New Age Islam
Wed Nov 25 2020, 05:40 AM

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

Terror Outfit Traps Non-Muslims with Presentation of Concocted Forms of Islam

















Pakistan plans to introduce “uniform prayer timings” for all sects of Islam across the country, a significant move in a society divided along sectarian lines. (REUTERS File Photo)

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Terror Outfit Traps Non-Muslims With Presentation Of Concocted Forms Of Islam

Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Exchange Reveals Common Ground

Sudan Scholars Edict - 'Tobacco Not Allowed in Islam'

Pakistan To Introduce Uniform Prayer Timings For All Sects: Report

 

India

Terror Outfit Traps Non-Muslims With Presentation Of Concocted Forms Of Islam

Reverse Love Jihad Surfaces In UP

Seer, Nijagunananda Swami, Hails Muslims Contribution In Freedom Movement

Assam to deport 17 Bangladeshis, including 3 Hindus, today

Three killed in terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir

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North America

Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Exchange Reveals Common Ground

US Shooter Heard Voices Telling Him To Join ISIS

Troop surge in Afghanistan my toughest decision: Obama

Man accused of recruiting for ISIS faces trial in US

US dropped more bombs in Obama’s final year of office

If Sessions won't defend Muslims, he's wrong AG for religious freedom

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Africa

Sudan Scholars Edict - 'Tobacco Not Allowed in Islam'

Tunisians Demonstrate Against Return Of Militant Compatriots

Mufti Urges Muslim Community Against Radicalism

West African leaders 'won't deploy forces to Gambia for now’

Boko Haram attacks Nigerian army base, five soldiers killed: military source

Somalia: Al Shabaab militants recapture town near Kismayo town

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Pakistan

Pakistan To Introduce Uniform Prayer Timings For All Sects: Report

Islamic Movements ‘Making Progress Despite Hardships’

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F Threatens Agitation If Decisions ‘Imposed’ On Fata People

 ‘Terrorist outfits still strong despite decline in attacks’

161 awarded death by military courts in two years: ISPR

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Arab World

ISIS Kidnaps 1,200 Yazidis, Moves Them To Mosul

Syrian Army Gives Last Chance to Militants to Reconcile with Gov't

Islamic State Suicide Car Bomb Kills 13 in Eastern Baghdad

Car bomb near Syrian capital kills 5

New rules in Saudi Arabia to protect pilgrims' rights

Iraqi Special Forces get to Tigris River in militant-held Mosul

Syria ready to negotiate with opposition groups: President Assad

Nusra Terrorists Violate Truce in Wadi Al-Bardi, Syrian Army Starts Operation

Syrian Gov't Grants Amnesty to 130 Ex-Militants in Homs Province

Idlib: Nusra Commanders Killed in Joint Operation by Syrian, Russian Forces

Syrian Army Forces Discover French, European Munitions at Terrorists' Positions in Hama

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Ulema Rue Govt's Shutdown Of Radical Sites

Muslims, Converts Need Not Include ‘Bin’, ‘Binti’ In Their Names, Evangelical Group Says

Fighting Intolerance A Challenge For Indonesia's Moderate Muslims

Chinese police shoot dead three 'terror' suspects in Xinjiang

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Mideast

Fighting In Yemen’s Bab Al-Mandeb Strait Kills 70

68 Killed In Battles Near Yemen's Strategic Strait

About 100 reverted to Islam at Al-Aqsa in last 2 years: Imam

Iranians in shock and sorrow over Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s passing

Arab coalition intercepts two Houthi ballistic missiles near Bab al-Mandab

Saudi deputy crown prince: Iran represents three main ills of region

Tensions between Houthis, Saleh escalate over ministerial positions

Iran warns of reinforcement of terrorists during Syria truce

Turkish parliament to begin debates on presidential powers

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South Asia

Buddhist Extremists Stop Muslim Ceremony In Myanmar

Top Western IS Member Was Married To Bangladeshi-Born Brit

Myanmar to talk Rohingya repatriation with Bangladesh

Improved Russia-US relations good for peace in Afghanistan: Karzai

Afghanistan signs $205m road construction project with a Chinese firm

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Europe

Germany's Islamist Scene Growing: Security Chief

Muslim Migrants Unwilling to Integrate Into European Society - Czech President

Austrian minister calls for Islamic headscarf ban

7 Times UK News Stories About Muslims Had To Be Corrected In 2016

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Australia

Muslim Leaders Call On Islamic Body To Step Aside To Save Sydney's Malek Fahd ​​School

UMA hosts first Australian Muslim Youth Day to help youths find career direction

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/terror-outfit-traps-non-muslims-with-presentation-of-concocted-forms-of-islam/d/109655

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Terror Outfit Traps Non-Muslims With Presentation Of Concocted Forms Of Islam

08th January 2017

NEW DELHI/DEOBAND (SAHARANPUR): International radical outfit Street Daawah has opened offices in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai to recruit non-Muslims, including those from the IT hubs in these cities, for enlisting them into suicide missions.

The outfit had begun its operations in the UK and Australia in 2012 following which a number of youths were radicalised with presentation of concocted forms of Islam. In the wake of the outfit’s activities, a few Indians, including Indian- origin British national Siddarth Dhar who is a Kashmiri Brahmin, joined the Islamic State.

Dhar is also believed to be the new Jihadi John, a masked executioner for the IS whose videos relating to mass executions have been released by the Caliphate-seeking terror outfit after the liquidation of the original Jihadi John whose real name was Mohammad Emwazi, a British origin IS executioner.

Many of the Street Daawah cadres have been known to have either joined the IS ranks or emerged as suicide bombers for them. As many as 25 suicide bombings have been committed globally by the Street Daawah cadres during the last few years.

Top intelligence sources said the outfit has not registered itself as a voluntary organisation in India so far but has started functioning from these cities. According to the Street Daawah concept, only non-Muslims are targeted and subsequently influenced to accept radical form of Islam. Upon radicalisation, the cadres continue to retain their non-Muslim names in their passport so as to evade any suspicion by the law enforcement agencies.

Apart from recruiting non-Muslims for suicide bombing missions, the outfit also targets maulanas for preaching their version of the misinterpreted Islamic concepts and further increase the recruitment base of the outfit. The concept of Street Daawah derives its origin from its movement in UK and Australia after which a number of its cadres had joined the terror group Islamic State and carried out suicide bombings in different parts of Europe. Recruits are randomly selected by Street Daawah operators who collect data like mobile/phone numbers, residential and e-mail addresses of the targeted youth. The outfit’s recruiters then radicalise them through their concocted Islamic literature and psychological brainwashing over a period of time.

A senior Intelligence official said the addresses of the Street Daawah offices in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai have been ascertained and their activities are being watched. Their networking with other radical organisations like the ones relating to the Salafist preacher Zakir Naik is also under the scanner.

When contacted by The Sunday Standard, a number of Maulanas and Muftis especially from Deoband said while Islam does not approve violence, a minuscule number of the youths are attracted due to the communication gap between the Government and the citizens. The Maulanas and the Muftis said foreign elements are behind radicalisation in India who just cannot accept the inter-community harmony in the country. They also said there is a global trend to create Islamophobia.

Maulana Arshad Madani, President of the Jamiat-Ulama-e-Hind, said, “It is true that a few youths from both the Hindu and Muslim community may get radicalised but it is equally true that many a times there is propaganda to malign the Muslims. Violence is unacceptable in Islam but the religion is often perceived to be violent.”

Maulana Mufti Arshad Farooqui of the Darool Uloom Zakaria said lack of proper education is responsible for radicalisation amongst the youth. The Government as well as the Muslim community should together work to eradicate the emerging threat from radicalisation, he added.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2017/jan/08/terror-outfit-traps-non-muslims-1557241.html

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Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Exchange Reveals Common Ground

JANUARY 9, 2017

Haroon Rashid, a Muslim from North Penn Mosque in Lansdale, and Fred Goldstein, a Jew from Old York Road Temple-Beth Am synagogue in Abington, met as mentors at an Interfaith Center of Philadelphia youth conference in 2015 and quickly became kindred souls.

When they visited Rashid's mosque during the conference, Goldstein asked about a collection box he saw. Rashid said it was a Sadaqah box, used to collect money for the poor. Goldstein said, "When we go to my synagogue, I'll show you a Tzedakah box, where we collect money for the poor."

That was one of many common threads between Judaism and Islam that the two new friends discovered as "Haroon put his arm around me and said, 'I thought we were cousins,' " Goldstein recalled Sunday. "That day for me was actually life changing."

Discovery of common ground was also on the agenda Sunday, when 46 members of Temple-Beth Am visited North Penn Mosque to share a meal of lamb, beef, rice, and chickpeas; observe the afternoon prayer service led by Imam Abu Rashad; hear Imam Mujammil Zakir explain the basic tenets of Islam; and learn that jihad isn't necessarily what they thought it was.

After alternating flawlessly between Arabic and English to discuss shared Islamic and Jewish respect for seminal figures such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, and the similar wish for peace in the greetings shalom and salaam alaikum, Zakir paused and said, "Jihad."

He looked around the room, smiled, and gently teased his listeners, "When we hear that word, we sometimes wake up if we've been sleeping."

Then, turning serious, he said, "Jihad doesn't mean to go on a battlefield and fight. It means you struggle in your heart" to meet God's standard of goodness.

That struggle might be between relaxing at home after a tiring work week instead of venturing out into the cold to go to the mosque, he said, adding "Who made the jihad? People who came to the afternoon prayer. That is jihad."

Syed Afzal, the mosque's president, welcomed visitors by saying, "We are blessed with your presence," and noted that the mosque's members in the room included people from India, Pakistan, Senegal, and Bangladesh.

"This is a beautiful gathering. I'm sure all of you came from another part of the world at one time or another. And now," he said dramatically, "the most important item of the day. What is that? Food!"

He began the meal by breaking flatbread with Beth Am's Rabbi Robert Leib, who offered a blessing in Hebrew. Afzal looked at his Muslim and Jewish audience and said, "We are all the offspring of one pair: Adam, peace be upon him; and Eve, peace be upon her." Then he worked the lunch crowd, asking how the food was and joking, "If it's good, I cooked it."

Lily Rothman runs Beth Am's Lincow Institute for Adult Jewish Studies, with her husband, Paul, and helped organize the mosque visit. She said its purpose was "to help get the whole sense of the unknown out of the way. I think if we have a level of comfort with each other, we'll be more at peace with each other. The more you know, the more you understand and appreciate differences, and the more you eliminate misunderstanding and fear. The bottom line is: we're all human beings."

The afternoon of fellowship ended with women from Beth Am spontaneously serenading their Muslim hosts with a Hebrew song that translated as "How beautiful it is when brothers and sisters come together."

Then the congregants who Leib affectionately calls the "Beth Amniks" invited their Muslim hosts to come to the synagogue for a future interfaith visit. Leib and Afzal hugged.

And the two friends who started it all, Rashid and Goldstein, were ecstatic. Rashid said, "I liked Fred immediately for his exuberance, his magnanimity, and his concern for mankind."

Goldstein, his voice thick with emotion, said, "Our goal is to make our country, make our world, just a little bit safer for our grandchildren. When you talk about what can each of us do, this is it."

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20170109_Muslim-Jewish_interfaith_exchange_reveals_common_ground.html

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Sudan Scholars Edict - 'Tobacco Not Allowed in Islam'

8 JANUARY 2017

Khartoum — Last week, the head of the Sudan Scholars Corporation issued a religious decree banning tobacco.

Sheikh Mohamed Osman Saleh, head of the Sudanese Scholars Corporation told the state-owned Sudan News Agency (SUNA) last week that tobacco is forbidden in Islam.

The use of tobacco is no less dangerous and evil than the use of drugs, Saleh said.

He demanded the Sudanese security apparatus to combat the cultivation, sale, and use of tobacco in all parts of the country.

Asked about the donation of the North Darfur government of 10,000 tons of tobacco in support of the ruling National Congress Party, the sheikh said that the gift consisted of various in-kind materials. He accused the Sudanese media of highlighting the tobacco item, "for the purpose of creating sensation and chaos".

In response, former North Darfur government adviser on economic affairs Rashid Ismail told reporters in Khartoum that "the fierce attack against tobacco trade in the country has led to the idea that it is something abnormal".

According to Ismail, "the recent campaign against tobacco is probably intended to hit the Darfur economy. It will put the livelihoods of 900,000 Darfuris at stake".

http://allafrica.com/stories/201701090127.html

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Pakistan to introduce uniform prayer timings for all sects: Report

Jan 09, 2017

Pakistan plans to introduce “uniform prayer timings” for all sects of Islam across the country, a significant move in a society divided along sectarian lines.

Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said he will get in touch with chief ministers of all four provinces to introduce ‘Nizam-e-Salat’, The Express Tribune reported.

Elaborating the plan, he said the provincial governments will notify a local timetable, at least at the district level in their respective provinces, for the prayer timings.

These timetables will be formulated according to the local time-zones across Pakistan, the paper said.

Pakistan’s early years were largely peaceful, except for occasional sectarian flare-ups. In 1980s, military ruler Gen Zia-ul Haq’s policies promoted discord among different sects. The Pakistani society is now divided along sectarian lines.

In May 2015, the federal government introduced the system for the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). However, the decision has hardly been implemented in spirit.

The minister said that the government had consulted the met office and religious leaders of Ahle Hadith, Sunni Hanafi (both Deobandi and Barelvi) and Shia sects — before notifying uniform prayer timings for the ICT.

The same pattern will be adopted for a countrywide plan in order to promote uniformity and unity, he said.

