New Age Islam
Wed Dec 02 2020, 04:32 AM

Islamic World News ( 10 Apr 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

UK Muslim Ghettoes: British Muslims Are Becoming a Nation within a Nation, Warning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Demonstrators from Muslims Against Crusaders protest against democracy outside the US Embassy in London in 2011

 

Islamic Organization Holds Open House for People of All Backgrounds and Faiths

Islamic Authorities in Dubai Issue Fatwa against Wi-Fi Theft

Pakistan-Based Haqqani Leaders Helped To Resolve Taliban Leadership Issues

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Europe

UK Muslim Ghettoes: British Muslims Are Becoming a Nation within a Nation, Warning

Repressive Islamic Beliefs on Women, Gays and Freedom Create Social 'Chasm' In Britain

Half of British Muslims want gay sex banned, says poll

German spy chief says Islamic State wants to attack but no specific plot known

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North America

Islamic Organization Holds Open House for People of All Backgrounds and Faiths

Controversial Refugee Story Removed From a Canadian Newspaper

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Arab World

Islamic Authorities in Dubai Issue Fatwa against Wi-Fi Theft

Islamic State Regains Syrian Stronghold near Turkey Border

Iraqi Security Forces Liberate City of Heet

Syria: ISIL Religious Judge in Raqqa Province Killed in Airstrike

Joint Arab Force Soon To Combat Terrorism

Syrian Army, Allies Force Terrorists to Retreat from Heights North of Lattakia

Iran, Kazakhstan Expanding Regional Cooperation

Russian Forces Continue Mine Sweeping Operation in Palmyra

Palestinian Analyst: Saudi King's Precious Gifts Not to Change Egypt's Position on Syria

Syrian Army Marching on ISIL Positions East of Aleppo

Syria: Palmyra Airbase Ready for Hosting Combat, Logistic Flights

Syria: Al-Nusra Front Dispatches More Recruits to Aleppo to Prevent More Defeats

Deir Ezzur: ISIL's Strategic Tunnel Razed Down by Syrian Army

Saudi Arabia Violates Truce Agreement in Yemen

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South Asia

Pakistan-Based Haqqani Leaders Helped To Resolve Taliban Leadership Issues

Afghan Bomber 'Kills 12 Police Recruits' In Jalalabad

2 Killed, 7 Wounded As Blast Target Govt Employees Bus In Kabul

Taliban Claims Rockets Attacks in Kabul Just Missed Kerry

Militants Planning to Attack Hotel in Kabul, US Embassy warn citizens

Dostum reaffirms full support of Turkmen and Uzbeks to President Ghani

Abdullah: ‘Surprised with reactions on Kerry’s remarks about unity govt’

Daudzai calls for Loya Jirga as Kerry says Afghan unity govt has no end date

Kabul event brings together EODs from throughout Afghanistan

Afghan police arrest internationally Most Wanted drug lord in Nangarhar

Afghan Senate Chairman reacts towards Kerry’s remarks on unity govt duration

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India

26/11 ‘Mumbai Bomber’ Enters Europe in ISIS Plot: Report

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Mideast

Muslim Body to Focus On Palestinians, Terror at Turkey Summit

ISIL Suspected In Shooting of Syrian Journalist in Turkey's Southeast

Turkish gov’t takes ‘urgent expropriation’ decision for properties in southeast

Spain’s BBVA seeking another Turkish lender to buy: CEO

Turkey, EU discuss migrant road map ahead of summit

Turkish ship attacked by pirates, crew kidnapped: Reports

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Southeast Asia

Mahathir Warns: Najib Ready to Back Taliban-Style Criminal Penalties

Muslim Rebels in 10 Hour Battle with Philippine Soldiers

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Africa

President Obama: Libya Aftermath 'Worst Mistake' Of Presidency

Somalia: Man Executed for Journalists' Killings

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Pakistan

Two Injured As 'Mishandled' Hand Grenade Explodes In Karachi ATC

ANP leader killed in Swat

‘Axact fraud empire bigger than initially imagined’ — NYT report details new revelations

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/uk-muslim-ghettoes--british-muslims-are-becoming-a-nation-within-a-nation,-warning/d/106945

 

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UK Muslim Ghettoes: British Muslims Are Becoming a Nation within a Nation, Warning

11 APRIL 2016

British Muslims are becoming a nation within a nation, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned.

Commenting on a ground-breaking survey, Trevor Phillips said we are “in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims”.

He called for a new, tougher approach to integration and the abandonment of “the failed policy of multiculturalism".

The survey had made “one truly terrifying” conclusion that “Muslims who have separatist views about how they want to live in Britain are far more likely to support terrorism than those who do not”, added Mr Phillips, who ran the EHRC until 2012 and was previously in charge of the Commission for Racial Equality.

His comments came as the ICM survey for Channel 4, which surveyed 1,000 Muslims face-to-face, found that:

One in 25 Muslims (four per cent) said they felt at least some sympathy with people who took part in suicide bombings, while a similar proportion said they had some sympathy with “people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest”.

A quarter – 25 per cent – said they could understand why British school girls could be attracted to become “jihadi brides” overseas.

Less than half (47 per cent) agreed that Muslims should do more to tackle the causes of extremism in the Muslim community.

52 per cent believed homosexuality should not be legal in Britain, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.

But the survey also found that a large majority of British Muslims – 86 per cent - felt a strong sense of belonging to Britain, compared with a national average of 83 per cent, and that among Muslims 91 per cent felt a strong sense of belonging to their local area - again, a higher finding than the national average of 76 per cent.

Mr Phillips, who analysed the poll findings for Channel 4, called for new approaches including limiting the presence of any ethnic minority group in schools to no more than 50 per cent.

The ethnic composition of housing estates should be monitored to prevent them becoming "ghetto villages", he added.

And political parties should no longer turning a “blind eye to appalling misdemeanours in return for votes from community leaders – so-called silence for-votes deals which created havoc in Rotherham and Rochdale and contributed to the grooming scandals in those towns”, suggested Mr Phillips.

He told the Daily Mail: “We have ‘understood’ too much, and challenged too little – and in doing so are in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims.

“In my view, we have to adopt a far more muscular approach to integration than ever, replacing the failed policy of multiculturalism.”

Channel 4 claimed the survey was more “rigorous” than previous surveys of Muslim attitudes because interviews were conducted face-to-face rather than over the telephone and interviewees were permitted to hold up cards to indicate their opinions rather than speak them aloud, in case they found questions embarrassing or difficult.

“Looking deeper into the results …it also reveals significant differences on attitudes to violence and terrorism,” a Channel 4 spokesman said.

telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/10/uk-muslim-ghettoes-warning/

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Islamic Organization Holds Open House for People of All Backgrounds And Faiths

April 10, 2016

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) People of all backgrounds and faiths came together to mingle and find common ground. The Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier held an open House Sunday.

It was part of an effort to educate the community on what Islam stands for, and how it is similar to other religions, like Judaism and Christianity. Organizers said they hope it leaves a lasting impact in light of recent events that have caused many to distrust the Islam faith.

WBNG E-News - Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

"We live in total harmony, especially in the Southern Tier, where we share so many friends of all religions,” said Islamic Organization President Ehtisham Siddiqui. “And it's a very diverse community in the Southern Tier. We're very fortunate to be here." People were able to walk around the mosque and observe various posters, each explaining a different component of the religion. The Islamic Organization hopes to hold another Open House like this one early next year.

wbng.com/news/local/Islamic-Organization-Holds-Open-House-for-Community--375190341.html

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Islamic authorities in Dubai issue fatwa against Wi-Fi theft

11/04/2016

Dubai's top religious authorities say that stealing Wi-Fi from your neighbour would not be proper Islamic conduct.

That is according to a religious edict - known as a fatwa - from Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.

It was posted online on the department's website as a response to a question asked by an anonymous reader.

The edict says: "There is nothing wrong in using the line if your neighbours allow you to do so, but if they don't allow you, you may not use it."

The fatwa matches others issued by other regional clerics in recent years.

Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department answers a variety of online questions.

They range from prayers and religious matters to modern issues like cosmetic surgeries and illegally downloading movies.

belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/islamic-authorities-in-dubai-issue-fatwa-against-Wi-Fi-theft-34616443.html

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Pakistan-based Haqqani leaders helped to resolve Taliban leadership issues

Mon Apr 11 2016

The notorious Pakistan-based Haqqani terrorist network leaders have played a key role in resolving the leadership issues of the Taliban group which recently led to deadly infighting among some dissident groups in western Afghanistan.

According to the local media reports in Pakistan, the breakthrough was achieved with the mediation of Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani.

One of the major breakthroughs was the announcement of allegiance by Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.

The other breakthroughs according to the reports were securing d top positions for Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yaqoob, and brother Mullah Abdul Manan in the Taliban hierarchy.

According to the reports, allegiance by Mullah Zakir was made during a gathering where Haqqani network leader was also delivering a message.

No further details were given regarding the exact location where the gathering was organized but it is believed that the Haqqani Network leaders and the Taliban council are based in Pakistan where they use safe havens for planning and coordinating attacks in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani terrorist network is accused of staging numerous cross-border attacks from their base in North Waziristan, including the 19-hour siege at the US Embassy in Kabul in September 201

The Commander of US Central Command General Lloyd J Austin earlier said Pakistan should “take decisive action” against the Haqqani terrorist network, calling the network as the greatest threat to the US forces in Afghanistan.

khaama.com/pakistan-based-haqqani-leaders-helped-to-resolve-taliban-leadership-issues-0611

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Europe

UK Muslim Ghettoes: British Muslims Are Becoming a Nation within a Nation, Warning

11 APRIL 2016

British Muslims are becoming a nation within a nation, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned.

Commenting on a ground-breaking survey, Trevor Phillips said we are “in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims”.

He called for a new, tougher approach to integration and the abandonment of “the failed policy of multiculturalism".

