New Age Islam
Tue Dec 01 2020, 04:20 AM

Islamic World News ( 15 Jan 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Stage Set For Islamic Revolution: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Chief









Protests erupt after the firing squad execution of three Shia men accused of 2014 deadly bombing.

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Stage Set For Islamic Revolution: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Chief

Bahrain City Hall Set On Fire After Executions

France Warns Trump Against Recognising Jerusalem As Israeli Capital

Indonesia: Radical Ideologies Remain In Region Despite Tightened Security

 

Pakistan

Stage Set For Islamic Revolution: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Chief

10 Killed In Explosion Near Afghan-Pakistan Border

Christian rally for complete ban on liquor in Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif allies back out over military courts

PPP blasts Nisar’s views on banned sectarian outfits

KP prosecution data gives lie to claims against Afghan refugees

Blame game only strengthens enemy, Bajwa tells Ghani

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Mideast

Bahrain City Hall Set On Fire After Executions

France Warns Trump Against Recognising Jerusalem As Israeli Capital

World Powers To Reinforce Mideast Two-State Solution

Houthi Commander Admits: Iran Training Us

Iran supports promotion of peace, stability in Balkans: Rouhani

Turkish lawmakers pass first reading of constitutional amendments

249 civilians killed in Turkish assaults against northern Syria: Observatory

Yemeni forces kill Saudi soldier in cross border attack

Turkish Soldiers Suspended for Selling Weapons with FSA Help

Turkey: Islamic State Jihadi Escapes With Son After Deadly Attack On Reina Nightclub

Turkish Airlines jet crash kills 32 in Kyrgyzstan

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia: Radical Ideologies Remain In Region Despite Tightened Security

Indonesia's Police Deny They Are Afraid To Tackle Hardline Islamic Leader

PAS: Himpunan 355 is a rally to uphold Muslim dignity

Malaysia’s SC Unveils Five-Year Blueprint For Wealth Management And Islamic Funds

Najib: If we can accept European investments, why not China’s?

Programme at surau helps create awareness on Islam

Dino Patti Djalal Meets Pope Francis, Talks Palestine

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India

Golden Temple Committee Gifts Silver Chandelier To Ajmer Sharif Dargah

Inter-Faith Pongal Celebration At Koniamman Temple

Why Padanna in Kerala is known as the Islamic State hub

Muslims call for end to Haj subsidy, urge global tenders

France wants JeM chief Masood Azhar to be declared international terrorist by UN

Kashmir: Three militants killed in encounter in Anantnag

50 Indians in Islamic State’s Afghanistan camp: IB

Curtains come down on ‘The Miracle’- an expo on Islam in Mangaluru

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South Asia

Bangladesh Court Sentences 26 to Death For Narayanganj Killings

Myanmar Muslims Hope UN Envoy's Visit Will Bring Change

US airstrike kill top Taliban leaders in Helmand province

Gen Bajwa asks Afghan President Ghani to control cross border movement of terrorists

Abducted Spanish Red Cross worker freed in Afghanistan

Kidnapped ICRC foreign staff released after 4 weeks in Afghanistan

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Africa

Troops Rescue 58, Kill 13 Suspected Boko Haram Members

4 Al-Shabaab Militants Killed In Southwest Somalia

Tunisians mark sixth anniversary of revolution, protests erupt

2017: Is ISIS attack likely in South Africa?

8 dead as refugee boat capsizes off Libyan coast

Nigeria: Comply with court order to release Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky

Nigeria: Twin explosions hit Maiduguri univ campus

Hamza bin Laden: al Qaeda poster boy

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North America

Obama Doesn't Regret 'Red Line' Over Syria Conflict

Katy Perry-produced PSA tackles prospect of Muslim database

Bill introduced in US Congress to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organization

Ahmadi Muslims offer peace message in open house

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Europe

Isolation Units For Britain's Jihadis Will Cost The Taxpayer £1m A Year

French Summit Bids To Revive Mideast Peace, With Eye On Trump

Police take three for questioning after anti-terror raids in Brussels

France's President Would Be Better Off Worrying About Muslim Settlements Around Paris

AIPAC's Plans to Drag UK into 'US Sphere' over Israel

Key nominees diminish Trump’s high hopes for Russia ties

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Arab World

ISIL Starts 2nd Stage of Attacks in Deir Ezzur, Faces Army's Fierce Reaction

Syrian opposition: Wadi Barada clashes leave 12 dead, 20 wounded

Several More Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition Air Raids in Syria's Raqqa

Syrian Army Kicks Off Massive Ground, Air Operations in Eastern Homs Province

Sweida: Syrian Army Destroys ISIL's Strategic Military Base, Operations Room

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman meets Lebanon’s Grand Mufti

After three executed in Bahrain, a look back into their deadly attack

Al-Nusra's Offensive against Army Positions Repelled in Quneitra

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/stage-set-for-islamic-revolution--jamaat-e-islami-pakistan-chief/d/109739

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Stage Set For Islamic Revolution: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Chief

January 16, 2017

KARACHI - Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan chief Sirajul Haq has said that stage is all set for an Islamic revolution, not only in Pakistan but across the world.

He opined that unrest in the world from Kashmir to the Middle East indicated that the world was ready to reject the so-called New World Order. 

He was addressing a day-long activity under the banner of 'Karachi Konnect'17' on Sunday. 

Thousands of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) alumni gathered at the Karachi Expo Center for the event.

The event comprised of three sessions, chaired by former nazim-e-aala of IJT as well as the former amir of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan Syed Munnawar Hassan, JI Pakistan Deputy Chief Fareedullah Paracha and Sirajul Haq himself. A large number of prominent figures, including various columnists, intellectuals and professionals, JI, Karachi chief Engineer Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rahman, IJT Alumni Head Dr Wasay Shakir, besides current and former IJT office-bearers attended the 'Karachi Konnect'17'.

Besides this, tens of thousands of people, once associated with IJT, also attended the function. 

Siraj continued that on domestic front, children were starving, degree holders were seeking livelihood, but the status-quo, based on double standards, favoured only the corrupt.

He took oath from the participants to struggle for a peaceful Islamic revolution in Pakistan.

Talking about IJT, he said that IJT was not only the name of an organisation, but is also an ideology.

He added that IJT propagates the same thing for which Allah Almighty had sent prophets.

“It is a continuous struggle. Our Holy Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) life teaches us to follow the golden principles of Islam,” he observed. He referred to the remarks made by Justice Khosa recently that if real accountability was held, all politicians would be jailed except a former worker of IJT.

He shared several flashbacks from his memory with the gathering, and urged the alumni to strengthen the JI and take part in the struggle for a peaceful, prosperous and Islamic welfare state in Pakistan.  Siraj said that the entire struggle of IJT was aimed at creating a society in which it was easy to be virtuous and difficult to commit sins.

Earlier, in his address, Syed Munawar Hassan said that it was a universal reality that only youngsters in general and students in particular could work for a revolution.

“It is a blessing of Allah (The Almighty) that IJT activists have kept the beacon of hope for an Islamic revolution alive,”

He urged the participants to follow the message of Islam and play their due role in bringing Islamic revolution in the country.

He stressed the need for holding such events on regular basis.

Senior columnist, author and intellectual Shah Nawaz Farooqi, in his address, focused on the personality and contributions of JI founder Syed Abul A’la Maududi.

He said that the literature produced by him received overwhelming response from the entire world and his writings were translated in over 75 languages.

“Maududi was the man of his century,” Farooqi said, and added, “JI and IJT are the results of his ideology.”

Prominent scholar, motivational speaker and one of the top experts on personality development, Bashir Jumma, said that IJT taught its followers such lessons which are not taught in academies otherwise. “IJT gives its followers realisation, spirit, management, planning and above all to always eye the highest moral values and follow the pious cause of one's life,” he added.

He added that IJT’s message was respect for humanity and bringing purity in one's life. 

http://nation.com.pk/karachi/16-Jan-2017/stage-set-for-islamic-revolution-siraj

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Bahrain City Hall Set On Fire After Executions

January 16, 2017

Bahrain officials said a city hall was set ablaze during a night of clashes between police and protesters, following the execution of three men convicted of a deadly bombing targeting police.

Bahrain's interior ministry said on Monday that the fire at the Northern City Hall appeared intentional.

It said firefighters were able to contain it.

READ MORE: Bahrain executes three over police killings

Hundreds protested on Sunday over the execution by firing squad of three Shia men accused of the 2014 bombing that killed two Bahraini policemen and an Emirati officer.

Abbas al-Samea, 27, Sami Mushaima, 42, and Ali al-Singace, 21 were executed a week after a court upheld their death sentences over the 2014 attack, the prosecution said in a statement carried by the official BNA state news agency on Sunday.

Opponents of Bahrain's Sunni-ruled kingdom saw the men's charges as politically motivated and alleged the men were tortured.

Seven other defendants received life terms.

Some youth threw gasoline bombs and clashed with police into the night on Sunday. Police fired tear gas and birdshot.

Demonstrators blocked roads with burning tyres and threw firebombs, and police retaliated by firing tear gas, according to posts on social media.

The confrontations continued overnight, with dozens of men and women marching through the streets of the village of Sanabis chanting slogans against the Al-Khalifa dynasty, according to witnesses.

'Dark day' for Bahrain

Demonstrators tried to reach the main street of Sanabis, the hometown of the three executed men, but were blocked by security forces.

anabis was the closest Shia village to the former Pearl roundabout which was the epicentre of a month-long Shia-led uprising that the security forces crushed in mid-March 2011.

Protests turned violent overnight in several other Shia villages, according to other witnesses who said police opened fire with buckshot to disperse demonstrators, wounding several.

Bahrain's authorities do not permit international news agencies, including Al Jazeera to cover events independently.

The executions were criticised by international rights groups, as well as Britain and the European Union.

In a post on social media, Human Rights Watch's Nicholas McGeehan called the executions "unjust and inflammatory".

"Public, unequivocal condemnation imperative to prevent Bahrain killing more young men," he wrote.

Amnesty International said the executions were carried out "after an unfair trial and despite claims from the men that they were tortured in custody", and condemned them as "a dark day for human rights".

Bahrain denies practicing torture.

Bahrain's majority Shia population has for decades accused their rulers of discrimination in matters of jobs, housing and political say.

Source: .aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/bahrain-city-hall-set-fire-executions-170116065332823.html

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France Warns Trump Against Recognising Jerusalem As Israeli Capital

Jan 16, 2017

PARIS: France warned of “serious consequences” on Sunday if Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as representatives from 70 countries met in Paris to try to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians are attending the conference, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed as “futile”.

France called the gathering to reaffirm global support for a two-state solution to the seven-decade-old conflict, seen as increasingly elusive.

Representatives of 70 countries try to revive peace efforts

The Palestinians have warned that Trump’s campaign pledge to move the US embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem could torpedo their chances of obtaining an independent state.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned such a move would have “extremely serious consequences” and predicted the incoming US leader would find it impossible to implement.

“When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a stubborn and such a unilateral view on this issue. You have to try to create the conditions for peace,” he told France 3 TV.

The Palestinians regard Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel proclaims the entire city as its capital.

The status of the city is one of the thorniest issues in the conflict.

President Francois Hollande told the gathering that the prospect of two independent states coexisting side-by-side was “not the dream of yesterday’s system”.

“It remains the goal of the entire international community for the future,” Hollande said.

Netanyahu, who insists only direct talks with the Palestinians can bring peace, has dismissed the Paris meeting as “a last gasp of the past”.

On Sunday he called it a “futile” exercise aimed at “imposing upon Israel conditions that are incompatible with our national needs”.

Both Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas have been invited to meet Hollande to discuss the conclusions of the Paris talks.

The conference is mainly symbolic, but comes at a crucial juncture for the Middle East, five days before Trump is sworn in as US president.

Trump has said “there’s nobody more pro-Israeli than I am” and his choice for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a hardliner who says he looks forward to working from “Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem”.

Israel, which is still seething over a critical UN resolution last month, fears the Paris meeting could produce measures hastily put to the Security Council before Trump takes over.

The French have stressed they have no such plans.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2017

http://www.dawn.com/news/1308750/france-warns-trump-against-recognising-jerusalem-as-israeli-capital

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Indonesia: Radical Ideologies Remain In Region Despite Tightened Security

JANUARY 16, 2017

Nestled in the heart of Jakarta’s Thamrin district, an area lined with hotels, shopping centres, and several embassies, a refurbished Starbucks cafe stands as a poignant symbol of Indonesia’s resilience against terrorism.

It was here a year ago on Jan 14, 2016, that customers and bystanders bore witness to multiple explosions and gunfire which eventually claimed the lives of four civilians and left more than 20 injured. The attacks claimed by Islamic State (IS) marked the first time the terror group had unleashed its violence on South-east Asia.

They were followed in June by a bomb blast in a nightclub in Puchong, Malaysia, which injured eight people. An attack on Marina Bay was foiled by the Indonesian authorities in Batam.

While Indonesia and Malaysia have succeeded in thwarting several militant plots in recent months, experts we spoke to say that the threat of radicalisation and terrorism still loom large over the region.

As IS continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, South-east Asia has to prepare itself for the return of hundreds of battle hardened jihadists who might unleash violence at home.

An additional threat lies in IS’ call to its supporters and sympathisers to carry out attacks in their own countries.

“The fall of the caliphate by no means suggests that there would be a let up in terms of the spread of extremist ideologies that form the basis of the caliphate,” said Associate Professor Syed Farid Al-Atas from the National University of Singapore’s department of sociology. “Wahhabism and other forms of Salafism are going to continue to spread throughout the Muslim world and certainly in South-east Asia.”

Since 2013, a total of 119 suspects have been arrested in Malaysia for links to IS, including at least seven returnees from Syria.

Some 280 Indonesians are known to have joined IS’ campaign in Syria, of which 20 have returned home. Of these 20, at least 13 have been arrested. Meatball seller, Ahmad Junaedi, was one of them.

