New Age Islam
Tue Dec 01 2020, 06:36 PM

Islamic World News ( 4 Feb 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Trump Loses AGAIN In Court, Judge Rejects Attempt to Quickly Restart Muslim Ban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: St Michael Cathedral Church is one of the oldest churches in Peshawar and is located on Mall Road. Tags: Pakistan religion, church, mosque.

 

How Hyderabad Techie Was Puppeteered By Islamic State

A Pakistani Street Where Muslims and Christians Worship Side By Side

'Don't Turn Mosque into Political Stage': Muslim Scholar

Arab-Muslim Assembly Voices Support to Iran as Defender of Rightful Cases of Muslim World

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North America

Trump Loses AGAIN In Court, Judge Rejects Attempt to Quickly Restart Muslim Ban

How Trump's Policies and Rhetoric Are Forging Alliances between U.S. Jews and Muslims

The world’s largest majority-Muslim nation isn’t sure how to deal with Trump

Provoking Xenophobia Only Rationale for Trump’s Muslim Ban: US Analyst

March to honour mosque attack victims

Under snowy skies, hundreds march to remember Quebec mosque attack

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India

How Hyderabad Techie Was Puppeteered By Islamic State

Two Hizbul Mujahideen Terrorists Killed In Encounter In Kashmir

Punjab polls: Pakistani bride votes for the first time in Qadian

'It's a miracle for me': 5-year-old Pakistani boy reunites with mother at Wagah border

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Pakistan

A Pakistani Street Where Muslims and Christians Worship Side By Side

‘Domestic Trafficking Of Minors Fuels Child Labour’

Envoy says Qatar has nothing to do with ex-PM letters

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Southeast Asia

'Don't Turn Mosque into Political Stage': Muslim Scholar

Rights Group Calls for Review of Aceh's Sharia Law in Indonesia

Hong Kong protesters denounce Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ outside US consulate

Myanmar arrests key suspect in Muslim lawyer’s killing

Indonesia makes moves to muzzle Muslim hardliners behind governor protests

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Arab World

Syrian Army Wins Back another Key Town, Kills over 40 ISIL Terrorists near Al-Bab

More Civilians Killed, Wounded in US-Led Coalitions Attacks in Syria's Raqqa

Syrian leads Islamic State dissent in Mosul amid Baghdadi’s death rumors

Syrian General: Army's Control over Al-Bab A Prelude to Raqqa Operation

Army General: Syrian Army About to Capture Al-Bab

Yemeni Zalzal-II Missile Hits Saudi-Backed Militias' Gatherings in Ma'arib Province

Senior MP: Iran to Demolish US Base in Bahrain in Case of Aggression

Iraqi forces arrest 39 ISIS terrorists in Mosul

Iraq’s foreign, domestic debts exceed US$100 bn

Official says troops not enough to fight Islamic State in Anbar

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Mideast

Arab-Muslim Assembly Voices Support to Iran as Defender of Rightful Cases of Muslim World

Iran Vows 'Roaring Missiles' If Threatened, Defies New Sanctions

400 suspected Islamic State members held in Turkey

Iran permits American wrestlers to take part in World Cup 2017

Bomb blast hits capital of Bahrain

Iran begins major phase of defense drills in Semnan

Airlines in Iran: No tickets for Iranians holding US visas

Bahraini Shia Friday Prayers blocked for 35th week

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South Asia

Taliban Commander Hekmatullah among 54 Killed In Helmand: MoD

Uprising Commander Joins Taliban Group with His 14 Men In Sar-E-Pul

UN removes Hekmatyar from terrorist list

4 suspects arrested for having links with ISIS in East of Afghanistan

Heavy snowfall hits Afghanistan, govt announces nationwide holiday

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Europe

Austria: Protesters Denounce Plans to Ban Full-Face Muslim Veils

Pope Francis responds to Shia scholar’s Christmas message

Mosques in Wales to open doors to show 'solidarity'

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Africa

Quebec mosque victims repatriated to Algeria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/trump-loses-again-in-court,-judge-rejects-attempt-to-quickly-restart-muslim-ban/d/109960

 

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Trump Loses AGAIN In Court, Judge Rejects Attempt To Quickly Restart Muslim Ban

February 5, 2017

The Trump administration has lost a bid to quickly reinstate the ban on Muslim travel to the United States.

“A federal appeals court denied early Sunday the Justice Department’s request for an immediate reinstatement of President Donald Trump’s ban on accepting certain travelers and all refugees.

The Trump administration appealed a temporary order restraining the ban nationwide, saying late Saturday night that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by “second-guessing” the president on a matter of national security.

Now the higher court’s denial of an immediate stay means the legal battles over the ban will continue for days at least.” [READ MORE]

oliverwillis.com/trump-loses-court-judge-rejects-attempt-quickly-restart-muslim-ban/

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How Hyderabad techie was puppeteered by Islamic State

Rukmini Callimachi | NYT News Service | Feb 5, 2017

HYDERABAD: When the terror group Islamic State (IS) identified a promising young recruit willing to carry out an attack in one of India's major tech hubs — Hyderabad, the group made sure to arrange everything down to the bullets he needed to kill victims.

For 17 months, terrorist operatives guided the recruit, a young engineer named Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani, through every step of what they planned to be the IS's first strike on Indian soil. Until just moments before the arrest of the members of the Hyderabad cell last June, the IS's cyberplanners kept in near-constant touch with the men, according to the interrogation records of three of the eight suspects. Cases like Yazdani's offer troubling examples of what counterterrorism experts are calling enabled or remote-controlled attacks: violence conceived and guided by operatives in areas controlled by the IS whose only connection to the would-be attacker is the internet.

For the most part, the operatives who are conceiving and guiding such attacks are doing so from behind a wall of anonymity. When the Hyderabad plotters were arrested last summer, they could not so much as confirm the nationality of their interlocutors inside the IS, let alone describe what they looked like. Because the recruits are instructed to use encrypted messaging applications, the guiding role played by the terrorist group often remains obscured. As a result, remotely guided plots in Europe, Asia and the US in recent years, were initially labeled the work of "lone wolves," and only later was communication with the group discovered.

One of the IS's most influential recruiters and virtual plotters was known by the nom de guerre Abu Issa al-Amriki. Among those who sought him out was Yazdani. Yazdani, 30, grew up in a cramped apartment in the slum of Aman Nagar in Hyderabad's Old City. He beat the odds, earning an engineering degree and landing a job in Saudi Arabia for nearly four years, before returning to India. While abroad, he began watching the IS's online propaganda, and soon he became consumed by a desire to leave it all for the caliphate.

"I created a Telegram ID and sought his (Amriki's) guidance to reach Syria," Yazdani told investigators from NIAaccording to the record of his interrogation. After mon -ths of frustrating and failed attempts to help Yazdani get a visa, Amriki's directions changed course: "He asked me to work for IS by staying in India itself." Just before his death last April, Amriki handed off Yazdani to a different handler, known only by his Telegram screen name, "WindsofVictory." The new handler guided the eight-member cell as it took shape, exchanging messages with Yazdani as he recruited his family and friends.

The handler guiding the men in Hyderabad insisted on using a kaleidoscope of encrypted messaging applications, with Yazdani instructed to hop between apps so that even if one message were discovered and cracked, it would reveal only a portion of their handiwork.Though the Hyderabad case is among the most detailed in showing how Syria-based handlers directly facilitated attacks abroad, it is neither the first, nor the only one.Examination of both successful and unsuccessful plots carried out in the IS's name over the past three years indicates that such enabled attacks are making up a growing share of the operations of the group. This style of attack has allowed the IS's reach into countries such as the US, France, Germany, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Australia. "I fear this is the future of IS," an analyst said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/how-hyderabad-techie-was-puppeteered-by-islamic-state/articleshow/56977951.cms

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A Pakistani street where Muslims and Christians worship side by side

Feb 5, 2017

PESHAWAR: Twenty-two-year-old Irfan Masih, a resident of Peshawar, is at the city’s historical St Michael Cathedral Church to make arrangements for one of the happiest days of his life — his wedding day.

The young man wants to rent the church’s lawn for the ceremony. The news is met with congratulations from the church administrator, but he also lays out one condition for the gleeful groom-to-be. He is told that no music can be played at the ceremony. This is out of respect for the cathedral’s neighbours — a mosque and madressah known as the Jamia Imdadul Uloom or Darwaish Masjid.

Irfan tries to reason with the administrator. “This is my first and last marriage,” he says in a lighter tone. He is met with a stern response: “If you agree [only] then will the church permit you to entertain guests in the lawn, otherwise we are sorry.”

Working together.

The church’s red bricks glisten in the winter sunlight. The structure stands tall next to the whitewashed madressah that was built 38 years ago.

In the often-volatile city of Peshawar, it is a sight to see these two ‘houses of God’ existing alongside one another. Mufti Asad of the madressah says that they have friendly relations with their neighbours. The two places of worship exchange gifts on each other’s religious festivals. Last Eidul Azha, representatives from the church came to the madressah bearing gifts. “We also offered them meat and ate barbeque together,” Mufti Asad says.

These stories of peaceful coexistence are heartening to hear.

Members of Jamia Imdadul Uloom take pride in the madressah’s more “progressive” outlook. Maulana Hassan Jan was a teacher here, who was allegedly the first religious scholar to declare suicide bombings haram. It is believed that these moderate views ruffled some feathers and Maulana Jan paid the ultimate price for this. In 2007, during the Islamic month of Ramazan, he was assassinated.

Many of Maulana Jan’s students are now teachers at the madressah. They claim to be continuing to follow his philosophy of peace and respect for other religions.

In the neighbouring church, Father Younas Riaz is similarly spreading messages of peace. He wears a white robe as he preaches these values to a congregation of devout Christians.

“You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” he says quoting the Bible.

Propagating peace

Peshawar has often been an unsafe place for Christians. A September 2013 suicide attack on the city’s All Saint’s Church killed at least 80 and left 100 wounded. In such a scenario the apparent camaraderie shared by the two places of worship is encouraging.

Attaullah Khan, a researcher, says, “In this country there is always a threat to minorities… they are treated as second-grade citizens since birth…”

Father Younas Riaz of the cathedral says that some “so-called education experts” are systemically facilitating this intolerance in society. “[They] are working to sabotage the unity of this diverse society,” he adds, criticising the textbooks which often perpetuate hate.

Khan agrees, further stating that the media and the textbooks are both culpable for propagating that Muslims are patriots and true lovers of the country, while the “others” are often painted as dubious characters. The “intellectuals” associated with the boards of education deliberately do not give space to non-Muslim heroes and their contributions, he believes.

