaja Muhammad Asif and his delegation were welcomed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Both the leaders held productive discussions with broad consensus on bilateral relations as well as the regional and global situation in the backdrop of emerging challenges.

Wang Yi thanked Khawaja Asif for his visit and reaffirmed China's continuing and firm support to Pakistan. He vowed to further strengthen the all-weather strategic cooperative friendship with Pakistan.

He also reiterated Chinese commitment and support to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan.

Khawaja Asif highlighted importance of Pakistan-China friendship as well as strategic partnership and economic relations, and reiterated Pakistan's support to China on all issues of its core interest.

He said that Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan and an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process was the only way forward.

He, however, pointed out that Pakistan's security concerns must be addressed and Pakistan's sacrifices be acknowledged.

National Security Advisor Lt Gen (r) Nasser Janjua, Pakistan's Ambassador Masood Khalid and senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present. Earlier, high-level officials of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed Khawaja Muhammad Asif as he arrived at the airport.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/09-Sep-17/china-tells-world-to-respect-pakistans-anti-terror-fight

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Iran will adhere to nuclear deal even if US withdraws, AEOI chief says

Sep 8, 2017

Iran plans to adhere to its nuclear deal with world powers regardless of any probable US decision to withdraw from the agreement, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says.

“We are continuously assessing if this agreement benefits us, or if the price is too high to stay in the deal. If the United States pulls out of the agreement, but the rest of the countries stay committed -- namely Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia -- then Iran would most probably stick with the commitments to the agreement without the US,” Ali Akbar Salehi said in a Friday interview with Der Spiegel.

“But if the US leaves the treaty and Europe follows, then this deal will certainly collapse and Iran will go back to what it was before, and, technically speaking, to a much higher level. As a person who has taken part in these negotiations, I wouldn't like to see that happen,” he pointed out.

"I think our partners in this treaty have more to lose than we do" if the agreement falls through, the AEOI chief added.

Salehi referred to Washington’s new sanctions and pressures against Iran, saying, “The US is trying to poison the business environment. It discourages big banks and companies from working with Iran. It is fearmongering. But in reality they cannot accomplish much. There is a lot of rhetoric.”

The AEOI chief argued that the US refusal to waive Tehran’s nuclear-related sanctions constitutes “significant noncompliance” with the nuclear deal on their part.

'Boosting military capability Iran's right'

The official rejected US allegations against Iran over its ballistic missile program and noted that the Islamic Republic's military capability has nothing to do with its nuclear activities.

“If the US considers this an issue, then it is their problem. Nowhere in the nuclear agreement does it say that Iran does not have the right to develop its missile capacity. We are exercising our rights and it is the other side that is trying to interpret this as a provocative act,” Salehi pointed out.

Iran’s nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was inked between Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain plus Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016.

Under the deal, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of all nuclear-related bans imposed on the Islamic Republic, among other things.

US President Donald Trump, who had made no secret of opposing the nuclear agreement in his election campaign, has threatened to “tear up” the agreement, calling it “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

In late August, the Trump administration sent US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to Vienna to lobby with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to request access to Iranian military sites as part of the deal, in spite of the fact that the IAEA has confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA in all its reports.

Tehran has repeatedly contended that Washington's demands for access to Iran’s military sites are aimed at politicizing the JCPOA and that issues pertaining to the Islamic Republic's defense capabilities are non-negotiable.

Trump has also set up a team of his White House confidants to present him with “options” other than certifying Iranian compliance with the deal to the Congress. Such certification is needed by US law every 90 days in order for the Congress to continue to withhold nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

The Trump administration has twice so far certified Iran’s compliance with the deal. US media reports said Trump agreed to those certifications only “reluctantly.” All indications are that he wants to avoid a third certification.

The White House has been further pressuring US intelligence officials to produce intelligence that could be used to declare Iran in violation of the nuclear agreement.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534502/Iran-US-nuclear-deal-Salehi

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Malala Yousafzai calls for "global community" to protect Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority

BYMATT CANNON

 8 SEP 2017

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has called for intervention in Myanmar to protect the county's Muslim minority.

Birmingham-based Malala called on the "global community" needs to intervene to protect the Rohingya.

The human rights activist urged Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi to speak up for the group.

Malala's comments come as the number of Rohingya Muslims come as the UN says the number of fleeing violence in Myanmar (formerly Burma) into Bangladesh in the last two weeks has risen to 270,000.

"We can't be silent right now. The number of people who have been displaced is hundreds of thousands," Malala told the BBC.

"I think we can't even imagine for a second what it's like when your citizenship, your right to live in a country, is completely denied," said Malala.

"This should be a human rights issue. Governments should react to it. People are being displaced, they're facing violence.

"Children are being deprived of education, they cannot receive basic rights - and living in a terrorism situation, when there's so much violence around you, is extremely difficult.

"We need to wake up and respond to it - and I hope that Aung Sang Suu Kyi responds to it as well," the 20-year-old added.

A UN official told AFP news agency on Friday that more than 1,000 people may already have been killed in Myanmar, mostly minority Rohingya Muslims.

"This [the refugee figures] does not necessarily reflect fresh arrivals within the past 24 hours but that we have identified more people in different areas that we were not aware of before," said Tan.

"The numbers are so alarming. It really means we have to step up our response and that the situation in Myanmar has to be addressed urgently."

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/world-news/myanmar-news-rohingya-burma-malala-13590671

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North America

 

People gathered in Washington to protest Myanmar

09 September 2017

Nearly a hundred people on Friday gathered in front of the Myanmar embassy to protest the ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

The demonstration, organized by the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), saw dozens of protestors waving banners decrying the Myanmar military’s ongoing crimes against Rohingya Muslims.

"We are so worried and concerned about what's taking place in Myanmar against the most persecuted minority in the world," Executive Director of CAIR, Nihad Awad said. "Because of their ethnicity, because of their faith and because of who they are."

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

Fresh violence erupted in Rakhine state nearly two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya and thousands of them have been slaughtered.

Describing the Rohingya Muslims as the single largest minority that is considered stateless, Awad slammed the Myanmar government saying, it lives in the stone age and has a tribal mentality.

"They, (Myanmar) are judging and would they like to be judged based on skin color and ethnicity. Not with their character, or their worth, or their law or their state," he continued, adding that this is the reason why its a failed government.

Turning to Myanmar's de facto leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, Awad noted that she is a part of the violence and he does not know why she was given a Nobel Peace Prize.

"Probably she was given that award while she believed in democracy and human rights for all," he said. "But once she got the power, under her watch, people are being massacred, being dismembered, being shot and slaughtered like sheep."

Awad also slammed Suu Kyi for denying the brutality that is taking place in her country, called her "heartless".

In addition, Awad drew attention to the insufficient global outrage about the ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims, and urged people to put pressure on their government in order to stop the "genocide" in Rakhine state.

"Today, as Christians, as Muslims, as Buddhist, as Jews, or people of no faith, we are failing our humanity in Myanmar," he added, reminding that humanity also failed the people of Bosnia, Kashmir, Palestine, Syria as well as many other places before.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.

In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.

Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched.

According to the UN, 270,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh as of Friday.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/193796/people-gathered-in-washington-to-protest-myanmar

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'US obsession with containing China encouraged Myanmar's Nakba-inspired Rohingya op'

Sep 8, 2017

With so much riding on this political, commercial, and military engagement with Myanmar, there was never any way the US or its allies were ever going to "embrace the Rohingya cause" and the real power has been very busy using a "policy" to advance business and security interests, unencumbered by "quaint considerations like international law and human rights," political commentator and international lawyer Barry Grossman says.

Grossman, who is based on the Indonesian island of Bali, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday while commenting on the state-sponsored atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar and US and UK officials’ lukewarm reaction to it. 

US and UK officials have expressed concerns about the deadly violence against the Rohingya but refused to address calls for international sanctions against Myanmar, and also avoided to blame Myanmar’s de facto ruler Aung San Suu Kyi over her complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

“Many of us who have been working diligently for years to genuinely understand what is going on in Myanmar and rally what sadly tends to be an apathetic, self-interested public to support the cause of justice for the Rohingya, have been shocked that with this latest Nakba inspired effort to stampede the Rohingya into scarcely less hostile neighboring countries and, even worse, into the sea, there are people among us who,  having made little or no effort to inform themselves about long established facts concerning the on-going Rohingya crisis, have in fact been urging people to remain aloof and even suspicious of the Rohingya cause,” Grossman said.

“To be clear, there is not even a scintilla of doubt about the fact that millions of Rohingya have been unjustly stripped of the citizenship, with many burned out of their homes, businesses and villages, herded into camps, denied the right to wed, to practice their faith, and left unable to get education, basic health care, and even decent food,” he stated.

“Ironically, the people who have opted to ignore the calls of our leaders and instead speculate about infiltration of the Rohingya cause, seem to be quite happy to promote confusion by incorrectly claiming that the situation faced by the Rohingya remains unproven and to place their faith in Aung San Suu Kyi and countless other figures who, in other circumstances, these doubters correctly associate with the New World Order agenda,” he said.

'Cult of Aung San Suu Kyi was fabricated'

“Well let me be perfectly clear. The cult of Aung San Suu Kyi was fabricated by elements in the Atlantic World establishment committed to imposing a US-led, New World Order which, of course, is only a slightly more neutral term for the neo-conservative plan to impose what they inaptly refer to as Pax Americana,” Grossman said.

“Her position seems to be that if she denounces the state-sanctioned terror against the Rohingya, she will forfeit no small part of her grass roots support in Myanmar, so she seems relatively unconcerned that by saying nothing, she will be judged by millions of people around the world as being responsible for those very same atrocities. She is at best a coward and worst a villain of the worst kind. But the US-led Atlantic World, as they say in America, ‘has her back,’” he stated. 

‘Myanmar has the status of a knight’

“Why is the Atlantic World political establishment not acting?  Well, it certainly isn’t due to doubts about the atrocities being perpetrated against the Rohingya. The conventional thinking is that, with Myanmar’s proximity to China, in chess terms, Myanmar has the status of a knight or perhaps even a rook in the old geopolitical game Zbigniew Brzezinski once infamously characterized as ‘the Grand Chessboard,’” Grossman said.

“What cannot be contested is that the corporate and special interests who championed Hilary Clinton in the last US election, spent years working with think tanks, neoconservatives, and hawkish elements in the Atlantic World security apparatus in order to engineer a strategy for containing China while at once promoting Atlantic World corporate and military interests, all of which was packaged using the ‘Pivot to Asia’ paradigm sold by Hilary Clinton as Obama’s secretary of state. That agenda staked no small part of the accompanying tactical plan on a policy of not-so-cautious engagement with Myanmar,” he added.

‘US will never embrace the Rohingya cause’

“With so much riding on this political, commercial, and military engagement with Myanmar, there was never anyway the US or its allies were ever going to embrace the Rohingya cause, let alone in this new, post rule-of-law era which has seen the Atlantic World political establishment pretty much openly relegate the ‘human rights’ paradigm to the status of being nothing more than fodder for 3rd tier diplomats to ventilate at staged events nobody is interested in. Meanwhile, the real power has been very busy using ‘policy’ to advance business and security interests, unencumbered by quaint considerations like international law and human rights,” Grossman said.

“This calculated abandonment of responsibility by a pragmatic, self-serving political establishment has of course left a huge hole or blind side which enabled the real villains --- comprising hawkish elements in the CIA, Zionists, neocons, and corporate profiteers -- not only to ignore this humanitarian crisis in Myanmar but, in some instances, arguably to work closely with the Myanmar regime in order to plan and execute this Nakba-inspired operation,” the analyst explained.

“Yet despite clear evidence of the regime’s crimes and despite unequivocal calls from our own leadership to raise our voices in support of the Rohingya, some among us have elected to respond to this crisis by urging people to be cautious in embracing the Rohingya cause, arguing that there are geopolitical concerns which must prevail over our concerns about suffering and injustice,” he stated.

“Well it may seem quite normal in America that geopolitical-based speculation tends to override genuine concerns about the systematic oppression and abuse of millions of people who are powerless to save, let alone help themselves; but this inversion of priorities is unknown in Islam,” he noted.

Is it ethnic or religious conflict?

“There are also those among us who have been saying this is an ethnic rather than a religious conflict and therefore that we do not, as Muslims, need to be concerned. There are others who, without a scintilla of evidence except a disputed report put out by the International Crisis Group, claim that the Rohingya cause, both in the media/cyberspace and on the ground, has been infiltrated by Sunni extremists, and that the Rohingya ‘cause’, as distinct from their ‘plight’, is a fake cause,” Grossman said.

“Well I call nonsense on both of these delusions. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no principle in Islam, - be it from al Quran, Hadith or Sunnah - which can be invoked to argue that we should only be concerned about injustice when the underlying oppression is religiously motivated. As for claims that the Rohingya are somehow suddenly backed by al Qaeda or Daesh, well leaving aside internet chatter, all the available facts suggest exactly the opposite; namely that the Rohingya are entirely unsupported and alone,” he explained.

'Zionist style atrocities against the Rohingya'

“Indeed, even the head of Myanmar's military publicly stated only last month that the handful of cadre comprising the ArakanRohingya Salvation Army, generally known as ARSA, which by the way, was only formed in 2016, are armed with nothing more than sticks, spears, knives and a few ancient pistols. ARSA, by the way, itself openly declares its mission to be entirely defensive and directed only at securing the reinstatement of Rohingya citizenship stripped from them in the 80s,” Grossman said.

“This picture hardly calls to mind the characteristics of groups we have come to associate withal al Qaeda or Daesh. Nevertheless, the regime has leveraged claims about a handful of extremely ineffectual and desperate Rohingya attempts at resistance,  to promote the absurd notion that the regime is facing some massive threat from terrorism and more importantly to justify the scorched earth policy they have been pursuing for 3 weeks in order to stampede huge numbers of Rohingyas out of the country by burning them out of their villages and concentration camp styled holding areas, while orchestrating a few very well-publicized atrocities just as Zionist terrorist did in Palestine in 1948,” he observed. 

“This has been exactly the wrong time for amateur bloggers to jump into this long running tragedy which they have no knowledge of in order to promote misinformed views which at best confuse an already apathetic public and at worst encourage people to dismiss the Rohingya cause as fake,” the commentator said. 

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534478/Why-US-backing-Rohingya-genocide-in-Myanmar

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Trump discusses Gulf crisis with Qatari Emir

08 September 2017

The U.S. President Donald Trump and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani spoke over the phone about the Gulf crisis, Friday.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Al Jazeera television the two leaders discussed the meeting between Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah and Trump.

Earlier Trump and Kuwaiti Emir held a press conference and Trump said: "While I do appreciate and respect the mediation, I would be willing to be the mediator."

Qatari Foreign Minister said that the U.S. president called all sides for dialogue to solve the ongoing inter-Arab diplomatic crisis.

He added that the solution could be achieved by mutual obligation rather than giving orders from one side to the other.

The inter-Arab diplomatic crisis began on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain collectively severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism in the region.

Doha denies the allegations, describing attempts to diplomatically isolate it as a violation of international law and its national sovereignty.

Kuwait has played a central role in attempting to resolve the crisis, dispatching a number of high-level emissaries to relay messages between Qatar and the states aligned against it.

The Saudi-led bloc has presented Qatar with a list of 13 demands that its says Doha must satisfy in order for relations to return to normal.

In a call with Saudi Arabia's King Salman last week, Trump urged all parties to find a solution to the crisis.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/193765/man-accused-of-murder-at-canadian-mosque-back-in-court

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9/11 Commission chairmen: We aren't beating the terrorists yet

By Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton

Sept. 8, 2017

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 16 years ago, herculean exertions by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have prevented another mass casualty attack on our soil, and U.S. military and intelligence operations have killed Osama bin Ladenand thousands of hardened terrorists overseas.

Despite these successes, each time we have made apparent progress our adversary only moves, morphs and grows, and we cannot claim to be close to winning against this persistent threat.

The answer for long-term defeat lies in understanding and winning the struggle of ideas. Defeating an ideology is hard, but not impossible: By the end of the Cold War, communism was utterly discredited as a governing philosophy. The U.S. and its allies must wage a similar battle against the ideas that animate Islamist terrorists, a battle that will be won only when the ideology that spurs many to violence today falls only on deaf ears tomorrow.

Last year, more than 25,000 people died in roughly 11,000 terrorist attacks in 104 countries. Compare that with the 7,000 deaths in fewer than 2,000 attacks in 2001(with nearly half those deaths occurring on a single day) and it is clear that the threat from terrorism has grown despite the U.S. government’s many post-9/11 efforts.

That relatively few of the more recent terrorism-related deaths have occurred in the USA should be of little consolation. Global terrorism has created a humanitarian and migration crisis — the political, economic and social cost of which America and its partners will be shouldering for years to come.

Now, with the United States and its allies on the brink of militarily vanquishing yet another terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, we must avoid the temptation of confusing the defeat of one brutal terrorist organization with victory against terrorism.

As we commemorate the anniversary of the worst terror attack on U.S. soil, policymakers should pause to reflect on what it would actually mean to defeat Islamist terrorism, and what a comprehensive strategy to achieve that goal would look like.

The basic challenge is that terrorist ranks are being replenished almost as quickly as the military can decimate them. In 2014, the CIA estimated ISIS had at least 20,000 members. Since then, U.S. forces claim to have killed 60,000 ISIS fighters, but in 2016, according to the State Department, the terrorist group was still 15,000 strong.

As long as jihad maintains its overpowering appeal, even in the face of almost certain death, then terrorist movements will persist. ISIS will live on, even as its caliphate lies crushed amid the rubble of Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria. Al-Qaeda will reorganize and rebuild. New groups and new generations of terrorists will continue to emerge.

Defeating terrorism must entail weakening this magnetic attraction. To do this, we must discredit and supplant the jihadist ideology that legitimizes and incites people to violence.

Policymakers of both parties have long recognized this. “The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals,” President George W. Bush declared in 2005, “is the great challenge of our new century.” Four years later, President Obama called for “rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject.” Most recently, President Trump argued that a peaceful “future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it.”

POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media

Yet the U.S. has struggled to make combating terrorist ideology an effective piece of its counterterrorism policies. If the current administration is to succeed where previous ones have failed, it should craft its policies keeping in mind the following principles first articulated by the 9/11 Commission and now reaffirmed by a Bipartisan Policy Center review of U.S. counterterrorism efforts:

        The threat is terrorism, not any one terrorist organization. We have fought al-Qaeda and we have fought ISIS; neither of these groups, nor any other, is the sole manifestation of the enemy the United States seeks to defeat. They are merely the embodiment of an ideological ambition, one whose banner can be taken up anywhere, anytime, by anyone so long as it is being promoted unchecked.

        Do not confuse terrorists’ means with their ends. As stunning as the violence that terrorists perpetrate may be, it is what they hope to achieve through their bloody tactics that attracts recruits and truly threatens U.S. interests. Islamist terrorism aspires to create a caliphate that unites the Muslim world under a fundamentalist version of Islamic law.

        While the majority of Muslims reject the jihadis’ violent methods, a non-trivial portion of the Muslim world nevertheless shares this ultimate objective. Jihadi groups heavily rely on the groundwork laid by non-violent Islamist groups. The explicit call to violence is not the sole reason for jihad’s appeal; focusing on it alone will not suffice to silence terror’s siren song.

        Supplant Islamist ideology with positive alternative visions of the future. Part of the strong appeal of Islamism — which is separate and distinct from the Muslim faith — is the absence of a strong competing ideology. For it to lose its appeal, it must be replaced by something more appealing.

        Prepare for a generational struggle. The damage that even a single terrorist act can wreak compels policymakers to focus on the most immediate and visible terrorist threats. The limited time horizon of most elected officials only reinforces this focus on short-term gains in the fight against terrorism. Ideologies, however, cannot be defeated in the short term. As in the Cold War, countering an ideology will require us to invest in programs and partnerships whose benefits might not be immediately visible.

The terrorists’ ideas, repugnant as they are, still attract far too many young Muslims to their ranks. We can, and must, do better in the struggle against their ideology.

Full report at:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/09/08/9-11-defeat-terrorists-ideas-thomas-kean-lee-hamilton-column/637103001/

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US court deals blow to Trump travel ban

8 September 2017

A federal court in California dealt a new blow Thursday to the Trump administration’s travel ban, ruling that some refugees must be allowed into the country.

It is the latest twist of the legal wrangling touched off by President Donald Trump’s ban, first announced in January with little notice and widely criticized as discriminatory against Muslims. Trump says it is needed to keep out terrorists.

In the new ruling, the US Ninth Circuit of Appeals, based in San Francisco, upheld a ruling by a court in Hawaii, a decision against which the administration had appealed.

The new decision states that the ban must exclude “refugees who have a formal assurance from an agency within the United States that the agency will provide or ensure the provision of reception and placement services to that refugee.”

It could pave the way for the entry of some 24,000 refugees whose asylum requests had already been approved.

And as the US Supreme Court had ruled in July, the three-judge panel in San Francisco confirmed that the ban cannot be applied to grandparents and other close family members living in six mainly Muslim countries and seeking to visit relatives in the United States.

The Supreme Court ruled in late June that the 90-day travel ban, purportedly aimed at better screening out potential security risks, can be broadly enforced for travelers from the six mainly Muslim countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Days later, the Trump administration interpreted that to mean that only “close family” was exempted. It defined this as the parents, spouses, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, siblings and step- and half-siblings of people in the United States.

The California court said Wednesday the administration “does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin is not.”

The San Francisco court was ruling on the issue because the Supreme Court had refused a Justice Department request that it define what it means by “bona fide relationship” and “close family.”

The Justice Department issued a statement saying “we will now return to the Supreme Court to vindicate the executive branch duty to protect the nation.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to revisit the travel ban and study its constitutionality in October.US court deals blow to Trump travel ban

A federal court in California dealt a new blow Thursday to the Trump administration’s travel ban, ruling that some refugees must be allowed into the country.