Yousaf said that implementing ‘Nizam-e-Salat’ will be the responsibility of the provincial authorities and his ministry has so far been receiving a positive response from them.

In response to a query, he said that 80 per cent of the mosques in the ICT were observing the Nizam-e-Salat and he wants that the same model in implemented in all major cities and districts of the country, the paper said.

However, sources in the religious ministry said that the federal government has so far been unsuccessful to implement uniform prayer timings in ICT despite its claims.

There are around 700 mosques in the capital territory and the managements of a fewer mosques are implementing the calendar of uniform prayer timings.

Yousaf did not set a deadline to implement uniform prayer timings but said this is the priority of the government.

He added that a decision to adopt uniform sermons for Friday’s prayers would also be taken sometime later.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan-to-introduce-uniform-prayer-timings-for-all-sects-report/story-tNKx1nqTYf3lD1DKvH9xGM.html

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India

 

Reverse Love Jihad Surfaces In UP

9 Jan 2017

She calls herself Ameesha Thakur now, a name given by her husband Arvind. Dressed in a blue and pink sari with sindoor in her hair and a shiny bindi on her forehead, she looks the archetypal obedient bahu. But all is not what it seems in the Thakur home in Chaubiya Rampur village in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district. Just across the lane is Ameesha’s nanihal (maternal grandparent’s house), where her family doesn’t even acknowledge her existence. Abducted three years ago when she was just 13 and now married to a Hindu and living as one, she is not their little Zubeida Khatun any more.

“They made a public announcement in the panchayat that they will make her a Hindu. Now she is living like one, how can we accept this?’’ questioned her uncle Abdullah. The reality is hard to accept for the family, which is one amongst the few Muslim families in the village. He alleges that their little girl was kidnapped by the powerful Thakur family and was forced to convert.

According to the FIR filed by Zubeida’s family in 2013, Rameshwar Thakur and his sons Arvind and Nagin Thakur have been charged with kidnapping and compelling a young woman into marriage. As per the family, Rameshwar Singh’s friends in the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) and the right-wing Hindu group, formed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, engineered Zubeida’s abduction.

A few months after she disappeared, Zubeida appeared before a magistrate and voluntarily accepted to marry Arvind. Her family resisted, claiming that she was under age and had been tricked by Arvind. “We tried a lot, filed police complaints, took the matter to the court, but eventually they produced false documents proving her legal age and she got married to the Hindu,’’ said Abdullah. What stings even more is that the Thakurs showed their clout during a panchayat, beating drums in a procession to celebrate a Muslim girl’s conversion into Hinduism. “They did this to shame us in the village,’’ Abdullah added. Zubeida alias Ameesha, the girl in the proverbial centre of the storm who claims she is 21, says she got married willingly. “My family is angry because I married a Hindu,’’ she says. Her abduction, she says was a ‘misunderstanding’. “Every couple has some problems, we also had some. I do everything as a Hindu, pray to god, fast and live as my in-laws tell me to,’’ she says, cradling her three-year-old son.

Communal fault lines

The real story lies somewhere between Abdullah’s claims and Ameesha’s statements. But whatever the truth is, Kushinagar seems to have become ground zero of what is being called ‘reverse love jihad’ — a reversal of the label BJP leaders, including Adityanath. Cases of Muslim boys getting married to Hindu girls had become a hot potato issue in politically sensitive Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 elections with Adityanath and others calling it a threat to national security. On its website, under the section ‘ideology’, HYV cites a write-up that says, “the journey of Islam from jihad to love jihad”.

The numbers

Between 2014 and October 2016, 389 cases of underage girls missing or kidnapped were registered by the district police. Superintendent of Police Bharat Kumar Yadav says, “No parents would want their daughters to marry willingly. Sometimes these girls are underage or have no documents to prove their age, in such cases we take their statements in front of a district magistrate. Some of them voluntarily choose to marry the opposite community,” Yadav added. A fact finding report of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) on Kushinagar found dozens of cases of rapes and forced kidnappings of young Muslim girls for religious conversion. The report, submitted to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in January 2016 blames ‘local goons of HYV’ for the atrocities against girls.

According to AIMMM President Mohammad Sulaiman, who believes all men accused of crimes have a connection with HYV and, the strong influence of HYV and backwardness of the Muslim community in the region is a major factor behind the increasing number of cases. “The Muslims here are backward and socio-economically weak. Many families where the girls were abducted either had no elder male member or their father was a migrant worker, they are helpless and vulnerable.’’

Social exclusion

Almost one-fourth of the country’s Muslim population lives in Uttar Pradesh. Within the state, 36 per cent of the minority community is concentrated to the east. However, in Kushinagar, which borders Gorakhpur district on the eastern end and also Bihar, the Muslim population is a mere 16 per cent. Despite the communal fault lines, the social dynamic in this part of the state has been a syncretic one — cultural and social practices in this part bordering Bihar are so syncretic that it’s hard to differentiate a Muslim from a Hindu. Many Muslims share common Hindu names, women sport red bindis and even celebrate the popular Chhath festival. Yet, trivial issues like land demarcation, the size of the taziya (Muharram procession), sexual harassment and love affairs can snowball into violent communal flare-ups, revealing how volatile things actually are. Muslim families live on the periphery of villages and some are even segregated by a village wall.

Ameesha was abducted when she was 13 and forced to convert; (right) Sameena Khatun was threatened and assaulted by her neighbour

Eastern Uttar Pradesh has a high poverty rate and low literacy rate, low income and low socioeconomic status. Most of the population here is rural based and dependent on the cultivation of sugarcane — the only profitable crop in Kushinagar. Over the last few years, more than half the sugar mills have closed down. As a result, men have migrated to urban areas for better prospects. Suleiman found that girls who were abducted and disappeared belonged to such families. Local journalist from Padrauna, Muhammad Anwaar Siddiqui who extensively reported on the cases of reverse Love Jihad said many of these girls are untraced; others remain silent fearing stigma and ostracism. “Families try hard to keep news of such incidents tight as the girls are still to be married off. Only a few of such cases are lodged with the police as the girls say they are harassed and threatened by the abusers who happen to be neighbours in the same village, pressurising to withdraw the complaints,’’ he said.

Tale of a village divided

In October 2016, Advocate Satyendra Rai received an appeal from his client Bhulai alias Habib Ansari to withdraw the case of his daughter from the Juvenile Justice Board, Kushinagar. “He said he wanted to get his daughter married and if the case is still in the court, no one would marry her.’’ In March 2014, Noori was abducted from her home in Gauri Sriram by four men from the Hindu community and was gang raped. She returned home 10 days later. Noori gave a statement to the magistrate in which she identified the four men, including a juvenile. The families of the accused harassed her after her father filed an FIR, she said. Her family was forced to withdraw the cases and drop the names of accused, who lived in the village and roamed around freely.

“But only the juvenile was imprisoned. The remaining names were dropped by the police,’’ Rai said. Villagers allege that the accused are all HYV members. On the behest of the local family of one Munna Shahi, the Muslim community of this hamlet has now been segregated by a 500-meter wall. “The whole village knows Munna Shahi is from HVY. He and his men have created terror in the village,’’ said Munni, a villager.

In the same village, third year BA student Sameena Khatun says she lives in fear everyday. It started when she was threatened and physically assaulted by a neighbour named Santosh. “Woh humko bhaga ke le jane ke liye aaya tha, aur kya? (He came to kidnap me, what else?).’’ What saved her is her loud scream that got the attention of her relatives. “He belongs to HYV. Wohi toh sab jagah danga karvate hai (They engineer riots).’’ The FIR filed by her mentions Santosh but not the allegation.

MISSING GIRLS IN KUSHINAGAR

116 Number of cases in 2014

137 Number of cases in 2015

136 Number of cases in 2016 (till Oct)

LOVE JIHAD

Love Jihad, a controversial term used to describe an affair or marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman, under the guise of religious conversion, surfaced around 2009 in BJP ruled Karnataka. The term soon entered the political lexicon when similar cases were flagged off in UP, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala with right-wing organisations like the RSS and the BJP alleging a conspiracy by the Muslim community targeting Hindu women who were honey trapped for conversion to Islam.

Kushinagar — a communal cauldron

Intimidation by the HYV runs deep in Kushinagar, popular in the tourist circuit as the resting place of Lord Buddha, the place of Mahanirvana. Gorakhpur activist Parvez Parvaz says it is a ground for experimenting with communalism for the right-wing HYV. “The Muslim community is socially very weak and the HYV has a free hand as it has the support and backing of Adityanath. They instigate communal violence and hatred wherever they reach,’’ he said.

Kushinagar

In 2008, after Parvez moved Allahabad High Court, police filed a case against five BJP leaders, including Adityanath and party workers, for instigating communal riots in Gorakhpur. The 2007 riots had lasted a fortnight with 10 members of the Muslim community being killed. The Supreme Court had halted prosecution against the accused and asked the Uttar Pradesh government to submit its report. “This case had reined in the terror of HYV in Gorakhpur. Before 2007, MP Adityanath would be on ground, giving hate speeches and riling up HYV youth against the Muslims,” Parvez said.

Senior lawyer and Kushinagar resident Shafiullah Khan has defended hundreds of HYV activists in courts after the 2007 Gorakhpur riots. “Kushinagar is undoubtedly the biggest ground for HYV. Every village has a saffron board with the names of local members and office bearers displayed at the entrance.’’ HYV’s influence can be seen when its members take to the streets flaunting saffron scarves. “The police and the administration will not take any action against an HYV member. Till date, there has been no conviction of any HYV member in a communal case, as their names never appear in the charge sheet,’’ Khan said.

With the multiphased state elections beginning February 11, Muslims are fearful of violence breaking out. Muzaffarnagar riots, that began with an incident of harassment of a Hindu Jaat girl by a Muslim boy are still a fresh reference on how things can go bad.

Kushinagar is reeling from communal clashes in Batrauli village in October during Navratri and Muharram procession. More than 50 Muslim families were on the run, their houses locked, shops and jaggery making units destroyed. It started on a bizarre note when the sarpanch (village chief) came riding on an elephant wanting to carry a procession through the narrow lanes adjoining the local mosque which was objected by the Muslim community. Within minutes the crowd gathered and set houses of the Muslims on fire. Local families said many from this crowd were outsiders belonging to the HYV. Sensing a flare-up, police stepped in and prevented HYV leaders including Rajeshwar Singh from visiting Batrauli on the day of the riots.

The administration says it is on an alert for any communal violence and acts directly on any complaint—in a neutral stance it has registered cases against both Hindus and Muslims. HYV leader Singh, hoping for an election ticket, has demanded that the administration release the Hindu men and drop their names. “This riot was done by the Muslims; they have run away and burnt their houses. Not a single Hindu will be arrested in this case,’’ he said.

District Magistrate Shambhu Kumar rejected the claim of HYV’s command on police. “They like to project themselves as powerful. We are controlling the situation,” said Kumar.

Families try hard to keep news of incidents tight as the girls are still to be married off. Only a few of such cases are lodged with the police as the girls say they are harassed and threatened by the abusers who happen to be neighbours in the same village, pressurising to withdraw the complaints

— Muhammad Anwaar Siddiqui, Local journalist

My family is angry because I married a Hindu. Every couple has some problems, we also had some. I do everything as a Hindu, pray to god, fast and live as my in-laws tell me to do

— Zubeida alias Ameesha Thakur, a convert

No parents would want their daughters to marry willingly. Sometimes these girls are underage or have no documents to prove their age, in such cases we take their statements in front of a district magistrate. Some of them voluntarily choose to marry the opposite community

— Bharat Kumar Yadav, Superintendent of Police

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-reverse-love-jihad-surfaces-in-up-2290453

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Seer, Nijagunananda Swami, Hails Muslims Contribution In Freedom Movement

JANUARY 09, 2017

Hailing the contribution of Muslims in the freedom struggle, Nijagunananda Swami of Tontadarya Mutt has urged the government to include a lesson about it in the school curriculum.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Muslims in freedom struggle’, organised by the Karnataka Souharda Vedike to mark the martyrdom of Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan, on Sunday.

The seer urged district in-charge Minister M.B. Patil to take steps to include the lessons in textbooks as revision of school curriculum was under way.

The seer, however, said that he did not consider Bhagat Singh as a Hindu and Ashafqullah as a Muslim as both of them were Indians.

Without naming any political party, he said that a particular party was working under the pretext of secularism and the other was functioning based on religious lines.

“People should not vote for political parties that divide the nation on the lines of religion. We need development-centric political parties,” he said.

The seer, referring to the recent Supreme Court order that banned seeking votes on the basis of religion and caste, said that the apex court had given an apt order. He said that the nation was facing threats from Hindu fundamentalist outfits and Muslims fundamentalist outfits who were only creating a gap between people.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/Seer-hails-Muslims-contribution-in-freedom-movement/article17011437.ece

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Assam to deport 17 Bangladeshis, including 3 Hindus, today

Jan 09, 2017

The BJP-led Assam government is set to deport 17 Bangladeshis on Monday. Three of them are Hindus who were reportedly hounded out of Bangladesh.

The deportation comes six months after the central government introduced a bill to facilitate persecuted non-Muslims from neighbouring countries become Indian citizens.

The 17 were among 54 people from Bangladesh and Myanmar who were caught after illegally entering India during the past few years. They had been languishing in a detention camp in Silchar Central Jail mainly due to the lack of communication with officials of these two neighbouring countries until 2015. Silchar, the headquarters of southern Assam’s Cachar district, is 330km from Guwahati.

“Their deportation followed two rounds of talks between officials of border districts of Assam and Bangladesh. All formalities have been done to hand them over to the Bangladesh authorities via the Border Security Force in the Karimganj sector about 10am today (Monday),” Cachar superintend of police Rakesh Roushan told Hindustan Times on Sunday.