For their part, however, representatives of the Jamia Imdadul Uloom take pride in their teaching of tolerance and unity. Mufti Asad shares that 1,000 students are enrolled in the seminary, and due to the institution’s teaching methodology none of its students have been found guilty in any anti-state or unlawful activities. Mufti Asad further tells Dawn that they maintain a comprehensive computerised record of all the madressah’s current and ex-students.

In this crucial time, the scholars and intellectuals need to work to shape the youth’s mind, Khan concludes. Representatives of both the places of worship also stress that the mosque and church exist side by side because of the compassion being taught here. - Dawn/Asia News Network

thestar.com.my/news/regional/2017/02/05/a-pakistani-street-where-muslims-and-christians-worship-side-by-side/#gLsaX44JkV6mttvl.99

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'Don't Turn Mosque Into Political Stage': Muslim Scholari

05 February, 2017

Bogor. Muslim scholar Komaruddin Hidayat said on Saturday (04/02) mosques in Indonesia should provide a guideline on content of sermons to avoid the prayer house being used as a platform to deliver political speeches.

Komaruddin's statement came after Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saiffudin said he plans to require all Muslim preachers to be certified since many of them now use their time on the pulpit to vilify other groups.

If the minister goes ahead with his plan, only certified preachers will be able to deliver sermons at a mosque.

"We don't need certification, what we need is to regulate the content of the sermons and change the culture at the mosques. We can't let mosques be turned into a political stage," Komaruddin said on the sidelines of the Madania Festival in Bogor, West Java, state news agency Antara reported.

Mosques should curate preachers to deliver their sermons and quiz regular visitors on what topics they are interested in, Komaruddin said.

He also called on Muslim organizations such as Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama to help monitor the content of sermons delivered in mosques all over the country.

Komaruddin, a rector at the Syarief Hidayatullah State Islamic University, urged the Religious Affairs Ministry to review the preacher's certification plan.

"Hopefully the government can help mosques to change their culture. They need guidance, not control. There are mosques where the sermons have become very aggressive, we need to change that," he said.

jakartaglobe.id/news/dont-turn-mosque-political-stage-muslim-scholar/

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Arab-Muslim Assembly voices support to Iran as defender of rightful cases of Muslim world

February 4, 2017

The "Arab and Muslim Assembly to support the choice of Resistance" stressed standing firm by Islamic Republic as defender of rightful cases of Muslim world and oppressed nations.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Members of the "Arab and Muslim Assembly to support the choice of Resistance" held a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Fathali on Friday evening.

The executive delegation of the Assembly is active in 30 Arab and Muslim countries and seven Western countries. All members participated in the two-day meeting in Beirut.

During the meeting with the Iranian ambassador, the Secretary-General of the Assembly Dr. Yahya Ghaddar stressed further efforts for supporting the Resistance in defending the rightful positions of Arab and Muslim nations, particularly Palestine, Yemen and Bahrain, as well as for the fight against Zionist and Takfiri terrorism and their allies.

“We will fight against the racist and oppressive policies of the new US government such as the dubious plan to create safe zones in Syria or the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem and their exploitations of oil reservoirs of Arab-Muslim countries,” he stressed.

He commended Iran as the main supporter of Arab-Muslim Resistance in fighting global Arrogance, particularly the US, Israel and Takfiri terrorists, saying the Islamic Republic has always taken honorable positions in defense of rightful cases of independent nations.

The Iranian ambassador, for his part, maintained that the Islamic Republic is always ready to provide Muslim countries with its various achievements in all fields, including science and technology.

He further expressed hope that with the eradication of Zionist and Takfiri terrorism, peace and stability would return to all Muslim countries including Syria, Iraq and Yemen; “this objective will be achieved only through resistance, unity and solidarity among all Muslim nations,” he added.

en.abna24.com/news/iran/arab-muslim-assembly-voices-support-to-iran-as-defender-of-rightful-cases-of-muslim-world.html

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North America

Trump Loses AGAIN In Court, Judge Rejects Attempt To Quickly Restart Muslim Ban

February 5, 2017

The Trump administration has lost a bid to quickly reinstate the ban on Muslim travel to the United States.

“A federal appeals court denied early Sunday the Justice Department’s request for an immediate reinstatement of President Donald Trump’s ban on accepting certain travelers and all refugees.

The Trump administration appealed a temporary order restraining the ban nationwide, saying late Saturday night that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by “second-guessing” the president on a matter of national security.

Now the higher court’s denial of an immediate stay means the legal battles over the ban will continue for days at least.” [READ MORE]

oliverwillis.com/trump-loses-court-judge-rejects-attempt-quickly-restart-muslim-ban/

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Appeals court rejects Trump's bid to restore travel ban

February 5, 2017

A US court has denied an emergency appeal from the Department of Justice to restore President Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the United States.

 (AhlulBayt News Agency) - A US court has denied an emergency appeal from the Department of Justice to restore President Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the United States.

"Appellants' request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied," the ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said on Sunday.

On Saturday night, Trump said the Justice Department would succeed in appealing District Court Judge James Robart’s order which lifted his administration's travel ban on citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

"We'll win. For the safety of the country, we'll win," Trump told reporters at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump said that "the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!"

Trump's tweets drew a swift condemnation from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"The President's attack on Judge James Robart, a Bush appointee who passed with 99 votes, shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn't always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution, making it more important that the Supreme Court serve as an independent check on the administration," Schumer said.

Trump has also come under considerable pressure from politicians and rights groups to rescind the Muslim ban.

The measure has created a global backlash with an increasing number of countries, including long-standing US allies, criticizing the curbs as discriminatory and divisive.

A Democratic lawmaker suggested Saturday that Trump needs a mental check-up over his extreme measures.

"Last 24 hrs on Twitter, Donald Trump went on rant about 'death & destruction,' 'FAKE NEWS,' & 'evil.' Should he get mental health exam?" California Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted Saturday.

Following Robart’s decision, the State Department said it was reversing the cancellation of visas, more than 100,000 of which were revoked after Trump's directive last week.

en.abna24.com/news/america/appeals-court-rejects-trumps-bid-to-restore-travel-ban.html

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How Trump's policies and rhetoric are forging alliances between U.S. Jews and Muslims

Ahed Festuk

Ahed Festuk, a Syrian refugee, stands inside B'nai Jeshurun synagogue on New York's Upper West Side. She studies English in a free program housed in the synagogue's basement. (Barbara Demick / Los Angeles Times)

Donald Trump may not be able to forge peace in the Middle East, but he is doing wonders for relations between Jews and Muslims in the United States.

Jewish and Muslim activists in the United States are forging alliances like never before in reaction to the president’s rhetoric and action toward Muslim immigrants.

Many Jewish organizations have interpreted Trump’s executive order banning entry by citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries as a call to arms. Jewish delegations turned out en masse for a 10,000-strong demonstration Sunday night in New York. (“Granddaughter of Holocaust survivors standing with refugees, Muslims immigrants,” read one sign.)

Almost every day in New York this last week there was an interfaith conference or prayer service — involving Christian groups as well as Muslims and Jews — devoted to the current crisis over predominantly Muslim immigrants and refugees.

“We have common interests,” said Al Hadj Talib Abdur-Rashid, the imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. He was one of several Muslim leaders who appeared at a rally in Brooklyn in November after a playground was defaced with pro-Trump graffiti and swastikas. “The same kind of people who bomb synagogues [also] bomb black churches and now mosques.”

A Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, made up of business and cultural leaders of both communities, both Democrats and Republicans, was formed days before the election and convened for its first regular meeting Wednesday in Washington to push the government for a coordinated response to hate crimes, up sharply against both Muslims and Jews.

The week after the election, Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, raised eyebrows when he declared at a meeting in New York that if Trump imposed a Muslim registry, “this proud Jew will register as Muslim’’ — a dramatic statement for the head of an organization founded to fight anti-Semitism and protect Jewish identity.

There has been an incredible coming together of synagogues around the country to welcome Muslim refugees. Jews really understand what it is to be 'the other.'

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, vice president for community engagement of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

So many Jews, Trump’s targeting of migrants from predominantly Muslim countries evokes painful memories of Jews who were forced to identify themselves with yellow stars before their extermination at the hands of Nazis — and of the countries that turned them away when they tried to flee.

“It speaks to a lot of people very personally because their own families have stories about being refugees. There is a communal resonance,’’ said Shuli Passow, a rabbi at New York’s congregation B’nai Jeshurun, who recalled how her grandparents were hidden in barns and basements in Poland during the Holocaust.

In addition, Passow said there is a religious imperative to take in refugees. “One of the core tenets of the Jewish religion is welcoming the stranger. That is a phrase that is repeated 36 times in the Torah,” she said.

When a mosque in Texas was destroyed by fire on the same weekend that the immigration ban was announced, members of a nearby Jewish congregation offered the keys to their synagogue so their Muslim neighbors would have a place to pray.

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, vice president for community engagement of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, was on the Greek island of Lesbos working with refugees when the news broke last week about Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries and halting all refugee admissions.

“We are all heartbroken,” said Rosenn. “It is a betrayal of what America stands for, what we as Jews stand for, and is a terrible recollection of our own history.”

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s work with Muslims predates Trump’s presidency, although the organization is feeling added urgency now.

Formed in 1881 to resettle Jews fleeing pogroms in Europe, it has in recent years devoted itself to helping non-Jewish refugees. In the last year, it helped resettle more than 4,000 in the United States, about half of them Muslim. Rosenn said that 270 synagogues and thousands of congregants nationwide have volunteered their time to find housing and furniture for refugees, to teach them English and enroll their children in school.

“There has been an incredible coming together of synagogues around the country to welcome Muslim refugees. Jews really understand what it is to be ‘the other’ and to arrive in a strange country,’’ said Rosenn.

One of the beneficiaries of their hospitality here is Ahed Festuk, who fled Syria in 2015 after being targeted by Islamic militants for driving a car and for her activism. Growing up in Aleppo, Festuk never met a Jew and never hoped to. Everything she had read in the public school textbooks was about the violence of the state of Israel.

Fleeing Syria: A desperate migration »

Once in New York, she started to meet Syrian Jews, who in turn introduced her to American Jews who were eager to help her get settled in her new life.

“They told me that their families were refugees too. People helped them and that they would help me,” said Festuk, 29, a bookkeeper who has flowing blond curls and wears skinny jeans.

Festuk has been studying English in a free program that is now housed in the basement of the B’nai Jeshurun synagogue, located on New York’s Upper West Side. Her English is now good enough that she volunteers as a translator — and speaks out against the Trump travel ban.

“Syrian people are victims, not criminals,’’ she said.