It is the latest twist of the legal wrangling touched off by President Donald Trump’s ban, first announced in January with little notice and widely criticized as discriminatory against Muslims. Trump says it is needed to keep out terrorists.

In the new ruling, the US Ninth Circuit of Appeals, based in San Francisco, upheld a ruling by a court in Hawaii, a decision against which the administration had appealed.

The new decision states that the ban must exclude “refugees who have a formal assurance from an agency within the United States that the agency will provide or ensure the provision of reception and placement services to that refugee.”

It could pave the way for the entry of some 24,000 refugees whose asylum requests had already been approved.

And as the US Supreme Court had ruled in July, the three-judge panel in San Francisco confirmed that the ban cannot be applied to grandparents and other close family members living in six mainly Muslim countries and seeking to visit relatives in the United States.

The Supreme Court ruled in late June that the 90-day travel ban, purportedly aimed at better screening out potential security risks, can be broadly enforced for travelers from the six mainly Muslim countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Days later, the Trump administration interpreted that to mean that only “close family” was exempted. It defined this as the parents, spouses, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, siblings and step- and half-siblings of people in the United States.

The California court said Wednesday the administration “does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin is not.”

The San Francisco court was ruling on the issue because the Supreme Court had refused a Justice Department request that it define what it means by “bona fide relationship” and “close family.”

The Justice Department issued a statement saying “we will now return to the Supreme Court to vindicate the executive branch duty to protect the nation.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to revisit the travel ban and study its constitutionality in October.

US court deals blow to Trump travel ban

A federal court in California dealt a new blow Thursday to the Trump administration’s travel ban, ruling that some refugees must be allowed into the country.

It is the latest twist of the legal wrangling touched off by President Donald Trump’s ban, first announced in January with little notice and widely criticized as discriminatory against Muslims. Trump says it is needed to keep out terrorists.

In the new ruling, the US Ninth Circuit of Appeals, based in San Francisco, upheld a ruling by a court in Hawaii, a decision against which the administration had appealed.

The new decision states that the ban must exclude “refugees who have a formal assurance from an agency within the United States that the agency will provide or ensure the provision of reception and placement services to that refugee.”

It could pave the way for the entry of some 24,000 refugees whose asylum requests had already been approved.

And as the US Supreme Court had ruled in July, the three-judge panel in San Francisco confirmed that the ban cannot be applied to grandparents and other close family members living in six mainly Muslim countries and seeking to visit relatives in the United States.

The Supreme Court ruled in late June that the 90-day travel ban, purportedly aimed at better screening out potential security risks, can be broadly enforced for travelers from the six mainly Muslim countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Days later, the Trump administration interpreted that to mean that only “close family” was exempted. It defined this as the parents, spouses, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, siblings and step- and half-siblings of people in the United States.

The California court said Wednesday the administration “does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin is not.”

The San Francisco court was ruling on the issue because the Supreme Court had refused a Justice Department request that it define what it means by “bona fide relationship” and “close family.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/09/08/US-court-deals-blow-to-Trump-travel-ban-.html

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Man accused of murder at Canadian mosque back in court

09 September 2017

The man, who allegedly gunned down six Muslims during prayers at a Quebec City mosque in January, made a brief appearance in a Canadian court Friday under heavy security.

The prosecution divulged additional evidence to the defense team of Alexandre Bissonnette, a necessary disclosure step under Canadian criminal law.

Bissonnette, 27, is accused of the murder of six men at the Islamic Culture Centre of Quebec City and wounding 19 others, Jan. 29. He faces six charges of murder and five of attempted murder.

Canadian media said the accused looked “haggard” while watching proceedings.

Crown prosecutor Thomas Jacques said more evidence will be disclosed at a future date.

The next court date is Oct. 2.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/193795/man-accused-of-murder-at-canadian-mosque-back-in-court

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Delingpole: Islamic State and Hillary Supporters Beg Hurricane Irma – ‘Destroy Trump’s America!’

8 Sep 2017

slamic State supporters have united with their natural allies on the regressive left to celebrate the destructive power of Hurricane Irma on the Great Satan and its wicked, climate-denying president Donald Trump.

Here are some screenshots of ISIS-supporting sites, provided by jihadist monitor MEMRI.

Though Islamists and progressives differ as to the cause of hurricanes – one side ascribes them to Allah, the other to Donald Trump and man’s selfishness, greed and refusal to amend his carbon-guzzling lifestyle – they are both unanimous that the damage being done is good thing.

While the followers of ISIS want the whole of America destroyed, the followers of Hillary seek the more modest goal of seeing one of Trump’s homes reduced to rubble.

This happy meeting of minds between liberals and Islamic terrorists on the subject of climate change dates at least as far back as 2010, when Osama Bin Laden released some tapes revealing himself to be very concerned about the threat posed by ManBearPig. (Airplanes falling from the sky and killing hundreds of innocents in their workplace – not so much).

“Speaking about climate change is not a matter of intellectual luxury — the phenomenon is an actual fact,” the tape says according to al-Jazeera. “All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis.”

Though the liberal media tried to play these tapes down, even to the point of questioning their authenticity, letters seized in the 2011 raid on his hideout in Pakistan confirmed that Osama Bin Laden was something of a climate change fanatic.

In a separate letter, bin Laden urged a close aide to launch a media campaign for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that included a call for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Bin Laden contended that the world would be better off fighting climate change than waging what he claimed was a war against Islam.

“…the world should put its efforts into attempting to reduce the release of gases,” said the undated, unsigned letter to someone identified as Shaykh Mahmud that U.S. intelligence officials said they believed was written by bin Laden.

Full report at:

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/08/delingpole-isis-supporters-and-hillary-supporters-beg-hurricane-irma-destroy-trumps-america/

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Pakistan


Sporadic calls for 'jihad' in Pakistan rallies against Rohingya crackdown

September 08, 2017

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Pakistan's major cities Friday to condemn a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, with many carrying placards stating "Shame on Aung San Suu Kyi".

The largely peaceful rallies were spearheaded by Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), but other groups including mainstream political parties joined in.

Leaders including JI chief Sirajul Haq called for an end to the "genocide" of the Rohingya and for Pakistan to break off relations with the government in Myanmar.

Pakistan has previously expressed "deep anguish" at the violence.

Many protesters also slammed Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader, over her silence. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has faced criticism for failing to condemn the violence, leaving her global reputation in tatters.

A senior United Nations representative told AFP Friday that more than 1,000 people may already have been killed in the military-led crackdown, which has seen 270,000 mostly Rohingya civilians flee to Bangladesh in the last two weeks alone.

Others have died trying to flee the fighting in Rakhine state, where witnesses say entire villages have been burned since Rohingya militants launched a series of coordinated attacks on August 25, prompting the crackdown.

In Karachi, which hosts one of the largest Rohingya populations outside of Myanmar, more than 2,000 people demonstrated outside the Karachi Press Club.

"If our leader gives the call, we will lay down our lives for the Burmese Muslims," one protester, Maulana Ahmed, told AFP.

In Islamabad, a similarly sized crowd gathered at the entrance to the diplomatic enclave, inside which the Myanmar embassy is situated.

Many carried placards reading: "Why are these Muslims being killed? What is their crime?" as chants of "Allahu Akbar", or "God is the Greatest", reverberated.

There were also some sporadic calls for "jihad", or holy war.

Security forces with protective riot gear stood nearby and containers blocked off access to the enclave, with some small scuffles.

But police appeared relaxed as the demonstrators, some armed with batons, showed no signs of trying to go further into the diplomatic area.

Protests were also held in deeply religious neighbouring Afghanistan Friday.

Hundreds of placard-waving men marched in the eastern city of Jalalabad in support of the Rohingya while smaller demonstrations were held in the capital Kabul, including one outside the compound of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and other cities.

Earlier in the week the Afghan foreign ministry condemned the "barbaric and inhumane attacks". The Taliban insurgents have also spoken out in support, urging followers to help the "oppressed Muslims".

Malaysia and Bangladesh also saw protests Friday evening.

The Rohingya have long been subjected to discrimination in mostly Buddhist Myanmar, which regards them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/08-Sep-2017/sporadic-calls-for-jihad-against-rohingya-crackdown-in-pakistan-rallies

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World’s biggest war against terrorism fought by Pakistan: CJCSC

September 09, 2017

LONDON: Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood said that World’s biggest war against terrorism has been fought by Pakistan and other countries want Pakistan’s assistance for training purpose.

While addressing a ceremony in London CJCSC spoke on various subjects including relations between the UK and Pakistan and peace in Afghanistan.

On Afghanistan he said, “Peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s best interest, and a solution this crisis is through negotiations only not war.”

He also thanked the British forces for supporting Pakistan and its Army.

Kashmir was also discussed where he said, that the ongoing killings in Held Kashmir are ‘unacceptable’.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/09-Sep-2017/world-s-biggest-war-against-terrorism-fought-by-pakistan-cjcsc-mahmood

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PTI seeks UN intervention over Rohingya genocide

September 09, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in a letter has asked UN Secretary-General António Guterres to intervene to end the genocide of Rohingya Muslims, otherwise, the organization would lose its relevance as a global body having a mandate to ensure peace.

Khan urged the Secretary-General to move to the UN Security Council to help end the persecution and genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar and to bring an end to the inhumane plight of starving, disease-ridden and shelterless refugees under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

The PTI chief stressed that the Rohingya crisis had become a clear threat to the international peace and security. He asked the UN chief that is was time for the “UN to act decisively or forever lose its relevance as a global body reflecting the will of the people with which the preamble of the UN Charter begins.”

Khan in the letter has pointed out the complete silence and inaction by the UN on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims and reminded that the principle of humanitarian intervention was specifically added to the UN mandate in the face of the Rwandan genocide.

“On behalf of myself and my party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), I wish to state that we find this continuing silence and complete inaction by the UN on the continuing plight and persecution of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar a shameful testament to the failure of the UN to fulfill its basic principles of upholding human rights and protecting the people from genocide,” said the letter.

Khan said that the international community seemed to have learned no lessons from the international appeasement that eventually led to the World War II. “In the wake of the Rwandan genocide, it was expected that the UN would assert the principle of humanitarian intervention without discrimination whatever a people were threatened with massacre and genocide,” the letter said adding that so far the UN had failed to live up to its own charter.

Giving a reference to his earlier letter written in 2015 on the same issue, Khan said that nothing happened after his correspondence and even today the international community was playing the role of an appeasing spectator. “Those who sought to give the UN the right to humanitarian intervention have been the most reluctant to exercise this right now. It is the duty of the UN and yourself as Secretary General to ensure the safety of refugees and protection of the people from persecution,” he said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/09-Sep-2017/pti-seeks-un-intervention-over-rohingya-genocide

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Christian teenager in Pakistan beaten to death by classmates after drinking from same glass as Muslim boy

Memphis Barker

September 9, 2017

A 17-year-old Christian has been beaten to death by his fellow classmates at a school in Pakistan. Sharoon Masih, the lone Christian student in his year, had only attended the school in South Punjab for three days. After complaining to his parents of bullying, he was set upon by pupils after drinking from the same glass as a Muslim, according to other students at the MC Model Boys Government School Burewala who witnessed the attack. Although anti-Christian violence is common in the Muslim nation, the youthfulness of the mob in this case marks an ugly first for the country. The attack and arrests Mr Masih’s teacher, Nazir Mol, originally claimed that he had not noticed any disturbance in the classroom as he had been reading a newspaper at the time. Autopsy reports confirm that Mr Masih died as the result of repeated blows to his head and body.

Police have arrested one student, Muhammad Ahmed Rana, who told police that he lashed out after Mr Masih broke the screen on his phone. Mr Rana has so far refused to name others involved in the attack, which occurred on August 27th. “No proper investigation is being done,” Mr Masih’s mother, Razia Bibi, told i. His loss is “huge” to the family, she added, “we had great intimacy and were looking to him to support us and his sibling as we grow old.” The head-teacher, Saleem Tahir, who was suspended following the attack, is still attending school, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association. Only Christian in year group Mr Masih was sent by his parents to MC Model Boys Government School after topping his class in the village school. His father, who worked at a brick kiln factory, had to save for years to afford even the nominal attendance fee. Unable to pay for the school uniform, Sharoon turned up on his first day in casual clothes. He told his mother that his teacher slapped him twice on the face, and forced him to stand outside all day in the sun. Mr Mol also called him “chuhra”, he said – a highly-offensive caste-based insult – and other boys tried to force him to convert to Islam. “Sharoon and I cried every night as he described the torture he was subjected”, said Mrs Bibi. The killing “serves only to remind us that hatred towards religious minorities is bred into the majority population at a young age, through cultural norms and a biased national curriculum”, said Wilson Chowdhry, the chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, which is raising money to hire a solicitor to “circumnavigate police inertia.

Full report at:

https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/world/pakistani-student-beaten-death-classmates/

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IIC member, son abducted in Quetta

By Muhammad Zafar

September 9, 2017

QUETTA: A member of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIC) and central leader of Jamiat Ahle Hadis, Maulana Ali Muhammad Abu Turab, was kidnapped along with his son, secretary and a gunman from Airport Road in Quetta on Friday.

According to the police, armed men intercepted the Maulana’s vehicle (JAC-211) near the Sheikh Manda area, and kidnapped the cleric and his son.

“Abdul Hameed, secretary Abdul Sattar and gunman Yaqoob were also abducted on gunpoint and taken to an unidentified location,” SSP Operations Naseebullah Khan told the media from the site of the abduction.

In broad daylight: Doctor kidnapped in Quetta 

A heavy contingent of law-enforcement agencies and a special investigations team have cordoned off the area.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

“The special investigation team has gathered initial evidence from the site, and finger prints have been collected from the Maulana’s vehicle,” SSP Naseebullah said.

Full report at:

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1501675/iic-member-son-abducted-quetta/

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Military courts hand death sentence to 4 terrorists, confirms COAS

September 08, 2017

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday confirmed the death sentences of four terrorists involved in killings of 16 individuals and injuring 8 others, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.

The terrorists were involved in killings of innocent civilians, attacking law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and armed forces, army's media wing said.

23 others have been awarded imprisonments "of various duration" by the military courts, according to the statement.

A Corps Commanders' Conference in General Headquarters (GHQ), chaired by Gen Bajwa, "discussed internal and external security situation of the country and progress of operation Raddul Fasaad," another ISPR press release said.

Details of the convicts provided by ISPR:

Raiz Ahmed s/o Ghularam Khan

The convict was member of a banned organisation. He was involved in attacking LEAs and armed forces which resulted in death of eight police and frontier constabulary officials, and injuries of five police officials. He was also involved in destruction of the Government Middle School, Aligrama. A firearm was found in his possession. Ahmed admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.

Hafeez ur Rehman s/o Habib ur Rehman

The convict was a member of a banned organisation and was involved in killing of three civilians. He admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.

Muhammad Saleem s/o Muslim Khan

The convict was member of a banned organisation. He was involved in attacks on LEAs and armed forces which resulted in death of four soldiers and injured another. A firearm was found in his possession. Saleem admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court and was awarded death sentence.

Kifayat Ullah s/o Dilresh

The convict was member of a banned organisation and involved in attack on armed forces which resulted in death of a soldier and injured 2 others. A firearm was found in his possession.He admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court and was awarded death sentence.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1356407/military-courts-hand-death-sentence-to-4-terrorists-confirms-coas

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Jamat Ahle Hadees Balochistan ameer kidnapped from Quetta

Syed Ali Shah

September 08, 2017

Maulana Abu Turab, the Balochistan ameer of Markazi Jamat Ahle Hadees, his son and his guard were kidnapped by unidentified assailants from Quetta's airport road on Friday.

According to the police, armed men intercepted Maulana Abu Turab's car on airport road and kidnapped him and the other two men on gunpoint.

Leaving Turab's car behind, the kidnappers took the men to an unknown location.

"We have tightened security to ensure the safe recovery of Maulana Sab," Deputy Inspector General Police Abdul Razzaq Cheema said.

A search operation was launched in and around Quetta to rescue the religious leader, police sources confirmed.

In a public statement issued by Jamiat Ahle Hadis after the incident, the religious association strongly condemned the kidnapping and demanded the immediate recovery of its leader.

Maulana Abu Turab leads the Markazi Jamat Ahle Hadees in Balochistan and is considered to be one of the most influential religious figures in the province.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1356401/jamat-ahle-hadees-balochistan-ameer-kidnapped-from-quetta

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Pakistan Election Panel Refuses to Recognise Hafiz Saeed's Political Front

September 8, 2017

New Delhi: The 26/11 mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed's political front Milli Muslim League on Thursday encountered a roadblock after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) refused to grant it the recognition. The election body also warned the leaders against using the party's name in election campaigns.

The returning officer (RO) for the by-election in NA-120 interdicted Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoob from using photos of the banned organization's leaders on his banners and poster, Pakistan daily Dawn reported.

An ECP spokesperson said action would be taken under the ECP’s code of conduct if Yaqoob failed to comply with the returning officer’s directives.

The Jamaat had launched its political wing in August, vowing to make Pakistan a "real Islamic and welfare state".

The U.S. State Department's country report on terrorism for 2016 issued last month said the LeT and its wings continued to make use of economic resources and raise funds in Pakistan.

The group has been on Pakistan's terror watch list for several years, but the country has shown a little inclination towards banning it.

Full report at:

http://www.news18.com/news/india/pakistan-election-commission-refuses-to-recognise-hafiz-saeeds-political-front-1513269.html

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Pakistan, China call for fresh talks with Taliban

September 09, 2017

BEIJING - The top diplomats from Pakistan and China on Friday took swipes at US President Donald Trump's new Afghanistan policy as they called for new talks with the Taliban to resolve the 16-year conflict.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing stood firmly behind its ironclad friend Pakistan, even though "some countries" did not give Islamabad the credit it deserved in fighting terrorism, a pointed reference to the US.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif's first trip abroad to Beijing appeared to highlight how ties between the two all-weather allies have grown even closer while Pakistan's critical relationship with the US is disintegrating amid mutual recriminations and distrust.

Addressing a joint press conference in Beijing, Wang and Asif announced that China, Pakistan and Afghanistan will hold a new series of three-way talks later this year in China to push forward settlement negotiations with the Taliban while the US doubles down on its military campaign.

"It's our firm view that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, the focus should be on a politically negotiated settlement," Asif told reporters. "China is playing a very constructive role in this regard."

Wang and Asif said that Beijing will play a "constructive role" to bring Islamabad and Kabul together. "The participation of China in bringing together and finding a political solution to Afghan problem is very vital. To support the initiative, Pakistan has already undertaken many steps, and will pursue those steps of improving relationship with Kabul," Asif said.

To keep Pakistan and Afghanistan engagement substantive and robust, Asif said Pakistan will take up confidence-building measures and keep engaged with Kabul at all levels including political, military and intelligence.

"We have stakes in Afghanistan's peace and we are already involved in a substantive way, creating atmosphere and culture of peace in the region.

"With China's intervention and its role in bringing together Islamabad and Kabul, we will go a long way and will definitely pursue a policy of engagement with Kabul in bringing peace to our region," Asif said.

"A good relationship will serve both the countries otherwise it will hurt both the countries. So, we sincerely hope that both the countries will work in the same direction and work together for the well-being of Pakistan and Afghanistan and contribute peace in the region," Wang said. The Chinese side welcomes Pakistan's attitude of improving relations with Afghanistan, Wang said. "In addition, we are exploring trilateral cooperation between the three countries. I want to let you know that with the communication between the three parties, there is initial progress in trilateral cooperation," he said.

"We have identified three priority areas which are strategic communication, security dialogue and practical cooperation. On that basis, we will work to advance on trilateral basis starting from easier matters with goal of establishing a new platform for regional cooperation. I am confident that with the consorted efforts from Pakistan and Afghanistan and with the active support from China and relations between the two countries and cooperation among the three countries will embrace a brighter future," Wang said.

Terrorism was a global problem that required concerted efforts. Some countries needed to give Pakistan full credit that it deserved, he said. “Instead of blaming each other, countries need to work with each other,” Wang said.

“Pakistan is a good brother and iron friend of China. No one knows Pakistan and understands Pakistan better than China,” he said. "The govt and people of Pakistan have made huge sacrifices in the fight against terror for everyone to see and the international community should recognise that," Wang said.

Wang reiterated Beijing's continuing and firm support for Pakistan’s fight against menace of terrorism and said both the countries are making joint efforts for peace in the region.

The Chinese foreign Minister said Sino-Pakistan all-weather relationship is strong and unbreakable and added that Beijing will continue to play its role for the progress and development of Pakistan.

Asif thanked his Chinese counterpart for acknowledging Pakistan's sacrifices and providing an unflinching support to Pakistan in its war against terrorism. He also thanked China for its support and affirmed Pakistan's support for the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of One Belt One Road Initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Islamabad, he said, deeply values Beijing's support for Pakistan's territorial integrity and asserted Pakistan's support for One China policy and China's interests in Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and South China Sea. He also vowed to provide full security to CPEC, adding strict action would be taken against any threat to the project.

Earlier, both foreign ministers held productive discussions with broad consensus on bilateral relations as well as the regional and global situation in the backdrop of emerging challenges.

Wang Yi thanked Khawaja Asif for his visit and reaffirmed China's continuing and firm support to Pakistan and vowed to further strengthen the all-weather strategic cooperative friendship with Pakistan.

He also reiterated Chinese commitment and support to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan.

Asif highlighted importance of Pakistan-China friendship as well as strategic partnership and economic relations and reiterated Pakistan's support to China on all issues of its core interest.

He said that Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan and an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is the only way forward. He however pointed out that Pakistan's security concerns must be addressed and Pakistan sacrifices must be acknowledged.

National Security Adviser Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua, Pakistan Ambassador to China Masood Khalid and senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/09-Sep-2017/pakistan-china-call-for-fresh-talks-with-taliban

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Mideast

 

Worshipers Stage Rally in Tehran, Call for Halt to Genocide of Muslims in Myanmar

Sep 08, 2017

During the rally, the Iranian protesters chanted slogans such as “Down with Israel” and “Down with US", calling for an end to the genocide of innocent Muslims by the extremist Buddhists.