He said he left for Syria in 2014, after being radicalised at a mosque in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, where he was made to watch videos of the fighting in the Middle East.

“From the videos, I could see how cruel the Assad regime was”, Junaedi said, referring to Syrian leader Bashar Assad. “I saw many mosques being bombed from above, by jet fighters. Very often, I saw mothers carrying their children being killed. Children were burnt to ashes while their parents were being killed.”

“I was told that if I couldn’t aid them financially, I should contribute with my life by travelling to Syria to fight against the injustices there.”

Although he was at first reluctant to leave his wife and young children behind, Junaedi was eventually lured by the promise of a huge payout by one of the Indonesian IS leaders, Abu Jandal.

After five months in Syria, Junaedi grew weary of the fighting and the squalid living conditions. He also learnt that the promise of a huge payout was a lie. But money is not all he has lost. In March 2015, six months after he returned to Malang, he was arrested by the Indonesian authorities and sentenced to three years in prison. He has not heard from any of his family members since.

While Junaedi regrets travelling to Syria, and is committed to completing the de-radicalisation programme in prison, he defends his actions as stemming from a desire to help other Muslims.

“I just wanted to defend fellow Muslims who were being oppressed,” Junaedi said.

To be sure, the Palestinian conflict, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Iraq have all been exploited and sometimes twisted by extremist groups in its propaganda.

Groups like IS prey on ill-informed members of Muslim societies, especially those who feel disenfranchised with their current socioeconomic conditions.

“That’s the sad thing, because religion is just being used to lure them,” said Ms Yenny Wahid, daughter of former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid and the director of The Wahid Institute which runs de-radicalisation programmes in Indonesia.

“They are just being told that if you carry out jihad, you can go straight to heaven. So you don’t need to do prayers, you don’t need to do any other activities that most Muslims do. So they are being misled.”

Strong anti-terror measures such as the tightening of border security, as well as beefing up intelligence gathering and surveillance could help counteract the growth of extremists in this region. But it will take much more than that to eradicate the radical ideologies that these terror groups espouse.

“You can defeat IS, but you cannot kill the ideology,” said Dr Ahmad El Muhammady, an adviser to the Royal Malaysia Police Rehabilitation Programme. “We thought that we killed Jemaah Islamiyah, but I met with one member of Jemaah Islamiyah who said to me, you can kill the organisation, but you cannot kill the ideas. The idea might lay dormant for a while, and might re-emerge after 10 years.”

Analysts have also warned that there is a lack of state-run discourse to offer a counter narrative to extremism, especially in countries such as Malaysia where religion has increasingly been exploited as a political tool by both the ruling and opposition parties.

“Islam calls for dialogue, Islam calls for conversations, Islam calls for mutual respect,” said Dr Maszlee Malik, a Malaysian political scientist. “But unfortunately this dimension of Islam never surfaced and most of the religious authorities are preaching the idea of exclusivity, rather than inclusivity.”

One silver lining lies in the fact that the type of Islam practiced in South-east Asia has long been seen as being more moderate and accommodative towards other faiths. Furthermore, the region’s multicultural societies provide a conducive environment for dialogues on religion to take place.

The question is how many more attacks does the region have to endure before the right steps to eradicate the roots of terror are taken.

http://www.todayonline.com/commentary/radical-ideologies-remain-region-despite-tightened-security

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Pakistan

 

10 killed in explosion near Afghan-Pakistan border

15.01.2017

By Islam Sajid and Aamir Latif

ISLAMABAD and KARACHI, Pakistan

At least 10 people, including three security personnel, were killed and several others wounded in an explosion in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday.

The incident took place in the Pachir Wa Agam district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on border with Pakistan, targeting a vehicle carrying passengers, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said in a statement

He added that seven of the casualties were civilians, and four others wounded in the explosion were taken to Jalalabad hospital.

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

Nangarhar, bordering Pakistan, is considered a Daesh stronghold.

Separately, another explosion killed at least three security personnel and injured one in the Sehra Bagh area of the Khost province when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded near a vehicle carrying security officials in the area, local police sources said.

In another incident, Afghan officials Sunday said Daesh terrorists abducted 13 seminary teachers in the eastern Nangarhar province.

District governor Saz Wali Khan told Anadolu Agency that militants stormed a local seminary in the Haska Mina area and kidnapped the teachers.

"Daesh terrorists have pressured seminary teachers and students to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the so-called caliphate, but they refused to do so," he added.

He said Daesh militants also burned down more than 50 houses of locals who refused to pledge allegiance to them.

- Pakistan expresses condolences, solidarity

Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa Sunday telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to express his condolences over the loss of life in recent terror attacks in Afghanistan which claimed dozens of lives, including five United Arab Emirates diplomats on Jan. 11.

Bajwa also reiterated Islamabad's cooperation with the Kabul government and people to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the region, said a statement from the Pakistani army’s media wing.

He emphasized that Pakistan has come a long way in its fight against terrorism and has eliminated all safe havens in the process.

Bajwa suggested a robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation to put a stop to terrorists moving across the border.

"Elements inimical to peace in the region are strengthened by the blame game. Both nations should rather focus on capitalizing on the gains of successful military operations," he said.

Ghani thanked Bajwa for his sentiments and reiterated that both nations must work together for peace and stability in the region, the statement concluded.

http://aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/10-killed-in-explosion-near-afghan-pakistan-border/727896

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Christian rally for complete ban on liquor in Pakistan

Jan 16, 2017

Lahore: January 15, 2017. (PCP) The Christians gathered in front of Lahore Press Club on January 14, 2017 and recorded protest against production of alcohol in Pakistan.

The protestors were holding play cards and banners with demands of “Put complete ban on production and sale of alcohol in Islamic Republic of Pakistan” “consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam and Christianity” “Five year prison sentence for those who drink and sale alcohol” “Muslim religious leaders shall support ban on alcohol” “Ban permits to allow Christians to purchase liquor”. The protestors were also chanting slogans against alcohol consumption and demanding government to put complete ban on alcohol.

The protest was organized by Pakistan Minorities Unity Council PMUC in which many NGO,s and Churches participated.

Full report at:

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/detail.php?hnewsid=6268

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Nawaz Sharif allies back out over military courts

Jan 16, 2017

Islamabad: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) is struggling to even get its allies’ nod on an extension to the military courts amid the opposition’s strong resistance.

Key allies Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazal) and Baloch nationalist parties are denying support to their senior partner.

Sources in the government said that after his close aides failed him, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and requested him to support the government on the extension of military courts in the country for a certain period to keep the momentum of the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb but failed to convince him.

Full report at:

http://www.asianage.com/world/asia/160117/nawaz-sharif-allies-back-out-over-military-courts.html

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PPP blasts Nisar’s views on banned sectarian outfits

IKRAM JUNAIDI

Jan 16, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The main opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has condemned the distinction between sectarian and non-sectarian terrorist outfits made again by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as deeply flawed, grievously offensive and extremely dangerous for the state and society.

In a statement issued by the PPP media office here on Sunday, party spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the interior minister appeared to be unaware that the Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) had been publicly calling for an armed Jihad in a neighbouring country and had been allowing its platform to be used by banned outfits also.

Defending his remarks made in Senate last week, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters in Kallar Syedan on Saturday that he believed there should be separate laws for organisations proscribed on the ground of terrorist links and those banned on a sectarian basis.

The minister has been under severe criticism from opposition parties after the last month’s report of Justice Qazi Faiz Isa on terrorists’ suicide bombing in the Quetta Civil Hospital which left 70 people dead and dozens injured in August last year.

In the report, the commission had expressed concerns over lack of implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorists and specially mentioned a meeting of the interior minister with a member of a banned organisation as part of a delegation of the DPC in Islamabad.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1308761/ppp-blasts-nisars-views-on-banned-sectarian-outfits

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KP prosecution data gives lie to claims against Afghan refugees

ISMAIL KHAN

Jan 16, 2017

PESHAWAR: Contrary to the widespread notion of massive involvement of Afghan refugees in major crimes, a study has revealed that they constitute just over one per cent of those found to have been involved in offences deemed heinous.

Documents retrieved through the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act, 2013 provide startling details of crime statistics involving Afghan refugees that run contrary to the claims often peddled by the civil law enforcement agencies.

These documents were obtained from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s Directorate of Prosecution and Department of Police to cross-check and corroborate the statistics.

The statistics obtained pertain to the period from 2014 to Sept 30, 2016, and involve major crimes including kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping and abduction, murder, robbery, extortion and bombing.

Only 134 of 10,549 cases of major crimes involved DPs from neighbouring country

According to the Directorate of Prosecution, a total of 11,685 cases were registered during the period, out of which 10,549 were put up in court. Out of these, only 134 involved Afghan refugees. This comes to 1.27 per cent of the total number of cases landing in court.

The cases involved 23,007 accused, of which only 300 were Afghan refugees. Thus, the percentage of Afghan refugees accused of the said crimes comes to 1.3pc.

The statistics fly in the face of claims often bandied about by the civil law enforcement agencies, which routinely blame Afghan refugees for the spike in crimes across the province.

Before the escalation of militancy in the region and even after it, police would often blame Afghan refugees for some of the heinous crimes, including kidnapping for ransom, extortion and bombing.

The oft-quoted figures about Afghan refugees’ involvement in offences ranged from 15pc to 30pc of the total crimes taking place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, although neither did the police nor any other civil law enforcement agency come up with credible evidence to corroborate the claims.

The figures provided by the Department of Police, however, are slightly higher than those obtained from the Directorate of Prosecution, which is mandated to pursue cases in the courts of law.

The year-wise figure provided by the Department of Police shows that a total of 146 cases involving Afghan refugees were registered in 2014 as against the record of the prosecution directorate which puts the total number of such cases landing in court at 56 only.

Similarly, according to the Department of Police, a total of 96 cases were registered against Afghan refugees in 2015. The record of the Directorate of Prosecution shows that only 49 cases were put up in court during the period.

The Department of Police says a total of 100 cases were registered against Afghan refugees between January 1 and September 30, 2016. According to the Directorate of Prosecution, however, only 29 cases pertaining to the Afghan refugees were put up in court during the period.

The difference between the figures provided by the police and those given by the prosecution directorate could be attributed to the fact that while policemen routinely register cases, only the ones whose challans are complete are put up in court. The figures provided by the Directorate of Prosecution, thus, are considered authentic.

In 2014, according to the prosecution, of the total 87 cases of kidnapping for ransom, only nine involved Afghan refugees. Out of the 3,386 cases of murder registered during the period 32 involved Afghan refugees. Of the 133 cases pertaining to bomb blasts, only one case involved Afghan refugee.

During 2015, according to the documents, of the 70 cases of kidnapping for ransom, only three involved Afghan refugees and out of the 2,519 murder cases, only 28 involved Afghan refugees. A total of 57 cases of bomb blasts were registered during the period, but none involved an Afghan.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1308486/kp-prosecution-data-gives-lie-to-claims-against-afghan-refugees

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Blame game only strengthens enemy, Bajwa tells Ghani

January 16, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa yesterday phoned Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss regional situation and condole the loss of life in recent terror attacks in Afghanistan.

“Elements inimical to peace in the region are strengthened by blame game. No safe havens (for terrorists) in Pakistan,” an ISPR press release quoted the COAS as telling Afghan president.

During the conversation, he suggested that blame game was not in favor of both the countries and emphasised that Pakistan has come a long way in its fight against terrorism of all hue and color, eliminating all safe havens in the process.

The phone call from Pakistan army chief comes amid growing tension between the two countries which both have been alleging each of playing proxies.

Genral Qamar Bajwa suggested that both nations should focus on capitalising upon the gains of successful Zarb e Azb operation carried out against terrorists in Pakistan.

He also said a robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation will put a halt to to-and-fro movement of terrorists across the border.

The contact came just days after a string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, with Afghan officials blaming Pakistan of supporting Afghan Taliban who carried out the attacks.

Two blasts took place at a guesthouse in Kandahar on Tuesday, where a meeting between UAE envoy, Kandahar’ Governor and police chief was underway. Five UAE officials were among those killed by the explosions, which sparked protests outside Pakistan Embassy in Kabul.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/16-Jan-2017/blame-game-only-strengthens-enemy-bajwa-tells-ghani

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Mideast

 

World powers to reinforce Mideast two-state solution

15 January 2017

Major powers will send a message to US President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday that a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians is the only way forward, and warn that his plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could derail peace efforts.

Some 70 countries, including key European and Arab states as well as the permanent members of the UN Security Council, are due in Paris for a meeting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected as "futile" and "rigged". Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will be represented.

But, just five days before Trump is sworn in, the conference provides a platform for countries to send a strong signal to the future American leader.

Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, where it has been for 68 years, to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel's capital despite international objections.

"It would be a unilateral decision that could escalate tensions on the ground," a senior French diplomat said.

"Five days before he becomes president, it's not negligible that 70 countries recall (the need for) a two-state solution when his administration could implement controversial measures that may aggravate things."

France has said the meeting does not intend to impose anything on Israel or the Palestinians and that, ultimately, only direct negotiations between the two can resolve the conflict.

A draft communique seen by Reuters reaffirms existing international resolutions, urges both sides to restate their commitment to the two-state solution and disavow officials who reject it, and asks the protagonists to "refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations".

Low point

Diplomats said there could also be an allusion to Trump's plans.

Relations between the United States and Israel have soured during President Barack Obama's administration, reaching a low point late last month when Washington declined to veto a UN resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements in occupied territory. Obama's secretary of state, John Kerry, said the settlement program threatened Middle East peace, and that the two-state was in "serious jeopardy".

Palestinian President Authority Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that he had written to Trump warning that a move to Jerusalem would kill off the peace process and strip the United States of its role as honest broker - and could lead to the Palestinians going back on their recognition of Israel.

