New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 10 May 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Triple Talaq Case: 5 Supreme Court Judges of 5 Faiths Begin Hearings


















At hearing on triple talaq, Supreme Court said polygamy among Muslims may not be part of deliberations.

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Triple Talaq Case: 5 Supreme Court Judges of 5 Faiths Begin Hearings

Millions of Pakistanis Receive Blasphemy Warning Texts

Muslim Societies Urged To Ensure Application of Islamic Laws: C J Shariah Court Of Jordan

Blasphemy Verdict Sinks Jakarta Governor, Elevates Islamic Hardliner

Israeli Parliament Advances Bill Enshrining State’s Jewish Status

 

India

Declare Cow a National Animal: Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind President to Centre

Want Solution, But Parties Shouldn’t Politicise Triple Talaq, Halala, Polygamy:Muslim Groups

Muslim Wing of RSS Planning Ayodhya March

Drugs worth $75 million from Indian company meant for IS seized: Report

Kashmiri Army officer on leave abducted, killed by terrorists

 ‘Muslims to be expelled for RSS links’

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Pakistan

Millions of Pakistanis Receive Blasphemy Warning Texts

Independent Watchdog Assails Pakistan's Rights Record

People who smoke, eat openly during Ramazan face 3-month imprisonment

Maulana Tariq Jameel 'offloaded' from Canada-bound flight at Dubai airport

Security forces recover explosives near Pak-Afghan border

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Arab World

Muslim Societies Urged To Ensure Application of Islamic Laws: C J Shariah Court Of Jordan

US Forces Enter Syria's Territories to Train More Terrorists

More Civilians Killed, Wounded in US-Led Coalition Airstrike in Northeastern Syria

ISIL Suffers Tens of Casualties in Iraqi Air Raids near Border with Syria

Syrian Air Force Targets Heavily Terrorists' Centres at Border with Jordan

Egypt officials: Militants kill 10 Sinai tribesmen

Syrian Army Starts Fresh Anti-ISIL Operation in Eastern Aleppo with Russian Aerial Back up

Syrian Army Wards off ISIL's Offensive in Hama Province

ISIL Fails to Prevail over Syrian Army Positions in Southern Deir Ezzur

Syrian Army, Lebanese Hezbollah to Launch Joint Operation against ISIL

Egypt’s first lady appears for the 1st time in a presidential meeting

US-backed forces seize Syria’s Tabqa, dam from ISIS

Iraqi forces advance in Mosul and liberate the Maamel neighbourhood

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Southeast Asia

Blasphemy Verdict Sinks Jakarta Governor, Elevates Islamic Hardliner

Consolidating Ties between Two Muslim Countries

Govt will come down hard on irresponsible journalism, warns PM

Gov't Prepares Evidence Ahead of HTI Disbandment Hearings

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Mideast

Israeli Parliament Advances Bill Enshrining State’s Jewish Status

Erdogan Urges US to Reverse Decision on Arming Syrian Kurds

Palestinian Hunger Strikers Urge Pope To Speak Out Against Israel

Salman invites Palestinian president to Muslim leaders-US summit: Reports

Tens of Saudi soldiers killed, wounded in Yemeni counter attacks: Report

Houthis ‘kidnap and torture’ 36 civilians on trial in Yemen’s Sanaa

Houthi militia leader killed in battles with the resistance in Shabwa

Consular affairs office in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah to issue visas to Yemenis

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North America

US Offers $10m Reward for Ex-Qaeda Affiliate Chief

Canadian Universities Shift Recruitment Efforts in the Trump Era

'Heart-warming' event brings in $130K for Yellowknife's new Islamic centre

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Europe

French Convert to Islam Backs ISIS; Planned Attack on Airbase

Islamophobic Trump Supporter Launches Verbal Tirade against Muslim Family In Texas

Europe: Denying the Threat of Islamic Imperialism

Europe continues to romance anti-Islam forces despite Macron's win in France

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South Asia

Explosion Targets Taliban Vehicle in Kandahar Leaving 11 Dead

Myanmar Police Fire Warning Shots amid Religious Tension

New pictures show aftermath of MOAB bombing on ISIS hideouts in Afghanistan

Taliban’s shadow district chief killed during gun battle with Nangarhar residents

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Africa

Jordan Downs a Drone North Of the Kingdom

Tunisian president orders army to protect oil and gas fields

Libya intercepts almost 500 migrants following sea duel

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/triple-talaq-case--5-supreme-court-judges-of-5-faiths-begin-hearings/d/111111

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Triple Talaq Case: 5 Supreme Court Judges of 5 Faiths Begin Hearings

Edited by Aloke Tikku | Updated: May 11, 2017

NEW DELHI:  The country's five seniormost judges, all of different faiths, began hearings on Thursday to determine if triple talaq, the practice of Muslim men getting instant divorce by saying "talaq" three times, was fundamental to religion but may not rule on polygamy among Muslims. The constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing seven petitions filed by Muslim women challenging the practice in the community; some complained of being divorced on Facebook and WhatsApp. Rather than ruling on individual cases, the court had decided to take a call on the legality of such practices. Once the court gives its verdict, it will be for the legislature to decide if the law should be changed.

At its first hearing today, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar who heads the bench, made it clear that the court would examine whether the practice of triple talaq among Muslims is fundamental to their religion and if triple talaq was an "enforceable" fundamental right to practice religion by Muslims. The court, however, added that polygamy among Muslims may not be part of its deliberations since it is unrelated to triple talaq.

Setting the ground rules for the daily hearings, the court told both sides that they would get two days to present their arguments, and then one more day to rebut the other side's arguments. "Each side can argue whatever they want but there should not be any repetition. They will only focus on the validity of triple talaq," the bench said.

The bench comprises Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer.

Muslims are governed by the personal law that came into force in 1937. The NDA government has long argued that practices such as triple talaq violate fundamental rights of women. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked the community not to look at the practice that discriminated against women from a political prism, but gender discrimination.

The Muslim personal law board, however, contends that Muslim practices such as polygamy and triple talaq were matters of "legislative policy" that could not be interfered with by the judiciary.

Source: http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/triple-talaq-hearing-begins-supreme-court-to-decide-if-practice-fundamental-to-religion-1692125

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Millions of Pakistanis receive blasphemy warning texts

May 10, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Millions of Pakistanis have been receiving text messages from the government warning them against sharing "blasphemous" content online, a move rights activists said would encourage more vigilante attacks.

It comes amid a surge in mob violence linked to accusations of insulting Islam including three attacks within the past month.

"Uploading & sharing of blasphemous content on internet is a punishable offense under the law. Such content should be reported on info@pta.gov.pk for legal action," read the SMS sent by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to all mobile phone subscribers.

A similar note was posted on the agency's website in Urdu. A PTA spokesman said the agency was acting on a court order.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in conservative Muslim Pakistan, with unproven allegations leading to dozens of mob attacks or murders since 1990.

The law was originally inherited from Pakistan's former colonial masters Britain, but strengthened by former dictator Zia-ul-Haq in 1986 to include a provision for capital punishment in cases of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Activists said the initiative would likely encourage lynchings, such as the killing of a 23-year-old student known for his liberal views at the hands of hundreds of fellow students last month.

"This mass messaging will only further fuel hatred among different sects and segments of the society. It is a very very bad move," digital rights activist Shahzad Ahmad said.

"PTA's mass texting on 'blasphemy' smacks of insincerity & political exploitation of religion; it will embolden public to greater violence!," tweeted popular television anchor Moeed Pirzada.

Last week a 10-year old boy was killed and five others were wounded when a mob attacked a police station in an attempt to lynch a Hindu man charged with blasphemy for allegedly posting an incendiary image on social media.

Weeks earlier a mob attacked a mentally ill man claiming to be a prophet at his local mosque. He was later saved by police.

The issue of blasphemy came to the fore in January when five secular activists known for their outspoken views against religious extremism and the powerful military were disappeared, presumed abducted by state agencies according to opposition parties and international rights groups.

Four of them were later returned to their families weeks later, but not before they were tarnished by a virulent campaign to paint them as enemies of Islam deserving execution.

One of them later said they had been held and tortured by the shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence agency which had conceived the blasphemy campaign in order to silence critical voices.

The agency denied involvement.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/millions-of-pakistanis-receive-blasphemy-warning-texts/articleshow/58614233.cms

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Muslim Societies Urged To Ensure Application of Islamic Laws: C J Shariah Court Of Jordan

May 11, 2017

Dr. Abdul Karim, Al- Khsawanah, Chief Justice Shariah court of Jordan has called upon the Muslim societies to ensure application of Islamic laws as per guidance given by Islam. He was addressing a two day international moot on “ Judicial Systems in Muslim countries” arranged at Faisal Masjid campus by Shariah Academy of the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).

Dr. Abdul Karim maintained that a well-functioning independent judiciary is an essential requisite of a Muslim state and added that a transparent judicial system leads a country towards pathway of prosperity. He emphasized that provision of justice is an integral prerogative of every human being.

Riaz Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice, Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan, in his address to the inaugural ceremony of the conference emphasized that gap between theory and practice be ended and called for a meaningful linkage between the studies of law & judiciary and practical nature of work. He also desired that changes happened as per contemporary developments in the judicial system and methods must be adopted by all the members of judicial fraternity. He said that cyber law, corporate Laws and international laws should be read and interpreted by the relevant officials. He called upon judicial and law faculty to focus on contemporary method of teaching and urged the faculty to play vital role in bridging the gap between theory and practice.

IIUI Acting President, Dr. Mohammad Bashir khan, in his vote of thanks said that justice is a pre-requisite for a prosperous society and honest judges always have a power to change the fate of nations. He directed that recommendations of the conferences at the end must be sent to all the Muslim countries so a policy, roadmap be formed for positive steps for further improvements in the judicial system of Muslim countries.

Dr. Muhammad Munir, the IIUI Vice President and Director of the Shariah Academy apprised the participants regarding goals and objectives of the conference and also told about the details of the 58th training course for judges while saying that the moot was part of the activities of the training course. He furthered that the conference will provide an opportunity to the veteran experts to share experiences and come up with best solutions to the judicial problems. The inaugural ceremony was also attended by judges, diplomats and judicial experts of Turkey, UAE and Egypt and Pakistan. The conference will conclude today (Wednesday) at 3 pm.

http://pakobserver.net/muslim-societies-urged-ensure-application-islamic-laws/

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Blasphemy Verdict Sinks Jakarta Governor, Elevates Islamic Hardliner

May 11, 2017

Jakarta. As the panel of five judges delivered the verdict condemning Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday (09/05), they cited firebrand Islamist Rizieq Shihab as a Koranic authority.

Imprisoned twice for inciting violence, the leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) had until recently occupied the fringe of Indonesian society; his followers are regarded as thuggish vigilantes with a penchant for extremism and extortion.

His recognition by the court as a venerable Islamic theologian — and the court's verdict itself — highlights the rising influence of Islamist groups in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country but one with a multi-religious constitution and a tradition of tolerance.

As the panel of five judges delivered the verdict condemning Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday (09/05), they cited firebrand Islamist Habib Rizieq as a Koranic authority.