In relevant remarks earlier on Friday, Tehran's provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani called for serious measures by Muslim countries to bring to a halt the genocide of Rohingya minority in Myanmar.

Addressing a large and fervent congregation of the people on Tehran University campus, Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani said, "There is no hope that the international community will do anything, but all Muslim nations should hold rallies against the government of Myanmar."

"May God bring these criminals to justice before their deaths," the senior cleric added.

Myanmar's security forces have been attacking the Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages since October 2016 in a bid to push them out of the western state of Rakhine.

The attacks have intensified since August 25, following alleged armed attacks on police and military posts in Rakhine.

The Rohingya have been subject to communal violence by extremist Buddhists for years, forcing large groups of Muslims to take perilous journeys and seek refuge in Bangladesh and other neighboring countries.

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has come under fire for failing to protect the country’s Muslim minority from persecution.

She claimed on Wednesday that “a huge iceberg of misinformation” was spreading about violence in western Myanmar.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960617000769

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ANALYSIS: Revealing the brutal repression of Kurds in Iran

9 September 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the viewpoint of Al Arabiya English.

Acts of brutality against the Kurdish population in Iran is a regular occurrence. For instance, just a few days ago (September 4, 2017), soldiers of Iran’s dreaded Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp of Iran (IRGC) shot dead two porters in cold blood in the western city of Baneh.

In protest against the killings, demonstrations broke out in the Kurdish city and a large number of residents gathered outside the governor’s office on Tuesday (September 5) demanding an end to the ongoing attacks against workers.

According to reports by opposition groups, a number of shops and markets were closed in support of the protests, even as the regime’s security forces clashed with protesters. Video recordings of these clashes have also been released by certain opposition groups.

Khomeini’s repression of Iranian Kurds

The Kurdish workers killed by the IRGC, were porters who made a living by carrying heavy loads on their backs across the border with Iraq and Turkey. Since the overthrow of Shah’s dictatorial regime by a social revolution which was hijacked by Khomeini in 1979, the oppression against Kurds — like other minor communities in Iran — increased dramatically. The living condition of Kurds is reminiscent of the era of slavery because of the rampant poverty, unemployment and injustice.

In August 1979, just five months since the fall of the Shah, Khomeini had ordered a military assault on Iranian Kurdistan. The people of Kurdistan were only demanding basic rights and freedoms for themselves and for all the people of Iran. But Khomeini's response to these demands was a military campaign and the massacre of people. He sent a special judge and Representative Sadeq Khalkhali to Kurdistan to carry out mass executions and send out a gruesome message of coercion.

Khomeini, who was himself the son of an Indian immigrant, called the Kurds separatists and counter-revolutionaries, while they are legitimate Iranian citizens! This was the beginning of his betrayal of the Iranian people, who trusted him without fully knowing him.

Criminal economy

Nearly 40 years have passed, but the achievements of the Khomeini regime in the age of great industrial and technological development is evident from the kidney selling, bone selling, infant selling and in the proliferation of porters.

Why do Kurdish people work as porters? Why are people from different generations, including educated people and academics, engaged in this menial and life-threatening work?

In the political theory of velayat-e faqih, there is no place for the welfare of people. Accordingly, no thought is given to their livelihood and sustenance. This flaw lies at the root of the social and economic malaise that afflicts the country. The regime only knows how to use the wealth of the Iranian people to suppress them and for exporting fundamentalism and terrorism abroad.

For a regime whose ideology and politics are based on hostility towards it people and which has seized control of the immense wealth of Iran, which earns income from oil and gas and is systematically involved in the smuggling of weapons and narcotics, industrial production and business entrepreneurship have virtually ceased to exist.

According to some Iranian media estimates: “The volume of smuggling operations stands at $25 billion, three times the country's development budget” and “[t]he smuggling of goods and currency has left 800,000 people unemployed. Smuggling destroys 1,75 million job opportunities a year”.

Workforce of porters

In the absence of industrial production, everything is under the discretion and control of a mafia system, as most Iranians live below the poverty line. In Kurdistan, the situation is even worse. Therefore people are forced to take menial and unskilled jobs and become porters to meet their basic needs.

An Iranian newspaper writes: “Becoming a porter is not an occupation because it compromises with human dignity, and the debate is how much a person can take to make 70-80,000 Tomans ($20). In Sardasht, there is no industry, few factories, no jobs and there are over 8,000 injuries because of hazardous chemicals used in factories”.

Some reports indicate that there are more than 68,000 porters working in Iran's outlying provinces. A porter sometimes has to lift about 100 to 150 kilos in the mountains and endure extreme heat, cold, rain and snow. They face a lot of dangers and physical hazards, the most threatening beingthe regular shooting by Iranian security forces who target them on an almost daily basis.

According to human rights groups, a total of 212 porters were killed and injured by IRGC guards between 2013 and 2015. Iranian opposition groups have repeatedly called on international organizations to condemn the killings of these poor workers by the IRGC and other security forces.

Regime on a powder keg

After the latest shooting deaths of porters in Baneh, an activist said: ‘‘Let’s call for the withdrawal of all IRGC forces from Hamadan, Sanandaj, and so on. The governor must go, the killers must be punished. We have sent letters and reports to international human rights organizations for years, but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Now we will defend ourselves for the rights of porters and we want the stop their killings.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/09/09/ANALYSIS-Revealing-the-brutal-repression-of-Kurds-in-Iran.html

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Benjamin Netanyahu's wife indicted on corruption charges

Sep 8, 2017

Sara Netanyahu, the third wife of the Israeli regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been charged for fraud and breach of trust, while the premier faces two corruption cases of his own.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit indicted Lady Netanyahu on Friday. She is accused of spending $112,000 from the regime's funds at her private residence where she threw lavish dinner parties, improperly ordered chef’s meals, hired overpaid people for help and concealed her spending to auditors.

She is also suspected of using public funds for the furniture at the family’s private house.

Furthermore, Sara Netanyahu is suspected of using the regime's funds for her late father’s medical expenses.

Local media reported that Sara Netanyahu could face four separate charges, including falsification of documents.

Police had recommended filing charges against her as early as May 2016.

The case was opened in February 2015 with the approval of the attorney general, after suspicions were raised about possible criminal offenses, including “fraudulent receipt, fraud and breach of trust, including addressing mutual accusations,” a police statement said at the time.

Lady Netanyahu, however, denies any wrongdoing and says she has taken a private lie detector test in a bid to support her statements. She took the test at the Tal Polygraph center at her “own initiative” to “prove her version of events,” the center said, adding that the test showed she was telling the truth.

Lie detector tests are not accepted as positive evidence by the regime's courts, local media reported.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534476/Palestine-Corruption-Scandal-Middle-East-Israel-Sara-Netanyahu-criminal-charges

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Turkish minister says EU accession talks 'no child's game'

Sep 8, 2017

Turkey's Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik says Brussels has been making a "child's game" out of Turkey’s accession negotiations.

Speaking after a meeting with EU foreign ministers in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, Celik said, "This is not a children's game at all."

"You cannot talk about suspending or halting the accession negotiations and then restarting it in six months, and that Turkey is a great strategic and important country."

"This approach of 'I froze talks, now I restarted them' is not acceptable for us," the Turkish minister said.

Turkey has been working for accession to the EU since the late 1980s. Formal accession talks began in 2005. The European Union has opened 16 out of the 35 chapters required for Turkey to join the 28-nation bloc, but only one of them has so far been concluded.

The talks were effectively halted after Turkey began a massive crackdown on those suspected of involvement in an abortive coup in 2016. The EU reacted strongly to Ankara’s purging of thousands of people from organizations and institutions over alleged links to the coup attempt.

On September 3, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a TV debate ahead of Germany’s federal elections, agreed with her main rival Social Democrat Martin Schulz that it was “clear that Turkey should not become a member of the European Union,” marking a surprise U-turn from her previous moderate stance.

Germany has been involved in diplomatic brawls with Turkey on several issues, including the country's human rights record.

Many EU ministers in Tallinn highlighted the vital role Turkey, a NATO ally, played in curbing the flow of refugees into the EU area.

Some EU states, including Austria and Luxembourg, backed Merkel’s statement of suspending the talks with Turkey while most of the countries, including Hungary, Lithuania and Britain, held the opposite view.

"All European countries, including the UK, have concerns, serious concerns about human rights in Turkey, about arrests... (and) the treatment of journalists," British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.

"But it's always been my view that we shouldn't push Turkey away. Turkey is a great country and a strategically important country for all of us."

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534495/Turkey-EU-children-game

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Erdogan criticizes US for charging ex-minister over Iran bans

Sep 8, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced as “politically motivated” the US prosecutors’ recent charges against a former economy minister accused of violating US sanctions on Iran, calling on Washington to review the move.

"I say clearly, I see this step taken against our former economy minister [Mehmet Zafer Caglayan] as a step taken against the Turkish republic," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Friday before departing for a visit to Kazakhstan.

“These steps are purely political,” he added. “The United States needs to revise this decision, there are very peculiar smells coming from this issue.”

Erdogan said that he had previously told US officials that Turkey would not apply sanctions against Iran.

The remarks came two days after US prosecutors charged Caglayan, former Halkbank general manager Suleyman Aslan and two others, of “conspiring to use the U.S. financial system to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of transactions on behalf of the government of Iran and other Iranian entities, which were barred by United States sanctions.”

The charges are part of an ongoing case against Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab and his co-defendants, who have all been accused of allegedly forging false documents and using front companies to process millions of dollars in transactions on Tehran’s behalf.

Erdogan says there are “ulterior motives” in charging Zarrab, who has pleaded not guilty.

Zarrab’s lawyers say the businessman was arrested together with his wife and 5 year-old daughter in March 2016, when they had traveled to the US in order to visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. He has been detained in New York ever since and is expected to go on trial next month.

Caglayan and other Turkish officials are in Turkey and remain at large from US authorities.

Meanwhile, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has defended his predecessor, and said US prosecutors have yet to prove their accusations.

“Caglayan did not do anything against Turkey’s interests. It is no concern to Turkey if Caglayan acted against interests of other countries,” Zeybekci commented.

Ankara-Washington relations have been strained over US-backed militiamen from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who launched an operation on June 6 aimed at pushing Daesh Takfiri terrorists out of Syria’s militant-held northern city of Raqqah. The SDF is a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, and is dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Ankara views YPG as a terrorist outfit over its alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Moreover, there has been no progress on Ankara's demand from Washington to extradite US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish government accuses of having masterminded the failed July 15 coup attempt.

Gulen has denounced the “despicable putsch” and reiterated that he had no role in it.

Tensions between the two countries further soared last month, when after the US Justice Department indicting of his security personnel over assaulting protesters outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington in May.

Erdogan said on Friday he hoped to have the opportunity to discuss the case, when he visits New York for the United Nations General Assembly on September 18.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534473/Erdogan-slams-US-charges-former-economy-minister-Mehmet-Zafer-Caglayan-violations-Iran-sanctions

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Palestinians in Gaza, elsewhere grappling with ‘crisis of hope’: ICRC chief

Sep 8, 2017

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) voices alarm over the “dire” humanitarian situation in Gaza, saying residents of the Israeli-besieged enclave and the entire Palestinian population are grappling with “a crisis of hope.”

At the end of a visit to occupied Palestinian lands and Gaza, Peter Maurer said Thursday that that “a crisis of hope” in Gaza and among Palestinians, generally, was “the most lasting impression that I take away” from the trip.

“While we can always argue on who did take what decision for what reason, the humanitarian consequences for the people of Gaza are dire and are really unacceptable,” he said.

About two million Palestinians in the Gaza strip get only three or four hours of electricity a day amid a crippling Israeli blockade, Maurer said.

The power scarcity had, in turn, taken its toll on the water supply routine and the health system in the coastal sliver.

The visit featured talks with the head of the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is based in occupied West Bank, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The PA, which is ruled by Hamas’ rival party Fatah, has recently been under fire for imposing “punitive measures” against the Gaza Strip to squeeze the movement into relinquishing control of the enclave.

Israel started reducing power supply to Gaza after the PA slashed the monthly payments made to buy the service for the strip by 30 percent.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty there.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534438/International-Committee-of-the-Red-Cross-Gaza-Israel-West-Bank-Jerusalem-alQuds

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Turkey accuses Germany of using EU as ‘tool’ in row

9 September 2017

TALLINN: Turkey’s EU affairs minister accused Germany of trying to use the EU as a “tool” in its festering row while German lawmakers arrived in Turkey on Friday to visit soldiers stationed in the central Turkish province of Konya.

Minister Omer Celik welcomed the diplomatic rebuff offered by a number of the bloc’s foreign ministers to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for Turkey’s EU membership talks to be terminated.

The EU has voiced major concerns about Turkey’s crackdown in the wake of last year’s failed coup, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warning that Ankara was “withdrawing from Europe by giant steps.”

Relations between Berlin and Ankara have have deteriorated since last year’s failed coup tried to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the subsequent crackdown.

During an election debate on Sunday Merkel said she would ask the EU to end Turkey’s accession talks.

Celik said Germany risked tarnishing the EU’s reputation by dragging it into a row between individual countries.

“Those who are at the moment coming up with fresh arguments (against Turkey joining) are actually trying to use the EU in order to tackle bilateral problems,” Celik told reporters at a gathering of EU foreign ministers in Tallinn.

“The EU should not be used as a tool to counter the bilateral problems of any of the countries.”

Merkel’s remarks on Sunday drew a furious response from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who compared them to “Nazism.”

But a number of EU ministers urged a more measured response than Merkel suggested, warning against rushing into hasty action against Turkey, which is an important member of NATO and a key partner for Europe in tackling the migrant crisis.

Celik said the ministers’ caution showed there was no “environment” to stop the negotiations, which have made only slow progress since they began in 2005.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin deteriorated sharply after the coup attempt, which was followed by the crackdown in Turkey during which over 50,000 people have been arrested, including German citizens.

Angry rhetoric has flown in both directions and Erdogan has called on ethnic Turks in Germany not to vote for Merkel’s party in national elections later this month.

Celik said it was time to move on from the recriminations.

“I can tell you we are definitely uncomfortable in terms of the arguments put forward by German politicians. They cannot spend a day without having some kind of remarks to our president and politicians,” he said.

“I think this is a vicious cycle that we need to break and we should definitely focus on the future.”

German lawmakers visit Turkey

While relations remain tense between the NATO allies, German lawmakers arrived in Turkey to visit soldiers stationed in the central Turkish province of Konya.

Some 20-30 German troops have remained at Konya as part of an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACs) mission, part of the US-led coalition’s campaign against the Daesh group in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The delegation had initially been due to come to Turkey in July for the routine visit, but the trip was blocked by Ankara.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg then intervened and the visit was organized by the alliance, rather than Germany.

NATO’s deputy secretary-general, Rose Gottemoeller, is leading the delegation including seven German MPs from different parties, according to the Bundestag.

“We expressly welcome the fact that this visit could take place,” Germany foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said.

“A visit is a visit. It is already good... We will see how things continue,” he said, adding that these types of visits organized within the NATO framework could not constitute “a lasting and sustainable political solution.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1158136/world

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South Asia

 

Rohingya crisis: Muslim villages in Burma's Rakhine state burned to the ground as hundreds of thousands flee

September 9, 2017

Rohingya villages are being burned to the ground in Burma’s Rakhine state, eyewitnesses have said.

BBC journalists reported seeing buildings ablaze in a village near the town of Mungdaw, including homes and a religious school.

The fires had allegedly been lit by a group of Rohingya Buddhists.

A group of men carrying weapons were spotted leaving the village, one of whom admitted he had lit the fires with help from the police, the BBC reported.

The government claims members of the persecuted minority have been destroying their own homes, which has been disputed by Rohingya who have fled the country into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Rohingya refugees say the Burmese military and Rohingya Buddhists are setting their villages alight to drive them out, after attacks by Rohingya Muslim militants on police posts.

In August, Rohingya Muslim insurgents attacked several police posts and an army base, which led to a military crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of at least 400 people and forced tens of thousands to flee.

At least 164,000 Rohingya have crossed the border into Bangladesh over the past few weeks, the United Nation’s refugee agency has said, leaving displacement camps at full capacity.

UN agencies believe the figure could rise to 300,000 in the coming days.

The violence has led to criticism of Burma’s leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, for not speaking out for the minority, who are denied citizenship in the predominantly Buddhist country.

Last week, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 50 displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh, who said Burmese security forces had attacked villagers, shooting them and burning down their homes.

Dozens of injured Rohingya Muslims have been admitted to the hospital in Chittagong, in southern Bangladesh, since violence flared in Rakhine state last month.

One boy, 10-year-old Mohammed Idrees, was admitted to the medical centre with part of his ear blown off, Reuters reported.

“I don’t remember what happened to me, but I want to go see my mother,” he said, as his father described how Burmese security forces entered their village with gunfire on 25 August.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/rohingya-muslim-crisis-latest-myanmar-rakhine-state-villages-set-on-fire-a7935811.html

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When children become shield for militants

September 08, 2017

Two innocent brothers, 11-year-old Osama and two-year-old Omar, sons of New JMB financier and member Abdullah, are the latest to join a list of children of Islamist militants who lost their lives after their parents chose death over arrest by security forces.

Osama and Omar burned to death on Tuesday night after their father Abdullah blew them up along with himself, his two wives and two other associates inside the flat they lived at a building at Mirpur’s Darus Salam in Dhaka.

The fire from the explosions had burnt the children’s bodies so badly that the crime scene unit of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) could not differentiate them from the other five charred bodies at first while recovering them after a 38-hour-long raid.

The skulls and burnt bodies of seven were found on Wednesday morning during sweeps by RAB teams in the fourth-floor flat on “Komol Prova” apartment building on Bordhon Bari Road, about 250 yards far from the Darus Salam police station.

Afterwards, RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed told reporters: “We did try to find them alive. We showed highest patience to Abdullah and gave him the chance to surrender as we had hoped to at least save the kids.”

“Well, we did feel hopeful about getting the kids out alive when Abdullah agreed to surrender. But then he went and set off five bombs inside the flat, killing everybody and starting the fire in the process,” said RAB’s Media and Legal Wing Director Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan.

Sabina Akter Tuhin, the reserved seat lawmaker from the area, told reporters that she was shocked when she heard the militant killed himself along with his wives and children.

“The father might have been a criminal, but not his sons. The two kids were innocent. So, why they had to die? Was it their fault to be born in a criminal’s family?”

Prof Dr Mehtab Khanam, the chairperson of Dhaka University’s educational and counselling psychology department, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Going against human nature to live, people who premeditatedly kill themselves generally show no concern for their children’s wellbeing.

“So this is normal for these militants to do something heinous like this when their mission fails. But the militants arrested alive by police need to be examined to find out what drive them to do this.”

Stressing concern over such incidents, she suggested: “We must carry out campaigns from all sides against such activities.”

Nothing new for New JMB

Security agencies say that the trend of killing themselves with their own wives and children by exploding bombs is not something new for the Islamist militants, specifically the New Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (New JMB).

On March 30 this year, militants at a hideout of the terror outfit in Moulvibazar’s Nasirpur blew themselves up along with four children, all under 10 years of age, in the face of a raid.

Members of the law enforcement agencies were shocked at the horrifying scene when they entered that den after ending the 33-hour-long “Operation Hit Back”.

The bodies of four children were strewn around inside that bungalow. They were so badly disintegrated that it was only after a crime scene unit went through the place, it was determined that there were two females, one male and four children there.

“There was a big explosion at the beginning of our operation. That was when they blew themselves up, including the children,” said Monirul Islam, chief of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit.

Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Mukaddes Ali, imam of a local mosque, had only asked: “What kind of Islam is this? How are they establishing Islam through such acts?”

On March 16, a child was found dead in another militant den at Premtola in Sitakunda, Chittagong where four militants including a woman blew themselves up during a police operation.

Before that, a four-year-old girl named Sabina, suffered splinter injuries when her mother, a female New JMB member, came out of a hideout with her and detonated a bomb during a raid in Dhaka’s Ashkona on December 24 last year.

The explosion had broken Sabina’s left arm, and splinters pierced her belly and made some holes in the oesophagus. She underwent a surgery at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and was brought back from the edge of death.

On the other hand, New JMB leader Tanvir Qadri had refused to surrender and committed suicide during a raid on September 10 last year on a militant hideout in Azimpur. One of his 14-year-old twin sons Tahrim Qadri was detained during that raid while the other, Afif Qadri, was arrested later.

Tahrim confessed before a Dhaka court that their parents – Tanvir and Abedatul Fatema Khadiza – were directly involved in militant activities and he and his brother also got involved by inheritance.

Two other children – eight-year-old Junayara alias Pinki and one-year-old Sabiha Zaman – were also rescued during the September 10 raid and later sent to DMP’s victim support centre.

Suicide attacks and trauma

After the Gulshan cafe attack of July last year, which saw the deaths of 27 people including the five militants, law enforcement agencies had started a crackdown on the terror organisations that is still ongoing, Tuesday’s raid at Mirpur’s Darus Salam being the latest.

What has not changed among the militants, who are found living in hideouts with their families, security officials say, is their trend to use wives and children as shields while discussing terms of surrender, which generally is a way to waste time as most of the time they commit suicide.

“Basically, when there are kids involved, we give the militants the chance to surrender as we want to save the women and innocent children,” said DMP CTTC unit’s Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mannan.

But the militants usually use that chance to kill time and prepare a suicide attack, which is such a brutal way to die for the children, he added.

Psychologists say such suicidal acts by the militant parents that lead to their children’s deaths during a terror attack or police raid also tend to leave the witnesses and survivors traumatised, specially children who experience the incident up-close.

Twenty-one children, who were among 78 residents from Atia Mahal in Sylhet’s Shib Bari area evacuated during an 111-hour-long police raid on a militant den in March, are still traumatised by their memory of the explosions and gunfire.