The survey had made “one truly terrifying” conclusion that “Muslims who have separatist views about how they want to live in Britain are far more likely to support terrorism than those who do not”, added Mr Phillips, who ran the EHRC until 2012 and was previously in charge of the Commission for Racial Equality.

His comments came as the ICM survey for Channel 4, which surveyed 1,000 Muslims face-to-face, found that:

One in 25 Muslims (four per cent) said they felt at least some sympathy with people who took part in suicide bombings, while a similar proportion said they had some sympathy with “people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest”.

A quarter – 25 per cent – said they could understand why British school girls could be attracted to become “jihadi brides” overseas.

Less than half (47 per cent) agreed that Muslims should do more to tackle the causes of extremism in the Muslim community.

52 per cent believed homosexuality should not be legal in Britain, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.

But the survey also found that a large majority of British Muslims – 86 per cent - felt a strong sense of belonging to Britain, compared with a national average of 83 per cent, and that among Muslims 91 per cent felt a strong sense of belonging to their local area - again, a higher finding than the national average of 76 per cent.

Mr Phillips, who analysed the poll findings for Channel 4, called for new approaches including limiting the presence of any ethnic minority group in schools to no more than 50 per cent.

The ethnic composition of housing estates should be monitored to prevent them becoming "ghetto villages", he added.

And political parties should no longer turning a “blind eye to appalling misdemeanours in return for votes from community leaders – so-called silence for-votes deals which created havoc in Rotherham and Rochdale and contributed to the grooming scandals in those towns”, suggested Mr Phillips.

He told the Daily Mail: “We have ‘understood’ too much, and challenged too little – and in doing so are in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims.

“In my view, we have to adopt a far more muscular approach to integration than ever, replacing the failed policy of multiculturalism.”

Channel 4 claimed the survey was more “rigorous” than previous surveys of Muslim attitudes because interviews were conducted face-to-face rather than over the telephone and interviewees were permitted to hold up cards to indicate their opinions rather than speak them aloud, in case they found questions embarrassing or difficult.

“Looking deeper into the results …it also reveals significant differences on attitudes to violence and terrorism,” a Channel 4 spokesman said.

telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/10/uk-muslim-ghettoes-warning/

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Repressive Islamic beliefs on women, gays and freedom create social 'chasm' in Britain

Mon, Apr 11, 2016

Muslim women walking in London - ProtestGETTY•EXPRESS

Islamic beliefs have opened a chasm between British Muslims and the rest of society

A study carried out by ICM for Channel 4 revealed shocking findings which included:

• Four in 10 Muslims believe a wife should ALWAYS obey her husband;

• More than half UK Muslims believe homosexuality should be illegal

• One in four British Muslims wants Islamic sharia law to replace British law

The results will be troubling to Muslims and non-Muslims alike

Trevor Phillips

• Only a third of Muslims would inform police if they knew someone who was getting involved with people who support terrorism in Syria

• One in three Muslims refuse to completely condemn STONING to death in adultery cases

• One in three Muslims refuse to condemn acts of violence against people who mock Mohammed

The revelations form the basis of a Channel 4 documentary, presented by Trevor Phillips, called What British Muslims Really Think.

Women wearing burkas protesting comment on veilsGETTY

Many Muslims believe a wife should always obey her husband

And Mr Philips, former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, draws some grim but honest conclusions.

He says: "The integration of Britain's Muslims will probably be the hardest task we've ever faced. It will require the abandonment of the milk-and-water multiculturalism still so beloved of many, and the adoption of a far more muscular approach to integration.

"I thought Europe's Muslims would gradually blend into Britain's landscape. I should have known better.

Sharia court in UKGETTY

Some Muslims want Islamic sharia law to replace British law

"Hearing what British Muslims themselves think, rather than listening to those purporting to speak on their behalf, is critical if we are to prevent the establishment of a nation within our nation.

"Many of the results will be troubling to Muslims and non-Muslims alike - and the analysis of the age profile shows us that the social attitudes revealed are unlikely to change quickly."

Unlike many other surveys of Muslim opinion, which have predominantly been done by phone or online, ICM used face-to-face, in-home research to question a representative sample of 1,000 Muslims across Great Britain.

ICM also used a "control sample" to compare what British Muslims thought with the rest of the British population.

A Channel 4 spokesman said the survey was commissioned to get the views from British Muslims themselves rather than those who claim to speak on their behalf; and, in particular to try to understand why some young Muslims are being drawn to violence.

Muslim protestors in LondonGETTY

More than half UK Muslims believe homosexuality should be illegal

The spokesman added: "At the top-line level, the survey suggests that a mainstream British Muslim majority have similar values and attitudes to the wider British public on issues such as support for British institutions and a feeling of belonging to Britain.

"But looking deeper into the results, a chasm develops between those Muslims surveyed and the wider population on attitudes to liberal values on issues such as gender equality, homosexuality and issues relating to freedom of expression. And it also reveals significant differences on attitudes to violence and terrorism."

express.co.uk/news/uk/659745/Islamic-beliefs-repressive-women-gays-freedom-Muslims-really-think-Channel-4-research

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Half of British Muslims want gay sex banned, says poll

10 APRIL 2016

Half of British Muslims want gay sex to be made illegal, according to a new poll.

The survey for Channel 4 found there was a “chasm” between views among the British Muslim community and mainstream opinion in this country.

It found 52 per cent of Muslims said homosexuality should not be legal in Britain.

Of more than 1,000 British Muslims polled by ICM, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.

The survey also found 23 per cent said they supported the introduction of sharia law in Britain.

Asked their views on stoning those who commit adultery, five per cent said they sympathised with use of the punishment - often meted out under sharia - while 79 per cent condemned it.

Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who interpreted the survey for a documentary to be broadcast this week, said: "The integration of Britain’s Muslims will probably be the hardest task we’ve ever faced.

“It will require the abandonment of the milk-and-water multiculturalism still so beloved of many, and the adoption of a far more muscular approach to integration.”

The programme, What British Muslims Really Think, is due to be shown on Channel 4 at 10pm on Wednesday.

telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/10/half-of-british-muslims-want-gay-sex-banned-says-poll/

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German spy chief says Islamic State wants to attack but no specific plot known

Sun Apr 10 2016

Islamic State wants to carry out attacks in Germany and the security situation is "very serious", the head of the country's domestic intelligence agency (BfV) told a Sunday newspaper, adding that he knew of no concrete plot to strike.

The militant group released a video on Tuesday suggesting it may carry out further attacks in the West after the Brussels bombings and Paris attacks, naming London, Berlin and Rome as possible targets.

Hans-Georg Maassen told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag the group wanted to carry out attacks against Germany and German interests, but added: "At the moment we don't have any knowledge of any concrete terrorist attack plans in Germany."

He said Islamic State propaganda was aimed at encouraging supporters to take the initiative to stage attacks in Germany.

Maassen said there were several cases linking Germans returning from Syria to attack plans and warned that the danger posed by jihadists from Germany remained "virulent".

The newspaper cited a response from the German government to an inquiry from the opposition Greens as saying arrest warrants had been issued for 76 suspected Islamists believed to be prepared to use violence.

Of the more than 800 people security authorities know have travelled to Syria and northern Iraq from Germany in recent years, around 130 have died, it said.

Around a third of the people who have travelled to the region since 2012 are now back in Germany and about 70 of the returnees actively took part in fighting or completed military training, it added.

Maassen said Germany had avoided a big attack so far thanks to the successful work of security agencies and luck such as a bomb detonator not working properly on one or two occasions.

In 2014, a German man described as a radical Islamist was charged with planting a pipe bomb -- which never exploded -- at Bonn train station in 2012. In 2006, two suitcase bombs left by Islamist militants on trains in Cologne failed to explode.

Asked how many Islamists in Germany were considered highly dangerous, Maassen said there were about 1,100 Islamists who were seen as a potential terrorism risk.

Maassen said his agency was aware of about 300 attempts by radical Islamists to recruit refugees.

"I'm particularly concerned about the many unaccompanied minors -- this group is being deliberately targeted," he said, adding that he saw a "huge radicalisation potential" in these attempts to recruit people.

The newspaper also said criminal Arab clans were trying to recruit refugees and quoted Sjors Kamstra, senior public prosecutor in Berlin, as saying: "The refugees come here and have no money and they're being shown how they can get their hands on some money very quickly if they're unskilled."

He said many of the refugees could not speak German so were particularly susceptible to recruitment if someone addressed them in their mother tongue.

reuters.com/article/us-germany-security-idUSKCN0X701U

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North America

Islamic Organization Holds Open House for People of All Backgrounds And Faiths

April 10, 2016

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) People of all backgrounds and faiths came together to mingle and find common ground. The Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier held an open House Sunday.

It was part of an effort to educate the community on what Islam stands for, and how it is similar to other religions, like Judaism and Christianity. Organizers said they hope it leaves a lasting impact in light of recent events that have caused many to distrust the Islam faith.

WBNG E-News - Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

"We live in total harmony, especially in the Southern Tier, where we share so many friends of all religions,” said Islamic Organization President Ehtisham Siddiqui. “And it's a very diverse community in the Southern Tier. We're very fortunate to be here." People were able to walk around the mosque and observe various posters, each explaining a different component of the religion. The Islamic Organization hopes to hold another Open House like this one early next year.

wbng.com/news/local/Islamic-Organization-Holds-Open-House-for-Community--375190341.html

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Controversial refugee story removed from a Canadian Newspaper

APRIL 11, 20163:17PM

A CANADIAN newspaper has been forced to pull a controversial story alleging refugee children attacked fellow students at an elementary school because it was “incomplete”.

The story from Halifax’s The Chronicle Herald on Friday, claimed reports of students “choking, pushing, slapping and verbally abusing” their classmates had caused concern among parents.