However, President Joko "Jokwi" Widodo — a moderate reformer and an ally of Ahok — has publicly played down concerns about rising Islamic intolerance. After Tuesday's sentencing, he urged Indonesians to respect the legal process, noting that Ahok will appeal.

As he geared for an election to win another term as governor of the Indonesian capital last year, Ahok told a group of fisherfolk that his rivals were deceiving people by using a verse in the Koran to say that Muslims should not be led by a non-Muslim.

That comment triggered mass demonstrations, which were spearheaded by the FPI, and the blasphemy case against the ethnic Chinese and Christian governor.

Voting for Non-Muslim

Rizieq was mentioned among several witnesses as the judges dissected the contentious verse in the Koranic chapter Al Maidah. The court endorsed his interpretation that it forbids Muslims to vote for non-Muslims. Ahok had "deliberately" and "convincingly" blasphemed, the judges found.

"Rizieq is not qualified as an expert," said Todung Mulya Lubis, a leading Indonesian lawyer and rights advocate. "I was so shocked listening to that."

Shocking, too, said Todung, was the verdict itself.

Rizieq had been a prosecution witness, but the prosecutors had asked only for a suspended sentence on the lesser charge of insulting language. In the end, the judges went for a jail term under the more serious charge of blasphemy.

"The judges did not really take into account what was submitted from the defense team," said Todung, noting many senior clerics had sided with Ahok.

While Ahok repeatedly apologized for any hurt caused to Muslims, one judge, Abdul Rosyad, said the sentence was warranted because "the defendant didn't feel guilt."

Ahok was immediately taken to a detention facility in Jakarta after the sentencing. He had been due to hand over the governor's post in October.

'Victory for Hardliners'

Ahok was widely admired as governor of Jakarta for his no-nonsense style and programs to fix the Indonesian capital's traffic-clogged and flood-prone streets.

He had held a double-digit in opinion polls over his electoral rivals until an edited video of his comments on the Koranic verse was distributed by Islamist groups last September. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims then joined rallies to demand his imprisonment. On April 19, he was defeated by a Muslim candidate in a runoff vote for the governorship.

Tim Lindsey, a University of Melbourne expert on Indonesia's legal system, said it was not unprecedented for Indonesian judges to take a harder line than prosecutors.

Even so, Lindsey said, conservative clerics had clearly influenced the panel of judges.

"This is the complete victory for the hardliners."

Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch said the case would consolidate a literalist interpretation of Al Maidah that demands Muslims be led by other Muslims in all facets of life.

"This will spread to the workplace. They will be demanding Islamic chief executives and senior civil servants. Islamists are already talking about it."

While President Jokowi displays outward calm, several government sources have told Reuters he believes the rising influence of Islamism has been fueled by political adversaries and is distracting him from reforms.

On Monday, Jokowi's government announced a ban on Hizbut Tahrir, a non-violent group that advocates an Islamic caliphate and was an organizer of the anti-Ahok rallies.

Police, meanwhile, have arrested leaders of Islamic groups for treason. Rizieq is also under investigation for distributing pornography and blasphemy.

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/blasphemy-verdict-sinks-jakarta-governor-elevates-islamic-hardliner/

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Israeli parliament advances bill enshrining state’s Jewish status

10 May 2017

The Israeli parliament gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill defining the country as the “national home of the Jewish people” that critics say discriminates against the state’s Arab minority.

The bill, supported by 48 against 41 of the Knesset’s 120 members, seeks to “defend (Israel’s) status as a Jewish and democratic state”, said Avi Dichter, the bill’s sponsor, of the ruling Likud party.

On Sunday, ministers gave the bill the initial green light.

It needs to be debated by a parliamentary committee and voted on three more times in the plenum before it becomes part of the country’s so-called “basic laws”, which are similar to a constitution.

It would give special status to the “Jewish and democratic” nature of Israel, to the Jewish calendar and to Hebrew as Israel’s official language.

The bill’s explanatory notes said such legislation was “especially crucial in times like these, when there are those who seek to undermine the Jewish people’s right to a national home in its land”.

Some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population are Arab, and are descendants of Palestinians who remained after Israel’s creation in 1948.

Public signs and government services are typically in Arabic as well as Hebrew, but it was unclear if the new bill would change that.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is seen as the most right-wing in the country’s history, and Arab Israelis allege widespread discrimination.

Defining Israel as the “national home of the Jewish people” has also raised concerns among rights activists and others worried over discrimination and attempts to further mix religion and state.

“No apartheid law, as racist and nationalistic as it may be, will erase the fact that two peoples live here,” parliament member Ayman Odeh, who heads the mainly Arab Joint List alliance, said.

“The extreme right-wing government is trying to spark a fire of nationalistic hatred, but I still believe there lives a majority here that wants to live in peace, equality and democracy”, he said.

Masud Ganaim, of Odeh’s list, questioned the need to legislate the principles that already appear in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, accusing the bill of being an attempt to target Arabs.

Dichter, however, rejected claims that the law would harm Arabs or the Arabic language, saying in the debate ahead of the Wednesday vote that Hebrew would be the national language but Arabic would have a “special status”.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Israeli-parliament-advances-bill-enshrining-state-s-Jewish-status.html

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India

 

Declare Cow a National Animal: Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind President to Centre

May 11, 2017

NEW DELHI: Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind President Maulana Syed Arshad Madani has urged the BJP-led NDA government to consider declaring cow as the "national animal" as he expressed concern over the "atmosphere of fear" in the wake of attacks by vigilante groups.

Madani also reminded PM Narendra Modi about his assurance to take action against criminals who acted in the garb of 'gau rakshaks'. Madani, as the head of the influential minority organization that represents a large number of Islamic scholars, demanded that the Centre explore making a common law on cow protection to end the ambiguity and prevent attacks on innocent people from the minority community.

"The government should give national animal status to the cow and we will support it," Madani told a press conference. "These gau rakshaks are exploiting religion to loot and murder people... We respect the religious sentiments of our Hindu brethren but no one can be allowed to take law and order into their own hands," he said.

Madani also spoke on the much debated issue of triple talaq. "This is religious matter and can only have a religious solution. If the Supreme Court comes out with such an acceptable solution, we will welcome it," Madani said.

A Constitution of the apex court is set to start hearing the issue from Thursday. He said the issue of triple talaq was being blown out of proportion and an impression is being created as though the practice is rampant.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/declare-cow-a-national-animal-jamiat-ulama-i-hind-president-to-centre/articleshow/58619019.cms

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Want solution, but parties shouldn’t politicise triple talaq, halala, polygamy:Muslim groups

May 11, 2017

Muslim groups who met in the city on Tuesday to discuss triple Talaq, polygamy and Halala, said that while they were hoping for the Supreme Court to come up with a solution next week, they were worried about the issues being politicised.

“We are perturbed with the way women are treated. But we are equally disturbed to see the issue being politicised,” said Javed Anand, convener of Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy. “BJP and all other parties are included in this. It looks like they are not able to sleep at night if Muslim women are not given justice.”

He also added that a senior cleric from Solapur had supported the ban on these practices. The participants read out a statement from him. “Giving Talaq by just pronouncing it thrice is injustice to women. Halala (where a woman who is divorced can marry her former husband only after she marries another man and consummates the marriage) is more dastardly than anything else in this world,” the cleric has said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/want-solution-but-parties-shouldn-t-politicise-triple-talaq-halala-polygamy-muslim-groups/story-rD8OL6uc0XKh1cp0DWIyLP.html

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Muslim wing of RSS planning Ayodhya march

May 11, 2017

NAGPUR: The Sangh Parivar is planning a march to Ayodhya with Muslims on the front.

The move was discussed during a two-day meet of the organization's Muslim outfit Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) at Haridwar last week. Senior functionary of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) from the city, Virag Pachpore, was also made one of the national conveners of MRM during the meet, said sources.

MRM has been formed by RSS executive committee member Indresh Kumar.

The meet at Haridwar had issues like triple talaq, communal harmony and temple dispute on the agenda. Last month, Chief Justice JS Kehar suggested that the dispute over Ram Janmabhoomi has to be solved mutually between the two communities.

With this, MRM has taken up a campaign to convince Muslims that they should cooperate with Hindus in building the temple.

There are plans to hold 3,000 community meetings across the country during the year, to build a consensus among Muslims on the temple issue. Apart from it, plans are also being drawn to take around 5,000 people from the community to Ayodhya. The rally will be organised by MRM whose activists will try to convince Muslims of the temple town on their stance on the issue.

"The Ayodhya march is at present in the planning stage. Activists from Uttar Pradesh and other northern states are planning a strategy. The drive is expected to be held after the month of Ramzan, which begins from May 27," said Mohammed Afzal, one of the national conveners of MRM. The activists will explain their view to Mulsims of Ayodhya, he said.

"MRM is expecting a favourable response from the community on the Ayodhya move, as its drives against cow slaughter have already succeeded in Haryana," said Mohammed Farooq, the organization's state chief. There are plans to gather 10 lakh signatures against triple talaq, he said.

Afzal said it was also resolved during the Haridwar meeting that Muslims of India are not the descendants of Mohammed Ghori or Babar, who were mere invaders.

"Indian Muslims need not endorse their acts. As invaders, Babar's men demolished several Hindu temples, which include the Ram temple at Ayodhya," he said.

"Muslims are being convinced that such a mosque built on an usurped land is not considered to be holy. Muslims will be remembered if they become part of rebuilding the temple," he added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/muslim-wing-of-rss-planning-ayodhya-march/articleshow/58616433.cms

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Drugs worth $75 million from Indian company meant for IS seized: Report

May 11, 2017

LONDON: A shipload of tramadol, a synthetic opioid-like drug used as painkiller, sent from India to be sold to Islamic State terrorists in Libya to give them greater resilience has been seized by the Italian police, according to media reports on Wednesday.

News agency PTI, quoting a report in The Times, said 37 million tramadol pills, worth $75 million, were found packed into three containers at the port of Genoa, labelled as blankets and shampoo and set to be loaded on a freighter bound for Misrata and Tobruk in Libya.

"ISIS is making a fortune from this traffic, giving it to its fighters to make them feel no pain," the British newspaper quoted an Italian investigator as saying.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/drugs-worth-75-million-from-indian-company-meant-for-is-seized-report/articleshow/58620167.cms

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Kashmiri Army officer on leave abducted, killed by terrorists

May 11, 2017

SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: A young Kashmiri Army officer, on leave to attend a family wedding, was abducted and brutally shot dead by three to four terrorists in Shopian district of south Kashmir late Tuesday night, triggering widespread outrage in strife-torn Jammu & Kashmir and across the country.

An unarmed Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, commissioned into Rajputana Rifles barely five months ago, was at his maternal uncle Mohammad Maqbool's house at Batapora when the terrorists barged into the marriage ceremony and dragged him away at about 10pm. Police said the terrorists took the officer, who would have turned 23 on June 8, around 4km from the venue of his cousin Shafiqa Akhtar's marriage ceremony before mercilessly pumping several bullets into him. The bulletriddled body of Lt Fayaz, who belonged to Sudsuna village in Kulgam district, was found on Wednesday morning. "He was shot several times in the face and abdomen," said a doctor at the Shopian district hospital. There were also injury marks on the body, indicating that the young officer had put up a stiff resistance against his abductors. The Army vowed to act against the perpetrators.