Home to Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities, France has tried to breathe new life into the peace process over the past year. It believes that, with the uncertainty surrounding how the next US administration will handle the issue, it is important to push the sides back to talks rather than allowing a fragile status quo to fester.

But with elections coming up this year in France and Germany, and Britain appearing to align itself more closely with the Trump administration on the issue, the prospects of the European Union, the largest economic partner for both Israel and the Palestinians, taking a lead on the matter appear unlikely.

Arab states have their own concerns about how Trump's relationship with them will turn out, and have taken a cautious line.

"All this is premature. We need to give the new US administration time to assess what they want to do," said a Middle Eastern diplomat based in Paris.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/01/15/World-powers-to-hold-Mideast-peace-talks-in-Paris-.html

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Houthi commander admits: Iran training us

15 January 2017

A Houthi militia leader has confessed that both Iran and Hezbollah have been heavily involved in training their fighters.

Abu Mohammed, who was in charge of rocket attacks in the al-Nihm district in Yemen, made the confession after surrendering.

He said that there were Iranian experts and Lebanese from Hezbollah militias currently in Saada helping run secret training facilities.

The confession comes a month after a report by independent research group Conflict Armament Research (CAR) suggested that there is an arms “pipeline” that extends from Iran and Yemen.

Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) last year admitted that missiles made in Tehran were recently used in Yemen by Houthi militias in cross border attacks against Saudi Arabia.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/15/Houthi-confessions-Iran-trains-our-militias.html

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Iran supports promotion of peace, stability in Balkans: Rouhani

Jan 15, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic has always called for and moved in line with the promotion of peace and stability in the Balkans.

“Tehran is ready to cooperate with different countries, including Albania, to fight terrorism,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati in Tehran on Sunday.

The Iranian president stressed the importance of making collective efforts to fight violence, extremism and terrorism, noting, “Terrorism is a global issue and battling against violence, particularly terrorism, is one of our main duties.”

He further stated that the implementation of last year’s nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries has created a favorable opportunity for the expansion of Iran-Albania ties in all sectors, particularly in economy and trade.

Rouhani said Tehran welcomes further bolstering of relations with Tirana, which would be beneficial to both sides.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China - plus Germany started implementing the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in January 2016.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

The Albanian foreign minister, for his part, said the JCPOA opened a new chapter in Iran’s cooperation with different countries, including Albania.

Full report at:

http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/15/506324/Iran-Albania-Hassan-Rouhani-Ditmir-Bushati-terrorism

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Turkish lawmakers pass first reading of constitutional amendments

Jan 15, 2017

The first reading of controversial legislation aimed at boosting Turkey’s president has been passed by the country’s parliament.

The two concluding sections of the 18-article new constitution were approved on Sunday following a week of marathon debates.

During the session, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) gained the required 330 or more votes needed for constitutional amendments to be adopted and sent for final approval via a referendum. The second reading of the amendments is expected to start on Wednesday.

In accordance with the new changes, the country’s president will gain the power to fire and appoint new ministers and officials, and the post of prime minister will be removed from the Turkish government.

The package, proposed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been met with strong opposition from the Turkish legislature’s second- and third-biggest parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), respectively.

Critics say such changes to the constitution lead to totalitarianism as it places too much power in the hands of the president.

Ruling Justice and Development Party and main opposition Republican People's Party lawmakers scuffle at the parliament in Ankara during deliberations over a controversial 18-article bill to change the constitution to create an executive presidency January 11, 2017.

Full report at:

http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/15/506359/turkey-reforms-presidency-powers

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249 civilians killed in Turkish assaults against northern Syria: Observatory

Jan 15, 2017

A so-called monitoring group says nearly 250 civilians have lost their lives and more than a thousand others sustained injuries ever since the Turkish military launched an operation in northern Syria against purported positions of Daesh Takfiri terrorists and Kurdish fighters.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Sunday that eight people, two children and a White Helmet rescue worker, were killed the previous day as Turkish forces bombed and shelled al-Bab town, located 30 kilometers south of the Turkish border, the nearby town of Bizeaa as well as surrounding areas, which are controlled by Daesh terrorists in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo.

The Observatory noted that the latest deaths took to 249 the number of Syrian civilians killed in the wake of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield. There were 54 minors under the age of eighteen and 29 women among the fatalities.

The Britain-based monitoring group went on to say that more than 1,100 people were either injured or maimed between November 13 last year and January 15 this year as a result of Turkish artillery attacks and airstrikes against northern Syrian towns.

On August 24, 2016, the Turkish air force and special ground forces kicked off Operation Euphrates Shield inside Syria in a declared bid to support the Free Syrian Army militants and rid the border area of Daesh terrorists and fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD).

The offensive was launched in coordination with the US-led military coalition, which has purportedly been fighting Daesh extremists since 2014.

Full report at:

http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/15/506333/Syrians-killed-alBab-Turkish-military-Operation-Euphrates-Shield

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Yemeni forces kill Saudi soldier in cross border attack

Jan 15, 2017

Yemeni forces have killed a Saudi soldier in a cross border shelling attack in the kingdom’s southern province of Najran, in retaliation for Riyadh's aggression against its impoverished southern neighbor.

According to a statement released by the Saudi Interior Ministry on Sunday afternoon, the border guard, identified as Mohammed Yahya al-Najee, was killed after “an advanced border post in Najran Region was subject to intensive fire and military projectiles” launched from a Yemeni border region earlier in the day.

The statement, carried by the state-run SPA news agency, added that army troops then intervened to support the border guards.

The retaliatory attack came after Saudi airstrikes on Sunday morning pounded Yemeni houses and places of gatherings in Maton district of the northwestern province of Jawf, killing at least six people and wounding a number of others.

Saudi warplanes also bombed the Haydan district in the neighboring province of Sa’ada as well as the port city of Mokha in the southwestern province of Ta’izz. They also conducted at least four air raids on Kholan district in the western province of Sana'a. There were no immediate reports about the possible casualties caused by these airstrikes.

Yemeni children pose for a photo in a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of the southern city of Ta’izz, on January 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah fighters and their allies in Yemen’s army have been launching retaliatory strikes against parts of Saudi territory adjacent to northern Yemen, as well as the gatherings of Riyadh-allied militants inside Yemen.

Full report at:

http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/15/506310/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-Najran-border-Sanaa-Hadi

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Turkish Soldiers Suspended for Selling Weapons with FSA Help

Jan 15, 2017

Al-Watan newspaper said that social media activists have released reports along with images showing that "50 Turkish military men have been suspended and ordered to drop their operations in the Euphrates Shield Operation".

Meantime, dissident activists from Northern Aleppo reported that "after the Euphrates Shield Operation, we witnessed new equipment and guns in Northern Syria, and after investigation it became clear that the warfare equipment belonged to the Euphrates Shield Operation forces".

Opposition sources had also disclosed in September that militants affiliated to the Turkey-backed FSA have received a batch of advanced military vehicles in Northern Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951026000527

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Turkey: Islamic State Jihadi Escapes With Son After Deadly Attack On Reina Nightclub

15 Jan 2017

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorist who allegedly killed 39 people and injured 39 others at the famous waterfront Reina nightclub in the Turkish capital of Istanbul is believed to have absconded with his 4-year-old son after the deadly attack, reports Hurriyet Daily News, citing anonymous police sources.

Police have reportedly identified the jihadist as Abdulgadir Masharipov, an Uzbek ISIS terrorist known by the nom de guerre, “Ebu Muhammed Horasani.”

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Unnamed sources told police that the terrorist “went to his home in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district after the attack and took his son before escaping.”

Hurriyet reports: “Police raided a house in Istanbul’s Maltepe district and detained Masharipov’s wife, whose identity has been kept hidden. Previous reports stated that his wife and his family members had been detained by police after the attack.”

“I learned about the attack from TV. I didn’t know that my husband was an ISIL militant, let alone a sympathizer,” declared his wife, according to some media reports.

Investigators have reportedly found that the alleged ISIS jihadist and his family rented a house in Istanbul near the end of December 2016.

Authorities “are trying to locate the people who possibly helped the ISIL militant and ISIL cells in Istanbul in light of the information given by Masharipov’s wife,” notes Hurriyet.

Earlier this week, Masharipov’s whereabouts remained unknown as Turkish security forces and police continue to search for him and potential accomplices.

Up to 12 people have been detained, many of them members of Turkey’s Uighur minority community.

Full report at:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/01/15/turkey-islamic-state-jihadi-escapes-son-killing-39-wounding-65-reina-nightclub/

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Turkish Airlines jet crash kills 32 in Kyrgyzstan

16 January 2017

A Turkish Airlines cargo plane crashed into a village near Kyrgyzstan's main airport Monday, killing 32 people and destroying homes after attempting to land in thick fog, authorities said.

The majority of the dead were from the village of Dacha-Suu where the cargo plane crashed at around 7.30 am local time (0130 GMT), a spokesman for the country's emergency services, Muhammed Svarov, told AFP.

The total number of dead "could be bigger" Svarov said, adding that authorities had launched a huge search and rescue operation.

"Major work is underway," Svarov said. "The damage to infrastructure in the village is significant."

At least four pilots on the flight, which was travelling from Hong Kong to Istanbul via Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, were among the dead, the emergency services ministry said, with one pilot's body yet to be found.

Around 43 houses were damaged by the crash, according to the emergency services ministry, which said that the accident sparked fires that spread, but have now been localised.

"The plane crashed into the houses, it killed entire families," one eyewitness told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"There's nothing left of the houses, people were killed with their whole family, their children. Many people were sleeping."

The country's Manas airport has been closed and flights cancelled until evening at the earliest, airport authorities said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/01/16/Turkish-Airlines-jet-crash-kills-16-in-Kyrgyzstan.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia's police deny they are afraid to tackle hardline Islamic leader

JANUARY 16 2017

Jakarta: About 5000 members of the Islam Defenders' Front (FPI) rallied in Jakarta on Monday to demand the removal of the West Java police chief as the hardline group, once considered fringe radicals, have become increasingly vocal.

Police are investigating the FPI's leader, firebrand cleric Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, widely known as Habib Rizieq, over multiple reports of alleged blasphemy and slander, including his outlandish claim that the new 100,000 rupiah note contains an image of the hammer and sickle, which is illegal in Indonesia.

The daughter of Indonesia's first president Sukarno has also reported Habib Rizieq for allegedly insulting the state ideology, Pancasila, which carries a maximum sentence of five years' jail.

It was a poster ridiculing Pancasila at an army base in Perth that was the catalyst for Indonesian military chief Gatot Nurmantyo's decision to partially suspend defence ties with Australia.

The FPI and Habib Rizieq's Twitter accounts - @DPP_FPI and @syihabrizieq - were suspended ahead of FPI's march to Indonesian police headquarters on Monday morning. Police deployed 2800 personnel to secure the protest.

The FPI had called for West Java police chief Anton Charliyan to be sacked, alleging he had incited thugs to attack FPI sympathisers when Habib Rizieq was summoned last Thursday to be questioned over the allegations that he insulted Pancasila.

Sukmawati Sukarnoputri had reported him to police for allegedly insulting Pancasila and Sukarno.

Habib Rizieq is yet to be named a suspect, however Jakarta police chief Muhammad Iriawan denied at a press conference that the police lacked the courage to do so.

He said Habib Rizieq would also be summoned soon over his claims regarding the new banknote.

"We have the law about hate speech," Iriawan said. "The Central Bank has said it isn't a hammer and sickle. It's called retroverso, a system to protect the money."

Iriawan said Habib Rizieq would also be summoned for allegedly insulting Christianity when he told Muslims in a sermon on Christmas Day: "If Jesus is the son of God, who is the midwife?"

He said the mass protests deployed by the FPI were not a factor in police decisions: "The state cannot be pressured."

There are mounting concerns about an Islamist challenge to Indonesian President Joko Widodo's government as sectarian tensions simmer ahead of next month's gubernatorial elections.

The incumbent, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethinc Chinese Christian universally known as Ahok, is standing trial for blasphemy over allegations he insulted Islam.

He returns to court on Tuesday but the trial will drag on long after the February 15 elections.

Three mass protests - spearheaded by the FPI - were held last year demanding Ahok be jailed, with the final December 4 rally attracting an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 people.

Another demonstration is planned for next month.

Iriawan said police could still handle security at these mass actions. Pressed on if it was worrying, he said: "Not yet [but] it's heading that way."

Tobias Basuki from the Centre for the Strategic and International Studies said the Indonesian government saw that intolerance was on the rise and the FPI was leading political Islam.

He said as an academic he opposed blasphemy laws and the defamation provisions in the electronic information and transaction (ITE) laws because they were often used against political opponents.

However he said the FPI had been running rampant without repercussions.

One of Indonesia's most senior cabinet ministers, Luhut Pandjaitan, a close ally of the president, was last week asked by reporters if the FPI should be disbanded.

"We will rely on the law, so if a person is breaking the law, we can take action," he said.

"For example, if a person hasn't paid his taxes that's a crime. So there are many means, many ways."

http://www.theage.com.au/world/indonesias-police-deny-they-are-afraid-to-tackle-hardline-islamic-leader-20170116-gtsgas.html

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PAS: Himpunan 355 is a rally to uphold Muslim dignity

January 15, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: The Himpunan 355 rally is a gathering to uphold the dignity of Muslims and that of PAS, said the Islamist party’s Deputy President Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, in calling for a large turnout on Feb 18.

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 people during PAS’s first roadshow in support of the planned gathering, Tuan Ibrahim said he had instructed the party to cancel all its programmes on that day so that its members could participate in the peaceful gathering.

“Attend the gathering either as a participant or a volunteer. We want as many youngsters as possible to take part.”

Tuan Ibrahim also expressed confidence that the gathering will serve as a stepping stone to all future rallies in the country.

He said that peace and hygiene must be maintained at the end of the rally, saying: “I urge everyone to bring their plastic bags because we don’t want a dirty venue at the end of the gathering”.