The story drew fire from readers on social media who accused the paper of “racism” and “spreading anti-refugee sentiment”.

It was removed after being picked up by a number of international news outlets.

The newspaper replaced the online version with a statement on Sunday.

“Bullying is a sensitive subject,” it said. “So is the integration of newcomers, particularly those who have faced challenges, even trauma, on their way here.

“Our story was incomplete. More work needs to be done and will be done before the story is republished. We should have done better and we will.”

News.com.au has asked The Chronicle Herald to clarify in what way the story was incomplete, and whether it was removed due to factual inaccuracies or reader complaints.

In a commentary piece, journalist Tim Bousquet of the Halifax Examiner said the piece “unfairly maligns kids in its attack on refugees”.

“They’re kids! Every kid screws up, acts inappropriately, has trouble,” he wrote.

“Beyond that, these particular children came from a war zone. The horrors they have seen by age eight likely exceed anything most of the readers of the Chronicle Herald article could even imagine.

“They then were removed from their friends and extended families and took a long journey that brought them to a strange land with different languages and customs.

“Is it believable that these kids might have some problems adjusting? Sure. But what kind of person uses traumatised children as pieces in a public relations game?”

The original story claimed a girl in the third grade was choked twice by two boys using a chain, with one boy allegedly yelling “Muslims will rule the world”.

Another mother told the paper her daughter was slapped after a disagreement in the schoolyard, and now begged not to go to school due to the bullying. A third parent raised concerns the language barrier was causing the problems.

A spokesman for the school board said he couldn’t confirm whether individual students had broken the behaviour code of conduct. “We have a long history of welcoming newcomers all over the world to Nova Scotia,” he said.

news.com.au/finance/business/media/controversial-refugee-story-removed/news-story/c763540a9ed952d7708cfee60c42af27

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Arab World

Islamic authorities in Dubai issue fatwa against Wi-Fi theft

11/04/2016

Dubai's top religious authorities say that stealing Wi-Fi from your neighbour would not be proper Islamic conduct.

That is according to a religious edict - known as a fatwa - from Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.

It was posted online on the department's website as a response to a question asked by an anonymous reader.

The edict says: "There is nothing wrong in using the line if your neighbours allow you to do so, but if they don't allow you, you may not use it."

The fatwa matches others issued by other regional clerics in recent years.

Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department answers a variety of online questions.

They range from prayers and religious matters to modern issues like cosmetic surgeries and illegally downloading movies.

belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/islamic-authorities-in-dubai-issue-fatwa-against-Wi-Fi-theft-34616443.html

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Islamic State regains Syrian stronghold near Turkey border - monitor

Mon Apr 11, 2016

AMMAN (Reuters) - Islamic State militants took back a stronghold in Syria near the border with Turkey on Monday, four days after losing it to a grouping of rebels, a monitoring group said.

The ultra-hardline Islamist group seized the town of al-Rai from factions fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, part of months of back-and-forth fighting in northern Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Islamic State has declared a cross-border Islamic caliphate in Syria and neighbouring Iraq and is also battling other insurgent groups caught up in Syria's civil war, some of them backed by Turkey and Western powers.

It has made steady gains near the Azaz border crossing with Turkey since last May, but has been pushed back in a number of areas in recent months by rival rebels and Syrian government forces supported by Russian air strikes.

af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN0X80KG

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Iraqi Security Forces Liberate City of Heet

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi security forces gained full control over the key city of Heet in the Western province of Ramadi after days of fierce clashes, a military source said on Monday.

"The security forces have just completed the operation to liberate the city of Heet,” the battlefield source said.

“The ISIL terrorists are now escaping from the city, leaving bodies of their fellow militants as well as their arms and other military hardware," he pointed out.

More details on the development will be published shortly.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000944

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Syria: ISIL Religious Judge in Raqqa Province Killed in Airstrike

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- One of the notorious leaders and the major Sharia Qazi (religious judge) of the ISIL terrorist group in the self-proclaimed caliphate's capital of Raqqa was killed in an air attack, media sources said minutes ago.

Fawaz al-Hassan, known as Abu Ali al-Sharei, was killed in an air attack in the Northeastern city of Raqqa, the Lebanon Debate website reported.

Al-Hassan was notorious for his harsh verdicts against the Syrian civilians and those members of the ISIL who tried to scape the battlefields.

In addition to the post of senior religious judge of the ISIL in Raqqa, al-Hassan led the religious court of al-Mansoureh since 2013.

A report said on Sunday that the Syrian fighter jets, tipped off by the army's intelligence agent, traced and targeted the ISIL terrorists' hideouts and command centers inside the terrorist-held city of Raqqa, leaving several ISIL commanders dead or wounded.

The Syrian air fleets' attacks on the ISIL command centers in al-Badou neighborhood near the Municipality's Sports Stadium, Teachers Housing and Down Town area claimed the lives of several ISIL commanders and their accompanying guards.

In the meantime, the ISIL hideouts and bases in the Northern side of Raqqa near the city's general hospital came under the heavy bombardments of the Syrian Army's aircraft.

Tens of the ISIL members were killed or wounded in the airstrikes.

The ISIL's military equipment also sustained major damage in the air raids.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000613

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Joint Arab force soon to combat terrorism

Monday 11 April 2016

CAIRO: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman called for “unity” and “joint alliance” during his historic speech at Egypt’s Parliament on Sunday where he became the first Arab leader to deliver such an address in Cairo.

“To remedy issues of our nations, with the Palestinian cause at the forefront, we are required to be united in one stance, one word,” he said, adding: “The Saudi-Egyptian cooperation we are witnessing today is a blessed beginning for our Arab and Muslim world to achieve balance after years of destabilization.”

King Salman’s address was received with roaring applause and a standing ovation.

Some MPs waved the Kingdom’s green flag, while others chanted “all of Egypt greets you.”

Joint efforts by Saudi Arabia and Egypt will “hasten the elimination of terrorism,” he said. 

“Experiences have shown that work amid joint alliance makes us much stronger.”

In his six-minute address, King Salman also said that Saudi Arabia and Egypt have agreed to build a bridge linking the nations across the Red Sea and to work together to create a pan-Arab defense force.

“We are working together to launch an Arab joint force,” he said, adding that “terrorism” and “radicalism” must be fought financially, militarily and ideologically.

The king also reiterated and hailed the deals inked between Saudi Arabia and Egypt after the two agreed to set up a $16 billion investment fund Saturday and settled a maritime dispute.

He said the planned bridge over the Red Sea will not only “connect Asia and Africa” but it will be a “gate to Africa,” boosting exports of the two countries and creating job opportunities for people in the region.

He also said the planned free trade zone in northern Sinai Peninsula will also boost the region economically.

“Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Egypt have a historic opportunity to achieve huge economic leaps by cooperating with each other,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has been a traditional source of economic and political support to Egypt.

Before his address, Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Al-Aal said “this is the first time a Saudi king talks with Egypt’s people from this (Parliament) dome.”

He said: “Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the backbone of Arab and Islamic nations. The cooperation between the two countries is the only way to abort the schemes of enemies and to accelerate the end of terrorism.”

arabnews.com/featured/news/908731

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Syrian Army, Allies Force Terrorists to Retreat from Heights North of Lattakia

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) repelled the terrorist groups' offensives in the Northern part of Lattakia and put an end to the hour-long control of the militants over a strategic height.

The Syrian government forces opened heavy fire at the offensive positions of the terrorist groups near the mountains of Abu Ali and al-Qamou'a, which slowed their movements down.

The Army and the NDF further conducted a rapid counter-attack and pushed the militant groups back from Abu Ali mountain, which ended in the killing or wounding of tens of terrorists.

The terrorist groups' military equipment also sustained major damage in the failed attacks and in the Syrian army's counter-attack.

Earlier reports said that the Syrian army troops and popular forces, backed up by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets, have repelled the terrorists groups' fresh waves of large-scale offensives in the Northeastern part of Lattakia province and inflicted major casualties on them, battlefield sources said.

"Joint operations of terrorists of al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and Ansar al-Mohajer (mainly form Chechnya and Caucasus) to prevail over the government forces' strongholds in the mountainous regions of Lattakia near Kinsibba were fended off by the Syrian soldiers, the National Defense Force and Hezbollah fighters," the sources said.

"The Syrian and Russian fighter jets have played a crucial role in pinning the terrorist groups down behind their positions," they added.

"The Russian jets have targeted a large number of military vehicles of the terrorists," the sources said.   

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000947

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Iran, Kazakhstan Expanding Regional Cooperation

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour said on Monday that Iran and Kazakhstan are keen on establishing peace and tranquility in Central Asia.

Rahimpour said unlike certian countries that are far from the region and seek to destabilize it, Iran and Kazakhstan are doing everything they can to reinforce regional security.

Touching upon Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's Monday visit to Iran, he said the visit is timely and will have fruitful results.

“During the two-day visit, several cooperation agreements and over 30 economic, agricultural and banking memoranda of understanding will be signed in sectors such as trade, economy, agriculture, industry, mines, and energy.

Nazarbayev is scheduled to arrive in Tehran today at the head of a high-ranking delegation.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000396

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Russian Forces Continue Mine Sweeping Operation in Palmyra

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian anti-mine and explosive engineers continue work in Palmyra in order to clear the ancient city of mines and other explosive devices left behind by ISIL after the city was taken back by the Syrian government forces in March.

The ancient city of Palmyra, one of the six UNESCO World Heritage sites in Syria, has been under the control of ISIL terrorists since mid-May 2015, and since its release from the terrorists’ grip, Russian mine sweepers have continued to dismantle the mines and explosive devices left by terrorists in city as civilians return to their homes.

The authorities in the city of Homs have prepared the transportation for more than two thousand Syrians who have expressed a desire to return home to Palmyra and to recently liberated city of Al-Quaryatayn, also located in the Central province.

Local residents say they prefer to get back their damaged homes in the war-ravaged city than to reside in temporarily tents or refugees camps in other parts of the country.