Lt Fayaz's funeral was marked by full military honours with many expressing anger at the murder of a "local hero". There were, however, also reports of some unknown youths pelting stones at policemen outside the graveyard. Nearly a thousand people from Sudsuna attended the last rites.

Though militants have been regularly targeting Kashmiris serving in J&K police and other government jobs, this is the first time since the early 1990s that an Army officer on leave has been killed in the terrorism-hit state. "It's a clear message by the Pakistansponsored terrorists to intimidate Kashmiri youths into not joining police or security forces, as part of the larger gameplan to shatter the social fabric," said a senior Army officer. The horrific crime seems intended to deter the large number of local youths who turn up at police and Army recruitment camps despite protests against government.

Intelligence reports said Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were involved in the killing of Lt Fayaz, who was posted with his battalion in Akhnoor in Jammu, after tracking him for some time.

Describing the killing as "a dastardly act of cowardice", defence minister Arun Jaitley said, "This young officer from J&K was a role model. He was an exceptional sportsman. His sacrifice reiterates the nation's commitment to eliminate terrorism from the valley."

J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, in turn, added, "What was more painful to note is that the young officer had come home on vacation where he was attending the marriage of his cousin." The Army, on its part, vowed to take action against the "the perpetrators of the dastardly act".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/kashmiri-army-officer-on-leave-abducted-killed-by-terrorists/articleshow/58618818.cms

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‘Muslims to be expelled for RSS links’

MAY 10, 2017

A day after The Hindu reported that the BJP is fielding several Muslim candidates in Bengal for the upcoming municipal polls, a key religious leader in Kolkata declared that Muslims joining the RSS will be expelled from the community.

The announcement was made by Moulana Syed Noorur Rahman Barkati, the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque in the city.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/muslims-to-be-expelled-for-rss-links/article18416879.ece

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Pakistan

 

Independent Watchdog Assails Pakistan's Rights Record

May 10, 2017

ISLAMABAD —

A new report warns that religiously motivated vigilantism has risen in predominantly Sunni Muslim Pakistan with “a very frightening tendency” toward accusing people of blasphemy allegedly to intimidate critics of civilian and military authorities.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has documented the trend in its annual report issued Wednesday in Islamabad.

The report said that in 2016, authorities arrested 15 people on blasphemy charges, including 10 Muslims and five members of religious minorities, which form 5 percent of the nearly 200 million Pakistanis.

'Mob violence and mob justice'

HRCP's Asma Jahangir, who has served as U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, said incidents of “mob violence and mob justice” in the name of Islam in Pakistan are continuing into 2017. She called on the government to demonstrate its neutrality and undo a prevailing “atmosphere of fear” by outlawing incitement of violence in the name of religion.

“For years and years people have been given impunity if they kill in the name of religion. You can kill in the name of religion, you can rob in the name of religion, you can cheat in the name of religion, and you have impunity and that is what the state must end. This cannot go on and it is doing no service to our religion,” said Jahangir.

There was no immediate response from the government in Islamabad, although the state-run telecommunications agency has regularly warned internet users not to post any content that might be construed as blasphemous.

The latest such warning, issued on Tuesday, said content considered blasphemous is a punishable offense under the law.

Critics said the warning would encourage religious fanatics.

Laws carry death penalty

The controversial anti-blasphemy laws carry the death penalty for anyone convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and imprisonment for life for desecrating the Quran, the Muslim holy book, although no one has been executed.

Mere allegations and even calls for reforming the legislation to deter its misuse have provoked mob violence and lynchings.

Last month, a 23-year-old university journalism student in the city of Mardan was killed by a vigilante mob of mostly fellow students. The deceased was accused of “publishing blasphemous content online,” although an ongoing police investigation into the incident has so far found no evidence to support the allegations.

Student's death prompts calls for reform

Mashal Khan's death generated nationwide outrage and protests, reigniting calls for reforming blasphemy laws.

Days later, a member of the minority Shi'ite Muslim sect was gunned down in a central Pakistani town by three sisters for allegedly making blasphemous remarks 15 years ago.

The assailants have since been taken into police custody and confessed to the death, saying an area religious cleric incited them to kill the man who had just returned to Pakistan after fleeing the country to avoid being arrested or killed at the time he was accused of blasphemy.

“We find that there is a pattern in some of these cases where a large number of cases has been filed in various cities against media owners, media persons, people who have criticized the security forces,” said Jahangir. She added that HRCP deplored the situation with regard to freedom of speech in the country where six journalists and bloggers were killed in 2016.

Bloggers detained

Earlier this year, several social media bloggers were briefly detained, allegedly by state security institutions, for criticizing the military in their online postings.

The men left Pakistan immediately after they were freed because some commentators on local media had accused them of posting blasphemous material online.

“There is a kind of an onslaught on a liberal ideology, or people with liberal ideology in Pakistan which is a real threat, therefore space is shrinking not only for non-governmental organizations … but for everybody who does not agree with the official fanatic kind of point of view," Jahangir noted.

HRCP's report also expressed concerns about an increase in attacks on the minority Ahmadi sect, describing the community as “the worst hit” among religious minorities.

Security agencies criticized

The commission again called for abolition of the death penalty, saying Pakistan was among the world's most prolific enforcers of the death penalty. It said that 87 prisoners were executed in 2016 while more than 400 others were sentenced to death last year.

The report criticized Pakistani security agencies for not ending illegal detentions of people in the name of fighting terrorism.

“I think picking up people in this manner is something that the Human Rights Commission [of Pakistan] absolutely deplores and will continue to deplore,” Jahangir observed.

HRCP's report noted a 45 percent decline in militancy and terrorism-related deaths in Pakistan in 2016 compared to the year before, although the violence was on the increase during the first quarter of this year.

http://www.voanews.com/a/independent-watchdog-assails-pakistan-rights-record/3846646.html

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People who smoke, eat openly during Ramazan face 3-month imprisonment

By Sehrish Wasif

May 11, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs on Wednesday unanimously approved the Ehtram-e-Ramazan (Amendment) Bill, 2017 under which fine for the hotel owners – violating the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance, 1981 – has been increased from Rs500 to Rs25,000.

People who will smoke or eat openly during Ramazan will be fined Rs500 along with 3-month imprisonment. TV channels or cinema houses that violate the law will be fined Rs500,000 or more.

The amendment bill was introduced by Senator Tanveer Khan in the Senate sitting held on January 16 and was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs for further consideration.

During the meeting, Tanveer requested the committee to take strict action against people who violate the law during Ramazan. Earlier the committee members suggested closing down cinema houses for three hours early in the morning and later for three hours after Iftar during Ramazan.

Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Pir Amin Ul Hasnat Shah suggested that all the cinema houses across the country should remain closed throughout the holy month.

Issues related to Ruet-e-Hilal committee

Discussing the issues pertaining to Ruet-e-Hilal committee, the committee’s chairman Senator Hafiz Hamdullah urged the ministry to resolve the issue of moon sighting across the country. The ministry’s officials told the senator that they had discussed the issue with all the relevant provincial departments.

Government plans top Ruet-e-Hilal body meeting in Peshawar

It was suggested that the term of Ruet-e-Hilal committee should be made four years at federal, provincial and district levels. The committee should have two representatives each from all provinces and one representative each from federal capital, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

It was also suggested that directors general of Met Office and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) as well as a representative from the ministry be also made part of the moon-sighting panel.

Pir Amin Ul Hasnat Shah informed the committee that the federal government had not allocated any dedicated budget for the Ruet-e-Hilal committee due to which its chairman along with its members were working without salary and perks since the committee was constituted in 1974.

He said several times the Ministry of Religious Affairs had raised this issue at various levels and forums but so far no one had paid any heed to it.

Letter to ministry: Stop Met predictions on moon sighting: Mufti Muneeb

“They believe that the role of the committee is not much as it only functions three to four times throughout the year. They forget that this committee has a major role to play as it announces most important religious events for the entire nation,” he said.

Shah said even when the chairman and committee members travel to other city on an official visit they only get air ticket and stay at a 2-star hotel. “They do not get any TA/DA. Meanwhile, they also do not have money to load credit in their cell phones to do office work,” he added.

He said 26 members of the committee are performing their duties under chairman Mufti Munibur Rehman, who has been performing his duties for the past 15 years.

The minister said currently there was no criterion for appointing/selecting a member for the committee. “Right now whoever applies for the membership becomes a member,” he said.

Full report at:

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1406760/senate-panel-approves-ehtram-e-ramazan-bill/

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Maulana Tariq Jameel 'offloaded' from Canada-bound flight at Dubai airport

May 10, 2017

Prominent religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel was offloaded from a Canada-bound flight at Dubai airport, Express News reported.

Maulana Jameel was bound to travel to Toronto on Emirates flight EK-241 with former Pakistan star all-rounder Shahid Afridi to raise funds for Shahid Afridi Foundation.

According to media reports, Afridi said security officials were directed by the airline to offload Jameel over security clearance issues.

Making strides in the field of philanthropy, Shahid Afridi Foundation last year, won 3G Critics’ Choice Best Upcoming Charity of the Year 2016 on Thursday at the Global Good Governance awards in Istanbul. “It is with great pleasure that we would like to take this opportunity to share with you that The Shahid Afridi Foundation won the Best Upcoming Charity of the Year 2016 at the Global Good Governance awards in Istanbul,” a post on Shahid Afridi Foundation’s Facebook page read.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1406091/maulana-tariq-jameel-offloaded-canada-bound-flight-dubai-airport/

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Security forces recover explosives near Pak-Afghan border

SYED ALI SHAH

May 11, 2017

Security forces on Wednesday claimed to have foiled a major bid of terrorism by reportedly seizing huge cache of arms and ammunition at Pak-Afghan border area.

The personnel of Frontier Corps along with intelligence officials reportedly conducted a joint raid at Bramcha area of district Chaghi located along the porous Pak-Afghan border, DawnNews reported.

A security official told DawnNews that security forces recovered suicide jackets, explosives, hand grenades, mortar shells from the compound of the terrorists.

He said the terrorists were planning to smuggle the weapons to interior areas of Balochistan. "The terrorists wanted to target projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor," the officer claimed.

Acting on a tip off, the intelligence agency and FC foiled the terrorism bid, he added. The weapons were smuggled to the bordering area from neighbouring Afghanistan.

Bomb disposal squad was called in the area to defuse the explosives and bombs recovered by security forces.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1332257/security-forces-recover-explosives-near-pak-afghan-border

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Arab World

 

US Forces Enter Syria's Territories to Train More Terrorists

May 10, 2017

Adaleh al-Hamourabi website said that the American military forces are now training militants of Maqawir al-Thowra in al-Tanf mountain Southeast of Homs.

In the meantime, Charles Lister, a British analyst at the Middle East Strategic Research Association, released several images of terrorists along with the US forces in al-Tanf border-crossing via his tweeter page.

The website quoted sources as saying that the militants have been trained by Washington to fight against ISIL terrorists.

A number of sources affiliated to terrorists wrote on their Facebook pages that military movements have intensified at Syria's border with Jordan.