Trump’s executive order prompted almost universal condemnation from the leading American Jewish organizations, which often squabble among themselves on issues relating to Israel and gay rights. This time, it was not just from the predictable liberal groups, but also from more traditional groups such as the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America. Even the conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C., where President Trump’s daughter Ivanka is sending one of her three children to school, spoke up against the ban.

It didn’t help that the ban was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day, timing which the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society called “incredibly offensive” and the Anti-Defamation League called “tone deaf.”

Trump also managed to offend some of his Jewish supporters by issuing a statement for the remembrance day that omitted mention of Jewish victims. Even Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, which has been staunchly pro-Trump, wrote that he felt “compelled to express our chagrin and deep pain” at the omission of any mention of the 6 million Jews who died at the hands of Nazi Germany.

On the Trump presidency so far, there is divergence on the question (posed so often that it is a cliche) of whether he is good or bad for the Jews.

Roughly 71% of Jewish voters opted for Hillary Clinton, but Trump has strong support from hardliners on Israel. (He also has two children who are married to Jews, including Ivanka, who converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, now a senior White House aide.)

Trump has called for the U.S. embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem, satisfying a long-standing demand of the Israeli government to recognize the disputed city as its capital, and his nominee to be ambassador, David M. Friedman, is an unabashed supporter of Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

“Within the Jewish community, differences come up about many issues, like how to bring peace and security to Israel, but almost universally we support religious pluralism and share the same concerns about religious prejudice,’’ said Steven A. Fox, chief executive of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Despite New York City’s image as a melting pot, relations between Jews and Muslims are not always as harmonious as the city’s boosters like to claim. Fighting in the Gaza Strip in 2014 led to sporadic incidents in Brooklyn, including one in which Orthodox Jewish teenagers waved Israeli flags outside a mosque where worshipers were observing Ramadan. Jewish groups have occasionally complained about anti-Semitic slurs linked to Palestinian activities at the City University of New York.

But over the last year, the strains between Jews and Muslims in the city have been dwarfed by the perception that both communities are under threat.

Khalid Latif, an imam and head of the Islamic Center at New York University, said that just after the election, pro-Trump graffiti was scrawled in a Muslim student prayer room, while Jewish students found their dorm room door covered with Post-it notes bearing swastikas, Trump slogans and messages such as “Make America White Again.”

“In Social Justice 101, the fundamental concept is you don’t put struggle in competition with each other. You are able to come together and collaborate and build solidarity to take on inequity in all of its forms,’’ said Latif.

courant.com/la-na-jew-muslim-2017-story.html

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The world’s largest majority-Muslim nation isn’t sure how to deal with Trump

By Vincent Bevins February 5

People pray during the holy month of Ramadan at the Istiqlal grand mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, last June. (Adek Berry/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The tumultuous beginning of Donald Trump's presidency seems to have catapulted Indonesia into a highly awkward situation.

Officials in the country, traditionally an ally of the United States, have made apparently contradictory statements on Trump's new immigration policies, prompting some analysts to suggest that the government wants to signal its opposition to the rules without accidentally picking a fight with the unpredictable U.S. president.

Soon after the executive order banning or restricting travel from seven countries went into effect, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that Indonesia, which is not among the seven, had “deep regrets about the policy.” Later, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said: “We are not affected by the policy. Why fret?” Johan Budi, his spokesman, said that Widodo had “made sure that the policy of the American president does not have an impact on Indonesian citizens. … Therefore, people are asked to remain quiet.”

Then on Thursday, at a news conference in Jakarta, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said Trump's policy was a “mistake” that could prove counterproductive, but also expressed confidence that the United States and Indonesia will nevertheless be cooperating more soon.

As the largest country in Southeast Asia — its 17,000 islands stretch across 735,358 square miles — Indonesia is at the center of potential conflicts between the United States and the region's rising power, China — especially tensions related to trade or the South China Sea. As a mostly Muslim country and a secular democracy, the country also walks a tightrope between its Western alliances and solidarity with the Islamic world. The explosive first weeks of the Trump administration have made that balance much more tenuous, and a slip could mean a shift away from the United States.

“The Widodo government is not likely to take a very assertive stance on the 'Muslim ban' for the time being,” said Christine Susanna Tjhin, a foreign policy researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta. Tjhin added that Widodo is typically nonconfrontational and that “a fight with Trump would not be regarded as productive.”

Among other possibilities, a U.S. escalation of tensions with China or a move to protectionism that would throw off the regional balance of power, Tjhin said.

“With Trump, his unpredictability and capacity to do or say anything is no longer a surprise,” she said. “Indonesia is really taking a cautious, wait-and-see approach.”

The Trump Organization has done business in Indonesia, the world's fourth-most-populous nation, and local tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo attended Trump's inauguration. Widodo publicly congratulated Trump on his victory.

But on the day that the Foreign Ministry's Nasir spoke, news broke that a disagreement had erupted out of nowhere between the United States and Australia, Indonesia's neighbor and ally. Because even friendly governments can inadvertently be drawn into public disputes, it's possible that Indonesian officials believe the best strategy is simply to try to avoid getting the new president's attention and hope to emerge unscathed.

[Congressional leaders scramble to reassure Australia after testy Trump phone call]

Among Southeast Asian nations, Indonesia is more or less right in the middle of Chinese and U.S. spheres of influence, looking more often to Washington on security and increasingly to Beijing as a business partner, according to Natalie Sambhi, a research fellow at the Perth USAsia Center in Australia who studies Indonesia and geopolitics.

“Now there's a tension between wanting to work productively and enjoy a good relationship with the Trump administration and making sure to protect its identity as a Muslim country,” Sambhi said, adding that if Trump were to become really unpopular in Indonesia, it might be difficult for the government to make any progress in its relations with the United States.

Or maybe, despite its best efforts, Indonesia could become embroiled in a bizarre spat with Trump and hope to get through it, as countries as diverse as Germany, Japan and Australia are now doing.

“Hopefully, for example,” Sambhi said, “the future of the U.S.-Australian alliance won't be shaped by a single phone call.”

washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/05/the-worlds-largest-majority-muslim-nation-isnt-sure-how-to-deal-with-trump/?utm_term=.91cea37b19e9

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Provoking Xenophobia Only Rationale for Trump’s Muslim Ban: US Analyst

February, 05, 2017

اتلرTEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior political analyst based in California said US President Donald Trump’s recent order to bar citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the US only aims to “provoke xenophobic fears within the US body politic”.

If the Trump administration was really concerned with protecting American lives they would ban travel to the US from countries like Saudi Arabia…,” Dennis Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

The only rationale for the ban is to fulfill President Trump's demagogic Islamophobic campaign promise to ban Muslim travel to the US and to provoke xenophobic fears within the US body politic,” he said.

At the same time the ban targets nations that the US has destabilized while protecting those in which it has economic and political assets,” the analyst added.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: As you know, US President Donald Trump on January 27 signed an executive order that imposes a 90-day entry ban for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia, blocks refugees from Syria indefinitely, and suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days. The move has sparked confusion and anger at major US airports. In fact, Trump's executive order is a Muslim ban. This is while a recent study from Duke University sociologist Charles Kurzman has found that Muslims living in the United State were involved in only one-third of 1 percent of all murders in the country in 2016. What is the aim of such a move? What repercussions will this have?

Etler: The United States is notorious for the number of mass shootings that occur on an ongoing basis. The vast majority of these shootings are perpetuated by native-born White Christians, many motivated by racist White nationalist ideology. These domestic terrorists have attacked Black religious congregations, women's health clinics, and other public spaces. It is true that over the last few years there have been a number of high-profile mass shootings done by people of Middle Eastern heritage. These are however a small percentage of the total number of mass shootings recently conducted in the US. In addition, most of these shooters have been born in the US or have been naturalized US citizens. Moreover, none of them came from or have roots in the countries subject to the travel ban. Their ethnic roots have been Pakistani, Afghan, Chechen, Saudi Arabian, and Jordanian.

There is thus no rational reason for the targeting of the seven Muslim nations under question. If the Trump administration was really concerned with protecting American lives they would ban travel to the US from countries like Saudi Arabia, Chechnya (a republic with the Russian Federation), and Jordan. In addition, Turkey has served as a staging ground and transit point for terrorist attacks in other countries and Egypt which is the motherland of Takfiri terrorist groups. If a travel ban is to be imposed, it would make sense to include both Turkey and Egypt as well. But any travel ban of whatever sort is uncalled for. US vetting of visa applicants and refugees is already extremely rigorous. There is no need for the egregious actions taken by the present administration.

It also should be noted that all the targeted nations have been subject to direct US invasion or US-sponsored proxy wars, generating millions of casualties and refugees and leading to them becoming failed states.

The only rationale for the ban is to fulfill President Trump's demagogic Islamophobic campaign promise to ban Muslim travel to the US and to provoke xenophobic fears within the US body politic. At the same time the ban targets nations that the US has destabilized while protecting those in which it has economic and political assets.

Tasnim: As you know Trump has excluded Saudi Arabia and certain Persian Gulf states in his order. Back in July 2016, the US government released 28 pages of a congressional report on the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which show the Saudi government may have had a hand in the attacks. “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government…there is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers,” reads part of the report. What is your take on this?

Etler: The nations targeted by both Obama and Trump have in the past all stood up to US imperialism and asserted independent foreign policies. As a result, they have all been subject to US attempts at regime change. Saudi Arabia and many of the other non-targeted majority Muslim nations have been US allies and have supported US foreign policy, including the funding, arming and training of Takfiri terrorists who have launched proxy wars against the banned nations. It is no surprise then that Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf States have not been included in the ban. In addition to supporting US policy, their elites have close financial ties with US business interests. It would thus be very inconvenient to target them.

Tasnim: How do you see the US move from a legal perspective? Do you agree that it is against the US Constitution and international law? Is there any legal procedure whereby the order can be canceled? Kindly explain.

Etler: There is a good reason to suspect that the bans are unconstitutional and go against International law. They will certainly be contested in US courts. The US consistently ignores international laws and norms when they are not in their interests, but condemns other nations who they say are in contravention to them.

Tasnim: In your opinion, what response should the seven countries, including Iran, make to this move by the new US administration?

Etler: The seven nations should reciprocate in kind and seek alliances with countries such as China and Russia that can help them resolve their internal conflicts and reconstruct their nations.

tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/02/05/1318573/provoking-xenophobia-only-rationale-for-trump-s-muslim-ban-us-analyst

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March to honour mosque attack victims

February 5, 2017

QUEBEC — A march will be held today in Quebec City to remember the victims of last week's deadly mosque attack.

The event is organized by the mosque where a gunman killed six people one week ago as they prayed.

