New Age Islam
Thu Nov 26 2020, 07:20 PM

Islamic World News ( 6 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

UN Human Rights Watchdog Orders Saudi Arabia to Stop Stoning Children

















Two defaced busts from the second and third century are displayed inside the Colosseum in Rome as part of an exhibition, “Rising From Destruction: Ebla, Nimrud, Palmyra.” The busts were recovered from Palmyra, Syria, after it was retaken from the Islamic State. Other artifacts, which have been damaged even more severely, have been reproduced using modern tools. Credit Gregoiro Borgia/Associated Press

 

Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome

Bangladeshi Minister Dismisses Threats in New IS Publication as ‘Hollow Warning’

India Slams “Hold” On Declaring Masood Azhar Global Terrorist

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Arab World

UN Human Rights Watchdog Orders Saudi Arabia to Stop Stoning Children

Saudi Arabia Using Nuclear Bombs in Yemen

Syrian, Russian Warplanes Carry Out over 70 Sorties against Terrorists in Hama

Notorious Terrorist Commander Killed in Syrian Army Attacks North of Aleppo

Iran, Russia Stress Political Solution to Syrian Crisis

IRGC Top Commander Downplays Military Threats against Iran

Terrorists' Positions Hit Hard in Army Attacks in Eastern, Western Ghouta

Heavy Fighting Underway between Syrian Army, Terrorists in Western Damascus

Senior Terrorist Commander Killed in Clashes with Rival Group in Idlib

Syrian Gov't Forces Win Back Strategic Height in Southern Districts of Aleppo

Syrian Army, Hezbollah Continue to Advance against Terrorists in Aleppo City

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Europe

Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome

Man Who Drove Into Pedestrians Shouting Allahu Akbar 'Was Just Singing Along To Rap Music While Buying Pizza'

Russia's security forces kill 6 militants, including ISIS fighter who was planning terror attacks

Brussels stabbing attack investigated as terrorism

No obstacle to extension of German troops at İncirlik base, says German lawmaker

Migrants attack police with fire extinguishers

Second man sentenced for burning Qurans at Springfield Islamic Centre in 2011

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South Asia

Bangladeshi Minister Dismisses Threats in New IS Publication as ‘Hollow Warning’

Cheques for Bangladesh Militants for Return to Normal Life

Soldier Slain In Afghanistan Was Green Beret Fighting Islamic State

Taliban, Afghan soldiers casualties in army base attack in Kandahar

44 Afghan soldiers missing in United States since 2015: Pentagon

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India

India Slams “Hold” On Declaring Masood Azhar Global Terrorist

A Cross-Border Wedding: Youth Awaits Pak Bride As Tension Mounts

Muslim Bollywood Star Out Of Hindu Play

Characters Changed? Aishwarya and Anushka Won't Play Pakistanis in 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' Anymore!

Haj Comes Under the Control of Ministry Of Minority Affairs

Tamil Nadu Man Who ‘Fought For IS In Iraq’ Held

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North America

Muslims, Catholics Build Bridges during Week of Fun, Faith at Camp

Starting Today, the Muslims Are Coming—to Vote!

Donald Trump no longer supports ban on Muslim: Mike Pence

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Pakistan

Communication Channels between Pakistani, Indian Militaries Open: DG ISPR

PPP Thunders In Parliament: 'Why Has The Govt Been Unable To Defend Pakistan?'

NAP-related police operation stopped after raids on PML-N UC chairmen outhouses

Faisal urges authorities to release Wahid Baloch

No discrimination against minorities in Pakistan: Khatumal

Sharif’s envoys say Pakistan not internationally isolated

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Africa

Attack on Refugee Camp in Niger Kills At Least 22 Soldiers

Nigeria cenbank set limits on banks' investment in govt Islamic bonds

Only 20 Percent of Muslims Access Financial Services - World Bank

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Mideast

Turkish Lawyer Files Complaint for Top US Soldiers for ‘Supporting Coup Attempt’

166 Detention Orders Issued For Security Personnel over Coup Probe

Police capture PKK militant suspected over Istanbul bombing

Turkey ‘always seeks solution’ with Iraq: Turkish FM

CoE Commissioner urges Turkey to repeal emergency decrees

Turkey says Putin’s visit will further deepen bilateral cooperation

10 wounded in blast near police station in Istanbul

Turkish soldiers will stay on Iraqi soil: Turkish PM

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar’s Muslim Militias Face Showdown with Buddhist Supremacists

Malaysian State’s Islamic Department Releases Google Play App That Lets You Report On Shariah Crimes

Singaporean ISIS supporter placed under restrictions

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/un-human-rights-watchdog-orders-saudi-arabia-to-stop-stoning-children/d/108791

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UN Human Rights Watchdog Orders Saudi Arabia to Stop Stoning Children

October 7, 2016

The United Nations has called on Saudi Arabia to repeal laws that allow stoning, amputation, flogging and execution of children.