Military sources disclosed on Tuesday that the Syrian Army troops continued their anti-ISIL operation in the Southeastern direction of the ancient city of Palmyra to kill the chance for a US-led plan to access Deir Ezzur.

The sources reported that the army soldiers started a fresh round of operation against ISIL in Badiyeh al-Sham and managed to retake the region, thwarting a plan led by Washington to reach Deir Ezzur.

The sources went on to say that tough battles are now underway between the US-backed militants and ISIL and also between the Syrian soldiers and the US-backed militants in Badiyeh.

They added that the army units engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in areas surrounding the protected region of al-Talileh in the Northeastern direction of Palmyra, trying to take control of the region earlier than any other rival.

In the meantime, the army units utilized the opportunity of ongoing clashes between the US-backed militants and ISIL in Badiyeh and advanced in some regions near al-Seen airbase and Kaziyeh Fallahin towards Damascus-Baghdad highway, taking back several positions.

According to reports, the US intends to occupy several regions in the Central part of Syria's Badiyeh to launch military operations to access Deir Ezzur. According to a military source, the Syrian Army is trying to win control of the al-Tanf Border-Crossing with Iraq before the US, Britain and Jordanian military men enter Homs province.

The US-Britain-Jordanian Coalition has increased their presence at the Jordanian border.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220000772

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More Civilians Killed, Wounded in US-Led Coalition Airstrike in Northeastern Syria

May 10, 2017

The US-led collation fighter jets bombed heavily a village in Northern Raqqa, killing 10 civilians and wounding 20 more, local sources confirmed.

The sources said that 10 civilians were killed and 20 more were injured in coalition air raids in the village of al-Salehiyeh, adding that the attack inflicted major damage on people's properties too.

In relevant developments in the province on Saturday, the collation fighter jets bombed several areas in al-Tabaqa city, killing 18 members of a family in the Palestine street.

The sources added that several more civilians were also injured in the attacks.

The Syrian media said earlier this month that 14 civilians, including five members of a family, were killed in the coalition air raids in the cities of Raqqa and al-Tabaqa,

The Syrian TV reported that 8 civilians, including five members of a family, were killed in the coalition warplanes' attacks on two neighborhoods of al-Mansoureh and al-Wahab in al-Tabaqa.

In the meantime, six more civilians were killed in the fighter jets' raid on Raqqa city, the TV report added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220000628

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ISIL Suffers Tens of Casualties in Iraqi Air Raids Near Border with Syria

May 10, 2017

The sources said that 100 ISIL terrorists were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the Iraqi fighter jets' combat sorties in Anbar province at Iraq's border with Syria after Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi declared the start of a fresh round of cleansing operations in desert regions at Iraq's border with Syria to restore sustainable security to common border.

The Arabic-language Elam al-Harbi reported that eleven Iraqi warplanes targeted ISIL's gathering centers in the towns of Anah and al-Qa'em.

The source added that 47 ISIL terrorists were killed in Anah and 53 more were killed in al-Qa'em, adding several positions used by the terrorists to make missiles and bomb-laden suicide vehicles and a depot of drones were destroyed in the air raids.

Relevant reports said on Tuesday that over 20 ISIL terrorists were killed in the Iraqi forces' operation in al-Anbar province near the border with Syria.

The sources said that the Iraqi army soldiers and popular forces launched a fresh round of operation in the Southwestern territories of al-Anbar province, targeting the desert terrain West of the key town of Haditha, killing more than 20 ISIL terrorists and destroying three car bombs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220000841

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Syrian Air Force Targets Heavily Terrorists' Centres at Border with Jordan

May 10, 2017

The sources said that terrorists of Aswad al-Sharqiyeh and Liwa Shohada al-Quaryatayn attacked the Syrian Army troops' positons and engaged in fierce clashes with the army soldiers in al-Saba'a Bayar region and Zaza checkpoint in Badiyeh (desert) al-Shamiyeh between Southeastern Homs with Eastern Qalamoun to advance towards the road that goes to al-Tanf border-crossing with Iraq.

They added that the army aircraft carried out a retaliatory attack and bombed the Aswad al-Sharqiyeh terrorists' positons heavily at the border with Jordan.

Military sources disclosed on Tuesday that the Syrian Army troops continued their anti-ISIL operation in the Southeastern direction of the ancient city of Palmyra to kill the chance for a US-led plan to access Deir Ezzur.

The sources reported that the army soldiers started a fresh round of operation against ISIL in Badiyeh al-Sham and managed to retake the region, thwarting a plan led by Washington to reach Deir Ezzur.

The sources went on to say that tough battles are now underway between the US-backed militants and ISIL and also between the Syrian soldiers and the US-backed militants in Badiyeh.

They added that the army units engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in areas surrounding the protected region of al-Talileh in the Northeastern direction of Palmyra, trying to take control of the region earlier than any other rival.

In the meantime, the army units utilized the opportunity of ongoing clashes between the US-backed militants and ISIL in Badiyeh and advanced in some regions near al-Seen airbase and Kaziyeh Fallahin towards Damascus-Baghdad highway, taking back several positions.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220000692

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Egypt officials: Militants kill 10 Sinai tribesmen

11 May 2017

ISIS militants in Egypt’s restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula ambushed local tribesmen who were securing an area in the region, killing 10, security officials said.

The men were from the Tarabin tribe and were manning a checkpoint near a militant-stronghold south of the border town of Rafah when the militants approached them in a vehicle and opened fire, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

Local residents who witnessed the attack told The Associated Press that the militants were using a security vehicle they had apparently captured in fighting from security forces. The eyewitnesses also spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retribution.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sinai’s powerful tribes have stayed on the sidelines of the battle between Egyptian authorities and a growing insurgency led by the ISIS militant group that has been raging in North Sinai in recent years.

However, an open conflict between the tribesmen and the militants emerged in recent weeks.

In late April, an ISIS suicide bomber killed four tribesmen standing watch in Rafah. The tribes retaliated by killing eight suspected ISIS fighters in a battle in the town earlier this month.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/11/Egypt-officials-Militants-kill-10-Sinai-tribesmen.html

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Syrian Army Starts Fresh Anti-ISIL Operation in Eastern Aleppo with Russian Aerial Back up

May 10, 2017

The sources said that the army soldiers stormed ISIL's defense lines in Eastern Aleppo and managed to capture the township of al-Mahdoum after killing and wounding a number of terrorists.

They added that after implementation of the de-escalation zones agreement and ban on combat flights in some provinces, the Russian warplanes concentrated on Eastern Aleppo battlefields and targeted ISIL centers in Maskana plain, killing a large number of terrorists.

The sources went on to say that the fresh phase of the army's anti-ISIL operation has started after weeks of delay, adding that over 200 villages, town and townships were freed in previous operation of the army in Eastern Aleppo.

They pointed out that the army has a plan to capture Jarah airport and Maskana plain and then will move towards Raqqa province's border with Aleppo.  

Military sources confirmed on Tuesday that the Syrian Army troops were getting ready to launch an imminent fresh operation against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo to reinvigorate security at the recently-liberated town of Deir Hafer and its surrounding regions.

The sources said that the army soldiers were to take back Jarah airport before starting the main operation, adding that with the capture of Jarah airport and arrival of forces from De-Escalation Zones in Aleppo, the army would kick off the liberation operation of the town of Maskana South-East of the province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220000922

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Syrian Army Wards off ISIL's Offensive in Hama Province

May 10, 2017

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in Eastern Hama and repelled the terrorists' attack on the pro-government forces' positions along the road connecting al-Salamiyah town to Ithriya town, destroying several vehicles and killing a number of terrorists.

In the meantime, the army units clashed fiercely with ISIL in Wadi al-Azib region East of al-Salamiyah, destroying two military vehicles and killing their crew.

In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday, the army's artillery and missile units and Air Force pounded ISIL's positons in Eastern Hama and the concentration centers of Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) in the Southern part of the province, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

The artillery and missile units shelled ISIL's movements along the road connecting the towns of al-Salamiyah-Sheikh Hilal-Ithriya, destroying a vehicle and killing the entire members on board.

In the meantime, the artillery and missile unis opened heavy fire at Al-Nusra's positions and movements near the main square in the village of Hirbnafsa, in area around the village of al-Zareh and West of the village of al-Abareh, killing three terrorists.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220001183

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ISIL Fails to Prevail over Syrian Army Positions in Southern Deir Ezzur

May 10, 2017

The army soldiers clashes fiercely with ISIL and fended off their attack on Deir Ezzur's airbase, inflicting major casualties on the terrorists.

The army's missile units, meantime, targeted a tank of the ISIL in al-Maqaber (cemetery) region in the Southwestern outskirts of Deir Ezzur, killing the tank's crew.

In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out several heavy attacks on ISIL's movements and positions in the town of al-Muhassan and the villages of Marat and Abu Omar, destroying several positions and killing a large number of terrorists.

Local sources in the border town of Albu Kamal reported that ISIL hanged a civilian in al-Fiha square for unknown charges.

Military sources said Tuesday that the Syrian Air Forces bombed heavily ISIL's positions and movement South-West, East and North-West of Deir Ezzur city, destroying over 15 military vehicles and killing tens of terrorists.

The sources reported that several command posts and over 15 military vehicles were destroyed and tens of militants, including non-Syrians, were killed in the army air attacks on ISIL's positions in the village of Marat and the town of Muhassan in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

Full report at:

The ISIL also lost a large number of forces in the air raid.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220000522

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Syrian Army, Lebanese Hezbollah to Launch Joint Operation against ISIL

May 10, 2017

The source said that the army troops and Hezbollah forces will participate in a massive operation in Central Syria as the de-escalation zones agreement frees up hundreds of fighters across the war-hit country to move to other areas.

Hezbollah fighters have accompanied vastly the army soldiers in anti-terrorism operations in Aleppo province and in Eastern Homs, the source underlined, adding that they have played very crucial role also in the restoration of security to the Syria-Lebanon borders.

Late in March, Hezbollah and the Syrian Army troops fended off a heavy offensive of the Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) in a town in Northwestern Damascus, killing a number of terrorists, including a commander.

Scores of Al-Nusra terrorists, including a field commander, were killed and many more were wounded in a failed attack on Syrian army position in Flitah town, Southwest of Wadi al-Oveini in Western Al-Qalamoun and East of Arsal mountain.

Hezbollah's artillery and missile units also hit the terrorists' positions in Wadi al-Khail and Wadi al-Dab in Arsal mountain.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960220000489

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Egypt’s first lady appears for the 1st time in a presidential meeting

11 May 2017

Egypt’s first lady Mrs. Intesar Amer, wife of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, appeared for the first time in an official presidential meeting since Sisi took office as president.

Egypt’s presidential office shared pictures of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the first lady receiving his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta and his wife during their stop at Cairo airport on their way to the United Kingdom.

The meeting follows the visit of the President to Nairobi in February, thus contributing to the development of the distinguished relations between the two sides.