Among those to be deported to 11 districts of Bangladesh are Bhagabati Goala, 50, from Madhabpur district, Rahul Das, 23, from Habiganj district and Mou Das, 18, from Sunamganj district. Months ago, they were quoted as saying they had fled religious persecution in Bangladesh.

Last year, on October 13, southern Assam officials had deported 10 Bangladeshis. This followed bilateral meetings between the two governments in 2015 – first in January at Silchar and then in October at Srimangal in Bangladesh’s Maulvibazar district.

The deportation comes amid a raging controversy in Assam over the BJP’s decision to grant citizenship to non-Muslim “refugees” from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Assam is particularly wary of becoming a haven for Hindu Bangladeshis if the BJP succeeds in amending the Citizenship Act.

“The BJP says it will drive out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Then, it contradicts its position through its move to grant citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus by amending the Citizenship Act,” three-time former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of the Congress wondered.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/assam-to-deport-17-bangladeshis-today/story-sn8Xp5R0juHSp9WEctcv6I.html

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Three killed in terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir

Jan 9, 2017

NEW DELHI: Heavily-armed terrorists on Monday attacked a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Akhnoor district killing three personnel.

The attack took place around 7 am. Gun shots were heard and the area was cordoned off by security forces. according to an ANI report.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/three-killed-in-terror-attack-in-jammu-and-kashmir/articleshow/56412323.cms

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North America

 

US shooter heard voices telling him to join ISIS

8 January 2017

US authorities charged the Iraq war veteran accused in a deadly shooting rampage at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport with offenses that could carry the death penalty, while continuing to probe whether terrorism was a potential motive.

Esteban Santiago, 26, was accused of killing five, wounding six and sending thousands scrambling for safety on Friday before authorities shut down the airport in Florida, a major gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Last November, Santiago walked into the FBI's Anchorage office and complained that his mind was being controlled by national intelligence agencies, which were forcing him to watch ISIS militant videos, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors have charged Santiago with firearms offenses and carrying out an act of violence at an airport, US Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said in a statement. If convicted, he could face the death penalty or life in prison.

The suspect was scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Monday.

Murder charges could be forthcoming from state prosecutors, but no decision has been made yet, a spokesman for Broward County State Attorney Mike Satz told the local Sun Sentinel newspaper.

Santiago had traveled from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale on Friday. After retrieving a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and ammunition that he had declared and stowed inside his checked luggage, he allegedly loaded the weapon in a bathroom and opened fire in the crowded baggage claim area of Terminal 2.

"Santiago started shooting, aiming at his victims' heads until he was out of ammunition," Ferrer said.

FBI special agent George Piro said law enforcement was continuing to investigate motives for the attack, including "continuing to look at the terrorism angle."

A former member of the Puerto Rico and Alaska National Guard, Santiago served in Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011. He ended his service in August.

Piro said the suspect appeared to be acting alone and that "every indication is that he did follow (Transportation Security Administration) procedures in flying with the weapon."

The gunman was detained without law enforcement having to fire any shots, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

A former member of the Puerto Rico and Alaska National Guard, Santiago served in Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011. He ended his service in August.

An aunt, Maria Luisa Ruiz, told the NorthJersey.com news site that Santiago became a father to a baby boy in September -- and that he was having mental problems.

"Like a month ago, it was like he lost his mind," Ruiz said. "He said he saw things."

On November 7, Santiago walked into the FBI's Anchorage office and complained that his mind was being controlled by national intelligence agencies, which were forcing him to watch ISIS militant videos, authorities said.

The "erratic behavior" led agents to contact local police, who took him to a medical facility for a mental health evaluation, Piro said.

He was not placed on a no-fly list.

Anchorage police chief Christopher Tolley said Santiago came to the FBI office with a loaded magazine, but left his gun and newborn child in his car.

Santiago's weapon was taken by police for safekeeping at the time, and he was able to reclaim it on December 8.

Tolley said it was not known whether it was the same gun used in the rampage in Fort Lauderdale.

Santiago's brother, Bryan, criticized the way authorities handled his case.

"They had him hospitalized for four days and they let him go. How are you going to let someone leave a psychological center after four days when he said he hears voices that the CIA is telling him to join certain groups?" Bryan Santiago told CNN, in a Spanish-language interview the network translated into English.

"Not everyone has the same reaction when they return from war. Some are better, and some, not so much."

Authorities have not identified any victims, but three named in media reports were all getting ready to set off on cruises.

They included 84-year-old grandmother Olga Woltering of Marietta, Georgia, the Sun Sentinel reported. The British native and her 90-year-old husband were going on a cruise with family to celebrate his birthday.

"Olga was so charming, calling everybody 'Lovey' or 'Love' in her unmistakable British accent," the Catholic Church of the Transfiguration, where Woltering was an active member, said on its website.

Terry Andres, 62, was going on vacation with his wife of nearly four decades, Ann, the Palm Beach Post reported. He lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia and worked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Michael and Kari Oehme, in their 50s from Council Bluffs, Iowa, were both shot, the Miami Herald said. Michael Oehme was killed, while his wife was wounded in the shoulder.

Checking weapons

The shooting renewed anxieties about airport security -- a concern that has loomed large in the post-9/11 era -- and shed new light on ongoing US gun-control debates.

The Transportation Security Administration -- the agency responsible for security at United States airports -- allows passengers to travel with unloaded firearms and ammunition as checked baggage.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents the Florida district that includes the airport, said the rules need to be reexamined.

Speaking to CNN, she said the incident should prompt close review of "whether or not you should be allowed to check a firearm at all" -- as well as how passengers should be able to retrieve checked weapons after landing.

"If there is still exposure to the traveling public of someone who wishes to do them harm and, like this individual, was reunited with their firearm and was able to wreak havoc... it absolutely needs to be addressed."

Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, rebuked the government for not taking legislative action to tighten gun laws.

"Political cowardice is the accomplice of every mass shooter," he wrote on Twitter.

The Fort Lauderdale airport was open Saturday and staff were trying to return nearly 20,000 pieces of luggage and other personal items abandoned by passengers fleeing the shooting.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/01/08/Florida-shooter-heard-voices-telling-him-to-join-ISIS.html

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Troop surge in Afghanistan my toughest decision: Obama

9 JANUARY, 2017

WASHINGTON -  What was President Barack Obama's hardest decision during his two terms in office? A massive troop surge in Afghanistan, he said in an interview aired Sunday.

"Toughest decision was early in my presidency when I ordered 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan," Obama, who leaves office in less than two weeks, told ABC's "This Week."

After a protracted debate inside the administration that pitted US military commanders against White House advisers, Obama announced the 30,000-trooop "surge" in December 2009.

The decision would bring the US contingent in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000 troops along with almost 50,000 allied troops.

"I think it was the right decision because the Taliban at that point had gotten a lot of momentum before I'd gotten into office, partly because we hadn't been paying attention as much as we needed to Afghanistan," Obama said in the interview taped Friday. The president had hoped to withdraw most US military forces from Afghanistan by now, leaving behind just a small force.

But the United States still has some 8,400 military personnel in the country, and announced Friday it is sending some 300 Marines to Helmand province in the coming months.

Meanwhile in Iraq, more than 5,000 US soldiers are still on the ground providing critical support to the country's army, which is unable to man a war alone against the Islamic State group's extremist fighters.

Asked whether he found it disappointing that so many troops remain in both countries, Obama said the United States is "not going to get the kind of decisive, permanent victories in this fight against terrorism that we would get from fighting another country."

"But we don't have this huge footprint, we are less likely to be targeted as, you know, occupiers," he added about the reduced number of troops.

Even after decimating Al-Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas and killing the jihadist group's leader Osama bin Laden, groups in the region still "have both the interest and the capacity if we don't maintain vigilance to strike against the United States," he said.

OBAMA UNDERESTIMATED

IMPACT OF RUSSIAN HACKING

Obama admitted that he "underestimated" the impact misinformation and hacking can have on democracies, following an intelligence report on Russian meddling in the US presidential election.

Obama also warned his Republican successor Donald Trump, who takes office in less than two weeks, about the difference between governing and campaigning, saying the president-elect won't be able to run his presidency "the way you would manage a family business."

The interview took place the same day the US intelligence agencies released an unprecedented report saying Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign of hacking, leaking, and media manipulation aimed at undermining Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and boosting Trump.

Although Obama said he was not taken in by Russian hostility to the United States, "I think that I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation for cyber hacking and so forth to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating."

Obama ordered the intelligence report, released to the public Friday, partly "to make sure that we understand this is something that Putin has been doing for quite some time in Europe, initially in the former satellite states where there are a lot of Russian speakers, but increasingly in Western democracies."

"We have to pay attention," he said of upcoming elections in European ally nations, warning of possible interference.

Russia initially aimed its unprecedented cyber campaign at damaging a potential Clinton presidency, and then turned to supporting Trump after his victory appeared possible, the report from the Director of National Intelligence said.

Trump, who met the country's leading intelligence agency chiefs to hear the full report, has accepted the possibility of Moscow's involvement in hacking US targets, including the Democratic National Committee, but rejected the conclusion that Russia interfered in the election.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Jan-2017/troop-surge-in-afghanistan-my-toughest-decision-obama

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Man accused of recruiting for ISIS faces trial in US

9 JANUARY, 2017

NEW YORK: US prosecutors are counting on the social media postings of an Arizona man to help persuade a jury that he was a recruiter for ISIS militants.

Ahmed Mohammed el-Gammal (ehl-gahm-AHL') faces trial Monday at a federal court in New York on charges that he helped a young New Yorker link up with ISIS fighters in Syria in 2015 via a contact in Turkey.

In one Facebook message, el-Gammal said he would rather live in a tent in an Islamic state than enjoy all the "luxuries under an infidel state."

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Jan-2017/man-accused-of-recruiting-for-isis-faces-trial-in-us

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US dropped more bombs in Obama’s final year of office

9 JANUARY, 2017

WASHINGTON - The United States dropped an estimated 26,171 bombs in seven countries in 2016 -- President Barack Obama's last year in office -- 3,027 more than the previous year, a new report has revealed.

According to an analysis of Defence Department data from the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan think tank, the majority of the bombs were dropped in Iraq and Syria. The US leads an international coalition fighting the Islamic State group in both countries and has carried out air operations in attempt to reduce the area controlled by the terrorist organisation. Nearly the same amount of bombs were dropped in Syria (12,192) and Iraq (12,095) last year. An additional 1,337 explosives were dropped in Afghanistan, marking a nearly 50 percent increase compared with 2015. The US bombing also increased in Libya, which suffered 496 explosives. Another 34 were dropped in Yemen, 14 in Somalia and three in Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Jan-2017/us-dropped-more-bombs-in-obama-s-final-year-of-office

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If Sessions won't defend Muslims, he's wrong AG for religious freedom

01/08/17

The United States attorney general must uphold the basic value of religious freedom for all Americans. We do not tell people how to pray in America, and we do not ban people from entering our country based on their religion.

As religious leaders committed to this shared American value, we are deeply concerned about this week’s hearings on the nomination of Jeff Sessions to serve as our next attorney general. His record and rhetoric of apparent Islamophobia should make all senators on the Judiciary Committee who care about religious freedom ask him these hard questions. 

How can Senator Sessions defend the religious freedom of all Americans when he has denigrated one religion in particular?

Just days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, President George W. Bush visited a mosque and addresses the American people. He reassured worried Americans who are Muslim that:

“America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. … And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”

More recently, President Barack Obama has boldly said: “We are not at war with Islam.”

Members of the incoming Trump administration have departed from this rhetoric, instead heightening tensions with talk of a holy war.

Senators must ask Sessions if he endorses the idea that America is at war with Islam or if he agrees with the words of our past two presidents which uphold our American ideals. Sessions record points towards concern. He called Islam a “toxic ideology” in an interview with the American Thinker in June. 

Does Senator Sessions support a “Muslim ban” or a “Muslim registry?”

As a top surrogate and advisor to the president-elect, Senator Sessions has supported the concept of a “Muslim ban.”  Senators on both sides of the aisle have raised questions about not just the constitutionality of such a ban, but whether it undermines our values as a nation.

Religious freedom questions have plagued the president-elect throughout his campaign, including whether he would establish some type of “Muslim registry” for foreigners residing within the United States.

Many of the Trump administration’s policies as they relate to religious freedom have yet to be outlined or detailed. Senator Sessions’ confirmation hearings present the Judiciary Committee with its first opportunity to question the direction of the administration and ask tough questions about policies floated during the campaign.

Will Senator Sessions renounce his ties to extremist organizations?

Senators must question whether Sessions still supports and receives advice from anti-Muslim groups like the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Center for Security Policy, both of which have been labeled hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Senator Sessions has been on an award-winning streak with these extremist groups. In 2014, he received the “Daring the Odds: The Annie Taylor Award” from the David Horowitz Freedom Center. And in 2015, he received the annual “Keeper of the Flame” award from the Center for Security Policy.

We are stronger when we come together as Americans and weaker when we let fear and hate come between us. Senator Sessions can’t be allowed to bring his hate-group friends with him to the Department of Justice.

Giving platforms to fringe individuals and organizations that have been designated by some as extremist groups only divides us. Our attorney general should help unite us and treat all Americans with the same dignity, fairness and respect.

Will Senator Sessions protect the rights of all Americans?

The attorney general serves as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. He or she must address terrorist acts based on evidence, not single out an entire group of people based on their faith. Not only is that the right course of action based on our values, it is more effective at keeping us safe.

