New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 11:10 PM

Islamic World News ( 18 Jul 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Turkey's New School Curriculum Drops Evolution and Will Teach Concept of Jihad
















Indonesian Muslims wave Hizbut Tahrir's flag 'ar rayah' during an anti-government rally in Jakarta on July 18.(AFP Photo)

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Turkey's New School Curriculum Drops Evolution and Will Teach Concept of Jihad

Indonesia Bans Hizbut Tahrir Group That Seeks To Establish Global Caliphate

Tal Afar: ISIL Starts Mass Execution of Own Family Members for Fear of Imminent Operation of Iraqi Forces

Purdah Bar at Kerala Salafi Institute

 

Mideast

Turkey's New School Curriculum Drops Evolution and Will Teach Concept of Jihad

Muslim Worshipers Continue Praying Outside Al-Aqsa amid Strict Measures and Lock-Down

Turkey’s Syriac community and the threat of ‘nationalization’

Turkish court detains six rights activists amid crackdown

Saudi warplanes kill 19 displaced Yemenis in Ta'izz

Jerusalem: Al-Aqsa Mosque Imam injured in clashes

New US sanctions violate JCPOA spirit: Zarif

Iran vows retaliation against new US sanctions

Saudi Arabia disallows UN aid staff to fly to crisis-hit Yemen

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Bans Hizbut Tahrir Group That Seeks To Establish Global Caliphate

Philippine Leader to Expedite Bill for Self-Rule in Muslim Region

Islamic groups protest Indonesian attempt to curb radicals

Suhakam urges Putrajaya intervention in Kelantan’s public caning plan

Najib: Govt to study Indian Muslims’ request to be recognised as Bumiputera

Thai Judge Hands Down Verdicts in Major Trafficking Trial

China's Xi Pledges 'Unremitting' Efforts for Middle East Peace

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Arab World

Tal Afar: ISIL Starts Mass Execution of Own Family Members for Fear of Imminent Operation of Iraqi Forces

‘Unjustified’ EU sanctions meant to cover up terrorist crimes: Syria

Saudi Shoura condemns Israeli violations in occupied Palestine

Fresh US-led airstrikes kill several Syrian civilians in Dayr al-Zawr

Suicide bomber kills four in Kurdish-held Syrian northeast

Tens of Terrorists Killed in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Eastern Hama

Arabs Urge Qatar to Accept 6 Principles to Combat Extremism

Egypt police trap and kill top militants

Russian Forces Deploy to Southern Syria to Monitor Ceasefire

Hariri: Lebanon’s army to carry out operation near Syrian border

Iraq to question trade minister over graft allegations

Hezbollah-allied Syrian regime steps up bombing of militants in Lebanon

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India

Purdah Bar at Kerala Salafi Institute

Two Years On, Hindu-Muslim Marriage Ends in Murder

Zakir Naik’s Passport Revoked, He’s Now A Stateless Person

Shiv Sena Accuses Pakistan of Fuelling Hindu-Muslim Riots; Saamana Criticises Modi-Government over Violence in Name of Gau Raksha

Irfan Pathan Brutally Attacked On Social Media for Posting Photo of Wife 'Hurting' Islamic Sentiments

India-Pak peace will triumph: Mehbooba Mufti

Uttar Pradesh ATS obtains 3-day transit remand of ‘Lashkar operative’

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Pakistan

‘Father of Taliban’ Sami-Ul-Haq Offers Conditional Support to Afghan Peace Process

Anti-Pakistan Protests Erupt In Sindh

Pakistani Court Lifts Ban on Airing of Indian TV Shows

4 Hazaras shot dead near Mastung as gunmen open fire on vehicle

Lawmakers question Raheel Sharif's role in Saudi military alliance

Qatar seeks Pak role to defuse Saudi tension

Pakistan desires diplomatic solution to Gulf crisis: PM

Gen Raheel to adopt same policy as parliament: Sartaj

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Europe

Muslim Attacked By Knife-Wielding Robber in Mosque Calms Him Down and Makes Him Breakfast

9/11 Survivors Call On May To Release Saudi Financing Extremism Report

Chechnya becoming major player in rebuilding war-torn Syria

French Senate passes new anti-terror bill

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Africa

Call For Boko Haram Peace Talks Masks Ethnic Tensions

Gambia Promotes Muslim Friendly Tourism

Sudan agrees to continue to communicate positively with US at the request of Saudi Arabia

South Sudan declares state of emergency

Nigeria: Top Boko Haram Leader, Three Others Surrender - Army

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North America

Rising Islamophobia in US Legacy of 9/11 Attacks: Scholar

Death Of ISIS-K Leader In Afghanistan To Disrupt Group’s Expansion Plans: US

US announces new Iran sanctions over ballistic missiles, terrorism support

Roberts: Arizona Senate candidate under attack for being Muslim

Opponents urge top US court to dismiss Muslim ban

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South Asia

14 ISIS Killed As Airstrikes and Artillery Units Pound ISIS Targets in Nangarhar

Explosion in ISIS militant’s house leaves 7 dead in East of Afghanistan

Rohingya man accused of Myanmar insurgent ties bailed in Bangladesh

NATO rejects involvement in forced diversion of Afghan vice president’s plane

Afghan forces seize 1,400 kgs of Ammonium Nitrate from Torkham-Jalalabad highway

NATO rejects Taliban claim regarding the killing of US general and troops in Kunduz

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/turkey-s-new-school-curriculum-drops-evolution-and-will-teach-concept-of-jihad/d/111885

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Turkey's new school curriculum drops evolution and will teach concept of jihad

Jul 19, 2017

Turkey's new school curriculum drops Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and adds the concept of jihad as patriotic in spirit.

The move has fuelled fears President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is subverting the republic's secular foundations.

The chairman of a teachers' union has described the changes as a huge step in the wrong direction for Turkey's schools and an attempt to avoid raising "generations who ask questions".

Ismet Yilmaz, the country's education minister, said the controversial decision to exclude the theory of evolution was "because it is above the students' level and not directly relevant."

A member of the opposition Republican People's Party, Mustafa Balbay, said any suggestion the theory was beyond their understanding was an insult to high school students.

"You go and give an 18-year old student the right to elect and be elected, but don't give him the right to learn about the theory of evolution...This is being close minded and ignorant."

The theory of evolution is rejected by both Christian and Muslim creationists, who believe God created the world as described in the Bible and the Koran, making the universe and all living things in six days.

Mr Erdogan, accused by critics of crushing democratic freedoms with tens of thousands of arrests and a clampdown on media since a failed coup last July, has in the past spoken of raising a "pious generation".

The curriculum, effective from the start of the 2017-2018 school year, also obliges Turkey's growing number of "Imam Hatip" religious schools to teach the concept of jihad as patriotic in spirit.

"It is also our duty to fix what has been perceived as wrong. This is why the Islamic law class and basic fundamental religion lectures will include [lessons on] jihad," Mr Yilmaz told reporters. "The real meaning of jihad is loving your nation."

Jihad is often translated as "holy war" in the context of fighters waging war against enemies of Islam; but Muslim scholars stress that it also refers to a personal, spiritual struggle against sin.

Mehhmet Balik, chairman of the Union of Education and Science Workers (Egitim-Is), condemned the new curriculum.

"The new policies that ban the teaching of evolution and requiring all schools to have a prayer room, these actions destroy the principle of secularism and the scientific principles of education," he said.

Under the AKP, which came to power in 2002, the number of "Imam Hatip" religious schools has grown exponentially. Erdogan, who has roots in political Islam, attended one such school.

He has spent his career fighting to bring religion back into public life in constitutionally secular Turkey and has cast himself as the liberator of millions of pious Turks whose rights and welfare were neglected by a secular elite.

Liberal Turks see Mr Erdogan as attempting to roll back the work of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Western-facing founder of modern Turkey who believed education should be free of religious teachings.

Some government critics have said the new curriculum - which was presented for public feedback earlier this year - increased the emphasis on Islamic values at the expense of Ataturk's role.

But Mr Yilmaz said nothing about Ataturk or his accomplishments had been removed. Changes only emphasised core values such as justice, friendship, honesty, love and patriotism.

He said discussion of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Isis and the network of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for last year's attempted coup, would also be added.

Mr Balik, the head of the union, said the changes were being made in an attempt to stamp out dissenting ideas.

"The bottom line is: generations who ask questions, that's what the government fears," he said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-school-curriculum-teach-jihad-concept-drop-evolution-science-muslim-islam-a7848176.html

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Indonesia bans Hizbut Tahrir group that seeks to establish global caliphate

Jul 19, 2017

The Indonesian government on Wednesday banned Hizbut Tahrir, an organization that wants to establish a global caliphate, under a new presidential decree criticized as draconian by rights groups.

Hizbut’s legal status had been revoked to protect national unity, said Freddy Haris, a director-general at the ministry of Justice and Human Rights, at a brief news conference.

The decree signed last week by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo gives the government almost unfettered power to ban organizations deemed against the constitution and the official state ideology Pancasila. Rights group say governments could easily abuse the decree’s power.

The measures follow months of sectarian tensions that shook the government and undermined Indonesia’s reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam.

Hizbut Tahrir, along with groups such as the violent Islamic Defenders Front, was behind a series of massive protests against the Jakarta governor, a minority Christian and Jokowi ally who was accused of blaspheming Islam. He subsequently lost a bid for re-election to a Muslim candidate and was imprisoned for two years for blasphemy despite prosecutors downgrading the charge to a lesser offence.

Hizbut, already banned or circumscribed in some countries, is estimated to have tens of thousands of members in Indonesia.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/indonesia-bans-hizbut-tahrir-group-that-seeks-to-establish-global-caliphate/story-kRBBbLZhOcw4Wl3WflcW5I.html

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Tal Afar: ISIL Starts Mass Execution of Own Family Members for Fear of Imminent Operation of Iraqi Forces

Jul 18, 2017

The source said that based on a Fatwa (religious decree) issued by ISIL's Religious Board the ISIL terrorists are executing their own family members in Tal Afar.

The source further said that the ISIL's Religious Board has issued the Fatwa for the mass killing of family members  before the start of the Iraqi forces' operation in order not to be exposed and handed over to the army men by the family members in Tal Afar.

The source went on to say that the road connecting Tal Afar to Mosul and Syria's border is controlled by the Iraqi forces and the town is under the pro-government forces' siege, and the Iraqi forces and volunteer forces of Hashd al-Shaabi will storm the central part of Tal Afar in next few days. 

A security source in Nineveh province in Northwestern Iraq reported on Sunday that ISIL executed 12 senior commanders that tried to flee the town of Tal Afar.

The source said that ISIL arrested 12 commanders of its forces in Tal Afar and executed them on charges of fleeing the town.

The source added that after their defeat in Mosul and losing a large number of fighters the ISIL's front in Tal Afar has collapsed.      

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960427001676

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Purdah Bar at Kerala Salafi Institute

Jul 19, 2017

KOZHIKODE: A Muslim girl has refused to join a teacher training institute under Jamia Nadwiya at Edavanna in Malappuram after the institution insisted that she could not wear purdah on all days while attending the class.

Husna C, wife of Muhammad Harshad P, decided not to pursue the course after institute authorities rejected her plea to wear purdah instead of sari. Jamia Nadwiya is run by Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM), a Salafi organisation.

"There is a stipulation in the institute that students should wear sari three days a week. My wife does not even wear churidar," said Muhammad Harshad, husband of the girl. "So, we decided that purdah would be more comfortable and safe than sari. When we contacted the principal he said he also would support our decision, but added that he was helpless in the case," Harshad said. He approached the state leadership of the KNM to get permission to wear the 'Islamic dress'.

But the authorities at Jamia Nadwiyya insisted on the dress code in the institution. "It cannot be relaxed for one individual. We have pre-school to BEd colleges under the trust and each institution has a particular uniform," said assistant registrar of Jamia Nadwiyya, Adil Atheef. "We told the girl that if she is so particular in wearing purdah, she can join the Arabic College where the uniform is purdah," said Adil.

In a letter to KNM general secretary P P Unneen Kutty Moulavi, Harshad said other institutions such as Farook College, Mambad MES (autonomous college) and Sullamussallam College, Areacode, allow students to wear purdah.

"I don't understand what happened to our movement (KNM) to deny an opportunity to my wife to study by wearing purdah at an institution directly controlled by KNM." he added. Harshad said he had gone to the KNM office to get a response. "The staff said KNM could not do anything in the issue as the institution was run by a trust. So my wife decided to drop the idea of pursing the teacher education course at the institute and joined for a degree course," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/purdah-bar-at-kerala-salafi-institute/articleshow/59657802.cms

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Mideast

 

Muslim worshipers continue praying outside Al-Aqsa amid strict measures and lock-down

July 19, 2017

JERUSALEM: Muslims heeded calls on Monday not to enter a Jerusalem holy site and protested outside after Israeli authorities installed metal detectors at entrances to the ultra-sensitive compound following an attack that killed two policemen.

The compound was largely empty on Monday apart from tourists and Jewish visitors, with Muslims again praying and protesting outside the site instead of entering through the metal detectors.

The Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque.

Several hundred people could be seen praying outside two different entrances to the site on Monday.

There were protests after the prayer, with crowds shouting: “Aqsa mosque, we sacrifice our souls and our blood.” Police later sought to move them back.

“We will not break the solidarity of the people,” said Jamal Abdallah, a Palestinian who now lives in the US state of Arizona and was planning to visit Al Aqsa, but changed his mind when he was told of the situation.Israel took the highly unusual decision of closing the compound for Friday prayers, triggering anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site’s custodian.

The site remained closed on Saturday, and parts of Jerusalem’s Old City were also under lockdown.

Israeli authorities said the closure was necessary to carry out security checks, adding that the assailants had come from within the holy site to commit the attack.

They began reopening it on Sunday, but with metal detectors in place, while security cameras were also being installed in the area.

Al Aqsa officials have refused to enter and have called on worshippers to do the same.

Palestinians view the new measures as Israel asserting further control over the site. On Sunday night, skirmishes broke out between Israeli police and worshippers outside the entrance, with the Red Crescent reporting 17 people wounded.

With tensions high, two mosques in the northern Israeli Arab town of Maghar were targeted overnight, one with a stun grenade and another by gunshots. No serious damage was reported.

One of the two policemen killed in Friday’s attack lived in Maghar. Both of the officers were from the Druze minority, Arabs who belong to an offshoot of Shia Islam.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the decision to install the metal detectors and cameras following a meeting with security officials on Saturday.

He also spoke by phone with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday night before leaving on a trip to France and Hungary.

Abdullah condemned the attack, but also called on Netanyahu to reopen the Al Aqsa compound and stressed the need to “avoid any escalation at the site”.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas conveyed a similar message to Netanyahu when the two spoke by phone on Friday in the wake of the attack.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip and Abbas’s rival, has welcomed the attack, calling it “a natural response to the Zionist terrorism and the desecration of the Al Aqsa mosque”.