The two sides discussed the joint cooperation between the two countries and ways to push forward their relations, particularly in the economic fields. The two presidents stressed the importance of convening the seventh session of the joint committee headed by the two foreign ministers in 2017.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/11/For-the-first-time-Egypt-s-first-lady-appears-in-an-official-presidential-meeting.html

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US-backed forces seize Syria’s Tabqa, dam from ISIS

10 May 2017

A US-backed alliance of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters on Wednesday captured the key city of Tabqa and its nearby dam from ISIS militants, the force and a monitor told AFP.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces seized control of Tabqa and the adjacent dam,” said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Abdel Rahman said SDF forces were still combing through the city, which sits on the Euphrates River and on a strategic supply route about 55 kilometers (35 miles) west of Raqa, the Syrian heart of ISIS’s so-called caliphate.

SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP that his forces had "achieved victory and completely liberated (Tabqa) city and the dam".

The SDF first entered Tabqa on April 24, advancing north and cornering the jihadists in two neighborhoods near the Tabqa dam.

But ISIS mounted a fierce resistance, using car bombs, snipers, and weaponized drones.

US-led coalition air strikes have pounded Tabqa and nearby ISIS positions for weeks as part of the broader offensive for Raqa further east.

The assault on Raqa, an operation dubbed “Wrath of the Euphrates”, was launched in November and has seen the SDF capture large swathes of countryside around the city.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/US-backed-forces-seize-Syria-s-Tabqa-nearby-dam-monitor.html

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Iraqi forces advance in Mosul and liberate the Maamel neighborhood

10 May 2017

The commander of the second operations in the counterterrorism agency, Major General Maan al-Saadi, announced on Wednesday that his forces liberated the neighborhood of al-Maamel in the heart of the right coast of Mosul.

Al-Saadi said in a statement to Al Arabiya that his forces liberated al-Maamel neighborhood Wednesday after freeing the industrial zone yesterday. The forces are now surrounding the agricultural reform district in preparation for entering in the coming hours and then liberate it.

Al Saadi continued saying, “We are investing the victory and the high spirits of our forces in the field against the defeat and the low morals of the terrorist organization. Our forces now control the Maamel neighborhood after a battle that lasted from the early morning hours and ended with us controlling the neighborhood in the heart of the right coast of Mosul.”

On the course of the battles, Saadi stressed that the coming days will carry many surprises asserting, “We will have achieved the greatest victory in controlling all the land of Mosul.”

The death of a leader and three of his companions

For his part, the commander of the forces of the Iraqi counter-terrorism unit, Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Asadi announced the death of an ISIS leader during the battles over al-Maamel district in Mosul.

Al-Asadi told Al Arabiya that the terrorist Abu Ayyub al-Shami and three of his companions were killed during the battles in the al-Maamel neighborhood.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Iraqi-forces-advance-in-Mosul-and-liberate-the-Maamel-neighborhood.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Consolidating ties between two Muslim countries

By DR PARIDAH ABD SAMAD

May 11, 2017

BAHRAIN’S King Hamad Isa Al-Khalifa recently visited Malaysia at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V. He also had an audience with Sultan of Pahang Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah. This was the first trip of a Bahraini ruler to Malaysia in 43 years of diplomatic relations.

King Hamad acknowledged the steadily-growing Bahraini-Malaysian relations, particularly in military cooperation. He hailed the pivotal role of Malaysia and its positive contribution in serving regional and international security and stability as well as strengthening cooperation under the Islamic Alliance for combating terrorism and extremism.

The visit of the 67-year-old reform-minded leader of Bahrain is an honour for Malaysia. Bahrain is an enormously important country situated in the energy-rich Persian Gulf. This island nation of one million has unique cultural, economic and geopolitical features.

One of the major characteristics of Bahrain’s national culture is religious tolerance. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Bahais and Hindus live side by side in peace and harmony in Bahrain. At a time when the Iranian regime tries to undermine Bahrain’s stability by emphasising the Sunni-Shia divide, King Hamad has risen above this sectarianism by accentuating the virtue of unity and oneness of all faiths.

There has long been simmering tension between the populace, which is 70 per cent Shia Muslims, and the minority Sunnis to which the ruling Al-Khalifa family belongs to, and in which the latter controls nearly all the power and wealth, as well as constituting the majority of the ruling class. The Shia Muslims have complained that they have been excluded from top positions in the military and government.

Bahrain is an archipelago of 30 islands tucked in a gulf between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and, therefore, has shares of uninterrupted flow of oil and gas from the Persian Gulf to international markets. Today, the free flow of oil and gas across Bahrain’s waterway plays a critical role in Western energy security.

King Hamad was defence minister from 1971 to 1988. Earlier that year, he had completed a course at the United States Army’s Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He also took other military courses in the US and at Sandhurst in the United Kingdom, while taking charge of the development of the Bahraini armed forces. King Hamad is credited with the creation and maintenance of the armed forces as a professional unit.

When he became king in 1999, King Hamad began a sweeping democratisation process for the country. Censorship has been relaxed and draconian laws have been repealed, while exiles have been repatriated, and the stateless Bidoons have been granted citizenship.

In the February 2001 referendum, which permitted women to vote for the first time, Bahrainis overwhelmingly supported the transformation of the traditional monarchy into a constitutional one.

Meanwhile, religious figures, one of the political forces in the country, need to have proper licences to be able to deliver their sermons and speeches. Islam and democracy, in parallel to civilisational dialogues, are among the topics that should be included in the mandatory training sessions.

Oil was discovered in Bahrain in the 1930s, which was relatively little compared with the other Gulf States. King Hamad’s father, Sheikh Isa Salman Al-Khalifa, who became Emir in 1961, was determined to diversify the economy, and he set about establishing Bahrain as a major financial centre. The country provides its people with free medical care, education and old-age pensions.

Due to Bahrain’s long history of active civil society, King Hamad established the Isa Award in 2009 to honour those who have served humanity in a profound way.

Malaysian Medical Relief Society (Mercy) founder Tan Sri Dr Jamilah Mahmood from Malaysia was presented with the Isa Award in May 2013. She was honoured for many years for continuous humanitarian works following the establishment of health centres by Mercy in countries affected by natural disasters, such as Sudan, Indonesia and Myanmar.

When US President Donald Trump looks around the Muslim world for a model of religious freedom, Bahrain is one country he can point to.

He suggested, “Trump’s foreign policy team must invite King Hamad to the White House for a working visit with the president in getting a sense of the geopolitical challenges facing the broader Middle East and a better understanding of what ails the Middle East from him. Importantly, a Trump-Hamad meeting would send a positive message to those anxious about Trump’s feelings toward Islam in general and the Muslim world.”

Such reflection resonates here in Malaysia as our country is part of the global progressive Muslim society. A consolidation in the Malaysia-Bahrain ties would, hopefully, mirror a more optimistic outlook on the global perception of Islam.

Full report at:

https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/05/238166/consolidating-ties-between-two-muslim-countries

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Govt will come down hard on irresponsible journalism, warns PM

May 11, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the government will not compromise with any quarters in matters related to sensitive issues such as race and religion.

The prime minister said news published in whatever form should be fair in terms of the reporting as well as to Malaysians, and should not comment on matters that can disunite the people.

“With false information rampantly disseminated with the intention to confuse the people, news reports by the local broadcasters and publishers must be released fast to counter the fake news with the facts,” he said in his speech launching the ‘NJOI Now’ service of Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad, here.

The text of the prime minister’s speech was read out by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/govt-will-come-down-hard-on-irresponsible-journalism-warns-pm

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Gov't Prepares Evidence Ahead of HTI Disbandment Hearings

May 11, 2017

Jakarta. Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said on Wednesday (10/05) the government is ready to dismantle Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, or HTI, on strong evidence that activities and pronouncements by the hardline Muslim organization directly contravene values enshrined in state ideology Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.

"We're preparing to forward the evidence to prosecutors to bring the case to trial. We have hard evidence gained from the police," Tjahjo told reporters.

"Mass organizations are allowed, but they must adhere to the values of Pancasila."

Hizbut Tahrir is an international organization aimed at establishing a pan-Islamic theocracy in the Muslim world by removing existing, pluralist governments, whether by coercion or other means.

The organization was originally founded by Syaikh Taqiuddin al-Nabhani in 1953 as a Sunni Muslim group based out of Jerusalem.

"HTI's leaders have demonstrated that they are at odds with our state ideology and constitution. Previous warnings have been issued multiple times by the Home Affairs Ministry," Tjahjo said.

In previous months ministry officials have sent numerous warnings to HTI leaders to tone down their hardline pronouncements and calls for a caliphate, or Islamic kingdom, to replace the democratically-elected government.

Tjahjo's comments come on the heels of Chief Security Minister Wiranto's announcement on Monday that the government will soon take legal action aimed at dismantling the organization.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/govt-prepares-evidence-ahead-hti-disbandment-hearings/

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Mideast

 

Erdogan urges US to reverse decision on arming Syrian Kurds

10 May 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called on the United States to immediately reverse a decision on arming Syrian Kurdish fighters considered by Ankara to be a terror group.

“I hope very much that this mistake will be reversed immediately,” Erdogan said after Washington announced it would arm the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against militants in Syria. Erdogan vowed to bring up “our worries” on the issue in talks with US President Donald Trump on May 16 in Washington.

After Trump approved the arms supply to support a campaign to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, Erdogan told a news conference he wanted to believe that Turkey’s allies would side with Ankara and not with terrorist organizations.

Turkey views the Kurdish YPG militia as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

The YPG has been seen by Washington as the best ally against militants in Syria.

“The supply of arms to the YPG is unacceptable,” Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli told A Haber television on Wednesday. “Such a policy will benefit nobody”.

“We expect that this mistake is to be rectified,” he said, days ahead of a crunch meeting in Washington between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US counterpart Donald Trump.

“From now on, after this historic arming decision, our units will play a more influential, powerful, and decisive role in fighting terrorism at a faster pace,” YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said he is confident the United States can allay any concerns Turkey has over the decision.

“We will work very closely with Turkey in support of their security on their southern border,” Mattis said at a news conference in Lithuania.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Turkey-slams-US-decision-to-arm-Kurdish-fighters-in-Syria.html

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Palestinian hunger strikers urge Pope to speak out against Israel

May 11, 2017

Hunger striking Palestinian prisoners have written to Pope Francis, urging the pontiff to immediately take a stance against the Israeli regime with regard to the ordeals of Palestinian inmates.

The appeal was delivered in a letter by Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of imprisoned hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti, at a meeting with the heads of the Catholic Church in Ramallah.

The Vatican has recognized Palestine as a state.

The letter urged Pope Francis to speak out on the issue of hunger strike “to help save the lives of sons, husbands and fathers, to speak for the women and the children in Israeli prisons, to speak about this holy land that has been desecrated by occupation, discrimination, segregation and apartheid, while it needs to be a land of pluralism.”

“I hope this message reaches you and you can intervene before it is too late,” Barghouti wrote.

Since April 17, more than 1,600 Palestinian prisoners have joined the protest action, dubbed the Freedom and Dignity Strike, which was initially called by Barghouti, a former Fatah movement leader.

The strikers are demanding basic rights such as an end to the policies of administrative detention, solitary confinement and deliberate medical negligence.

The much criticized administrative detention is a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

The letter said there are currently 6,500 Palestinians in prison in Israel, including 300 children and 57 women, 13 lawmakers and 500 administrative detainees.