By Last weekend, Russian engineers and mine sweeping robots collected or dismantled over 1,500 mines and explosive devices.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000911

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Palestinian Analyst: Saudi King's Precious Gifts Not to Change Egypt's Position on Syria

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A prominent Palestinian analyst referred to the last week visit of Saudi Arabia's King Salman to Cairo, and said his expensive gifts cannot alter Egypt's firm decision to help Syria in the fight against terrorism.

"The Saudi king's precious gifts to Egypt will not change the country's positions in supporting Syria's campaign on terrorism," Akram Ataollah told FNA on Monday.

Noting that Cairo can no way follow the Saudi policies, he said, "Egypt believes that the events in Syria and the extremist groups' acts in the country endanger the entire region."

"The Egyptian and Syrian armies are now fighting against one enemy," Ataollah underlined.

Saudi King Salman arrived in Cairo on Thursday in his first visit to Egypt since his inauguration as king in early 2015.

Saudi Arabia signed a $20 billion deal to finance Egypt’s petroleum needs for the next five years and a $1.5 billion deal to develop its Sinai region.

Riyadh is one of the main supporters of terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Daesh or ISIL/ISIS is a Wahhabi group mentored by Saudi Arabia and has been blacklisted as a terrorist group everywhere in the world, including the United States and Russia, but Saudi Arabia.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000257

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Syrian Army Marching on ISIL Positions East of Aleppo

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops stormed the ISIL terrorist group's concentration centers and gatherings near two strategic villages in the Eastern part of Aleppo province and pinned the militants down behind their positions.

The ISIL strongholds near the villages of Aran and Berlaheen came under the offensives of the Syrian army, which inflicted serious damage on the terrorists' military hardware and machinegun-equipped vehicles.

The ISIL also suffered a heavy death toll in the attacks.

A report said on Sunday that the Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances in the Southern part of Aleppo province, killing a number of Ahrar al-Sham movement terrorists, including their notorious commander.

Abdullah Mohammed al-Hasm, a Kuwaiti national and commander of Ahrar al-Sham Movement in Southern Aleppo, was killed in heavy clashes with the Syrian army on Saturday night, but his death was confirmed on Sunday evening. 

Several other terrorists were also killed along with Mohammad al-Hasm in Southern Aleppo.

No further detail is available on the death of the top terrorist commander.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000857

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Syria: Palmyra Airbase Ready for Hosting Combat, Logistic Flights

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Military sources announced earlier today that the strategic military airport of Palmyra in the Eastern part of Homs province is now ready to host the Syrian fighter jets for targeting terrorist groups' positions in the Central and Eastern parts of the country.

"After liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur), almost all necessary technical equipment and infrastructures of the Palmyra airbase have been repaired and have passed final checks for leading the country's air fleet to conduct anti-terrorism and logistic flights across the country, mainly over the Eastern and Central battlefields," the sources said.

On Friday, the Syrian fighter jets carried out several combat sorties over the ISIL positions in the Eastern and Northern parts of Tadmur and targeted them heavily.

The ISIL gathering centers and positions near the town of al-Sukhneh came under the heavy strikes of the Syrian fighter jets, which inflicted major damage on the militants' military hardware and vehicles.

The ISIL also sustained a heavy death toll in the air raids.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000695

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Syria: Al-Nusra Front Dispatches More Recruits to Aleppo to Prevent More Defeats

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Al-Nusra Front terrorist group has dispatched more troops to Aleppo following the rapid victories of the Syrian Armed Forces in the Northwestern part of the province, battlefield sources said.

"The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front have dispatched nearly 350 fresh forces to join the terrorist front near the refugee camp of Handarat and Yarmoun to slow down the rapid advances of the Syrian Army troops and their popular allies in the region in the last two-three days," the sources said.

A report said on Sunday that the terrorist groups suffered a heavy death toll and their armored vehicles and tanks sustained major damage after their attacks were repelled by Hezbollah fighters, Syrian army and the country's fighter jets in the Southern battlefields of Aleppo province.

Over 100 terrorists were killed many more were wounded in the failed attacks near Khan Touman, al-Zarbeh and al-Khalediyeh.

At least three tanks and over nine machinegun-equipped vehicles of the militants were targeted by the Syrian fighter jets.

Several bomb-laden vehicles of the terrorist groups were detonated in the heavy fire of the Syrian army's missile units.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000745

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Deir Ezzur: ISIL's Strategic Tunnel Razed Down by Syrian Army

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army discovered a key tunnel of the ISIL terrorist group connecting their positions outside the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur to the main streets in the city center.

The ISIL's 30-meter-long tunnel, used by the terrorist group to transfer its members from their positions near al-Sina'ah district outside Deir Ezzur to Mazara street in the Central part of the city, was razed down by the army units.

Scores of the Takfiri terrorists were killed and wounded in the Syrian army's attacks on their tunnel.

On Sunday, the Syrian air force pounded and destroyed the military positions and gathering centers of the ISIL in two different regions in the city of Deir Ezzur on Sunday, killing several Takfiri terrorists and injuring many more.

The ISIL's positions in al-Sina'ah (Industrial) and Haweija Saker regions in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur city were razed down by the Syrian fighter jets.

The Syrian army's artillery units also targeted the ISIL's positions in al-Mura'yeh Haweija region in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur military airport.

The ISIL's military hardware, including their military vehicles, were destroyed in the Syrian airstrikes.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000552

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Saudi Arabia Violates Truce Agreement in Yemen

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi warplanes have reportedly bombarded a number of areas in Yemen’s Southwestern province of Ta’iz, violating a UN-brokered truce agreement that had just taken effect.

Saudi bomber aircraft targeted the Salah and al-Huban districts of Ta’izz just two hours after the truce came into force at midnight on Sunday, Yemen’s al-Masirah news website reported.

Yemeni sources also said that Saudi warplanes had pounded several areas in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and the province of Omran.

This is while Riyadh had earlier issued a statement in which it pledged to honor the truce.

Saudi Arabia is “going to respect a ceasefire... but reserves the right to respond” to any attacks by the Ansarullah fighters, the statement read.

The Ansarullah fighters, along with allied army troops loyal to Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, had sent the UN a letter on Saturday, committing to “cease land, sea and air military operations” throughout Yemen.

The truce was announced by the UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as a step to calm the situation ahead of negotiations scheduled to be held in Kuwait on April 18.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000616

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South Asia

Pakistan-based Haqqani leaders helped to resolve Taliban leadership issues

Mon Apr 11 2016

The notorious Pakistan-based Haqqani terrorist network leaders have played a key role in resolving the leadership issues of the Taliban group which recently led to deadly infighting among some dissident groups in western Afghanistan.

According to the local media reports in Pakistan, the breakthrough was achieved with the mediation of Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani.

One of the major breakthroughs was the announcement of allegiance by Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.

The other breakthroughs according to the reports were securing d top positions for Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Yaqoob, and brother Mullah Abdul Manan in the Taliban hierarchy.

According to the reports, allegiance by Mullah Zakir was made during a gathering where Haqqani network leader was also delivering a message.

No further details were given regarding the exact location where the gathering was organized but it is believed that the Haqqani Network leaders and the Taliban council are based in Pakistan where they use safe havens for planning and coordinating attacks in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani terrorist network is accused of staging numerous cross-border attacks from their base in North Waziristan, including the 19-hour siege at the US Embassy in Kabul in September 201

The Commander of US Central Command General Lloyd J Austin earlier said Pakistan should “take decisive action” against the Haqqani terrorist network, calling the network as the greatest threat to the US forces in Afghanistan.

khaama.com/pakistan-based-haqqani-leaders-helped-to-resolve-taliban-leadership-issues-0611

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Afghan bomber 'kills 12 police recruits' in Jalalabad

11 April 2016

At least 12 people have been killed and dozens wounded by a suicide bomber targeting police recruits in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, officials say.

The bomber reportedly targeted a bus carrying students from the police academy.

Unconfirmed reports said the attacker had used a rickshaw to conceal the explosives.

Taliban militants have previously targeted police and government officials in Jalalabad.

The city is the capital of Nangarhar province, where two districts are controlled, or at least influenced, by the so-called Islamic State.

bbc.com/news/world-asia-36012640

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2 killed, 7 wounded as blast target govt employees bus in Kabul

Mon Apr 11 2016

A relatively heavy explosion rocked capital Kabul earlier today after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated near government employees’ vehicle.

The incident has taken place in Bagrami area of targeting the education ministry workers.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Education confirmed that 2 employees of the ministry were killed and five others were wounded in the incident.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) also confirmed that a Finance and Procurement staff of the ministry were killed and 7 others were wounded in the explosion which took place at 7:00 am this morning.

A police official earlier confirmed that the explosive device was planted in a bus carrying Ministry of Education workers and was detonated in Bagram area, leaving one person was killed in the incident and six others were wounded.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Today’s incident is followed two days after Kabul city was hit by rocket attack which did not incur any casualties.

Earlier, at least 2 people were killed and 7 others were wounded in an explosion which rocked the 11th police district of the city.

khaama.com/explosion-rocks-capital-kabul-0608

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Taliban Claims Rockets Attacks in Kabul Just Missed Kerry

Mon Apr 11 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Taliban claimed US Secretary of State John Kerry was the target of four rocket attacks that shook Kabul on the weekend, during Kerry's visit to Afghanistan's capital.

Taliban said in a statement published on the Internet that it fired rockets into Kabul, while the Secretary of State was there, however the rockets missed him, and subsequent reports showed the time gap between the time Kerry left Kabul and the when the attacks occurred was about one hour.

Afghan police said that two or more rockets struck, but no one was hurt. Kerry was there trying to get President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to make compromises and share power, at a time when the nation's economy is weak and the Taliban is more powerful than they have been since their rule ended in 2001.