On Monday in a joint statement, Hamas and Islamic Jihad called for demonstrations over Al Aqsa.

“We call for an end to all the Zionist measures and for the extremist government to take its hands off the blessed Al Aqsa mosque,” it said. Proposals to change security measures at the compound have sparked controversy in the past.

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Jul-2017/muslim-worshipers-continue-praying-outside-al-aqsa-amid-strict-measures-and-lock-down

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Turkey’s Syriac community and the threat of ‘nationalization’

18 July 2017

The ownership of around 50 churches, monasteries, and cemeteries that belonged to the Syriac Orthodox Church for more than 1,500 years was transferred to the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Dinayet), hence turned into public facilities.

The Syriac properties, which total hundreds of thousands of square meters, were annexed by the directorate following the decision by the government committee assigned the liquidation of assets whose ownership deeds expired. The decision sent shock waves across members of the Syriac community who started fearing that this could be the first step towards the extinction of their heritage.

Kuryakos Ergun, chairman of the Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation, said that an appeal filed against the confiscation, which included the fifth-century monastery, was rejected and highlighted the danger of losing this monastery, one of the world’s oldest operational monasteries, and other Syriac houses of worship.

“Our churches and monasteries are what root Syriacs in these lands; our existence relies on them. They are our history and what sustains our culture,” he said. “While the country should be protecting this heritage, we instead see our culture is at risk.” Ergun added that the fifth-century Mor Meliki monastery is also among the confiscated properties. “This monastery is set beside a spring revered by pilgrims for its healing powers and was tended by two Syriac families.”

Both monasteries are located in the Tur Abdin region in southwest Turkey between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and which is known to be the historic center of Syriac heritage and the heart of its monastic history. The name of the region is Syriac for “mountain of the servants of God” and the region is home to more than 80 monasteries.

Robert Nicholson, the executive director of the Philos Project, which addresses the problems of Christians in the Middle East, attributed the confiscation of Syriac properties to new policies adopted by Erdogan’s government to control minorities in the restive southwest. “In the case of the Syriac Christians, Erdogan is using legal pretexts to seize and redistribute lands and churches that have been owned by Christians for over a millennium,” he said.

Nicholson noted that Christians were generally not persecuted by Turkish authorities and did not face discriminatory practices under Erdogan, yet he argued that this seems to be changing. “But Turkish politics are changing, and it's still unclear how minority groups like the Syriacs will fare in the end.”

Turkish journalist Uygar Gültekin explained that the whole process started when the province of Mardin, the eastern part of which is located in Tur Abdin, was officially turned into a metropolitan municipality, which allowed the government to form a Transfer, Liquidation, and Redistribution Committee to look into the status of properties located in the province. The committee placed the properties at the disposal of the Treasury, which then transferred them to Religious Affairs.

The Treaty of Lausanne

Gültekin noted that the decision to confiscate the Syriac properties is in violation of the Treaty of Lausanne, which was also mentioned in the appeal filed by the Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation. “According to Article 42/3 of the Lausanne Treaty the Turkish Government undertakes to grant full protection to the churches, synagogues, cemeteries, and other religious establishments of the above-mentioned minorities (non-Muslims).

All facilities and authorization will be granted to the pious foundations, and to the religious and charitable institutions of the said minorities at present existing in Turkey, and the Turkish Government will not refuse, for the formation of new religious and charitable institutions, any of the necessary facilities which are granted to other private institutions of that nature,” Gültekin wrote.

According to the same treaty, Gültekin added, the Turkish government is not to issue any laws or take any procedures that overrule this principle: “Evidently this erroneous ownership status is in explicit violation of the Lausanne Treaty which is the founding Treaty of the Republic of Turkey.”

Habib Efram, president of the Syriac League in Lebanon, said that news of confiscating Syriac properties in Turkey went unnoticed as was the case with other violations to which the Syriacs in the Middle East were subjected.

“The world has been watching since the massacres committed against our ancestors in 1915 and which were neither acknowledged nor punished,” he said in reference to the mass killings of Syriacs by the Ottoman Empire during World War One and which happened alongside the Armenian genocide. “In addition to what is happening in Turkey, our legacy is being eliminated in Nineveh and Palmyra,” he added.

According to minorities’ expert Suleiman Yusuf, transferring the ownership of the Syriac properties to the Directorate of Religious Affairs means that they will be treated as Islamic endowments, which makes the future of all activities taking place in them uncertain.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/07/18/Turkey-s-Syriac-community-and-the-threat-of-nationalization-.html

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Turkish court detains six rights activists amid crackdown

Jul 18, 2017

A Turkish court has detained Amnesty International's director in Turkey and five other rights activists pending trial over allegations of links to Kurdish militia and the alleged plotter of last year’s attempted coup.

On Tuesday, the Istanbul court decided to continue the detention of Amnesty's Turkey director Idil Eser along with five other activists, including a German national identified as Peter Steudtner.

The court, however, decided to release four other activists pending the outcome of a trial, but barred them from traveling abroad, while they will also have to report regularly to the police.

The ten activists were arrested on July 5 during a police raid on a hotel on the island of Buyukada, an island south of Istanbul, where they attended a workshop on digital security and information management.

Two of the arrested activists were foreign trainers of the digital information workshop, a German and a Swedish national. The remaining eight were Turkish human rights defenders, including Ilknur Ustun of the Women's Coalition and Veli Acu of the Human Rights Agenda Association.

Last month, Turkey also arrested Amnesty International's Turkey chair Taner Kilic along with 22 other lawyers in the western city of Izmir on accusation of collaborating with coup plotters.

The Amnesty International called the Tuesday court ruling as a "crushing blow for rights in Turkey."

"This is not a legitimate investigation, this is a politically motivated witch-hunt that charts a frightening future for rights in Turkey," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general.

"Today we have learnt that standing up for human rights has become a crime in Turkey. This is a moment of truth, for Turkey and for the international community," he added.

Shetty also urged the world countries to put pressure on Turkey to release the activists, noting, "leaders around the world must stop biting their tongues and acting as if they continue business as usual."

According to Turkish media reports, prosecutors requested the arrests based on what they presented as evidence of the activists’ communications with suspects linked to Kurdish and left-wing militants as well as US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 20116.

Gulen used to be Erdogan’s mentor and ally before disagreements arose between them.

Earlier in July, Erdogan had rejected the label "activists" for the 10, saying the group was involved in a meeting that had the "nature of a continuation" of the coup attempt.

Turkey's main opposition party, Republican People's Party (CHP) slammed the court ruling as a "shame for Turkey" and expressed doubt over the prospect of a fair trial for the activists.

 "In Turkey, the judiciary is far away from being objective and independent," said Sezgin Tanrikulu, a former human rights lawyer and legislator from the CHP.

"It is impossible to speak of fair hearings in an environment where there is no objective and independent judiciary."

On July 9, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu completed a 450-kilometer mass rally from Ankara to Istanbul, dubbed “March for Justice," to condemn Erdogan’s crackdown and the alleged government interference in the judiciary.

More than 40,000 people have been arrested as part of Turkey’s crackdown on suspected plotters and sympathizers of the coup attempt. A further 100,000 people have been discharged from jobs over the same accusations.

German reaction

On Tuesday, Berlin slammed the detention of the six activists, including of German national Steudtner, as "unjustified."

"We stand in solidarity with Peter Steudtner whose detention in Turkey is unjustified and will advocate for him on all levels," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted.

The German Foreign Ministry also condemned the Istanbul court ruling in a separate statement, calling for their “quick release from custody.”

 "Linking a fighter and spokesman for human rights and democracy like Peter Steudtner to supporters of terrorists is wrong," the statement said.

Relations between Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, and Turkey have deteriorated since last year’s coup, with Berlin voicing grave concerns over mass arrests, dismissal of alleged coup plotters and a wide range of rights violations.

The tensions became more intense after Turkey imprisoned Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist with the newspaper Die Welt, Turkey on terror charges earlier this year.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528918/turkey-amnesty-court

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Saudi warplanes kill 19 displaced Yemenis in Ta'izz

Jul 18, 2017

Saudi warplanes have targeted three displaced families in Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz, killing 19 Yemenis.

The Saudi jets targeted the displaced families near Khalid camp in Mawza’ District, Yemeni al-Masirah television network reported on Tuesday.

Saudi airstrikes also killed a Yemeni civilian and injured two others in an area between Ta’izz and Al Hudaydah provinces.

On Monday, Yemeni forces repelled Saudi-led attacks west of Mawza’ District, killing and injuring 40 of the mercenaries. Six vehicles of the Saudi-led forces were also destroyed during the operation.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a destructive military campaign against Yemen since March 2015 to reinstate former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Houthi movement.

The campaign has seriously damaged the country's infrastructure. Local Yemeni sources have put the death toll from the Saudi war at over 12,000, including many women and children.

The UN has warned that suspected cholera cases across Yemen has surpassed 320,000 while at least 1,740 had lost their lives after being infected.

On July 12, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Stephen O'Brien blamed Yemen’s cholera crisis on the perpetrators and their foreign supporters of the ongoing war against the impoverished country.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528894/Yemen-Saudi-warplane

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Jerusalem: Al-Aqsa Mosque Imam injured in clashes

19 July 2017

14 Palestinians were wounded in clashes between worshipers and the Israeli forces after the evening prayers in Bab al-Asbat gate on Tuesday.

One is reportedly in a serious condition. Al-Aqsa imam and Supreme Muslim Council Head Sheikh Ekrima Sabri was also injured in a stampede during the clashes where rubber bullets and sound bombs were used, reported Al Arabiya.

Due to the clashes, a state of alert is declared in the areas surrounding Al-Aqsa mosque.

As the Palestinians escalated their rejection of the security measures imposed by the Israeli forces in the holy mosque, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Akrama Sabri called for a public protest for the Al-Aqsa Mosque coming Friday.

A hospital official said one man had suffered a serious head wound from a rubber bullet fired from close range but an Israeli police spokesman denied that rubber bullets had been used.

Tensions have increased around the compound, which is holy to Muslims and Jews, since three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen outside the complex on Friday in one of the most serious attacks in the area in years.

The assailants were killed by security forces and Israeli authorities briefly closed the compound.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/07/19/Jerusalem-Al-Aqsa-Mosque-Imam-injured-in-clashes-.html

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New US sanctions violate JCPOA spirit: Zarif

Jul 19, 2017

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that the new sanctions against Tehran by the US are damaging already frayed Tehran-Washington ties.

Zarif made the remarks on Tuesday in an interview with CBS after the administration of US President Donald Trump said it was imposing new economic sanctions against Iran over the Islamic Republic’s missile program.

"It violates the spirit of the deal. We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal, and we will act accordingly," said Zarif.

The US’ announcement came just hours after the White House admitted that Tehran was complying with a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries.

Zarif said that the US is trying to “poison the international atmosphere" with the fresh sanctions.

"The international community has read this very loud and clear and continue to deal with Iran without much attention to this theater," he added.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - plus Germany signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

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

The UN Security Council later unanimously endorsed a resolution that effectively turned the JCPOA into international law.

In relation to renegotiating the JCPOA, Iran’s top diplomat noted, “This is a multilateral deal, approved by the Security Council, and it's not a bilateral deal to be withdrawn from or to be renegotiated."

Zarif also stressed that instead of going after countries which are supporting terrorism in the Middle East Trump continues to insist the JCPOA is a bad deal.

"These are the countries that are producing terrorists for you. And the United States is going after Iran. I don't know why," Zarif noted.

US travel ban ‘really repugnant’

Referring to Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers from the six Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Zarif said that "What the United States has done against the Iranian people over the past several months have been really repugnant."

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/19/528929/iran-zarif-us-sanctions-poisoning

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Iran vows retaliation against new US sanctions

Jul 18, 2017

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denounced the US move to impose new economic sanctions against Tehran over its ballistic missile program as “cheap and useless,” saying Tehran will respond with its own sanctions against the Americans.

In a statement on Tuesday, the ministry condemned the US move to add new names to its list of illegal sanctions against Iran and said the Islamic Republic "will in turn impose new sanctions against a number of other American persons and entities that have taken hostile steps against the Iranian people and other Muslim nations in the region."

It added that the name of these new American persons and entities would be announced soon.

The statement came after the administration of US President Donald Trump said it was imposing new economic sanctions against Iran over the Islamic Republic’s missile program hours after the White House admitted that Tehran was complying with a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries.

The US departments of treasury and state said Tuesday that they were targeting 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks.

Iranian lawmakers also on Tuesday passed a single-urgency bill, which designates US military forces and intelligence services as supporters of terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The bill, whose single urgency was passed on the Parliament floor, read, “In view of the overt support provided to terrorist groups by the US government and the country’s military and intelligence forces and repeated confessions by American officials to having created terrorist groups and offered them all-out support, from the standpoint of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the entirety of the United States’ military and intelligence forces are considered as supporters of terrorist groups in the region.”

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528919/Iran-US-Foreign-Ministry-Sanctions-missile

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Saudi Arabia disallows UN aid staff to fly to crisis-hit Yemen

Jul 18, 2017

Saudi Arabia, which is leading an atrocious military campaign against Yemen, has prevented a United Nations charter flight carrying aid agency staff from travelling to its impoverished and crisis-stricken southern neighbor, where millions of people are in need of humanitarian or protection assistance.

Aviation sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the flight was prevented from taking off from Djibouti to the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a, currently under the control of Houthi Ansarullah fighters, presumably over the presence of three journalists working for British state-run broadcaster BBC.

“The [Saudi-led] coalition claimed that the security of the journalists could not be guaranteed in Houthi-controlled areas, and advised the three journalists to travel on commercial flights,” Ahmed Ben Lassoued, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Yemen, said on Tuesday.

“It's unfortunate and partially explains why Yemen, which is one of the world's largest humanitarian crises, is not getting enough attention in international media,” he added.

Ben Lassoued noted, “The lack of coverage is also hindering humanitarians' effort to draw the attention of the international community and donors to the humanitarian catastrophe the country is experiencing.”

An unnamed source in the Saudi-led military contingent later claimed that the administration of Saudi-backed and resigned Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is the only party entitled to issue visas for foreigners, adding that visitors to Yemen must fly to the country’s southern port city of Aden, which is under the control of the former government.

“The United Nations is not concerned with transporting journalists, except those who are coming to cover its own activities,” the source commented, noting that the world agency must ensure the journalists safety and make sure they do not carry out any other activity.

The United Nations has frequently called on Saudi Arabia to immediately lift its “paralyzing” aerial and naval blockade on Yemen.

“The unwarranted restrictions on the flow of commercial and humanitarian goods and services into Yemen and impeding distribution within the country are paralyzing a nation that for far too long has been a victim of war,”  Idriss Jazairy, UN special rapporteur on the negative impacts of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said in a statement in mid-April.

The Saudi blockade is one of the main causes of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and has disrupted the import and export of food, fuel and medical supplies as well as humanitarian aid, he added.