The Judiciary Committee must press Senator Sessions on his history of showing limited respect for the equal protection clause of the constitution.

Senator Sessions hasn't just peddled Islamophobia by seeming to accept a Muslim registry, but has allegedly called the NAACP “un-American” and “communist-inspired.” He has allegedly joked about approving the KKK and treated his own employees with disrespect.

Our Christian faith teaches us to stand up for the most marginalized and vulnerable in society, to treat others as we would like to be treated, and to work for justice and equality.  No one should fear for their safety because of the color of their skin, what language they speak or how they pray.

Full report at:

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/313131-jeff-sessions-disqualifying-religious-freedom-track

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Africa

 

Tunisians demonstrate against return of militant compatriots

Jan 8, 2017

Hundreds of people have protested in Tunisia to express their strong dissent against the return of their compatriots who had fought alongside Takfiri terrorists abroad.

About 1,000 people, many wrapped in Tunisian flags, staged a demonstration in central Tunis, the country’s capital, on Sunday, chanting, “No to returning terrorists!” and “All Tunisians against terrorism!”

According to figures released by the Tunisian Interior Ministry, more than 3,000 Tunisians are known to have traveled abroad to operate in the ranks of militant groups, particularly the Daesh Takfiri terrorists. The United Nations, however, says over 5,000 nationals are in the ranks of militant groups.

Tunisia is among the countries with the highest per capita number of extremist militants operating in other countries.

"Tunisians need to be reassured by a real political will that makes it clear these criminals won't be allowed to return," said one of the demonstrators.

In recent months, Daesh has been under intense pressure by government troops in Iraq and Syria, where the Takfiri group once occupied swaths of land. The terrorist group has been increasingly losing members and areas it once held. Daesh is also losing its main stronghold of Sirte in Libya.

The gloomy status quo of Daesh has growingly worried Tunisians that many militants will return to the North African country.

Tunisian authorities recently warned about the return of thousands of Takfiri militants, demanding "exceptional measures" to combat the phenomenon.

Tunisian security forces have detained several dozen alleged terrorists in a growing crackdown on radicalized nationals in recent weeks, particularly following a truck attack, claimed by Daesh, at a Christmas market in the German capital, Berlin, on December 19.

Anis Amri, a Tunisian national, was identified as the main suspect in the truck ramming, which killed a dozen people. Amri was killed in a shootout with police in the northern Italian city of Milan on December 23.

Tunisia has experienced violence since the 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was in power for over two decades.

The country has also been affected by the growing instability in neighboring Libya, which has been in chaos since former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and later killed in 2011.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/08/505396/Tunisia-Tunis-demonstration-Daesh

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Mufti urges Muslim community against radicalism

By: TIMES REPORTER

January 09, 2017

The Mufti, Sheikh Salim Hitimana has called upon the Muslim community in Rwanda to desist and fight acts of radicalism and extremism.

While addressing Muslims in Rubavu District over the weekend, the Mufti noted that such terror acts shouldn't be associated with their faith.

He urged them to join fellow Rwandans in collaborating with security organs to fight and prevent all sorts of criminal acts and to ensure sustainable security.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Denis Basabose, the Commissioner for counter-terrorism in Rwanda National Police, also attended the meeting.

He noted that fighting such acts starts at the household where parents and guardians should educate their children on the beliefs of religion and protect the young generation against likely acts of radicalisation.

“Acts of radicalisation are a rare phenomenon in Rwanda but globalisation and technology has eased such transnational and organised crimes like terrorism,” ACP Basabose said.

Full report at:

http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-01-09/206930/

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West African leaders 'won't deploy forces to Gambia for now’

Jan 8, 2017

West African leaders will continue mediation to ensure the peaceful transfer of power in The Gambia and have no plans to deploy armed forces to the country “for now,” says Liberia’s president.

“We are committed to a peaceful mediation and a peaceful transfer of power in The Gambia... we will continue to pursue that for now,” Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said after a meeting of regional leaders in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Saturday.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has decided not to deploy its standby military force to The Gambia, said Sirleaf, who chairs the 15-member bloc.

The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, a former coup leader who has ruled the country for 22 years, has refused to step down despite losing the presidential election to Adama Barrow, an opposition leader, in December last year. That has triggered a political crisis and fears of violence in the country.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh attends the closing rally of his electoral campaign in the capital Banjul, November 29, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Jammeh initially accepted losing to Barrow, triggering nationwide celebrations on the streets. A week later, however, he changed his mind, saying the electoral commission had been biased in favor of his rival. He then filed a complaint with the Supreme Court against the electoral commission and vowed to remain in office despite regional and international pressure to concede defeat.

Sirleaf stressed that ECOWAS is closely monitoring proceedings in The Gambia’s Supreme Court, where Jammeh is challenging election results.

Last month, ECOWAS leaders said they would do anything necessary to uphold the result of The Gambia election. ECOWAS then placed its military forces on standby to intervene in case Jammeh attempted to stay in power after his mandate ends on January 19.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/08/505293/Gambia-ECOWAS-peaceful-mediation-Liberian-president

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Boko Haram attacks Nigerian army base, five soldiers killed: military source

Jan 8, 2017

Five Nigerian soldiers and more than 15 Boko Haram fighters were killed when the jihadists attacked an army base in the remote northeast where the group has been fighting for an Islamic state, a military source said on Sunday.

Boko Haram attacked an army brigade in Buni Yadi in Yobe state late on Saturday, an army spokesman said by text message, without giving a casualty figure.

"Five soldiers lost their life in the attack though more than 15 Boko Haram were killed by troops," the military source said.

Several explosions could be heard on Sunday in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state where Boko Haram started its seven-year insurgency that has killed about 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million.

Officials or medics were not immediately available to give a casualty figure.

In early 2015, Boko Haram controlled an area about the size of Belgium. It has been pushed out of most of that territory over the past year by Nigeria's army and troops from neighboring countries, moving to a base in the Sambisa forest.

Last month, the army said it had taken Boko Haram's key camp in the forest, although the group has staged suicide bombings since then.

Security analysts say the group's ability to carry out attacks in neighboring Niger, Cameroon and Chad suggests it has multiple bases.

It was a joyful yet sad reunion for the 21 recently released Chibok girls who went home to celebrate Christmas.

Full report at:

http://www.africanews.com/2017/01/08/1000-days-with-boko-haram-any-hope-for-the-remaining-196-chibok-schoolgirls/

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Somalia: Al Shabaab militants recapture town near Kismayo town

08.01.2017

KISMAYO, Somalia- Al Shabaab fighters have retaken control of Bulo-Gadud near the port town of Kismayo from Jubbaland state forces backed by the African Union (AU) troops, who seized it earlier on Friday, Garowe Online reports.

Residents said the militants had encountered a light resistance from the allied forces during the takeover. Bulo-Gadud lies some 30 km away from Kismayo, and is now under Al Shabab’s control.

Jubbaland troops with the support of Ethiopian forces serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have earlier pushed out Al Shabaab from several villages in the outskirts of the coastal town of Kismayo last week.

However, AMISOM and Jubbaland are yet to release a statement concerning the fall of Bulo-Gadud district to Al Shabaab militants.

There had been deadly clashes between local herders and Al Shabaab in northern areas of Kismayo over the past weeks, after the militants stole thousands of camels from the nomads.

Full report at:

http://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-al-shabaab-militants-recapture-town-near-kismayo-town

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Pakistan

 

Islamic movements ‘making progress despite hardships’

January 09, 2017

KARACHI -  Islamic movements across the world are moving forward and showing achievements despite hardships and problems.

These views were expressed by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan leader and Director Current Affairs Abdul Gaffar Aziz.

He was addressing JI’s convention held here on Sunday at its headquarters Idara Noor-e-Haq.

He said that Islamic movements from Egypt to Kashmir were facing tough times. “Their members are being targeted, executed, subjected to worst torture and being pressed against the wall by the state machinery,” he said, and added, “Despite all these major issues, the movements are gaining momentum.”

The JI leader further said that longing for the freedom of the holy land of Palestine was almost a common feature in the Islamic movements across the world.

He added that hundreds of patients in the hospitals of Gaza had died due to blockade imposed by Israel.

He said that Islamic movement of Egypt had also very strong roots in masses. “Israel assassinated Zawaheri in a remote area of Tunis because he was urging people to take part in the freedom struggle of Gaza,” he added.

Talking about Syria, he said that at least 500,000 people had been killed in Syria during the last five years.

He further said that global powers had introduced several armed groups in the country to support the country’s leadership.

He further said that conspiracies were being hatched against Turkey to isolate her in the global community.

Speaking on the occasion JI Karachi chief Engineer Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rahman said that JI would continue to raise voice against injustices and for the oppressed Muslims across the world.

He further said that the party had been struggling hard for the provision of rights to people and vowed that the struggle would pick up in near future.

http://nation.com.pk/karachi/09-Jan-2017/islamic-movements-making-progress-despite-hardships

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Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F Threatens Agitation If Decisions ‘Imposed’ On Fata People

Jan 09, 2017

KHAR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F leaders on Sunday rejected the federal government’s plan to merge Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and threatened to launch a protest movement if any changes were ‘imposed’ on the tribal people.

They made the threat while addressing a public gathering here.

A number of students and teachers of both the religious seminaries and public educational institutions also showed up at the gathering, which was considered a public demonstration against the proposed reforms in the tribal areas.

Senior JUI-F leaders, including its Fata head Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Bajaur emir Maualna Abdur Rahseed, Haji Said Badshah, Mufti Mohammad Ijaz Shinwari, Qari Mustafa and Ahmed Zeb Khan Advocate addressed the gathering and expressed their grave concerns over the proposed reforms in the tribal areas.

They claimed that the Fata reforms committee had violated its mandate to only suggest recommendations for the political mainstreaming of Fata, saying what the committee proposed was not acceptable to the tribesmen.

The speakers said the JUI-F wanted that all the changes in Fata should be introduced in the line with the wishes of majority of residents. They asked the government to delay implementation of the reforms in Fata until all stakeholders, including tribal elders and political and religious parties were taken into confidence on the matter.

“We request the federal government, especially the prime minister, to stop implementation of the reforms until every stockholder is taken on board, otherwise the JUI-F would start an agitation campaign across Fata,” threatened Abdul Shakoor.

However, the JUI leaders said the party would continue its struggle to replace the current colonial governance system with the Islamic laws instead of extending the country’s regular laws to the tribal region.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1307355/jui-threatens-agitation-if-decisions-imposed-on-fata-people

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 ‘Terrorist outfits still strong despite decline in attacks’

09-Jan-17

ISLAMABAD: While terrorist attacks declined in 2016, terrorist outfits continue to remain a potent threat, with many widening their scope, narrowing their ideology and evolving within the new spaces. These threats will linger on for long, unless the state moves beyond the hard approaches.

In 2016, as with the preceding years, banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remained a major actor of instability in the country, carrying out 106 attacks. 2016 also saw a rise of Jamaatul Ahrar with 66 attacks. Part of JA's rise owes to the weakening of the TTP's operational capability. This reality of how terrorist dynamics evolve should not be lost upon policymakers, notes 2016 security report of think tank Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).

Overall, the report notes that there has been a decline of 28% in terrorist attacks in 2016: 441 terrorist attacks took place in 57 districts/regions across Pakistan, claiming 908 lives. While suicide bombings have been receding, the reports note, 50% of the attacks in 2016 were targeted killing or shooting.

Although sectarian violence declined for 2016, that violence will linger on for long. For one, sectarian outfits are still active. Together with other banned outfits, they are encroaching as new far-right, eating at the socio-political space of the country and injecting sectarian-tiled discourse in the country.

Most importantly, sectarian militancy is further blending upon the militant landscape. In 2016, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi saw its rebirth as LeJ Al-Alami, a group that attacked the shrine in Khuzdar. The group is believed to have widened its scope, developing computability with global terrorist outfits, including the Islamic State (IS).

Policymakers should take note of all these dynamics in all parts of the country, in charting out any response. In Balochistan, the report notes, these groups (TTP, Jamaat Ahrar, LeJ Al-Alami) pose a far graver threat than Baloch insurgents. The former have been behind major attacks, including in Quetta and Khuzdar, while the latter have usually launched low-intensity attacks.

The latter, PIPS report notes, can be tackled through political resolve, which has been missing in the last one year. It is hoped that some progress may be made to that in 2017.

Meanwhile, security forces carried out around 95 operational strikes and raids and apprehended 1,418 suspected terrorists and members of violent groups in 315 search operations.

A special article on the Counter-Terror Department (CTD) Punjab notes that the success made by it owes to its independent structure, rigorous training, and dedicated role of fighting terror.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/09-Jan-17/terrorist-outfits-still-strong-despite-decline-in-attacks

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161 awarded death by military courts in two years: ISPR

January 09, 2017

ISLAMABAD -  The military courts over the period of its existence for the last two years have awarded death sentence to some 161 hardened criminals, while another 113 were awarded imprisonment of varying duration, said an ISPR statement issued on Sunday.

Established in the light of 21st Constitutional Amendment the military courts had dealt with the cases through due process of law and played a vital role in dispensation of justice.

Soon after the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar massacre the government had taken the decision to deal with the terrorists/terrorism with an iron hand and the decision of establishing military courts for a period of two years was taken.

It was the time when the judicial system in the country was under stress and the judges were also subjected to acts of terrorism.

Under these circumstances these military courts shouldered the burden of the judiciary in speedy dispensation of justice. During the period of its validity, 274 cases were referred to military courts.

Of these 161 were awarded death penalty (of them 12 were executed) and 113 were awarded imprisonment of varying duration.

The disposal of cases through military courts has yielded positive results in terms of reduction in terrorist activity.