Participants will gather at Laval University beginning at noon and make their way to Quebec's legislature.

The six victims, aged between 39 and 60, were killed when a gunman stormed the mosque and opened fire on men who were attending prayer.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was arrested Sunday night following the massacre in which several people were also wounded.

Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm.

He is due to appear in court on the allegations later this month.

therecord.com/news-story/7103490-march-to-honour-mosque-attack-victims/

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Under snowy skies, hundreds march to remember Quebec mosque attack

February 04, 2017

People gathered for the Rally for Humanity, " Love over Fear " at the Jack Poole Plaza with the Olympic Cauldron burning,GERRY KAHRMANN / VANCOUVER SUN

Under stormy skies, Vancouver’s Olympic cauldron was lit Saturday evening in honour of the six men killed while praying at a Quebec City mosque last Sunday.

Despite the snow, hundreds of people were expected to participate in a vigil at Al-Jamia Masjid, Vancouver’s oldest mosque, followed by a rally against Islamophobia outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, which continued into a march to Jack Poole Plaza for the cauldron lighting.

It’s unfortunate that a tragedy has brought us together,” organizer Haroon Khan told Postmedia before the event, “but if any good can come out of it, this is it.”

Khan, president of the Pakistan-Canada Association, said he was overwhelmed by the support he’s experienced in the wake of the mass shooting. The night of the attack, he arrived at the Vancouver mosque to find hundreds of people gathered in support. He let them come inside.

One family at the mosque that night told him they sat down to watch TV, but it didn’t feel right.

They said they just had to be here,” explained Khan.

He said strangers continued to show up at Al-Jamia Masjid through the night. Many had never been inside a mosque before.

We’ve been very blessed and very touched by the goodwill and outpouring of support,” he said.

Several mosques across the country are opening their doors to the public this weekend through a “Visit a Mosque” campaign, including the Baitur Rahman Mosque in Delta.

Khan said he was grateful to the City of Vancouver and the convention centre for lighting the Olympic cauldron. The flame has been lit for several occasions in the past, including the start of other Olympic Games, the Day of Mourning for fallen workers and the opening of a Cactus Club restaurant at the convention centre.

When you light a candle or a flame, it ignites more than that one fire,” said Khan. “It ignites a fire of the heart, mind and soul.”

theprovince.com/news/local+news/under+snowy+skies+hundreds+march+remember+quebec+mosque+attack/12847774/story.html

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India

How Hyderabad techie was puppeteered by Islamic State

Rukmini Callimachi | NYT News Service | Feb 5, 2017

HYDERABAD: When the terror group Islamic State (IS) identified a promising young recruit willing to carry out an attack in one of India's major tech hubs — Hyderabad, the group made sure to arrange everything down to the bullets he needed to kill victims.

For 17 months, terrorist operatives guided the recruit, a young engineer named Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani, through every step of what they planned to be the IS's first strike on Indian soil. Until just moments before the arrest of the members of the Hyderabad cell last June, the IS's cyberplanners kept in near-constant touch with the men, according to the interrogation records of three of the eight suspects. Cases like Yazdani's offer troubling examples of what counterterrorism experts are calling enabled or remote-controlled attacks: violence conceived and guided by operatives in areas controlled by the IS whose only connection to the would-be attacker is the internet.

For the most part, the operatives who are conceiving and guiding such attacks are doing so from behind a wall of anonymity. When the Hyderabad plotters were arrested last summer, they could not so much as confirm the nationality of their interlocutors inside the IS, let alone describe what they looked like. Because the recruits are instructed to use encrypted messaging applications, the guiding role played by the terrorist group often remains obscured. As a result, remotely guided plots in Europe, Asia and the US in recent years, were initially labeled the work of "lone wolves," and only later was communication with the group discovered.

One of the IS's most influential recruiters and virtual plotters was known by the nom de guerre Abu Issa al-Amriki. Among those who sought him out was Yazdani. Yazdani, 30, grew up in a cramped apartment in the slum of Aman Nagar in Hyderabad's Old City. He beat the odds, earning an engineering degree and landing a job in Saudi Arabia for nearly four years, before returning to India. While abroad, he began watching the IS's online propaganda, and soon he became consumed by a desire to leave it all for the caliphate.

"I created a Telegram ID and sought his (Amriki's) guidance to reach Syria," Yazdani told investigators from NIAaccording to the record of his interrogation. After mon -ths of frustrating and failed attempts to help Yazdani get a visa, Amriki's directions changed course: "He asked me to work for IS by staying in India itself." Just before his death last April, Amriki handed off Yazdani to a different handler, known only by his Telegram screen name, "WindsofVictory." The new handler guided the eight-member cell as it took shape, exchanging messages with Yazdani as he recruited his family and friends.

The handler guiding the men in Hyderabad insisted on using a kaleidoscope of encrypted messaging applications, with Yazdani instructed to hop between apps so that even if one message were discovered and cracked, it would reveal only a portion of their handiwork.Though the Hyderabad case is among the most detailed in showing how Syria-based handlers directly facilitated attacks abroad, it is neither the first, nor the only one.Examination of both successful and unsuccessful plots carried out in the IS's name over the past three years indicates that such enabled attacks are making up a growing share of the operations of the group. This style of attack has allowed the IS's reach into countries such as the US, France, Germany, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Australia. "I fear this is the future of IS," an analyst said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/how-hyderabad-techie-was-puppeteered-by-islamic-state/articleshow/56977951.cms

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Two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists killed in encounter in Kashmir

TNN | Updated: Feb 4, 2017

SRINAGAR: Police and security forces on Saturday thwarted a major terrorist action by killing two terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen in an encounter in Sopore area of North Kashmir.

An information was received that the terrorists were travelling in a vehicle and were planning some terrorist action in Sopore area. Police and security forces immediately swung into action and intercepted them near Amrgarh Sopore.

When challenged, the terrorists lobbed a grenade and fired upon the police party in which SP operation Baramulla Shafqat Hussain and a sub-inspector of police Mohammad Murtaza were injured. In the retaliatory action, two terrorists were killed whose identity is being ascertained.

Two AK series rifles, one pistol,4 hand grenades and other arms and ammunition was recovered from the encounter site.

The two terrorists have been identified as Azhar Khan of Kupwara and Sajjad Ahmed Lone, a resident of Eidipora Bomai in Sopore.

Sajjad had gone to Pakistan in March 2016 via Wagah border.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/two-hizbul-mujahideen-terrorists-killed-in-encounter-in-kashmir/articleshow/56971453.cms

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Punjab polls: Pakistani bride votes for the first time in Qadian

Yudhvir Rana | TNN | Updated: Feb 5, 2017

QADIAN: A Pakistan-born, 35-year-old woman who married a man living in Gurdaspur's Qadian town in 2003, was able to vote for the time ever in her life when Punjab went to polls to elect its next legislative assembly on Saturday.

Though Tahira Maqbool lived in Pakistan till the age of 22, she never cast her vote in the four years of her adult life because she belongs to the persecuted Ahmadiyya Muslim sect of Islam. As far as India is concerned, she got her citizenship in April 2016 and exercised her franchise at the first opportunity.

In the neighbouring country, Ahmaddiya Muslims are considered non-Islamic and are allowed to vote for a separate 5% electorate of minority communities. However, as she does not consider herself non-Islamic, Tahira chose not to register as a voter there.

On Saturday, there was a spring in Tahira's steps as she went to cast her vote to elect the MLA from Qadian. The mother of three returned from the election booth with an ineffable smile and showed off the ink on her finger with a gleam in her eyes. She cast her vote in Qadian assembly constituency of Gurdaspur district. "Polling day has come as Eid for me. After being an Indian citizen, now I am also a proud participant in the Indian democratic system," she said as tears welled up in her eyes.

Born and brought up in Faisalabad district of Punjab province in Pakistan, Tahira married Qadian's Chaudhary Maqbool Ahmad on December 7, 2003. She was granted citizenship in 2016 because of the democratic hurdles involved. "In Pakistan, Ahmadiyyas are not able to cast their vote as Muslims because they are categorized as non-Muslims. But, because I consider myself a Muslim, I did not vote," she said.

Adding to her joy, Tahira's serial number in the voter list was 786 (a number carrying immense significance in Islam). However, she said another 12 Pakistani women married to men in Qadian were awaiting Indian citizenship. "I have realized the power of the common man for the first time. I am going to take up cases of Pakistani girls who are married here but haven't got Indian citizenship. I wish they also had a similar experience and felt proud, like I am feeling today," she said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/pakistani-bride-votes-for-the-first-time-in-qadian/articleshow/56976940.cms

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'It's a miracle for me': 5-year-old Pakistani boy reunites with mother at Wagah border

Reuters | Feb 5, 2017

Hyderabad: Woman reunited with her UAE-born daughters after 30 yearsHyderabad: Woman reunited with...

LAHORE: A five-year-old Pakistani boy, who was taken to India on the sly by his father a year ago, was on Saturday reunited with his mother in Pakistan at the Wagah border after the Indian authorities handed him over.

The boy, Iftikhar Ahmed, was handed over to Pakistan Rangers at Wagah where his mother was waiting for several hours.

"I am extremely happy to have my son back. I am thankful to the Pakistani government for its help for return of my child," Iftikhar's mother Rohina Kiyani told reporters at Wagah.

"I had lost all hope of getting my child back. It's not a less than a miracle for me," she said.

In March 2016, Iftikhar was taken to India by his father, who is from Jammu. The boy's mother alleged that her former husband had lied to her that he was taking the child to a wedding along with him as he took him to Dubai and from there to Kashmir.

Rohina with the help of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi filed a case in an Indian court that ruled in May 2016 in her favour.

After the case was taken up by the Pakistani high commission and proven that Iftikhar was a Pakistani by nationality, the verdict was given that he be returned to his mother in Pakistan.

Due to border tensions, it took eight months for the mother to get the good news of seeing her son.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/its-a-miracle-for-me-5-year-old-pakistani-boy-reunites-with-mother-at-wagah-border/articleshow/56974170.cms

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Pakistan

A Pakistani street where Muslims and Christians worship side by side

Feb 5, 2017

PESHAWAR: Twenty-two-year-old Irfan Masih, a resident of Peshawar, is at the city’s historical St Michael Cathedral Church to make arrangements for one of the happiest days of his life — his wedding day.

The young man wants to rent the church’s lawn for the ceremony. The news is met with congratulations from the church administrator, but he also lays out one condition for the gleeful groom-to-be. He is told that no music can be played at the ceremony. This is out of respect for the cathedral’s neighbours — a mosque and madressah known as the Jamia Imdadul Uloom or Darwaish Masjid.