The UN expert also deplored the dramatic situation in the port city of Hudaydah, a major lifeline for imports into Yemen, a country that is 80–90 percent dependent on imported stuff for its survival.

Earlier this month, the UN announced that more than 17 million people in Yemen are currently food-insecure, of whom 6.8 million are severely food-insecure and in need of immediate aid.

It underscored that Yemen conflict that has left 18.8 million people in need of assistance, including 10.3 million who require immediate assistance to save or sustain their lives.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528909/Saudi-Arabia-prevents-US-flight-aid-staff-Yemen-Sanaa

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Southeast Asia

 

Philippine Leader to Expedite Bill for Self-Rule in Muslim Region

July 19, 2017

Manila. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed on Monday (17/07) to fast-track new legislation for autonomy in the country's most volatile region, advancing a protracted process to end decades of rebellion and thwart rising Islamist militancy.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted to Duterte on Monday is the culmination of a rocky 20-year peace process between the government of the predominantly Christian Philippines and the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It aims to turn predominantly Muslim parts of the southern island of Mindanao into an autonomous region with its own executive, legislature and fiscal powers.

"May I say to you my brothers ... I will support and hasten this instrument as it goes to the legislature," Duterte said in a ceremony for the handover of the bill, drawing loud applause.

"There will be no objections of the provisions of all that is consistent with the constitution and aspirations of the Moro people."

Passage of the bill would be a major achievement for Duterte, who was a mayor in a Mindanao city for 22 years and has made peace deals with separatists and Marxist rebels a priority for his year-old government.

The bill's submission comes at a critical time for the Philippines, as fears grow that militants allied with Islamic State have exploited disillusionment over the failure of the previous Congress to pass the law, and have used it to recruit fighters and further a radical agenda.

Rebels inspired by IS have occupied the commercial heart of Marawi City, on Mindanao, through seven weeks of air strikes and battles with government troops that have killed more than 500 people and displaced 260,000, marking the country's biggest security crisis in years.

Dangerous Times

"We live in very dangerous times... we watch with utter disgust of the destruction that violent extremism has inflicted in the city of Marawi," MILF chairman, Al Haj Ebrahim Murad said.

"These misguided people have filled the vacuum created by our failure to enact the basic law and [they[ feed into the frustration of our people."

The law, details of which were not immediately available, calls for the creation of a self-administered territory within what the Philippines called Bangsamoro, meaning "Moro nation", referring to the southern Muslims that Spanish colonialists called "Moros."

The bill, agreed by a panel of representatives from government, the MILF and religious groups, prescribes an elected legislative assembly, a chief minister, a cabinet, with an agreement to share natural resource revenues, stacked largely in favor of the new Bangsamoro government.

In a recent interview with Reuters in Cotabato City, Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF's top peace negotiator, said the hope was for Congress to pass the law and a transition period to start in 2019, with elections in 2022 for an 80-seat assembly.

Iqbal said he feared the Marawi siege could complicate the passage of the law if there was a perception that the MILF and the radical Maute group fighting in Marawi were associated with each other because both hail from the same region.

"Right now we don't really know the thinking of the people," he said.

http://jakartaglobe.id/international/philippine-leader-expedite-bill-self-rule-muslim-region/

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Islamic groups protest Indonesian attempt to curb radicals

July 19, 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Conservative Islamic groups protested Tuesday in the capital of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, denouncing President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's attempt to ban radical organizations.

Demonstrators from an alliance of Islamic groups waved flags and held up banners calling the government tyrannical and repressive.

The crowd, which swelled to an estimated 2,000 people, was divided into separate rows for men and women and was mostly peaceful, said Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono.

A decree signed by Jokowi last week that amends a law regulating mass organizations will give the government almost unfettered power to ban groups it deems contrary to the country's constitution. Parliament has one year to reject or approve it.

It is likely that Hizbut Tahrir, a group that campaigns for Indonesia to adopt Shariah law, is among the targets of the decree, with the government announcing in May that it planned to ban the organization.

"Jokowi's anti-Islam decree is proof this is a dictatorial regime," a rally coordinator, Kholilulloh Al-Habsyi, told the crowd from a truck.

Rights groups have criticized the decree as a draconian and anti-democratic measure and say governments could easily abuse its power.

Jokowi's measure followed months of sectarian tensions in Jakarta that shook the government and undermined the country's reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam.

Hizbut Tahrir, along with groups such as the violent Islamic Defenders Front, was behind a series of massive protests in Jakarta, the capital, against the city's minority Christian governor, an ally of Jokowi who was accused of blaspheming Islam. He subsequently lost a bid for re-election to a Muslim candidate and was imprisoned for two years for blasphemy despite prosecutors downgrading the charge to a lesser offense.

Hizbut, a global organization that is already banned or circumscribed in some countries, is estimated to have tens of thousands of members in Indonesia.

Full report at:

http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/news/world/islamic-groups-protest-indonesian-attempt-curb-radicals-article-1.3334676

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Suhakam urges Putrajaya intervention in Kelantan’s public caning plan

July 19, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — The federal government has a duty to ensure that human rights are preserved in every state of the federation, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said when denouncing Kelantan's move to make canings public.

Calling such punishments inhuman and degrading, the commission said that caning should not be practised regardless of whether it is prescribed in the civil or Islamic courts.

“Caning in any setting violates the absolute prohibition of torture under international law and is absolutely prohibited by the international human rights treaties that Malaysia has acceded to,” it said in a statement.

It also said Kelantan was not entitled to invoke local sovereignty in its bid to disavow all responsibility to adhere to international treatises.

Suhakam then urged both Kelantan and Putrajaya to repeal any laws that violate global rights standards.

“The federal government must also ensure that human rights are respected throughout the country regardless of the internal governance of each state,” it concluded.

The Kelantan assembly earlier this month amended the state’s Shariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 to allow religious offenders in the PAS state to be caned publicly. Caning is a standard punishment in both civil and Shariah law in Malaysia.

Detractors criticised the move as regressive while supporters sought to defend it by saying it will be limited to Muslims.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/suhakam-urges-putrajaya-intervention-in-kelantans-public-caning-plan

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Najib: Govt to study Indian Muslims’ request to be recognised as Bumiputera

July 19, 2017

SERDANG, July 19 ― The government will study in depth the request from the Indian Muslim community to be recognised as Bumiputera, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last night.

He said, however, the matter of how it would be implemented required further research in terms of administration or gazettement.

“I heard the demand made by the Federation of Malaysian Indian Muslim Associations (PERMIM) president Dhajudeen Shahul Hameed, and I accept that Indian Muslims are like Bumiputeras,” he said at the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) Aidilfitri do with Malaysian Indian Muslim non-governmental organisations here, last night.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, accepted Dhajudeen's suggestion to set up an Indian Muslim community centre for members to reach out and discuss matters with the Prime Minister.

At the event, Dhajudeen made three demands, namely to gazette the community as Bumiputera, set up a Muslim Indian landmark in Kuala Lumpur or Putrajaya, and appoint a special officer in the Prime Minister's Department to manage the affairs of about one million Indian Muslims in the country.

In the meantime, Najib also announced that about 10,000 Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) members had agreed to give up to 20 per cent discount at all their business premises with immediate effect in response to the government's call to help reduce the cost of living.

He said members of the disabled community would receive a 20 per cent discount card, while for students it would be 10 per cent, and five per cent for Friends of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism.

The event, attended by more than 15,000 Indian Muslim NGO leaders and their families,  caught the attention of the Prime Minister, and he expressed his awe appreciation over the community's support for his leadership and the Barisan Nasional government.

“I can conclude, that the Indian Muslim community in our country are strong supporters of, and loyal to BN,” he said.

Najib also acknowledged the great contribution of the Indian Muslim community to the country, especially in terms of serving restaurant food, where he understood there were about 10,000 Malabari Indian Muslim and Pakistani restaurants nationwide.

He said although the new generation of Indian Muslims chose professions such as accounting, law, and engineering over more ‘traditional’ fields such as money changers and newspaper sellers, the community's support and commitment to the government remained unchanged.

“I want to bring Malaysia in line with the top 20 countries in the world in the future, so we must be ready to go past the 14th General Election. Today, we will celebrate Aidilfitri. Not too long from now, we will celebrate another ‘hari raya’ which requires the support of  Indian Muslims to make a new vision for Malaysia.

“We can do it, and we can bring change and transformation to the country. If you want the government to transform the country, a government which is inclusive, assisting all large and small communities, including Indian Muslims, will continue to be built by the BN government,” he said.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged his fondness for Indian Muslim food, including biryani, capati, tosai, and “nasi vanggey” in Ipoh, so much so, every time he visited the city, he would call up the restaurant manager to send him the dish in Ipoh or to Kuala Lumpur.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/najib-govt-to-study-indian-muslims-request-to-be-recognised-as-bumiputera

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Thai Judge Hands Down Verdicts in Major Trafficking Trial

July 19, 2017

Bangkok. A judge began handing down verdicts in Thailand's biggest human trafficking trial on Wednesday (19/07) before dozens of defendants, including a Thai army general, accused of smuggling and trafficking migrants on the Thai-Malaysia border.

The legal process in handing down verdicts is lengthy in Thailand and may take hours before the judge reveals the exact details of the verdicts to a packed Bangkok court.

The trafficking trial involves 103 defendants ranging from Myanmar nationals to Thai police officers and local politicians.

The trial began in 2015 after a Thai crackdown on trafficking gangs following the gruesome discovery of dozens of shallow graves near the Thai-Malaysia border which authorities said was part of a jungle camp where traffickers held migrants as hostages until relatives were able to pay for their release.

Many never made it out. Some of those who died are thought to have been Rohingya – a persecuted Muslim minority from Myanmar's troubled Rakhine State – although Thailand has yet to release a full report on the graves and the results of post-mortem forensic testing.

The trial has been marred by allegations of intimidation against witnesses, interpreters and police investigators.

Rights groups say trafficking networks were largely left intact by the 2015 crackdown and trial.

"We believe that the crackdown is only a disruption of a trafficking network but that network is still very much well in place," Amy Smith, an executive director of rights group Fortify Rights, told Reuters.

"There needs to be more prosecution against traffickers as well as more work on rehabilitation of trafficking victims," Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher on Thailand at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

Thailand's government denies that trafficking syndicates are still flourishing and has said it has largely eliminated human trafficking in the country.

Journalists were not allowed in the court room on Wednesday but proceedings were relayed on television screens provided by the court.

Thailand has historically been a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children who are often smuggled and trafficked from poorer, neighboring countries including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to work in Thailand or further afield in Malaysia, often as laborers and sex workers.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/international/thai-judge-hands-verdicts-major-trafficking-trial/

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China's Xi Pledges 'Unremitting' Efforts for Middle East Peace

July 19, 2017

Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on Tuesday (18/07) to make "unremitting" efforts towards promoting peace in the Middle East following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as China steps up its diplomatic engagement with the region.

Palestinian officials have urged China, which supports an independent Palestinian state, to do more in the Middle East peace process.

Chinese envoys occasionally visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories, though China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy despite its reliance on the region for oil.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Abbas in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Xi said the international community paid close attention to the Middle East peace process.

"As the Palestinian people's good friend, partner and brother, China hopes Palestine and Israel can achieve peace as soon as possible and live and work in peace. China will make unremitting efforts for this," Xi said, after receiving a Palestinian medal of honor from Abbas.

China has historically had a good relationship with the Palestinians.

The Middle East, however, is fraught with risk for China, which has little experience navigating the religious and political tensions that frequently rack the region.

Deputy Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Ming later said Xi reiterated support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, and also called for the security of both the Palestinians and Israelis to be protected.

It is important to advance a political settlement on the basis of the two state solution, Zhang added, paraphrasing Xi.

US President Donald Trump has renewed efforts to get Israeli-Palestinian talks going again, after they collapsed in 2014.

His Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, announced an Israeli-Palestinian water agreement last week but dodged questions on whether he was making headway on reviving peace talks.

Diplomats say that China is trying to play the role of "honest broker" in the Middle East, as it lacks the historical baggage of the Americans or the Europeans.

Xi told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March that peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians would be good for both parties and the region, and that it was favored by the international community.

Netanyahu's trip came just days after China hosted Saudi Arabia's King Salman and signed deals worth as much as $65 billion with Riyadh.

China also has close ties with Iran, whose nuclear program has seriously alarmed Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Full report at:

http://jakartaglobe.id/international/chinas-xi-pledges-unremitting-efforts-middle-east-peace/

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Arab World

 

‘Unjustified’ EU sanctions meant to cover up terrorist crimes: Syria

Jul 19, 2017

Damascus has blasted the European Union (EU) for imposing new sanctions against several Syrian nationals, including scientists, over an alleged gas attack, saying the bans merely serve the terrorists and help cover up their crimes.

On Monday, the European Council added eight Syrian scientists and eight top military officials to its blacklist, citing the individuals’ suspected role in the purported chemical attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province that killed some 80 people in April.

An official source at Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said on Tuesday that the figures targeted by the EU were performing their duties to push forward the development process and counterterrorism efforts in the country.

The fresh “unjustified” EU bans “came within the framework of the EU’s hysterical campaign against the Syrian people using unbelievable pretexts regarding [the] Khan Shaykhun incident, where terrorist groups targeted the innocent civilians with chemical weapons,” the source said.

The sanctions, which were enforced before the completion of the investigation into the alleged gas attack, indicate “the imprudence of the EU officials and their insistence on supporting terrorist groups and misleading the international public opinion,” he added.

The Foreign Ministry source also noted that the bans reflect that “the EU lacks moral and ethical standards while dealing with today’s crises, particularly in the universal war against terrorism.”

He emphasized that Syria does not possess any form of chemical weapons and that the Syrian state has never used such arms at any time or place and under any circumstances.

The new measure brought to 255 the total number of people placed under EU sanctions related to the Syria crisis. EU bans are also in place on 67 companies linked to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said the fresh EU sanctions on Syria showed Europe’s resolve “in dealing with those who are responsible for chemical weapons attacks.”

Washington has also placed restrictions on hundreds of employees and scientists at a Syrian government agency over their alleged involvement in developing chemical munitions.

Following the Khan Shaykhun incident on April 4, the Western states and their regional allies rushed to pin the blame on the Syrian government, without providing any evidence to support their accusations.

Syria, however, rejected using banned weapons during its anti-terrorism operations.

Damascus agreed to surrender its entire chemical arsenal to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a mark of transparency after it was blamed for a similar attack in 2013.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said the Syrian air force had targeted a militant arms depot in the area that is believed to have contained some chemicals.

Damascus and Moscow also called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the incident.

However, days into the incident, US warships in the eastern Mediterranean launched a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles against Shayrat Airbase in Syria’s Homs Province. Washington claimed that the airbase targeted in the missile raid was the origin of the Khan Shaykhun incident.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/19/528948/Syria-EU-Khan-Shaykhun

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Saudi Shoura condemns Israeli violations in occupied Palestine

19 July 2017

RIYADH: The Shoura Council has condemned Israeli authorities for the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying it sets a serious precedent and violates the rights of Muslims.