The military courts ceased to function on expiry of mandated period on January 7.

RANA SANA 'DISSATISFIED' WITH ARMY COURTS' PERFORMANCE

Monitoring Desk adds: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Sunday that general elections would be held on time and that the performance of military courts was not up to the mark.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/09-Jan-2017/161-awarded-death-by-military-courts-in-two-years-ispr

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Arab World

 

ISIS kidnaps 1,200 Yazidis, moves them to Mosul

8 January 2017

At least 1,200 Yazidis have been kidnapped by ISIS militants and moved to central Mosul, according to the acting governor of Sinjar district in Iraq’s Nineveh.

Mahma Khalil also added that there were other Yazidis from the districts of Tal Afar and Al-Baaj who were kidnapped and being held hostage inside Mosul.

At least four Yazidis were able to be freed from ISIS last week by Iraqi armed forces, according to the same source.

Pashmerga forces have been able to free nearly 2,700 Yazidis over the past year from ISIS.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/01/08/ISIS-kidnaps-1-200-Yazidis-moves-them-to-Mosul.html

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Syrian Army Gives Last Chance to Militants to Reconcile with Gov't

Jan 08, 2017

The government officials said they extend their previously announced ultimatum to militants in Yalda, Bebayla and Beit Saham towns up to Thursday in a bid to accomplish the reconciliation process in the region.

Representatives of the Syrian government urged the militants in the town of Yalda, Bebayla and Beit Saham to hand over the requested 46-paragraph lists to the army till Thursday and turn at least 60 up to 70 percent of their arms in to the army men.

After receiving the list of those militants that intend to surrender and those who want to leave the region, the army will specify the arms that it will allow the outgoing militants to carry and the place to which terrorists will be transferred.

Reports said on Wednesday that the army troops allowed tens of militants to leave their positions in six towns and villages in Western Ghouta to be relocated to militant-held regions in Idlib province.

The sources said that after arrival of a number of green buses to Sa'asa'a region, at least 135 militants, who had not applied for government amnesty, along with their families were evacuated from the towns and villages of Sa'asa'a, al-Khazrajiyeh, Hasnou, Beir Timah, Kafr Hours and Beit Seber.

In the meantime, the government officials gave three days to militants in the towns of Yalda, Bebayla and Beit Saham in Southern Damascus to join the peace agreement.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951019000591

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Islamic State Suicide Car Bomb Kills 13 in Eastern Baghdad

Jan 09, 2017

Baghdad. A suicide car bomb blast claimed by Islamic State killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 50 others at a vegetable market in eastern Baghdad on Sunday (08/01), police and medical sources said.

The attacker drove the car through a gate to the market in the mainly Shi'ite district of Jamila, and detonated the bomb after security forces opened fire on the vehicle, a police source said.

Islamic State claimed the attack in an online statement, saying the bomber had targeted "a gathering of Shi'ites" in the area.

A series of attacks in the Iraqi capital and other cities in the country have killed dozens of people in just over a week.

Several have been claimed by Islamic State, which is coming under increasing pressure from a United States-backed offensive in Mosul, its last major stronghold in Iraq.

Iraqi forces advanced to within several hundred meters of the Tigris River than runs through Mosul on Saturday, as their operation against the ultra-hardline group gathers pace.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/international/islamic-state-suicide-car-bomb-kills-13-eastern-baghdad/

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Car bomb near Syrian capital kills 5

Jan 09, 2017

BEIRUT: A car bomb exploded Sunday in a government-held area outside the Syrian capital, killing at least five people and wounding 15, state media said.

The car bomb was detonated outside Sasa, southwest of Damascus. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-run monitoring group, said the explosion near a government checkpoint killed four, including three members of military intelligence. The state news agency didn't identify those killed, but said the wounded included women and children.

The al-Qaida-linked Fatah al-Sham Front claimed the attack, saying a gunman opened fire on the checkpoint before a suicide bomber struck.

Fighting has raged in opposition-held areas near Damascus despite a Dec. 30 nationwide cease-fire, including in the Barada Valley region, the primary source of water for the capital. A local truce there collapsed Sunday as the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, an ally of the government, announced a resumption of military operations after a 24-hour pause.

The fighting has severely restricted the flow of water to the 4 million residents of Damascus, which has been without a reliable supply of tap water for more than two weeks.

Opposition activists say the truce failed because the government is asking the opposition to give up control of the entire valley.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/08-Jan-2017/car-bomb-near-syrian-capital-kills-5

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New rules in Saudi Arabia to protect pilgrims' rights

8 January 2017

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has issued a set of rules to protect the rights of pilgrims.

A document uploaded on the ministry’s website says that it protects the rights of pilgrims through follow-up and supervising committees and communication centers established to receive complaints and observations.

The ministry said that it ensures the rights of foreign pilgrims by monitoring contractual commitments and services such as accommodation, food and transportation.

It said that it refers pilgrims’ complaints to a special committee which decides punishment against violators.

A Hajj services company which provides substandard services will either be fined, suspended from work for a season or more and/or have its license revoked, the ministry said.

Umrah pilgrims are entitled to safety and comfort while carrying out their rituals, transportation, luggage delivery and shipping, confirmation of flight bookings, alternative air tickets in case original ones are lost.

The rights of Hajj pilgrims include safety and comfort, full implementation of contractual obligation by service-providing companies, financial guarantees against companies to ensure that they honor their contracts, representation in courts in case companies object to financial compensation.

Hajj and Umrah rights

The rights of domestic pilgrims:

The ministry shall take the necessary financial guarantees from licensed companies to ensure the fulfillment of contracts.

The ministry will monitor the services and facilities provided by companies.

The ministry will receive pilgrims’ complaints and observations. Then it will present them to the concerned committee for investigating and issuing appropriate decision.

The ministry will implement the decisions of the committee that include applying penalties on violating companies by imposing fines, stopping them from the service for one season or more, or cancelling their licenses.

The ministry will represent pilgrims before the authorized legal courts if a company objects to the compensation determined for pilgrims.

The ministry will give pilgrims the compensation amount that is determined for them through approved official channels.

The rights of foreign pilgrims:

The ministry will ensure safety and pilgrims’ rights in conformity with contracts signed between pilgrims’ representatives and service providers.

The ministry will ensure that pilgrims get proper accommodation, transportation, food and logistics at the holy sites.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/08/New-rules-protect-pilgrims-rights.html

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Iraqi Special Forces get to Tigris River in militant-held Mosul

Jan 8, 2017

Members of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) have reached the eastern bank of the Tigris River in Mosul as they along with allied fighters and Kurdish Peshmerga forces try to expel Daesh terrorists from their last urban stronghold in the country.

CTS spokesman Sabah al-Numan told Reuters on Sunday that Iraqi troops fought their way to the fourth bridge over the river, which has been damaged in fighting between government forces and Daesh militants.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry also announced in a statement that a CH-4 Rainbow drone of the country’s Air Force carried out a precision strike against a Daesh fuel depot in the al-Andalus neighborhood of western Mosul, setting the site ablaze and killing a Daesh extremist.

Moreover, Iraqi security forces established control over the mosque, where purported Daesh ringleader Ibrahim al-Samarrai aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his famous speech on the formation of the terror group.

Iraqi counter terrorism forces also regained control of a health center in Mosul’s eastern neighborhood of Sukr.

US-led warplanes kill 27 civilians in Iraq's Mosul

Meanwhile, an Iraqi medical official says 27 civilians were killed on Saturday when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh in Iraq carried out two separate airstrikes in Mosul.

Dr. Ahmed Raid al-Hamadani, an official with Mosul operations' mobile hospitals unit, told Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency that at least 15 people lost their lives as US-led military aircraft struck a civilian convoy of 10 vehicles in the eastern part of Mosul.

Coalition planes also hit Ibn al-Haysum neighborhood in southeastern Mosul, killing 12 civilians, including women and children.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/08/505375/Iraqi-special-forces-reach-Tigris-Mosul-Takfiri-Daesh-militants

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Syria ready to negotiate with opposition groups: President Assad

Jan 8, 2017

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he is "optimistic" about upcoming peace negotiations due to be held in Kazakhstan between representatives of Damascus and dozens of foreign-backed opposition groups.

The Syrian president made the remark in a meeting with a visiting delegation of French parliamentarians and intellectuals in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Sunday.

Damascus is "ready to negotiate" with some 91 armed opposition groups, President Assad was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) as saying.

Assad also said he was "counting a lot" on the upcoming talks, which are scheduled to be held in the Kazakh capital, Astana, later this month.

The Syrian president also blamed France for its current policy, saying it is disconnected from the reality of the war in Syria. He added that the adopted policy by Paris has deteriorated the situation through the support it has provided for terrorist groups in the country.

The negotiations, which exclude the Takfiri terrorist groups Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, will be mediated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran. The three countries successfully implemented a similar accord in December following the defeat of militants in Syria's northwestern city of Aleppo.

The Syria president also stated that he was prepared "for a reconciliation with them (the militant groups) providing that they lay down their weapons."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Assad criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and blamed him for jailing "more political prisoners than all the Arab countries combined."

The Syrian president rejected accusations of war crimes committed by Syria's government forces, saying no war was clean. He, however, added, "There were probably mistakes on the government side, which I regret them and condemn them."

French lawmakers Thierry Mariani (C-L) and Nicolas Dhuicq (C-R) visit the ancient Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, on January 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The French delegation, for its part, said they had seen substantial improvement of the situation, which in turn revealed the ability of the Syrian people and government to restore security and stability and continue to stand their ground firmly in the face of terrorism. They added that the Western public opinion, particularly in France, had become aware that the image they were receiving about the status quo in the region and Syria was not realistic and included plenty of false information.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/08/505356/Syria-Assad-talks

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Nusra Terrorists Violate Truce in Wadi Al-Bardi, Syrian Army Starts Operation

Jan 08, 2017

Syrian Army troops and Air force launched fresh round of attacks on Fatah al-Sham positions in Western Ghouta after the terrorist groups opened fire at the security troops and the repair and maintenance teams that arrived at the water reservoirs in Ein al-Fijeh region to fix destroyed facilities.

The Army, in a retaliatory move, resumed its offensives in Wadi al-Bardi region and engaged in fierce clashes with Fatah al-Sham fighters in the towns of Kafr Zeit and Bahaliya.

The Syrian fighter jets also carried out several combat sorties over Fatah al-Sham's positions in the region.

Media sources disclosed earlier today that Fatah al-Sham Front has started setting fire at its bases in Wadi al-Bardi in a show of its decision to leave the region.

The Arabic language al-Hadath news quoted informed sources in Wadi al-Bardi as saying that Fatah al-Sham has set fire at its bases in the region, preparing for pulling back its forces along with foreign members from the reign to move towards militant-held areas in Idlib province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951019001286

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Syrian Gov't Grants Amnesty to 130 Ex-Militants in Homs Province

Jan 08, 2017

The government officials issued amnesty verdicts for 130 militants in the towns of al-Rastan, Talbiseh and the region of al-Mokharam in Northern Homs.

Also, ten armed groups in the province of Hama signed application forms to join the cessation of hostilities in Syria on Saturday, according to the Russian reconciliation center.

The leaders of 10 more armed formations in Syria have the Russian-Turkish brokered ceasefire, bringing the total to 104, the Russian reconciliation center said, Sputnik reported.

"Leaders of 10 armed groups in the province of Hama signed application forms to join the cessation of hostilities," the center said in a daily bulletin posted on its website.

It noted that the number of settlements that joined the ceasefire agreement, which took effect on December 30, remained at 1091. Negotiations continued with field commanders and units of the armed opposition groups in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Quneitra provinces, the center said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951019001209

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Idlib: Nusra Commanders Killed in Joint Operation by Syrian, Russian Forces

Jan 08, 2017

The sources said that the Russian drone attack on a gathering of Fatah al-Sham was done based on secret information that the Syrian intelligence service had gained through its agents that are active in Nusra-held regions in Idlib.

The sources rejected news that the US-led coalition did the drone attack, saying if the coalition had done the attack, Washington would have claimed its responsibility rightaway to prove its forces' involvement in the war on terrorism.

In relevant developments in the province on Wednesday, over 20 Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) militants, including several notorious field commanders, were killed in an airstrike in Northwestern Idlib.

"At least 25 Nusra terrorists, including their senior commanders attending a meeting in their command center, were killed in an airstrike by unidentified fighter jets on a main military base of Fatah al-Sham near the town of Sarmada in Northwestern Idlib," several local and media activists reported on Wednesday.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951019001083

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Syrian Army Forces Discover French, European Munitions at Terrorists' Positions in Hama

Jan 08, 2017

The Arabic language al-Hadath news website reported that the Syrian forces seized an ammunition depot of terrorist groups in Northern Hama containing 45 French 68mm rockets and missiles charged with highly explosive warheads.

The forces also found a large number of 81mm mortar shells made in Europe.

Media sources disclosed in late December that a number of depots were discovered in the newly-freed districts of Aleppo city with a large volume of arms and ammunition that were mostly US-made.

The Russian language daily, Izvestia, reported that the militants left behind several arms depots in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city with a large volume of the weapons, mostly made in the US, adding that the weapons had been supplied to the terrorists in disguise and under the cover of humanitarian aid convoys.

"We have seized several arms depots worth millions of dollars. A large part of the weapons are made in the US. We were not surprised because Damascus had announced many times that the so-called moderate opposition groups were receiving weapons via Turkey and with the funding of the Persian Gulf Arab countries. Meantime, some of the weapons and ammunition had been looted from the army's depots," a high-ranking Syrian security official said.