The rounds exploded around 650 feet away from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and caused significant damage, however no one was hurt.

During his visit, Kerry called on the Taliban to re-engage in peace talks dormant for almost a year, and said there was no change now in President Barack Obama's plans for troop levels in Afghanistan. There are 9,800 U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan, and that number is set to fall to 5,500 next year.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950123000510

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Militants Planning to Attack Hotel in Kabul, US Embassy warn citizens

Mon Apr 11 2016

The US Embassy in Kabul has issued a security alert to citizens regarding a possible attack on a hotel in Kabul city.

“The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has received reports that insurgents are planning to conduct attacks targeting The Star Hotel in Kabul City,” a statement by US Embassy said.

The statement further added that “In response to this potential threat, the U.S. Embassy Kabul is advising American citizens to avoid the Star Hotel, and to remain vigilant when visiting hotels in Kabul, especially during large gatherings.”

This comes as Kabul city was rocked by back to back attacks by anti-government armed militant groups during the past recent days.

The militants fired rockets on Kabul city late on Saturday night as the US Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting the country to meet with the Afghan officials.

The incident did not incur any casualties to the local residents or members of the security forces.

Meanwhile, the militants targeted a Ministry of Education (MoE) vehicle in Kabul city this morning, leaving two employees of the ministry dead and seven others wounded.

khaama.com/militants-planning-to-attack-hotel-in-kabul-us-embassy-warn-citizens-0616

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Dostum reaffirms full support of Turkmen and Uzbeks to President Ghani

Mon Apr 11 2016

The First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum reaffirmed full support of Turkmen and Uzbeks to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

He was speaking during an international ceremony organized in ARG Presidential Palace to remember Ali Shir Navai.

Gen. Dostum further added that the distance between ARG Palace and people has been shortened as promised during the presidential elections.

He warned that the use of force will not acceptable under any circumstances, apparently pointing towards the growing criticisms towards the government of national unity.

The First Vice President reaffirmed full support to President Ghani, saying “We assure that we are honest people and will not accept use of power.”

“We Turkmen of Afghanistan and we can say the Turkmen of Turkey and Uzbeks of Uzbekistan stand beside you (President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani),” Gen. Dostum added.

Gen. Dostum also added that he was confident Afghanistan will succeed in achieving peace and stability, insisting that peace and stability in Afghanistan have links with the entire world.

Meanwhile, President Ghani promised to create a national medal in the name of Amir Shir Ali Navai and put his picture in Salam Khana Palace of ARG Presidential Palace.

khaama.com/dostum-reaffirms-full-support-of-turkmen-and-uzbeks-to-president-ghani-0615

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Abdullah: ‘Surprised with reactions on Kerry’s remarks about unity govt’

Mon Apr 11 2016

The Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah said he is surprised with reactions regarding the remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the National Unity Government.

In his remarks during the Ministers Council meeting, Abdullah said the agreement for the formation of National Unity Government was one of the most important agreements concluded in the political history of the country.

He said certain politicians, who have not formally adopted the opposition status, reacted towards the remarks by Kerry regarding the duration of the unity government.

Abdullah further added that he was surprised to know that certain politicians became recently became aware regarding the agreement as the politicians involved in the politics of the country should have reviewed it long ago.

This comes as the former Afghan Minister of Interior and one of the prominent politicians has called for a constitutional Loya Jirga to be organized in a bid bring reforms in the current political system, calling it unhealthy administration.

The remarks by Mohammad Omar Daudzai followed a day after the US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul to meet with the Afghan officials.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Senate House Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar reacted towards US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks regarding the Government of National Unity after he announced the agreement for the formation of the government has no end and will have a duration of five years.

Muslimyar said such decisions by foreigners regarding the fate of Afghanistan are shameful, saying he ‘regrets and is ashamed that a foreign minister from a foreign country comes to Afghanistan and decides regarding our fate. This is a clear interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. The President and CEO could do this job as well to inform the Afghan people.’

Kerry said Saturday that “There is no end to this agreement at the end of two years or in six months from now. This agreement ends – this is an agreement for a unity government, the duration of which is five years.”

Kerry further added that the agreement did mention the effort to try to have the potential of a Loya Jirga at some point within two years, saying ‘That was a goal’.

khaama.com/abdullah-surprised-with-reactions-on-kerrys-remarks-about-unity-govt-0614

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Daudzai calls for Loya Jirga as Kerry says Afghan unity govt has no end date

Mon Apr 11 2016

The former Afghan Minister of Interior and one of the prominent politicians has called for a constitutional Loya Jirga to be organized in a bid bring reforms in the current political system, calling it unhealthy administration.

The remarks by Mohammad Omar Daudzai followed a day after the US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul to meet with the Afghan officials.

Kerry said the duration of the Government of National Unity is five and there is no end date specified in the agreement that led to the formation of the unity government.

However, the statement by Daudzai said there has been no improvement under the current government except increase in injustice, corruption and narrowing living conditions for the people of Afghanistan.

The statement further added that the government of national unity is facing administration crisis, insisting that the government is not legally legitimate as it was formed based on an agreement between two election camps.

The formation of the government has led to widening ethnic and religious tensions among the people of Afghanistan, the statement said, adding that the people of Afghanistan are counting days for the end of the government.

The statement also added that Daudzai urges the unity government leaders to bring reforms in electoral system, organize parliamentary and provincial councils elections and Loya Jirga in the format of the Afghan constitution to decide regarding the unfavourable situation of the country.

Daudzai also warned frustration among the people will further grow if the current situation persists and such a situation will have a negative impact on international partners of the country.

khaama.com/daudzai-calls-for-loya-jirga-as-kerry-says-afghan-unity-govt-has-no-end-date-0610

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Kabul event brings together EODs from throughout Afghanistan

Mon Apr 11 2016

Explosive ordnance disposal technicians from the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security convened for a five-day meeting to exchange ideas and discuss best practices for combating explosives throughout Afghanistan.

The Resolute Support and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Directorate joined more than 120 EOD technicians from throughout the country for the first joint meeting of its kind last week.

CSTC-A deputy commander U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Ostrowski provided opening remarks at the inaugural gathering.

“We must continue to build a sustainable, effective and affordable ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] through training and resourcing in order to achieve mutually supporting and simultaneous employment of the following lines of effort,” said Ostrowski before highlighting the systems and processes required for success in the fight against IEDs.

Ostrowski stated there are four necessary steps: continue to attack the network, defeat the device, prepare the force and enable a holistic government approach. He also highlighted the Coalition’s equipment contributions to counter-IED efforts in Afghanistan, noting more than 455 mine rollers were issued in support of route clearance operations since 2011, along with 90,000 mounted and dismounted counter-IED radio controlled electronic warfare devices. He said there were 64 EOD items delivered to the ANDSF, including critical equipment such as medium tactical vehicles, IED jammers, bomb suits, hand-held detectors and robots.

“Finally, we have established two state of the art Ministry of the Interior exploitation labs in both Kabul and Herat, designed to gain further intelligence about the devices that are being used against us,” said Ostrowski as he summarized the materiel support provided to ANDSF counter-IED efforts.

He added that while equipment is important, personnel and training are paramount.

“One of the lessons relearned is the value of training; training must accompany innovation,” said Ostrowski. “Our best counter-IED weapon will always be a well-trained soldier or policeman.”

Gen. Mohammad Anwar Paigham, Director of the Ministry of the Interior Engineering, praised the joint event and emphasized that “the goal is to have better coordination between the security elements, the Ministries of Defense and the Interior and National Directorate of Security, especially in the area of counter-IED.”

The Ministry of the Interior Deputy Minister for Administration Lt. Gen. Akramuddin Yawar echoed the importance of communication between the agencies, and said creation of a reoccurring joint event was a good medium for interagency operations.

“This conference will give us a chance to exchange ideas, thoughts and learning from each other’s experience,” said Yawar, addressing the audience. “You can all implement what you learn here in your units.”

“So many of our casualties are due to IEDs,” continued Yawar. “We need to let the people of Afghanistan know that we put our lives on the line to save the lives of civilians.”

“It is a great honor to the people of Afghanistan that you each would put your lives at risk to save the population of our country,” echoed Paigham.

Paigham thanked his advisers and coalition partners for making the event and training possible and concluded his remarks by recognizing all of the soldiers and police in the audience.

“Thank you to the counter-IED and EOD operators, who without you, there would have been countless lives lost in Afghanistan.”

khaama.com/kabul-event-brings-together-eods-from-throughout-afghanistan-0609

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Afghan police arrest internationally Most Wanted drug lord in Nangarhar

Mon Apr 11 2016

The Afghan police forces have arrested one of the most elusive drug lord from eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According to the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the drug lord who was heavily involved in trafficking of illicit drugs was nabbed during a special military raid by Afghan National Police (ANP) forces from Ghani Khel district.

Originally a resident of Achin district, Haji Watan was on the list of Most Wanted criminal on major international agencies and was blacklisted by the United Nations.

“Based on the intelligence reports, Afghan Counter Narcotics Special Operation Police have conducted a successful operation in Ghani Khil district of eastern Nangarhar province in which a known drug dealer named (Haji Watan) was arrested,” a statement by MoI said.

The statement further added “Haji Watan is the resident of Achin district of Nangarhar province and he was blacklisted by United Nations.”

According to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the arrest of Haji Watan is considered as a major success for the Afghan Counter-Narcotics Police.

khaama.com/afghan-police-arrest-internationally-most-wanted-drug-lord-in-nangarhar-0607

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Afghan Senate Chairman reacts towards Kerry’s remarks on unity govt duration

Sun Apr 10 2016

The Afghan Senate House Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar reacted towards US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks regarding the Government of National Unity after he announced the agreement for the formation of the government has no end and will have a duration of five years.