In a statement issued during its 47th ordinary session on Tuesday, the Shoura Council expressed grave concern over the extreme escalation and absurd measures which, it said, aim to strangle the already precarious conditions of the Palestinian people and continue Israeli aggression.

The Council stressed the need for Arab and Islamic governments and parliaments to work with the international community and peace-loving countries to put an end to Israel’s provocative practices.

During the same session, the Shoura Council approved a number of amendments on income tax related to foreign companies operating in the Kingdom in the areas of oil and finance.

The Council’s decision, which came following deliberations on a report presented by the Financial Committee on the income tax system, said the amendments are in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030, which aims to find alternative sources of income for the Kingdom, aside from oil revenue.

On another issue, the Shoura Council approved amendments to the system for protection against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and the rights and duties of those who are HIV-positive.

Council members also stressed the need to intensify media and cultural efforts to combat terrorism and to reflect the Kingdom’s efforts in this regard.

In their 46th ordinary session on Monday, the Shoura Council discussed a variety of topics.

The Council asked the Ministry of Health to provide facilities for the aged who may require long-term medical care, and to coordinate with all concerned parties to provide the required funds to apply a strategy of security and safety within its health facilities.

The Shoura called on the Ministry to intensify efforts to apply a national program for early tests of newborn babies in hospitals, and to improve performance indexes related to infant mortality rates and the mortality rate of mothers during childbirth.

The Council also stressed the need to coordinate with relevant bodies to secure the funds required for the operation of King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Tabuk.

On another issue, the Shoura Council requested that the Ministry of Energy and Industry work out a comprehensive plan for the promotion of local content in commodity and service procurement deals and for the localization of its companies’ workforce.

The Shoura also called on the Ministry to encourage and attract investment, and remove barriers to that investment, for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the area of mining, industry and gas, and to establish a unified window for the issuance and renewal of mining licenses.

The Shoura Council then called on King Fahd National Library (KFNL) to coordinate with other libraries, cultural centers and educational institutions in the Kingdom. It also urged KFNL to introduce services to assist people with special needs and to make all its facilities accessible to them.

Later, the Shoura members deliberated on the annual report of the General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection following a report presented by the Committee of Water and Agriculture on the Authority’s performance.

Members of the Council lashed out at the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), saying it “neglected the environment” and instead focused on “predicting the weather for the next five days.”

Some members called for its abolition, or suggested merging it with the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA). They said the PME failed to offer scientific explanations for marine animal deaths, did not monitor the deterioration of sea coral, and did not play a role in dealing with increasing emissions and waste from factories.

“This entity gained popularity among young people who subscribe to its social media accounts in order to be notified about weather-emergency holidays,” said member Muaddi Al-Madhab.

Member Khalifa Al-Duwsari said the PME is almost dysfunctional. “It implements the instructions of municipalities without studying the issues. There are companies that are destroying marine life within Saudi Arabia’s regional waters.”

Other members said the entity has taken no stand whatsoever against practices that damage the environment.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1131586/saudi-arabia

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Fresh US-led airstrikes kill several Syrian civilians in Dayr al-Zawr

Jul 18, 2017

Several civilians have lost their lives when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group carried out a number of aerial attacks in Syria's troubled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

Informed sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the airstrikes targeted Kashkieh village on Tuesday, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

Nearly a dozen civilians were killed on July 13, when US-led military aircraft targeted al-Diriyah neighborhood of the militant-held northern city of Raqqah. Seven of the victims were members of one family.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The Western military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.

The city of Raqqah, which lies on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, was overrun by Daesh terrorists in March 2013, and was proclaimed the center for most of the Takfiris’ administrative and control tasks the next year.

Syria has been fighting different foreign-sponsored militant and terrorist groups since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated last August that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then.

Bomber kills four in Kurdish-held northeast Syria

A so-called monitoring group says at least four people have lost their lives when a car bomb explosion ripped through a checkpoint at a Kurdish-controlled area in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said on Tuesday that blast hit a checkpoint manned by Kurdish Asayesh security forces in al-Manajir village, located 20 kilometers south of Ra's al-Ayn city on the border with Turkey, overnight and killed four people.

The Britain-based group said there were two Asayesh members among the victims, noting that the identities of the other two have yet to be found out.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s deadly attack, but such assaults bear the hallmarks of those carried out by members of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group. 

11 killed as militants clash with Kurdish militiamen

Separately, nearly a dozen foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants were killed when they engaged in clashes with militants from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of mostly Kurdish and Arab militia forces, in the northwestern Syrian province of Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528879/Bomb-attack-Syria-Hasakah-Asayeh-Kurdish-forces-killed-clashes-Takfiris-SDF-fighters-USled-strikes

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Suicide bomber kills four in Kurdish-held Syrian northeast

18 July 2017

A suicide car bomber killed four people at a checkpoint in a Kurdish-controlled area of northeastern Syria on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said the attack took place near the village of Tel Tamr, some 30 km from the Syrian-Turkish border.

Syrian state TV also reported the deaths of four people in a car bomb attack in the area, but said it had taken place in the nearby town of Ras al-Ayn.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/07/18/Suicide-bomber-kills-four-in-Kurdish-held-Syrian-northeast.html

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Tens of Terrorists Killed in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Eastern Hama

Jul 18, 2017

The army's artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at ISIL's movements along the oil pipeline Southeast of the town of Aqarib, the villages of Abu Hanaya, Arshouneh and al-Hardaneh, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.

In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out repeated combat sorties and targeted ISIL's gathering centers and movements in the villages of Hamadeh Omar, Abu Hanaya and Qanbar in Eastern Hama, leaving tens of terrorists dead or wounded and their military equipment destroyed.

Relevant reports said on Saturday that the army troops engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in Eastern Hama and took control of Koujan hills and farms South of the town of al-Sa'an.

The army men also drove ISIL out of the villages of al-Qatisheh and Zanoubeh East of the town of al-Saboureh.

The army units detonated an ammunition depot of ISIL in the village of Um Tweineh, killing 20 terrorists.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960427001269

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Arabs urge Qatar to accept 6 principles to combat extremism

July 19, 2017

UNITED NATIONS: Four Arab nations that cut ties with Qatar urged the tiny Gulf nation Tuesday to commit to six principles on combatting extremism and terrorism and negotiate a plan with specific measures to implement them — a step that could pave the way for an early resolution of the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain broke diplomatic relations with Qatar in early June largely over their allegations that it supports terrorist and extremist groups — a charge Qatar rejects. They initially made 13 demands, which Qatar also dismissed.

Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi told a briefing for a group of U.N. correspondents that the four nations are now committed to the six principles agreed to by their foreign ministers at a meeting in Cairo on July 5, and hope Qatar will support them as well.

The principles include commitments to combat extremism and terrorism, prevent financing and safe havens for such groups, and suspend all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.

Al-Mouallimi said the four-nation quartet thinks it “should be easy for the Qataris to accept” the six principles. He stressed that implementation and monitoring must be “essential components,” and “there will be no compromise when it comes to principles.”

But he said both sides can talk about details of “the tactics” and “the tools” to implement them — “and that’s where we can have discussion and compromise.”

The Saudi ambassador explained that the initial 13 points included some principles and some tools to achieve compliance.

Mixed in the 13 points were what Western nations might see as fair demands, such as cracking down on support for extremists and curbing ties with Iran, and tougher-to-swallow calls to shut down the Al-Jazeera television network — one of Qatar’s best-known brands — and kick out troops from NATO member Turkey, which has a base in Qatar.

Al-Mouallimi stressed that stopping incitement to violence is essential, but he said closing Al-Jazeera might not be necessary.

“If the only way to achieve that is by closing down Al-Jazeera, fine,” he said. “If we can achieve that without closing down Al-Jazeera, that’s also fine. The important thing is the objective and the principle involved.”

UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy said all the countries involved have strong relations with the United States “and we believe that the Americans have a very constructive and a very important role to play in hopefully creating a peaceful resolution to this current crisis.”

President Donald Trump has sided strongly with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the dispute, publicly backing their contention that Qatar is a supporter of Islamic militant groups and a destabilizing force in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently concluded several days of shuttle diplomacy and sealed a deal to intensify Qatar’s counterterrorism efforts. The memorandum of understanding signed by the U.S. and Qatar lays out steps Qatar can take to bolster its fight against terrorism and address shortfalls in policing terrorism funding.

Al Hashimy called the MOU “an excellent step.”

“We’d like to see more of that,” she said. “We’d like to see stronger measures taken and stronger commitment made to address that.”

Al Hashimy said “at this stage the ball is in Qatar’s court.”

“We’re looking for a serious change in behavior, serious measures,” she said. “No more talk.”

Qatar has further escalated the situation by encouraging Turkey’s military presence, Al Hashimy said.

“We do not want to see a military escalation of any kind,” she said. “We hope to be able to resolve this internally and among ourselves with the assistance of strong mediation, whether it’s from the U.S. or the Kuwaitis.”

Al-Mouallimi stressed that Qatar’s future lies with its neighbors not with “faraway places,” a clear reference to Turkey and Iran which are supporting Doha.

“Our Turkish brothers need to recognize that the era of covert and to some extent unwanted intervention in the Arab world has long gone,” he said. “If Turkey wants to play a constructive role they are welcome to do so, but trying to find the role through military bases or military intervention would not be productive, and would not fare well for Turkey’s reputation in the Arab world.”

Diplomats from the four countries who attended the briefing said there have been discussions about possible next steps.

UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh said that “if Qatar is unwilling to accept core principles around what defines terrorism or extremism in our region, it will be very difficult” for it to remain in the Gulf Cooperation Council with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

“So it may be a parting of ways for a little while in order to work things out,” she said.

Al-Mouallimi said the quartet briefed the 10 elected Security Council members Tuesday and hopes to meet the permanent members as well.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Jul-2017/arabs-urge-qatar-to-accept-6-principles-to-combat-extremism

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Egypt police trap and kill top militants

July 19, 2017

CAIRO - Egyptian police have killed two leaders of the Hasam militia in a shootout after intercepting them as they relocated to a new hideout on Cairo’s outskirts, the government said Tuesday. The interior ministry said the two militants were “prominent leaders” of the Hasam group - an extremist movement the government accuses of having links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The militia ambushed a police convoy and killed three officers in May, in an attack the group claimed at the time and which the government has since also blamed on them.

http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Jul-2017/egypt-police-trap-and-kill-top-militants

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Russian Forces Deploy to Southern Syria to Monitor Ceasefire

Jul 18, 2017

The source reported that the Russian military has deployed to Dara’a province to begin their indefinite operation to monitor the ceasefire in Southern Syria.

According to the military source, the Russian military will be specifically headquartered in the town of Izra’a, as they serve as the primary force observing truce in de-escalation zones in the Southern part of Syria.

A ceasefire came into force in Southwest Syria -- in the provinces of Dara'a, Sweida and Quneitra in the Southwest, along the Jordanian border -- in July 9 after a deal was brokered by the US and Russia on the sidelines of G-20 summit in the German city of Hamburg.

Syrian government forces had announced a halt to combat operations in the three provinces. According to the military, the move is aimed at supporting the peace process and national reconciliation in Syria.

The ceasefire was agreed to by experts from Russia, the US and Jordan, who negotiated a memorandum on the creation of a de-escalation zone in Southwestern Syria at talks in Jordan’s capital, Amman.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960427001224

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Hariri: Lebanon’s army to carry out operation near Syrian border

18 July 2017

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Tuesday the army would carry out an operation in an area of the border with Syria that has been a base of operations for militants including extremist groups.

Speaking in parliament, Hariri described the operation planned for the Juroud Arsal area as carefully studied, the National News Agency reported. The government had given the army the “freedom” to act, he added.

Juroud Arsal, a barren area in the mountains between Syria and Lebanon, has been a base of operations for insurgents fighting in the Syrian civil war, including militants from ISIS and the group formerly known as the Nusra Front.

Speculation has been building that the powerful Lebanese militia Hezbollah and the Syrian military are set to mount a major operation against the insurgents on the Syrian side of the frontier.

Earlier this month, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said time was running out for Syrian militants along the border near Arsal to reach deals with Syrian authorities, saying it was “high time to end the threat of militant groups in Arsal”.

Hariri however said, “There is no coordination between the Lebanese and Syrian armies”.

Protests surrounding Syrian refugees have been taking place in the capital, after Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk banned any demonstrations on Sunday, citing the need “to preserve security and civic peace.”

Lebanese President General Michel Aoun justified his country’s work on returning the displaced, due to the country’s inability to bear more burdens, warning at the same time of the spread of hatred and incitement between the Lebanese and Syrian people.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/07/18/Hariri-Army-to-carry-out-operation-at-Syrian-border.html

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Iraq to question trade minister over graft allegations

Jul 18, 2017

Iraq’s acting Trade Minister Salman al-Jumaili faces a questioning in the parliament over allegations of graft in his ministry, sources in the parliament have said.

Parliament member Alia Nassif said on Tuesday that Jumaili will attend a parliament session on August 3 to clarify ambiguities surrounding import deals for contaminated rice and licences for new mills among other issues.

The trade ministry did not comment on the issue. The ministry, which purchases strategic commodities, had previously faced graft accusations. Prosecutors issued a warrant for former trade minister Milas Mohammed Abdul Kareem after a probe suggested he and his brother had been involved in receiving bribes, illegal benefits and the misuse of his position.

Iraq, a country divided along the ethnic and sectarian lines, suffers from powerful patronage networks and chronic corruption in the government. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has repeatedly promised to tackle the issue, although his efforts have been overshadowed by a massive war against militants and political disputes within the system

The allegations against the trade ministry come as it has been struggling to import grains for its food subsidy program. The ministry has introduced new payment and quality terms, effectively making traders disinterested in the ministry’s international tenders. In a bid to guarantee food security, the Iraqi government has also allowed the ministry to make direct purchases of wheat and rice, showing how it is struggling to encourage traders to contribute to the tender process.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528888/Iraq-trade-ministry-inquiry

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Hezbollah-allied Syrian regime steps up bombing of militants in Lebanon

19 July 2017

BEIRUT: Syrian regime warplanes have stepped up bombing raids on militant targets in the Arsal region of Lebanon, local residents told Arab News.

It is believed that Syrian militants, belonging to Daesh and the group formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front, have been hiding in the region, which is close to the Syrian border, for 10 consecutive days.

The local residents added that the raids were accompanied by Syrian army artillery shelling.

“These raids aim to put pressure on the militants to accept a settlement urging them to leave the region under the terms of Hezbollah and the Syrian regime,” a Lebanese security source told Arab News.

“A 48-hour deadline ending on Thursday was given to the leader of the Al-Nusra Front, Abu Malek Al-Talli, to accept the terms set by Hezbollah, which stipulate that the Front and its 600 militants will have to move to Qalamoun (in Syria) with light weapons and not heavy ones.”