“This is our gathering and I want this to be the most peaceful gathering by PAS.”

Himpunan 355 aims to gather some 300,000 people in Dataran Merdeka to show support for PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill on stiffer shariah punishments.

However, Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had said earlier that Dataran Merdeka is off-limits, instead proposing the Stadium Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur.

Tuan Ibrahim, however, sounded persistent when he said PAS would still try to negotiate with Tengku Adnan on using Dataran Merdeka as the venue.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/01/15/pas-himpunan-355-is-a-rally-to-uphold-muslim-dignity/

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Malaysia’s SC unveils five-year blueprint for wealth management and Islamic funds

16 January 2017

The Securities Commission (SC), Malaysia’s financial regulator, will formalise a framework on Shariah sustainable and responsible investments (SRI) in a bid to leverage on the country’s position as a leader in Asia for SRI investing, and attracting more institutional and global investors onto Malaysian shores.

These were among the new initiatives proposed in the SC’s new five-year Islamic Fund and Wealth Management blueprint. Malaysia currently leads the global Islamic capital market with a market size of 1.7 trillion ringgit (US$381 billion). The country’s asset managers currently hold 132.4 billion ringgit in Shariah-compliant assets. However, Malaysia’s Islamic fund and wealth management industry is still faced with the challenge of domestic-centricity, says the SC, with mandates predominantly sourced from domestic investors and clients.

Thus, in an effort to broaden the global capacity of Malaysia’s Islamic fund industry, the SC has proposed for Malaysia-based asset managers to establish and manage a multi-currency Shariah-compliant investment fund.

Other initiatives include broadening linkages and connectivity, capitalising on global opportunities and increasing the value-add and talent base within the Islamic capital market to enhance its product and service offerings.

Full report at:

http://www.asiaasset.com/news/SC_1301NL_NH_DM.aspx

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Najib: If we can accept European investments, why not China’s?

January 15, 2017

PEKAN, Jan 15 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today reiterates that society must not be easily duped by the political farce of certain quarters who say investments from China is akin to pawning off national sovereignty.

He said the investments from China were the same as those by other countries, taking into account the inter-connected world and the globalisation phenomenon.

“Basically, there is no difference between investments from China with those from Europe, Japan, South Korea and others... we can accept investments from the ‘white men’s’ nations, but when from China, (they) say we want to sell sovereignty.

“This is unfair, because investments from China benefits the nation including us in Pahang, not only large investments like ECRL (the construction of the East Coast Train Railway) but the price of palm oil also go up, to simultaneously profit smallholders and settlers,” he said.

Najib, who is also the Pekan Member of Parliament, said this at An Evening With the Chinese Community In Pekan Parliament programme at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Pekan, here today which was also attended by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Najib, at the same time, gave his assurance no race would be marginalised in national development, which was the government policy and his responsibility as Prime Minister.

“As such, we must show our concern by having numerous programmes other than policies which encompass all quarters. (We) must go down to the field to meet, shake hands and give attention to every community’s problem,” he said.

Najib, in his speech, also admitted that SJKC Pekan was close to his heart due to its uniqueness of having 60 per cent Malay pupils followed by Chinese (29 per cent), Orang Asli (15 per cent) and Indian (four per cent).

“This makes the school a reflection of the composition of our society,” he said.

At the ceremony, Najib also handed over ‘ang pow’ to 366 senior citizens and mandarin oranges to the Chinese community which would be celebrating Chinese New Year on January 28.        

Meanwhile, in his speech at the closing of a Pre-Marriage Course participated by 500 participants organised by Pekan Umno Puteri movement, Najib expressed his concern at the collapse of the family institution and marriage which was currently on the upward trend.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/najib-if-we-can-accept-european-investments-why-not-chinas

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Programme at surau helps create awareness on Islam

January 16, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Knowing there are no restrictions against non-Muslims wanting to learn about Islam, the Al-Syakirin Surau in Bandar Utama and Hidayah Centre Foundation (HCF) collaborated to demonstrate Islam’s universal values.

With that, the Al-Syakirin Surau in Bandar Utama opened its doors for all races and religions in a programme held at its premises yesterday, Astro Awani reported.

The Mosque Open Day (MOOD) programme developed by HCF sought to bring community members from all faiths and walks of life to understand Islam through mosques, which act as a one-stop centre for activities and society development.

“We are not inviting or forcing anyone to convert. What we are doing is to send a message about Islam and that the religion is ‘rahmatan lil alamin’, a universal religion complemented with values that can be applied to everybody,” programme manager Jamaludin Shamsudin told Awani, adding that the programme also aims to debunk prejudices about the religion.

Jamaludin said despite having been part of the Bandar Utama community for the past 20 years, little is known about the Al-Syakirin Surau and its followers by the residents of other faiths.

“About 80% of the community in Bandar Utama are made up of non-Muslims, so it is important that we get to know each other,” he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, HCF chairperson Rahibah Che Omar said MOOD attempts to teach Muslims about transparency and readiness in embracing non-Muslims to understand Islam.

She added that there are conservative Muslims who do not represent the real teachings of Islam to the non-Muslims, and this has had a negative impact on non-Muslim’s perception of the religion.

“The duties of committee members of suraus and mosques, includes portraying the beauty of Islam, and this is not limited to the Muslim community. Islam is inclusive to all.

“We know that discussions on religion are sensitive, so during the local community members’ visit to the Al-Syakirin Surau, we openly talked about it and they too, were open about it and the desire to learn was evident,” Rahibah said according to the news network.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/01/16/programme-at-surau-helps-to-create-awareness-on-islam/

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Dino Patti Djalal Meets Pope Francis, Talks Palestine

Jan 16, 2017

Jakarta. Dino Patti Djalal, founder of the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, met with Pope Francis on Saturday (14/01) to discuss the Vatican's support of Palestine.

Dino, a former deputy foreign affairs minister and presidential spokesman for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and former trade minister Mari Elka Pangestu met with the pope during the Global Foundation Dialouge in the Vatican.

“As a Muslim, I really thanked the pope for the spirit of freedom and fraternity that has been shown consistently to the Muslims all around the world, including for his support to the freedom of Palestine,” Dino said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe.

“The pope’s spirit is an important foundation to build world peace,” he added.

Before the meeting, Pope Francis inaugurated the Palestinian Embassy to the Holy See officially recognizing Palestine and a show of support for peace talks.

In 2014, Pope Francis said the Palestinians have a right to their "sovereign and independent" homeland.

A year after the recognition, the Vatican identified Palestine as a sovereign state in an agreement that recognized freedom of religion in Palestine and backed a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Dino also met with Markus Solo Kewuta, the only Indonesian priest serving in the Vatican, who handles interfaith dialogue for the Asia Pacific Region.

During the meeting, Dino was told that Pope Francis washed the feet of Muslim migrants during last year’s foot-washing ritual held as part of the Holy Thursday Mass ahead of Easter.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/dino-patti-djalal-meets-pope-francis-talks-palestine/

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India

 

Golden Temple Committee gifts silver chandelier to Ajmer Sharif Dargah

January 15, 2017

By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net

Ajmer: In a beautiful gesture of communal brotherhood, the Golden Temple Committee Amritsar has gifted a pure silver chandelier to Ajmer Sharif Dargah.

The development was announced on Twitter by Syed Salman Chishty, Gaddi Nashin, Dargah Ajmer Sharif and founder cum director of Chishty Foundation.

Netizens hailed the gesture of Golden Temple committee and have termed it as a “Feeling of true brotherhood”.

Sri Harmandir Sahib, informally referred to as the”Golden Temple” is the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhism, located in the city of Amritsar in Punjab whereas the dargah of Moinuddin Chishti, known as Ajmer Sharif Dargah or Ajmer Sharif, is an international waqf.

http://twocircles.net/2017jan15/402812.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Twocirclesnet-IndianMuslim+%28TwoCircles.net+-+Indian+Muslim+News%29

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Inter-faith Pongal celebration at Koniamman Temple

JANUARY 16, 2017

An inter-faith Pongal celebration was organised at Koniamman Temple in the city on Saturday and special prayers were held for rain and for the welfare of farmers while celebrating the harvest festival.

Organised by Universal Brotherhood Association, the celebration was attended by various religious leaders and also political leaders and social workers.

District Collector T.N. Hariharan inaugurated the celebrations and pongal prepared on the premises of the temple was served to all at the function.

V. Nandakumar, one of the organisers, said that Hindu, Muslim and Christian children who had come in traditional attires took part in the prayer session held for rain and welfare of farmers in the State.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/Inter-faith-Pongal-celebration-at-Koniamman-Temple/article17042934.ece

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Why Padanna in Kerala is known as the Islamic State hub

January 16, 2017

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 16: Padanna a village in Kasargod, Kerala boasts of a high social development especially when it comes to women. Several successful careers were made here and many have high paying jobs in West Asia. All that has changed today and this village is now being referred to as a hub for Islamic State related activities. Out of the 21 persons suspected to have joined the IS, a majority are from Padanna and the people of this village are unable to come to terms with it. Have they really joined or are just missing, the residents of Padanna ask.

The parents of these youth are distraught. When the news first broke out in July 2016, Hakeem whose son Hafeesudheen had gone missing said, "If he is with some extremist outfit, then I do not want to see even his dead body." The statement by Hakeem makes it clear that there is a great deal of anger in Padanna which is today referred to an IS hub.

Full report at:

http://www.oneindia.com/india/why-padanna-in-kerala-is-known-as-the-islamic-state-hub-2317725.html

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Muslims call for end to Haj subsidy, urge global tenders

Jan 16, 2017

Bhopal: A section of Muslims in the state capital are calling for scrapping Haj subsidy, at a time when government appointed committee is looking into the efficacy and viability. The subsidy is given by Union government to Haj pilgrims.

It is in the form of discounted air fares on flights operated by the national carrier.

A citizen can go on pilgrimage to holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia through the All India Haj committee or book his travel through private operators. Last year, the Haj committee charged Rs 1.85 lakh and Rs 2.15 lakh for a green category, per pilgrim. Compared with it private operators charged barely Rs 10,000 more in some cases.

Given the diminishing margins of cost of Haj pilgrimage and political parties taking credit for the 'subsidy', many Muslims are demanding a total end to it.

"For long there is a demand for an open and transparent global tender. It would make Haj feasible for many more people. Subsidy in the present terms by government should be stopped," said Bhopal Qazi, Syed Mushtaq Nadvi.

Competing for political credit over subsidy both Congress and BJP leaders have similar views on the issue. "The so called subsidy does not exist. The Rs 600 crore yearly Haj subsidy is working as a lifeline for the national airline. The subsidy does not benefit pilgrims," said All India Muslim Personal Law Board member and former spokesman of MP Congress committee, Arif Masood.

Decrypting the actual cost of airline is far more complicated. As per estimates airline subsidy per pilgrim worked out to be Rs 43,000 per pilgrim. Estimates peg the non-airfare assistance at around Rs 2,500.

Haj committee officials admit that airline cost is more than a ticket flight due to the arrangements and other offsite costs.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/muslims-call-for-end-to-haj-subsidy-urge-global-tenders/articleshow/56545724.cms

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France wants JeM chief Masood Azhar to be declared international terrorist by UN

Jan 15, 2017

NEW DELHI: Days after China blocked India's proposal in the UN+ , the world body's key member France has pitched for designating Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar+ as an international terrorist, saying there are "very strong arguments in favour" of such a move.

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was on a four-day India visit, also sent out a veiled message to China without naming it, saying "the international community's determination to combat terrorism must be the same everywhere, regardless of the threat."

Pointing out that Azhar's outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad "is already included in the (Sanctions) Committee's list of terrorist organisations", he told PTI in an interview, "therefore, there are very strong arguments in favour of listing its chief, as India has requested".

That's why, he said, France not only supported but also co-sponsored the Indian request at the UNSC.

India had submitted in February last year a proposal to the 15-member 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council to list Azhar as an international terrorist for masterminding the attack on Pathankot Air base.

Since then, China had twice imposed "technical hold" on the Indian proposal and finally on December 30 last, it blocked it, becoming the only country to do so.

"We regret that, despite our joint efforts and wide support from the Committee, unanimity could not be reached," said Ayrault, whose country is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

He said France will now discuss with India what should be done. "India knows it can count on our support," he added.

Azhar, a resident of Bahawalpur in Pakistan, was one of the three terrorists freed by India in exchange of 166 hostages of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 which was hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999.

Azhar, at that time, belonged to Harkat-ul Mujahideen, and soon after his release, he floated the new outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan which carried out several attacks in India, including on Parliament on December 13, 2001 and Pathankot Air base+ .

The French Foreign Minister, whose country has faced a number of terror attacks over the last few years, pitched for a "decisive action" against Pakistan-based terror groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen which are "targeting" India.

"France has very firmly condemned the terrorist attacks against India, including the recent Uri attack+ , and reiterated its full solidarity with India in its combat against terrorism," he said.

Clearly referring to Pakistan without naming it, he emphasised that all countries should fight effectively against terrorism "originating from their territory or territories under their control".

"We particularly want to see decisive action taken, in keeping with international law, against terrorist groups targeting India, particularly the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Hizbul Mujahideen," he said.

The French Minister was asked about his views on the surgical strikes carried out by Indian Army in September last to target terror camps based across the LoC in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/france-wants-jem-chief-masood-azhar-to-be-declared-international-terrorist-by-un/articleshow/56566020.cms

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Kashmir: Three militants killed in encounter in Anantnag

January 16, 2017

Three militants were killed in an overnight encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, the army said today.

The militants were killed in the encounter at Awoora village in Pahalgam area of the district, an army official said.

WATCH| J&K: Encounter Underway Between Militants, Security Forces In Anantnag

J&K: Encounter Underway Between Militants, Security Forces In Anantnag

Acting on specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the village, security forces yesterday launched a search operation in the area.