“The Israeli courts are a tool for oppression and not for justice, especially the Israeli military courts, where the rate of conviction is between 90 and 99 percent,” Barghouti wrote.

The letter further said the hunger strike has been launched over a lack of the most basic rights in Israeli detention facilities, adding that the prisoners want “an end to arbitrary and punitive actions, to torture and abuse, to intentional medical neglect.”

“They are risking their lives to achieve what they are entitled to. They are hunger striking because they are the victims of collective punishment by Israel and have been abandoned by the world,” Barghouti noted.

On Wednesday, lawyer Khader Shkirat said the Israel Prison Service abruptly canceled his scheduled prison visit with Barghouti and expressed concern for his client, who has been held in solitary confinement since April 17.

Prison service spokesman Assaf Librati has provided no explanation for the cancellation.

Meanwhile, the National Committee to Support Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to suspend municipal elections scheduled to be held Saturday and halt its contested security coordination with Israel, Ma’an news agency reported.

Back in 2012, a similar hunger strike, involving some 2,000 Palestinian inmates, ended after an agreement was reached with Israeli authorities to terminate the policy of internment without trial or charge.

The Palestinian inmates regularly hold hunger strikes in protest against the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/11/521430/Palestine-Pope-hunger-strike-prison-Israel

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Salman invites Palestinian president to Muslim leaders-US summit: Reports

May 11, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has reportedly invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to a summit between Muslim leaders and US President Donald Trump in the Saudi capital, reports say.

Media reports said on Wednesday that the Saudi charge d’affaires in Jordan had delivered a letter to Abbas inviting him to the Summit to be held in Riyadh on May 20-21.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Palestinian Authority official confirmed that Abbas had agreed to a trilateral meeting with Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the US president’s scheduled trip to Palestine on May 22-23.

On Tuesday, during a meeting with German President Frank Walter-Steinmeier, Abbas said that he was willing to meet Netanyahu in line with efforts by Trump to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks.

During a meeting with Abbas in the White House earlier in the month, Trump said that he saw a “very good chance” for peace between Israel and Palestine.

“Hopefully something terrific can come out between the Palestinians and Israel,” he said.

The last round of the so-called peace talks collapsed in April 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

The Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law as they are built on occupied territories.

Following a mid-February meeting with Netanyahu, Trump said he would not pursue decades of American policy in favor of the so-called two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump also urged Netanyahu to "hold back on settlements for a little bit."

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 calls on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/11/521416/saudi-salman-abbas-trump-netanyahu

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Tens of Saudi soldiers killed, wounded in Yemeni counter attacks: Report

May 11, 2017

The Yemeni army has reportedly fired a barrage of missiles on military positions in Saudi border areas, killing and injuring tens of Riyadh’s soldiers in the retaliatory attacks.

According to a Wednesday report by Yemen’s al-Masirah TV, the missiles hit the al-Fawaz and al-Makhrouq military bases in Najran, southwestern Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni army’s artillery units also targeted the gatherings of Saudi forces near the al-Khadra border crossing in Najran, leaving tens of them dead or wounded.

Inside Yemen, four Saudi-backed militants died when Yemeni forces launched a ground operation in Ma’arib Province.

Yemeni troops also foiled several attacks by the militants loyal to the former pro-Saudi government, killing four of the Saudi mercenaries and inflicting heavy losses on them.

Yemen’s army, backed by Houthi Ansarullah fighters and popular forces, has been defending the country against a brutal Saudi-led military campaign, which began in March 2015 with the aim of reinstalling the former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close Riyadh ally.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/11/521431/Yemeni-Saudi-Counterattacks

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Houthis ‘kidnap and torture’ 36 civilians on trial in Yemen’s Sanaa

10 May 2017

Thirty-six Yemeni civilians were tortured by Houthi militias after they forcibly disappeared two years ago, human rights organizations reported on Tuesday.

A joint statement issued by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and the Yemeni SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said the 36 civilians were inhumanly treated during the time of their disappearance, adding they are currently being tried by a court that violates the standards of a fair trial..

According to the statement, the 36 detainees showed marks of torture on their bodies during their first trial in Sanaa.

Some of them said they were tortured into making false confessions.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Houthis-kidnap-and-torture-36-civilians-on-trial-in-Yemen-s-Sanaa.html

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Houthi militia leader killed in battles with the resistance in Shabwa

11 May 2017

A Houthi militia leader and two of his companions were killed in fierce clashes in the province of Shabwa in southern Yemen.

They were killed during battles with the Popular Resistance Forces on Wednesday in the Tawal al-Sada area of Asilan district inside Shabwa province.

Meanwhile, a civilian and his wife were killed by a roadside bomb planted by Houthi militias in their farm in Ibb province in central Yemen.

Politically, Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh has said he is open to negotiations with Saudi Arabia.

“We have no choice but dialogue,” Saleh said at a meeting of his General People’s Congress party in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Tuesday.

“We are ready to go to Riyadh, Khamis Mushit, Muscat or elsewhere to start dialogue and to reach an understanding,” Saleh was quoted as saying.

On the humanitarian front, Saudi Arabia hosted in Riyadh the preparatory meeting on recovery and reconstruction in Yemen in the presence of Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid Bin Daghr.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/05/11/Houthi-militia-leader-killed-in-battles-with-the-resistance-in-Shabwa.html

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Consular affairs office in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah to issue visas to Yemenis

 11 May 2017

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has approved the opening of consular affairs office in Jeddah of the Kingdom’s embassy in Sanaa and the consulate in Aden, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed al-Jaber announced on Wednesday.

The Jeddah consular office will issue visas.

The service offices accredited by the embassy in Sanaa and the consulate in Aden will receive passports and documents and send them to the consular affairs office in Jeddah.

Al-Jaber said the King’s approval is an extension of the keenness of the leadership and the government of Saudi Arabia to support the brethren in Yemen. It also emphasizes the importance of providing services and facilitating procedures for all segments of the Yemeni people.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/05/11/Consular-affairs-office-in-Saudi-Arabia-s-Jeddah-to-issue-visas-to-Yemenis.html

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North America

 

US offers $10m reward for ex-Qaeda affiliate chief

May 11, 2017

WASHINGTON - The United States is offering a $10 million reward for information to identify or locate the head of Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate the Fateh al-Sham Front.

The State Department’s Rewards for Justice reward for information on Abu Mohamed al-Jolani is its first for a leader of the group. He has been named a “specially designated global terrorist” by the State Department and is also listed at the United Nations Security Council.

In its notice, the State Department indicates that Jolani pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in April 2013 after falling out with the Islamic State group. He praised Al-Qaeda again in an online video posted in July 2016. Fateh al-Sham Front, previously known as Al-Nusra Front, split from Al-Qaeda in July 2016 from Al-Qaeda in a move analysts said was an abortive attempt to end its blacklisting by the United Nations and Western governments.

It has a contentious relationship with some rebel groups, but many others have allied with it against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, despite its jihadist ideology.

Fateh al-Sham has been excluded from the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), as well as previous talks between rebel groups and the government.

“Under Jolani’s leadership, ANF has carried out multiple terrorist attacks throughout Syria, often targeting civilians,” the State Department notice read.

“In April 2015, ANF reportedly kidnapped, and later released, approximately 300 Kurdish civilians from a checkpoint in Syria. In June 2015, ANF claimed responsibility for the massacre of 20 residents in the Druze village Qalb Lawzeh in Idlib province, Syria.”

More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the country’s multi-layered conflict erupted with anti-government protests in March 2011.

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-May-2017/us-offers-10m-reward-for-ex-qaeda-affiliate-chief

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Canadian universities shift recruitment efforts in the Trump era

May 10, 2017

On January 27, when President Donald Trump announced an executive order to ban citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, Amer Bin Muhana heard the news in the safety of his dorm room at Carleton University in Ottawa. The undergraduate student immediately understood the repercussions the executive order might have on his future.

“I was surprised and shocked. I heard some rumours but didn’t expect it to happen. … Decent people will think that’s not something to agree with,” says Mr. Bin Muhana.

Originally from Yemen, Mr. Bin Muhana just finished his third year in Carleton’s electrical engineering program and had planned to pursue a master’s degree at a university in the U.S. He is now considering staying in Canada following the Trump administration’s non-inclusive position towards Muslims.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable going there if they already rejected me because of my nationality. They’re just saying implicitly that we’re all not allowed because we might do something bad there.”

On February 9, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Seattle judge’s motion to block Mr. Trump’s first executive order. On March 6, the U.S. president signed a revised version of the executive order from which Iraq was removed. However, it still targeted citizens of Libya, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, and Somalia.

The new order banned all refugees from entering the country for 120 days, and banned the issuance of new visas (including student visas) to the six majority-Muslim countries for 90 days. That order was suspended by federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii.

This month, the federal Justice Department is making its case in the Court of Appeals to strike down the lower courts’ rulings and reinstate the executive order. In the meantime, on April 18, Mr. Trump signed a measure to revamp the H-1B visa program, which temporarily brings highly skilled foreign workers to the U.S., including some professors, researchers and postdocs. Since it also allows international graduates of American universities to work in the U.S. for a short time after completing their studies, the order could further affect prospective international students’ interest in the U.S.

A more welcoming country

Mr. Bin Muhana is one of many students worldwide who may choose to forego the U.S. in search of a more welcoming country to study in. For many, that country might be Canada.

Following the original ban in January, some Canadian universities waived application fees and extended deadlines in support of those people that the ban targeted. Some postsecondary institutions also modified their recruitment strategies, sensing that the political climate in the U.S. could mean more international students enrolling in Canadian universities.

One of those institutions is the University of Regina. In the past, it has mainly worked with recruitment agencies to attract student athletes from the U.S. Livia Castellanos, U of R’s associate vice-president, international, says they are “seriously considering” increasing their recruitment of American and international students in the U.S., who may want to relocate to Canada.

“We’re commencing to develop a strategy and we are exploring different avenues through different events that are coming up in the next few months,” says Ms. Castellanos, adding that such events include education fairs in Minnesota and other Midwest states.

Laurentian University is also increasing its recruitment efforts. Dominic Giroux, outgoing president and vice-chancellor of the university, says that historically, Laurentian has recruited from countries like China, India, Nigeria, Burundi and Pakistan. But following the U.S. presidential election, staff experimented on social media, inviting American students to come study in Canada.

“We put forward some tongue-in-cheek advertising saying, ‘Four-year term, four-year degrees. Come to Laurentian University,’” recalls Mr. Giroux.

He says that since 2008, the university has seen its international student enrollment double, and that next fall he expects international applications to rise by another 67 percent.

Applications rising steadily

Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada, says international student applications have been rising steadily at Canadian universities over the past 10 years. He says high-quality postsecondary experience, affordability and Canada’s typically welcoming nature are main reasons for this increased interest.

However, Mr. Davidson adds that the Brexit vote and the presidential election in the U.S. have also been more recent catalysts re-orienting international students towards Canada.

“There is a great opportunity here for Canada and we all have to work together to seize it, and make sure to attract the best students we can,” Mr. Davidson says.

According to Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, in the U.S., more than 15,450 students and 2,100 scholars from the six banned countries studied and conducted research at U.S. universities during the 2015-16 academic year.