The same source pointed out that “the leader of the Front wants the heavy weapons to be taken as well to Qalamoun; however, Hezbollah does not want to grant them an honorable withdrawal.”

“If the leader of the Al-Nusra Front does not back down, a battle will be erupting in Jaroud Arsal, between Hezbollah, Nusra and then Daesh ... Hezbollah did not negotiate with Daesh militants, whose number does not exceed 600.”

A security source reported that “the Lebanese army will not fight the battle of Jaroud Arsal as this is not the army’s battle; however, it will be present on the borders and will follow the ongoing military operations. It will take the necessary measures in case of developments in the areas of its control.”

In a legislative session held in Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri spoke regarding the battle of Jaroud Arsal and the role of the Lebanese army.

“The government is responsible for the sovereignty of Lebanon. There is no coordination between our army and the Syrian army or other groups,” he said.

Hariri stressed that the army “will be carrying out a measured operation in Jaroud Arsal and the government will be giving the Lebanese army the full freedom to deal with this matter.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1131606/middle-east

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India

 

Two Years On, Hindu-Muslim Marriage Ends In Murder

By Aditi Vatsa

July 19, 2017

Naseem Khan and Pinki Kumari got married in the summer of 2015, two years after communal riots in their district of Muzaffarnagar killed at least 50 people. Scared for their lives, the couple relocated to Visakhapatnam, where their son, Abdullah, was born on July 17 last year. Last month, they returned to their village to celebrate Eid.

On Monday afternoon, Naseem, 22, was returning home with a birthday cake for his son when he was attacked, allegedly by his in-laws. He was beaten up with sticks, and then shot twice — in the stomach and forehead. He died at 1:15 pm, minutes after he was shot.

Naseem and Pinki used to be neighbours. “We studied in the same school. A few years ago, my parents came to know about us.

They locked me in the house and my brother beat me up. They wanted me to marry someone else,” said Pinki.

In the summer of 2015, Pinki, then 18 years old, fled from her parent’s house and went to Visakhapatnam, where Naseem was earning a living by selling clothes. The couple returned to Muzaffarnagar and got married.

“It’s been barely two years since they got married. It was a court marriage. There were no ceremonies. Soon after they got married, they returned to Visakhapatnam,” said Naseem’s cousin, Nazar Mohammad. Pinki converted to Islam and changed her name to Ayesha.

For the last two years, they did not return home. “Initially, my parents and brothers used to threaten my in-laws. They would send messages through other villagers. We celebrated all the festivals away from home,” said Pinki.

But as the months passed, the threats stopped. So, this year, the couple decided to celebrate Eid in their village. “We arrived here a day before Eid, on June 25. We were supposed to return to Visakhapatnam within a few days. But we decided to celebrate our son’s first birthday here, so we extended our stay. We would have left for Visakhapatnam today,” said Pinki.

Nazar Mohammad claimed that he was with Naseem at the time of the attack. “Naseem and his 14-year-old brother were on his motorcycle. I was on a motorcycle behind them. We had gone to make arrangements for his son’s birthday, and Naseem had got a cake,” he said.

“At around 1:10 pm, a man who was hiding in the sugarcane fields attacked Naseem with a stick… Three others rushed to the road and threw a cycle to stop Naseem’s motorcycle. They beat him up first. When a crowd started gathering, they fired at least three-four shots at him. They were coming towards us, but when they saw that people had gathered, they fled from the spot,” he claimed.

Police said an FIR, under IPC sections relating to murder and rioting — 302, 147, 148, 159 and 506 — against Pinki’s father Rajesh, brother Pradeep, cousin Sonu, and another relative Nitu has been registered.

“The FIR has been registered on the basis of the complaint filed by Naseem’s cousin against four persons. The accused are absconding but we are conducting raids and they will be nabbed soon. A post-mortem has been conducted and the body has been returned to the family,” said Muzaffarnagar SP Ajay Kumar Sahdev.

About 2 km from Naseem’s house in Bhokarhedi’s Pathan colony, his in-laws’ new house has been locked since Monday. Pinki claimed she spoke to her brother on Monday afternoon, after she heard of her husband’s death.

“I asked him why he had killed my husband. It was not my husband’s fault. I had run away from my parent’s house. I asked him how could he not think of my one-year-old son while killing my husband. My brother said he would kill me and my son… I want them behind bars. How can the police not find them? They must be at some relative’s house or hiding in the fields,” she said.

Residents of Bhokarhedi area of Muzaffarnagar district said such incidents have rarely taken place. Bhopa police station, where the FIR was registered, has a temple on its right and a mosque on its left. “Even during the Muzaffarnagar riots, this area was not affected by communal tension,” said Atiq Khan, a resident.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/muzaffarnagar-communal-riots-2-years-on-hindu-muslim-marriage-ends-in-murder-4757187/

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Zakir Naik’s passport revoked, he’s now a stateless person

Jul 19, 2017

NEW DELHI: The government has revoked the passport of fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik following a recommendation from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has already booked him under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his terror links.

The revocation of the passport by the regional passport office in Mumbai makes Zakir Naik a stateless person. TOI had first reported that his passport would be revoked.

NIA had probed Naik's speeches that allegedly incited youth to commit terror acts and moved for revocation of his passport after he failed to respond to its multiple notices asking him to join the investigation.

Naik has been reportedly travelling between Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries after leaving India last year but the revocation of his passport will now restrict his movements, said officials. The assistant passport officer (policy) at RPO Mumbai wrote to Naik on July 3, directing that he meet him on any working day between 10am and 12.30pm within 10 days, along with his passport dated January 20, 2016. "Failure to submit the passport will force us to initiate necessary action under the Passport Act, 1967 against you," he had warned.

NIA had written to the RPO (Mumbai) on June 29 seeking revocation of Naik's passport on the ground that he was "not cooperating with them in the investigation pending against him". Citing its June 23 communication to the home ministry, NIA said Zakir Naik had thrice been issued notices under Section 160 of CrPC on February 28, March 15 and March 31 but was yet to join the proceedings against him. It added that a non-bailable warrant had been issued against him on April 21.

Naik left India on May 13 last year. After he failed to join the probe, NIA had also approached Interpol seeking a red corner notice against him.

The National Investigation Agency has gathered evidence of his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, and Peace TV being used to allegedly promote hatred between different religious groups. The government has already banned his NGO and taken his TV channel off air.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/zakir-naiks-passport-revoked-hes-now-a-stateless-person/articleshow/59657352.cms

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Shiv Sena Accuses Pakistan of Fuelling Hindu-Muslim Riots; Saamana Criticises Modi-Government over Violence in Name of Gau Raksha

July 19, 2017

Mumbai, July 19: Shiv Sena accused Pakistan of stoking Hindu-Muslim riots and slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre over the increasing number of cases of violence ‘in the name of cow vigilantism or Gau Raksha.’ Shiv Sena, in an article published in Saamana, the party’s mouthpiece, likened cow vigilantism to a “business,” which isn’t seeming to shut shop even after Prime Minister Modi’s constant commands and requests. Shiv Sena further said Pakistan wants the Hindus and Muslims to fight over such miniscule issues and get the nation divided over religion.

Saamana on Wednesday drew attention towards the recent Amarnath terror attack and asked where the “so-called gou rakshaks” were, when some innocent people were killed while on their pilgrimage. “The driver, who saved many of these pilgrims, was himself a Muslim,” the mouthpiece said. The Shiv Sena further expressed surprise over how some BJP-run states had no ban on the sale of beef, while others had.

Full report at:

http://www.india.com/news/india/shiv-sena-accuses-pakistan-of-fuelling-hindu-muslim-riots-saamana-criticises-modi-government-over-violence-in-name-of-gau-raksha-2331668/

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Irfan Pathan brutally attacked on social media for posting photo of wife 'hurting' Islamic sentiments

Jul, 18 2017

If there was anything like intolerance, it was starkly evident again in the country, as social media trolls targeted Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan for posting a photo of his wife on Facebook and Instagram, which apparently defiled the traditions of Islam. Irfan uploaded the selfie of his wife, Safa Baig, and himself on social media with the caption, “This girl is trouble ?? #love #wifey”. The India all-rounder had married Safa - a model from Jeddah - in a low-key ceremony in February last year and the couple have a child.

Safa is seen to be covering her face with her hands in the photo while peeping out from behind her fingers adorned with nail-polish. It was a plain and simple instance of a couple posting a photo taken together. Hundreds and thousands of couples must be doing it everyday, nor was the photo 'obscene'. It was perfectly normal, you would think. But think again, as religious fanatics thought otherwise.

No sooner than Irfan had posted the photo, he was buffeted with brutal verbal attacks, and rebuked for "letting her show her arms and part of face". Irfan was castigated for not being a "good Muslim" and a comment read, "WTF Tell her to cover her arms. Being a muslim and being a Pathan its your duty to do so." He was also asked to pull down the photo from social media.

If the readers remember, Irfan's fellow India pacer and fellow Muslim Mohammed Shami had faced the flak of irate, fanatic social media users when he had posted a photo of his wife in a sleveless dress and without the hijab. He was lambasted for apparently "forgetting his religion". Interestingly, Shami was offered the example of the Pathan brothers (Irfan and Yusuf) on best to follow the 'tenets' of his religion, by keeping the wife under the veil.

Shami got support from many quarters too, most notably from former India batsman Mohammad Kaif, who said the comments againsty Shami were "really, really shameful" and hoped that sense prevailed as there were much bigger issues in the country.

Shami hit back at the trolls, by posting a photo of his wife in the same dress, cradling their daughter, with the caption... "Ye dono meri zindage or life partner hai me acha trha janta hu kiya karna hai kiya nahi. hame apne andar dekhna chahiye ham kitne acche hai." (These two [referring to wife and daughter] are my life and my life partner. I very well know what I am supposed to do and what not. We should introspect on how we are as human beings.)

Full report at:

http://www.firstpost.com/sports/irfan-pathan-brutally-attacked-on-social-media-for-posting-photo-of-wife-hurting-islamic-sentiments-3827715.html

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India-Pak peace will triumph: Mehbooba Mufti

July 19, 2017

J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday hoped that “peace and friendship between India and Pakistan would finally triumph acrimony and confrontation” as she visited Kaman Post along the LoC amid a spurt in ceasefire violations. She hoped that the ambit of cross-LoC trade and travel will be expanded for more exchange of people and goods. She described poverty, unemployment and corruption as the biggest enemies of the people of the two countries and suggested pooling of resources to fight them.

“It is a fact that borders cannot be redrawn but they can certainly be made irrelevant with frequent exchange of people, students, artistes and other groups of people,” said Mufti, who visited the post as part of her day-long visit to Baramulla district. She said people of J&K are worst sufferers of tensions along the LoC. “The only way to prevent the loss of lives and destruction of properties, and ensure peace along the borders is to revive the spirit of the 2003 ceasefire, which had brought new hope of peace and prosperity in the lives of the people along the borders from Kathua to Kargil,” she said.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-pak-peace-will-triumph-mehbooba-mufti-4757131/

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Uttar Pradesh ATS obtains 3-day transit remand of ‘Lashkar operative’

July 19, 2017

The state Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Tuesday obtained a three-day transit remand of alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative Mohammad Saleem Khan from a local court in Mumbai.

Saleem was initially detained soon after he landed at the Mumbai airport from UAE on Sunday night. He was subsequently arrested after questioning. Saleem is accused of providing money to alleged trained ISI agent Aftab Ali, who was arrested from Faizabad district in May. Aftab is lodged in Lucknow jail.

Rajasthan ATS Arrest Suspected ISIS Operator In Chennai

SP, ATS, Umesh Kumar Srivastav said ATS team would bring Saleem to Lucknow and then he would be produced before a local court. The SP added that during questioning Saleem said after his visa got expired in 2005, he went into hiding. But, police in Al Ain city in UAE recently caught him and sent him to jail. He remained in jail for a month and later on July 16, he was deported to India by Al Ain Police, the SP said.

Saleem’s name had earlier come to light during questioning of Shareef and Mohammad Kausar, who are lodged in jail and facing trial in Rampur CRPF camp attack case, which occurred on December 31, 2007. Shareef and Kausar had reportedly revealed that Saleem too was part of the LeT training camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan in 2007 where the duo met him. Central intelligence agencies had got a look-out notice issued after Saleem’s name came to light as being a LeT operative.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh-ats-obtains-3-day-transit-remand-of-lashkar-operative-4757019/

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Pakistan

 

‘Father of Taliban’ Sami-Ul-Haq Offers Conditional Support to Afghan Peace Process

Jul 19 2017

The leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sami (JUI-S) Maulana Sami-ul-Haq has offered a conditional support for the peace process in Afghanistan.

According to a statement released by Maula Sami’s office, the leader of the party has said he is prepared to support the Afghan peace process but the foreign forces must leave the country first.

He has reportedly made the remarks during a meeting with the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan.

The statement further added that the Afghan ambassador met with Maulana Sami to play his part in encouraging the Afghan Taliban to peace talks, considering his influential role.

In the meantime, Maulana Sami has called on the government of Pakistan to reconsider its policies in Afghanistan, claiming that India is taking advantage from the ongoing situation in the region.

Maulana Sami is the founder of Haqqani Madrasa in Pakistan from where several key Taliban leaders have graduated and it is believed that he is also having a key influence on the Afghan insurgents, considering the close relations he had with the Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The Afghan officials are saying that Pakistani could play a key role in the reconciliation process and ending the violence in Afghanistan, insisting that the leadership councils of both the Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network are based inside the Pakistani soil where they have freedom of action and safe havens.

http://www.khaama.com/father-of-taliban-sami-ul-haq-offers-conditional-support-to-afghan-peace-process-03173

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Anti-Pakistan protests erupt in Sindh

Jul 18, 2017

KARACHI: Hundreds of activists of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM), a banned Sindhi organisation in Pakistan, recently participated in a march in Hyderabad to demand independence for Sindh province and the release of Sindhi political activists abducted by the Pakistani army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) wing.

The massive rally commenced from Sindh University (Old Campus) and ended at the District Press Club, Hyderabad.

Protestors carried banners and placards that demanded total independence for Sindh and urged the United Nations, international community and human rights organisations to take immediate notice of what they called Pakistani occupation of the province, and acts of Fascism, state torture, atrocities, besides exploitation of the region's rich natural resources.

Chanting slogans against Pakistani occupation, exploitation and brutality enthusiastically, the protesters questioned the authorities over enforced disappearances and killings of Sindhi freedom activists.

JSMM central coordination committee leader Asif Juno addressed the participants at the Hyderbad Press Club even as contingents of police and Pakistan Rangers tried to stop the march by unleashing a heavy baton charge and firing of teargas shells. More than 100 JSMM activists were arrested.

Exiled JSMM Chairman Shafi Burfat condemned the use of force and torture against the activists.