Irfan tries to reason with the administrator. “This is my first and last marriage,” he says in a lighter tone. He is met with a stern response: “If you agree [only] then will the church permit you to entertain guests in the lawn, otherwise we are sorry.”

Working together.

The church’s red bricks glisten in the winter sunlight. The structure stands tall next to the whitewashed madressah that was built 38 years ago.

In the often-volatile city of Peshawar, it is a sight to see these two ‘houses of God’ existing alongside one another. Mufti Asad of the madressah says that they have friendly relations with their neighbours. The two places of worship exchange gifts on each other’s religious festivals. Last Eidul Azha, representatives from the church came to the madressah bearing gifts. “We also offered them meat and ate barbeque together,” Mufti Asad says.

These stories of peaceful coexistence are heartening to hear.

Members of Jamia Imdadul Uloom take pride in the madressah’s more “progressive” outlook. Maulana Hassan Jan was a teacher here, who was allegedly the first religious scholar to declare suicide bombings haram. It is believed that these moderate views ruffled some feathers and Maulana Jan paid the ultimate price for this. In 2007, during the Islamic month of Ramazan, he was assassinated.

Many of Maulana Jan’s students are now teachers at the madressah. They claim to be continuing to follow his philosophy of peace and respect for other religions.

In the neighbouring church, Father Younas Riaz is similarly spreading messages of peace. He wears a white robe as he preaches these values to a congregation of devout Christians.

“You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” he says quoting the Bible.

Propagating peace

Peshawar has often been an unsafe place for Christians. A September 2013 suicide attack on the city’s All Saint’s Church killed at least 80 and left 100 wounded. In such a scenario the apparent camaraderie shared by the two places of worship is encouraging.

Attaullah Khan, a researcher, says, “In this country there is always a threat to minorities… they are treated as second-grade citizens since birth…”

Father Younas Riaz of the cathedral says that some “so-called education experts” are systemically facilitating this intolerance in society. “[They] are working to sabotage the unity of this diverse society,” he adds, criticising the textbooks which often perpetuate hate.

Khan agrees, further stating that the media and the textbooks are both culpable for propagating that Muslims are patriots and true lovers of the country, while the “others” are often painted as dubious characters. The “intellectuals” associated with the boards of education deliberately do not give space to non-Muslim heroes and their contributions, he believes.

For their part, however, representatives of the Jamia Imdadul Uloom take pride in their teaching of tolerance and unity. Mufti Asad shares that 1,000 students are enrolled in the seminary, and due to the institution’s teaching methodology none of its students have been found guilty in any anti-state or unlawful activities. Mufti Asad further tells Dawn that they maintain a comprehensive computerised record of all the madressah’s current and ex-students.

In this crucial time, the scholars and intellectuals need to work to shape the youth’s mind, Khan concludes. Representatives of both the places of worship also stress that the mosque and church exist side by side because of the compassion being taught here. - Dawn/Asia News Network

thestar.com.my/news/regional/2017/02/05/a-pakistani-street-where-muslims-and-christians-worship-side-by-side/#gLsaX44JkV6mttvl.99

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‘Domestic trafficking of minors fuels child labour’

February 5th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Tayyaba torture case has not only exposed loopholes in Pakistan’s judicial system, but also showed that there is no law to counter or keep a check on internal migration of minors that encourages child labour.

On Jan 4, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the maltreatment of the 10-year-old housemaid by a serving judge and his spouse, and the compromise on the basis of which two additional district and sessions judges provided relief to the judge and his spouse in haste.

During the hearing of the case, internal trafficking of minors was also highlighted.

No laws to check internal trafficking; apex court asks NGOs & activists for proposals to curb such practices

It was stated that there was no law in Pakistan that could protect a child from torture, nor was there a forum that could be approached by the parents of such children for a compromise, in case their child was tortured by an influential person.

Though there is a law to curtail human trafficking to other countries, Pakistan is yet to legislate on the matter of domestic trafficking.

The recent incident provided an indication of how minor children were brought to Islamabad and other cities from remote areas to serve well-off people.

An agent, Nadira, brought Tayyaba to serve the family of the additional district and sessions judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan when the girl was only seven and a half years old.

The agent first contacted the girl’s family and offered them a job for Tayyaba at a monthly salary of Rs3,000.

As per the court record, Nadira brought the girl to the ADSJ’s residence in August 2014 and took Rs40,000, of which she gave Rs18,000 to the child’s parents. Between Aug 2014 to Jan 2017, the girl only spoke to her parents twice, and that too over the phone.

During the suo motu proceedings, Valerie Khan Yousafzai, a representative of Group Development Pakistan, a non-governmental organisation, submitted a report to the apex court stating that hundreds of thousands of children were the victims of internal trafficking.

The report said that popular destinations for internally trafficked minor children were Murree, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

According to the report, of 1,504 children interviewed by the NGO on the streets of Murree, 42.2pc were from Punjab, 36.1pc from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1pc from Azad Kashmir, 8pc from unspecified areas and 12.4pc from Afghanistan.

These children were associated with begging, garbage collection, vending, selling bubble gums, boiled eggs, cakes and pastries, toys, green tea, fancy caps, female purses, plastic flowers, berries, shoe polishing, pushing or pulling carts and working in hotels and restaurants.

The report said children were brought to Murree by contractors, which could be termed internal trafficking. It said there were two categories of children: those who lived with their so-called relatives and independent.

It, however, said some children who reported that they were living with their relatives were counter-checked and found that they had no biological ties with their hosts.

“The reality of the matter in most of the cases was that the child and the adult might have been from the same village but did not have any blood relation.” The children were brought “after some financial management e.g. monthly income and one-time payment to parents for the services of the child for a few months in Murree,” it said.

The report claimed that it was a modern form of slavery and that to make it socially acceptable, the child was asked to call their host uncle or elder brother. The person who paid a certain amount to their parents can further sell or rent the child to another person against a specific amount and for a specified period.

A senior police officer told Dawn that they cannot stop internal trafficking and in case they receive any information about the abuse of a child, police can register a case under the Pakistan Penal Code.

Advocate General Islamabad Mian Abdul Rauf recently told the Supreme Court that the federal government could not legislate to prohibit or counter domestic violence on children.

While the apex court has referred the case against the judge and his spouse to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for referring it to the trial court, it has kept the matter related to internal trafficking and the abuse of minors.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has sought proposals from NGOs and rights activists to discourage such practices. The apex court would discuss the recommendations next week after which it would pass directions to the federal government for making legislation on child trafficking and abuse of minors and domestic workers.

dawn.com/news/1312772/domestic-trafficking-of-minors-fuels-child-labour

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Envoy says Qatar has nothing to do with ex-PM letters

February 5th, 2017

KARACHI: Qatar’s amb­a­ssador to Pakistan Saqr bin Mubarak Al-Mansouri on Saturday waded into the controversy involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family when he categorically said that his government had nothing to do with the letters of a Qatari prince to the Supreme Court hearing the Panama Papers case.

Lawyers for the Sharif family had submitted to a five-judge larger bench of the court two letters of Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, a former prime minister of Qatar — first on Nov 15, 2016 and the second on Jan 26. He stated in the letters that the late Mian Sharif had invested 12 million dirham “cash” in the Al-Thani family’s business in the 1980s, which eventually led Hussain Nawaz to acquire the four Park Lane flats in London.

While opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, had questioned the authenticity of the letters and said that the letters could not be considered the evidence of a money trail, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had declared them “false”, saying the letters had been sent to rescue the prime minister in the Panamagate case.

Imran claims Doha embarrassed by ‘fake letter’ in Panama Papers case; minister argues PML-N never said Qatari govt sent letters

Against this backdrop, the Qatari envoy appeared in an Aaj News programme on Saturday and said that his government was neither involved in the Panama Papers case nor had anything to do with the letters.

The ambassador’s comments prompted the PTI chief to say that the government of Qatar was embarrassed by the controversy. This pushed the government into a further defensive mode as it said it had never claimed that the letters had any links with the Qatar government.

In his opening remarks, the host of the programme said that Ambassador Al-Mansouri had “selected” his television network to present the “perspective” of his government over the Panama Papers case.

However, over 30-minute-long interview contained only about a five-minute part in which the diplomat spoke about the letters and his government position, insisting that the Panama Papers case was Pakistan’s internal matter.

Asked about his government’s policy regarding the case, he said: “Actually this case is an internal matter [of Pakistan]. Qatar’s policy is to not intervene in the internal affairs of any country.”

The host asked him whether he was saying that his government had nothing to do with the case or with the letters, the ambassador said: “Yes, yes, as I mentioned to you it is very clear....my government is not involved in this issue.”

He went on to say that he had no knowledge about the issue as he only read about it in newspapers.

Asked whether the two letters were sent through the Islamabad embassy or directly to the Pakistan Muslim League-N leaders, he said: “My answer is clear. My government is not involved in this issue. This is something private or something personal.”

When the host pushed him to get a clear reply, the Qatari envoy said: “It [the letters] is not come through formal channels.”

Imran Khan, who has been accusing the prime minister of money laundering to establish overseas companies in the name of his children, tweeted: “Clearly Qatari govt embarrassed by this fake letter written by acknowledged business partner of Sharifs, who is also named in Panama Papers”.

“This letter from Sharif’s business partner got him, amongst other largesse, a Rs 200 bn Port Qasim deal. Corruption breeding corruption,” he said in another tweet.

On the other hand, Minister of State for Information Maryam Aurangzeb told the media that the statement of the Qatari ambassador actually vindicated the PML-N’s stance as it never said that the Qatar government was involved in sending the two letters to the apex court.

She said that the prime minister had not been named in the Panama Papers and those who had been named were already clarifying their position.

The two letters said that the investment of 12m dirham “was made by way of provision of cash” in the real estate sector by Mian Sharif in 1980s and at the end of 2005, it was agreed that an amount of approximately $8m was due to Mian Sharif in accordance with the latter’s wishes. This amount was settled in 2006 by delivering bearer shares of Nescoll and Nielson Enterprises Limited, which had been kept in Qatar until then, to Hussain Nawaz’s representative.

dawn.com/news/1312817/envoy-says-qatar-has-nothing-to-do-with-ex-pm-letters

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Southeast Asia

'Don't Turn Mosque Into Political Stage': Muslim Scholari

05 February, 2017

Bogor. Muslim scholar Komaruddin Hidayat said on Saturday (04/02) mosques in Indonesia should provide a guideline on content of sermons to avoid the prayer house being used as a platform to deliver political speeches.

Komaruddin's statement came after Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saiffudin said he plans to require all Muslim preachers to be certified since many of them now use their time on the pulpit to vilify other groups.