Children over 15 years are tried as adults and can be executed, "after trials falling short of guarantees of due process and a fair trial", according to the report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The committee's 18 independent experts analysed the kingdom's compliance record with a UN treaty protecting the rights of citizens under the age of 18.

Experts voiced concern that the Saudi government "still does not recognise girls as full subjects of rights and continues to severely discriminate (against) them in law and practice and to impose on them a system of male guardianship".

The committee said violations of young girls' right to equality should not justified using traditional, religious or cultural attitudes.

Children from the minority Shi'ite community and other religious minorities are continually discriminated against in their access to schools and justice in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, they said.

According to the UN committee, out of 47 people executed on 2 January for security offences, four were under 18.

Responding to the committee's findings, the Saudi Human Rights Commission told the body that Islamic Sharia law, was above all laws and treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, the chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, did state the kingdom had the political will to protect children.

All sexual abuse against children should be made illegal in Saudi Arabia with persecutors prosecuted, the experts said.

The case of Muslim preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi was cited by the report, saying his charges were reduced and he was released from jail "after having raped, tortured and killed his five-year-old daughter" in 2012.

Saudi air strikes in Yemen were also strongly criticised by the UN watchdog which said hundreds of children had been killed and maimed.

Source: independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-stoning-un-children-united-nations-a7349861.html

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Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome

OCT. 6, 2016

ROME — A statue of a human-headed winged bull from the Northwest Palace in Nimrud, Iraq, that was bulldozed by the Islamic State last year to great outcry has been faithfully recreated using modern technology and put on exhibit at the Colosseum in Rome to spur discussion of the possible reconstruction of war-torn archaeological sites.

Full-scale reconstructions were also made of two damaged Syrian sites: the archive room of Ebla and a portion of a ceiling from the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, as examples of how conflict can devastate a nation’s fragile heritage.

“Nimrud was the first place to be destroyed,” said Frances Pinnock, the co-director of the Ebla expedition, the most important Italian archaeological expedition to Syria. “It was a palace known as the Versailles of the ancient Near East, and so it was chosen because it was symbolic.”

“We included Ebla because it represents abandonment, what happens to a site when a mission is no longer present to protect it,” said Ms. Pinnock, who is a member of the scientific committee for the exhibit.

“And Palmyra is a wound” and a place of violent murders, not just of Khalid al-Asaad, the retired chief of antiquities for Palmyra, who was killed in August 2015, three months after the Islamic State took the city, “but of more than a dozen employees, killed in brutal ways only because they tried to protect the heritage,” Ms. Pinnock said.

Though the violence in the Middle East continues, archaeologists and officials from various international organizations continue to explore various options for the reconstruction of archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq once the fighting has abated.

“There’s a lot of discussion over how to reconstruct what is lost,” said Stefano De Caro, the director general of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, based in Rome, who is also on the scientific committee. “This is one proposal combining technical documentation and manual skill.”

This is not the first attempt to resurrect ancient art from the ashes of war.

Last month, a replica of an ancient arch from Palmyra, destroyed a year ago, was erected in City Hall Park in New York. That model was made using 3-D scanning, but it is smaller than the original, and less finished, some officials here suggested.

The Italian models are one-to-one reconstructions based on extensive documentation of various kinds. After being created using 3-D printing techniques, the reproductions were then covered with a layer of plastic material mixed with stone powder and finished by hand to replicate the original as closely as possible.

Get news and analysis from Europe and around the world delivered to your inbox every day in the European morning.

Full report at:nytimes.com/2016/10/07/world/europe/rome-artifact-reconstruction-isis.html

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Bangladeshi Minister Dismisses Threats in New IS Publication as ‘Hollow Warning’

OCTOBER 7, 2016

Bangladesh’s home minister on Thursday dismissed threats against the country contained in an article that the main planner of a terrorist attack in Dhaka in July purportedly penned before police gunned him down.

The newly published article is the latest attempt by extremist group Islamic State to glorify the massacre at a local café. It echoes a recent IS video in which the five young Bangladeshi attackers, who were all killed, each gave on-camera testimonials as they brandished an assault rifle and stood in front of IS’s black flag.

The article appeared this week in Rumiyah, a new propaganda magazine disseminated by al-Hayat, IS’s media wing, and a copy of which was obtained by BenarNews.

IS has claimed that its fighters carried out the attack but, in responding to the article, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal repeated his earlier claim that Islamic State has no presence in Bangladesh and that a home-grown militant group was behind the July 1 attack.