He said "Sindh has remained an independent country for ages. It was an independent country since the year 1843 when British imperialism invaded and subjugated it and gifted it to its loyal Punjabi mercenaries in 1947 to keep a hold of Indian Ocean waters. The independence movement of Sindh has been struggling for the restoration of its historic nationally independent identity. Today, Sindh is under theocratic fascist Punjabi occupation in Pakistan in the name of Islam. The Sindhi independence movement is fighting its case on diplomatic and international fronts effectively and the sacrifices, painstaking struggle and voice is gaining international acknowledgement for the historic, ideological and practical perspectives of the 'Sindh Case' in front of the international community and the entire civilised world today."

"And, that's why Pakistani theocratic, fascist military establishment, army, its savage agency ISI and Rangers (paramilitary forces) have imposed a ban on the JSMM and are practising ruthless barbaric torture against Sindhi political activists by abducting, enforced disappearing, torturing and killing them," he added.

The JSMM Chairman condemned what he called the state torture of protesters, describing it as "an open violation of the right to freedom of expression and speech".

He appealed to the international community to take immediate notice of the army instigated action against what he described as Sindhi political activists.

He said, "Sindhi political activists are being hunted, persecuted, abducted, enforced disappeared and killed, and even if someone raises his or her voice to appeal to the international community to take action against these Pakistani atrocities, he or she too is tortured, arrested, abducted, enforced disappeared and then killed."

He added, "The state is rapidly depoliticising Sindhi society, banning secular political organisations, right to freedom of speech and expression; imprisoning, abducting, torturing, enforced disappearing and killing the secular political activists and sponsoring a wide web of theocratic extremist Jihadi madrassahs (Islamic Religious Schools) throughout Sindh to radicalise secular Sindhi society. Tens of thousands of JSMM and JSQM activists have been abducted and enforced disappeared by the Pakistani Rangers, Army and the ISI."

He appealed to the UNO, USA, Germany, UK, France, India and the entire international community to "take immediate notice of Pakistani atrocities and support the independence of Sindh."

"Pakistan is the epicentre of Islamic terrorism, a nuclear proliferator, a graveyard of UN's Charter of Human Rights, theocratic Fascism, murderer of historic nations chained in its forced federation, and if the world wants attainment of global peace and annihilation of Islamic terrorism it must have to stop Pakistan and disintegrate it." he added.

Last month, the World Sindhi Congress (WSC) passed an important resolution in which it has called upon Pakistan to end all acts of exploitation against the indigenous Sindhi and other minorities.

Presenting a resolution on the abysmal human rights situation in Sindh and Balochistan before the media, World Sindhi Congress Representative Gul Sanai highlighted the atrocities and discrepancies being faced by Sindhi Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/anti-pakistan-protests-erupt-in-sindh/articleshow/59647150.cms

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Pakistani court lifts ban on airing of Indian TV shows

Jul 18, 2017

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday struck down a ban imposed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on the airing of Indian TV shows in the country and said the federal government had no objections to Indian TV programmes being aired.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said Indian content with objectionable or anti-Pakistan content could be censored but there was no need for a complete ban, reports nation.com.pk.

"The world has become a global village," Justice Shah observed.

The petition challenging the Pemra ban contended that imposing a ban was beyond the powers of the regulatory body and the Pakistani constitution.

According to nation.com.pk, the petitioner also claimed that the government was involved in "selective patriotism" because even though Indian movies were allowed to be screened all over the country, they could not be shown on television.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tv/news/hindi/pakistani-court-lifts-ban-on-airing-of-indian-tv-shows/articleshow/59655599.cms

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4 Hazaras shot dead near Mastung as gunmen open fire on vehicle

Syed Ali Shah

July 19, 2017

At least four people belonging to the ethnic Hazara Shia community were shot dead when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle near Balochistan's Mastung area on Wednesday, police sources said.

A woman is among the slain victims. According to police sources, the incident was an act of targeted killing.

The assailants escaped unhurt after carrying out the attack. Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) personnel reached the site and started an investigation into the incident.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti strongly condemned the incident and termed it "against the social and tribal norms of Balochistan".

Balochistan has been experiencing incidents of violence and targeted killings since more than a decade. More than 1,400 incidents targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the province during the past 15 years.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1346285/4-hazaras-shot-dead-near-mastung-as-gunmen-open-fire-on-vehicle

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Lawmakers question Raheel Sharif's role in Saudi military alliance

Nadir Guramani

July 18, 2017

Senators on Tuesday raised questions over the role of former army chief Raheel Sharif in the Saudi military alliance after they were told that the coalition has yet to take formal shape.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, speaking on the matter, had told the Senate that the ToRs governing the operations of the Islamic military alliance had not been finalised as yet.

"There must be a meeting between member nations in order for the ToRs to be finalised, which has not been possible," he said while assuring that parliament would be briefed regarding the ToRs as soon as they took shape.

However, lawmakers responded to his statement by questioning why the former army chief had been sent to Saudi Arabia if the ToRs were still unclear, with Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani questioning why Sharif was in Saudi Arabia if he was not yet leading any army.

Rabbani further asked how the government had deemed it okay to send a former army chief — who has knowledge of the country's nuclear secrets — to a sensitive area without even knowing what he would be doing there.

"What if the ToRs are not in the interest of Pakistan's national security? What will you do then? You have already sent Raheel Sharif to Saudi Arabia," he said.

Senator Farhatullah Babar asked why Raheel Sharif had announced 10 months prior to his retirement that he would not be looking for an extension in his tenure as army chief.

"What was the purpose of making the announcement so far in advance," he asked, "particularly if no offers had been made to him at that point?"

Babar asked whether Sharif wished to signal his availability post-retirement to Saudi Arabia and whether the announcement was made for the benefit of the Saudi leadership.

The senator called for an investigation into the matter.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1346100/lawmakers-question-raheel-sharifs-role-in-saudi-military-alliance

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Qatar seeks Pak role to defuse Saudi tension

July 19, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Qatar on Tuesday urged Pakistan to play a role as the sole Muslim-majority nuclear power to defuse tension between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, officials said.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here, Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani briefed Pakistani leader on the current situation in the Gulf.

PM Sharif told the visiting dignitary that Pakistan was concerned over the tension between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and would play its role for a peaceful solution of the impasse.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister had arrived in Islamabad earlier in the day on a short trip seeking Pakistan’s support to end the regional tension. Al-Thani met the PM and Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to discuss the latest situation.

The appointment of former army chief Raheel Sharif as the head of the Saudi-led military alliance was also discussed, a government official said. He added the Qatri FM was told that Raheel Sharif’s job did not mean targeting any Muslim country.

Recently, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew to Riyadh and told Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz that Pakistan was committed to the Kingdom’s territorial integrity and safety of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah.

Sharif’s visit was a bid to defuse diplomatic tension in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting terror networks. Qatar denied the allegations and appealed for talks.

The prime minister, during his meeting with the Saudi King, had hoped that the current impasse in the Gulf will be resolved soon in the best interest of the Muslim nations.

Last month, Pakistan denied it had not deployed troops in Qatar.

Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said the reports in this regard “appear to be part of a malicious campaign aimed at creating misunderstanding between Pakistan and brotherly Muslim-[majority] countries in the Gulf.”

Earlier reports said that Pakistan had decided to send military contingent to Qatar following Turkey who sent troops to the state.

There were claims that Pakistan could send up to 20,000 soldiers to Qatar.

An official statement issued after Sharif’s meeting with Al-Thanim, said the PM appreciated the efforts of Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabahin to find a solution to current crisis in the Gulf region.

The prime minister appreciated the sagacity and wisdom of Emir of Kuwait, said the statement.

Nawaz Sharif stressed that Pakistan maintained close, friendly and cooperative relations with all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries and “is concerned at the recent crisis in Middle East.”

The premier said that the people and Government of Pakistan wished to see a diplomatic solution of the problem between the Muslim-majority countries.

“The foreign minister of Qatar expressed his gratitude to the prime minister for the warm reception and reiterated Qatar’s desire to further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries,” the statement added.

Al-Thani also briefed the prime minister on Qatar’s response to the demands of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt and on the current status of the mediation efforts Emir of Kuwait, it said.

Although the Qatari minister’s day-long visit was aimed at discussing the Qatar-Saudi tension, there were rumours that the Panama Papers case against the PM and his family could also be touched - keeping in view Sharif’s personal ties with the royal family of Qatar.

Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Al-Thani was named by Sharif as a business partner but a joint investigation team – which submitted its report on the Panama Papers case to the Supreme Court this month – could not interrogate the Qatari royal due to his unavailability.

The JIT found “glaring disparities” between the Sharif family’s known sources of income and their actual wealth.

Immediately after the submission of the JIT report, the opposition parties called for PM’s resignation.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the Panama Papers case.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Jul-2017/qatar-seeks-pak-role-to-defuse-saudi-tension

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Pakistan desires diplomatic solution to Gulf crisis: PM

19-Jul-17

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that the people and government of Pakistan wished to see a diplomatic solution of the problems between brotherly Islamic countries in the Gulf.

He was talking to Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani who called on him at the PM House.

According to a statement issued from the PM House, the prime minister noted the brotherly relations between Pakistan and the State of Qatar and stressed that Pakistan maintained close, friendly and cooperative relations with all member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed briefed the prime minister on Qatar’s response to the demands of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt and on the current status of the mediation efforts of Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait.

The prime minister appreciated the sagacity and wisdom of the Emir of Kuwait and said that Pakistan supported his sincere efforts in finding a solution to the current crisis in the Gulf region.

The foreign minister of Qatar expressed his gratitude to the prime minister for the warm reception and reiterated Qatar’s desire to further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

Fazlur Rehman calls on PM: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Ameer Maulana Fazlur Rehman called on Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the PM House on Tuesday.

According to a press release issued from the PM House, development projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and political matters came under discussion at the meeting.

The prime minister also consulted Maulana Fazlur Rehman on the ongoing Panama Papers case. The JUI-F chief is among few political figures who have strongly opposed the opposition’s demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Sharif and called the Panama Papers leaks an international conspiracy against China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/19-Jul-17/pakistan-desires-diplomatic-solution-to-gulf-crisis-pm

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Gen Raheel to adopt same policy as parliament: Sartaj

July 19, 2017

ISLAMABAD -  Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz informed the Senate on Tuesday that the Terms of Reference (ToRs) about the proposed Islamic military alliance’s operations had not been finalised as yet.

"There must be a meeting between the member nations in order to finlize the ToRs, which has not been possible," he said while assuring that the Upper House that the parliament would be briefed regarding the ToRs as soon as they were finalised.

He said the ToRs will be finalized through a consultative mechanism of the member countries at the defence ministers level.

He said the recently retired Chief of Army Staff, Gen Raheel Sharif, who is heading the alliance, is presently performing advisory role and not heading any troops. Sartaj said Raheel Sharif will implement the same policy as constituted by the Pakistan’s parliament.

Taking part in the discussion, the members said that Pakistan will not get dictation from any country in the matters of its internal security. They said that all possible steps should be taken to ensure peace and security in the country. They said that their foreign policy should be based on having good relations with all the countries particularly the Islamic nations.

However, inquisitive backer of the motion, moved to seek the updated position of the proposed military alliance, questioned as to why the former army chief had been sent to Saudi Arabia if the ToRs were still undecided.

The most pinching was the questions raised by Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani asking why Gen Sharif was in Saudi Arabia if he was not yet leading any army.

Rabbani further asked how the government had deemed it okay to send a former army chief who has knowledge of the country's nuclear secrets to a sensitive area without even knowing what he would be doing there.

"What if the ToRs are not in the interest of Pakistan's national security? What will you do then? You have already sent Raheel Sharif to Saudi Arabia," he asked.

Senator Farhatullah Babar asked why Raheel Sharif had announced 10 months prior to his retirement that he would not be looking for an extension in his tenure as army chief.

"What was the purpose of making the announcement so far in advance," he asked, "particularly if no offers had been made to him at that point?"

Babar asked whether Sharif wished his availability in his post-retirement time to Saudi Arabia and whether the announcement was made for the benefit of the Saudi leadership. The senator called for an investigation into the matter.

Senator Ilyas Bilour said Pakistani lawmakers would not allow there to be any sectarian conflict in the country while asserting that ToRs against Iran would not be acceptable.

While responding to another motion, Mr. Aziz said that Pakistan is taking indiscriminate action against all groups of terrorists in the best national interest.

The motion was moved to seek details of the recent visit of the US congressional delegation headed by Chairman US armed services committee Senator Mcain.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Jul-2017/gen-raheel-to-adopt-same-policy-as-parliament-sartaj

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Europe

 

Muslim attacked by knife-wielding robber in mosque calms him down and makes him breakfast

Samuel Osborne

July 19, 2017

A Muslim who was attacked by a knife-wielding robber in a mosque cooked him breakfast to calm him down and then sat to hear his life story.

Ali Yassine spotted Stefan Boyle, 28, hiding under a table in a mosque in Dundrum, Dublin, and told him to leave.

Boyle lunged at him and nicked him with a knife before trying to escape out of a window, the Irish Independent reported in May.

Mr Yassine, who works as a caretaker in the mosque, kicked the burglar in self defence and then told him to relax.

He went on to make him scrambled eggs and sat down to let Boyle tell him about he he was homeless, had been in and out of prison and was having problems with his girlfriend.

Boyle pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the burglary of Ali Hussain House on 2 November, 2016. He has 110 previous convictions, of those, 63 are for burglary.

He will be allowed to attend residential drug treatment before he is sentenced, the Irish Times reports.

The prosecution heard that Mr Yassine did not realise until after the robber had left that he had stolen two phones from his bedroom in a building attached to the mosque.

When Mr Yassine was in the city centre organising for his phones to be blocked the next day, he bumped into Boyle, who handed the phones back to him and apologised.

Boyle told police he got on well with the victim, describing him as a "good guy," and apologised.

He said he wanted to get money for drugs and had forgotten he had taken the phones during his 30-minute conversation over breakfast.

He also said he did not have the €30 (£27) needed to unlock both phones.

Judge Karen O'Connor told Boyle: “This is your very very final chance.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/muslim-attack-robber-mosque-calm-down-make-breakfast-dundrum-dublin-stefan-boyle-ali-yassine-a7846766.html

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9/11 survivors call on May to release Saudi financing extremism report

Jul 19, 2017

Survivors of the September 11 attacks have called on British Prime Minister Theresa May to allow the release of a government report highlighting the Saudi role in funding extremism.

The plea was made on Tuesday in a letter signed by 15 survivors, who demanded that May seize the chance to publish the report commissioned by her predecessor, David Cameron.

"The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government's report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its center of culpability," the letter said. "The longer Saudi Arabia's complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue. They must be stopped; but who will stop them? We submit that you are uniquely situated to shine the cleansing light of public consciousness."

"We respectfully urge you to release the report now, finished or unfinished. We ask you to consider all the victims of state-sponsored, Saudi-financed terrorism, their families and their survivors in the UK and all over the world," it added.