If the minister goes ahead with his plan, only certified preachers will be able to deliver sermons at a mosque.

"We don't need certification, what we need is to regulate the content of the sermons and change the culture at the mosques. We can't let mosques be turned into a political stage," Komaruddin said on the sidelines of the Madania Festival in Bogor, West Java, state news agency Antara reported.

Mosques should curate preachers to deliver their sermons and quiz regular visitors on what topics they are interested in, Komaruddin said.

He also called on Muslim organizations such as Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama to help monitor the content of sermons delivered in mosques all over the country.

Komaruddin, a rector at the Syarief Hidayatullah State Islamic University, urged the Religious Affairs Ministry to review the preacher's certification plan.

"Hopefully the government can help mosques to change their culture. They need guidance, not control. There are mosques where the sermons have become very aggressive, we need to change that," he said.

jakartaglobe.id/news/dont-turn-mosque-political-stage-muslim-scholar/

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Rights Group Calls for Review of Aceh's Sharia Law in Indonesia

05 February, 2017

Jakarta. A rights group has called on the central government to review Aceh's provincial Islamic criminal code, or Qanun Jinayat, as more people are set to face caning this year under the law.

The Jakarta-based Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) slammed the punishment for contradicting Indonesia's Criminal Code.

The group recorded 339 people were caned in 2016, including 37 women.

By Feb. 2 this year, 26 people have been caned in the province, mostly for gambling.

"We've seen an increase in people getting caned since the Qanun Jinayat was legalized in late 2015. Our data showed the Aceh Sharia Court issued 301 verdicts between January and November 2016," ICJR executive Supriyadi W. Eddyono said in a statement on Sunday (05/02).

More people are expected to get flogged as well as the shariah court started imposing heavier sentences, he added.

The group also called on the Home Affairs Ministry to evaluate the implementation of the sharia law as soon as possible by considering the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant Against Torture, which have been ratified as law in 1998.

In 2014, a special ministry team found several points in Aceh's sharia criminal code contradicts the country's Criminal Code and other laws regulating the Military Court, National Police, Attorney General's Office, Indonesian Military and the Aceh Special Administration.

Despite the discrepancies, Aceh's provincial parliament had given their stamp of approval to the sharia law in September 2014.

jakartaglobe.id/news/rights-group-calls-review-acehs-sharia-law/

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Hong Kong protesters denounce Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ outside US consulate

Sunday, 05 February, 2017

More than 100 people gathered outside the United States consulate on Sunday to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country.

The protesters – mostly Indonesian domestic helpers – chanted “No one is illegal”, “No ban, no wall”, and “US imperialist, number one terrorist”, as they made their way to the consulate, in Central, from Chater Garden.

Hong Kong must be vigilant in changing economic landscape, says financial secretary Paul Chan

The executive order on January 27 called for a 120-day suspension of the country’s refugee programme, and a 90-day ban on travel to the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen.

Many of the protesters were from Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim nation. Photo: Felix Wong

The White House said the suspensions were to give time to tighten the approval process for entry to the US to “[protect] the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States”.

“With [Trump’s] policies and orders, the Trump presidency poses a threat to solidarity, racial understanding and justice that many of us uphold and promote,” said Eni Lestari, chairwoman of International Migrants Alliance, a campaign group.

Donald Trump, pictured with his daughter Ivanka. His administration lost a legal challenge over the ban on Sunday. Photo: AP

Lestari, who comes from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, added that she was afraid the list of banned countries could become permanent, or that more Muslim countries would be added.

There have been some specific cases of refugees affected by the suspension in Hong Kong because they come from one of the countries listed in the order.

Trump travel ban takes US to brink of constitutional crisis

Another protester, Nick Thorpe, said: “America was built on the principle of democracy, and now it’s basing its foreign policy on the persecution of minorities and religions, [which] seems at odds with why the country was founded in the first place.”

No one at the US consulate went to accept the protesters’ petition. Photo: Felix Wong

The group had a petition, but no one from the consulate came to accept it.

Lestari said that was probably because it was a Sunday, and that they would fax it to the consulate the next day. But League of Social Democrats legislator Leung Kwok-hung, who had joined the march, said he did not believe no one was available at the consulate because “US imperialism operates 24 hours globally”.

Trump’s executive disorder: how ‘Muslim ban’ undermines the US in Asia

Trump selected the countries after US Congress identified them as “countries of concern” in 2015.

On Friday, a US federal judge in Seattle blocked the presidential order, leading to a race by Middle East travellers to enter the US before it possibly comes into effect.

On Sunday, the US Appeals Court rejected the administration’s request to restore the suspensions.

Due to the latest ruling, the fight is likely to go to the US Supreme Court.

scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/2068228/hong-kong-protestors-denounce-donald-trumps

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Myanmar arrests key suspect in Muslim lawyer’s killing

05 Feb 2017

YANGON, Myanmar: Myanmar police have arrested a key suspect in connection with the assassination of a high-profile Muslim lawyer last Sunday, state-run media announced.

Aung Win Zaw, 46, was apprehended by police on Monday -- just one day after the assassination -- while fleeing to the southeastern Karen state that borders neighboring Thailand, but the arrest was only announced Saturday.

Kyi Lin, a 53-year-old man from Mandalay who was arrested on Sunday for the assassination, confessed that Aung Win Zaw hired him to do the killing, said an announcement from the President’s Office published by state-run newspapers.

In exchange for the assassination, he was promised a car, Kyi Lin said after being arrested.

The victim of the assassination was Ko Ni, a legal advisor to the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD). Also chair of the Myanmar Muslim Lawyers Association, he was an expert on constitutional issues and helped the NLD prepare changes to the 2008 charter that favored the military junta.

Though no motive for the killing has yet emerged, government said the incident appears to be an attempt to destabilize the state.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/05/02/2017/Myanmar-arrests-key-suspect-in-Muslim-lawyer%E2%80%99s-killing

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Indonesia makes moves to muzzle Muslim hardliners behind governor protests

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 February, 2017

Indonesia is moving to rein in a notorious Islamic hardline group which spearheaded protests against Jakarta’s Christian governor, but experts warn it will be tough to bring to heel a network with close ties to the establishment.

This is unprecedented, it is the first time that the president and the government is openly challenging this Islamist groupANALYST TOBIAS BASUKI

The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) has in recent years become the face of hardline Islam in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, growing in influence despite being a fringe organisation whose extreme views are rejected by most.

The group has raided bars selling alcohol during the holy month of Ramadan, forced the cancellation of a concert by Lady Gaga – whom they dubbed “the devil’s messenger” – with noisy protests, and led demonstrations against the Miss World beauty pageant when it came to Indonesia.

Led by firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab, the FPI helped organise recent mass rallies – which attracted conservative and moderate Muslims – against Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, who is on trial for allegedly insulting Islam.

The protest movement against Purnama – accused of insulting the Koran while campaigning for re-election in polls later this month – propelled the hardliners from being a marginal group to the centre of national politics, alarming observers and some in the government.

Indonesian Muslims perform martial arts during a trial of Jakarta's Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Photo: EPA

Now authorities are seeking to put the muzzle back on the radicals, with police stepping up an investigation into Shihab in a move seen as supported by President Joko Widodo and his administration. “This is unprecedented, it is the first time that the president and the government is openly challenging this Islamist group,” Tobias Basuki, an analyst from Jakarta think-tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said.

Last week police named the cleric a suspect for allegedly defaming Indonesia’s founding president, Sukarno, and the state ideology in a speech several years ago, meaning authorities believe there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.

The leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front, Rizieq Shihab. Photo: Reuters

Basuki said successive governments had shied away from cracking down for fear of being accused of attacking Islam but the current administration decided to “make a stand” as concerns mounted about the hardliners’ influence.

The radicals have reacted angrily. Hundreds have rallied in support of Shihab – who has served two short jail terms in the past – whenever he is hauled in for police questioning.

Authorities “want to stifle an Islamic people’s movement, which is demanding justice against a blasphemer”, FPI spokesman Slamet Maarif said.

While they often hit the headlines with their colourful, noisy protests, the FPI does not have a huge following in the country of 255 million people.

The group claims to have four million members but Ian Wilson, an expert on the FPI from Australia’s Murdoch University, estimated the figure at a maximum of 200,000. That is a fraction of the tens of millions who are members of Indonesia’s two major, moderate Muslim organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama and the Muhammadiyah.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok (left), talks during a televised debate in Jakarta. Photo: Reuters

But efforts to tackle the FPI are complicated by its long history of links to some members of the establishment, who have in the past used the group to carry out their dirty work, said Guntur Romli, a progressive Muslim activist.

“Some in the bureaucracy and opportunistic politicians like the group as they can be used as a weapon, while claiming to act in the name of Islam,” said the activist, who is also a member of Purnama’s election campaign team. The FPI was founded in 1998 as Indonesia transitioned from dictatorship to democracy, and experts believe the military and police had a hand in its formation, hoping they could use the group against their enemies during the tumultuous period.

Indonesia stages transgender beauty pageant in secret to avoid Muslim hardliners

The police have on many occasions been seen working with the FPI when it conducts raids, or standing by and taking no action, while members of the elite sometimes allegedly hire the group to help in their murky business dealings.

Protests by Islamic hardliners against Indonesian governor awaken fears for ethnic Chinese

While the current crackdown is viewed as long overdue, it may not do away with the FPI forever, with analysts doubting the government will disband the group as the process is complicated.

They believe the moves against Shihab are aimed at preventing trouble in the coming months during the Jakarta election and Purnama’s court case. But once the current controversies blow over, “it is likely that it’s going to be back to business as usual,” Basuki of CSIS warned.

scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2068203/indonesia-makes-moves-muzzle-muslim-hardliners-behind

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Mideast

Arab-Muslim Assembly voices support to Iran as defender of rightful cases of Muslim world

February 4, 2017

The "Arab and Muslim Assembly to support the choice of Resistance" stressed standing firm by Islamic Republic as defender of rightful cases of Muslim world and oppressed nations.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Members of the "Arab and Muslim Assembly to support the choice of Resistance" held a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Fathali on Friday evening.

The executive delegation of the Assembly is active in 30 Arab and Muslim countries and seven Western countries. All members participated in the two-day meeting in Beirut.

During the meeting with the Iranian ambassador, the Secretary-General of the Assembly Dr. Yahya Ghaddar stressed further efforts for supporting the Resistance in defending the rightful positions of Arab and Muslim nations, particularly Palestine, Yemen and Bahrain, as well as for the fight against Zionist and Takfiri terrorism and their allies.

“We will fight against the racist and oppressive policies of the new US government such as the dubious plan to create safe zones in Syria or the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem and their exploitations of oil reservoirs of Arab-Muslim countries,” he stressed.