He said as the forces were conducting the search operation, the hiding militants fired upon them.The security forces retaliated, ensuing an encounter.

The exchange of fire went on till late in the evening after which it was halted for the night, the official said, adding it was resumed in the wee hours today and the three militants were killed in the gunfight.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/kashmir-three-militants-killed-in-encounter-in-anantnag-4476395/

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50 Indians in Islamic State’s Afghanistan camp: IB

January 16, 2017

The Interpol has been alerted after Intelligence Bureau officials found that at least 50 persons from India had allegedly joined the Islamic State in Afghanistan. The IS camp in Nagrahar in Afghanistan is said to have at least 2,000 recruits from different parts of the world. However, Indian agencies are hot on the trail of Shajeer Abdullah, from Kerala, believed to be the prime recruiter for the IS in Kerala.

Out of these 2,000, the IB suspects that there may be 50 Indians. The intelligence has already confirmed that the 21 persons who went missing from Kerala are part of this camp.

Full report at:

http://www.oneindia.com/india/50-indians-in-islamic-state-s-afghanistan-camp-ib-2317748.html

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Curtains come down on ‘The Miracle’- an expo on Islam in Mangaluru

Kevin Mendonsa

Jan 15, 2017

MANGALURU: Do you have doubts on Islam? Is IS or terrorism linked to Islam? Want to know more about the Holy Book Quran? Want to find answers to these vexing questions, then head to 'The Miracle', an ongoing exhibition on Islam that is under way at the Nehru Maidan in Mangaluru.

Karnataka Salafi Association has organized the exhibition, which is an attempt to convey to the masses about true meaning of Islam. The exhibition premises is spread over 30,000 square feet of 400 plus informative panels in English and Kannada. The exhibition which started on January 10 will culminate on January 15.

There are also separate video theatres in the two languages that offer multimedia sermons. Volunteers explain tenets of the religion to the visitors in two air-conditioned pavilions, for women and men separately, at the exposition. According to the organizers, all the panels at the expo are done based on scientific models. Topics include embryology, ill-effects of alcohol, IS and terrorism. The other counters relate to wonders of the human body where the purpose of each part of the body is explained.

"This is an attempt to eradicate evil ideas that people have about Islam. To become good from bad and also a campaign against substance abuse, wastage of food and terrorism. The end result we want is that people of all religion to give away communal thinking and live in peace," said Mohammed Haneef Uppinangady, president of the association.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/curtains-come-down-on-the-miracle-an-expo-on-islam-in-mangaluru/articleshow/56543775.cms

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South Asia

 

Bangladesh Court Sentences 26 to Death For Narayanganj Killings

January 16, 2017

Dhaka: Twenty six people, including a former city councillor extradited from India, were sentenced to death on Monday by a Bangladeshi court for brutal murders of seven persons in Narayanganj in 2014.

Former Narayanganj councillor Nur Hossain and former Bangladesh Army Lt Col Tarek Sayeed are among the 26 persons given the death penalty for the 2014 Narayanganj multiple murders.

Nine others have been given various terms in prison. The court of Narayanganj's District and Sessions Judge delivered the verdict in the murders of seven men, including Narayanganj City Councillor Nazrul Islam and lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarkar, who were abducted from Dhaka-Narayanganj link road in April 2014, bdnews reported.

Their bodies were found floating in the Shitalakkhya River several days later.

Hossain was extradited from India. He had fled the country to evade the trial. He is believed to be the mastermind of the murder of seven persons including a fellow councilor and a lawyer.

West Bengal police arrested Hossain shortly after he fled the country. Border Security Force men handed Hossain over to Border Guard Bangladesh on November 12, 2015 after he was freed from a jail in West Bengal on a court order.

Hossain allegedly bribed several officers of Rapid Action Battilion (RAB), which is mainly commanded by army officers on deputation, for carrying out the murders.

Subsequent investigations disclosed that 23 RAB personnel, including a Lt Col and two navy officers, were involved in abduction and killing of the seven persons.

The slain councillor's family claimed that Hossain had paid 60 million Taka to senior officers of the local RAB unit to carry out the murders.

Both Islam and Hossain belonged to the ruling Awami League.

After the investigation, which took almost a year, police pressed charges against Nur Hossain, three senior officers of the Narayanganj-based RAB battalion and 31 others.

http://www.news18.com/news/world/bangladesh-court-sentences-26-to-death-for-narayanganj-killings-1336416.html

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Myanmar Muslims hope UN envoy's visit will bring change

Jan 15, 2017

KYEE KAN PYIN, Myanmar: Muslim villagers in western Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state say they hope positive change will result from a UN envoy's visit to the region, where soldiers are accused of widespread abuses of minority Muslims, including murder, rape and the burning of thousands of homes.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Yanghee Lee concluded a three-day visit Sunday to probe the situation in northern Rakhine, where an army crackdown has driven an estimated 65,000 Muslim ethnic Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh in the past three months.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/myanmar-muslims-hope-un-envoys-visit-will-bring-change/articleshow/56565889.cms

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US airstrike kill top Taliban leaders in Helmand province

Jan 15 2017

Several top leaders of the Taliban militants group were killed in an airstrike conducted by the US forces in southern Helmand province, local officials said Sunday.

The airstrike was carried out in the restive Musa Qala district of Helmand, the provincial government media office said in a statement.

The statement further added that 25 militants were killed or wounded in the airstrike which included some of the top leaders of the group..

At least 15 militants including some of the Taliban leaders loyal to Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence – ISI, were killed in the airstrike, the statement added.

The statement also added that three Humvee vehicles, 1 Ford Ranger vehicle, 18 PK heavy machine guns, 3 mortars, 4 SPG-9 rocket launchers, and 25 AK-47 assault rifles were destroyed.

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

Helmand is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in a number of its districts.

The group has launched numerous attacks in this province during the year with the local officials saying that the growing raids were aimed at establishing a council in this province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/us-airstrike-kill-top-taliban-leaders-in-helmand-province-02679

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Gen Bajwa asks Afghan President Ghani to control cross border movement of terrorists

Jan 16, 2017

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to condole over the loss of life in recent terror attacks in Afghanistan and build rapport with Pakistan, said a statement issued by military's media wing.

Inter-Services Public Relations chief Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted the statement, which read that the army chief "pressed upon Afghanistan to cooperate in stopping the to and fro movement of terrorists from across the border".

The army chief suggested installing a "robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation" to restrict the movement of terrorists.

"Elements inimical to peace in the region are strengthened by blame game," the statement read.

"All safe havens of terrorists have been eliminated from Pakistan," the army chief was quoted as saying.

Gen Bajwa reportedly empathised on the "tragic series of events" that unrolled on the "people of both the brotherly countries" over the last few years.

He reiterated Pakistan's cooperation with the Afghan government and its people to "eliminate the scourge of terrorism" that is affecting peace and destabilising the region.

"Pakistan has come a long way in its fight against terrorism of all hue and colour," the statement read, adding that "all safe havens [of militants] have been eliminated in the process".

"Both nations should rather focus on capitalising the gains of Operation Zarb-i-Azb in Pakistan," he added.

Ghani thanked Gen Bajwa for his sentiment and echoed his resolve in improving peace and stability in the region.

Earlier this week, scores of protesters gathered outside the Pakistan embassy in Kabul to demonstrate against Pakistan's alleged support for insurgents.

The demonstrators had raised slogans against Pakistan Army's intelligence arm, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1308598/gen-bajwa-asks-afghan-president-ghani-to-control-cross-border-movement-of-terrorists

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Abducted Spanish Red Cross worker freed in Afghanistan

Jan 16, 2017

KUNDUZ : A Spanish employee of the Red Cross who was abducted in northern Afghanistan has been released, the international charity said Sunday, nearly a month after he was snatched by gunmen.

Juan Carlos was kidnapped on December 19 when workers from the charity were travelling between Mazar-e-Sharif city and the volatile Taliban hotbed of Kunduz. Carlos was taken while three of his colleagues were left unharmed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Carlos had been returned to their team in Kunduz, but did not say how he was released or who was behind the abduction.

"We are relieved and grateful that Juan Carlos is now back with us, safe and sound," Monica Zanarelli, head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

"His abduction was a terrible ordeal for him, as well as for his family, friends and colleagues. Our priority now is Juan Carlos' well-being and getting him home to his family."

No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Local authorities are investigating the incident, Kunduz government spokesman Sayed Mahmood Danish said, without commenting further.

Kunduz faces an intensifying Taliban insurgency as the militants overran its provincial capital in October for the second time in a year.

Kidnapping of foreigners has been on the rise in Afghanistan recently, with criminal gangs staging abductions for ransom or handing the victims over to insurgent groups.

In August, gunmen wearing military uniforms kidnapped two professors of the American University of Afghanistan in the heart of Kabul, underscoring the growing insecurity in the country.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/16-Jan-2017/abducted-spanish-red-cross-worker-freed-in-afghanistan

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Kidnapped ICRC foreign staff released after 4 weeks in Afghanistan

Jan 16 2017

A foreign staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was released almost four months after he was kidnapped in North of Afghanistan.

“An ICRC staff member who was abducted on 19 December 2016 in Kunduz province, has been released and is now with the ICRC team in Kunduz,” according to a statement by ICRC.

The statement further added that the staff member was abducted while travelling from the ICRC office in Kunduz to the Sub-delegation in Mazar-i-Sharif.

“While three other colleagues were left unharmed, he was taken and held for almost 4 weeks,” the statement added.

“We are relieved and grateful that Juan Carlos is now back with us, safe and sound,” said the ICRC head of delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli. “His abduction was a terrible ordeal for him, as well as for his family, friends and colleagues.”

“Our priority now is Juan Carlos’ well-being and getting him home to his family. We would ask everyone to respect his, and his family’s, privacy at this time,” Zanarelli said.

No further details were given regarding the circumstances surrounding Carlos’s abduction and his released with ICRC saying “The ICRC will not comment on the identity of the abductors, their motives or the details of the release.”

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/kidnapped-icrc-foreign-staff-released-after-4-weeks-in-afghanistan-02681

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Africa

 

Troops rescue 58, kill 13 suspected Boko Haram members

16 January 2017

Troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole in conjunction with local vigilance group killed 13 suspected insurgents in two villages and rescued 58 from operations in Bomboshe and Sinbaya in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno at the weekend.

The Director Army Public Relations (DAPR), Brig-Gen. Sani Usman said the result achieved was from the continuous raid, fighting patrols, cordon and search on suspected Boko Haram hideouts in some villages, carried out by troops in conjunction with the civilian JTF.

This is coming as a fleeing member of the sect identified as Alkali, was arrested in Ibadan and is undergoing interrogation by the police.He confessed that he fled Sambisa forest and that some members of the group were in Lagos.

While confirming the arrest, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Adekunle Ajisebutu said the man was under interrogation. Also, the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), has hailed the Department of State Services for its vigilance, which led to the arrest of suspected Boko Haram members in Lagos State.

Adams praised the DSS and sent out further warnings to criminal elements in the South West and other states with OPC presence that they would not be allowed to fester.Meanwhile, the Northern Interfaith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIROP), has queried the motive behind Borno State government’s reaction to the arrest and interrogation of the Chairman of Mafa Local Government Council, Alhaji Shettima Lawan, who was caught harbouring Boko Haram fighters.

National Coordinator of the group, Bishop Musa Fomson in Abuja yesterday said it appears that while soldiers were diligently working to round up escaping terrorists, the politicians were covertly subverting the military’s efforts thereby making the work to be worthless.Fomson expressed worry that the action of the state government shows sabotage in the Federal Government’s quest to end terrorism.

He said Nigerians must rise up and condemn any attempt that will encourage the terrorist group from regrouping. He urged the army to remain focus in its mission of moping up remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists.

He said, “We appeal that Nigerians make vigilance their watchword, be their neighbors’ keepers and support the military to expose those that are political Boko Haram as we see this as being strategic to winning the battle and ensuring that the peace in the wake of the terror group’s defeat is not short lived.’’

Meanwhile, the Borno state government has returned 454 “rehabilitated and stabilised children” to two border liberated communities, after spending nine months at the Maiduguri stabilization and rehabilitation centre.

The children were accompanied by their mothers to join their parents and other relations in Bama and Banki.Addressing them yesterday at the stabilization and rehabilitation camp in Maiduguri, Chairman of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Alhaji Ahmed Satomi, said: “We are not just returning these children and mothers to liberated communities, but on arrival, they will be provided with educational facilities to continue with their educational pursuits and future.”He said another batch of 482 children out of 2, 018 IDPs at the rehabilitation and stabilization centre, will be re-integrated and enrolled into schools in the metropolis.

http://guardian.ng/news/troops-rescue-58-kill-13-suspected-boko-haram-members/

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4 Al-Shabaab militants killed in southwest Somalia

January 16, 2017

A joint military operation of the Somali National Army and African Union forces AMISOM has felled at least four militants from the Somali-based militant group Al-Shabaab in the country's southwest region, a local administrator has said.

Abshir Moalim Sharif, district deputy commissioner in Dinsoor district in Bakool region told the media on Sunday that the forces launched ambush at the militants in a village outside Dinsoor town killing four and inflicting injuries to several others.

"Somali forces and AMISOM this morning killed four Al-Shabaab fighters and injured several others in Rahoole village outside Dinsoor town. One officer sustained injuries but our forces now have full control of the area" said Sharif.

The allied forces have been hitting several Al-Shabaab hideouts in southwest and central Somalia as it reinforces its force to secure the ongoing parliamentary elections in Somalia.

Senatorial and Lower House elections for the breakaway region of Somaliland are still going on in Mogadishu.

Full report at:

http://www.china.org.cn/world/2017-01/16/content_40109614.htm

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Tunisians mark sixth anniversary of revolution, protests erupt

Jan 15, 2017

People in Tunisia have marked the sixth anniversary of a revolution that ended authoritarianism in their country and inspired a string of uprisings in other Arab dictatorships.