Some of those rescued said they still feel terrified when they think how close they had come to death that day. Parents also expressed concern and doubt while talking about the children’s ability to overcome the fear and trauma.

Islamic scholars weigh in

Maulana Farid Uddin Masud, who leads a campaign of Islamic scholars against militancy, earlier told the Dhaka Tribune: “Children are beyond sides in any war, conflict and ideology in the eyes of Islam and Shariah.

“Our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM) always instructed keeping children and woman away from any unrest or humiliation. Hadith says in many places that children would get Jannat (heaven) if they are killed in any situation. They have no sin.”

Masud, who is also the imam of the Sholakia Eid congregation, added: “If anyone uses children as shields in such a heinous manner, they will be punished. This practice of militants is unacceptable. Militancy is not recognised by Islam.”

“This is nothing that Islam teaches or even supports,” said Bangladesh Islamic Foundation’s Director General Shamim Mohammad Afzal while talking about the militants using their children for their goals.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/crime/2017/09/08/children-become-shield-militants/

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US asked to condition Afghan aid to recognition of Durand Line

September 09, 2017

WASHINGTON: The Uni­ted States needs to condition its aid to Afghanistan on the recognition of the Durand Line as Kabul’s refusal to recognise it unsettles Pakis­tan, a US lawmaker told a House Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs.

This apparently is the first time a lawmaker, California Democrat Brad Sherman, has suggested conditioning US aid to Afghanistan to the recognition of Durand Line. Mr Sherman, who usually is harsh on Pakistan, put forth this suggestion at a House subcommittee hearing on “Maintaining US influence in South Asia,” on Thursday.

Also read: Durand Line is recognised border: US

At the same hearing, a senior US official — Assis­tant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells — remin­ded Pakistan that India’s interests in Afghanistan were as “real and legitimate as Pakistan’s”.

Mr Sherman proposed conditioning US aid to Kabul while outlining his views on Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan and its fears of a growing Indian influence in that country.

“The Durand line — the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan — has not been recognised by the Afghan government,” he said.

“I realise that’s tough. They’ll say, oh, don’t — but the fact is, as long as Afghanistan leaves open the idea that they’re claiming Pakistani territory, it’s going to be very hard to get the Pakistanis involved, as we need them involved, in controlling the Afghan Taliban,” he explained.

The 2,430km Durand Line is the internationally recognised border between Pakis­tan and Afghanistan, established in 1896. But it remains largely unrecognised in Afghanistan. India often supports the Afghan claim.

Congressman Sherman explained how Kabul’s refu­sal to recognise Durand Line, and India’s ambiguous stance on this issue, continues to stir Pakistan’s worst fears.

“And certainly Pakistan sees its enemy as India, and the idea that India would have a cosy relationship with an Afghanistan that hasn’t recognised the border” fans Islamabad’s worries, said the US lawmaker.

None of the two witnesses — Ms Wells and Gloria Steele, acting assistant administrator at the US Agency for International Development, — addressed the dispute over Durand Line.

But Ms Wells did respond to comments by Dr Ami Bera, another California Demo­crat, who observed that “the more India’s involved in Afg­hanistan, the more Pakistan seems to get concerned”.

He then asked how the United States would navigate through this issue while seeking to stabilise Afghanistan.

“...We would like to see and appreciate constructive economic inve­stments in Afghanistan’s stability and institutional stability,” Ms Wells responded.

She noted that India has pledged to spend $3 billion in Afghanistan by 2020, investing in “very vital programmes” that Afghanistan needed.

Congressman Ted Yoho, who chairs this House Sub­committee on South Asia, praised India’s positive role in Afghanistan and its “willingness to stand up to China” and asked for provisions in the 2018 US budget to “deepen the US-India security partnership.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1356524/us-asked-to-condition-afghan-aid-to-recognition-of-durand-line

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Bangladesh wants 'safe zones' to ease Rohingya crisis, but seen unlikely

September 9, 2017

DHAKA: Bangladesh has proposed creating “safe zones” run by aid groups for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state to stop hundreds of thousands of refugees crossing into its territory following a military crackdown.

The plan, the latest in a string of ideas floated by Dhaka, is unlikely to get much traction in Myanmar, where many consider the Rohingya community of 1.1 million as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. That will leave Bangladesh, one of the poorest nations in the world, with little choice but to open new camps for refugees.

Dhaka sent the proposal to the Myanmar government through the International Committee of the Red Cross to secure three areas in Rakhine, home to the Rohingya community, suggesting that people displaced by the violence be relocated there under the supervision of an international organization, such as the United Nations.

“The logic of the creation of such zones is that no Rohingya can come inside Bangladesh,” said Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh’s foreign secretary, the top civil servant in the foreign ministry.

The Red Cross confirmed that it had passed on the request to Myanmar but said that it was a political decision for the two countries to make.   

A Myanmar government spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, a mostly Muslim nation of 160 million, from Buddhist-majority Myanmar in recent years.

The decades-old conflict in Rakhine flared most recently on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked several police posts and an army base. Since then, an estimated 270,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, joining more than 400,000 others already living there in cramped makeshift camps since the early 1990s.

There are widespread fears that tens of thousands more could try to cross if the violence doesn’t abate. Recent pictures from the border between the two countries show hundreds of Rohingya men, women and children trying to cross over into Bangladesh on foot and by boat.

The humanitarian crisis next door has left Bangladesh scrambling to deal with people that it does not welcome either.

In recent days, Bangladesh officials have said they plan to go ahead with a controversial plan to develop an isolated, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal to temporarily house tens of thousands of refugees, drawing fresh criticism from the international community.

“TEMPORARY SHELTER”

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Sep-2017/bangladesh-wants-safe-zones-to-ease-rohingya-crisis-but-seen-unlikely

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Protests across Asia over Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya Muslims

September 9, 2017

By Farid Ahmed and James Griffiths

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN)Thousands of people took to the streets across Asia Friday to denounce Myanmar's treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority.

At least 270,000 Rohingya have fled northern Myanmar into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, according to the United Nations refugee agency, roughly a third of all Rohingya living in the predominantly Buddhist country. More than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence, the UN estimates.

Political and Islamic groups, along with other civil society organizations, joined protests in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka Friday to urge Myanmar to "stop committing genocide" and take back those who have sought refuge elsewhere.

Placards and banners criticized Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Protests also took place in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan.

The government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, blames terrorists for starting the violence. Rohingya militants killed 12 security officers in border post attacks two weeks ago.

'Everyone should stand beside Rohingya'

Marchers in Dhaka expressed their outrage at reports of abuse coming from Myanmar.

"I've joined the rally to express my solidarity with the Rohingya people," activist Mahfuza Haque Neela told CNN.

"The Rohingya people, including women and children, are being killed ... women are being raped."

He added that "everyone should stand beside the Rohingya people."

The rally was partly organized by protest group Gonojagoron Mancha, whose leaders have said they plan to besiege Myanmar's embassy in Dhaka on Monday if the government does not take action.

Shaila Ahmed, a 10-year-old school student, said she wanted to join the rally after she saw TV reports on the plight of the Rohingya.

Over a thousand Muslim devotees belonging to the organization Islamic Movement Bangladesh joined a rally in the capital's downtown Paltan area after Friday's noon prayer.

The movement's leaders demanded the immediate deployment of UN peacekeepers in Rakhine state and the implementation of the recommendations made by a commission led by former UN head Kofi Annan, which warned unrest in the state could spiral out of control unless concrete action is taken soon.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which also organized rallies in Dhaka and elsewhere, has urged the country's government to "force Myanmar to take back the Rohingya."

The party's secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, has criticized Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for "failing to deal with the issue."

On Thursday, Hasina denounced insurgent activities in Rakhine state which the Myanmar government has blamed for causing the recent violence, though she also criticized the actions of the country's army.

Dhaka's Buddhist community also protested Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya Friday, and warned the crisis was being used to inflame feelings against Buddhists in Bangladesh.

Security has been beefed up around Buddhist temples and other institutions in Dhaka and elsewhere.

Hardline Buddhist groups in Myanmar have been accused of inciting racial hatred against Rohingya.

Outrage over landmines

Outrage has been growing in Bangladesh over the continued exodus of Rohingya into the country, and recent reports of landmines being placed on the border in the path of refugees.

The Bangladeshi government summoned the Myanmar ambassador Wednesday to raise concerns about the reports, which include stories of Rohingya being crippled after stepping on the hidden mines while making their way to safety across the border.

"The Myanmar Army is one of only a handful of state forces worldwide, along with North Korea and Syria, to still openly use antipersonnel landmines. Authorities must immediately end this abhorrent practice against people who are already fleeing persecution," Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director, who is currently near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, said in a statement.

Amnesty said it had reviewed graphic images showing an elderly woman's shredded legs immediately after a blast, which medical experts agreed were consistent with a landmine.

Four other suspected mine blasts have also taken place this week, the group added, seriously injuring two boys aged between 10 and 13 and reportedly killing one man, it said citing multiple witnesses.

Criticism grows

Many protesters criticized Suu Kyi personally in Friday's marches, and called for her Nobel Prize to be withdrawn.

The former political prisoner has repeatedly come under criticism for her lack of action to help the Rohingya, a stark contrast to her previous image as a champion of human rights.

On Friday, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu joined fellow Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in criticizing Suu Kyi.

"I am ... breaking my vow of silence on public affairs out of profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority in your country, the Rohingya," Tutu wrote in an open letter, posted on his official Twitter.

"What some have called 'ethnic cleansing' and others 'a slow genocide' has persisted -- and recently accelerated. The images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread ... If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep."

Suu Kyi has said her government is trying to help "everybody who is our our country, whether or not they are our citizens."

"Our resources are not as complete and adequate as we would like them to be but still, we try our best and we want to make sure that everyone is entitled to the protection of the law," she said this week.

In a statement Friday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged Myanmar to implement the Annan commission's recommendations.

Washington "remains deeply troubled by continued reports of attacks against innocent civilians and will continue to urge Burmese security forces to respect those civilians as it conducts security operations," the statement said.

Full report at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/08/asia/myanmar-rohingya-bangladesh-dhaka/index.html

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We want an end to this atrocity

September 09, 2017

Buddhist community in Bangladesh yesterday called upon the Myanmar government to stop the ongoing atrocities on the Rohingyas.

Expressing solidarity with the Rohingyas, around 100 people from the community, including monks, students and professionals, formed a human chain under the banner of Bangladesh United Buddhist Forum in front of the capital's Jatiya Press Club.

Amid a dramatic increase in the number of refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar's Northern Rakhine state, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) yesterday said in the last two weeks an estimated 2,70,000 Rohingyas have sought safety in Bangladesh.

Leaders of the Buddhist forum yesterday said Buddhism teaches peace. Hatred cannot solve anything, they added.

They urged the Myanmar government and its people to take the path of nonviolence to solve the ongoing crisis. They also sought intervention of humanitarian organisations for putting pressure on Myanmar to stop the oppression.

Ashok Barua, chief coordinator of the forum, said, “We have gathered here to condemn and protest the killing and oppression on Rohingyas…We want an end to this atrocity.”

He said the country's Buddhist community will submit a memorandum to the Myanmar embassy in Dhaka tomorrow. They will also send a copy to the UN's local office and other organisations.

Ashim Ranjan Barua, president of Bangladesh Buddhist Federation, said, “What they [Myanmar government] are doing is completely opposite to Buddhism.”

“The cruelty of the Myanmar government made Buddhists living in Bangladesh ashamed,” he added.

Prof Tripti Rani Barua, executive president (women chapter) of the federation, said hatred cannot defeat hatred, but kindness and affection can.

Ashin Jinarakshita, a monk at a Buddhist meditation centre in Ashulia, and Supto Basun Barua, vice chairman of Bangladesh Buddhist Welfare Trust, also spoke.

Meanwhile, expressing grave concern over the Rohingya issue, minority community leaders yesterday urged the government to take necessary measures so that no one can use the issue to destabilise the country's communal harmony.

Leaders of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad made the call when they met Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader at his Dhanmondi residence yesterday.

“We are very much concerned about what is going on in Myanmar. But a vested quarter is trying to spread communal hatred centring the issue using social media. We urged him that the government should take steps in this regard,” Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of the Parishad, told The Daily Star.

Rana Dasgupta said they have formed a pre-polls coordination committee comprising religious and ethnic minorities and placed a five-point demand on August 4.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/we-want-end-atrocity-1459486

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CMP to get counter terrorism unit

September 09, 2017

Similar to Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) is going to introduce a full-fledged counter terrorism (CT) unit for Chittagong region with an aim to expedite the ongoing drives against militants and terror-related activities.

CMP officials said forming a full-fledged CT unit is a timely move as Chittagong is geographically vulnerable to militancy.

In the past, law enforcers busted several hideouts of banned militant outfits including Harkat-ul-Jihad Bangladesh (Huji), Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) in the region, they said.

Considering the need, a proposal for the formation of CT unit under CMP's jurisdiction has already been sent to the police headquarters in Dhaka in July seeking additional manpower, said CMP sources.

The sources said a post of additional deputy commissioner (ADC) has already been created with an executive order in January 2017 for the CT unit. However, the unit will be headed by a deputy commissioner (DC).

Currently, several police personnel have been working against militancy, cyber crimes, militant financing and mobile banking-related crimes under the supervision of the newly-created post of ADC, added the CMP sources.  

Talking to The Daily Star, CMP Commissioner Iqbal Bahar said, “The proposal for a full-fledged CT unit has been sent to police headquarters for approval…”

Police are going to get a nationwide Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit within months under the leadership of an additional inspector general of police (IGP) with its headquarters in Dhaka; the proposed CT unit of CMP will work in coordination with the CTTC upon getting the approval, said the CMP boss.

According to the CMP proposal, the existing bomb disposal unit and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) will work under the proposed CT unit, which will have two other separate teams named CT (intelligence) and CT (operation). Each of the four teams will be led by an ADC, with a DC at the helm of the full-fledged CT unit, the sources added.

As per the proposal, there will be six assistant commissioners, four inspectors, 20 sub-inspectors, 14 assistant sub-inspectors, six nayeks, 44 constables, a stenographer, a computer operator, two office assistants, four cooks and four sweepers at the unit.

ADC Mirza Sayem Mahmud of CMP's bomb disposal unit, who took part in several operations against militants, told The Daily Star, “We have been working against militancy alongside other regular activities. It (formation of CT) will boost our activities against militancy..."

Apart from that, CMP has also sought 2,389 more personnel for strengthening its activities as CMP is reeling from manpower crisis, said some top officials of CMP. On October 5, 2015, Detective Branch (DB) of CMP busted a JMB hideout in the city's Khoajnagor area and arrested five militants including Towfiqul Islam Javed, military wing commander of the organisation's Chittagong region, along with nine handmade grenades and ammunitions.

Later, on December 27, 2015, a JMB den was busted in Amanbazar area under Hathazari upazila by the DB police. Police arrested three suspected JMB operatives and recovered one MK-11 sniper rifle, bullets and a huge amount of bomb-making materials.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/cmp-get-full-fledged-counter-terrorism-unit-1459468

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Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims protest Rohingya killings, Nobel Institute says it can’t strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her Peace prize

September 09, 2017

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Dhaka on Friday to protest against the killing of Rohingya Muslims in neighbouring Myanmar.

At least 15,000 supporters of the Islamist Islami Andolon Bangladesh party chanted slogans against Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

They demanded the Nobel committee revoked Suu Kyi’s peace prize over the Myanmar government’s treatment of its Rohingya population.

The demonstrators moved from Dhaka’s Tongi area to the north of the capital after Friday prayers.

“Myanmar army is carrying out a genocide of the Rohingya with the help of Suu Kyi’s government. She must be held accountable and tried,” said party spokesman KM Atiqur Rahman.

Earlier, several thousand supporters of Bangladesh’s main opposition political party formed a human chain to protest against the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.

However, the organisation that oversees the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday said the 1991 prize awarded to Suu Kyi cannot be revoked.

The organisation on Friday said neither the will of prize founder Alfred Nobel nor the Nobel Foundation’s rules provide for the possibility of withdrawing the honour from laureates.

“It is not possible to strip a Nobel Peace Prize laureate of his or her award once bestowed,” Mr Njolstad said. “None of the prize awarding committees in Stockholm and Oslo has ever considered revoking a prize after it has been awarded.”

More than 386,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org, calling for Suu Kyi’s Peace Prize to be stripped from her due to the persecution of her country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

She received the award for “her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights” while standing up against military rulers.

When Myanmar held its first free election in 2012, she led her party to a landslide victory and became the country’s de facto leader.

But her global reputation is now in tatters over her failure to condemn the violence against the Rohingya.

Human rights groups, activists including her fellow Nobel laureates Malala Yousafzai and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have condemned her.

She has described the situation in Rhine state as “one of the biggest challenges that we’ve had to face” but said it “a little unreasonable to expect us to resolve everything in 18 months.”

But Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar said Suu Kyi is a politician after all and everyone forgets expecting a high moral voice from her.

He said: “What’s the most important objective if you are a politician? Getting elected. I think we need to delete our memories of the imprisoned democratic icon.”

The UN says 270,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh in the last fortnight after fleeing Myanmar, where refugees say their villages have been burned to the ground and relatives killed by the army, reports AFP.

Images purportedly showing atrocities against the Rohingya have flooded Bangladeshi social media, triggering an outpouring of sympathy among locals, who have historical ties with the community.

Dhaka has protested what it called an “unprecedented influx” of Rohingya since the latest violence erupted on August 25.

In the past two weeks, the Bangladesh government has twice summoned the Myanmar envoy to express its concern over the escalation of violence.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2017/09/09/thousands-bangladeshi-muslims-protest-rohingya-killings/

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Hatred on the rise among the Afghans, Karzai warns US

Sep 08 2017

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly reacted at the airdrop of the offensive leaflets aimed at attracting the local support against the Taliban, calling it a psychological war against the Afghan people.

In a statement released by the Office of the former President, Karzai said the presence of the American forces and the violations committed by them has resulted into the growing hatred among the people which is on the rise on daily basis.

Karzai further added he strongly condemns the desecration of the holy verses of Islam in the leaflets.

He said by distributing the offensive leaflets, the American forces have started to play with the emotions and thinking of the Afghan people.

The former Afghan President also warned the United States that the silence of the Afghan people should not be mistaken as their weakness.

A US military official Gen. James Linder in a statement said Wednesday “The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.”

Gen. James further added “I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/hatred-on-the-rise-among-the-afghans-karzai-warns-us-03391

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Taliban leader among 7 killed, wounded in Maidan Wardak airstrike

Sep 08 2017

An airstrike targeted the Taliban insurgents in central Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan leaving at least seven of them dead or wounded, the local officials said Thursday.

A local commander of the militants was also among those killed during the airstrike.

The provincial police commandment in a statement confirmed the airstrike and said at least three people including their commander were killed.

The statement further added that four others also sustained injuries in the airstrike that targeted the militants in Nerkh district in Marko village.

The Taliban leader killed in the airstrike has been identified as Mawlavi Farid, the police commandment said, adding that the airstrike was carried out as the militants were looking to launch an attack on the security forces in the village.

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

Maidan Wardak is among the relatively volatile provinces in central parts of the country, located close to capital Kabul.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-leader-among-7-killed-wounded-in-maidan-wardak-airstrike-03390

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia ready to provide temporary shelter for Rohingya fleeing violence

8 September 2017

Malaysia’s coast guard will not turn away Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar and is willing to provide temporary shelter for them, the maritime agency’s chief said on Friday.

Rohingya insurgents attacked several police posts and an army base in Myanmar on Aug. 25. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive has killed at least 400 people and triggered the exodus of more than 160,000 people to neighboring Bangladesh.

Malaysia, hundreds of miles to the south on the Andaman Sea, is likely to see more boat people from Myanmar in coming weeks and months because of the renewed violence, said Zulkifli Abu Bakar, the director general of Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency. Malaysia is already home to over 100,000 Rohingya refugees.

Basic necessities

“We are supposed to provide basic necessities for them to continue their journey and push them away. But at the end of the day, because of humanitarian reasons, we will not be able to do that,” Zulkifli told Reuters, adding that no fresh refugees had been seen yet.

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation, will likely house the Rohingya refugees in immigration detention centres, where foreigners without documents are typically held, he said. Malaysia, which has not signed the U.N. Refugee Convention, treats refugees as illegal migrants.

Thailand has also said it is preparing to receive people fleeing the fighting in Myanmar. There are about 59,000 Rohingya refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia although unofficial numbers are almost double that.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/09/08/Malaysia-ready-to-provide-temporary-shelter-for-Rohingya-fleeing-violence.html

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China tightens restrictions on religious freedom

September 9, 2017

China has tightened regulations on religious freedom, intensifying punishments for unsanctioned activities and increasing its supervision of certain groups in a bid to “block extremism” and tackle what it sees as internal threats.

The updated rules, released by China's cabinet of the State Council on Thursday, come as the country ratchets up already stringent controls on Muslim and Christian populations and include a ban on religious organisations accepting foreign donations.

China says it is facing a growing threat from domestic cults and radical Islam but critics have accused Beijing of a broader pattern of harassment, detention and abuse.

The latest measures focus on “maintaining legality, curbing illegality, blocking extremism, resisting infiltration and attacking crime”, according to a copy of the regulations posted on the State Council's official website.

“Any organisation or individual may not use religion to carry out illegal activities such as endangering national security, undermining social order...and other activities that harm national interests,” it said.

Among other changes, the regulations, which will be implemented February 2, extend previous rules to include online communications.

Religious groups must be registered with the state, while unregistered organisations which were already not allowed to set up places of worship are now also prohibited from establishing schools.

The fines for organising unapproved religious events have been hiked to up to 300,000 yuan. Those providing the venue for such gatherings can now also be fined up to 200,000 yuan.

The changes are part of a broader effort to put religious practice under the direct supervision of the state. China's officially atheist Communist authorities are wary of any organised movements outside their control, including religious ones.