Last week, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the report would not be made public, citing privacy and national security reasons. However, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas has suggested that the refusal to publish the report is due to Britain’s reluctance to criticize its long-time Arab ally.

The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City left some 3,000 people dead in 2001, also causing about $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/19/528939/Theresa-May-September-11-attacks-extremism

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Chechnya becoming major player in rebuilding war-torn Syria

July 18, 2017

MOSCOW — Russia's mostly Muslim republic of Chechnya is becoming a major player in rebuilding war-ravaged Syria. And ordinary Chechens are likely to foot the bill, with many of them being forced to make contributions or face the possibility of exile or death, human rights activists say.

A murky charitable foundation run by the family of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is restoring Aleppo's landmark mosque. The gesture is aimed at helping the Kremlin cement its footprint in Syria and to solidify Kadyrov's standing in the Muslim world.

The Kadyrov Foundation, one of Russia's wealthiest charities, has spent millions bringing Western celebrities to Chechnya, buying sports cars for athletes and building mosques in Israel, Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula and elsewhere. More recently, the foundation turned its sights to Syria.

While no one doubts Syria needs all the help it can get after seven years of civil war, human rights activists see sinister and self-serving objectives in the Kadyrov Foundation's undertaking. They allege that the organization has been used as Kadyrov's private piggy bank — one filled by compulsory contributions from the Chechen people.

"The major source of funding for the foundation is ordinary people and businesses in Chechnya because the entire republic is paying this informal tax," said Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, project director for Russia and North Caucasus at the International Crisis Group.

It has offered to feed Syrian refugees in Germany and Jordan, sent sheep to Syria for Ramadan feasts, and announced it was rebuilding the war-damaged Great Mosque of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, as well as another important mosque in the Syrian city of Homs.

Rights activists in the North Caucasus have documented Chechen authorities coercing residents to make contributions from their salaries to the foundation and toward unspecified needs of Kadyrov and his inner circle.

How much Chechen workers give to the foundation varies, activists say. Some businesses and employees are expected to furnish a set percentage of their earnings every month. Others, mostly the lowest-paid civil servants, are asked for contributions on an ad-hoc basis. The average monthly salary is about $360 in Chechnya, which has a population of about 1.4 million.

In 2016, prominent rights group Memorial received a formal complaint from employees of a provincial social security department in Chechnya. They reported that about 70 percent of their pay was withheld for donations to the foundation. Memorial petitioned prosecutors, but the investigation found no misconduct.

Refusing to pay isn't an option. Kadyrov's opponents have been killed or driven into exile; disappearances have become mundane; families of suspected militants have been forced to leave Chechnya and their houses burnt down. Kadyrov has recruited more than 1,000 people for his private security detail, which is technically part of the Russian Interior Ministry's troops.

"It's impossible to say 'no' because violence is pervasive," Sokirianskaia says. "Chechnya is small. Everyone knows several people who have been seriously affected by this regime in a violent way, and they need no proof."

The only financial data released by the foundation shows that it held 1.5 billion rubles ($25 million) in net assets in 2015. Unlike other Russian non-governmental organizations, which are obliged by law to submit financial reports to authorities or face hefty fines, the Kadyrov Foundation closely guards its finances.

The Justice Ministry's official database of NGOs doesn't list a single report from the Kadyrov Foundation. The ministry told The Associated Press that the foundation files its financial reports on time and submitted its latest one in March, but wouldn't say why they weren't made public.

Kadyrov's spokesman, Alvi Karimov, refused to discuss the foundation's work, telling The Associated Press that "the figures are all in the press."

Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015 launched a military operation in Syria to provide air cover for the government's offensive against the Islamic State group. Moscow has also been eager to project a softer image in Syria, offering medical aid and food to local residents.

Kadyrov has ruled predominantly Muslim Chechnya since the 2004 assassination of his father, a separatist leader who switched sides to support the Russian government after two bloody wars in the 1990s. In recent years, Kadyrov has used Russia's military support of Syrian President Bashar Assad to boost his authority at home and to position himself as Russia's most influential Muslim abroad.

He has cultivated ties with other Muslim leaders, from hosting Jordan's king in the regional capital Grozny to holding talks with Mohammed bin Salman years before the Saudi defense minister was named Saudi Arabia's new crown prince.

In 2015, the Saudi king opened the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam, for Kadyrov and his delegation on a rare occasion when visitors were allowed to see it outside the holy month of Ramadan.

Kadyrov's foundation said it expects to finish work on Aleppo's Great Mosque, also known as the Umayyad Mosque, next year but wouldn't release any estimate of the project's cost. The mosque, which had its walls shredded by shrapnel, and the minaret where the call for prayers sounded for 900 years toppled, needs at least $7 million in repairs, Mamoun Abdul-Karim, head of Syria's Antiquities and Museums Department, told the AP.

Kadyrov's foundation also is restoring a mosque in Homs that holds a special importance for Muslims since it hosts the shrine of Khalid Bin al-Walid, a companion of Prophet Muhammad.

By relying on Russian Muslims to build mosques and police the streets of Syrian cities, Moscow is trying to improve its standing in the Muslim world damaged by the bombing campaign that has reportedly killed hundreds of civilians.

Putting the Chechen leader in charge of restoring the two mosques instead of portraying the work as a Russian government project was a conscious choice, Caucasus watchers say.

"A mosque restored by a Christian state that bombs the country wouldn't have the same legitimacy," Sokirianskaia said. "Trying to show that the donation was Muslim was aimed to compensate for this."

When Russia decided to send military police to Syria last December, the first battalion that was dispatched there was from Chechnya. There has only been one deployment of non-Chechens to Syria in the last seven months — a contingent from another predominantly Muslim region, Ingushetia.

The Kremlin is happy with the Chechens' involvement in Syria since Kadyrov's activities there are "strictly in line with Russia's foreign policy, not a step out of line," said Alexei Malashenko, chief researcher at the Moscow-based Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute.

The arrangement also benefits Kadyrov.

"Thanks to this, Kadyrov is building his reputation in Putin's eyes and demonstrates his super-loyalty," Malashenko said. "And it also works to bolster Ramzan's image as an unofficial leader in the Russian Muslim community."

As part of the extensive coverage of Kadyrov's charity work in Chechnya, the local state-owned television network in January ran a half-hour feature about a Chechen delegation's trip to Syria. Grozny TV's footage showed Kadyrov's close ally, Adam Delimkhanov, and others performing Friday prayers in the courtyard of the Aleppo mosque, still littered with debris from months of shelling.

Delimkhanov and Chechnya's chief mufti later visited the Chechen police battalion which patrols the streets of Aleppo, and made impassioned speeches in Chechen. Grozny TV showed Aleppo residents cheering the Chechens.

Full report at:

https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/chechnya-becoming-major-player-in-rebuilding-war-torn-syria-1.478652#.WW8ejNSGOzc

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French Senate passes new anti-terror bill

Jul 19, 2017

Lawmakers in France’s conservative-dominated Senate have approved controversial legislation to further strengthen France’s anti-terror laws by a majority vote.

The French senators passed the draft bill by a vote of 229 to 106 on Tuesday. The document would now proceed to the lower house of the National Assembly for a vote in October.

The new security laws, which were a campaign pledge of the country’s new President Emmanuel Macron, would replace a state of emergency imposed after November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Under the state of emergency measures, authorities have the power to place suspects under house arrest, order house searches, and ban public gatherings without the prior approval of a judge.

The emergency state has been extended six times, most recently under Macron on July 6.

Under the proposed legislation, some of emergency state practices would become permanent law.

The move has been slammed by rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which have described it as draconian.

France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, however, has defended the new bill, referring to it as essential for combating what he described as the “ever present” terror threat.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/19/528957/France-Senate-antiterror-bill-Macron

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Africa

 

Call for Boko Haram peace talks masks ethnic tensions

18 July 2017

A group of community elders in northeast Nigeria where Boko Haram has waged a bloody eight-year insurgency are urging the extremists to enter peace talks, a move some see as motivated by ethnic self-interest.

"If our leaders had the leeway to negotiate with the Boko Haram for the release of some of their captives, they should employ the same tactics to negotiate for the end of the insurgency," they said in a newspaper advertisement last Friday.

"The Government of Nigeria had earlier negotiated with the Niger Delta militants and succeeded. Let the Government do the same with Boko Haram."

President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general, has given no sign of wanting to negotiate a settlement since he came to power in 2015.

His government has, however, held back-channel talks that secured the release of more than 100 of the 219 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.

But the call for negotiations by the elders of Borno state, where the Kanuri is the main ethnic group, has led to speculation that it is driven less by a desire for peace than by ethnic issues.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/191961/al-shabaab-attack-kenyan-police-after-president-visit

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Gambia Promotes Muslim Friendly Tourism

18 JULY 2017

By Sally Senghore

The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC) recently convened a three-day training on the theme; "Developing a Training and Certification Programme for the Muslim Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry" in OIC member countries, at the GTHI Board Room in Kanifing.

Funded by the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC), the interface was attended by participants drawn from The Gambia, Senegal and Nigeria.

The overall objective of the training was to enhance participants' understanding of the opportunities and potentials presented by the growing number of Muslim tourists as well as facilitate the transfer of knowledge on the development and promotion of Muslim friendly tourism among OIC member countries.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Daouda Niang, the director general of The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, said the forum was one of the most recent efforts championed by the GTHI in transforming the human resource development landscape of the tourism sector in The Gambia and beyond.

He acknowledged that developing a training certification programme for the Muslim travel will undoubtedly provide the requisite skills and knowledge needed for participating countries within the sub-region to outline Muslim friendly culinary for chefs.

This practical unit, according to him, will help learners to improve their skills in preparing 'halal' food, and at the end of the unit, learners will accomplish all the necessary experience to start working as professional halal chefs.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201707180782.html

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Sudan agrees to continue to communicate positively with US at the request of Saudi Arabia

19 July 2017

Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir praised the distinct and strong relations that his country have with Saudi Arabia, expressing his appreciation for the Kingdom’s efforts in serving the Muslims and thanking it for its continued support to Sudan in all fields.

According to a statement by the Sudanese presidency, his Excellency also thanked the Kingdom’s leadership for its efforts to improve relations between Sudan and the United States.

The statement added that: “In this context and in response to the request of the leadership of Saudi Arabia, President Omar al-Bashir agreed to continue to communicate positively with the government and the official offices of the United States in the coming period in order to lift the final sanctions imposed on Sudan as well as remove the name of Sudan off the list of countries sponsoring terrorism and resolve all the existing problems between the two countries. The President also thanked the Kingdom’s leadership for those efforts.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/07/19/Sudan-agrees-to-continue-to-communicate-positively-with-US-at-the-request-of-Saudi-Arabia.html

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South Sudan declares state of emergency

Jul 18, 2017

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has declared a three-month state of emergency in his home state, where clashes have raged for months between clan-based militias, the government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Michael Makuei, who is also the information minister, said the army would be given powers to stop the fighting in Gogrial state, and that citizens' rights would be suspended, though the presidency has not announced which rights will be curtailed.

Local media said dozens of people had been killed in the fighting in the state in the country's north, though Reuters could not independently verify the number of those killed.

Makuei said the state of emergency also applied to the neighboring areas of Tonj, Wau, and Aweil East.

Wau has experienced fighting this year between government forces and rebels under former vice president Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, who is waging an insurgency in much of the country.

South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013, largely between soldiers and militia from the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups. The war has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced nearly 4 million people from their homes.

The clashes in Gogrial have been between militiamen from the Apuk and Aguok clans of the Dinka group, which Kiir belongs to. "The president declared a state of emergency in order to bring this situation under control," Makuei told Reuters by telephone.

"These are tribal fights which are connected to issues of land, grazing areas," Makuei said.

 Separately, 36 people were killed over the weekend in an attack on a village near Bor town in the Dinka-dominated central Jonglei state, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The United Nations said its peacekeepers were treating some of the 24 people injured in the attack.

Makuei, who is from Bor, blamed militia from the Murle tribe from neighboring Boma state for committing the attack and stealing thousands of cattle. Bor Dinka and Murle militia clashed earlier this year before signing a cessation of hostilities in May.

The minister said the Boma governor was summoned to a security council meeting and directed to apprehend those responsible for the attack.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528900/South-Sudan-Tribal-Clashes-State-of-Emergency-

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Nigeria: Top Boko Haram Leader, Three Others Surrender - Army

18 JULY 2017

A high-profile Boko Haram terrorist, Konto Fanami, and three other repentant terrorists have surrendered to the Nigerian Army on Monday.

The Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, announced this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mr. Usman said that the four repentant terrorists willingly deserted their hideouts and surrendered themselves to 120 Task Force Battalion at Goniri in Borno.

He described Fanami as the Ameer (leader) of "Kafa hideout of the Boko Haram terrorists group that operates on Ajigin-Talala-Mungusum axis."

"During preliminary interrogation, they confirmed that they abandoned the terrorism because of incessant hardship and realising that they were misled by their terrorist group leaders.

"They further stated they were also erroneously misinformed and brainwashed about Islam and the Nigerian military and the society generally.

"The remorseful surrendered terrorists regretted their involvement in terrorism and marveled at the courtesy and humane treatment accorded them by the military on surrendering," the army spokesman said.

He called on other remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists to follow suit and renounce the "devilish creed."

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201707190018.html

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North America

 

Rising Islamophobia in US legacy of 9/11 attacks: Scholar

Jul 18, 2017

The growing level of anti-Muslim hate crimes and Islamophobic bias under US President Donald Trump is a legacy of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that were falsely blamed on Muslims and covered-up by US administrations since 9/11, an American scholar says.

“This new wave, the second wave of post-9/11 Islamophobia began under [former] President Barack Obama and the reason for this is that the American people still feel tremendous trauma and hatred based on the events of September 11, 2001,” and Obama did not make any effort to get to the bottom of the attacks, said Kevin Barrett, an author and political commentator in Madison, Wisconsin.

The 9/11 attacks were a “false flag coup d'etat” that were orchestrated by the enemies of Muslims, primarily neoconservative Zionists working for Israel, Barrett told Press TV on Tuesday.

The terror attacks were very carefully designed to create “multi-generational” Islamophobia in the hearts and minds of the American people and justify a sustained US war against Islam and Muslim countries on behalf of Israel, he added.

The number of Islamophobic incidents in the United States nearly doubled in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year following the election of President Donald Trump, a leading Muslim advocacy group reported Monday.

More than 940 anti-Muslim hate crimes and bias incidents were reported between April and June of 2017, an increase of 91 percent, according to a report released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR said so far this year, this has been the worst year on record for anti-Muslim incidents since the group began its documenting system in 2013.

According to CAIR's 2016 report, anti-Muslim hate incidents rose more than 40 percent compared with 2015.

Critics say that Trump’s rhetoric and policies against Muslims before and after his election has emboldened far-right groups and promoted anti-Muslim hate crimes across the country.