Muslimyar said such decisions by foreigners regarding the fate of Afghanistan are shameful, saying he ‘regrets and is ashamed that a foreign minister from a foreign country comes to Afghanistan and decides regarding our fate. This is a clear interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. The President and CEO could do this job as well to inform the Afghan people.’

He said the two leaders were supposed to tell the Afghan people that the agreement for unity government was for two years and will have a duration of five years.

This comes as Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday in an unannounced visit to meet with the Afghan officials.

He appeared in a press conference with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Saturday night following his visit to Kabul and said “There is no end to this agreement at the end of two years or in six months from now. This agreement ends – this is an agreement for a unity government, the duration of which is five years.”

Kerry further added that the agreement did mention the effort to try to have the potential of a Loya Jirga at some point within two years. That was a goal.

The agreement for the formation of National Unity Government in no way have some particular termination, Kerry said, adding that “The constitution has elected a president. The president has agreed to a unity government, and a political agreement was made between Dr. Abdullah and President Ghani for how they would go forward in a unity government.”

“But it is our understanding that that is a mandate for five years and there’s no termination whatsoever in six months,” he added.

khaama.com/afghan-senate-chairman-reacts-towards-kerrys-remarks-on-unity-govt-duration-0606

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India

26/11 ‘Mumbai bomber’ enters Europe in ISIS plot: Report

April 11, 2016

A Pakistani bomb-making expert linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack is among scores of trained terrorists who slipped into the EU posing as refugees to join the Islamic State’s plot to commit atrocities in Europe, a media report said on Sunday. Muhammad Usman Ghani, who is linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terror groups, is being held in Austria on charges of participating in a terrorist organisation, The Sunday Times said.

The ISIS “strike team” sent to Europe before last November’s Paris attacks included Usman, the veteran bomb-maker from Pakistan. LeT was behind the Mumbai attack that left 166 people dead. The disclosure come from sources close to a multinational investigation who warn more “large-scale” assaults on European countries, including Britain, are “imminent”. Dozens of the ISIS operatives are still at large, the report said. Usman, 34, and a suspected Algerian ISIS fighter named as Adel Haddadi, 28, have been questioned by Austrian and French authorities after being linked to the terrorist gang that killed 130 people in Paris last November. Investigators believe both men are part of an unknown number of Isis “strike teams” that used the migrant flow to infiltrate Europe last year. A network of jihadists based on the Continent has provided extensive logistic support, from fake identity documents to safe houses. Usman and Haddadi arrived on the Greek island of Leros on October 3 on the same boat as two of the Paris suicide bombers, known only by the fake names Ahmad al- Mohammed and Mohammad al-Mahmod. The pair blew themselves up in front of the Stade de France stadium on November 13. All four men had obtained Syrian passports and travelled on a boat carrying 198 people, according to a Greek police report. Adel Haddadi has been linked to the Paris attacks Usman and Haddadi were travelling under the names Faycal Alaifan and Fozi Brahi. They were arrested by Greek police soon after arriving because their documents showed up on the EU’s database of nearly 4,000 passports that had been stolen by Isis. Greek police released both men on October 28 and allowed them to continue the journey across Europe. Shortly after the Paris attacks, Usman and Haddadi resurfaced in Austria, applying for asylum at the Asfinag refugee shelter, near Salzburg, in late November. Local police then arrested the men on December 10 when a fingerprint search linked them to the passports commandeered by Isis. Investigators are trying to determine whether the arrests in Greece had prevented them from joining the Paris attackers, or whether they were planning a separate assault. An examination of phones in their possession in Austria revealed that the suspects had dialled numbers used by their suicide bomber travelling companions, as well as associates of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the terrorist cell behind the attacks. Abaaoud, who was killed in Paris in a shootout with police on November 18, boasted to an associate he and another 90 fighters had slipped into Europe as refugees, according to French investigators. While in detention in Austria, Usman and Haddadi have been questioned by members of the DGSI, France’s internal security service — the equivalent of MI5. Both men are expected to be extradited to France to stand trial on charges relating to the Paris attacks. They are denying the charges.

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/2611-2008-mumbai-bomber-slips-into-europe-in-isis-plot-islamic-state/

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Mideast

Muslim body to focus on Palestinians, terror at Turkey summit

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Istanbul: The world's Islamic countries began their annual meeting on in Istanbul, where they are set to focus on the Palestinian cause, conflicts in member states and combating terrorism.

The meeting of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) comes once again at a time of turmoil in many Muslim nations, with conflicts in Syria and Yemen dragging on, and several states including Turkey, bloodied by militant attacks.

The 13th annual OIC conference began with senior officials adopting the agenda and will be followed by a foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Over 30 heads of state and government will attend the summit hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday and Friday.

With guests set to include Saudi King Salman, the event is taking place under the highest security, with police stationed all around the venue in central Istanbul.

The OIC said the summit was to issue a resolution on the Palestinian issue and support for international efforts to relaunch a "collective political process".

The gathering comes at a time of rising Islamophobia in many western nations in response to a spate of attacks by the Islamic State group.

Islamic leaders will also "consider the situation of Muslim communities in non-OIC member States and the issue of combating terrorism."

Turkey has also been a victim of several bloody IS attacks, and the Istanbul summit comes a day after the US warned of a "credible threat" of attacks in the city.

Under Erdogan, who has made Islam one of central themes of his politics, Turkey has upped its economic and political influence throughout the Islamic world, particularly in lands in the Middle East once part of the Ottoman Empire.

However this policy has has not always met with success and frosty relations with several Muslim states, including Egypt, have led some analysts to conclude its aim of "zero problems with neighbours" ended up having exactly the opposite effect.

In a speech on Saturday, Erdogan hailed the role Turkey has played by hosting nearly three million refugees from neighbouring Syria.

"In the world, there is no state, no country that is capable of assuming such a burden. The events this year that targeted us will not deflect us from this path," he said.

A big question mark hangs over the level of representation from Egypt, which has had strained ties with Turkey since the ousting of Ankara ally Mohamed Morsi in 2013

zeenews.india.com/news/world/muslim-body-to-focus-on-palestinians-terror-at-turkey-summit_1874575.html

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ISIL suspected in shooting of Syrian journalist in Turkey's southeast

Mon Apr 11 2016

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is the main suspect in the shooting of Syrian journalist Mohammad Zahar al-Shurgat, 36, who was shot and severely injured in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep on April 10.

Al-Shurgat, a journalist from pro-Free Syrian Army (FSA) Aleppo Today TV, was hospitalized and remains in critical condition.

Al-Shurgat, who was reportedly carrying several maps of certain regions in Syria, joined the FSA after the war in Syria started and was the commander of the Abu Bakr Brigade before he moved to Gaziantep 10 months ago.

The journalist was receiving death threats from ISIL militants for the broadcasts he made against the jihadists, according to reports.

Police are investigating footage of the incident, which was recorded by the security camera of a nearby business. The video footage showed the masked suspect approaching al-Shurgat from behind and running away in the same direction he had come from after the attack. 

The police are searching for the suspected ISIL militant and an investigation into the case is ongoing.

Similar incidents have occurred in Turkish cities close to the Syrian border. A Syrian documentarist and activitist who reported on atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was assassinated, according to the group with which he worked, “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” in Gaziantep on Dec. 27, 2015.

“Film maker Naji Jerf, father of two children, was assassinated... today in Gaziantep” with a silencer-equipped pistol, the group said in a statement on Twitter.

At the end of October 2015, ISIL claimed responsibility for killing journalists Ibrahim Abdelkader and Fares Hamadi. They were found decapitated in a house in Şanlıurfa in southern Turkey.

hurriyetdailynews.com/isil-suspected-in-shooting-of-syrian-journalist-in-turkeys-southeast.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97618&NewsCatID=509

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Turkish gov’t takes ‘urgent expropriation’ decision for properties in southeast

Mon Apr 11 2016

The Turkish government has made “an urgent expropriation” decision concerning properties in four southeastern provinces.

The cabinet’s approval of the related Interior Ministry decision went into force after being published in the Official Gazette on April 11. Accordingly, the government has decided to “urgently expropriate” properties in multiple districts of southeastern provinces, including the Bağlar and Kayapınar districts of Diyarbakır province, the Çukurca and Yüksekova districts of Hakkari province, the Kızıltepe district of Mardin province and the Cizre and İdil districts of Şırnak province, in order to build “police security points.”

Turkey’s southeast has been gripped by violence since July 2015, with security forces battling militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its youth wing, known as the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), in densely populated urban centers.

The recent fighting has marked the deadliest period in at least two decades of the conflict.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-govt-takes-urgent-expropriation-decision-for-properties-in-southeast.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97619&NewsCatID=341

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Spain’s BBVA seeking another Turkish lender to buy: CEO

Mon Apr 11 2016

Spain’s BBVA, which has a majority stake in Turkey’s Garanti Bank, is looking to buy another bank in the country, BBVA chief Carlos Torres Vila has said.

BBVA is not actively in talks as there are no banks for sale, but Turkey is a strategic market, he said. “We want to grow in Turkey. We want to acquire another lender that will bring value to Garanti.”

BBVA, which already owned a stake in Garanti, acquired an additional 14.89 percent of Doğuş Group’s stake in the bank last year to become the biggest stakeholder in the lender at 39.90 percent.

“We are very happy with our Garanti decision in Turkey. Turkey is of great importance for us in the long term as it has great economic potential. Therefore, we are evaluating new acquisition opportunities in the Turkish market just as we are in other markets where we have activities,” he said.

Torres Vila said they would assess any opportunity when it arises as the Turkish banking industry was quite developed, especially in the field of digital operations.

BBVA was earlier reported to be interested in buying a stake in Turkey’s Finansbank, which was then owned by the National Bank of Greece (NBG). However, Qatar National Bank bid 2.7 billion euros for the lender last year and recently said it had received regulatory approval for the purchase.