While the 2011 Tunisian revolution is generally considered the most successful one among the wave of revolts that jolted Arab monarchies in the Middle East and North Africa, its sixth-year anniversary on Saturday, while largely peaceful, also saw protests in some major cities over a deteriorating economic situation.

Crowds gathered without much fanfare in the capital, Tunis, waving national flags and singing the Tunisian national anthem. According to local media, no other ceremonies had been organized elsewhere in Tunisia.

Performers march past the Ministry of the Interior during celebrations marking the sixth anniversary of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, in Tunis, Tunisia, January 14, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

But spontaneous protests erupted in Tunisia’s central and southern regions, where President Beji Caid Essebsi had planned to visit in order to mark the 2011 uprising.

Protests sporadically led to clashes between police and protesters, who had taken to the streets in several Tunisian towns to voice their anger at a dearth of job opportunities.

In the west-central region of Gafsa, angry youths protested against a presidential visit by blocking a road and throwing stones at the president’s convoy. Security forces reportedly fired tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Unemployed protesters shout slogans during a demonstration demanding that the government provide them with job opportunities, as Tunisia marks the sixth anniversary of its 2011 revolution, in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, January 14, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

In the central town of Sidi Bouzid, hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of the local governorate building, demanding jobs as well as fundamental changes aimed at the betterment of the Tunisian economy.

Similar demonstrations were also staged in several southern towns, including Ben Guerdane, with protesters burning tires and declaring a general strike in protest at a lack of economic development.

Riot police officers clash with protesters during a demonstration over jobs in Ben Guerdane, Tunisia, January 14, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The Saturday developments came as Prime Minister Youssef Chahed had acknowledged on national television a day earlier that authorities had so far failed to address the grievances of the Tunisian people.

Full report at:

http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/15/506248/Tunisia-revolution-sixth-anniversary

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2017: Is ISIS attack likely in South Africa?

16 JAN 2017

Terrorism is about opportunity, and where the Islamic State can gain propaganda value from an attack, it has proven not to hesitate. Add to this a propaganda message to all supporters of using whatever means available to execute an atrocity, and South Africa’s vulnerability to an attack speaks for itself. Compiled by JASMINE OPPERMAN, Director Africa at the Terrorism, Research & Analysis Consortium – TRAC) and JESSIE MARI BROICH, analyst at the TRAC Africa Office.

The nature of international terrorism has fundamentally shifted in recent years. While everyone knows about the violent nature of acts of terror, the most concerning risk lies with the “silent nod”, whereby groups recruit members, establish cells, expand their footprint and grow their presence in a country of interest. Add to this individuals acting on own accord, inspired and directed by propaganda calls to action, and the probability of an attack is persistently increasing.

Most governments have legislation and counter-terror initiatives aimed at dealing with bombings, mass shootings, hostage taking etc, thus focusing on the violent nature and after-effects of acts of terror. The fact that the group responsible managed to operate silently in the country prior to the attack while recruiting, radicalising and training the individuals accountable, and that these operations went unchallenged, is often overlooked. In short, it is not unreasonable to state that the “silent nod”, given enough time, is just as dangerous as a commissioned act of terror.

Terrorism reality: Opportunity

While conventional thinking tends to focus on reasons why South Africa is not vulnerable to an act of terror, the fact that the Islamic State is already recruiting in the country cannot be ignored.

Despite popular opinion, South Africa is not subject to a special set of circumstances that forgo our viability as a target. The Islamic State is all about establishing presence and showing strength, meaning that a terror attack in South Africa would be just as effective as one in Europe.

This begs the question: just how much opportunity does the Islamic State have to carry out a terror attack in South Africa?

A “lock up and go” mentality when dealing with threats (such as protest action, riots, and potential acts of terror), in which perpetrators are apprehended and jailed and the matter considered “dealt with”, is set to fail as a counterterrorism response. Conversely, while the public tries to keep itself informed and aware, most people employ private security companies (few of which can claim adequate training regarding situations involving terrorism) to secure their safety. In some cases attention is given to the causal relationship between the origin of these threats and the threats themselves, but mostly things are expected to go back to normal once the instigating parties have been removed from the environment. With regards to potential acts of terror, a temporary response to threats is wholly inadequate.

As such, South Africa’s current counterterrorism strategy amounts to a culture of “government only response”, with the public needing to fend for themselves through private security companies with little to no training in counterterrorism initiatives. All in all, without the presence of mitigating factors, South Africa remains an easy target.

Mitigating an ever increasing concern

It is time to accept and respond to an undeniable reality: the Islamic State is already operating in South Africa in a non-violent capacity. So the longer the implementation of permanent mitigating factors is ignored, the more likely South Africa is to experience an act of terror in the near future.

The answer is to be found in two aspects, limiting the impact of the Islamic State current presence within a non-violent evolutionary reality coupled with a focused strategy in which misguided perceptions against Muslim and foreign communities as well as fear of an attack are challenged. A ring-fenced law and order mindset will not suffice.

So what can be done?

Public confidence that an effective and efficient response will take effect once an attack occurs, no matter where in South Africa. Fear can only be countered by trust and confidence in a government able to deal with whatever the Islamic State does. This begs a dire need for more open public engagement in which government communicates an informed reality of an act of terror and response teams’ ability to deal with whatever an attack entails, be it a truck ramming into people, arson attacks or attacks in public places such as airports and malls. This includes private security companies being trained in how to respond to an attack, a subject matter that should be made compulsory to training prior to any deployment of security personnel;

The need for de-radicalisation programmes speaks for itself. There is however a limiting factor in that these programmes are only focused on individuals that are willing to co-operate;

Community sensitisation programmes, in which both local and foreign communities are informed and convinced of a government that takes their security to heart, whatever the threat entails. Such programmes should not necessarily be focused on terrorism only, but how the communities are protected and assisted in accessing daily living needs, such as access to healthcare and education. Tied to this is the countering of ill-informed perceptions that specific communities are more prone to supporting extremism than others. Close co-operation and sustained interaction with communities are pivotal in countering terrorism;

Full report at:

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-01-16-2017-is-isis-attack-likely-in-south-africa/#.WHx5kPB96zc

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8 dead as refugee boat capsizes off Libyan coast

15 January 2017

A refugee boat carrying more than 100 people bound for Europe has capsized off the coast of Libya, killing at least 8, Italian media reported Saturday.

According to Italian news agency, ANSA, the boat sank about 30 miles (48 kilometres) off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea.

So far four refugees have been rescued as the Italian Coast Guard teams continue search for survivors amid bad weather conditions in the area, the media reported.

Nearly 90 refugees are still missing.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/183157/8-dead-as-refugee-boat-capsizes-off-libyan-coast

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Nigeria: Comply with court order to release Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky

16 January 2017

The Nigerian authorities must immediately comply with a High Court order and release the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife from detention, said Amnesty International.

El-Zakzaky, and his wife Malama Zeenah Ibraheem, have been in detention without charge for more than a year following a clash between his supporters and the Nigerian military in which soldiers slaughtered hundreds of men, women and children. The authorities claim he is being held in “protective custody”.

“The 45 day deadline given for their release expires today. If the government deliberately disregards the orders of its own courts, it will demonstrate a flagrant – and dangerous – contempt for the rule of law,” said Makmid Kamara, Interim Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“El-Zakzaky is being unlawfully detained. This might be part of a wider effort to cover up the gruesome crimes committed by members of the security forces in Zaria in December 2015 that left hundreds dead.”

On 2 December 2016 the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that El Zakzaky and Malama Zeenah Ibraheem should be released within 45 days. The court described their detention, which began in December 2015, as illegal and unconstitutional. The deadline for the court order expires on Monday 16 January.

Amnesty International is also calling on the authorities to release other IMN supporters arrested at the same time as El Zakzaky and his wife, who likewise remain in detention without charge.

Full report at:

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/01/nigeria-comply-with-court-order-to-release-sheik-ibraheem-el-zakzaky/

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Nigeria: Twin explosions hit Maiduguri univ campus

16th Jan 2017

By Olarewaju Kola

MAIDUGURI,  (AA): Dozen have been feared dead and many injured as twin bomb explosions hit a major university in the restive Nigeria’s Maiduguri city early Monday morning.

Police said the explosions occurred within the premises of the University of Maiduguri-a major university in the country’s northeast region-as Muslim faithful were observing their early morning prayers.

“There was an explosion within the premises of University of Maiduguri during the early morning prayers by Muslim faithfuls,” police spokesman, Victor Isuku said in a short statement. He did not provide further details.

However, a senior official of the University who is not authorized to speak on the incident said the first blast occured at “a mosque near the Gate 5 of the University killing some worshippers including a professor and injuring many.”

“The second happened near Gate 1, a designated bus stop for students and other members of the University community. But there was no casualty there because transport activities were yet to resume as It was very early,” the source said.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the bomb explosions but military sources said they bore the hallmark of Boko Haram insurgents who have stepped up suicide bombing in the area since 2014.

Full report at:

http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/campaign-on-terror/nigeria-twin-explosions-hit-maiduguri-univ-campus/

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Hamza bin Laden: al Qaeda poster boy

15.01.2017

The few photos of Hamza bin Laden that are publicly available won't likely be of much help to investigators: They stem from the time around the turn of the millennium. At that time, the son of Osama bin Laden was 12 years old. The images show a serious, perhaps even threatening, young boy. Wearing a turban and a camouflage military vest, the youth reads a communique - a pose in which he already presents himself as a voice for al Qaeda. Other photos from the time show him in the driver's seat of an off-road vehicle with a bullet-riddled windshield, or crouching on a stony plane with a machine-gun in his hands.

These photos document the young man's journey to jihad - a career that would eventually lead him to the highest ranks of international terrorism: in early January, the US State Department declared him an "international terrorist." It is a title once held by his father.

'Global terrorist'

In the eyes of al Qaeda strategists, his inclusion on the State Department list will no doubt raise Hamza bin Laden's credibility and authority within the organization. The title is seen as a badge of honor among jihadis. And though hundreds of individuals are on the list, Hamza, as the son of Osama bin Laden, will certainly be a standout.

Al Qaeda will undoubtedly be happy about the label: Hamza bin Laden is currently thought to be the most likely candidate to take over leadership of the terrorist network. After Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in the spring of 2011, his confidant, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, became the voice and face of the group. However, al-Zawahiri, who was born in 1951, had none of the charisma of his predecessor. For that reason, it is thought that Osama's own charismatic son Hamza is destined to lead the organization.

As the photos show, it is a role for which the young man was groomed early on. "His father took him by the hand from a young age," explains terrorism expert Peter Bergen, author of the book "United States of Jihad." "Hamza has been very much indoctrinated with the whole jihadi kind of message. He's a true believer. I think that makes him a concern."

As he grew older, Hamza bin Laden became more involved in al Qaeda's activities. It is thought that he can be seen in a 2005 video of an attack on Pakistani security forces in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 Afghanistan Osama Bin Laden und Ayman al-Zawahiri (picture-alliance/dpa/Ausaf Newspaper)

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the present leader of al Qaeda

Threatening messages in many directions

Over the last few years he has increasingly presented himself as a leading jihadi in al Qaeda. In August 2015 he released an audio message calling on his adherents to take the fight to Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.

In another audio message, from May 2016, he spoke about the conflict in the Middle East and the war in Syria. The "blessed Syrian revolution" has made the "liberation" of Jerusalem more likely, he exclaimed. He went on to say that jihadis fighting there should join forces. "There is no longer an excuse for those who insist on division and disputes now that the whole world has mobilized against Muslims."

That same month, al Qaeda boss al-Zawahiri announced that the young man had been admitted to the organization's leadership.

In that role, the young Bin Laden released another audio message in July 2016, in which he proclaimed "We are all Osama," and threatened the USA. In the message he announced that he would seek revenge for his father's killing. Further, he stated that his organization would respond to the "oppression of the people of Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and the rest of the Muslim lands that did not survive your oppression." Revenge for his father's death, he said, would not only be carried out in his name, but in the name "of all who defend Islam."

Competition from 'IS'

Those public statements, released within such a short period of time, suggest that al Qaeda is seeking to intensify its recruiting efforts. Over the last several years the group has lost much of its attractiveness, as more and more young Islamists have turned to the so-called "Islamic State" (IS).

Full report at:

http://www.dw.com/en/hamza-bin-laden-al-qaeda-poster-boy/a-37141162

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North America

 

Obama doesn't regret 'red line' over Syria conflict

16 January 2017

US President Barack Obama says he does not regret his speech drawing a "red line" over Syria's use of chemical weapons, a phrase critics say symbolizes the US failure to act over the country's conflict.

Obama made the comment in 2012 about possible US military action in Syria, saying "a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized."

In what was billed as his last network interview, on CBS News program "60 Minutes" broadcast on Sunday -- less than a week before his term ends Friday -- Obama confirmed that he had ad-libbed phrase, which wasn't in the text of his speech.

"I don't regret at all saying that if I saw (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons on his people that that would change my assessments in terms of what we were or were not willing to do in Syria," he said.

Challenged by his interviewer Steve Kroft that "you didn't say that... you said--you drew the red line," Obama declined to say whether he would take it back.

"I think made a bigger mistake if I had said, 'Eh, chemical weapons. That doesn't really change my calculus.'"

"I think it was important for me as president of the United States to send a message that in fact there is something different about chemical weapons," he added. "And regardless of how it ended up playing, I think in the Beltway, what is true is Assad got rid of his chemical weapons."

Wrenching video showing people foaming at the mouth and suffering other effects of an apparent chemical attack caused outrage around the world.

But after it appeared the United States was preparing imminent air strikes against the Syrian government, Washington instead agreed to a last-minute, Moscow-brokered deal to send Syrian chemical weapons to Russia.