“The pipeline of new students and scholars from those countries – many of whom are in the midst of the college application process – is now cut off,” Mr. McPherson noted in a written statement. He added that this could also lead students and scholars from countries not targeted by the ban to discount the U.S. when deciding on international opportunities.

At Laurentian, Mr. Giroux says that if the executive order remains in place, Canadian universities might see an increased demand from the six targeted countries to study in Canada for the 2018-19 academic year.

“We’ve had specific instances where I’ve received very strong pleas and emails from students from those countries,” says Mr. Giroux.

He mentions a student from Iran who “ranks up among the best students at his university in Tehran,” and who, following the initial executive order, decided to apply to Laurentian’s new master of architecture program. “He had applied in the U.S. and had received offers from a number of schools, and now is unable to pursue those opportunities,” explains Mr. Giroux. In those instances, he says, the university reviews the applications on a case-by-case basis and waives application deadlines when necessary. “We don’t want artificial barriers to stand in the way of welcoming top students at the university,” he says.

Universities responded by waiving fees, extending deadlines

Following the initial executive order in January, McGill University’s faculty of law reached out to graduate students targeted by the ban and waived the application deadline and students with McGill’s Legal Information Clinic in Montreal launched the YULhelp.ca website to assist travellers denied entry to the U.S. Likewise, the University of Toronto announced it would extend application deadlines and help students transferring from other institutions.  The University of Ottawa waived international tuitions for some undergraduate and graduate students, and Memorial University announced it would waive application fees and that it was exploring first-semester scholarship support for affected students.

Full report at:

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/news/news-article/canadian-universities-shift-recruitment-efforts-trump-era/

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'Heart-warming' event brings in $130K for Yellowknife's new Islamic centre

May 10, 2017

Yellowknife's Muslim community is one step closer to building a new mosque in the city after a fundraising event brought in more than $130,000 for design and architectural costs.

Nazim Awan, chair of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife, says over 120 people attended the fundraiser at Sir John Franklin High School on April 22.

The initial goal was to raise $50,000 for construction costs, but some families decided to donate upwards of $10,000 of their own money.

"That is huge for a community of our size," Awan said.

"That tells us that people are willing to contribute more than what they can even afford. This fundraising was really a very promising and heartwarming event for everybody."

Awan told CBC the goal is to raise approximately $2 million, the anticipated cost of an 8,000 square-foot facility.

Earlier this year, the organization purchased a new lot for its future mosque right next to its current location at the base of the Franklin Avenue hill. Awan says the existing building is too small to cater to the city's growing Muslim population.

The plan is to merge the two properties for the new mosque.

"The Islamic Centre will be for the community of Yellowknife," Awan said. "It will be an education centre, an outreach centre and a worship place for Muslims.

"But we have a duty to engage the non-Muslim population who want to know and want to understand Islam.

"I am very confident that the new centre will be a very open, welcoming centre for all of the community."

Awan says that could include hosting interactive sessions to promote interfaith harmony or to teach Arabic.

What happens next?

On the heels of last month's successful fundraiser, Awan says more are being planned for Ramadan, which begins May 26.

Awan says Yellowknife's Muslim population is no larger than 300, but that community members are clearly willing to raise money for a new place of worship.

The next step is to acquire permits.

"[We need to] get the required permits from the city and we hope that everything will be done accordingly at a suitable time," he said.

"Construction is a short season. If we miss this year, it will go to next year."

Syed Imtiaz Ahmad, president of the Canadian arm of the Islamic Society of North America, says other mosques across Canada will also donate to the project in Yellowknife.

Trust 'restored' after mosque funds stolen

In addition to the $130,000 raised last month, Awan says over $90,000 has already been raised over the last four years.

He says the city's Muslim community can be confident every cent will support operations at the current facility, help with charity events or go towards the construction of a new mosque.

Full report at:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/huge-fundraiser-mosque-yellowknife-1.4108434

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Europe

 

French convert to Islam backs ISIS; planned attack on airbase

May 11, 2017

PARIS, France — A former French soldier, arrested last week near an airbase, proclaimed allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group jihadists and admitted he was planning an attack, in a letter seen by AFP on Wednesday.

The suspect, who was seized two days before France’s presidential election run-off vote, is said to be psychologically unstable.

He was arrested close to an airbase at Evreux, northwest of Paris by police who found guns hidden nearby and several ISIS flags in his car.

“My name is Alain Feuillerat, a Muslim soldier defending my fatherland,” he said in the message seen by AFP.

“I was preparing, with Allah’s help, an attack against the Evreux-Fauville airbase,” in the one-and-a-half page letter which mixed criticism of France with religious statements.

The same text was found on a computer memory stick in his car, according to a source close to the enquiry.

“This attack was not designed to kill the maximum number of people but above all to show our determination,” he continued in the message which was dated April 27 but posted in the mail on May 5, the day of his arrest.

The computerized message had two photos attached. One showed the suspect dressed as an Islamic State group fighter, the other was a photo of his French passport.

Feuillarat, 34, remains in detention and was on Monday charged with a terrorist act and with attempting to break into a military area.

Since being detained he has admitted planning an attack in France because, he said, he was unable to join up with ISIS fighters in Syria.

The former soldier quit the army in 2013 after ten years of service.

He converted to Islam and had been under close surveillance since 2014 due to his radicalization.

France has been hit by a string of Islamist attacks, most claimed by ISIS, since 2015, with over 230 people killed in all.

The presidential election went off without a hitch on Sunday but the prior campaigning was overshadowed by security worries.

Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old Frenchman, shot and killed a police officer and wounded two others on the Champs Elysees avenue days before the first round of voting in April, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. Cheurfi was killed by police gunfire. CBB/rga

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/896002/french-convert-to-islam-backs-isis-planned-attack-on-airbase

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Islamophobic Trump supporter launches verbal tirade against Muslim family in Texas

10 May, 2017

A Muslim family were subjected to a vicious, anti-Islamic tirade from a drunk American man while attending a family reunion on South Padre Island, Texas. Children as young as two years old were not spared from the screed, which was caught on video.

In a video uploaded to YouTube by user Noria Alward, an intoxicated man hurls a confused and unhinged mix of Islamophobic insults referencing Sharia Law and ISIS.

Alward and her family were approached by several people on the beach warning them in advance that the man had been causing problems and was drunk, according to a detailed description the uploader provides within the YouTube video.

Noria’s father engaged the man in a brief conversation, allegedly saying: "please enjoy your time and have fun and let everyone else here enjoy their time."

The man initially walked away but then returned and began shouting at Alward and her family, including her father, brother, uncle and young cousins, aged between two and four years old.

Alward and her family called the police to intervene but the officers merely warned the man about his conduct and advised Alward to call them again if the abuse did not stop.

Naturally enough, as soon as the police were gone, the verbal abuse began again, which is when Alward began filming the incident.

The man begins to thump his chest repeatedly while shouting Donald Trump over and over again. Once he tired himself out, he returned to the hotel restaurant before being arrested by police after the second 911 call of the day.

Alward claims that the South Padre Hotel management were largely unresponsive and referred her and her family to the police, saying there was nothing staff could do apart from evict the man once he had been released from police custody.

Alward’s uncle allegedly saw the man speaking with hotel management the morning after the incident and was told that there was nothing the hotel could do this time but that they would act if the man abused people again in the future.

RT has verified that the video was recorded at the South Padre Pearl hotel by confirming the logo and appearance of the location with images of the hotel hosted on Google.

Full report at:

https://www.rt.com/viral/387931-islamophobic-trump-supporter-abuses-muslims/

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Europe: Denying the Threat of Islamic Imperialism

By Maria Polizoidou

May 11, 2017

The Western world can no longer ignore the problem of the latest the elephant in the room: Islamic imperialism. Europe has come to such a state of free speech trials, threats of censorship or, out of fear, self-censorship, that it seems to prefer putting the safety of its citizens at risk than admit that this elephant exists.

Meanwhile, Muslim countries make not the slightest effort to hide their intentions, as recent actions of 18 such states at the United Nations illustrate. They cooperated in the preparation of the report released in March by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), which accused Israel of "the crime of apartheid," despite knowing full well that such a baseless claim would be rejected by the world body now that Donald Trump is at the helm of the free world. The reason they went ahead with it anyway was to convey to the West that delegitimizing the Jewish state was merely the first step in a master plan to unravel all of Judeo-Christian civilization and values.

For a body such as UNESCWA to declare the State of Israel in an official Institute's report, as being guilty of "the crime of apartheid" according to international law, shows that Islamic expansionism is a real and an active political problem.

UNESCWA must have had some idea, before publishing the report, that such a loopy conclusion could not be adopted, even by the UN, which has been doing its utmost to rewrite historical facts. In the last few years, UNESCO has repeatedly declared pre-Islamic historical sites Islamic.

Nevertheless, UNESCWA proceeded to pass this surreal political concoction, probably to declare to the Western world again its attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and all the freedoms it represents in the Judeo-Christian world that might threaten the expansion of Islam.

It was an attempt to project power.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey, which even before his new, absolute powers, wanted to represent all of Sunni Islam, shows to the Western world the true face of Islamic imperialism and the conventional, irregular and cyber war it appears to have declared on the Christian world.

The UN report and Erdogan's rhetoric both evidently expresses the Muslim world's thoughts about what it apparently thinks should be the fate of Israel and Europe. So far, not a single Muslim state has condemned or opposed Erdogan's aggression against Judeo-Christian civilization.

According to Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu, "[T]here will soon be religious wars inside Europe". The enemy is already inside the gates; many European regimes seem unaware that there is even a threat.

Corrupted elites, with the help of many in the international community, try to suffocate Israel economically; and the biased and dishonest media seem to be trying to hide from the public that they work as proxies of Islamic imperialism, promoting Islamic ideology and condemning the values of the West.

Pope Francis and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew use Jesus's phrase "Love each other as I have loved you" as a religious justification to love people who are ordered -- under threat of eternal hellfire -- not only never to love you, but to have nothing whatever to do with you, apart from trying to win you over to their firmly-held belief:

"O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them." -- Qur'an 5:51

The logic of much of Europe's religious and political community seems to be that if the elephant in the room is spoken to nicely and made to look cute and adorable, people will not think of it as a threat to their safety.

Left-wing ideologues and unwitting fellow travelers hide the nature of the elephant. This was the approach of President Obama, who, along with European leaders, provided space in which the elephant could operate, grow and undermine the fabric of Western societies.

Key to this enabling has been a Western focus on fake politics -- such as the obsession with issues such as transgender bathrooms and rights for women who are already blessed with rights -- while Islamists are actually oppressing gays and women in the most rigid fashion.

The Obama administration metamorphosed real politics into fake politics, where people talk -- instead of about freedom and democracy -- about feminism, gender studies, transgender bathrooms, feeling offended and endless vaginology.

Christian leaders have also been trying to deflect from the threat. Both Pope Francis and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I use Jesus's phrase, "Love each other as I have loved you" to disguise and minimize it.

Meanwhile, the elephant in the room gets bigger and bigger and is ready, according to the Turkish president's statements, to destroy the house.