Former Russian diplomat and expert in Middle-Eastern studies Viacheslav Motozov also said they accused Russia and the Syrian forces of targeting humanitarian aid convoys, but it was revealed that the trucks of the UN and certain humanitarian organizations were not carrying food stuff but were transferring a large volume of arms and ammunition worth millions of dollars.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951019000734

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian Ulema Rue Govt's Shutdown Of Radical Sites

January 9, 2017

The Indonesian Ulema Council has lamented the Communication and Information Ministry's move to block 11 Islamic sites deemed to have ignited ethnic, religious, racial and societal group (SARA) sentiments.

"Such a block on Islamic sites, of course, stirs reaction from Muslims since the issue is very sensitive. This move will likely trigger just as many negatives as positives, even though the policy is said to be aimed at eradicating radicalism and terrorism," said MUI deputy chair Zainut Tauhid Saadi as quoted by Antara in Jakarta on Monday.

According to Zainut, the ministry has yet to explain the definition of radicalism it uses to the public, adding that it should discuss with the public before taking such stern actions.

(Read also: Government shuts down 11 Islamic websites ahead of mass rally)

Ministry spokesperson Noor Iza said earlier that the decision to block those sites was made based on input from several institutions, including the National Police and the Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), as well as from the general public. Among the websites blocked included Lemahirengmedia.com, portalpiyungan.com, suara-islam.com and smstauhiid.com.

Zainut criticized the ministry's discriminative treatment on radical Islamic websites.

"Why did [the ministry] turn a blind eye and not block sites belonging to other religions that similarly spread radicalism, provocative messages and anti-pluralist sentiments?" Zainut said.

Indonesian Journalist Association (AJI) has also questioned the government’s assessment methods in shutting down websites. (dmr)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/01/09/indonesian-ulemas-rue-govts-shutdown-of-radical-sites.html

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Muslims, Converts Need Not Include ‘Bin’, ‘Binti’ In Their Names, Evangelical Group Says

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY

January 9, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Muslims and those who convert to Islam have the freedom to choose their own names and they need not include the words “bin” or “binti”, a Muslim evangelical group has said.

Weighing in on the controversy surrounding the National Registration Department’s (NRD) unilateral decision to include the word “bin” to a Chinese Muslim boy’s name, the Multiracial Reverted Muslims (MRM) said that there is no such compulsory requirement in Islam.

"Before I answer the question, let's understand the meaning of bin or binti. Bin means 'the son of' meanwhile binti means 'the daughter of'.

“There is no clear evidence that one must put bin or binti when someone becomes a Muslim, in the Quran or Hadith,” MRM president Firdaus Wong Wai Hung, a Muslim convert and Islamic preacher told Malay Mail Online.

"There is one evidence in Surah Al-Ahzab, Chapter 33, Verse no. 5 which says; ‘Call them by [the names of] their fathers’ — but this is related to surname rather than the issue that we are discussing now.

"If a Chinese in Malaysia becomes a Muslim, they can fully retain the original name or they have the option to add on any name with good meaning. It is up to them," Wong explained.

The incident involving the Chinese Muslim boy was reported by local vernacular daily China Press, who quoted the 45-year-old unnamed boy's father as saying that the Immigration Department officer had told him that the addition of the word “bin” was based on the NRD’s data.

According to a Chinese-Muslim businessman in Kuantan by the surname of Khoo, he had discovered the name change two years ago when he was applying for a passport for his eldest son — who had then yet to turn nine.

The news report did not mention the name of the relevant Islamic body which had allegedly given the advice to NRD.

He also said that the addition of the word “bin” to his son’s name was unnecessary, as he was a Muslim but had not changed his ethnicity to be Malay.

The paper reported that the matter was later resolved with the boy having his original name restored, after the father reportedly threatened to pursue legal action.

"They can retain their original name as long as the meaning of the name is good and not the name of deities or names with no meaning or bad meaning. This applies to all including those born Muslims too.

"Normally those from Indian or Sikh background they will have bin or binti to the name of their biological father. Example is Shah Kirit a/l Kakulal Govindji, but once he becomes Muslim, he (may choose to) retain his name, but just change from anak lelaki to bin — Shah Kirit bin Kakulal Govindji," Wong said.

"Everyone should be given the freedom to choose the names they desire as long as it doesn't go against the law of the land and touch on the sensitivity of others. For NRD to add bin or binti to a children (sic) when their parents never agreed to it is not something that NRD should do in the first place," he said adding that those who convert to Islam are not automatically Malays or even Arabs.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/muslims-converts-need-not-include-bin-binti-in-their-names-evangelical-grou

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Fighting Intolerance A Challenge For Indonesia's Moderate Muslims

Jan 09, 2017

Jakarta: Permadi Arya became famous – or infamous, depending on how you look at it – for his satirical YouTube videos lampooning extremism.

One of them, You are Shiite, sends up those who preach that only Sunni Muslims will be guaranteed a plot of land in heaven. "If you don't believe it, it means you are Shiite," he raps.

Permadi's alter ego is Abu Janda, a parody of the late Indonesian Islamic State leader Abu Jandal, who once threatened to slaughter the military and police.

Not everyone was amused. Permadi received texts from strangers: "Hi infidel, you will die tomorrow".

But more than 70,000 people watched You are Shiite and Permadi felt Muslim moderates like him were gaining traction. He was part of a cyber army taking aim at religious extremism using videos, funny memes and tweets as weapons.

"In 2015 we were facing radical doctrine conveyed through social media," Permadi says. "We were successful. There were not many people interested in radical doctrine, they preferred our parody videos."

But now he is more despondent. "[Now] the battlefield is different," Permadi laments. "They changed strategy."

Permadi believes Islamic hardliners have seized on tactless comments made by the embattled governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, and used it to spread radical doctrine.

Ahok, who is a Christian, told voters they were being deceived by his political foes. He claimed they had taken a Koranic verse out of context to argue that non-Muslims should not lead Muslims. Ahok is now on trial for blasphemy after mass rallies, spearheaded by Islamic hardliners, called for him to be jailed.

Permadi is a member of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic civil organisation in the world, which has 50 million members. Nahdlatul Ulama promotes Islam Nusantara, a pluralistic, tolerant form of Islam, as an antidote to extremist ideology and jihadism.

Permadi believes extremist groups have gained momentum on the back of the Ahok case and are now spreading radical doctrine that it is haram (forbidden) to have an infidel leader.

"Unfortunately moderate Muslims simply swallow it and won't listen to our statements," Permadi says. "We in NU are worried because the radical groups successfully took some of the moderates on to their side. And we have run out of ideas on how to counter this problem."

The past year has seen a marked rise in right-wing Islamic political activism as Indonesian society becomes increasingly conservative.

The Constitutional Court is deliberating whether to criminalise sex outside marriage, which would made gay sex illegal for the first time in Indonesia's history.

A proposed alcohol prohibition bill is before Indonesia's House of Representatives, although the likely outcome will be more controls on alcohol consumption rather than a total ban.

A survey in October of Islamic education teachers in five of Indonesia's 34 provinces – admittedly the most conservative provinces – found nearly 80 per cent supported implementing Sharia law.

It also found 74 per cent believed Muslims shouldn't give greetings such as "Merry Christmas" to those from other faiths and 89 per cent believed non-Sunni minorities should not be accommodated within Islam in Indonesia.

"Divisions between Muslims at the grassroot level has taken place, namely division between Muslims who think Ahok is innocent and who think Ahok insults Islam," Permadi says. "The division is wider than the Ahok case, look at the example of [the fatwa against Muslims wearing] Santa hats and Sari Roti bread."

Yes, even bread has become polemical in Indonesia. At the most recent mass rally, volunteers handed out Sari Roti, the largest mass-market Japanese-style bread brand in Indonesia, with signs that said "free for Muslims".

The bread manufacturer, Nippon Indosari Corpindo, whose CEO is Chinese-Indonesian, later issued a statement denying the company had supported the rally and stressing it supported Indonesia's motto "Unity in Diversity".

The bread company's support for Indonesian pluralism outraged some of Indonesia's netizens who called for a boycott of Sari Roti bread and posted photos of themselves stamping on it.

On Christmas Day, Indonesia's second-largest Islamic civic group, Muhammadiyah, started producing its own bread in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.

The secretary of Muhammadiyah's Surabaya branch, Muhammad Arif'an, said the bakery had been planned since January last year, but acknowledged the Sari Roti controversy provided impetus.

"Honestly, Sari Roti created a polemic at that time and it attracted people and yes, we used the momentum of the third rally," Muhammad told Fairfax Media.

The sectarian tension in Indonesia has been compounded by a deluge of fake news.

President Joko Widodo was forced to deny rumours that 10 million Chinese workers had been permitted to work in Indonesia, saying the figure was just 21,000.

Bank Indonesia denied bizarre claims circulated on social media that there was a hammer and sickle symbol on the 100,000 rupiah note. (Any activity which propagates communism, Marxism or Leninism is banned in Indonesia.)

The Chinese Embassy in Indonesia expressed alarm over claims China was waging biological warfare against Indonesia after four Chinese nationals were arrested for allegedly planting chilli seeds contaminated with a bacteria that can cause crop failure.

"The backdrop of that is also the income disparity that this country has," Yenny Wahid, the director of the Wahid Institute, a research centre on Islam that promotes tolerance, told a forum recently.

Full report at:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/fighting-intolerance-the-challenge-facing-indonesias-moderate-muslims-20170102-gtkv9t

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Chinese police shoot dead three 'terror' suspects in Xinjiang

Jan 09, 2017

Chinese police shot dead three "violent terror" suspects in the western Xinjiang region, the government said on Monday, the latest clash with Islamist militants who the government says want to break the region away from China.

The government says separatists in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, aim to form their own state called East Turkestan, and have links with militants abroad, including in Asia and the Middle East.

Security officers in the southern Xinjiang city of Hotan, a one-time Silk Road outpost considered part of the Uighur heartland, encountered violent resistance late on Sunday while pursing three members of a "violent terror gang", the Xinjiang government said on the Tianshan Net official news site.

"We shot the thugs dead at the scene. There were no casualties on our side," the government said.

The suspects were wanted in connection with an incident in April 2015, it said, but did not give details.

Hundreds of people have been killed in recent years in resource-rich Xinjiang, on the borders of central Asia and Pakistan, in violence between Uighurs and ethnic majority Han Chinese.

The government has blamed the unrest on militants, though rights groups and exiles say anger at Chinese controls on the religion and culture of Uighurs is more to blame for the violence. China denies any repression in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang had been generally quiet in recent months, with no major violence reported.

But in December, state media said attackers drove a vehicle into a government building in Hotan, setting off an explosive device and killing two people with knives before all three assailants were shot dead.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Jan-2017/chinese-police-shoot-dead-three-terror-suspects-in-xinjiang

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Mideast

 

Fighting in Yemen’s Bab al-Mandeb strait kills 70

Jan 8, 2017

Two days of severe clashes in the Bab al-Mandeb strait between fighters of the Houthi Ansarullah movement and pro-Hadi troops have claimed the lives of some 70 soldiers from both sides.

Some 70 other forces were also injured in Saturday clashes which erupted when forces loyal to Yemen’s resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi launched an operation aimed at taking the coastal district of Dhubab, north of the strait which connects the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

According to reports, Hadi-loyalist army commander Brigadier-General Abdul Aziz al-Majidi was killed in the clashes in which a large amount of equipment and arms were also destroyed.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia carries on with its relentless airstrikes against its impoverished neighbor.

A camel walks past fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed former Yemeni president as they hold a position during a military operation in the coastal district of Dhubab on January 7, 2017.

On Sunday, Saudi jets targeted the provinces of Sana’a, Sa’ada, Ma’rib, and Ta’izz, causing a number of casualties and destroying civilian infrastructure.

The Saudi war on Yemen, which has killed at least 11,400 Yemenis, was launched in March 2015 in an unsuccessful attempt to bring back Hadi’s government to power and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

Saudi Arabian armored vehicles deployed in Yemen’s coastal district of Dhubab on January 7, 2017.

The Saudi war has taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/08/505403/yemen-clashes-bab-mandeb-ansarullah

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68 killed in battles near Yemen's strategic strait

Jan 09, 2017

ADEN - At least 68 fighters have been killed in two days of fierce battles between Yemeni forces and Shiite Huthi rebels near the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait, military officials said Sunday. Government forces launched on Saturday an assault to recapture the coastal Dhubab district, just 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of Bab al-Mandab which links the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Since then at least 55 Huthis have been killed in fighting and 72 others wounded, military and medical sources said. Clashes since Saturday have also killed 13 loyalists forces, including an army general, Brigadier-General Abdul Aziz al-Majidi, a loyalist commander, told AFP. Landmines planted by the rebels have slowed down the advance of government forces, military officials said. The government and its allies in a Saudi-led coalition recaptured Bab al-Mandab strait in October 2015, pushing the Iran-backed rebels further north. But the rebels still control nearly all of Yemen's Red Sea coast to the north, posing what the coalition says is a threat to international shipping.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Jan-2017/68-killed-in-battles-near-yemen-s-strategic-strait

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About 100 reverted to Islam at Al-Aqsa in last 2 years: Imam

January 8, 2017

JERUSALEM: Over the past two years, about 100 people from 17 western countries reverting to Islam with many choose the Muslims’ third holiest site to embrace Islam.

“Ninety-seven people of 17 western nationalities have announced their voluntary conversion to Islam by repeating the Shahada [at the Al-Aqsa],” said the mosque Imam Sheikh Ekrima Said Sabri, a former grand mufti of Jerusalem in a statement issued this week, World Bulletin reported on Wednesday, January 4.