During his president election campaign in late 2015, Trump vowed to prevent Muslims from entering the US. Just one week after his inauguration, Trump signed an executive order that imposed a 90-day ban on the entry of people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Trump issued a revised travel ban on March 6 after his original order was blocked by various federal courts. The revised order was also blocked by federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland, citing religious discrimination.

On June 26, the US Supreme Court granted the government's request to reinstate parts of Trump's controversial travel ban.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/18/528920/US-Islamophobia-hate-crimes-Kevin-Barrett

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Death of ISIS-K leader in Afghanistan to disrupt group’s expansion plans: US

July 19, 2017

WASHINGTON: The death of Abu Sayed, the head of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan (ISIS-K) who was killed in a US strike in Kunar province will disrupt group’s plan to expand its operation in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman said on Monday.

The ISIS emir was killed on July 11 in the attack by US forces. He had taken the charge after US forces killed the previous ISIS-K leaders Hafiz Sayed Khan in late July 2016 and Abdul Hasib in late April this year.

The Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that ISIS threatened America in the West because of its commitment to plot direct and inspire terrorist attacks and its ability to recruit move and finance the terrorists who commit these attacks.

“The terrorists have been very clear in their propaganda, they want to recruit and attack globally” Davis said while noting that the group which numbers in hundreds in Afghanistan doesn’t hold any meaningful territory in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

“There are certainly fighters there, but they are mostly spending their time trying to stay alive” he said in a report posted on Pentagon’s website. “The Afghan forces partnered with the U.S. forces are keeping constant pressure on them. We assess that they are most active in Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan (provinces). We’ve been putting pressure on them as they try to gain footholds elsewhere”.

Meanwhile Afghan forces advised by US Marines recapture the Nawa district from the Taliban on Monday. Afghan forces were supported by US air power which targeted their positions in support of the operation.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Jul-2017/death-of-isis-k-leader-in-afghanistan-to-disrupt-group-s-expansion-plans-us

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US announces new Iran sanctions over ballistic missiles, terrorism support

July 19, 2017

The United States announced new sanctions against Iran on Tuesday over its ballistic missile programme and what it called Tehran's support for terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The sanctions announced by the State Department target 18 individuals or entities described as supporting Iran's ballistic missile programme or the elite Republican Guard.

The announcement came a day after the United States certified that Iran was complying with the landmark nuclear deal signed two years ago with the United States and other world powers, but also warned it was preparing new sanctions.

“The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran's malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity,” State Department said.

It cited Iran's support for Hezbollah, Hamas, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Huthi rebels in Yemen fighting a US-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

http://nation.com.pk/international/18-Jul-2017/us-announces-new-iran-sanctions-over-ballistic-missiles-terrorism-support

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Roberts: Arizona Senate candidate under attack for being Muslim

July 18, 2017

She’s the other challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake.

A native of Little Rock, Ark. A Phoenix attorney and civil rights activist. An independent-turned-Democrat. A 19-year resident of Arizona who wants to represent “the state where I found my home, family and dreams.”

And, as it turns out, a few nightmares.

This post cued so much hate?

Deedra Abboud is also Muslim. This morning, she posted this rather innocuous piece on her Facebook page:

“Almost 250 years ago a group of dreamers came together and sketched out a revolutionary vision. No longer would they be shackled to the whims of a distant government, nor bound to the religion of an idiosyncratic king. They set out to forge their own futures, determine their own destinies, and follow their own faith. In their infinite wisdom, the Founding Fathers decreed that this nation would separate church and state, and in doing so protect both institutions. Government would be free from religious overreach, and religion would be free from government interference.”

The response over the last 24 hours to that and to some of her other posts and videos have ranged from disturbing to just plain scary. Hundreds upon hundreds of hateful responses.

Yes, these are real responses

Here’s S. Jason Parr: “Nice try but your first love is Satan (AKA Allah) and your second love is to a litter box your ‘people’ come from. You are as American as Chinese checkers.”

Here’s Roy Sanders: “Get out stinking Muslim.”

Let’s hear from Tony Madden: “I bet you’ll be a BLAST with constituents.”

Here’s Brian Zappa: “How about go $#%# yourself. Towel headed piece of $#^%.”

Here’s Michael Scozzari: “Vote to send them back to the sand pit, were (sic) these scumbag people belong!”

And from Vik Odinson: “I say do whatever you have to do kickstart We people of the USA to finally rise against you and your ilk.”

Oh, just one more, from Chris Ruen: “BAN ISLAM IN THE USA…WE HATE YOUR FILTHY DEATH CULT.”

Because religious freedom in America is all about having the freedom to ban religions we don’t like, right?

What those posts say about us

Abboud’s spokeswoman said the candidate has been subjected to a whole lot of nasty since getting into the campaign this spring.

“We make sure to have police escorts at our events because yes, we have received a lot of hate,” said Jaclyn Freedman, via email. “We had an event at the Pomegranate Cafe that the alt-right showed up at.”

I don’t know much about Abboud, other than the fact that she converted to Islam 19 years ago and helped open the first Arizona office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations after 9/11.

I do know this. She won’t win.

The last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat from Arizona was Dennis DeConcini in 1988.

Still, I’d encourage you to take a look at Abboud’s Facebook page.

You won't learn much about her. The stuff she’s posted is your typical campaign feed.

Full report at:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2017/07/18/senate-candidate-under-attack-being-muslim/489859001/

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Opponents urge top US court to dismiss Muslim ban

19.07.2017

Opponents of President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers and refugees from six Muslim-majority countries on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to reject efforts to revive it, according to media reports.

Challengers said in a court ruling that Trump's argument for the benefit of an extended travel ban that excludes grandparents and grandchildren is "nonsense" and more than 24,000 refugees could be affected by the Court's decision.

The Trump administration last month set new criteria that require a "close" family or business relation in the U.S. for visa applicants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

The action came after the Supreme Court decided to allow part of the travel ban on refugees and immigrants from those countries for at least 90 days, and follows Trump’s suspension of the U.S. refugee admittance program. The Court will hear the full case during its fall term.

Lawyers for the state of Hawaii and individual plaintiffs in Maryland said in the court filing that Trump’s administration undermined its own arguments by amending the order last week.

"This memorandum conclusively severs the already tenuous relationship between the bans and their ostensible rationale by making it clear that the order's travel and refugee restrictions may begin after the vetting reviews are complete," said Neal Katyal, a lawyer for Hawaii, that opposes the ban.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled last week the administration must allow in grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and cousins.

"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents," Watson wrote in his ruling. "Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”

He also ruled that refugee resettlement agencies should be allowed to bring in asylum seekers who have been given formal assurances of placement within the U.S., saying a refugee agency resettlement assurance "meets each of the Supreme Court’s touchstones”.

Full report at:

http://aa.com.tr/en/americas/opponents-urge-top-us-court-to-dismiss-muslim-ban/864479

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South Asia

 

14 ISIS killed as airstrikes and artillery units pound ISIS targets in Nangarhar

Jul 18 2017

At least fourteen militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed during the operations in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The militants were targeted in the vicinity of Achin district of Nangarhar which was once of the main strongholds of the terror group.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the operations were conducted in the past 24 hours with the support of the air forces and artillery units of the Afghan national army.

The statement further added that the militants were targeted in Pekha area of Achin district and several foreign insurgents are also among those killed.

According to the officials, some heavy and light weapons used by the terror group were also destroyed during the operations.

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

The Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism and clearance operations in some restive districts of Nangarhar as the  ISIS loyalists have been attempting to expand their foothold and activities in certain districts of the during the recent years.

The US forces based in Afghanistan have stepped up airstrikes against the anti-government armed militants in Afghanistan.

The airstrikes were increased particularly after the former US administration granted broader role to the US forces to resume counter-terrorism operations, a step that was taken after growing instability in the country, mainly due to the insurgency led by the Taliban and ISIS militants.

http://www.khaama.com/14-isis-killed-as-airstrikes-and-artillery-units-pound-isis-targets-in-nangarhar-03170

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Explosion in ISIS militant’s house leaves 7 dead in East of Afghanistan

Jul 19 2017

At least seven people were killed in an explosion inside the house of an ISIS militant in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the incident took place in Pacher Agam district of Nangarhar province as a group of insurgents were busy making Improvised Explosive Devices.

The provincial government media office in a statement also confirmed the incident and said seven militants affiliated with the terror group were killed.

The statement further added that the incident took place around 11 am local time on Tuesday in Godari area when the militants had gathered inside the house of ISIS insurgent identified as Multan Jan.

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

Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to other insurgent groups frequently use improvised explosive devices as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government personnel but in majority of such attacks the ordinary civilians are targeted while in some cases the militants are killed in premature explosions.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/explosion-in-isis-militants-house-leaves-7-dead-in-east-of-afghanistan-03174

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Rohingya man accused of Myanmar insurgent ties bailed in Bangladesh

JULY 18, 2017

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh's interior minister said a Rohingya Muslim man the country's police arrested late last year, for suspected links with an insurgent group that attacked Myanmar security forces, has been bailed and is living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

The presence of suspected insurgents in the camps just across their shared border could further strain relations between the two countries, already at loggerheads over the issue of repatriating around 430,000 Rohingya living in Bangladesh after fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Manzurul Islam, a 38-year-old Islamic preacher, denied any links to the insurgency in northwestern Myanmar when he spoke to Reuters by telephone from a camp in the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh.

Two police sources, citing intelligence reports, had said Islam was a member of the Harakah al-Yaqin insurgent group that ambushed Myanmar police border posts in the country's northwest on Oct. 9, killing nine officers.

"Since his entrance his movement was suspicious, so members of our security forces and law enforcement agencies monitored him closely," Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, when asked about that information.

"They also recorded his phone conversations secretly that showed he had some connections with illegal activities."

Khan declined to give further details about Islam, who is on bail after spending three months in custody in Cox's Bazar town.

Bangladeshi officials have previously said no foreign militant organization was active in the country and that it does not tolerate such activities. Khan reiterated that Bangladesh would not allow its territory to be used by any militants.

Myanmar's armed forces launched a fierce counterinsurgency operation in response to the October attacks, during which more than 75,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. Harakah al-Yaqin says it is fighting for the rights of 1.1 million Rohingya who live in apartheid-like conditions in Myanmar.

"Jungle Training"

Islam was arrested from a market near the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Cox's Bazar on Nov. 23, according to a police document seen by Reuters.

Police believe he had trained some 30 refugees deep in the jungles near the camp for around two weeks before his arrest, said one of the police sources, who declined to be named given the sensitivity of the matter.

"They had no sophisticated weapons but only one or two country-made guns," said the source. "Security forces went to the training place and found one spot where there were signs that something had happened there: trampled grass, tree branches cleared out, portions of the hill flattened."

Myanmar's police did not respond to a request for comment. But a Myanmar security source said they were aware of Islam's presence in Bangladesh.

"Our department received information from the Bangladesh side and we are aware that the man is facing trial," said the source. "We're not going to accept transfer from Bangladesh ... it's not going to happen."

Islam said Bangladeshi security officials interrogated him for 10 days after his arrest, which he blamed on false information given to the authorities by unidentified enemies.

"They accused me of being involved in the insurgency in Myanmar. I told them I had no connection with any group," he said from Kutupalong, around 400 km (250 miles) southeast of Dhaka, where he lives with his wife and five children.

"Nevertheless, they warned me not to get involved in anything wrong and then put me in jail for illegally entering Bangladesh."

Islam, originally from Taung Pyo village just across the border in Myanmar, was charged with entering Bangladesh without proper papers and released on bail on Feb. 15, court documents show.

Minister Khan said there was insufficient evidence to charge him with further offences in Bangladesh.

Thousands of Rohingya live in Bangladesh without being officially recognized as refugees, but police rarely file immigration charges against them. Still, their presence is a source of tension between the two countries.

"We've been continuing our dialogue with the Myanmar government, not only for Islam but for all the illegal entrants, as they are a major problem for us," Khan said. "They are a burden which we can't afford."

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-rights-idUSKBN1A4035?il=0

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NATO rejects involvement in forced diversion of Afghan vice president’s plane

Jul 18 2017

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan denied that permission was granted by the alliance to prohibit the landing of the plane of the first vice president of Afghanistan General Abdul Rashid Dostum to Mazar airport.

The alliance also rejected any involvement of the Germany forces based in Afghanistan in the issue.

A spokesman for the alliance Capt. William K. Salvin in a statement said “Afghan First Vice President Dostum’s aircraft was not denied permission to land at Mazar-e-Sharif airport by German Forces.”

“It is not the business of the Resolute Support Mission to get involved in internal Afghan Government Affairs,” Capt. Salvin added.

This comes as earlier reports indicated that the plane was forcefully diverted as it was carrying the first vice president from Turkey to Mazar-e-Sharif city.

The office of the first vice president in a statement stated that all reports suggesting that the plane was forcefully diverted are false.

The statement further added that the vice president is still based in Ankara city and no decision has been taken regarding his return in the near future.

Dostum is in Turkey for the treatment with President Ghani earlier saying that the first vice president has left the country after receiving approval and permission from the Attorney General Office.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nato-rejects-involvement-in-forced-diversion-of-afghan-vice-presidents-plane-03172

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Afghan forces seize 1,400 kgs of Ammonium Nitrate from Torkham-Jalalabad highway

Jul 18 2017

The Afghan national defense and security forces have seized around one thousand and four hundred kilograms of Ammonium Nitrate from the main highway between Torkham and Jalalabad city.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the chemicals were placed inside a lorry and the militants were looking to transport it to an unknown location for the manufacturing of explosives, mainly the Improvised Explosive Devices used in roadside bombings.

“Afghan National Police (ANP) seized 1400 kilos of Ammonium Nitrate, a key component used to make Improvised Explosive Devices,” the statement by MoI said, adding that the Ammonium Nitrate was placed in a truck transporting goods to Afghanistan.

MoI also added that the police searched the truck and found the Ammonium Nitrate hidden under the goods in Torkham port, eastern Nangarhar province.

One suspect was arrested on accusation of this case and an investigation was underway into the case, MoI added.

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

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-seize-1400-kgs-of-ammonium-nitrate-from-torkham-jalalabad-highway-03171

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NATO rejects Taliban claim regarding the killing of US general and troops in Kunduz

Jul 18 2017

The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan rejected the claims by the Taliban group as false regarding the killing of a US general and troops in northern Kunduz province.

A spokesman for the alliance Capt. William K. Salvin in a statement said “A Taliban claim that they killed 4 US soldiers, including a general officer in Kunduz is false.”

Capt. Salvin further added that there have been no US casualties in Afghanistan in the last 24 hours.

This comes as a spokesman for the Taliban group Zabiulllah Mujahid said Monday that seventeen soldiers were killed during the clashes in Kunduz city.

Mujahid also claimed that two tanks and several American troops and a general were among those killed.

Kunduz is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations to suppress the insurgency activities of the Taliban and other insurgent groups operating in the province.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nato-rejects-taliban-claim-regarding-the-killing-of-us-general-and-troops-in-kunduz-03167

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