Critics blame the decision for humiliating the White House, encouraging Russia to launch its own air strikes in Syria -- which have shored up Assad and killed many civilians -- and emboldening Moscow to ratchet up its confrontation with Washington.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/183202/obama-doesnt-regret-red-line-over-syria-conflict

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Katy Perry-produced PSA tackles prospect of Muslim database

Jan. 15, 2017

The video opens with the story of 89-year-old Naru Kuromiya, a Japanese-American who spent her childhood on a chicken farm in Riverside, Calif.

Sitting on a chair, with a shawl covering her small frame, Kuromiya talks about that fateful day in 1942 when government officials took her father. They were given tags and numbers to wear, she said. Then, they were placed on a train, and Kuromiya, who would have been in her teens then, found herself living in an internment camp.

“We had to leave our business, our homes and our possessions behind, even our pets,” she said. “We were an American farm family now living in an internment camp. And our constitutional rights were taken away from us. It all started with fear and rumours, then it bloomed into the registration of Japanese-Americans.”

Then, the twist.

About a minute and a half into the video, Kuromiya stops talking. For a few seconds, she stares directly at the camera. She takes off her glasses and her wig. Nothing can be heard except the sound of a piano.

Then, she slowly peels off her prosthetic mask, revealing a young woman with black hair and dark eyes underneath the disguise.

“Don’t let history repeat itself,” she said.

The young woman is played by Hina Khan, a Los Angeles-based Muslim actress of Pakistani heritage, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“#DontNormalizeHate,” a nearly three-minute PSA produced by singer Katy Perry, draws parallels between the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during the Second World War and the anti-Muslim rhetoric of not only President-elect Donald Trump, but also of his advisers and picks for Cabinet members.

Perry, a Hillary Clinton supporter, is among the celebrities who will attend the Women’s March in Washington on Saturday, the day after Trump’s inauguration. Other attendees are America Ferrera, Cher, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Schumer, Olivia Wilde, Constance Wu, Zandaya and Orange is the New Black star Uzo Aduba.

Trump had proposed a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. After it was criticized by Republicans and Democrats, Trump’s campaign amended it, saying immigration should be suspended from countries “compromised by terrorism.”

But in December, Trump suggested that he’s standing by the proposal he talked about on the campaign trail in 2015.

Trump has made only vague statements to the media about the possibility of creating a database of Muslims in the United States. Those statements also don’t draw a distinction between a database of all Muslims in the country, or a registry of just Muslim immigrants.

On Nov. 19, 2015, for instance, a Yahoo News reporter asked the then-Republican front-runner about registering Muslims in a database or noting their religion on IDs. Trump said, “We’re going to have to look a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”

When NBC News asked him again the following day, Trump said he “would certainly implement” a database of Muslims in the country.

“There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems,” he told NBC News.

When asked if Muslims would be required to sign into the database, he said, “They have to be — they have to be.”

Shortly after, Trump disputed reports that he had endorsed creating a database for Muslims.

In December, his campaign released a statement staying, “President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion, and to imply otherwise is completely false.”

The president-elect’s choices for attorney general, CIA director and national security adviser also raised fears from Muslim civil rights groups and current and former government officials that the appointments could reinforce perceptions that the United States is at war against Islam itself, the Washington Post’s Joby Warrick and Abigail Hauslohner wrote.

Full report at:

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/01/15/katy-perry-produced-psa-tackles-prospect-of-muslim-database.html

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Bill introduced in US Congress to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organization

Jan 16, 2017

On January 9, Representative Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), introduced a bill (H.R. 377) to ask the Secretary of State to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. The following day,  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced an identical bill (S. 38) in the Senate titled the The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act. The bill states that the group has met the criteria of a terrorist group, and thus should be designated as such.

The House bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and already has twenty cosponsors. The Senate bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has three original cosponsors.

Senator Cruz stated, "The U.S. has officially listed individual members, branches, and charities of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists, such as Hamas, al Qaeda, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but has not designated the organization as a whole."

Both Senator Cruz and Rep. Diaz Balart introduced similar bills in the 114th Session. The House version was passed by the Judiciary Committee but neither made it to a floor vote.

How an obscure U.S. policy effort could hurt American Muslims: Washington Post

Not surprisingly the Washington Post and the Huffington Post were quick to point out the real motives behind the bills related to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Washington Post said it is also likely to have a far-reaching impact on American Muslims at a time when Muslim community leaders say the religious minority is facing the worst harassment it has seen since the aftermath of 9/11.

The Huffington Post pointed out that American Muslim advocates contend that the real intent of Cruz’s bill has little to do with foreign policy rather the legislation would enable the U.S. government to target domestic Muslim groups that Cruz and others earnestly believe are part of a massive, covert conspiracy to destroy the U.S. from within.

"Proponents of the measure, including members of Trump’s incoming administration, have long used the Muslim Brotherhood label as shorthand for Muslim organizations, politicians and government officials with whom they disagree, and civil rights advocates fear those allegations could be used as pretext to investigate and alienate those who challenge the government’s treatment of Muslims" the Washington Post said adding:

"Supporters of the designation have wielded it most frequently against advocacy groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which regularly files lawsuits on behalf of Muslims over alleged discrimination, as well as against charities. They have also used it to attack Democratic members of Congress, Muslim government officials, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and the Gold Star father Khizr Khan, who criticized Trump at the Democratic National Convention in the summer."

Ted Cruz vs. the Muslim Brotherhood Boogeyman: The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post pointed out that for years, anti-Muslim groups have claimed that CAIR, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, and other pro-Islam groups in the U.S. are, in fact, fronts for the brotherhood.

J.M. Berger, a counterterrorism analyst at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, was quoted as saying:“This initiative is concerned with controlling American Muslims, not with any issue pertaining to the Muslim Brotherhood in any practical or realistic sense.”

Lana Safah, a spokeswoman for the Muslim American Society, another high-profile Muslim advocacy group, told Huffington Post that her group has “no affiliation with any foreign or international organization.” Yet, she said, “in the Trump era, and in the most Islamophobic atmosphere the American Muslim community has ever experienced, it seems we should expect the unexpected, such as this unprecedented designation, which no former administration has made. It would cripple the operations of any Muslim organizations linked, however circumstantially, to the Brotherhood.

Nathan Lean, author of the 2012 book The Islamophobia Industry, says, designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group could give government officials cover to effectively dismantle U.S. Muslim groups. And that, he fears, would lead to “the wanton violation of American Muslim civil rights.”

The election of Donald Trump, who has surrounded himself with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists, and with Republicans in control of the Senate and House, the proposed Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act has a chance of passing and being signed into law, the Huffington Post added.

Not surprisingly, during his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump's national security advisers included the Center for Security Policy’s founder and president, Frank Gaffney, and its vice president, Clare Lopez.

Full report at:

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15366-bill-introduced-in-us-congress-to-designate-muslim-brotherhood-as-terrorist-organization

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Ahmadi Muslims offer peace message in open house

January 15, 2017

Zaki-Ud-Din wasted no time as he stepped forward to shake hands with visitors to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community open house in an upstairs room in the Brantford Public Library.

“We are here to give a message of peace and how we can create it forever for our beautiful county of Canada,” he said on Saturday afternoon, as he and about a half-dozen members of the faith stood around a collection of colourful poster boards or showed a video explaining the Islamic group’s message and international organization.

The group wanted to hold an open house in Brantford – one of several in cities across Canada – as part of a nationwide Islam Understood campaign to correct misperceptions of the faith and terrorist atrocities attributed to it.

A succession of terrorist attacks during the past year – including in Canada – are creating ill feelings toward Muslims generally, and the Ahmadiyya community is feeling the same effects.

‘The situation is growing worse day by day,” said Zaki-Ud-Din, “and we want people to see us for what we really are. We are in 209 countries and we want to live in peace and harmony with our fellow humanity.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – or the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at – is an Islamic religious movement founded in 1889 in the village of Qadian in Punjab, India. It originated in the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, whom followers consider their Messiah.

His followers believe his claims that he was divinely appointed as the Mujaddid (renewer) of Islam, the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by Muslims. He was the faith’s first Caliph.

A succession of five caliphs has led to the present one, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth since the founder, who is at the head of a movement with an estimated 10 million to 20 million followers, with about 30,000 in Canada.

Ahmad gave an address to the Canadian parliament in October 2016 in which expressed the movement’s peaceful intent. The open houses are a continuation of that message, said Zaki-Ud-Din.

Full report at:

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2017/01/15/ahmadi-muslims-offer-peace-message-in-open-house

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Europe

 

Isolation units for Britain's jihadis will cost the taxpayer £1m a year

15th January 2017

The units will be built in three top security prisons to stop the extremists from radicalising other inmates.

One prisoner destined for a planned new isolation unit is hate preacher Anjem Choudary, convicted last year of supporting Islamic State.

Another is Michael Adebolajo, one of the two killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks, south-east London, in May, 2013.

According to prison intelligence reports, Adebolajo has tried to exploit his notoriety to recruit other Muslim convicts to the jihadi cause in jail.

The units will be staffed by more than 40 officers in total at Woodhill jail, Milton Keynes, Bucks, Frankland jail in Brasside, Co Durham, and Whitemoor jail in March, Cambs.

Justice secretary Liz Truss has reportedly been advised to put the most hardened Islamists in specialist units in the interests of national security.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Islamist extremism is a danger to society.

“Preventing the most dangerous extremists from radicalising other prisoners is essential to the safe running of our prisons and fundamental to public protection.’’

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/578740/Isolations-units-jails-Britain-Islamic-terrorists-1million-a-year-taxpayer

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French summit bids to revive Mideast peace, with eye on Trump

Jan 16, 2017

Diplomats from 70 countries gathered in Paris on Sunday to try to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts amid fears of a new escalation if Donald Trump implements a pledge to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians are represented at the conference, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed as "rigged" against the Jewish state.

Opening the meeting, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the international community wanted to "forcefully reiterate that the two-state solution is the only solution possible" to the seven-decade-old conflict.

In a TV interview later, Ayrault warned that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would have "extremely serious consequences" and predicted Trump would find it impossible to do so.

"When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a stubborn and such a unilateral view on this issue. You have to try to create the conditions for peace," he told France 3 TV.

Both Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas have been invited to meet with President Francois Hollande to discuss the conclusions of the Paris talks.

Abbas, who has backed the meeting, is expected to travel to Paris in the coming weeks but Netanyahu rejected the offer, French diplomats said.

Three French Jewish groups called for a protest Sunday outside the Israeli embassy in Paris to denounce the conference.

The meeting is mainly symbolic, but comes at a crucial juncture for the Middle East, five days before Trump, who has vowed unstinting support for Israel, is sworn in as US president.

Israel fears the conference could produce measures that could be put to the Security Council before Trump takes over.

The French have insisted they have no such plans.

"France has no other desire than to serve peace, and there is no time to lose," Ayrault said.

Peace efforts have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

Tensions are again running high after a wave of Palestinian attacks and Israel's ongoing expansion of settlements on land the Palestinians want for their state.

- 'Could destroy peace hopes' -

On Saturday, Abbas warned that peace could be dealt a mortal blow if Trump moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognising the contested city as Israel's capital as he indicated during campaigning.

Such a move would mark a radical departure from US policy and the UN's position that the status of Jerusalem can only be decided in negotiations.

"Any attempts at legitimising the illegal Israeli annexation of the city will destroy the prospects of any political process, bury the hopes for a two-state solution, and fuel extremism in our region, as well as worldwide," Abbas warned during a visit to the Vatican.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who rebuked Israel recently over its settler activity on Palestinian territory, will join the talks on his farewell tour, along with delegates from the UN, EU and Arab League.

A draft conference communique called on Israel and the Palestinians to restate their support for two states and to refrain from "unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations."

Netanyahu has lashed out at the Paris meeting, saying only direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians can bring peace.

- 'One-state reality' -

Israel fears being further isolated by the conference, which comes hot on the heels of a landmark December UN resolution criticising the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The vote passed after the Obama administration -- in a parting shot at Netanyahu after years of frustrated mediation efforts -- took the rare step of abstaining rather than using its veto to protect Israel.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/15-Jan-2017/french-summit-bids-to-revive-mideast-peace-with-eye-on-trump

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Police take three for questioning after anti-terror raids in Brussels

Jan 16, 2017

Belgian police detained three people for questioning after carrying out house searches in Brussels that were related to an anti-terrorism investigation, prosecutors said on Saturday.

The house searches were carried out in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, which gained international attention when locals with links to Syria took part in the November 2015 attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

"The searches were carried out as part of an investigation by Brussels prosecutors," a spokeswoman for Brussels prosecutors said. "While nothing was found, three people were taken in for questioning."

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/15-Jan-2017/police-take-three-for-questioning-after-anti-terror-raids-in-brussels

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France's President Would Be Better Off Worrying About Muslim Settlements Around Paris

January 15, 2017

France's left-wing government is as big a lame duck as Obama and Kerry. Hollande is wildly unpopular and a thorough failure. While his Socialist economic policies also failed miserably, his mishandling of terrorism helped turn life into a nightmare for many in France.

And now Hollande is lecturing Israel on "settlements" when he would be better served worrying about the Muslim settlements around Paris. And instead of pushing his absurd summit, Hollande might have tried for a summit with the representatives of the Islamic occupying forces in the No Go Zones of France.

Hollande shamefully equated Jews living in '67 Israel with Islamic terrorism. France has seen enough terror under him that he ought to know better than to legitimize Islamic grievances by justifying its xenophobic hatred of non-Muslims or upholding its demands for Apartheid states for Muslims.

Full report at:

https://www.frontpagemag.com/point/265471/frances-president-would-be-better-worrying-about-daniel-greenfield

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AIPAC's Plans to Drag UK into 'US Sphere' over Israel

January, 15, 2017

In covertly filmed footage, a senior political officer at the embassy described how he had set up an organization called the City Friends of Israel with AIPAC's support, and later brought AIPAC officials over from the US to address the group.