The would-be converts announced their conversion by reciting the Shahada, or “testimony”, repeating in Arabic: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” [at the Al-Aqsa]- Muslims’ first Qiblah. According to the former grand mufti of Al-Quds (Occupied Jerusalem), the westerners who recently converted at the mosque hailed from the U.S., Germany, France, Finland and Britain.

“Islam is the religion of justice and tolerance,” Sheikh Sabri declared. “It is a comprehensive religion; the distillation of all previous divine messages.”

He went on to emphasize that, according to the Quran, conversion had to be done on a strictly voluntary basis.

Full report at:

http://www.siasat.com/news/100-reverted-islam-al-aqsa-last-2-years-imam-1104372/

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Iranians in shock and sorrow over Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s passing

Jan 9, 2017

People in Iran are mourning the passing of Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died on Sunday at the age of 82.

Large crowds of mourners clogged the street around the hospital in northern Tehran where Ayatollah Rafsanjani was admitted after suffering a heart attack.

People mourning the death of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani outside Jamaran prayer hall in Tehran on January 8, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

His body was later taken to Jamaran prayer hall, where a large number of politicians and religious figures gathered to pay their last respects to the cleric.

His funeral will be held in Tehran on Tuesday. The government has announced three days of mourning and a public holiday on Tuesday.

People mourning the death of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at Jamaran prayer hall in Tehran on January 8, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

Ayatollah Rafsanjani was among the main aides to the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.

He played an influential role both during the anti-Shah struggles before the victory of the Islamic Revolution and afterwards through various stages of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Rafsanjani was also a key figure during the eight years of the Iraq-imposed war (1980-88), serving as the deputy commander-in-chief of Iran's armed forces.

Condolences pour in

Many Iranian and world figures have expressed condolences over the death of the former president.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei offered his condolences over the sudden demise of an old friend, comrade and ally. The Leader noted that Rafsanjani’s loss was overwhelming and very hard to bear, adding that their cooperation and friendship had lasted for 59 years.

President Hassan Rouhani also issued a condolence message, stressing that “Islam had lost a great asset, Iran a great commander.”

Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and many more also expressed their condolences.  

A US State Department official referred to Ayatollah Rafsanjani as a "prominent figure" throughout the history of Iran in a statement.  "We send our condolences to his family and loved ones," said the statement.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/09/505410/iran-rafsanjan-death-reactions

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Arab coalition intercepts two Houthi ballistic missiles near Bab al-Mandab

8 January 2017

Two ballistic missiles fired by Houthi militias north of Bab al-Mandab were intercepted by Arab coalition forces on Sunday.

The operation comes as fierce clashes continue on three fronts surrounding the strategic area of Bab al-Mandab as coalition air strikes target Houthi camps and gatherings.

Coalition air forces have also struck five targets on Sunday in the capital Sanaa, focusing on areas where Houthi militias have been gathering and recruiting.

The military operations come as news of tensions are flaring between Yemen’s Houthi militias and their ally, ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/08/Arab-coalition-intercepts-two-Houthi-ballistic-missiles-near-Bab-al-Mandab.html

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Saudi deputy crown prince: Iran represents three main ills of region

8 January 2017

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman has said this week that Iran “represents the three main ills of the region.”

In an interview with Foreign Affairs published on Thursday, Prince Mohamed was quoted as saying that three “ills” represented and instigated by Iran are: “borderless ideologies, state instability, and terrorism.”

He was cited as saying that the problem lied at the “radical regime born of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.”

Prince Mohamed said there was “no point in negotiating with a power that is committed to exporting its exclusivist ideology, engaging in terrorism, and violating the sovereignty of other nations.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/08/Saudi-deputy-crown-prince-Iran-represents-three-main-ills-of-region.html

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Tensions between Houthis, Saleh escalate over ministerial positions

 8 January 2017

Tensions between Yemen’s Houthi militia and their ally, ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have openly escalated, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

Both parties have attempted to share ministerial positions in what they named the “National Rescue Government,” despite it not being internationally recognized.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/01/08/Tensions-between-Houthi-Saleh-escalate-over-minister.html

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Iran warns of reinforcement of terrorists during Syria truce

Jan 8, 2017

A senior Iranian official says the current nationwide ceasefire in Syria should not provide an opportunity for terrorist groups’ rearmament.

“The ceasefire should not be used as an opportunity for terrorist groups to replenish their human, financial and weapon resources in order to continue [their] crimes and bloodshed,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said in a meeting with Major General Ali Mamlouk, the head of Syria’s National Security Bureau, in Damascus on Sunday.

A truce, brokered by Russia and Turkey, is largely holding across Syria since late December. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, and Daesh terrorist groups are excluded from the ongoing truce.

Damascus and Russian officials, however, have reported numerous ceasefire violations on the part of Takfiri militants in recent days.

On December 31, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution endorsing the truce agreement.

The resolution also aims to pave the way for new talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana next month, ahead of the resumption of UN-brokered peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva in February.

Shamkhani stressed the importance of fighting Takfiri terrorism relentlessly and differentiating them from the opposition that believes in political process.

He hailed the recent achievements made by the Syrian government and popular forces in the fight against Takfiri terrorism, particularly the liberation of the strategic city of Aleppo from foreign-backed militants.

The SNSC secretary added that the victory achieved by the brave Syrian people in the terrorist war against the country was a historic event.

Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement on December 16 that the Syrian military had wrested full control of eastern Aleppo, scoring a major victory against terrorists in the strategic city.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/08/505377/Iran-Syria-Aleppo-Ali-Shamkhani-Ali-Mamlouk-ceasefire

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Turkish parliament to begin debates on presidential powers

Jan 9, 2017

Amid considerable criticism and backslapping, a new draft constitution envisaging expanded powers for Turkey’s president will be put to debate at the parliament.

On Monday, lawmakers are to begin debates on the proposed amendments to the constitution in two readings, which are expected to last some two weeks.

If approved by the legislature, the reformed constitution will be put to a referendum before coming into force.

The constitutional changes will make the president the country’s number one executive figure, among a series of other amendments.

On December 30, 2016, the draft law, submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP), passed the Turkish parliament’s constitutional commission.

The new constitution has been on the AKP’s agenda since its founder, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, became Turkey’s president in August 2014.

Supporters of the draft say such a law would enable the head of state to restore stability to the country, which has been shaken up by sporadic deadly terror attacks and a failed military coup last July.

Critics, however, denounce it as a means of restoration of the Ottoman Era powers to Erdogan, whom they see as an authoritarian figure.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s Deputy Chairman Bulent Tezcan said it will usher in a “one man dictatorship.”

“It will be the dissolution of all that our republic has achieved,” he added.

In line with the draft, the president could serve for a maximum of two five-year mandates. That means if approved, under the new law, Erdogan could end up staying in office for two more terms until 2029, with the next elections scheduled for 2019.

The new constitution will also reportedly pave the way for the abolition of the post of prime minister, in which Erdogan served from 2003 until 2014, and enable the appointment of vice presidents.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/09/505419/Turkey-Erdogan-presidential-system-President-Recep-Tayyip-Erdogan

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South Asia

 

Buddhist extremists stop Muslim ceremony in Myanmar

Jan 8, 2017

Extremist Buddhist nationalists have stopped a Muslim religious ceremony in Myanmar's commercial capital, Yangon, amid an ongoing bloody campaign against Rohingya Muslims in the western state of Rakhine.

Organizers said dozens of people, led by a handful of maroon-robed monks, marched in Yangon to shut down a service marking the birthday anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Witnesses said the monks barged into the ceremony shortly after it started, demanding it be shut down.

Kyaw Nyein, the secretary of the Ulama Islam organization, described the latest assault on the Muslim gathering as a violation of religious freedom.

"We have celebrated this festival for my whole life. Now this seems like an attack on freedom of religion," Nyein said, adding, "The monks tried to stop the ceremony without saying what we had done wrong... Why aren't authorities taking action?"

Security forces did not intervene to stop the extremists.

The file photo shows troops and police forces traveling in trucks through Maungdaw, located in Rakhine, western Myanmar, October 14, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

In recent years, Buddhist hardliners have sought to restrict Muslim worship, destroying mosques and attempting to ban ceremonies such as the ritual slaughter of cattle during the festival of Eid al-Adha.

Rakhine has been under a military siege since October, forcing tens of thousands of members of the Rohingya to flee to neighboring regions in Kachin state or across the border to Bangladesh.

The military crackdown in Rakhine began after a deadly raid on a police post that the government said was carried out by the Rohingya.

There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks against the Muslims since the crackdown began. The military has blocked access to Rakhine and banned journalists and aid workers from entering the zone.

International organizations and human rights groups have blamed Myanmar's security forces for abuses against the Muslim minority in Rakhine, including rape, killings, and the burning of more than 1,000 homes.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/01/08/505390/Myanmar-Buddhist-extremists-Muslim-ceremony

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Top western IS member was married to Bangladeshi-born Brit

January 08, 2017

A top terrorist among the Islamic State's ranks was married to a London-born woman of Bangladeshi origin, according to an exclusive The Atlantic report.

Joya Choudhury Tania, who has since returned to the UK having divorced the right-hand man of the recently killed IS chief strategist Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, married Yahya Abu Hassan when she was 20, before travelling to Syria with him.

Yahya is currently the most senior western member of the group.

Born John Georgelas to upper-middle class American-Greek parents in Texas, Yahya met Tania online in 2003 on a Muslim matrimonial site, according to the Atlantic report. Yahya abandoned his military family in Texas after converting to Islam in 2001.

Tania, born to a Bangladeshi immigrant father who worked as a postmaster, was to all intents and purposes westernised and with no interest in religion, reveals The Atlantic story. However, she became increasingly radicalised while studying for her A-levels in East London.

Though Tania’s parents and four siblings had apparently neglected their religion as they assimilated into British middle-class culture,

After meeting Yahya online, which was apparently not uncommon among her peers at college, Tania married him in 2003, later officially exchanging vows in Rochdale, pregnant at the time.

Yahya Abu Hasan was married to Bangladesh-Brit Joya Choudhury. YouTube

Yahya Abu Hasan was married to Bangladesh-Brit Joya Choudhury YouTube

Within a year, however, the couple had surrounded themselves with radical Islamist preachers, such as Jordanian Abu Isa Al-Rifai.

After leaving London for Texas while pregnant with their first child, Yahya was sentenced to 34-month in prison for hacking the website of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, though Tania stood by him and awaited his release.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/around-the-web/2017/01/08/is-senior-married-bangladeshi/

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Myanmar to talk Rohingya repatriation with Bangladesh

Jan 09, 2017

Myanmar is preparing to send a diplomatic team to Bangladesh to discuss the growing political headache of what to do with the thousands of its nationals Dhaka claims have fled across the border to escape continuing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

On Saturday, the deputy director general at Myanmar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aye Aye Soe, told Anadolu Agency that the team is scheduled to visit Bangladesh's capital this month.

"We haven't decided the exact date. It depends on the availability of the Bangladesh officials," she said, adding that the team will be led by Myanmar's deputy foreign minister. "The discussion will focus on Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh."

Dhaka has said that around 50,000 Myanmar "citizens" have taken shelter in Bangladesh since the military orchestrated a clampdown in predominantly Rohingya Muslim areas following the Oct. 9 attacks on police outposts in which nine officers died.

In the ensuing clampdown, aid agencies and independent journalists have been denied access to the area, and at least 101 people, 17 police and soldiers, eight Muslim men working closely with the local authority, and 76 alleged "attackers" (including six who reportedly died during interrogation) have now been killed.

More than 600 people have also been detained for their alleged involvement in the attacks.

Rohingya advocacy groups, however, claim around 400 Rohingya, described by the United Nations as among the most persecuted groups worldwide, were killed in the military operations, women were raped and more than 1,000 Rohingya villages torched.

Bangladesh has also demanded Myanmar take back around 300,000 of its "nationals" that have been in Bangladesh for years, many of them living in refugee camps in the Cox's Bazar area.

Complicating the issue is that Myanmar does not categorize Rohingya as its citizens, instead referring to them as "Bengali" which suggests they are stateless interlopers from their neighbor. Most of those who have fled are understood to be Rohingya.

Last month, Myanmar's government said that it would take back 2,415 people from the tens of thousands of its citizens Bangladesh has said has crossed the border.

"These people [2415] were already verified as Myanmar citizens," said Aye Aye Soe.

She underlined that only those who have been verified as Myanmar nationals will be repatriated.

As Bangladesh prepares for negotiations, tensions have not been helped by the sinking of a Bangladesh fishing boat in its own waters on Dec. 27.

Bangladesh has said that said four fishermen were injured after a Myanmar navy ship attacked. Myanmar, however, denies any such attack by its navy took place.

A law passed in Myanmar in 1982 denies Rohingya, many of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations, citizenship, making them stateless.

Full report at:

http://www.dailysabah.com/asia/2017/01/09/myanmar-to-talk-rohingya-repatriation-with-bangladesh

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Improved Russia-US relations good for peace in Afghanistan: Karzai

Jan 09 2017

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has endorsed the US President-elect Donald Trump’s stance to improve the relations between Russia and the United States, saying the improvement will be good for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad!” Trump said in a Tweet post.

Trump further added “We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/improved-russia-us-relations-good-for-peace-in-afghanistan-karzai-02637

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Afghanistan signs $205m road construction project with a Chinese firm

Jan 08 2017

A major road construction project was signed with a Chinese firm in the presence of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani this evening.

The project road project, Dara-e-Suf to Yakawlang, was awarded to a Chinese firm after its bid of $204.9 million was approved by the government and was signed by Public Works Minister Mahmood Baligh.