On Wednesday, leaders from China's five officially recognised religions Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestant Christianity agreed that “the direction of religions is to integrate them with Chinese culture”, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on civil society since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, tightening restrictions on freedom of speech and jailing hundreds of activists and lawyers.

The constitution guarantees freedom of religious belief, a principle that Beijing says it upholds.

But an annual report from the US State Department released last month said that in 2016, China “physically abused, detained, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and unregistered religious groups”.

The report noted arrests and harassment of church leaders in eastern Zhejiang province, who have opposed a government campaign to remove crosses from churches.

China denied the violations noted in the report, which it said “ignores facts”.

In China's far western Xinjiang region, the mostly Muslim Uighur population has struggled with increasingly strict curbs on their faith, including bans on beards and public prayers.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Sep-2017/china-tightens-restrictions-on-religious-freedom

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Myanmar's Rohingya strife roils Indonesian politics

September 8, 2017

JAKARTA/YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia -- The brutal crackdown by the military on Myanmar's minority Rohingya Muslims in the country's western Rakhine State is stoking anger in nearby Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

Radical Muslim groups in Indonesia, where Muslims account for over 80% of the population, are trying to translate public sympathy for the Rohingya's plight into political ammunition against President Joko Widodo. To insulate itself against its Islamist critics, the secularist Widodo government is waging an unusually aggressive diplomatic campaign on behalf of the Myanmar minority group.

The Rohingya crisis has become a major point of political contention in Indonesia. On Friday afternoon, the tension was palpable near the famous Borobudur Buddhist temple in central Java. It was the scene of a massive protest called by the Islamic Defenders Front, which goes by the Indonesian initials FPI, and other Islamist groups.

Some 1,000 people took part in the rally, according to police. Many Muslims marched near the temple, a United Nations World Heritage site, following Friday prayers at nearby mosques.

Thousands more who planned to participate in the rally were barred from entering the area. About 3,000 security personnel were mobilized to maintain order, and set up multiple checkpoints Thursday night. National Police Chief Tito Karnavian vowed to block Islamist groups from staging their rally inside the temple grounds -- a national park -- pledging an all-out effort to protect Borobudur.

Support for the protests is not universal among Muslims. "We see that this action could be harmful to Islam itself," Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, chairman of the influential Muhammadiyah Youth Movement, told local media company Kompas. "We see parties with other interests and taking advantage of the demonstrations."

Nonetheless, the huge gathering nearby underscored the sectarian rift between the Muslim majority and minority Buddhists in Indonesia. The tensions are being fed by the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

A useful conflict

There have been reports that Islamic groups in Indonesia are recruiting volunteers to go to Myanmar to protect the Rohingya. Indonesian security forces are on alert, keeping a close eye on the activities of radical Muslim groups.

Full report at:

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Myanmar-s-Rohingya-strife-roils-Indonesian-politics

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An Indonesian town rooted in tradition

September 9, 2017

While Purwakarta's 800,000 residents are predominantly Muslim, it has, like Bali, a reputation for being an inclusive and open society, accepting of other religions.

First-time visitors to Purwakarta, nestled between Jakarta and Bandung, may wonder if they have arrived in another Bali.

They are likely to notice eye- catching statues of deities and demigods from the Hindu-Buddhist era of 11th-century Java.

One of the largest is a 15m-long sculpture of the mythical archer Arjuna Wiwaha heading to battle on a horse carriage as depicted in the Mahabharata - which, along with the Ramayana, are the two major Sanskrit epics from ancient India.

The Arjuna Wiwaha statue stands prominently in the centre of the town's business district, while a 4m-tall sculpture of Ghatotkacha, a ruler from the Mahabharata, stands outside the main train station.

While local nationalist heroes also feature among the town's 25 large statues, such as a sculpture of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno, it is the Mahabharata ones that really stand out.

The Mahabharata and Hindu elements in the design of the entrance arches at the town's borders also remind visitors of Bali, home to Indonesia's Hindu majority.

While Purwakarta's 800,000 residents are predominantly Muslim, it has, like Bali, a reputation for being an inclusive and open society, accepting of other religions.

For instance, the strong Hindu influence is obvious among the ethnic majority Sundanese in Purwakarta, a regency in the West Java province. "Purva" means early in Sanskrit, and "karta'" means prosperous and flourishing in the old Javanese language.

Native to West Java and with an estimated population of 40 million, the Sundanese are the second-most populous Indonesian ethnic group, and their language is the second- most widely spoken in Indonesia, after Javanese.

Mr Dedi Mulyadi, who has led the town as regent since 2008, is Sundanese and was originally from Subang, West Java. He has been promoting Sundanese culture, which he says encourages diversity and tolerance, to both residents and visitors in Purwakarta since 2003, when he was deputy regent.

The 46-year-old believes places such as Purwakarta are important if Indonesia is to retain its diversity at a time when rising Islamism and the increasing influence of conservative clerics, who teach a less tolerant variation of Islam, threaten the country's values of pluralism.

PRESSURE FROM RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES

The pressure from religious conservatives could not be more real these days, as seen in Jakarta where mass protests by groups like the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) led to the imprisonment of Chinese- Christian politician Basuki Tjahaja Purnama in May for blasphemy against Islam.

Last month, the local government in Tuban, a regency in East Java, about 595km away from Purwakarta, had to cover a 30m-tall sculpture of Chinese deity Guan Yu at a temple with a white cloth after Muslim conservatives wanted it torn down.

Mr Dedi said he, too, was confronted with a similar situation in February last year when a smaller statue of Arjuna Wiwaha was set on fire. The culprits were never caught, but the incident came after a fiery debate between the regent and a small group of men from the local branch of FPI, who claimed that the statue encouraged idol worship, considered a sin in Islam.

Mr Dedi not only stood his ground, but continued to promote Purwakarta's diversity, using the statues as a sign of how different cultures and religions can coexist.

He said radical ideas from groups such as FPI must be fended off by reminding Indonesians of the state motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means "unity in diversity".

"If the awareness of our national identity declines, extremist ideologies from overseas can easily come in and dominate," he said. "Our traditions must be on top of our mind."

PROMOTING TOLERANCE AND TOURISM

Political watchers such as Mr Ismail Hasani, who teaches state administrative law at Syarief Hidayatullah Islamic University in Jakarta, said Purwakarta is now an up-and-coming regency with Mr Dedi at the helm.

"The creativity of Dedi Mulyadi is above most other regents and mayors, in the context of appreciating the local culture and tourism promotion," he added. "Others must follow in his footsteps."

Two years ago, Mr Dedi was invited to address the United Nations' International Young Leaders Assembly where he called for stronger moral and innovative leadership in the world. He stressed in his speech the need for broader cultural knowledge and acceptance.

Under Mr Dedi, Purwakarta received the Harmoni Award in February from the Religious Affairs Ministry as recognition for its religious tolerance and pluralism.

The accolade is proof that there are still communities across Indonesia that stand for religious and racial diversity, said observers, and Mr Dedi is a key advocate of that.

"One of the obligations of administrators of the state is to create an atmosphere of harmony and tolerance," Mr Dedi had said after receiving the award. "But it is a risk when carrying out our duties, so in essence, we must be ready to be unpopular."

His efforts have resulted in a Purwakarta where the local community is generally welcoming to minorities and visitors.

A WINDOW INTO THE SUNDANESE WAY OF LIFE

Today, the former industrial town has grown into an attractive tourist destination, gaining popularity in recent years as a cultural window into the Sundanese way of life.

Every Saturday, more than 20,000 tourists, mostly Indonesians, visit the town just to watch its newest attraction, the Sri Baduga Fountain Park light and music show, which opened this year.

Sri Baduga, better known as Prabu Siliwangi, was a king of the Hindu Sunda kingdom in West Java between 1482 and 1521.

Incidentally, one of Sri Baduga's grandchildren, Sunan Gunungjati - whose mother married an Egyptian of Hashemite descent - would later become one of the earliest Muslim clerics in Indonesia to spread the word of Islam.

The 3ha park was created during the Dutch colonial era as a watering hole for a herd of now near-extinct Javanese rhinoceros. The fountain is in an artificial lake built in the park.

Visitors to the fountain alone have boosted the local street hawkers' takings by more than twofold, said Ms Rina Sylvia, 40, who sells fried chicken rice and other local snacks.

She told The Straits Times that she liked how the town had changed over the past years, adding that the rise in tourist arrivals has increased the revenue of her shop, which is located on a main road.

"More people like to come and enjoy the Wayang Golek dance performance and music," she said, referring to the traditional Sundanese puppetry. "We are Muslim but we are Sundanese, and we have a beautiful culture."

Mr Dedi said Sundanese culture has, for ages, taught people to live in harmony despite their differences, he told The Straits Times.

Full report at:

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/field-notes-a-town-rooted-in-tradition

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Singapore Muslim and Buddhist leaders concerned over violence

September 9, 2017

Muslim and Buddhist leaders in Singapore have expressed concern over the ongoing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, as the Singapore Red Cross and a charity under the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) launched separate initiatives yesterday to raise funds for humanitarian aid to those affected, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim wrote on Facebook yesterday: "I am deeply concerned with the ongoing conflict in the northern Rakhine state in Myanmar. I hope that a lasting resolution can be reached on this matter as soon as possible, so as to avoid any further loss of lives."

His concern was reflected by Venerable Seck Kwang Phing, president of the Singapore Buddhist Federation.

"The Singapore Buddhist Federation expresses its grave concern on the recent escalation of violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, which has cost tremendous loss of human lives and properties. We would like to appeal to all parties to the conflict to stop all acts of violence under whatever pretext," he said in a statement.

He added that the federation and all Buddhist institutions "strongly support" the fund-raising effort initiated by Muis. "We believe humanitarian consideration should transcend all man-made boundaries, be it race or religion."

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) said in addition to assistance provided recently to Rakhine, it will further commit US$20,000 (S$26,780) worth of relief items to be distributed to all those affected.

"Working with the Myanmar Red Cross and Red Cross Movement partners, SRC will commit to support all the communities affected by the current violent clashes in Rakhine," it said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/spore-muslim-and-buddhist-leaders-concerned-over-violence

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Malaysian NGOs rouse Muslims to defend Rohingyas

Predeep Nambiar

September 8, 2017

GEORGE TOWN: A group of about 20 Muslim NGOs held a protest in Penang today to demand that the world’s superpowers intervene and stop the alleged atrocities on Muslims in the Rakhine province of Myanmar.

Some 1,000 people gathered after Friday prayers outside the Kapitan Kling Mosque here, listening to leaders from the group rousing them to take action to defend the Rohingyas and pressure the Myanmar government to end the violence.

They called on the United Nations (UN) and superpower nations to send military forces to stabilise the region.

Protesters held placards which read “Myanmar police and military are butchers”, “Stop the genocide” and “Stop killing our Rohingya brothers and sisters”

rohingya-2

Army veteran Azizan Salleh called on Muslims in the gathering to “hold arms” and fight the military in Myanmar.

“If all of you are willing to carry arms to fight the junta in Myanmar…we veterans will fight together with you,” said Azizan, who later revealed that he hailed from Kampung Memali in Kedah where 28 people, including followers of controversial preacher Ibrahim Mahmud, were killed during a police siege there in 1985.

“We must be united in efforts, in any way possible, to help our fellow Rohingya brethren,” the retired warrant officer added.

rohingya-3

Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisation (Mapim) coordinator Shaiful Yamin Dahlan said the suffering in Rakhine was felt in Malaysia as Islam, which was observed in both regions, could be described as a human “body”.

“When one part of the body is hurt, the whole body feels hurt. As a Muslim, we must help wherever possible,” he said.

“The voices of Islam must be heard across the world. Let’s not cross our arms and take a ‘wait and see’ stance. We must speak out as Muslims.”

United Islamic Rohingya Organisation chairman Mohammad Islam @ Abu Umar Al Sutani claimed there was a concerted effort by Buddhist extremists to rid Myanmar of Muslims.

“They are not shooting Muslims, but slaughtering them. The military is not shooting from the front, but shooting these innocent people from behind with RPG1 and RPG2 weapons,” Mohammad said.

rohingya-1

Other groups like the Penang Muslim League and Penang Indian Muslim Association also made their voices heard in the protest.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/08/malaysian-ngos-rouse-muslims-to-defend-rohingyas/

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DAP’s Syerleena reports post depicting her as anti-Islam

Sheith Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar

September 8, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Syerleena Abdul Rashid wants the authorities to investigate the individual behind a social media post which appears to paint her as an enemy of Islam, following her police report on the matter in Penang today.

The DAP Wanita assistant publicity secretary said she was made aware of the latest post, which was among a series of similarly themed online messages targeting her, earlier today.

“As a Muslim, I take great offence at those who slander me in such a way,” she said. “Those who continue to spread these lies and continue to use this sort of political propaganda are the real enemies of Islam.

“I hope both the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will carry out investigations without prejudice and take immediate action against those who did this,” she told FMT.

Penang DAP women’s publicity secretary Josephine Tan and her assistant Gueny Koay accompanied her in lodging the report at the Patani Road police station at 10.30am.

Syerleena said she had never made the remarks or issued any statement as insinuated in the graphic being circulated.

She said the smears began in March when two Facebook pages had labelled her as “an attacker of the Islamic institution”.

The allegation was uploaded by an individual with a private account named “Johny Wick” and on a page under “Darul Ehsan Leaks” which had about 17,000-odd followers.

Johny Wick posted Syerleena’s picture at her oath-taking ceremony as a councillor in the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), accompanied with the words “I swear I will attack Islamic institutions, especially Jakim, for the sake of DAP”, referring to the Islamic Development Department.

The post by Darul Ehsan Leaks meanwhile featured a collage of Syerleena’s images and that of DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, with the same words.

Syerleena said she later found out that Darul Ehsan Leaks had taken down its post after she lodged a police report against both accounts.

However, on Aug 28 a new post with the words “I will struggle to change Malaysia’s official religion to Christianity after GE14” appeared on social media platforms.

She said she put up a denial against the allegation on her Facebook page and in various WhatsApp groups.

The latest post bears a caption under the one released on Aug 28 which reads: “Why do these things happen in this country? Because there are people who understand the religion, understand the Quran but give views which confuse the people.”

“I will be meeting my lawyers tomorrow to discuss what I should do and once I find out more I will hold a press conference,” Syerleena said.

She said although she could not be certain, she suspected those spreading the posts may be connected to PAS, based on their Facebook profiles.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/08/daps-syerleena-reports-post-depicting-her-as-anti-islam/

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Top court allows NRD to appeal in ‘bin Abdullah’ case

September 8, 2017

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 8 — The Federal Court is to hear and decide on the legal questions arising in the matter of whether a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can take his or her father’s surname instead of ‘Abdullah’.

Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, chairing a Federal Court three-man bench, today granted leave to the National Registration Department (NRD), its director-general and the Government of Malaysia to appeal against an appellate court ruling allowing a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock to carry the father’s surname.

“Let the apex court decide on this issue. Then everybody will have to abide by it. We allow the appeal on three (legal) questions,” said Raus, who presided with Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Federal Court judge Datuk Aziah Ali.

He ordered that the matter be referred for case management before the court registrar for a date to be fixed to hear the appeal as soon as possible.

Raus allowed three of four legal questions posed by the applicants, namely NRD, its director-general and the Government of Malaysia.

The questions are:

Whether in performing the registration of birth of a Muslim child, the Registrar of Births and Deaths may refer and rely on sources of Islamic law on legitimacy?

Whether the Civil Court may determine questions or matters on legitimacy of Muslim children in respect of naming and ascription of paternity?

Whether Section 13A of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) applies to registration of births for Muslim children, enabling the children to take their father’s surname?

In civil cases, a party has to obtain leave from the Federal Court before it can proceed with an appeal.

On May 25 this year, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal brought by a couple and their son who filed a judicial review to compel the NRD director-general to replace the child’s surname ‘Abdullah’ with the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate.

The Court of Appeal, in a written judgment released on July 25 this year, said the NRD director-general was not bound by the ‘fatwa’ or religious edict issued by the National Fatwa Committee to decide the surname of a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock.

In the judgment, the court said the director-general’s jurisdiction was a civil one and was confined to determining whether the child’s parents had fulfilled the requirements under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA), which covers all illegitimate children, Muslim and non-Muslim.

The court had held that a fatwa had no force of law and could not form the legal basis for the NRD director-general to decide on the surname of an illegitimate child under Section 13A (2) of the BDRA.

Senior federal counsel Suzana Atan, representing the applicants, submitted that the three questions required further arguments because it was the first case of this nature before the Federal Court.

She said the applicants should be granted leave to appeal as they had fulfilled the requirements under Section 96 of the Court of Judicature Act 1964.

Lawyer K. Shanmuga, appearing for the child and his parents, whose names have been withheld, objected to the leave-to-appeal application, saying the matter has been decided by the Court of Appeal.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/top-court-allows-nrd-to-appeal-in-bin-abdullah-case#rRoHh5M4ZeRYPAZ0.97

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Cynthia Gabriel slams Trump for ‘gigantic gift to Najib’

September 9, 2017

PETALING JAYA: A local anti-corruption activist has criticised the United States over its decision to invite Prime Minister Najib Razak to meet with US President Donald Trump at the White House, calling it “a terrible idea”.

Cynthia Gabriel, who is founder of the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), wrote in a commentary published in The Washington Post yesterday that the invite was a “gigantic gift for Najib”.

“Trump rolling out the red carpet for Najib on Sept 12, is a terrible idea. It is a gigantic gift for Najib, who is suffering from a profound crisis of credibility at home as he prepares for a general election that is likely to come later this year.

“Malaysians were flabbergasted to hear that the US president had singled out the prime minister for this privilege.

“This is especially since it was a little more than one year ago that the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it was filing civil forfeiture suits targeting 1MDB, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which was founded by Najib and is controlled by his government,” Gabriel said.

It was previously reported that the DoJ charged that from 2009 through 2015, more than US$4.5 billion (RM19 billion) belonging to 1MDB had been diverted by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

“Malaysia’s authoritarian system makes it extremely difficult to demand the needed accountability, and the mainstream media in the country have correspondingly stopped reporting about the subject.

“So, why would the White House deem it appropriate to invite a leader who is potentially implicated in one of the largest corruption cases the DoJ has ever launched?” she asked.

Gabriel also speculated that it was Trump’s own position when it comes to the rule of law, and his lack of adherence to what is accepted practice as president, that has seen Najib being welcomed to Washington on an official visit.

“Since assuming office this year, Trump has openly defied long-established norms on conflict of interest that his predecessors of both parties observed.

“He has refused to divest himself of his international real estate holdings and licensing companies, and he has appointed members of his family, who have their own myriad conflicts of interest, to important posts in his administration,” Gabriel said.

As a result, Gabriel said Malaysian journalists are now wondering whether Najib will use the visit to press Trump to drop the 1MDB probe.

“Najib is keen to show Malaysians that the US authorities are not after him,” she said.

Gabriel criticised the White House for demonstrating by its actions that it did not care about the bane of corruption around the world.

She feared that the visit will ultimately free Najib from any sense of accountability from his alleged actions linked to the investigations into the 1MDB scandal in a number of countries, including Switzerland and Singapore.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/09/cynthia-gabriel-slams-trump-for-gigantic-gift-to-najib/

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Minister to lift block after Steam disables god-fight game download

September 9, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 ― Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak rescinded today an order to block Steam after the entertainment platform disabled the download of a combat game featuring Jesus Christ and Buddha among others.

“steam had disabled the download of the game in Malaysia in accordance with our warning & request last night.Will uplift the blocking today,” he posted on his official Twitter account early this morning.

The announcement came less than 12 hours after Steam took down the combat video game following the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s earlier block of local access to it.

The gaming store is run by US-based video game developer Valve Corporation.

The controversial game made by Taiwan developer Digital Crafter had been sold for RM11.40 on Steam, was.

Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism deputy president Datuk RS Mohan Shan had called for the game to be banned, local paper theSundaily reported yesterday.

Apart from Jesus and Buddha, the game also featured ancient deities from Greek and Norse mythology like Zeus and Odin.

The Taiwanese game’s lead producer Ken Wei was reported telling UK paper Daily Mail earlier this week that “Fight of Gods will never include depictions from Islam”.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/minister-to-lift-block-after-steam-disables-god-fight-game-download#KsmoRJBG8oZsQeCe.97

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Africa

 

Nigeria’s leading Islamic coalition condemns violence against Rohingya Muslims

September 8, 2017

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has condemned the killings and persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

In a statement by its deputy secretary-general, Salisu Shehu, on Friday, the NSCIA, the highest decision-making body for Muslims in Nigeria, said it was “shocked and distressed by the wanton killings and massacre” of the Rohingya.

The Rohingya are a minority Muslim community that have lived for centuries alongside the Buddhist majority in Myanmar. The 1. 1 million Rohingya, who live in the coastal state of Rakhine are seen by many in Myanmar as illegal immigrants and have faced systematic discrimination by the government who treats them as stateless people stripping them of citizenship.

On August 25, violence broke out after Rohingya militants attacked government forces. Soldiers aided by Buddhist militias responded with what has been described as disproportionate violence sacking whole community, burning houses and killing several Rohingya.

The United Nations said over 123,000 people have fled the troubled area to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The NSCIA said the attacks on the Rohingya amounted to a genocide.

“The level of persecutions and the monumental brutalities being meted on such defenceless, helpless and downtrodden Muslim communities in the Rakhine State of the country amount to genocide in the real sense of it.”

“In the spirit of the Hadith of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that says, “believers, in their mercy, compassion and sympathy for one another are like a single body….”, the NSCIA, on behalf of the entire Muslim Ummah in Nigeria condemns in strong terms such endless, intermittent and exterminatory cruelties against these weak and helpless human beings.”

The NSCIA further condemned what it referred to a “global conspiracy of silence” over the reluctance of the UN and world leaders to act against the government of Myanmar for “years have been notoriously descending on their villages to slaughter them and mercilessly drive them out of their homes and abodes. “

The NSCIA also took a swipe at Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, a prominent member of the ruling party in Myanmar, for being supportive of the violence against the Rohingya.