“This is ploy to intimidate the foreigners. We have adopted maximum measures to crush the militants. We will root them out at any cost,” the minister told BenarNews.

The July 1 massacre at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter, left 29 dead: 20 diners, five attackers, two policemen shot from inside the cafe, a restaurant worker and a wounded man who later died of his injuries. Seventeen of the dead were foreign nationals.

Since then close to 20 suspected members of Neo JMB, a faction of militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), have been killed in raids conducted by Bangladeshi police and counter-terrorist forces.

“What I can assure you is that we have broken their backbone; all the major leaders were killed in gunfights with the police. They are talking tall for coverage and intimidating people. This is nothing but a hollow warning,” Kamal said.

‘Just a glimpse’

The slain suspects included Bangladeshi-born Canadian citizen Tamim Chowdhury who, according to local authorities, headed the Neo-JMB faction which they blame for the café attack.

Chowdhury, who was killed along with two other suspected militants in a raid in Naryaganj district on Aug. 27, purportedly wrote the article published in Rumiyah.

Headlined “The Shuhada of the Gulshan Attack,” the article carries Chowdhury’s byline and an alias (Abu Dujanah al-Bengali). The article identifies the writer as the “Former Head of Military and Covert Operations of the Soldiers of the Kalifah in Bengal.”

Earlier this year another IS propaganda magazine, Dabiq, published an interview with Chowdhury whom it described as “the emir” of IS’s “caliphate in Bengal,” according to Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper.

“The mujahidin will continue discovering ‘security gaps and holes’ and lay in ambush for the crusaders whatever they can be found. The mujahidin will target expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, sports teams, and anyone else from the Crusader citizens to be found in Bengal until the land is purified from the Crusaders and all other kuffars and the law of Allah is established in the land,” according to the article in Rumiyah.

“... Cesare Tavella was just a warning, the Gulshan attack was just a glimpse, and what is yet to come by the permission of Allah will be worse and far more bitter,” says the article, referring to the killing of an Italian aid worker in Dhaka last year.

The September 2015 attack of Tavella occurred amid a wave of killings by suspected militants targeting secular bloggers and religious minorities. These resulted in Western embassies issuing travel warnings for Bangladesh and the Australian men’s cricket team postponing a tour of the nation at the end of last year.

Despite ongoing safety concerns the English men’s cricket team has agreed to play in Bangladesh starting this week. The home minister told BenarNews that the government had assured the visiting team its players and coaches would be protected through “maximum security” during their stay.

On Thursday, the eve of a series of matches scheduled to be played between England and Bangladesh, local army commandos conducted war-game exercises at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, the venue for the matches.

The publication of the article followed the dissemination in late September of an online video released by IS and which included scenes shot inside Bangladesh, officials acknowledged.

The video also threatened more terrorist attacks and vowed action against Bangladeshi clerics who had spoken out against militant groups.

Islamic scholar Maulana Farid Uddin Masud was criticized in the video because he had spearheaded an anti-militancy fatwa (religious decree) signed by 100,000 clerics.

“The way they term the non-Muslims, the Crusaders, is very objectionable. The IS Islam is not Islam; this is a total distortion of Islam. Allah says killing of one person is tantamount to killing of the whole human being,” he told BenarNews on Thursday.

Source: benarnews.org/english/news/bengali/tamim-article-10062016153702.html

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India Slams “Hold” On Declaring Masood Azhar Global Terrorist

October 7, 2016

New Delhi:India today reacted sharply to the extension of the “technical hold” on banning JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN, saying the global body will be sending a “dangerous message” if it fails to act upon India s demand for his designation as a global terrorist.

Without naming China, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said only one country had put the technical hold, blocking the ban by another three months, and criticised the complete “non-transparent and anonymous” manner of designating individuals by the UN Sanctions Committee.

Noting that the UN Sanctions Committee has already proscribed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, he said the panel, however, ignored the need to take action against the organisation s main leader, financier and motivator who continues his terrorist actions unhindered.

Responding to the extension of the hold, he said,”The Committee has already pondered (over) our submission for the last six months. It will get a further three months to ponder, but that will in no way change the strange situation we have of the Committee designating the terror organisation but failing to or ignoring the need to designate the organisation s most active and dangerous terrorist.

“We conveyed to the Committee that it is expected to proscribe Azhar under the 1267 Sanction Regime on the basis of our submission. Such a designation would help send a strong signal to all terror groups across the world that the international community is no longer going to pursue, or tolerate, selective approaches to terrorism.

“Distinction between good and bad terrorists is fallacious and counterproductive. Concomitantly, it will also be sending a dangerous message if it fails to act upon India s Submission.”

He noted that the issue was also being taken up with the Chinese Government.