He commended Iran as the main supporter of Arab-Muslim Resistance in fighting global Arrogance, particularly the US, Israel and Takfiri terrorists, saying the Islamic Republic has always taken honorable positions in defense of rightful cases of independent nations.

The Iranian ambassador, for his part, maintained that the Islamic Republic is always ready to provide Muslim countries with its various achievements in all fields, including science and technology.

He further expressed hope that with the eradication of Zionist and Takfiri terrorism, peace and stability would return to all Muslim countries including Syria, Iraq and Yemen; “this objective will be achieved only through resistance, unity and solidarity among all Muslim nations,” he added.

en.abna24.com/news/iran/arab-muslim-assembly-voices-support-to-iran-as-defender-of-rightful-cases-of-muslim-world.html

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Iran vows 'roaring missiles' if threatened, defies new sanctions

Reuters | Updated: Feb 4, 2017

DUBAI: A Revolutionary Guards commander said Iran would use its missiles if its security is under threat, as the elite force defied new U.S. sanctions on its missile programme by holding a military exercise on Saturday.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since a recent Iranian ballistic missile test which prompted US President Donald Trump's administration to impose sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the Revolutionary Guards.

Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn said the Washington was putting Iran on notice over its "destabilising activity", and Trump tweeted Tehran was "playing with fire"

"We are working day and night to protect Iran's security," head of Revolutionary Guards' aerospace unit, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

"If we see smallest misstep from the enemies, our roaring missiles will fall on their heads," he added.

Despite the heated words, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday he was not considering raising the number of US forces in the Middle East to address Iran's "misbehavior", but warned that the world would not ignore Iranian activities.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards is holding the military exercise in Semnan province on Saturday to test missile and radar systems and to "showcase the power of Iran's revolution and to dismiss the sanctions," according to the force's website.

Iranian state news agencies reported that home-made missile systems, radars, command and control centres, and cyber warfare systems would be tested in the drill.

Iran has one of the Middle East's largest missile programmes

and held a similar exercise in December to showcase its defence systems, including radars, anti-missile defence units, and short and medium-range missiles.

Tehran confirmed on Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, but said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic's nuclear agreement with world powers or a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.

Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal in 2015, but the latest test was the first since Trump entered the White House. Trump said during his election campaign that he would stop Iran's missile programme.

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday and recommended the missile testing be studied at committee level. The new US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called the test "unacceptable".

The Security Council resolution was adopted to buttress the deal under which Iran curbed its nuclear activities to allay concerns they could be used to develop atomic bombs, in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

The resolution urged Tehran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Critics say the resolution's language does not make this obligatory.

Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry nuclear payloads.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/m

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400 suspected Islamic State members held in Turkey

Updated / Sunday, 5 Feb 2017

Turkish police this morning detained hundreds of suspected members of the so-called Islamic State militant group in nationwide raids, just over a month after an attack on an Istanbul nightclub claimed by the jihadists.

Among around 400 detained in the biggest operation so far against IS after the New Year attack were foreigners and those suspected of planning attacks in Turkey, the Dogan and Anadolu news agencies reported.

The operation around the country saw 150 suspects detained in Sanliurfa in the southeast and 47 in the nearby city of Gaziantep close to the Syrian border which has a known jihadist presence, Dogan said.

Sixty suspects, mostly foreigners, were detained in four districts in the capital Ankara.

Dozens more arrests were made in provinces ranging from Bursa in the west to Bingol in the east.

In the usually peaceful Aegean city of Izmir, nine people suspected of travelling to and from Syria and planning attacks in the city were detained, Anadolu said.

Eighteen people were detained in Istanbul and the neighbouring province of Kocaeli on suspicion of planning attacks.

Another 14 foreigners were due to be deported, including ten children.

Thirty-nine people were killed, mainly foreigners, on New Year's night when a gunman attacked an Istanbul night club.

IS claimed the massacre, its first clear claim for a major attack in Turkey although it had been blamed for several bombings in 2016.

Police detained the suspected attacker, Abdulgadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, on 16 January after over two weeks on the run and authorities say he has confessed to the massacre.

The Hurriyet daily reported after the attack that IS also planned a simultaneous New Year's strike in Ankara but dropped the plot after arrests by the Turkish authorities.

Turkey was in 2016 shaken by a string of attacks blamed on IS and Kurdish militants that left hundreds dead.

It is also engaged in a battle with IS to take the Syrian town of Al-Bab, in the fiercest fighting yet of the Turkish military's campaign inside Syria that started in August.

rte.ie/news/2017/0205/850260-turkey-islamic-state/

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Iran permits American wrestlers to take part in World Cup 2017

February 5, 2017

Iran has agreed to issue visas for US freestyle wrestlers seeking to join World Cup games in the Islamic Republic after Washington suspended a controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, including Iranians.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it has agreed to grant the US national wrestling team visa for the World Cup games considering a US federal judge’s ruling that has temporarily halted Donald Trump’s travel ban for Iranian visa-holders.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday that the US wrestling team will be given entry visa for participation in the Freestyle World Cup in Iran’s western city of Kermanshah.

Iran had announced earlier that American citizens will be denied visa in retaliation for an executive order by US President Trump that banned all people from Iran and six other predominantly Muslim nations from entering the US.

However, a ruling by a Seattle court put a temporary stop to the travel ban across the US.

Qassemi said the visa request from the US wrestling team was granted considering the federal judge’s ruling that temporarily halted the “discriminatory” ban on Iranian travelers and with regard to requests from presidents of the Iranian Wrestling Federation and the United World Wrestling (formerly known as FILA).

While Trump's travel ban on individuals from seven Muslim countries has been thrown into doubt by US District Judge James Robart’s ruling, a White House statement said the Department of Justice intends to challenge the court’s decision.

Trump’s controversial orders during the first two weeks in office have drawn widespread international protests.

en.abna24.com/news/iran/iran-permits-american-wrestlers-to-take-part-in-world-cup-2017.html

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Bomb blast hits capital of Bahrain

February 5, 2017

A bomb exploded on a main thoroughfare on the outskirts of the Bahraini capital Manama on Sunday.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A bomb went off in the Bahraini capital of Manama, with authorities saying the explosion left no causalities.

The interior ministry said on Sunday that the explosion hit a thoroughfare on the outskirts of Manama and damaged several cars but caused no injuries.

The ministry claimed the explosion was a terrorist attack though no independent source has confirmed such claims.

Bahrain has faced increasing protests since 2011 where the majority Shiite is demanding equal rights and opportunities.

The protests seem have gained a rise in recent month after Manama executed three pro-democracy protestors amid growing national and international protests.

Bahrain, a close ally for Washington and London, asked anti-riot forces of Saudi Arabia and UAE to interfere when the protests got out of hand in 2011. The intervention left scores of people dead and injured but failed to stop the protests.

en.abna24.com/news/bahrain/bomb-blast-hits-capital-of-bahrain.html

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Iran begins major phase of defense drills in Semnan

February 5, 2017

The Aerospace Division of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has started the major phase of defense exercises in the north-central Iranian province of Semnan.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency)- The Aerospace Division of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has started the major phase of defense exercises in the north-central Iranian province of Semnan.

The new stage of the drills, dubbed “Defenders of the Velayat Skies,” kicked off on Saturday after a five-day preliminary phase.

Being conducted in an area of 35,000 square kilometers, the drills are aimed at demonstrating Iran’s power, intelligence command, and defense readiness to counter any threats.

Different types of missile and radar systems, which are designed and manufactured by Iranian specialists and which have diverse ranges, will be used during the exercises.

One of the missile systems, called 3rd Khordad, has a range of 75 kilometers and an altitude of 30 kilometers. It is capable of simultaneously engaging several targets and countering electronic warfare with advanced technology.

Another missile system, Tabas, has a range of 60 kilometers and an altitude of 30 kilometers. It can detect all kinds of hostile targets.

Additionally, the long-range Qadir radar system is three dimensional and can detect and track aerial threats up to a range of 1,100 kilometers.

Another radar system, called the Matla-ul-Fajr radar, is capable of tracking aerial threats and has a range of 500 kilometers. It can also detect different types of planes and drones.

The drills come at a time of increased belligerence against Iran by the new US administration. US President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and White House national security adviser Michael Flynn have all recently made anti-Iran remarks. In vague, threatening comments, Flynn said on Wednesday that Washington was “officially putting Iran on notice.”

en.abna24.com/service/iran/archive/2017/02/05/809532/story.html

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Airlines in Iran: No tickets for Iranians holding US visas

AP | Updated: Feb 4, 2017

TEHRAN: Foreign airlines have instructed Iranian travel agencies not to sell US-bound flight tickets to Iranians holding US visas after President Donald Trump's executive order banning visas for seven Muslim countries, including Iran.

The move comes even though a US judge on Friday temporarily blocked the ban, siding with two states that urged a nationwide hold on the executive order that has launched legal battles across the country. The directive does not include US airlines.

In Tehran, the Kowsar travel agency told The Associated Press they had been instructed by all foreign airlines not to sell tickets to Iranians with visas to enter the US.

The agency said there was no problem for those who have a permanent resident card or a US passport.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/airlines-in-iran-no-tickets-for-iranians-holding-us-visas/articleshow/56969818.cms

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Bahraini Shia Friday Prayers blocked for 35th week

February 4, 2017

The Al Khalifa regime once again prevented citizens from performing Friday prayers in the village of Diraz, near Manama, yesterday.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The regime forces closed roads leading to the Imam Sadiq (AS) Mosque, preventing them from gathering for prayers.

It was the 35th consecutive week the regime prevents Shia Muslims from performing Friday prayers in the village.

The worshipers then staged a demonstration to express their outrage over the measure.

They chanted slogans against Al Khalifa dynasty, calling for an end to the regime's crackdown on revolutionaries.

Since June last year, Diraz has been witnessing a sit-in held by dozens of citizens in protest against authorities’ decision to strip prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim of his citizenship.

Meanwhile, prominent cleric Sheikh Muhammad Jawad al-Shahabi was released Friday after spending six months in the regime’s jails.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on the al-Khalifa rulers to relinquish power.

In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, themselves repressive Arab regimes, were deployed to the country to assist Manama in its crackdown on protests. Hundreds of Bahraini activists have been imprisoned and suppressed. 

On June 20, Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship, less than a week after suspending the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the country’s main opposition bloc, and dissolving the Islamic Enlightenment Institution founded by Qassim, and the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.

Over the past few weeks, demonstrators have held sit-in protests outside Sheikh Qassim’s home to denounce his citizenship removal.