“The NSCIA is also perplexed that such crimes against humanity are taking place at a time when a supposedly Nobel Peace Laureate in person of Aung San Suu Kyi is at the helm of affairs in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi has unfortunately appeared to be, in power and authority, the opposite of what she used to preach that earned her the global recognition as an unflinching defender of human rights.”

The council called on the UN and world leaders to act promptly to save lives and bring an end to the violence. It also appealed to Muslims all over the world “to exercise restraint, avoid taking laws into their hands and be prayerful unto Allah to bring succour to these helpless brothers and sisters of ours and all other human beings that are suffering in the world, wherever they are, no matter their faith or race.”

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/242765-nigerias-leading-islamic-coalition-condemns-violence-rohingya-muslims.html

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Al-Shabaab Beheads 5 Non-Muslims in Christian-Majority Kenya

8 Sep 2017

Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliate based in Somalia, has claimed responsibility for dressing in local military attire and decapitating up to five Christians in Kenya, where more than 80 percent of the population adheres to the Christian faith.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, a spokesman for the terrorist group, conceded that al-Shabaab beheaded five men, noting that it had targeted non-Muslims.

In an online statement, the brutal jihadist group explicitly alleged that its terrorists had “managed to temporarily control Hindi town in Kenya’s Lamo coastal province, killing five occupiers who are Kenyan Christians.”

The two al-Shabaab attacks were carried out Wednesday in Lamu County, Kenya, a country where about 83 percent are considered Christian and nearly 11 percent Muslim.

“They were dressed in military gear and had AK-47 rifles. They beheaded four men before fleeing into the forest. All the victims are men. Police have already arrived at the scene and taken the bodies to the mortuary,” Gilbert Kitiyo, the commissioner of Kenya’s Lamu County, told Reuters, referring to the al-Qaeda-linked attackers.

The Kenyan county commissioner noted that the jihadists surrounded all the victims, making it difficult for them to avoid death.

Africa is home to various Islamic terrorist groups including the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and its affiliate Boko Haram, who are known to attack Christians as well as some AQ branches like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Although its birthplace is Somalia, the al-Qaeda wing is known to wreak havoc in neighboring countries, particularly those that belong to the U.S.-backed Somali National Arm African Union peacekeepers who are combating the terrorist group, which controls a significant swathe of the East African country of Somalia.

This year, the United States vowed to deploy “dozens” of additional troops from the American Army’s storied 101st Airborne Division, expected to double the numbers of U.S. special operations forces already training and assisting the Somali National Army and African Union peacekeepers combating the terrorist group.

According to the latest annual report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), “Kenya is a majority-Christian country with significant Muslim populations in the capital and northeast and along the coast.”

“Since 2011, when Kenya deployed its military to Somalia to counter al-Shabaab gains in that country, al-Shabaab has expanded its assaults into Kenya, perpetrating dozens of terrorist attacks in the country. The group has killed both Muslims and non-Muslims, but al-Shabaab terrorists routinely seek to identify and isolate Christians during their strikes,” explains USCIRF.

The commission suggested that there are no signs that the al-Shabaab perpetrated attacks along the Kenya-Somalia border will soon cease.

Soon after taking office, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the American military to escalate the American-backed offensive against the Somalia-based terrorist group, including launching more airstrikes and doubling the number of U.S. special operations forces in the East African country.

In response, Al-Shabaab vowed to intensify the number of deadly attacks as part of a “doubled response” to President Trump’s approval of expanded U.S. military efforts against the terror group, revealed the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites.

In a propaganda video disseminated this year, titled “They Are Not Welcome—They Shall Burn In Their Fire,” al-Shabaab stresses its adherence to global jihadist principles, noting that “defending Muslim lands is from the most important of individual obligations,” reports the Long War Journal (LWJ).

Full report at:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/09/08/al-shabaab-beheads-5-non-muslims-christian-majority-kenya/

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South Sudan Christians Must Submit To Islam Or Starve

Sep 9, 2017

hristians in refugee camps face persecution, similar plight in Nigeria

DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Refugee camps in South Sudan are forcing Christians to choose between starvation or conversion to Islam, according to a report this week.

Christian children in the refugee camps are pressured to pray Muslim prayers in order to receive food rations, which they need to survive. This is according to an anonymous source whose comments were shared on Wednesday by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Aid to the Church in Need is a Catholic organization that gathers funding to help persecuted faithful around the world.

The anonymous source told ACN, "We have heard stories where children are conditioned to say Islamic prayers before [being] given food. This is not right. These children are Christian. They should be respected as such."

About 1,000 miles west of South Sudan, refugee camps in the Nigerian state of Borno exhibit similar discrimination against Christians. A report this week from Global Christian News (GCN) surveyed how Christians in Nigeria have undergone immense suffering. Not only are Christians persecuted by Boko Haram, they are even persecuted in the refugee camps.

Boko Haram, an ISIS-affiliated jihadist insurgency, has wreaked havoc on Nigeria since its first acts of violence in 2009. The fighting has killed thousands and displaced millions. Thousands of Christian churches have been destroyed.

Many displaced Christians in Nigeria have found shelter with family, friends or fellow Christians, often in the big cities, which provide greater safety against the insurgents. But some Christians have been forced to join government-run refugee camps in the state of Borno where they face persecution at the hands of Muslim camp officials. Most of the refugees in the camps are Muslims.

One Christian Nigerian refugee, referred to only as Margaret, told GCN that camp-workers who are Muslims often persecute the Christian refugees. She said, "Whenever supplies come the sharing is chaotic. The officials would make us queue and usually fights break out as people struggle to jump queues and if you are a Christian, you are harassed and insulted." Margaret also recalled, "'Get out infidel!' is usually what you hear all the time."

She spoke about the poor treatment of women in the refugee camps, noting rampant prostitution. "Muslim men come in their cars every evening," Margaret noted, "and women are 'arranged' for them by some camp officials and middle men."

Margaret also observed that some men at the camps pressure young women into marriage, only to abandon and divorce them as soon as they become pregnant. Margaret lamented, "Our young vulnerable Christian teenage girls are being destroyed by men. They deceive the girls, get them pregnant and divorce them."

Full report at:

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/south-sudan-christians-must-submit-to-islam-or-starve

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Tunis protesters demand justice for Myanmar’s Rohingya

09 September 2017

Two separate demonstrations were held in the Tunisian capital on Friday to protest the ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

The first demonstration, organized by Tunisia’s Current of Love movement (Tayar al-Mahaba), saw dozens of demonstrators waving banners decrying the Myanmar military’s ongoing crimes against Rohingya Muslims.

Protest organizers distributed leaflets condemning Myanmar’s security forces for their ongoing persecution of the country’s Muslim minority.

One of the leaflets called on the Tunisian government, along with “friendly countries”, to intervene to stop the oppression in Myanmar.

A second protest was held next to Tunis’s National Theater, where dozens of activists associated with Tunisia’s Democratic Movement condemned atrocities suffered by the Rohingya at the hands of the Myanmar regime.

Demonstrators carried placards reading, “End the bloodshed in Myanmar”, "Stop murdering Muslims”, and “The world is watching while Muslims are killed”.

Since Aug. 25, Myanmar’s army has stepped up its operations in the western Rakhine State on the pretext that it is fighting armed militants, leading to numerous deaths among the state’s Rohingya Muslim population.

Because the Myanmar government does not allow international organizations to enter the region, however, exact death tolls are impossible to ascertain.

Last October, following a series of attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, some 400 people were killed.

While some local NGOs in Rakhine State say that over a thousand Rohingya have been killed to date, others say the number is much higher.

In recent weeks, the UN has documented numerous murders, beatings, rapes and disappearances perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar security personnel.

Violence erupted again in Rakhine State nearly two weeks ago after security forces launched fresh operations against the Rohingya.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/193789/tunis-protesters-demand-justice-for-myanmars-rohingya

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Nigeria: Ahmadiyya Faults Persecution of Rohingya Muslims

8 SEPTEMBER 2017

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community condemns in the strongest possible terms the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma).

It is being reported that scores of Muslims are being killed and tortured, whilst many thousands have been driven out of their homes and forced to flee. Such treatment can only be described as an affront to humanity.

The organization urges the international community to help the Muslims in Myanmar attain their basic human rights and freedoms.

The World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

"All Ahmadi Muslims are extremely grief-stricken to hear of the cruel treatment inflicted upon the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and we pray that all of these cruelties and injustices come to an immediate end".

He said that the fact that these Muslims are being targeted seemingly with impunity is a result of the division and sectarianism within the Muslim world itself. If there was unity amongst Muslim nations and communities, such tragedies would never unfold.

Masroor, hope and pray that the international community comes together to help the Muslims in Myanmar and in this effort the Muslim nations should be at the forefront.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201709080506.html

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Nigeria: Islam Abhors Stigmatisation of Widows, Nasfat Affirms

8 SEPTEMBER 2017

By Shakirah Adunola

Setting mark of disgrace or infamy upon something or someone, which can be used to describe the term stigmatization is condemned by Islam, the Nasirul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) declared in its last Friday sermon.

The weekly Friday sermon released by the group said Islamic tradition explicitly forbids the mistreatment of widows, reforming a seventh-century Arabian culture that had greatly valued virgin brides and had a poor track record of caring for widows and their children.

It stated: "The issue of widows was particularly important during the time the Quran was revealed because the Muslims' war with Makkah resulted in the death of a lot of married men.

"It is instructive to note that the religion of Islam accords a special status to widows and stresses caring for them along with other vulnerable groups from pre-Islamic Arabia, such as orphans, the poor and female infants. In Islam, taking care of widows is considered a very high form of charity. According to book 73, number 36, of the Sahih Bukhari collection of Muhammad's sayings, or hadith, the Prophet (SAW) once said: "The one who looks after and works for a widow and for a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah's cause."

"In many traditional communities of developing countries (especially on the Indian subcontinent and in Africa), widowhood represents a "social death" for women. It is not merely that they have lost their husbands, the main breadwinner and supporter of their children, but widowhood robs them of their status and consigns them to the very margins of society where they suffer the most extreme forms of discrimination and stigma.

"Widows in these regions are generally the poorest of the poor and least protected by the law because their lives are likely to be determined by local, patriarchal interpretations of tradition, custom, and religion. Unmarried women are the property and under the control of their fathers; married women belong to their husbands. Widows are in limbo and no longer have any protector.

"Across cultures they become outcasts and are often vulnerable to physical, sexual, and mental abuse. It is as if they are in some way responsible for their husband's death and must be made to suffer for this calamity for the remainder of their lives. Indeed, it is not uncommon for a widow--especially in the context of the AIDS pandemic--to be accused of having murdered her husband, for example, by using witchcraft.

"The grief that many third world widows experience is not just the sadness of bereavement but the realization of the loss of their position in the family that, in many cases, results in their utter abandonment, destitution, and dishonor.

"In the Quran, widows often are grouped with orphans. The Quran is filled with commands to take care of the orphan and the widow -- both in the early Makkan surahs and the later Madinan surahs. The Quran, in surah 4, verse 19, also explicitly forbids a common abuse in Muhammad's time: a family "inheriting" a widow and forcing her to marry someone or do other things against her will."

"O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen), nor (that) ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good.

"Muhammad's first marriage was to an older widow named Khadijah, who was also the first to believe in his message. After Khadijah's death, Muhammad (SAW) married an even older widow named Sawda before marrying his youngest bride, Aisha and it should be mentioned that a vast majority of them were widows. Many of the marriages, in accordance with the time period, were to cement alliances and friendships, but Muhammad (SAW) also believed taking care of widows was a noble thing and married accordingly.

"The hadith of Sahih Bukhari, book 38, number 504, relates a story that exemplifies Muhammad's attitude toward widows. A man named Jabir bin Abdullah is selling Muhammad (SAW) a camel, and eventually it is brought to light that Abdullah has married a widow. Muhammad (SAW) asks him why he has not married a virgin, as was culturally popular, and Abdullah replied that he preferred a mature woman to take care of his children. Muhammad (SAW) replied "well done." For Abdullah's wisdom and charity, Muhammad (SAW) ordered that the man be paid extra money in addition to the price of the camel.

"The main regulation placed on widows themselves is the waiting period between their husbands' death and remarriage. According to surah 2, verse 234, of the Quran, a widow must wait four lunar months and 10 days after her husband's death before re-marrying.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201709080707.html

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African leaders to hold new Libya talks

9 September 2017

BRAZZAVILLE: African leaders are due to meet Libya’s UN-backed prime minister on Saturday in a fresh bid to help resolve the political crisis in the conflict-ridden country.

Fayez Al-Sarraj, the embattled head of the unity government in Libya, is due to attend the summit in Congo’s capital Brazzaville, his adviser told AFP on Thursday.

However, strongman Khalifa Haftar, who backs a rival administration in eastern Libya, will not take part despite being invited, his spokesman said.

Instead, Aguila Salah, the head of the elected Parliament in the east, will be attending.

It is the latest attempt to put an end to six years of chaos in oil-rich Libya where rival militias and administrations have been vying to control the country’s wealth and cities.

Libya was plunged into turmoil following the overthrow of long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 with dozens of armed factions filling the power vacuum.

Sarraj has struggled to assert his authority across Libya since he took office in Tripoli in March 2016, with Haftar, who also controls much of Libya’s desert south, refusing to recognize the government.

In July, the two rivals committed to a cease-fire and holding elections as soon as possible at talks brokered by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1158141/middle-east

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Libya: Royal grandson suggests restoring 1951 charter

08 September 2017

The grandson of Libya’s last king Idris al-Senussi has called for the restoration of the country's 1951 post-independence Constitution, proposing that he himself lead the country’s transitional phase.

 “The safest and most effective way to a swift resolution that satisfies everybody in Libya is to resort to the 1951 Constitution because it is the only constitution that … represents constitutional and legal legitimacy in the country,” Mohamed al-Senussi told a news conference in the Tunisian capital Tunis late Thursday, referring to the constitution Libya adopted in 1951 after its independence from Italian occupation.

On how to implement this solution, al-Senussi said it must be done "under the auspices and leadership of a national consensus figure with social, historical, and political dimensions agreed to by all, and having no role in the current conflict.”

He added: “I offer myself to play this role in a transitional phase through which the restructuring and building the state will take place”.

In October 1951, the Libyan National Assembly passed the country's first Constitution, establishing a royal monarchy, with King Idris as its first head.

The monarchy and the constitution were abolished in 1969, after Col. Muammar Gaddafi overthrew the king in a coup.

Al-Senussi said he does not seek to restore the monarchy through this initiative nor establish himself as a new king, but to “leave the freedom of choice to the Libyan people".

According to Al-Senussi, holding elections next year will not be possible “due to the difficult security situation”.

 During a meeting in Paris on July 25, according to French President Manuel Macron, the head of Libya's UN-backed unity government, Fayez al-Sarraj, and the commander of the self-styled "Libyan National Army” Khalifa Haftar -- linked to the Tobruk-based parliament -- agreed to a cease-fire, disarmament, the establishment of a unified army under civilian command, and holding parliamentary and presidential elections in 2018.

Libya has been locked in a state of violence and turmoil since 2011, when a bloody popular uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/193772/tunis-protesters-demand-justice-for-myanmars-rohingya

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Amnesty says ‘horrific’ violence in Central African Republic

By Krista Larson

Sep 8, 2017

DAKAR, Senegal — Rebels in a volatile region of Central African Republic are raping women and killing their male relatives in a “horrific surge” of violence that is now clearly along sectarian lines, Amnesty International warned Friday.

The human rights organization interviewed dozens of survivors in Basse-Kotto prefecture in the country’s east, where a rebel group known as the UPC has carried out waves of attacks. The rebels are considered an offshoot of the mostly Muslim rebel coalition known as Seleka that overthrew the longtime president in 2013.

While a period of relative stability allowed for Pope Francis to visit and for elections to be held, international observers now warn that Central African Republic is approaching the levels of violence seen at the height of the conflict in 2014.

One woman interviewed by Amnesty described a horrific attack in May. She said UPC fighters shot her husband in the legs when he tried to flee and then told the couple: “We’re going to do something to you Christians that won’t be forgotten for many generations.”

One of the men raped her, while another raped her husband — all in front of their five children, Amnesty said. Then they fatally shot her husband in the head.

Joanne Mariner, senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty, said the U.N. peacekeeping force has proved ineffective in stopping such abuses.

“Civilians are not accidental victims in this conflict; they are direct targets,” she said. “If the U.N.’s mandate in the Central African Republic is to mean anything, civilians must be better protected.”

Central African Republic’s Muslims and Christians had lived in peace for generations, even intermarrying. However, the brutal reign of the Seleka rebel coalition fueled hatred that led to months of retaliatory attacks.

During Seleka’s rule, its fighters carried out scores of atrocities against Christian civilians. Seleka leaders disavowed the perpetrators as criminals. A new militia — Christian in name, though largely animist — soon arose to fight the Seleka.

Brutal vengeance was enacted against Muslim civilians, many of whom hated the Seleka themselves. Nearly the entire Muslim population of the capital, Bangui, fled to the north or to neighboring Chad and Cameroon.

The latest violence has been particularly worrisome because it has engulfed parts of the country that were largely untouched during the worst of the earlier conflict.

Full report at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/amnesty-says-horrific-violence-in-central-african-republic/2017/09/08/6eff49c6-9486-11e7-8482-8dc9a7af29f9_story.html?utm_term=.c92ce92d7ece

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India

 

Agra: Braj region's Muslims come out in support of Rohingya Muslims

September 8, 2017

The Rohingya Muslim crisis of Myanmar is fast becoming a thorn in the back of the Narendra Modi government, especially in the light of PM's recent Myanmar visit, where he refused to entertain the demands of Indian Muslims to raise the issue of alleged genocide of Rohingya Muslims being conducted by Myanmar Army and Buddhist civilians.

Furious with the seeming lack of sympathy in the Union government towards the plight of the Rohingya Muslims, the Muslim community of the Braj region held angry protests against this 'genocide', terming it to be the worst crime against humanity being committed by the government of Myanmar, in which Indian government was playing the role of a complicit partner by deciding to deport the Rohingya Muslim refugees from India.

An effigy of the prime minister of Myanmar was burned at the Madarsa Moin-ul-Islam in Agra by the students and Madarsa teachers, demanding that the Myanmar government stop the genocide of Rohingya Muslims and the Indian government pressurizes the Bangladesh government into accepting the Rohingya refugees coming from Myanmar.

Talking to India Today after the Friday Namaz, Rashtriya Sarvdaleey Muslim Action Committee President Haji Jameeluddin and Secretary Mohd. Shareef Kale said that it was very disappointing that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not raise any concerns over the mistreatment of Rohingya Muslims with the Myanmar government during his visit to that country.

Haji Jameeluddin said that the most surprising statement came from Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who called these refugees 'illegal immigrants', whereas there is a vast deal of difference between people crossing borders in search of better livelihood and those crossing the border to save the lives of their families.

Irshad Pehelwan of Mathura warned the Myanmar government of dire consequences if the state-sponsored oppression of Rohingya Muslims did not stop there. Offering their prayers for the safety of the innocent Muslims, who were dying in the 'terrorist acts' of Myanmar military and police, the Muslims in Mathura demanded that the Indian government allow the Rohingya Muslims to seek asylum in India till their homeland was not restored to a peaceful state.

Shayeed Patel of Firozabad, along with a large number of Muslims, burned an effigy of the Myanmar prime minister and gave a memorandum to the district administration, addressed to Prime Minister Modi, requesting Indian intervention in this humanitarian crisis.

Muslim leader Mohd. Yaseen Qureshi said that the Indian government should issue a demarche to the Myanmar high commissioner in India, making him aware of the 'displeasure' of Indians at the state of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and demanding that this oppression should stop immediately and the affected Muslims be rehabilitated in peace.

Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Aghai said that it is not just the Muslims who are being affected by the violence incited by the Buddhists in Myanmar. The ethnic Hindus living there are also being asked to leave. Some of these families have been living in Myanmar since before Indian independence and they will lose their way of life if they are made to leave Myanmar by the extremist Buddhists. The Indian government should come up with a solution to this issue soon otherwise this crisis could very well turn into a global issue.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/rohingya-muslim-crisis-myanmar-braj-muslims-pm-modi/1/1043881.html

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ISI’s covert act prompted Modi-Kyi anti-terror pact

Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

Sep 8, 2017

NEW DELHI: When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi decided Wednesday to broaden the bilateral security and counter-terrorism partnership, the drivers were New Delhi’s concerns over ISI infiltration into the ranks of Rohingyas and Yangon’s fight against the Rakhine terrorists.

India and Bangladesh, through their joint counter-terror cooperation, have recently discovered that the ISI had allegedly played a key role in masterminding a terror attack in Myanmar’s Rakhine state ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit. India-Bangladesh-Myanmar may now move toward trilateral info-sharing mechanism to counter this threat in the region, people familiar with the issue said.

India and Bangladesh recently discovered that Hafiz Tohar, the military wing chief of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), has been maintaining close links with Pakistan’s ISI and the spy agency may have played a key role in the terror attacks that killed several members of Myanmarese Army, ET has learnt.

Phone calls between Tohar and ISI discussing detailed attack plans have been intercepted in the last week of August, indicated people familiar with the issue. Hafiz Tohar set up the Aqa Mul Mujahideen (AMM) and was trained in Pakistan by the Lashkar e Tayyaba (LeT), also named in the just concluded BRICS Summit declaration. Tohar is widely believed to be behind the deadly attacks on Myanmar security forces in October last year and on August 25 this year.

After the training of a few initial AMM recruits in Pakistan, new cadre members were recruited from among the Rohingya youth in Rakhine State and at refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar. They were then trained in camps set up on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, especially one at the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, according to experts who have followed this development closely.