Shai Masot, the now-former embassy official at the center of revelations about Israeli influence inside British politics, also told an undercover reporter how he had arranged a meeting between Conservative and Labor party delegates and AIPAC's head of strategy in Washington in order that he could give them “some ideas for Britain”.

Student activists in the UK also revealed how they had received funding from AIPAC to set up groups tasked with countering pro-Palestinian sentiment and undermining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign on university campuses, Middle East Eye reported.

AIPAC is considered one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in American politics, with a member of its delegation telling his audience in London that it had built relationships with all 535 members of Congress.

But the secretly filmed videotapes shed new light on its ambitions and activities beyond Washington.

The tapes suggest that one organization supported by AIPAC and by donors in Israel is the Pinsker Centre, which describes itself as “a coalition of young people educating about Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".

Speaking to an undercovr reporter, Adam Schapira, one of the center’s co-founders, who last year ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), said its aim was to “reframe the rhetoric on UK campuses”.

“I feel like a lot more needs to be done in the educational field, bringing over diverse speakers from across the political spectrum on campus, present another narrative.”

Schapira also said in the recordings that the UJS had received money from the Israeli embassy.

In a statement on Twitter, however, Josh Nagli, the UJS’s campaign director, said that the group was neither directed nor funded by the embassy.

“We have a productive working relationship with the Israeli Embassy in the UK and warm contacts with a range of Israeli civil society organizations. We are of course neither funded nor in any way directed by the Israeli Embassy,” said Nagli.

The Pinsker Centre was co-founded by Elliot Miller, the national organizer of Student Rights, a campaign group that was established by the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society think-tank to support “freedom, equality, democracy and freedom from extremism on university campuses”.

Critics have accused Student Rights and the Henry Jackson Society of stoking Islamophobia. Confronted by Palestinian activists at an event at University College London in October last year, Miller described Islam as a “violent religion”.

In a Student Rights statement about the incident, Miller said that he and others attending the meeting had been confronted by “aggressive and violent protesters”.

Masot also talked about how he had taken a delegation of donors from both the Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel groups to Washington and arranged for them to be briefed by AIPAC’S head of strategy.

“The bottom line, we had a donor meeting with the head of strategy at AIPAC and he met us basically to teach us, you know, give us some ideas for Britain,” said Masot.

He described how he had had been tasked by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs in Israel with setting up a private company that would “work with the Israeli government” and act as a “liaison for international communities around the world”.

The position would be based in Israel but would involve working with “AIPAC and all the others”, Masot said.

MEE asked AIPAC for comment but did not receive a response.

Full report at:

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/01/15/1296884/aipac-s-plans-to-drag-uk-into-us-sphere-over-israel

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Key nominees diminish Trump’s high hopes for Russia ties

January 15, 2017

National Security Adviser-designate Michael T. Flynn has offered notably different views on Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, as the retired three-star Army general prepares to become Donald Trump’s closest White House adviser on Friday.

In his book on defeating Islamic terrorism, “The Field of Fight,” Mr. Flynn wrote that Mr. Putin would be of little or no help in the war to destroy the Islamic State.

But before a Russian audience, and also as Mr. Trump’s campaign adviser last fall, Mr. Flynn trumpeted the Republican nominee’s front-window position — that the Russian strongman is potentially a great ally in combating Islamic extremists.

Michael Ledeen, Mr. Flynn’s co-author and a scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said: “Look, it’s obvious Trump wants to try to see what we can do in league with the Russians. So it would be silly right now to go out and pound your chest and say, ‘Bad man, bad man,’ and all of that.”

Mr. Flynn’s true position is shaping up as one of his most important White House roles. Mr. Trump has placed good relations with Moscow as a top foreign policy goal, yet has surrounded himself with skeptics.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jan/15/michael-flynn-james-mattis-dim-donald-trumps-hopes/?

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Arab World

 

ISIL Starts 2nd Stage of Attacks in Deir Ezzur, Faces Army's Fierce Reaction

Jan 15, 2017

The ISIL terrorists launched a heavy offensive against the Syrian army positions in Damascus-Deir Ezzur highway, Panorama square, Tal Barouk and al-Tharda valley and advanced in some areas.

The militants also cut the main road towards Deir Ezzur international airport.

Faced with ISIL advances, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets targeted their moves and gathering centers followed by a special operation by the Syrian ground force to take back lost lands.

Army officers say that the ground troops could liberate al-Ta'min Battalion region and regain control of the airport road.

According to reports, at present, heavy clashes are underway in Panorama square between the Syrian troops and the ISIL militants and the Syrian soldiers are trying to purge regions near the graveyard and Tal Barouk of terrorists.

Earlier today, the Syrian army repelled ISIL's large-scale attack on government forces' military positions in Deir Ezzur and the city's airport.

Fierce clashes also broke out between the Syrian army and the ISIL terrorists in al-Roshdiyah and al-Hwaiqa districts in Deir Ezzur city, while the ISIL terrorists attacked the government troops' positions in al-Sina'ah (Industrial) Area, al-Movazafin, al-Jabileh, al-Amal and Division 137.

The Syrian army thwarted all the wave of attacks, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.

The Syrian government troops also engaged in tough battle with the ISIL terrorists in the Southern and Northwestern part of Deir Ezzur airbase and in the surrounding areas of al-Tharda mountain, and inflicted heavy losses on their military hardware and equipment.

The terrorists also conducted terrorist attacks and launched mortar attacks on seven districts in Deir Ezzur, killing two civilians and injuring eight more. 

Meantime, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets pounded the ISIL terrorists' gathering centers and military bases in al-Arzi, al-Hamidiyeh, al-Movazafin and al-Jabileh regions.

Several tanks and military vehicles of the ISIL terrorist group were destroyed in the Russian and Syrian airstrikes in the same region.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951026001170

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Syrian opposition: Wadi Barada clashes leave 12 dead, 20 wounded

15 January 2017

The Syrian opposition said on Sunday that 12 died and 20 were wounded by the Syrian regime as the Syrian army and allied militia clashed with rebels in Wadi Barada near Damascus on Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army and the allied Lebanese militia Hezbollah had made some gains against rebels in the Wadi Barada area. Heavy fighting reached the outskirts of the Ain al-Fija town, where the water springs are located, the British-based war monitor said.

This comes after the Observatory said unknown gunmen assassinated retired major general Ahmad Ghadban on Saturday, just 24 hours after he was assigned by the Syrian regime to manage the affairs of the towns of Wadi Barada.

Syria negotiations chief assassinated in Wadi Barada

The Syrian regime accused armed factions of assassinating Ghadban, who was chief of the negotiations committee in Wadi Barada, while activists said Hezbollah militias were involved in the assassination as it was carried out in a regime-controlled area.

Ghadban's assassination revived tensions in the area amid unconfirmed reports about the withdrawal of maintenance teams tasked with resolving the crisis of pumping water from al-Fijah springs towards Damascus.

On Friday, the Observatory said that the regime assigned Ghadban to oversee the operation that aims to resolve the issue of pumping water to Damascus, adding that regime forces would also enter the area of al-Fijah springs to supervise the security situation.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/01/15/Syria-negotiations-chief-assassinated-in-Wadi-Barada.html

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Several More Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition Air Raids in Syria's Raqqa

Jan 15, 2017

The sources said that the civilians were killed and wounded in the coalition fighter jets' heavy bombardment on al-Khatounieh village.

The sources added that casualties are on the rise due to the serious injuries the civilians have sustained in the attacks, adding that some of the wounded are in critical conditions.

A medical source disclosed in late December that 29 civilians, including children and women, were killed or wounded in the US-led coalition airstrikes on the town of Debsi Afnan West of Raqqa city, the self-proclaimed capital of ISIL in Northeastern Syria.

The medial source in al-Tabaqa town said that seven civilians, including three children were killed and 22 more civilians, including women and children, were injured in the coalition air raid on Debsi Afnan.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951026001198

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Syrian Army Kicks Off Massive Ground, Air Operations in Eastern Homs Province

Jan 15, 2017

The Syrian army troops started their fresh military operations after pounding the terrorists' military positions with artillery shells and missiles.

The Syrian army managed to take control of several regions Northeast of T4 airbase and East of Station 4, killing and injuring a number of the ISIL terrorists as well as destroying several military vehicles.

The army units also pounded the ISIL's gathering centers and movements in Taloul Alab al-Tayas region Northeast of Station 4 in the Western part of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur), killing tens of the ISIL terrorists and destroying several of their military vehicles.

The Syrian fighter jets also hit the ISIL's gathering centers, supply routes and movements of the terrorists in Arak and Western Badiya in the surrounding areas of Sha'er and on al-Bardeh road in the neighborhood of al-Quaryatayn and in the surrounding areas of Palmyra city and al-Bayarat region to West of Mosul in Eastern and Southeastern Homs province which resulted in the destruction of targets and inflicted heavy losses and casualties on the terrorists.

Meantime, a battlefield source announced that over 10,000 Syrian soldiers and National Defense Forces as well as Desert Falcons (Syrian army's special forces) are participating in the ongoing military operations.

"The main purpose of the operation is to take control of the oil and gas wells in Jazel, al-Shaer and Mehr regions and eventually seize control of ancient Palmyra," the source said.

The source went on to say that the Syrian army troops have already advanced three kilometers in the depth of the region North and East of T4 airbase.

On Saturday, the Syrian Army troops, backed up by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets, started a fresh round of anti-ISIL operation to the West of Palmyra, capturing more lands in the region.

The Army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL near T4 airbase and al-Bardeh region, killing a large number of terrorists and driving the rest of them out of more positions in Eastern Homs.

The Syrian and Russian warplanes carried out tens of combat sorties over ISIL's gatherings and movements near Palmyra and energy fields near the city and al-Bardeh.

Meantime, a military source said that the ISIL is after capturing T4 airbase and then the town of al-Quaryatayn, but the Syrian and Russian warplanes have foiled plans of terrorists in preemptive strikes.

According to another military source, the first phase of the army's special operation in Eastern Homs is aimed at capturing the Jazal mountain and Al-Maher gas fields to liberate these sites from ISIL's control.

In relevant developments in the province on Friday, the army's artillery units shelled ISIL's bases in Eastern Homs, killing at least four militants, including the terrorist group's security commander.

At least four ISIL militants were killed and over a dozen more were wounded under the heavy fire of the Syria army's artillery units in Eastern Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951026000671

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Sweida: Syrian Army Destroys ISIL's Strategic Military Base, Operations Room

Jan 15, 2017

Several field commanders of the ISIL were stationed in the terrorist group's operation room in the Northern part of Sweida province.

Over 45 ISIL terrorists, including senior commanders, were killed and wounded in the army's missile and artillery attacks.

Meantime, a sum of six military vehicles and arms depot of the ISIL terrorist group were also destroyed in the attacks.

In late December, the Syrian Army soldiers warded off a large-scale attack of the ISIL terrorists North-East of Sweida province, inflicting heavy casualties on the militants.

The army men engaged in fierce clashes with a large group of the ISIL terrorists that attacked government positions in a region East of Sa'ad-al-Qasr road to advance towards Tal Banat Ba'eir.

The army soldiers inflicted a large number of casualties on the militants and repelled their attack.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951026000535

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman meets Lebanon’s Grand Mufti

16 January 2017

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Abdul Latif Derian in Riyadh on Sunday.

The meeting was attended by several Saudi and Lebanese officials.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/16/Saudi-Arabia-s-King-Salman-meets-Lebanon-s-Grand-Mufti-.html

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After three executed in Bahrain, a look back into their deadly attack

16 January 2017

Three inmates were executed in Bahrain on Sunday for the murder of two Bahraini and one Emirati policeman in 2014.

The three Bahrainis were convicted of killing UAE first-lieutenant Tareq Mohammed Al Shehi and Bahraini policemen Mohammed Arsalan and Ammar al-Dhalei in March 2014.

The three policemen were part of security forces tasked with dispersing violent protesters in the village of Daih in March 2014 when an improvised bomb detonated, killing the men.

The accused had planted a bomb and lured police officers into a trap where one of the suspects then detonated the device from a distance using a mobile phone.

Al Shehi was working in Bahrain with the Gulf Waves Force under the joint GCC security cooperation agreement, an additional force established to help local Bahraini police keep peace and order.

Local UAE media described Lt. Al Shehi as an “example of goodness, dedication, discipline and excellence”.

“He was loyal to, and did a great deal for, his homeland, and received martyrdom for the sake of his God and his homeland, and for duty, humanity and peace,” Chief of Ras Al Khaimah Police Maj. Gen. Sheikh Talib bin Saqr Al Qasimi told UAE’s The National back in March 2014, when Al Shehi was laid to rest.

In Bahrain, thousands attended Dhalei’s funeral. The Bahraini policeman was from Muharraq city in the town of al-Hidd, in north Bahrain. He is survived by his wife and daughter Alsheikha al-Dhalei.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/16/After-three-executed-in-Bahrain-a-look-back-into-their-deadly-attack.html

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Al-Nusra's Offensive against Army Positions Repelled in Quneitra

Jan 15, 2017

The Syrian troops clashed with al-Nusra militants who were attempting to occupy one of the army's military positions in Hazar village, and warded off their offensive.

A number of terrorists were killed and wounded in the clashes, while their military grid sustained major damage.

Meantime, the Syrian army's missile and artillery units targeted the al-Nusra Front's moves and gathering centers in Tal al-Hamriya in the Southern parts of Hazar village, and inflicted major loss and damage on them.

In a relevant development on Friday, the Syrian army troops and air force pounded terrorists' gatherings and movements in the provinces of Damascus and Quneitra, inflicting major losses on the militants.

The army aircraft bombed terrorists' gatherings in the village of Ein al-Fijeh al-Qous in Wadi al-Bardi region in Northwestern Damascus, killing and wounding a number of militants.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951026001033

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/stage-set-for-islamic-revolution--jamaat-e-islami-pakistan-chief/d/109739

 

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