Garanti tops digital banking

Torres Vila said the BBVA Group, which has over 66 million customers in 35 countries, has around 3.1 million digital banking customers, around half of whom are from Turkey.

“Garanti Bank has around 1.6 million digital banking customers. Garanti is a crucial part of our group’s digital transformation strategy,” he said.

The BBVA head said the global banking sector had faced a dramatic transformation with the development of new solutions through mainly financial technology – dubbed “fintech” – companies.

“The world has now been talking about negative interest rates,” he said. “At the end of the day, our main job is to keep all of our customers’ money safe and to help them manage their financial needs. Thanks to the latest technologies, this can be achieved more easily and at lower costs.”

Fuat Erbil was appointed as the new CEO after the BBVA Group became the main shareholder in Garanti, replacing Ergun Özen. The new CEO was one of seven directors to be appointed by BBVA in a board of 10 members. Özen is continuing as board director.

hurriyetdailynews.com/spains-bbva-seeking-another-turkish-lender-to-buy-ceo.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97621&NewsCatID=345

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Turkey, EU discuss migrant road map ahead of summit

April/10/2016

Turkey’s foreign and EU ministers have met with ministers from across Europe in Istanbul to discuss the handling of the migrant crisis ahead of an EU ministers meeting in the Netherlands on April 11-12.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and EU Minister Volkan Bozkır hosted ministers from the Netherlands, which holds the EU presidency, France, Slovakia and Portugal on April 9.

“Preventing irregular migration and encouraging regular and controlled migration is one of the main subjects between the EU and Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu said ahead of the meeting.

“We have a road map regarding this issue, which has been implemented since April 4, and we will continue to monitor the situation,” he added.

The Turkish foreign minister said EU-Turkey relations “have gained a new momentum, and we are going through an intense process.”     

Turkey and the EU have held three summits in recent months.  

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, accompanied by Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir and Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs Margarida Marques, said economic, energy, human rights, legal and foreign policies were among the topics discussed but the focus was on refugee issues.

“We have agreed we want to end the business of smugglers,” Koenders said, adding the EU ministers had arrived in Turkey after visiting Greece to see preparations to implement the refugee deal struck between the EU and Turkey.     

The agreement allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU. The resettlement program began on April 4.    

“I think we had a good beginning to this arrangement and we are very pleased here today to be in Turkey to also discuss the issues of relocation, of resettlement and also of finding a legal way to have Syrian citizens from Turkey coming into the European Union,” Koenders added.     

“I want to underline the hospitality of the Turkish Republic and the Turkish people in hosting more than two million refugees.”     

Bozkır will attend a meeting of EU ministers on April 11-12 in the Netherlands, where the main focus will be on the migrant crisis and the deal between the EU and Turkey.

The aim of the Turkey-EU deal is to discourage people from making the perilous Aegean Sea crossing in flimsy boats by presenting them with the threat of deportation straight back to where they came from.

According to statistics released on April 8 by the International Organization of Migrants (IOM), more than 152,000 people have arrived in Greece from Turkey by sea since Jan. 1, nearly three-quarters of whom were Syrians. Another 366 people have drowned en route.

However, the number of migrants arriving at Greek islands has dropped in recent days.

The Greek coast guard reported that April 5 was the first day without migrant or refugee arrivals by sea since last year, according to the IOM.

The fall in numbers has helped, as Greece is facing an “enormous task” in identifying, housing and processing those who have already arrived, GreekEurope Minister Nikos Xydakis told reporters at a joint press conference with six visiting European counterparts.

Italian European Affairs Minister Sandro Gozi said his country and Albania were working closely to prevent the creation of a “new migrant route” via the Greek-Albanian border.

The EU-Turkey deal was negotiated after a series of Balkan countries closed their borders, including Macedonia, which had been a key point on the trail for migrants heading to northern Europe.

“We haven’t seen any specific increase on [the migrant flow] through Albania,” Gozi said after the meeting with his counterparts to take stock of the migrant crisis.

“But it’s very important to strengthen our cooperation between Italy and Albania. We are working very closely not to find ourselves taken by surprise when we know that there is the possibility of a new route of flows,” he added.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-eu-discuss-migrant-road-map-ahead-of-summit.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97605&NewsCatID=510

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Turkish ship attacked by pirates, crew kidnapped: Reports

Mon Apr 11 2016

A Turkish ship, the M/T Puli, has been attacked by pirates in Nigeria, resulting in the kidnapping of its six-member crew, according to the Deniz News Agency.

The 148-meter tanker belonging to Kaptanoğlu Denizcilik was attacked while it was traveling at 4 a.m. on April 11.

Captain İlkay Olgun, Haluk Buran, Furkan Topcu, Mehmet Babacan, Şükrü Dömbek and Eray Falay were all kidnapped from the Malta-flagged tanker.

After the incident, Kaptanoğlu Denizcilik released a statement, saying the crew was in good health.

Turkish Foreign Ministry, Transportation, Communication and Maritime Affairs Ministry and other relevant offices were contacted about the incident and the public will be informed on developments, the statement read.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-ship-attacked-by-pirates-crew-kidnapped-reports.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97624&NewsCatID=509

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Southeast Asia

Mahathir warns: Najib ready to back Taliban-style criminal penalties

APRIL 11, 2016

Malaysia is becoming a more conservative Islamic nation under Najib Razak, who is prepared to back Taliban-style criminal punishments such as amputations and stoning to stay in power, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has warned.

Mr Najib’s ruling UMNO party has indicated support for the introduction of Islamic Hudud laws in the eastern state of Kelantan, although it cannot be implemented without the two-thirds support of federal parliament to change the constitution and increase the powers of the sharia court.

“He’s prepared to support these so-called Hudud laws where you decapitate people, chop off their hands, stone them to death. He’s willing to support that because he wants their (Islamic party) support. That’s Najib,” said Dr Mahathir, who quit the ruling party he once led last month to join an opposition movement committed to ousting the Prime Minister.

“He doesn’t care what he does or what his policy is as long as he gets support. And he wants the support of the opposition (Islamic party) PAS. The leader of PAS is talking to him.”

Last month, as Mr Najib battled pressure at home and abroad over a multi-billion-dollar corruption scam involving the 1MDB state investment fund and $US1 billion in transfers to his personal account, a PAS spokesman said a negotiator from within the Prime Minister’s office had “given his green light” for Hudud laws.

“Maybe (a constitutional amendment bill will be ­tabled) at the next (parliament) session, not this current one,” PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan told reporters.

Critics of Mr Najib accuse him of using racial and religious divides to retain power — an ­accusation that was levelled at Dr Mahathir during his 22-year term in office. Under Dr Mahathir, the authority of sharia courts was ­expanded to allow them to deal with cases punishable by up to three years’ jail, fines of up to $5000 and/or six strokes of the cane.

Dr Mahathir’s former education minister, Anwar Ibrahim — now leader of the progressive political opposition — introduced Islamic education and principles into Malaysian schools, which many moderates blame for the ­increasing conservatism among Malay Muslim youth.

Successive surveys by independent Malaysian polling centre Merdeka show a steep rise in support for Hudud laws among Malay Muslims, from 47 per cent in ­November 2003 to 73 per cent in February last year.

Bilateral relations between Australia and Malaysia have warmed considerably under Mr Najib, whom successive prime ministers have lauded as a mod­erate Islamic ally against growing Islamic extremism.

Dr Mahathir, however, has warned that the country is “sliding towards” more conservative Islamic principles.

“(Najib) is not a moderate in that sense. He wants to be a moderate for the world, but domestic­ally he agrees with these extreme so-called sharia laws.”

Activists agree that raids on Malaysian bars, hotels and private functions have risen markedly under Mr Najib, along with the powers and authority of religious police in each state.

Last week, religious police in Kuala Lumpur raided a private dinner in an upscale hotel held by a transgender organisation to raise money for HIV treatments. The police entered the invitation-only event without a warrant.

Other recent cases include a late-night raid on a hotel room ­occupied by a married couple of more than 20 years, suspected of being adulterers because they checked in at different times, and another on the chief executive of a local think tank who was sharing a room with his elderly mother.

Merdeka program director Ben Suffian told The Australian: “You have to see this Islamisation within the political context in ­Malaysia. (Najib’s) party in 2013 lost the popular vote and since then have been on the back foot because of the sliding economy and other scandals. (Embracing Hudud) is part of a grand strategy to try and split the opposition.”

theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/mahathir-warns-najib-ready-to-back-talibanstyle-criminal-penalties/news-story/43280f6a04d497c958fac8d4e2274893

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Muslim rebels in 10 hour battle with Philippine soldiers

10 April 2016

Philippine soldiers battled a group of about 120 Muslim rebels linked to Islamic State in a ten-hour assault on a southern island that killed 23 people, an army spokesman said on Sunday.

Major Filemon Tan said the military attacked a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf rebels on the island of Basilan led by Isnilon Hapilon, an insurgent for whom the US State Department has offered a bounty of up to $5 million.

"I can confirm 18 soldiers were killed and 53 were wounded," Tan said, adding that five militants, including a Moroccan, Mohammad Khattab, and Ubaida, a son of Hapilon, were killed in Saturday's incident, which wounded 20 rebels.

There was no immediate statement from the small but violent Abu Sayyaf group, which is known for extortion, kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, and is one of the brutal Muslim rebel factions in the south of the largely Christian Philippines.

The group has posted videos on social media sites pledging allegiance to Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, which have attracted foreign fighters from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa to the troubled Philippine south.

The army has stepped up its offensive against the rebels since November, Tan said, when President Benigno Aquino ordered it to hunt down Abu Sayyaf over the kidnapping and execution of foreign nationals.

On the nearby island of Jolo, the rebels on Friday released an Italian man from six months of captivity. Troops were also on alert as another Abu Sayyaf faction threatened to execute two Canadians and a Norwegian tourists after a ransom deadline expired.