“Brigadier Ashfaq” and “Major Salamat”, two alleged ISI operatives, have been mentoring AMM and assisting this group to develop close links with JMB in Bangladesh, according to one of the experts cited above. The ISI Brigadier also allegedly maintains close links with Bangladesh’s Opposition BNP. In this context, India and Myanmar have decided to step up counter-terror cooperation and information sharing. The joint statement issued after Modi-Suu Kyi dialogue said: “Both sides… agreed that the fight against terrorism should…hold accountable and take strong measures against States and entities that encourage, support or finance terrorism….

Myanmar condemned the recent barbaric terror attacks during the Amarnath Yatra in India as also various acts of terror perpetrated by terrorists from across the borders.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/isis-covert-act-prompted-modi-kyi-anti-terror-pact/articleshow/60419430.cms

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Jawed Habib booked for insulting Hindu Gods, apologises

September 9, 2017

A case has been registered against hair stylist Jawed Habib at the Saidabad police station for allegedly insulting Hindu Gods in a newspaper advertisement published in Kolkata two days ago. Based on a complaint by advocate K K Sagar, police registered a complaint under IPC section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs). A complaint was lodged against Habib and his chain of salons for issuing an advertisement that allegedly insulted Hindu Gods.

Inspector K Sattiah said they would seek legal opinion and, if necessary, send a notice to Habib. “I came to know Habib has already issued an apology in writing and also posted a video online apologising for the advertisement. We will take legal opinion and see how to proceed,” he said.

The advertisement featured a cartoon of Hindu Gods sitting in a salon with a caption: “Gods too visit Jawed Habib saloon.”

Habib posted a video on Twitter apologising for the advertisement. “One of our partners released the advertisement in Kolkata. I have been working for 25 years. My only religion is scissors. Sentiments have been hurt. I apologise for this,” he said in the video.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/jawed-habib-booked-for-insulting-hindu-gods-apologises-4835044/

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BMMA releases final draft of Muslim Family Law

SEPTEMBER 09, 2017

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan released the final draft of the Muslim Family Law on Friday. The proposed rules, which have been amended according to the constitutional and Quranic values, were framed over nine long years. Its first draft was presented in 2014.

The final draft proposes no amendments in the present Muslim Marriage Act, but demands legislation on issues such as polygamy, age of marriage, the practice of halala, unilateral divorce, and custody of children and inheritance rights.

Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of BMMA, said, “The draft is an attempt to bring legislative protection to Muslim women. Every community has their own marriage laws. We are also asking for one legislated law that can enable and empower us to raise our voice against unfair parctices. We gladly welcome Supreme Court’s recent triple talaq judgement. It has restored our faith in the judicial system. It is time to work on the issues we have raised too.”

Shabnam Yasin Khan (24), a victim of triple talaq, said, “I had no idea what to do. My parents are still reeling under pressure of paying off the loan of ₹two lakh that they took for my marriage. I even have the responsibility of looking after of my daughter. The government should pass this draft and provide justice.” Khan was abandoned by her husband six months ago as he was disappointed with her for bearing him a girl child. Now, she has been left to fend for herself and her 10-month-old daughter. The verbal, instant divorce was pronounced by Khan’s husband over the phone to her father.

Another major issues that the draft addresses is strict actions against the qazi. Khaitun Shaikh, Mumbai covener of BMMA, said, “We often receive complaints of women being abandoned by their husbands without financial help. The women are left to look after their own and their child’s survival. This draft is based on the values of equality espoused by the Quran and the Constitution of India. They are in the best interests of women and children.”

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bmma-releases-final-draft-of-muslim-family-law/article19647152.ece

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia suspends any dialogue with Qatar: SPA

September 9, 2017

Saudi Arabia on Saturday suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting facts”, just after a report of a phone call between the leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke by the telephone with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Friday when they discussed the Gulf dispute, state media from both countries reported earlier.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on June 5, suspending air and shipping routes with the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, which is home to the region’s biggest U.S. military base.

The nations say Doha supports regional foe Iran and Islamists, charges Qatar’s leaders deny. Kuwait has been trying to mediate the dispute.

“During the call, the Emir of Qatar expressed his desire to sit at the dialogue table and discuss the demands of the four countries to ensure the interests of all,” Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

“The details will be announced later after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia concludes an understanding with the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arab Republic of Egypt,” SPA said.

The phone call was the first publicly reported contact between the two leaders since the start of the crisis.

Qatar’s state news agency QNA said the phone call was based on coordination of U.S. President Donald Trump who had earlier talked with Sheikh Tamim.

Trump on Thursday said he would be willing to step in and mediate the worst dispute in decades among the U.S.-allied Arab states and Qatar, and said he thinks a deal could come quickly.

Both Qatar’s Emir and the Saudi Crown Prince “stressed the need to resolve the crisis by sitting down to the dialogue table to ensure the unity and stability of the GCC countries,” QNA reported.

Sheikh Tamim welcomed the proposal of Prince Mohammed during the call “to assign two envoys to resolve controversial issues in a way that does not affect the sovereignty of the states,” QNA said.

Saudi Arabia later issued a second statement citing an unnamed official at the ministry of the foreign affairs denying the QNA report.

“What was published on the Qatar News Agency is a continuation of the distortion of the Qatari authority of the facts,” SPA reported citing the Saudi official.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces the suspension of any dialogue or communication with the authority in Qatar until a clear statement is issued clarifying its position in public.”

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Sep-2017/saudi-arabia-suspends-any-dialogue-with-qatar-spa

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Syrian Army Makes Fresh Strategic Gains in War on Terrorism in Deir Ezzur

Sep 08, 2017

The army soldiers deployed in Tal al-Sonouf neighborhoods North of 137th Artillery Brigade base managed to advance towards Ayyash region and drove ISIL out of Raqqa bridge and a gas station in the Northwestern outskirts of Deir Ezzur city.

A military source, meantime, said that the army men seized control over an area as large as 15sq/km in the operation.

Relevant reports said on Thursday that the Syrian troops extended the range of their advances in Southwestern Deir Ezzur to protect security of the reinforcements' convoys after breaking the terrorists' siege on the city.

The Syrian army units continued military operations in the Southwestern parts of Deir Ezzur on Thursday, advancing more in regions near 137th Artillery Brigade base and establishing security for the arrival of fresh forces' convoys.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960617000161

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Russia claims killing of Islamic State ‘Minister of War’ in Syria

September 8, 2017

Russia claimed on Friday to have killed several top commanders of the Islamic State group in an airstrike in Syria, including the “Minister of War” and the so-called Emir of Deir Ezzor. “As a result of a precision airstrike of the Russian air forces in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor city, a command post, communication centre and some 40 ISIS fighters have been killed,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“According to confirmed data, among the killed fighters are four influential field commanders including Deir Ezzor emir Abu Mohammed al-Shimali,” the ministry said. Gulmurod Khalimov, who is known as the IS group’s Minister of War and the highest-ranking defector from ex-Soviet Tajikistan, suffered a “fatal injury,” it added. Russia’s SU warplanes dropped “bunker buster” bombs on the fighters as they were meeting near Deir Ezzor to discuss how to respond to the advance of the Syrian army, Moscow said.

Backed by Russia, Syrian troops on Tuesday broke through a years-long siege imposed by IS militants on tens of thousands of civilians in Deir Ezzor. Reports of Khalimov’s death have surfaced before. The Times said in April that Khalimov, described as the highest-ranking IS commander in Mosul, had been killed in an airstrike.

A former colonel, he headed the Tajik interior ministry’s special forces unit and received American training before joining IS in 2015. Khalimov pledged allegiance to the jihadist group in a video released in May 2015 in a high-profile defection that rocked Tajikistan, a mainly Muslim country. In the footage he warned that he and other IS recruits based in the Middle East were “coming” for top officials in the country, including long-ruling President Emomali Rakhmon.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/russia-claims-killing-of-islamic-state-minister-of-war-in-syria-4834274/

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Saudi ambassador to Turkey: KSA has stood by Rohingyas for 70 years

9 September 2017

RIYADH: Saudi Ambassador to Turkey Waleed Al-Khereiji said that the Kingdom has been standing by the side of the Rohingya Muslims for 70 years at the international level, and by providing assistance and donations.

The ambassador’s statement, released by the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, said that King Salman’s government has given a lot of attention to the protection of human rights, at both the international and regional levels. The Saudi leadership has taken the initiative to join various international human rights organizations and conventions that call for ending discrimination and mistreatment since 1997.

Concerning the Rohingya crisis, the ambassador said: “The Kingdom has exerted all possible efforts to help Myanmar’s Muslims in this human tragedy. The Kingdom is all about action, and not words. Nobody can claim that they have exerted more efforts for the Rohingya people than the Kingdom has during the past 70 years, as history stands witness that the Kingdom was one of the first states that supported their case at the international level and in the UN Human Rights Council.”

“The Kingdom has also condemned Myanmar’s government for denying the Rohingya people citizenship since 1982, considering them illegal immigrants. Thus, the Rohingya people have been restricted from freedom of movement and the simplest human rights, including food and health care services. The Kingdom has also made a donation of $50 million for the Muslim minority, through health rehabilitation and educational programs, and started receiving refugees in 1948. Today, there are 300,000 Rohingya people in the Kingdom.”

He added: “The Kingdom has released many statements condemning the violence against the Rohingyas, including rape, murder, forced eviction, persecution and ethnic cleansing campaigns. The Kingdom has also contacted the UN secretary-general and the Rohingya crisis has become an international issue and thus, Myanmar is facing international condemnation over the Rohingya crisis. As the leader of the Islamic world, the Kingdom will continue its efforts and contacts in order to find solutions.”

The history of the Rohingya Muslims living in Riyadh

The tragedy of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine State once again highlights the story of Rohingya groups which emigrated to Makkah.

Many years ago, Rohingya Muslims, fleeing the persecution of their own government, emigrated to Makkah from Rakhine State in western Myanmar on a journey which lasted about two years. The UN classified the Rohingya as the most persecuted people in the world.

In this context, the director of the Rohingya Media Center, Saleh Abdul Shakur, stated that the Rohingya Muslims form a minority of about 1 million people who live in the west of Myanmar (formerly Burma). They have been stripped of Burmese nationality by the government and subjected oppression for the past 70 years for one reason only — being Muslim.

Abdul Shakur told Alarabiya.net that continuous persecution pushed some Rohingya Muslims to flee to Saudi Arabia. Upon their arrival, the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz offered them special residency status, and since then, “the Burmese community has found in the Kingdom the care and mercy they lacked in their home country.”

Abdul Shakur added that four years ago, a special program was launched to revise the situation of the Burmese community, and they were offered free residency permits for four years which entitled them to free education, health care and employment. The program, which was implemented by the governorate of Makkah and offered settlement for more than 250,000 Burmese, was classified by the UN Commissioner for Refugees as the biggest humanitarian program.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1158161/saudi-arabia

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Lebanon mourns soldiers killed by IS

September 9, 2017

YARZE : Lebanon on Friday held a day of national mourning for 10 soldiers kidnapped and executed by the Islamic State group in the region on the country's eastern border with Syria.

President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri took part in an official ceremony to honour the men at the defence ministry in Yarze, outside Beirut, which was also attended by grieving relatives.

The coffins of the men, draped in the Lebanese flag, were marched into the ministry courtyard by soldiers as sobbing family members dressed in black looked on.

The remains of the soldiers were retrieved from the border region last month after a battle against IS in the area that ended with an evacuation deal.

"Our joy in the victory over terrorism remains sorrowful, for we were hoping to free you unharmed from the terrorists and return you to your army and your families," said army chief General Joseph Aoun.

Under the deal that ended the operation, surrendering IS fighters led Lebanese authorities to the site of the remains.

DNA tests this week confirmed that they belonged to the soldiers, most of whom were kidnapped from the Lebanese town of Arsal in August 2014.

They were among a group of 30 troops and police kidnapped by IS and Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate in 2014, 16 of whom were released in a prisoner swap the following year.

The families of the remaining soldiers waged a lengthy campaign pressing the government to obtain information about their missing loved ones.

The army said the missing troops were its "top concern" in its offensive against an estimated 600 IS fighters in the hilly border region.

The deal that ended the assault saw IS fighters and some civilians evacuated to eastern Syria.

It has been controversial in Lebanon.

On Friday, Hussein Youssef, father of one of the killed soldiers and de facto spokesman for other relatives, urged accountability for anyone who had "trifled with the dignity of Lebanon, the country, the army and the lives of the soldiers."

The soldiers, from different parts of the country, will be buried in their hometowns in separate ceremonies.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Sep-2017/lebanon-mourns-soldiers-killed-by-is

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US Army Continues Rescue Operations for ISIL in Eastern Syria

Sep 08, 2017

"Amid the successful operations by the Syrian government troops in the Eastern part of Syria in late August, a number of ISIL field commanders backed by US special services, had been promptly evacuated from Deir Ezzur to safer regions in order to use their experience in other directions," the source said.

The source said that the first such extraction took place on August 26, a "US Air Force helicopter" evacuated 2 European field commanders of ISIL with members of their families from a region Northwest of Deir Ezzur at night.

According to his data, two days later, US choppers transferred 20 ISIL field commanders and militants close to them from a region Southeast of Deir Ezzur city to Northern Syria.

"Militants who lost their commanders due to the Americans, usually tend to cease organized actions, leave their positions, join other (ISIL) units or flee one by one. This eventually contributes to the success of the offensive by the Syrian government troops in Eastern Syria," the source said.

Military sources confirmed on Tuesday that the Syrian Army troops entered the 137th Artillery Brigade Base in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city, lifting the ISIL terrorists' siege of the city after approximately 1,100 days.

The army soldiers, backed up by the country's Air Force and Russian fighter jets, prevailed over the last strongholds of ISIL in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city and reached positions of their comrades in the 137th Artillery Brigade Base, the sources said, adding that ISIL's siege of Deir Ezzur city was ended after more than three years.

The sources added that a number of the army forces and military vehicles entered the 137th Artillery Brigade Base via a newly-set corridor minutes ago.

The next phase of the Deir Ezzur military operation will include lifting the siege of the military airport in the Southern outskirts of the city, followed by taking control of the entire provincial capital.

Recapturing Deir Ezzur is of great importance for the fight against ISIL due to its strategic location. It is the largest city in Eastern Syria and the seventh-largest city in the whole country.

Deir Ezzur and the surrounding governorate of the same name are located on the Syrian border with Iraq, so, if captured by the Syrian governmental forces, they will leave ISIL militants effectively trapped in the heart of Syria in their only remaining stronghold of Raqqa.

Liberating the city would also give the government forces strategic advantage over the terrorists as it will provide Syrian armed forces and their allies with a really stable foothold in this part of Eastern Syria.

Apart from its strategic importance for the military defeat of ISIL, ending the siege of Deir Ezzur would also have a significant economic effect and would be a great relief for thousands of people currently trapped in the city surrounded by the terrorists.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960617000624

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Trump underscores to Tamim importance of Riyadh Summit commitment, Iran threat

8 September 2017

US President Donald Trump underscored to the Emir of Qatari, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the importance of following through on commitments from the Riyadh Summit, he White House said in a statement on Friday.

President Trump stressed the importance of the commitment “to maintain unity while defeating terrorism, cutting off funding for terrorist groups, and combating extremist ideology” the statement read.

Trump and Tamim also discussed the continued threat Iran poses to regional stability.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/09/08/Trump-underscores-to-Tamim-importance-of-commitments-to-Riyadh-summit-Iranian-threat.html

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ISIL Retreats from Strategic Position near Deir Ezzur City under Syrian Army Attacks

Sep 08, 2017

The army men attacked ISIL's positions and managed to prevail over terrorists' defense lines from al-Majbal area West of Tamin Brigade base and advanced 200 meters in the depth of one of the positions of terrorists.

The army men killed a number of terrorists and seized their weapons and military equipment.

In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force bombed heavily ISIL's supply lines and positions near the town of al-Shoula in Western countryside of Deir Ezzur, killing a number of terrorists.

Local sources said on Thursday that a number of foreign members of the ISIL terrorist group were killed in infightings in Deir Ezzur province.

The sources in Western Deir Ezzur confirmed that the Iraqi and French members of the ISIL engaged in heavy infighting in the town of Qaranij, adding that a number of them were killed and wounded.

They also underlined the collapse of ISIL defense lines in Deir Ezzur and intensified infighting among its members as the Syrian army is rapidly advancing in the region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960617000299

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FSA Militants to Hand over Checkpoints at Border with Jordan to Syrian Army

Sep 08, 2017

Saeed Seif, the Spokesman for Aham Abdu terrorist group affiliated to the FSA, said that his forces are evacuating al-Handalat camp in Southeastern Damascus near the border with Jordan at the request of Mouk Operation Room.

In the meantime, other sources said that the terrorist group will deliver al-Handalat camp to the Syrian government forces following an agreement guaranteed by Amman and Moscow.  

Relevant reports said on Sunday that the army troops continued their anti-terrorism operation in Southeastern Damascus and seized control over more checkpoints at border with Jordan.

The army men stormed terrorists' strongholds in Southeastern Damascus and captured checkpoints 169 and 170 at border with Jordan.

The army soldiers inflicted major losses on the militants during their advances.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960617000287

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Trump speaks with leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar

9 September 2017

US President Donald Trump spoke separately on Friday with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the White House said in a statement.

Trump told them that unity among Washington's Arab partners was essential to promoting regional stability and countering the threat of Iran, the statement said.

"The president also emphasized that all countries must follow through on commitments from the Riyadh Summit to defeat terrorism, cut off funding for terrorist groups, and combat extremist ideology," it said.

Trump also spoke to Qatar's al-Thani on Thursday.

Trump told a news conference on Thursday that he would be willing to step in and mediate a dispute among the US-allied Arab states and Qatar, and said he thought a deal could come quickly.

President Donald Trump said that he believes there is a “chance” for a Middle East peace settlement, long one of the most elusive goals of US diplomacy.

“I think we have a chance of doing it,” he told reporters during a White House news conference with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Trump acknowledged that previous administrations had come close to, yet never reached, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. But he said: “We're going to give it our best.”

The president said both sides wanted peace and that the United States had “tremendous talent” working on the problem.

Kushner delegation

He did not mention his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who last month led a US delegation to the region to discuss reviving the peace process.

Those talks were greeted with pessimism, although officials hope that better relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel can help propel a regional solution.

Palestinian leaders have grown frustrated with the White House after initially holding out hope that Trump could bring a fresh approach to peace efforts despite his pledges of staunch support for Israel.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/08/Trump-sees-chance-for-peace-in-Middle-East.html

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US approves $3.8-billion arms sales to Bahrain amid its crackdown on dissent: Report

Sep 9, 2017

The US has reportedly approved arms sales worth over $3.8 billion to Bahrain as the ruling Al Khalifah regime continues its heavy-handed crackdown on dissent in the small Persian Gulf island country.

The package of the potential weapons deal, which includes F-16 fighter jets, upgrades, missiles and patrol boats, was approved by the US State Department, Reuters cited a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying on Friday.  

The official added that the proposed arms sales included 19 F-16 warplanes, manufactured by the Lockheed Martin Corp, which could cost up to $2.7 billion. Back in March, the State Department informed Congress that it had planned to approve a request by Manama to purchase the fighter jets.

Furthermore, the State Department approved the sale of a pair of 35-meter patrol boats, equipped with machine guns, and 221 anti-tank missiles. According to the potential deal, Washington also demands $1.8 billion from Bahrain in exchange for upgrading the country’s existing fleet of F-16 jets.

Back in May, Trump said Washington’s relations with Manama were set to improve, after meeting with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Bahrain, currently home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/09/534514/Bahrain-arms-sales-US-F16-fighter-crackdown-dissent-Trump

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Sayyid Qutb and the disillusionment with Western secularism

September 9, 2017

It has been a frequently repeated pattern for 20th century Islamists all over the world that they experience an awakening at a certain point in their lives. This generally includes similar themes such as realizing the corruption of Western secularism, accepting the superiority of the early Muslim generations in every aspect depending on the religious and political leadership of Prophet Muhammad, and an understanding of the Holy Quran's liveliness.

Many prominent Islamic revivalists of the 20th century were not Islamists in the beginning. Some were ardent secularists, and some even held socialist views, while most of them found themselves through nationalist movements. This was mainly due to the fact that Islamism did not began as a traditionalist reaction against the domestic powers conveyed by the Islamic scholars; rather, it started as a social and political movement against the Western invasion led by intellectuals who were schooled in modern schools established as a part of Westernization.

Perhaps the most significant example of the above-mentioned intellectual turn was Sayyid Qutb of Egypt, since he became an Islamist revolutionary while he was studying the methodology of teaching in the United States.

Natural-born nationalist

Sayyid was born on Oct. 9, 1906, just five days before the Muslim Brothers' founder Hassan al-Banna was born, in the Musha village of Asyut governorate, which is located in the fertile Nile basin. His father al-Hajj Qutb b. Ibrahim, who was originally from India, was an active member of the al-Hizb al-Watani, a nationalist party fighting against the British invasion.

Sayyid was first schooled in his village before he moved to Cairo in 1921 to get further education. He graduated from the Teachers' School in 1926 and attended Dar al-Ulum. Founded in 1871 and becoming Cairo University in 1946, the school has two main departments: Arabic language and literature, Islamic studies. It also has famous graduates such as Hassan al-Banna.

In college, Sayyid was an activist and a literary writer. He was a member of the Hizb al-Wafd, the famous nationalist party, which was the real power to carry Egypt from absolutism to constitutional monarchy in the early 1920s. He met and followed Abbas Mahmud al-Akkad, a prominent figure in Egyptian literature at that time. In 1933, Sayyid graduated from Dar al-Ulum and worked for the ministry of education as a schoolteacher for six years. During his post as a teacher, he also prepared special reports to submit to the Ministry of Education for educational reform in Egypt. In addition to this, he was enthusiastic in joining literary arguments together with his master al-Akkad.