Bahrain has also sentenced Sheikh Ali Salman, another revered opposition cleric, to nine years in prison on charges of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers, which he has denied.

Sheikh Salman was the secretary general of the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, which was Bahrain’s main opposition bloc before being dissolved by the regime.

Things actually seem to be getting worse. The country’s only remotely critical newspaper, Al Wasat, which was shut down in 2011, has now been ordered by the government to close its online edition too after criticizing the executions.

en.abna24.com/news/bahrain/bahraini-shia-friday-prayers-blocked-for-35th-week.html

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South Asia

Taliban commander Hekmatullah among 54 killed in Helmand: MoD

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Feb 05 2017

At least 54 militants including a local commander of the Taliban group was killed during the clearance operations in southern Helmand province.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the militants were killed during the joint clearance and counter-terrorism operations in the past 24 hours.

According to a statement by MoD, all the militants, including the local commander of the group, Hekmatullah, were killed in Garamser district.

The statement further added that the operations were conducted with the support of the artillery units of the Afghan army and the Afghan Air Force.

In a separate operation in southern Kandahar province, the Afghan forces arrested a drugs smuggler and confiscated 150kg of opium, 2 sacks of Hashish, and 2 motorcycles, MoD said, adding that the drugs were set on fire by the security forces.

No further details were given regarding the possible casualties of the Afghan security forces during the operations.

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

Helmand is among the relatively volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan which witnessed growing violence as a result of the Taliban-led insurgency in the past one week.

khaama.com/taliban-commander-hekmatullah-among-54-killed-in-helmand-mod-02811

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Uprising commander joins Taliban group with his 14 men in Sar-e-Pul

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Feb 05 2017

A commander of the public uprising forces has defected to the Taliban insurgents in northern Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan.

According to local government officials, the uprising commander joined the Taliban ranks with his 14 men in Sayad district.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Zabiullah Amani confirmed the report and said the uprising commander has been identified as Noor Mohammad.

Amani further added that commander Mohammad and his men took several weapons and ammunition with them while defecting to Taliban insurgents.

According to Amani, commander Mohammad was previously fighting the insurgent groups together with the Afghan security forces.

He said hundreds of public uprising forces are currently busy fighting the Taliban insurgents and other terrorists in this province.

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

Sar-e-Pul is among the relatively calm provinces in northern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups are active in some of its districts and often conduct insurgency activities.

In the meantime, the local officials are saying that the main motive which encouraged commander Mohammad to join Taliban ranks is not clear so far and investigations are underway in this regard.

khaama.com/uprising-commander-joins-taliban-group-with-his-14-men-in-sar-e-pul-02809

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UN removes Hekmatyar from terrorist list

February 5th, 2017

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations sanctions committee has removed Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar from its list of designated terrorists following his recent peace agreement with the Kabul government.

“Therefore, the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo ... no longer apply to him,” the UN Security Council’s committee said in a statement issued in New York on Friday.

The move comes months after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government sealed a peace deal with Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami, or HIG, an insurgent faction.

The truce required Hekmatyar to cease fighting against the Afghan government in return for his removal from the UN blacklist, along with other leaders of his faction, and allowing his group to resume political activities in Afghanistan.

Friday’s announcement has set the stage for the fugitive warlord, a designated “global terrorist,” to return to Afghan politics after years in hiding, allegedly in neighbouring Pakistan, though his aides insist he is present somewhere in the country.

A member of Hekmatyar’s peace negotiating team, Atiqullah Safi, confirmed to Voice of America on Saturday that the group has formally been informed about the removal of their leader’s name from the UN terrorist list.

Local and international human rights groups have been critical of the peace deal from the outset and called for Hekmatyar be held accountable for his alleged crimes.

“His return will compound the culture of impunity that the Afghan government and its foreign donors have fostered by not pursuing accountability for the many victims of forces commanded by Hekmatyar and other warlords that laid waste to much of the country in the 1990s,” Human Rights Watch said in a recent statement.

AP adds: Amin Karim, the group’s chief negotiator told reporters on Saturday “The removal of sanctions proved that the solution is Afghan-owned negotiations inside the country and coming to a national consensus. If Afghans come to such a conclusion the international community is supportive of the peace process and it is good news for peace and the Afghan nation.” Karim had earlier said that he would return to the capital in “a matter of weeks, not months.”

Hekmatyar is seen as a potential rival to President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who have governed the country through a shaky, US-brokered power-sharing agreement since the disputed elections of 2014.

His return could stir up new political uncertainty as the government struggles to confront a reinvigorated Taliban that has been advancing on several fronts. “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has taken all the necessary measures for a respectable, safe, and honourable welcoming and we have taken all security measures according to the protocol. We are waiting for his (Hekmatyar) return and we don’t have any problem in this regard,” said Akram Khpolwak, a political affairs adviser to the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

dawn.com/news/1312828/un-removes-hekmatyar-from-terrorist-list

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4 suspects arrested for having links with ISIS in East of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Feb 05 2017

At least four suspects were arrested for having links with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial police commandment said the individuals were arrested from the vicinity of Achin district.

The arrested suspects have been identified as Gul Rahman and Mirwais who are originally residents of Badghis province.

The two other suspects have been identified as Abdul Hanan and Mohammad Ziauddin who are originally residents of Laghman province, according to the provincial police commandment.

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

The arrest of the suspected ISIS loyalists comes as the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against the loyalists of the terror group in this province.

The US forces based in Afghanistan are also conducting counter-terrorism operations against ISIS loyalists, mainly by carrying airstrikes against the militants.

In the meantime, the loyalists of the terror group launched a coordinated attack on some check posts of the Afghan Local Police forces in Kot district late on Thursday night, days after the militants of the terror group suffered heavy casualties in air and ground operations in this province.

khaama.com/4-suspects-arrested-for-having-links-with-isis-in-east-of-afghanistan-02807

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Heavy snowfall hits Afghanistan, govt announces nationwide holiday

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Feb 05 2017

Heavy snowfall hit capital Kabul and other provinces of the country, forcing the government to declare a one-day nationwide holiday.

The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled confirmed the nationwide holiday earlier today.

The ministry said the nationwide holiday has been declared for today in line with the instructions of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

A spokesman for the Presidential Palace, Shah Hussain Murtazvi, also confirmed the nationwide holiday.

The latest snowfall in the capital Kabul and other provinces has been rare in almost a decade.

The snowfall has resulted into the closure of transportation routes in the northern, northeastern, and central provinces.

Numerous incidents of avalanche and passengers being trapped in the mountainous terrains have been reported during the recent days.

In the latest incident, at least 10 people lost their lives and over 10 others were wounded after avalanche hit several houses in northeastern Badakhshan province.

Officials in Badakhshan province said at least 25 houses were partially damaged after an avalanche hit a small village in Maimi village.

Scores of passengers were also trapped in the central Bamyan province where heavy snowfall was reported during the recent days.

khaama.com/heavy-snowfall-hits-afghanistan-govt-announces-nationwide-holiday-02805

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Europe

Austria: Protesters denounce plans to ban full-face Muslim veils

05/02/2017

Defending what they say is a woman’s right to choose, some 3,000 people have marched through Austria’s capital, Vienna, to protest at government plans to ban full-face Muslim veils in public spaces.

The group ‘Muslim Youth Austria’ organised the rally against the proposed ban on veils such as the burqa and niqab.

It is part of a package of measures put forward by the coalition government, aimed at countering the rise of the far-right.

euronews.com/2017/02/05/austria-protesters-denounce-plans-to-ban-full-face-muslim-veils?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+euronews%2Fen%2Fnews+%28euronews+-+news+-+en%29

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Pope Francis responds to Shia scholar’s Christmas message

Sun 5 February 2017

TEHRAN, Feb. 05 (MNA) – Pope Francis, leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, has responded to the letter by Head of the Shia Scholars’ European Union over Christmas felicitations.

“Pope Francis is much pleased to have heard your nice wishes and cordial Christmas felicitations, and he wholeheartedly expresses gratitude for your voiced solidarity among divine religions,” the text of the message issued on Saturday reads. 

The letter continues, “During the Christmas period, His Eminence prays especially for global peace and voices solidarity with all people who are suffering from war, conflict and terrorism around the world. Pope Francis also prays to God to reward your efforts in promoting human prosperity and peace; May Almighty God bless you in 2017.”

Ayatollah Reza Ramezani, a member of Iran's Assembly of Experts and leader of the Hamburg Islamic Center, also serves as the president of the Islamic European Union of Shia Scholars and Theologians.

en.mehrnews.com/news/123279/Pope-Francis-responds-to-Shia-scholar-s-Christmas-message

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Mosques in Wales to open doors to show 'solidarity'

5 February 2017

Welsh mosques will open their doors to the public as part of an effort to help people understand about Islam.

Visit My Mosque day sees 150 venues across the UK take part on Sunday.

These include nine in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, Wrexham, Bangor in Gwynedd and Rhyl, Denbighshire.

Mohammed Alamgir Ahmed of the Muslim Council of Wales (MCW) said it was a "great way of coming together across boundaries".

This is the second year the project has run and MCW said about 2,000 people took part in 2016.

There is no specific dress code but men and women are being advised that "short or revealing clothing is best avoided".

Mr Ahmed said: "With [President] Trump banning Muslims and sowing division, it's more important than ever that we in Wales reject his message and come together in solidarity."

Rhyl Islamic Cultural CentreImage copyrightEIRIAN EVANS/GEOGRAPH

Mr Trump's executive order halted the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and suspended all nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Those who were already mid-flight were detained on arrival - even if they held valid US visas or other immigration permits.

The move sparked protests across America and Europe, with thousands taking part in Wales.

The order has been suspended by a US Federal judge, but faces further legal challenges from Mr Trump's administration, which filed a fresh motion to implement the decision on Saturday.

"To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting," the president said in a statement on Facebook.

"This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order."

bbc.com/news/uk-wales-38840247

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Africa

Quebec mosque victims repatriated to Algeria

FRANCE 05/02/2017

French presidential front-runners Le Pen and Macron rally supporters

There were emotional scenes in Algeria on Saturday as the bodies of two men killed in a shooting rampage at a Canadian mosque were repatriated.

Government officials in Algiers joined family members mourning Khaled Belkacemi, 61, and Abdelkrim Hassane, 42, who were among six people killed in the massacre in Quebec last Sunday. Several others were injured.

French-Canadian student Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

euronews.com/2017/02/05/quebec-mosque-victims-repatriated-to-algeria?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+euronews%2Fen%2Fnews+%28euronews+-+news+-+en%29

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/trump-loses-again-in-court,-judge-rejects-attempt-to-quickly-restart-muslim-ban/d/109960

 

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