Full report at:

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10236/europe-islamic-imperialism

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Europe continues to romance anti-Islam forces despite Macron's win in France

10-05-2017

Yes, the thumping victory of Emmanuel Macron in the just-concluded French presidential elections does denote that the right-wing surge triggered by Donald Trump’s victory in US presidential polls last year has been pushed back.

But hold your horses, folks.

Macron has just won a battle, but is yet to win the war. Also, it is prudent to await the outcome of the German federal elections on September 24, 2017, to arrive at a clearer picture which way is the European politics heading and whether Macron’s victory is part of a larger political trend or a mere flash in the pan.

There are four compelling reasons that should be taken into consideration, all of which suggest that the anti-EU, anti-immigration and virtually anti-Islamist forces whom Macron defeated still retain considerable pockets of influence all over Europe.

1. France

The 39-year-old Macron has indeed scripted history by becoming the youngest-ever president of France, but his electoral achievement will remain notional if he doesn't repeat this performance in next month’s National Assembly election. His newly formed party doesn't have a single seat in parliament as of now. Yes, he is relatively unknown entity in the French political space (compared to his political opponents), and is having a clean slate may actually work in his favour. But elections are elections and you become a political force to reckon with only if you win votes.

Le Pen, whom he defeated on May 7, hasn't lost her political relevance or appeal. On the contrary, she managed to double her party's vote in these elections. Indications are that she is most likely to adopt a new political approach to have a go at next month’s parliamentary polls. In case, Macron is not able to repeat his performance in the upcoming polls or Le Pen and other political rivals of Macron are able to come up with a much stronger performance, Macron will prove to be a lame-duck president as without a functional majority in parliament he will not be able to implement his promises of reforms which he had made during the presidential campaign.

That's why Macron may have won a battle, but the real war is still staring in the face and is yet to be won. Any upsets for him will once again pose a question mark on whether his victory in the presidential elections could truly be seen as stalling of the far-right surge. However, if he were to pull off an impressive victory in the parliamentary polls, it would still not mean that the anti-liberals and conservatives are done and dusted. See the examples of Netherlands and Austria below.

2. Netherlands

In March 2017, the Netherlands heralded the surge against forces of parochial nationalist, anti-European Union and anti-Islam represented by the hardliner Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom. His fiery speeches and tough stand on immigration and his electoral plank of banning the Quran and closing all mosques in the country forced other right-leaning parties, too, to take tougher stance on opposing liberal immigration policies. But the stark truth is that Wilders may have lost the election but he was not a poor loser and he finished a close second.

Mark Rutte who eventually won the elections polled 21.3 per cent votes and got 33 seats (a loss of eight seats) while Wilders polled 13.1 per cent votes and got 20 seats (a gain of five seats). These figures should tell a tale.

3. Austria

Last year in Austria, the radical far-right, anti-liberal forces represented by Norbert Hofer of the anti-immigration Freedom Party narrowly lost to the centrist liberal Alexander Van der Bellen and the results remained the same in re-elections ordered by the top court of Austria. But the stunning fact to be considered here is that Hofer garnered as much as 49.7 per cent votes. So, what does it show? It shows that the simmering revolt against the pro-immigration liberals continues and the forces representing the far-right European populism remain extremely potent and vibrant. These forces don't have just a toe-hold in the power corridors but much more than that.

4. Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who stood like the Rock of Gibraltar in favour of immigrants during the worst immigrant crisis of last year and has been repeatedly criticised by Donald Trump for this, will be pitching for her fourth consecutive victory in the forthcoming general elections in September. But the question is will she be able to make it? In many ways, the German elections will be as much important, if not more, as the French presidential elections. The German election results may well be the correct marker to gauge the political mood in Europe.

Full report at:

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/france-macron-le-pen/story/1/17125.html

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South Asia

 

Explosion targets Taliban vehicle in Kandahar leaving 11 dead

May 10 2017

At least eleven people were killed in a roadside mine explosion in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, the local authorities said Wednesday.

The incident took place late on Tuesday night in the vicinity of Maiwand district of Kandahar.

According to a statement by the provincial government, a four by four vehicle belonging to the Taliban insurgents struck an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted in Khak-e-Chopan area of Maiwand district late on Tuesday night.

The statement further added that eleven people inside the vehicle were killed in the explosion.

The Taliban insurgents frequently use IEDs as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government officials but in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UANAMA) released its latest civilian casualties report last month, covering a period of three months since the start of 2017.

According to the report, the Anti-Government Elements caused 62 per cent of civilian casualties – 1,353 civilian casualties (447 dead and 906 injured), reflecting a five per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016.

The UN mission also added it recorded a 12 per cent increase in civilian casualties caused by pressure-plate improvised explosive devices – 218 civilian casualties (86 dead and 132 injured).

https://www.khaama.com/explosion-targets-taliban-vehicle-in-kandahar-leaving-11-dead-02711

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Myanmar Police Fire Warning Shots amid Religious Tension

May 10, 2017

Police in Myanmar’s main city fired have warning shots to break up a confrontation between Buddhists and Muslims that left at least one person injured. Police say the confrontation began after midnight Wednesday when Buddhist hard-liners entered a Muslim neighbourhood claiming that ethnic Rohingya Muslims were hiding “illegally” in the area.

It was the latest manifestation of rising anti-Muslim sentiment in the predominantly Buddhist nation, where ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters forced the closure of two Muslim schools in Yangon last month. Rohingya in Myanmar are largely denied citizenship and basic rights. The majority of them live in western Myanmar and cannot travel without special permission.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/myanmar-police-fire-warning-shots-amid-religious-tension-4649510/

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New pictures show aftermath of MOAB bombing on ISIS hideouts in Afghanistan

May 10 2017

New pictures have emerged from the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan showing the aftermath of an airstrike involving GBU-43 bombing, also known as Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) on ISIS hideouts.

The pictures were released by the provincial government earlier today which shows the massive losses incurred to the ISIS terrorists in Asad Khel area of Achin district.

A destroyed car, bodies of ISIS militants dispersed and still lying across the area, damaged tunnels, and presence of the Afghan security forces are shown in the latest photographs released by the government.

The bomb was dropped around 7:30 pm local time on Thursday, the 13th of April, a move which was widely welcomed by the local residents and tribal elders of Nangarhar.

The commander of the US forces based in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson appeared in a press conference after the airstrike was conducted, saying the use of the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb or Mother of All Bombs in Achin district sent a clear message to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

Gen. Nicholson made the remarks as he was speaking to reports together with the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Kabul on Monday.

“The strike in Achin was to send a very clear message to ISIS. If they come to Afghanistan they will be destroyed,” he said.

Gen. Nicholson further added “We are going to keep going until ISIS-K is defeated in 2017. There is no space for ISIS-K in Afghanistan.”

A number of the tribal elders also appeared in a gathering after the airstrike was conducted and urged for further strikes to clear the province from the presence of ISIS militants.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/new-pictures-show-aftermath-of-moab-bombing-on-isis-hideouts-in-afghanistan-02708

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Taliban’s shadow district chief killed during gun battle with Nangarhar residents

May 10 2017

A shadow district chief of the Taliban group has been killed during the clashes with the local residents in eastern Nangarhar province.

The provincial police commandment in a statement said Taliban’s shadow district chief for Khogyani district was killed on Tuesday after a brief clash with the residents of the district.

The statement further added that the shadow district chief of the Taliban for Khogyani has been identified as Waifullah who was also famous Omar.

Another key Taliban group member identified as Enayatullah was also wounded during the clash, the police commandment said, adding that the Afghan army soldiers arrived in the area to assist the local residents.

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

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups have recently increased their insurgency activities in some parts of the province during the recent years.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/talibans-shadow-district-chief-killed-during-gun-battle-with-nangarhar-residents-02709

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Africa

 

Jordan downs a drone north of the kingdom

10 May 2017

An F-16 jet belonging to the Royal Jordanian Air Force has downed a drone north of the kingdom Wednesday evening near Syria.

Investigation is currently undergoing to know from where the drone came from, Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent reported.

The incident took place after Jordan and the United States kicked off their annual military exercises on Sunday. The drill known as “Eager Lion” saw the participation of 7,400 troops from more than 20 nations.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Jordan-downs-a-drone-north-of-the-kingdom-.html

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Tunisian president orders army to protect oil and gas fields

10 May 2017

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi on Wednesday ordered the army to protect phosphate, gas and oil production facilities after protests aimed at disrupting output broke out in the south of the country.

It is the first time troops in Tunisia will be deployed to protect industrial installations vital to Tunisia’s economy. Protests, sit-ins and strikes in recent years have cost the state billions of dollars.

For several weeks, about 1,000 protesters in Tatouine province, where Italy’s ENI and Austria’s OMV have gas operations, have been demanding jobs and a share in revenue from the area’s natural resources.

Protests have also broken out in another southern province, Kebili, and on Wednesday police fired tear gas to break up rioting in a town west of Tunis after a fruit seller set himself on fire in protest against the police.

In an incident similar to the self-immolation in 2011 that sparked the uprising that toppled autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the vendor in Tebourba poured gasoline over himself and set it ablaze. He was hospitalized and rioting erupted.

Six years after the uprising, Tunisia is trying to enact sensitive reforms to help growth, but many unemployed youth in the marginalized south still feel they have gained few opportunities.

The military deployment will take place immediately, Essebsi said.

“It is a serious decision, but it must be applied to protect our resources,” he said in a speech to the nation. “Our democratic path has become threatened and law must be applied but we will respect freedoms.”

A local resident in the southern Metaloui region - the heartland of Tunisia’s phosphate production - said troops arrived in trucks on Wednesday and started setting up barbed wire barricades around facilities.

OMV has taken out around 700 non-essential staff and contractors from its operations in the south as a precaution, and Perenco and Canada-based Serinus Energy have either halted some production or closed gas fields.

Tunisia is a small oil and gas producer compared to its OPEC neighbors Libya and Algeria, with production around 44,000 barrels per day.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/05/10/Tunisian-president-orders-army-to-protect-oil-and-gas-fields.html

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Libya intercepts almost 500 migrants following sea duel

11 May 2017

Libya’s coastguard on Wednesday intercepted a wooden boat packed with almost 500 migrants after duelling with a German rescue ship and coming under fire from traffickers, the navy said. The migrants, who were bound for Italy, were picked up off the western city of Sabratha, said navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem.

The German non-governmental organization “Sea-Watch tried to disrupt the coastguard operation... inside Libyan waters and wanted to take the migrants, on the pretext that Libya wasn’t safe,” Qassem told AFP. Sea-Watch posted a video on Twitter of what it said was a Libyan coastguard vessel narrowly cutting across the bow of its ship.

“This EU-funded Libyan patrol vessel almost crashed (into) our civil rescue ship,” read the caption. Qassem also said the coastguard had come under fire from people traffickers, without reporting any casualties.

Several nationalities

The 493 migrants included 277 from Morocco and many from Bangladesh, said Qassem, and 20 women and a child were aboard the boat. All were taken to a naval base in Tripoli. There were also migrants from Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Chad, Mali and Nigeria, he added.

According to international organizations, between 800,000 and one million people, mostly from sub Saharan Africa, are currently in Libya hoping to make the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/05/11/Libya-intercepts-almost-500-migrants-after-sea-duel-.html

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