Disillusionment after war

During World War II, he continued to write for literary magazines. Yet, he was not that eager to follow party politics. He resigned from the Hizb al-Wafd in 1942, and at the end of WWII, he left all political party circles. What drove him to do so was a clear disillusionment with nationalism and liberalism, his previous ideas. He became a social critic after the war. He published several weekly periodicals financed by nationalists or Islamists. He wrote severe critical articles about education which annoyed the government. So they banned his magazine in 1948 and decided to send him to the United States so that he would see the developed educational system of the West and return Egypt as an aide to the government.

His two years in the United States made him more critical against Western secularism. He visited New York and Greeley in Colorado to study the methodology of teaching. Greeley was a small Christian town, where an alcohol ban was applied. However, Qutb didn't like the place, the culture, the social attitudes, and even the sports. He writes of Greeley as follows: "Nobody goes to church as often as Americans do. Yet no one is as distant as they are from the spiritual aspect of religion." He hated jazz music and dance, which was often played at church in Greeley. He considered jazz the hedonist music of savages. Similarly, he found American football rude and inhumane.

The making of a revolutionary

In 1950, Sayyid returned to Cairo with full anti-Western ideas. He became closer to the Muslim Brothers. The government of course was not pleased with this situation; so, they changed his posts several times before he resigned from all posts in the ministry of education in 1952. It seems that Qutb quit governmental duty to join the Free Officers revolution.

He was one of them in the beginning. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the actual leader of the revolutionary military officers, held meetings in Sayyid's house. Furthermore, he addressed a public speech about Freedom of Thought in Islam, which pleased the Free Officers junta. Qutb worked as the assistant of Abdel Nasser for a month in 1953 and tried to create ties between the Free Officers and the Muslim Brothers. However, Abdel Nasser asked the Muslim Brothers to dissolve and join his Freedom movement, which was refused by them without any hesitation. Eventually, Qutb saw that it would not be possible to unite both sides and joined the Muslim Brothers in February 1953.

In 1954, the military junta banned the Muslim Brothers and arrested its leaders including Sayyid Qutb. However, he was released after great reactions came from the society. He began to publish al-Ihvan al-Muslimin, the weekly periodical of the Muslim Brothers. Later that year, the periodical was banned again and Sayyid Qutb was arrested as well. He was charged with conspiracy against Abdel Nasser, his previous friend and leader, where the charge itself was a conspiracy against the Muslim Brothers' leaders. Finally, he was sentenced to 15 years.

Qutb found enough time to work on his masterpiece "Fi Zilal al-Quran" (In the Shade of the Holy Quran), which was a contemporary socio-political interpretation of the complete Quran. Some Western commentators believe that his interpretation of jihad lines of the Holy Quran, which were best reflected in "Maalim Fi Tariq" (Milestones), is the basis for the so-called "salafi jihadism." In fact, Qutb's idea of jihad includes slight changes from the traditional understanding of jihad. He argued that jihad against illegitimate domestic rulers was also possible, which cost him his life; and he became to all Islamist revolutionaries an unpleasant inspiration when dissatisfied with their domestic rules all over the Islamic world. Unlike the Westerners, Islamists praise him as one of the fathers of the 20th century Islamic revival.

Sayyid Qutb was released after 10 years in prison due to health issues. However, he was arrested for the last time in 1965 and sentenced to capital punishment for his strict political views and attempts to revive the Muslim Brothers movement. Qutb was executed on Aug. 29, 1966 and his body was buried somewhere unknown.

Full report at:

https://www.dailysabah.com/portrait/2017/09/09/sayyid-qutb-and-the-disillusionment-with-western-secularism

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Syria strongly denies alleged role in Khan Shaykhun chemical attack

Sep 8, 2017

The Syrian government has categorically dismissed a United Nations report accusing it of being involved in a suspected chemical attack in the country’s northwestern province of Idlib, which killed dozens of people in early April.

The Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations Office in Geneva, in a letter addressed to the Head of the United Nations Human Rights Council Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli on Friday, refuted allegations by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria that government forces have used chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun and elsewhere in the conflict-plagued Arab country, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

“The Syria government has not made use of toxic gases against its people, because it is not in possession of such munitions and Damascus views their application as a serious offence,” the letter pointed out.

The Syrian mission further criticized the “insistence of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria to involve itself in the case of chemical weapons and their use,” arguing that the commission’s action as a blatant departure from its mandate and that of the UN Human Rights Council.

“It is within the competence of fact-finding teams formed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to announce the final results after its ongoing investigations are over,” the letter read.

The Syrian mission also noted that the politicized and selective path taken by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria since its establishment and its links to certain parties and countries have lowered its status into a cheap propaganda apparatus, which tends to serve the agendas of these countries at the expense of the credibility of the Human Rights Council.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria alleged on Wednesday that a Syrian Air Force fighter jet had dropped sarin on Khan Shaykhun on April 4, killing more than 80 civilians.

Using the incident as a pretext, US warships fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea at the Shayrat airfield in Syria’s central province of Homs on April 7. US officials claimed that the suspected Khan Shaykhun gas attack had been launched from the military site.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Russian Sputnik news agency on April 21, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described the chemical incident as “a false flag play just to justify the attack on the Shayrat base.”

He noted that the Syrian army launched an attack in Idlib Province on April 4 at 11:30 a.m. local time, while the suspected chemical incident is reported to have happened at 6:30 a.m.  

“We did not launch any attack at that time,” Assad pointed out.

Assad cast doubt on the authenticity of the images and videos attributed to the scene of the suspected chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534483/Syria-denies-UN-report-accusations-involvement-sarin-Khan-Shaykhoun-chemical-attack

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Iraqi troops find dozens of bodies in mass grave near Tal Afar

Sep 8, 2017

Iraqi forces have reportedly found a mass grave in an area northwest of Tal Afar containing the bodies of at least 50 people who were slain by Daesh Takfiri terrorists as government forces, backed by volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, were engaged in a multi-pronged operation to liberate the northern city from the extremists.

Major Shaker Ghaleb told Basnews news agency on Friday that soldiers from the 16th Division of the Army made the grisly discovery in al-‘Ayadiya district, which lies 11 kilometers northwest of Tal Afar, as they were clearing the area of last remnants of Daesh terrorists and explosive devices left behind by the Takfiris.

Ghaleb added that there were signs of torture on the bodies discovered, noting that the victims had apparently been shot in the head at point blank range. Some of the corpse are said to be missing limbs.

Military forces have begun transferring the remains of the victims to the forensic medicine department in Mosul to be identified by their relatives.

On August 31, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the city of Tal Afar and the entire Nineveh province had been purged of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The recapture of Tal Afar was made possible with the help of Iraqi army soldiers, Federal Police Force, Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi and the Interior Ministry's elite rapid response forces, Abadi said.

Daesh executes dozen of civilians in Hawijah

Meanwhile, the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has reportedly executed a dozen civilians in Hawijah as army troops, backed by allied Kurdish forces, will soon launch a multi-pronged operation to liberate the town in the oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk from the militants.

A local source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network that the execution was carried out at al-Bakkara military base.

The source, however, did not provide any information about the exact reason for the killings, nor the method by which the victims were put to death.

Daesh female commander slain in northern Hawijah

Separately, a high-ranking militant commander has been killed along with her husband and two sons as Iraqi Air Force fighter jets pounded a Daesh position in the northern outskirts of Hawijah.

An unnamed military official said the slain top Daesh figure was in charge of Daesh’s so-called women’s brigade in Hawijah.

On Friday, Iraqi military jets pounded Daesh bomb-making facilities and weapons depots in Hawijah, inflicting heavy losses on the militants' military hardware.

Hawijah is one of four Iraqi towns still controlled by Daesh militants. The other three towns of al-Qa'im, located nearly 400 kilometers northwest of the capital Baghdad near the Syrian border, Anah and Rawa are in the western province of Anbar.

Daesh terrorists took control of Hawijah after capturing Mosul and several other Iraqi cities in mid-2014.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/08/534454/Iraqi-forces-uncover-mass-grave-alAyadiya-Tal-Afar

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Europe

 

Turkey accuses Germany of using EU as 'tool' in row

Sep 9, 2017

TALLINN : Turkey's European Union affairs minister on Friday accused Germany of trying to use the EU as a "tool" in its festering row with Ankara and called for an end to the "vicious cycle" of acrimony between the two sides.

Omer Celik also welcomed the diplomatic rebuff offered by a number of the bloc's foreign ministers to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's call for Turkey's EU membership talks to be terminated.

The EU has voiced major concerns about Turkey's crackdown in the wake of last year's failed coup, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warning that Ankara was "withdrawing from Europe by giant steps".

Ties with Germany have become particularly strained and during an election debate on Sunday Merkel said she would ask the EU to end Turkey's accession talks.

Celik said Germany risked tarnishing the EU's reputation by dragging it into a row between individual countries.

"Those who are at the moment coming up with fresh arguments (against Turkey joining) are actually trying to use the EU in order to tackle bilateral problems," Celik told reporters at a gathering of EU foreign ministers in Tallinn.

"The EU should not be used as a tool to counter the bilateral problems of any of the countries."

Merkel's remarks on Sunday drew a furious response from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who compared them to "Nazism".

But a number of EU ministers urged a more measured response than Merkel suggested, warning against rushing into hasty action against Turkey, which is an important member of NATO and a key partner for Europe in tackling the migrant crisis.

Celik said the ministers' caution showed there was no "environment" to stop the negotiations, which have made only slow progress since they began in 2005.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin deteriorated sharply after the coup attempt, which was followed by the crackdown in Turkey during which over 50,000 people have been arrested, including German citizens.

Angry rhetoric has flown in both directions and Erdogan has called on ethnic Turks in Germany not to vote for Merkel's party in national elections later this month.

Celik said it was time to move on from the recriminations.

"I can tell you we are definitely uncomfortable in terms of the arguments put forward by German politicians. They cannot spend a day without having some kind of remarks to our president and politicians," he said.

"I think this is a vicious cycle that we need to break and we should definitely focus on the future."

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Sep-2017/turkey-accuses-germany-of-using-eu-as-tool-in-row

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The five most feared buzzwords associated with Islam in the West, and what they really mean

Amani Sharmin Akhtar

The post-9/11 era has been rife with Islamophobia, populism and the growing support for the far-right across Europe and the US – most notably in recent years.

Hostility and discrimination against Muslims in the UK has peaked, resulting in 1,260 hate crimes in the year up to March 2017. A culture of fear, capitalised on by so-called terrorism experts and pundits, has created a vehicle for all types of extremists to target anything associated with Islam. Here are some of the most commonly misused buzzwords.  

1. Islam

When most people hear the words “Islam” or “Muslim”, their mind conjures up images of brown bearded men, burqa-clad women, Isis, Al-Qaeda, and all manner of other stereotypes. A Google image search will confirm these preconceptions, but there are 1.3 million Muslims in the world: we don’t all look the same or hold the same views. 

The word “Islam” originates from the Arabic root word salaam, which translates as “peace”. For Muslims, Islam is not a political ideology but a way of life which involves adhering to the five tenets of faith: belief in God, fasting during Ramadan, making pilgrimage, giving to charity and praying five times a day. 

Muslims are not a homogenous entity; they come in many forms, including different Islamic philosophies and different levels of observance. Many Muslims believe that prophet Muhammed is a direct descendant of Abraham through Ismail, and that Islam has many parallels with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Islam should not be viewed in isolation, it is as much a part of our society as any other faith.

2. Burqa

The Muslim woman’s modest dress has long been under scrutiny. The burqa, a long, loose garment covering the whole body from head to feet, is viewed specifically as a symbol of female oppression. Countries including the UK, France, Germany and Australia have wrestled with the issue of whether or not to ban the burqa, reinforcing the idea that it’s something to be feared. 

Critics of the burqa often argue either that it’s a security concern and a hindrance to integration, but there’s barely any data to support such claims. Although there is no ban on Islamic dress in the UK, remarkably, a 2016 YouGov poll found that 59 per cent of Americans opposed a burqa ban compared to 61 per cent of Britons who supported it. 

One of the most common misconceptions is the idea that the burqa is enforced upon Muslim women, with Saudi Arabia’s oppressive regime cited as an example of this, despite the fact that it's a political, not a religious, decision to enforce it. But for most Muslim women it is a choice, and wearing a burqa symbolises liberation and freedom to them, as it allows them to be appreciated and judged for their intellect, and not based on physical appearances. Figures show that such a small minority of women in Europe choose to wear a burqa, that banning it would be essentially pointless, and do nothing but take away a woman's choice.

3. Jihad

Last month Linda Sarsour, an American Muslim activist, saw herself in the midst of controversy when she delivered a speech to a predominantly Muslim audience and quoted a line from the prophet Muhammed: “A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader, that is the best form of jihad.” Sarsour clarified that this meant standing up for those who are oppressed by their leaders locally and globally: that includes the Islamophobes, fascists and white supremacists. 

Nowhere in the Quran are the words “holy war” equated to Jihad, which in fact represents one’s internal struggle to lead a virtuous life. Today, most Muslims use it to describe things like waking up for the early dawn prayers or giving up a bad habit. It does not represent extremism or violence to the vast majority of Muslims.

4. Allahu Akbar

These two words have become synonymous with extremism, even though their true meaning are anything but. The phrase literally means “God is greater”, and is used by Muslims whilst praying.

Just last year, Greater Manchester Police apologised for using the phrase in a terror attack simulation as part of a training exercise, as it reinforcing stereotypes, provoking Islamophobia. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general at the Muslim Council of Britain, said that "by using this word [in the terror training], Muslims around the world are being associated with terrorists". The phrase has been coopted by terrorists and far-right extremists as a war cry and stripped of its real meaning.

5. Terrorism

The term seems to be used exclusively in reference to crimes committed by those who claim to be acting on behalf of the Islamic faith, yet a recent report revealed that “right-wing extremists were behind nearly twice as many incidents” as terror acts associated with those identified as “Islamist domestic terrorism”. Angry white men become radicalised too, but we rarely hear about it referred to as “terrorism”.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/islam-buzzwords-terrorism-islamophobia-a7935896.html

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Record number of refugees reach Greece in August

08 September 2017

A record number of refugees have recently reached the Greek islands from Turkey, according to the latest data from the UN refugee agency.

At least 3,695 refugees reached the Aegean Greek islands in August alone, data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows.

The number is the highest since March 2016, when the EU and Turkey signed a deal to prevent mass migration to Europe.

The readmission deal allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU.

In return, the EU promised Turkey an acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets 72 requirements set by the EU.

The Turkish authorities previously said the refugee deal could collapse if the EU failed to provide Ankara with the promised visa liberalization by the end of this year.

Hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean to reach northern and western Europe.

Nearly 2,000 refugees per month cross into Greek islands, according to the UNHCR data.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/193756/french-leader-calls-for-eurozone-overhaul-in-athens

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Europe’s Muslims are more integrated than we think

By Tyler Cowen

September 8, 2017

Debates over immigration are fraught with misconceptions. One of the most common is that the integration of Muslims into societies in Western Europe has gone very badly, in large part because terror attacks loom so large in the news. Those attacks are a very real problem. Yet, they do not reflect the typical reality. A new study from the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany shows that Muslim integration in Europe is in fact proceeding at a reasonable pace.

The survey included more than 1,000 Muslims in Germany and about 500 in Austria, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (both immigrants and children of immigrants were included, though not recent refugees). Although this is hardly the first study of its kind, the results offer considerable hope for societies facing integration challenges: The stereotype of an uneducated, unemployed, easily radicalised Muslim migrant does not fit the facts.

The first sign of integration is language skill. About three-quarters of the Muslims born in Germany report German as their first language; 46 per cent of foreign-born Muslims do. Overall, language skills improve with each generation, and migrants seem to be resourceful in finding ways to learn an adopted country’s tongue. Muslim immigrants to France and the UK often arrive knowing the languages of their new countries.

Only about one in 10 French Muslims report leaving school before the age of 17; the American high school graduation rate for all attendees is lower, at 83 per cent. In Germany, employment for Muslim immigrants is on a par with employment for non-Muslims, though Muslim wages are lower. The rate of unemployment for French Muslims is a disappointing 14 per cent, but that looks less troubling when you consider that migrants are relatively young and French youth unemployment as a whole is about 25 per cent. Labour market reforms and better economies can help integrate foreign migrants, and Europe is currently showing decent economic growth, again reasons for hope.

Nor do Muslims huddle in Muslim-only communities, apart from the broader population. Some 87 per cent of Swiss Muslims report having frequent or very frequent social contact with non-Muslims. In both Germany and France that number is 78 per cent, again a sign of assimilation. It is lower in the UK (68 per cent) and Austria (62 per cent), but even those figures show plenty of social intermingling. And migrants across countries report feeling a close connection to the countries they live in, from a high of 98 per cent (Switzerland) to a low of 88 per cent (Austria).

By no means is religion always a dominant influence on Muslims in Western Europe. The UK is the only country of the five where a majority of Muslims report staying highly religious after their migrations. Only 26 per cent of Swiss Muslims report being highly religious, barely above the 23 per cent of Swiss residents as a whole who count themselves to be highly religious. A majority of Swiss Muslims are from southeastern Europe, which perhaps eases their integration compared with those from Turkish, North African or South Asian backgrounds. That suggests that insofar as integration is a problem, cultural distance may matter more than religion.

It’s also too simplistic to say that the terrorist threat reflects a failure to integrate Muslims. Integration is going relatively well in France, even though the country has had a number of high-profile Muslim-related terror attacks. Austria arguably does worse in making Muslim immigrants feel at home, yet terror attacks in Austria are not currently a significant phenomenon, suggesting that violence can give a misleading picture of aggregate progress. Furthermore, keep in mind that Europe during the 1970s had a higher rate of mostly homegrown violent terrorism than it does today from Muslims.

The path to integration may give some migrants more resources or higher expectations, with many good results, but also with catastrophic consequences in some extreme cases. (It is often noted that many American shooters behind mass killings are native-born whites.) That may help explain why many Western Europeans aren’t convinced that successful integration is possible.

The study also suggests that integration works better when the migrants are relatively numerous, perhaps because they can create mutual support services. But making that point is unlikely to win many European elections.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/europe-s-muslims-are-more-integrated-than-we-think-1.2086962

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Muslim convert who prayed with London Bridge terrorist before he went on to kill eight people is jailed for six months for having a fake Spanish ID

8 September 2017

A Muslim convert who prayed with one of the London Bridge terrorists has today been jailed for six months for having false identity documents.

Ricardo McFarlane, 30, was arrested after the bogus Spanish ID card was found inside the boot of his blue Nissan Micra when it was seized following a routine stop by police last July.

He was seen with killer Khuram Butt in the Channel Four documentary ‘Jihadi Next Door’, which got 1.2million viewers when it aired in January last year - and banned from seeing hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

McFarlane was due to face trial for breaching an ASBO that barred him from approaching members of the public ‘in order to promote sharia law’ in March last year.

The Muslim convert was also told to stay away from Choudary.

But he and about 20 other men were accused of setting up a stall on Oxford Street in central London where they called for strict Islamic laws to be imposed across the UK.

His trial could not go ahead as planned because the key witness in the case against him, a Muslim security guard from Topshop, called prosecutors to inform them he had flown to Morocco on a ‘family emergency’.

Prosecutors would have had to prove that McFarlane’s actions caused ‘harassment, alarm and distress’ for him to be found guilty of breaching the ASBO.

The security guard did not identify McFarlane, but gave a description that prosecutors claimed matched what McFarlane was wearing in CCTV footage from the scene.

However, Southwark Crown Court heard today that the man had in fact left the country on a pre-booked holiday.

Prosecutor Alexander Goudie said today: ‘This defendant faces two indictments.

‘One for the single count of breaching the anti-social behaviour order and the second which relates to the possession of a false identity document.

‘He has pleaded guilty to the identity document matter.

‘The breach of the anti-social behaviour order matter was due for trial on 29 August, however a key prosecution witness contacted the Crown on the day of trial saying he was away on a family emergency'.

McFarlane was filmed in Regents Park before Khuram Butt murdered eight people and left 48 injured in a horrific van and knife rampage with Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba on June 3.

He himself was arrested and quizzed about the terrorist atrocity by anti-terror cops following a raid in east London days later.

Mr Goudie conceded he was in no position to apply for another adjournment and there was ‘no realistic prospect of conviction’ in the absence of the witness so offered no evidence.

Admitting possession of the false document, he claimed to have intended to destroy his Spanish ID once he noticed the card, bearing his photo, was in somebody else’s name but simply had not got around to doing it.

Roy Headlam, defending, told the court that despite the affiliation ‘there is no suggestion that he is engaged in terrorist activity’ or intended to cross borders in such a capacity using the bogus card.

‘There is no suggestion he has attempted to use it for any purpose whatsoever,’ he added.

‘He wanted an identity document, a Spanish identity document, with his picture and in his name to enable him to work in Spain.

‘Once he realised it did not have his name he thought it was of no further use - hence why it was in the boot of his car.’

Judge Peter Testar remarked that ‘all of this is very odd’, particularly bearing in mind the fact that even on his own account McFarlane would never have needed the card in the first place.

‘The fact of the matter is that even on his own account he has obtained a false identity card in order to use it to work and that is more or less exactly what defendants from abroad do with identity documents when they want to use them to stay or open bank accounts in this country,’ he added.

‘They are sentenced to tariff terms of six months imprisonment in those circumstances and my decision is that this is the punishment which the defendant should receive on this indictment.’

Last month he refused to stand up for a judge who told him: ‘This is not a court of religion.’

He had told a court usher he would not stand for ‘any man’ – prompting the retort from the judge.

But Judge Martin Beddoe noticed McFarlane was not standing as he entered at Southwark Crown Court yesterday. Roy Hedlam, defending, said: ‘Because of his religious beliefs he believes there is only one person who he should bow to.’ 

Judge Beddoe replied: ‘That is as may be, but this isn’t a court of religion, this is a secular court and it expects to be treated with respect. That isn’t in breach of any religious principles I’m aware of.’

McFarlane, of Walthamstow, northeast London, denied one count of breach of an ASBO and no evidence was offered.

Full report at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4865702/Muslim-prayed-London-Bridge-terrorist-jailed.html

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