In March 2014, the government signed a peace deal with the largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, promising to grant autonomy in the south and ending a 45-year conflict that killed 120,000 people and displaced 2 million.

christiantoday.com/article/muslim.rebels.in.10.hour.battle.with.philippine.soldiers/83691.htm

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Africa

President Obama: Libya aftermath 'worst mistake' of presidency

11 April 2016

US President Barack Obama has said failing to prepare for the aftermath of the ousting of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi was the worst mistake of his presidency.

Mr Obama was answering a series of questions on the highs and lows of his time in office on Fox News.

He said, however, that intervening in Libya had been "the right thing to do".

The US and other countries carried out strikes designed to protect civilians during the 2011 uprising.

But after the former Libyan leader was killed, Libya plunged into chaos with militias taking over and two rival parliaments and governments forming.

So-called Islamic State (IS) gained a foothold, and Libya became a major departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe.

A UN-backed national unity government arrived in the capital Tripoli earlier this month but is waiting to take charge.

The leader of the faction ruling western Libya has threatened to prosecute any of his ministers who co-operate with the UN-backed administration, contradicting an earlier announcement the ministers would stand down.

President Obama gave the brief but revealing answer speaking to Chris Wallace:

CW: Worst mistake?

Obama: Probably failing to plan for the day after, what I think was the right thing to do, in intervening in Libya.

It is not the first time President Obama has expressed regret over Libya. He told the Atlantic magazine last month the operation went as well as he had hoped, but Libya was now "a mess".

In that interview, he also criticised France and the UK, in particular saying British Prime Minister David Cameron became "distracted" after the intervention.

It was a rare rebuke for a close ally and one which BBC correspondents at the time said angered Downing Street.

President Obama told Fox that his biggest accomplishment in office was "saving the economy from the great depression".

He said the best day of his presidency was when he passed the healthcare reforms. The worst, he said, was responding to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Mr Obama discussed his legacy in a BBC interview last year, saying his failure to pass tighter gun control laws was the biggest frustration of his presidency.

Libya timeline

February 2011: Protests against Colonel Gaddafi's regime erupt in Libya

March 2011: UN Security Council authorises a no-fly zone over Libya and air strikes to protect civilians

October 2011: Gaddafi is captured and killed by rebel fighters

2012: Splits emerge as the transitional government struggle to rein in local militias

September 2012: The US ambassador and three other Americans are killed when Islamist militants storm the consulate in eastern Benghazi

June 2014: Disputed elections are held. Two governments are formed: one in the capital Tripoli, the other UN-backed administration in eastern Torbruk

January 2015: The UN announces a new interim government but it is yet to take charge

bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36013703

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Somalia: Man Executed for Journalists' Killings

APRIL 11, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A former journalist who joined the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab was executed in Somalia's capital for the killings of five Somali journalists.

Hassan Hanafi Haji, who was extradited from Kenya last year on the request of the Somali government, was killed by firing squad at a police academy in Mogadishu on Monday. Firing squad is the only execution method in Somalia.

In his role as a liaison officer with al-Shabab, Haji was known to threaten journalists and radio stations for any reporting not in favor of the Islamic extremist rebels, forcing many media outlets to practice self-censorship for security reasons. Haji later led al-Shabab's media unit, inviting journalists to press conferences and giving them tours of battlefields.

He often urged journalists to report according to al-Shabab's media rules, which included avoiding stories related to the group's military setbacks.

Haji was one of the few suspects prosecuted by the Somali government following years of criticism by rights groups who urged authorities to do more to establish the rule of law and end the killings of journalists.

The killings of media workers often happened in government-controlled areas that journalists generally consider safe.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. At least 18 Somali journalists were killed last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

It's not entirely clear who has been killing journalists. Al-Shabab rebels, warlords, criminals, and even government agents all could have reasons to see journalists killed in Somalia.

nytimes.com/aponline/2016/04/11/world/africa/ap-af-somalia-execution.html

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Pakistan

Two injured as 'mishandled' hand grenade explodes in Karachi ATC

11.04.2016

KARACHI: Two people were injured as a 'mishandled' hand grenade exploded in an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in the Clifton area on Monday.

The accidental explosion occurred when a hand grenade, which was being examined as "case property" went off in ATC-II, Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) South Jamil Ahmed said.

Dr Seemin Jamali of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre said two patients were brought to the hospital with minor injuries.

Initial reports suggested the sound of the explosion caused fear and panic to spread on court premises.

Karachi police chief Additional Inspector General Mushtaq Mahar took notice of the explosion and ordered an investigation into the incident.

dawn.com/news/1251425/two-injured-as-mishandled-hand-grenade-explodes-in-karachi-atc

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ANP leader killed in Swat

11.04.2016

MINGORA: Awami National Party (ANP) local leader Syed Jamshaid Ali was shot dead by unidentified attackers in Man­glore area of Swat on Sunday.

According to police, two unidentified men approached Jamshaid Ali when he was present at the site of an under-construction school building at Telegram.

“One of the attackers met him and the other opened fire, killing him on the spot,” said Manglore Police Station SHO Fayaz Khan.

He said that law-enforcement agencies reached the area after the incident and launched a search operation.

Jamshaid Ali was an active peace activist and had served as nazim of the area thrice. He was also a member ANP’s district and provincial councils.

Reacting to the incident, ANP district president Sher Shah Khan said that Jamshaid Ali was an active peace volunteer and after a full-fledged military operation, occurrence of such an incident raised questions on the efficacy of the operation in the area.

He said that such incidents showed weakness of the provincial government and security forces in ensuring law and order in the area.

People in Swat expressed concern over the incident and demanded of the government and law-enforcement agencies to take effective measures and stop target killings in the area.

dawn.com/news/1251377/anp-leader-killed-in-swat

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‘Axact fraud empire bigger than initially imagined’ — NYT report details new revelations

11.04.2016

New York Times investigative journalist Declan Walsh – whose report last year unveiled a “secretive Pakistani software company” that allegedly earned millions of dollars from scams involving fake degrees, non-existent online universities and manipulation of customers – has detailed in a new report published Monday fresh details about the case surrounding Axact.

New details on the case, disclosed in the report, purport that the scandal is “bigger than initially imagined”.

Axact allegedly took money from at least 215,000 people in 197 countries.

CEO Shoaib Shaikh found to be owner of several shell companies in the US and other Caribbean countries that were used to channel funds to Pakistan.

Shaikh used a pseudonym on documentation linked to offshore companies.

Shaikh became a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, a small Caribbean island that sells passports to rich investors.

Axact sales agents employees used "threats and false promises" and impersonated government officials to rake money from customers, mostly in the Middle East.

The company earned at least $89 million in its final year of operation through illicit operations.

Axact CEO Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, managers Viqas Atique, Zeeshan Anwar, Mohammad Sabir and Zeeshan Ahmed and 14 other officials/employees of software firm Axact were booked in May last year for allegedly preparing and selling fake degrees, diplomas and accreditation certificates of fictitious schools/universities through a fraudulent online system and illegally minting “hundreds of millions of dollars".

The Federal Investigation Agency filed a final charge-sheet in the case last month, but the accused await trial.

Shell companies

According to the new report, United States officials had informed Pakistani authorities that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had identified Axact as a “diploma mill” that operated a “worldwide web of shell companies and associates.”

Sheikh was found to be the owner of three of the offshore firms, registered in Delaware, that were used to channel “illicit earnings” to Pakistan, the NYT report quoted US officials as saying.

The new findings stem from financial records, company registrations, sworn testimony, communications between Pakistani and American officials, and “hundreds of hours of taped phone conversations filed in court.”

Documents linked with the company show it owned other shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Dubai and Panama. Sheikh allegedly used the pseudonym 'Ryan Jones' to sign papers for these companies, the report said.

Impersonation of govt officials

Citing "hundreds of hours of taped phone conversations extracted from Axact servers", the NYT report said Axact sales agents impersonated American lawyers or US State Department officials to cajole customers into paying more money.

In one case mentioned in the report of such impersonation, a Pakistani man pleaded for respite from "Jacob" — an Axact sales agent acting as a US university official.

“Please, please, Mr. Jacob,” said the man, saying he had already paid $150,000 to Axact. “I have sold all of my assets to pay this last amount. I am not eating well. I am not sleeping well.”

“Look, you’re not paying that much,” the sales agent responded, before threatening with possible police action. “Just another $10,000.”

Measures to hide alleged fraud

When local police began its investigation, Sheikh instructed his employees to "burn company documents" and destroy other evidence but investigators managed to procure a vast trove of data revealing that Axact's main business was to provide fake degrees from non-existent online universities with American-sounding names, the report said.

In a US court hearing, which came after customers of the online Belford High School sought damages, "Axact officials persuaded an attendant in the company’s cafeteria to pose as the founder of the school", the report quoted a police report as saying.

Shaikh's sister, Chicago resident Uzma Shaheen, was called to testify in the case. Court documents revealed Shaheen "transferred more than $37 million from American bank accounts to Axact in Pakistan in recent years".

According to prosecution documents quoted by the NYT report, at least 32 bank accounts linked to Axact, holding millions of dollars, exist in various countries. Three banks accounts linked to Shaikh were frozen in the US lawsuit.

Uncertainty surrounds case

The investigation against Axact hit a snag when special public prosecutor Zahid Jamil, who was at the centre of the prosecution, quit the proceedings citing only "circumstances" that would make it difficult for him to continue, before the trial was to begin.

According to the NYT report, two judges involved in the proceedings have excused themselves without explanation.

Media analysts speculate Axact CEO's power connections "may yet work in his favor", the report said, adding that Shaikh "publicly boasted of his work for the Pakistani military".

dawn.com/news/1251429/axact-fraud-empire-bigger-than-initially-imagined-nyt-report-details-new-revelations

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/uk-muslim-ghettoes--british-muslims-are-becoming-a-nation-within-a-nation,-warning/d/106945

 

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