The signing ceremony was also attended by the head of the Asian Development Bank and some other high level government officials in ARG Palace.

Minister Baligh said the contract was awarded to the Chinese firm after it completed all the stand norms and conditions for the project by offering the lowest price of $204.9 million.

He said the Chinese firm along with a Turkish company had participated in the latest tender which was offered two years after the contract was cancelled due higher prices offered by the previous bidders.

According to Minister Baligh, the award of the project to the Chinese firm helps reduce the construction cost by almost $50 million as compared to the previous bids.

In his part, the Director of the Asian Development Bank in Afghanistan, Thomas Panella, said the contract will play a vital role in developing the economy of the country by helping the internal transport in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-signs-205m-road-construction-project-with-a-chinese-firm-02635

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Europe

 

Germany's Islamist scene growing: Security chief

9 JANUARY, 2017

BERLIN - Germany's domestic security chief warned Sunday that the country's radical Islamist scene is not only growing, but becoming more decentralised, posing greater challenges to surveillance operations. In an interview with national news agency DPA, Hans-Georg Maassen also defended security officials under fire after it emerged that Berlin truck attack suspect Anis Amri had slipped through their net, saying they had done everything they could.

Overall, the number of Salafists -- or fundamentalist Sunni Muslims -- in Germany has risen to more than 9,700, sharply up from 3,800 people in 2011, said Maassen. "It's of great concern to us that this scene is not only growing, but it is also very diversified. There is not just one, two, three or four people who have a say," he warned. "Rather, there are many people who dominate this Salafist scene. And all these people have to be watched."

While in the past, there were a few people who wielded influence, today, there are many small clusters formed by individuals. "So you can no longer talk about a Salafist scene as a whole, but you have to deal with many hotspots. That makes things more difficult for us, because we can no longer just watch a few people. We have to monitor many groups," he said.

In a defence of security officials under pressure for failing to stop Amri, Maassen said that although officers had watched the Tunisian over a long period of time, they found no evidence to arrest him.  "I believe that the security forces, in particular the police, have done everything in their power to assess the danger posed by Amri. But it is also clear that we live under the rule of law, and the legal framework must be respected," he said.

http://nation.com.pk/international/09-Jan-2017/germany-s-islamist-scene-growing-security-chief

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Muslim Migrants Unwilling to Integrate Into European Society - Czech President

08.01.2017

Examples all over Europe show that Muslims are not willing to integrate into local communities, living instead in Muslim-dominated no-go zones, Czech President Milos Zeman said Sunday.

PRAGUE (Sputnik) — The president added he is not a xenophobe and is glad that Vietnamese and Ukrainian migrants had been successfully integrating into the Czech society. "Look across Europe and wonder to what extent Muslim migrants were able to integrate. You will learn about the so called no go areas and 'excluded neighborhoods.' I do not rule out the possibility of positive examples though. As for the Czech Republic, the Muslim community is very much limited here. I am warning against its strengthening," Zeman said as broadcast by local channel TV Blesk.

Europe has been trying to cope with a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing crisis-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including from Syria, to escape violence and poverty. The European Union adopted a quota system last September that envisages the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers across the bloc within two years.

Full report at:

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201701081049376392-muslim-migrants-europe-zeman/

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Austrian minister calls for Islamic headscarf ban

09/01/17

Austria's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Integration Sebastian Kurz is calling for public servants, including school teachers, to be banned from wearing the Islamic headscarf, Reuters reports.

Kurz, of the Christian Conservative People's Party (OVP), is reportedly working on a draft law with Muna Duzdar, a junior minister from the OVP's senior Social Democrat coalition partner who has an Arab family background and is Muslim.

"Because there (schools), it's about the effect of role models and the influence on young people. Austria is religion-friendly but also a secular state," Kurz was quoted as having said on Friday.

He added that Christian crosses, which are widespread in Catholic Austria, should be allowed in classrooms.

If the law is passed by the Austrian parliament, the nationwide ban would be stricter than laws in France, where only the full body veil is illegal, or Germany, where the highest court in 2015 restricted lawmakers' scope to ban teachers from wearing the headscarf, according to Reuters.

Several European countries have moved to ban the face-covering niqab and full-body burqa in recent years.

France was the first country to do so, having introduced a ban on women wearing the burqa in 2010.

Full report at:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/222967

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7 Times UK News Stories About Muslims Had To Be Corrected In 2016

08/01/2017

1) ‘Islamic’ Honour Killing

Last May, 34-year-old Saima Khan was found dead in a pool of blood at a house in Overstone Road, Luton.

Police said they were investigating the possibility she was killed in “honour-based violence” but were keeping an open mind over the motive.

Kahn’s sister, Sabah, was later charged with her murder.

An article in The Sun reported she may have been the victim of an “Islamic honour attack”, prompting a complaint that it incorrectly asserted honour-killings have a basis in Islam.

The Sun (print) retracts bogus claim that honour killings were "Islamic" after my complainthttps://www.thesun.co.uk/admin/clarifications/1638750/clarification-honour-killing-of-mum/ …

After mediation The Sun offered a clarification stating: “We are happy to make clear Islam as a religion does no support so-called ‘honour killings.”

THE SUN

A similar correction was also issued by the Mail Online over their coverage of the story.

2) 1 In 5 Muslims Have Sympathy For Jihadis

THE SUN

In November 2015, The Sun ran the results of a “shock poll” which claimed one in five British Muslims sympathised with so-called Islamic State (Isis).

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) received an unprecedented number of complaints following the front page article and ruled in March 2016 that the publication misrepresented the results of a poll.

The question in the poll only asked if Muslims sympathised with those who travelled to “join fighters in Syria”. It did not specify Isis.

The Times was also found to have breached Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code after it published The Sun’s claims the following day. But as The Times had already published a clarification, IPSO said that no further action was required.

3) ‘Anti-British’ Prison Imams

JACK TAYLOR VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Ministry of Justice in London.

A March report in The Sunday Times detailed a government adviser on Islam who faced losing his job after he authorised the “recruitment of 140 prison imams who hold anti-British views”.

The article claimed the Deobandi Islam followed by these imams was “a hardline Sunni interpretation of Islamic scripture contrary to British value and human rights”.

A complaint by Dr Rafaqut Rashi argued that many followers of this strand of the religion do not hold such views and Deobandi scholars had in fact:

... endorsed fatwas condemning hate speech, violence, radicalisation and involvement in terrorism; promoted British values such as democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs; and were against sentiments that are not conducive “to integration and community cohesion”.

IPSO ruled the article breached accuracy guidelines by not making clear that the views of Deobandi Islam in the article were those of a newspaper source and were instead presented as fact.

THE TIMES

The Sunday Times correction read: “Our report ‘Jails adviser may lose job over hiring hardline imams’ (News, March 6) should have stated that prison imams ‘are suspected of’ holding anti-British values and attributed to ‘security sources and other critics’ the description of Deobandi Islam as ‘contrary to British values and human rights’.”

4) Jeremy Corbyn And The Mosque Leader Who Blames The UK For Isil

FACEBOOK

Corbyn meeting Mohammed Kozbar.

A story in the Telegraph in March detailed visits between Jeremy Corbyn and a mosque leader, Mohammed Kozbar, who “blames the UK for Isil” and “wants to destroy Israel”.

Kozbar himself complained about the article, prompting the following correction.

An article of 13 March 2016 portrayed Mr Kozbar, the Chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, as someone who ‘blamed the UK for ISIL’, and appeared to support the use of violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict. In fact, Mr Kozbar has never ‘blamed the UK for ISIL’ and abhors and condemns the use of violence under any circumstances. Mr Kozbar also disputes a number of other accusations contained in the article, and regrets that he was denied a right of reply. We are happy to set the record straight.

A 2015 article in the Daily Star claimed UK mosques were institutionally raising money for terrorism.

The story was deemed by IPSO to be “significantly misleading” as it was based solely on the single text message conversation of one individual.

In April 2016, The Daily Star issued the following correction:

The headline of an article, published on 22 November 2015, stated ‘UK mosques give cash for terror’. We would like to clarify that the headline was based on the claims of radical Isa Amriki that funding for terrorism came from collections at mosques, not by or on behalf of UK mosques, which were not involved in any way.

6) Enclaves Of Islam

In December The Sunday Times ran a story claiming “enclaves of Islam see UK as 75% Muslim” which was also covered by The Sun, Daily Express and the Mail on Sunday

It was based a report by government integration tsar Dame Louise Casey that had not yet been published and claimed thousands of Muslims in the UK were so cut off from mainstream society that they over-estimated the country’s Islamic population by a factor of 10.

It later transpired the survey quoted was based on one school who were asked about Asians, not Muslims.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/uk-media-islam-muslims_uk_587248f1e4b0a1ff70423a9d

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Australia

 

Muslim leaders call on Islamic body to step aside to save Sydney's Malek Fahd school

9 January 2017

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils’ financial mismanagement, governance failings, and self-interest has jeopardised the future of Australia’s largest Islamic school and its 2,500 students, leading figures from Australia’s Muslim community have alleged in an open letter.

AFIC should immediately terminate its agreements with Sydney’s Malek Fahd Islamic school so that the school can continue to operate, the letter, signed by nearly 40 prominent members of Australia’s Muslim community, says.

But spokesman for AFIC Keysar Trad told the Guardian that AFIC’s board had been comprehensively reformed, and that the organisation stood willing to help the school: “we have the best interests of the school at heart”.

Last week, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal upheld the Turnbull government’s 2016 decision to pull $19m in funding to Malek Fahd after the school was found to be operating as a “for-profit” organisation, because of its agreements with AFIC.

The Commonwealth is the largest funder of the school, and the withdrawal of federal money may force the school to close. Currently, Malek Fahd, which operates across three campuses in western Sydney, has more than 2,500 students enrolled from kindergarten to Year 12.

The open letter says “AFIC does not represent Australian Muslims”, and said the federation must immediately sever its arrangements with Malek Fahd so the school’s students can continue their educations.

“The Australian Muslim community is united with the broader community in its outrage over the gross financial mismanagement, governance failings and long history of financial self-interest on the part of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils which prompted the funding withdrawal,” the letter says.

“We, the undersigned, demand that AFIC acts in the interests of the school, the Muslim community and the Australian public by immediately:

terminating the uncommercial lease agreements that are crippling the current MFIS board’s ability to secure the future of the school;

returning all advanced rental payments for school-occupied land;

returning the $1.42m borrowed from the school for land purchases;

and turning school-occupied land over to an independently managed school trust.

“It is our strongly held opinion that AFIC is continuing to operate as an undemocratic boys’ club with flagrant disregard for the wellbeing of Australian Muslims. AFIC does not represent us.”

The letter has several hundred supporters online.

Trad, treasurer of AFIC, told Guardian Australia the organisation had democratic processes by which its members could seek change, and that public petitions were unhelpful and uninformed.

“This is an organisation that has changed. Seven out of nine board members of the organisation have changed... so that there can be no doubt about its commitment to fair and transparent and proper process. This is a different body, but the people bringing petitions don’t seem to understand the reforms that have been undertaken.

“This new body has done everything in its power to meet the requirements of the department of education so that the school can continue. We have the best interests of the school at heart, and we remain willing to sit down, anywhere, anytime, to negotiate a new arrangement to secure the future of the school.”

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal found last week Malek Fahd school was being run for profit and was not a fit and proper organisation.

Bernard McCabe, the AAT’s deputy president, said Malek Fahd appeared to be a good school with community support. But contractual relationships with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils means government funding would continue to flow from the school to the federation.

“The only appropriate course is to affirm the decision [to revoke federal funding],” McCabe wrote in his ruling. “That is a hard outcome for [Malek Fahd] and for the students and community it serves. But the ultimate responsibility must be laid at the door of the previous management of [the school].”

Simon Birmingham, the federal education minister, welcomed the AAT’s ruling to withdraw Malek Fahd’s funding, saying the school had been operating for profit in breach of the Australian Education Act. “Australians rightly expect that every taxpayer dollar committed to school education is genuinely expended on school education,” Birmingham said. “School governance should be of the highest standard and funding should be exclusively used for the education and welfare of students.

“Our attention now turns to working with the students and their families, the teachers and the whole school community about how we best support them through this difficult time.”

Malek Fahd operates over three campuses in Sydney’s west in Greenacre, Hoxton Park and Beaumont Hills. Between 2012 and 2015, it received more than $76m in financial assistance from the commonwealth, as well as money from the New South Wales government and tuition income from parents.

It is estimated roughly two-thirds of Malek Fahd’s income in 2014-15 came from the federal government.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/09/muslim-leaders-calls-on-islamic-body-to-step-aside-to-save-sydneys-malek-fahd-school

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UMA hosts first Australian Muslim Youth Day to help youths find career direction

January 9, 2017

A NEW careers festival is hoping to take the fear out of that dreaded question — where do you see yourself in five years?

After noticing a “lack of direction” among youths in southwest Sydney, United Muslims of Australia came up with the idea to host the first Australian Muslim Youth Day.

“With so many options available, it can become overwhelming for the youth to decide on a career direction,” UMA Dawah representative Omar Chaar said.

“We have encountered many situations whereby youth are confused and we believe that the AMYD event is the solution.”

The free expo will be held at Australian National Sports Club at Parry Park, Lakemba, on Sunday from 10am to 8pm.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/the-express/uma-hosts-first-australian-muslim-youth-day-to-help-youths-find-career-direction/news-story/5a309898b349adc810b6d2a3fccee037

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/terror-outfit-traps-non-muslims-with-presentation-of-concocted-forms-of-islam/d/109655

 

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