He also emphasised that India would welcome any move which enables functioning of the UN Committee in a “manner where political considerations do not hold hostage the designation of known terrorists” and change the rule of “complete non-transparency and anonymity” of this process.

On March 31 this year, China – a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council – had blocked India’s move to put a ban on Azhar under the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.

China was the sole member in the 15-nation UN organ to put a hold on India’s application with the rest 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.

The Chinese technical hold had lapsed on Monday, and had China not raised further objection, the resolution designating Azhar as a terrorist would have been passed automatically.

Beijing had on Saturday announced the extension of its “technical hold”.

Source: siasat.com/news/india-slams-hold-declaring-masood-azhar-global-terrorist-1036642/

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Arab World

UN human rights watchdog orders Saudi Arabia to stop stoning children

October 7, 2016

The United Nations has called on Saudi Arabia to repeal laws that allow stoning, amputation, flogging and execution of children.

Children over 15 years are tried as adults and can be executed, "after trials falling short of guarantees of due process and a fair trial", according to the report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The committee's 18 independent experts analysed the kingdom's compliance record with a UN treaty protecting the rights of citizens under the age of 18.

Experts voiced concern that the Saudi government "still does not recognise girls as full subjects of rights and continues to severely discriminate (against) them in law and practice and to impose on them a system of male guardianship".

The committee said violations of young girls' right to equality should not justified using traditional, religious or cultural attitudes.

Children from the minority Shi'ite community and other religious minorities are continually discriminated against in their access to schools and justice in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, they said.

According to the UN committee, out of 47 people executed on 2 January for security offences, four were under 18.

Responding to the committee's findings, the Saudi Human Rights Commission told the body that Islamic Sharia law, was above all laws and treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, the chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, did state the kingdom had the political will to protect children.

All sexual abuse against children should be made illegal in Saudi Arabia with persecutors prosecuted, the experts said.

The case of Muslim preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi was cited by the report, saying his charges were reduced and he was released from jail "after having raped, tortured and killed his five-year-old daughter" in 2012.

Saudi air strikes in Yemen were also strongly criticised by the UN watchdog which said hundreds of children had been killed and maimed.

Source: independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-stoning-un-children-united-nations-a7349861.html

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Saudi Arabia Using Nuclear Bombs in Yemen

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- American commentator Mike Harris said Israel is using Saudi Arabia as its surrogate to subjugate the Yemeni people as part of a larger plan to dominate the whole Middle East, warning that proof and evidence shows that the Saudis are using "nuclear bombs" against the civilian population in Yemen.

“The Saudi royal family is very aggressive and very dictatorial in their approach to the people who they judge as inferiors. Yemen on the other hand, is one of the poorest countries in the Persian Gulf region and they haven’t harmed anyone ever. So, I look at this as an act of Saudi aggression against Yemen,” American corporate consultant Mike Harris said in an interview with Fars News Agency.

“I don’t understand why the US would endorse or want to underwrite any form of aggression against this peaceful nation. It is a surprise to me; it’s against every American principle and it really gets me scratching my head,” he added.

Noting that Saudi’s invasion of Yemen runs counter to the spirit of international law, Mike Harris said there’s evidence of the use of neutron bombs against the Yemeni civilians by the Saudi forces.

“You [can] look at the other use of nuclear weapons by the Saudis against civilian populations. We’ve got documents and the proof of use of neutron bombs,” he asserted. “This is truly a crime against humanity that needs to be dealt with and brought to justice in the appropriate legal venues.”

The tactical neutron bomb is a nuclear weapon that maximizes damage to people but minimizes damage to buildings and equipment. It is also called an enhanced radiation warhead.

Mike Harris maintained that Saudis are waging this war of aggression against Yemen at Washington and Tel Aviv’s behest, adding that the Saudi royal family has enormous influence within the US government, Congress and media, entertainment industry.

“They have tremendous influence within the US government, within the US Congress and within Hollywood. They go all out to make themselves look like good people when really they’re very aggressive and [a] very nasty group of people,” he told FNA.

“Israel has an aggressive expansionist policy towards the rest of the Middle East; they wish to take it over to subjugate the people,” Harris said. “And they’re using the Saudis as their surrogates and in this case to invade, to subjugate and terrorize the people of Yemen.”

On the humanitarian situation in Yemen, Harris said it’s not clear why the international relief organizations such as Oxfam and the Red Cross are not intervening directly to help the war-struck Yemenis.

“Yemeni people have the right of sovereignty and the right of self-determination and it seems as if the Israelis with their Saudi surrogates are trying to stop that,” he concluded.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March, 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 11,000 Yemeni people, including hundreds of women and children.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950715000962

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Syrian, Russian Warplanes Carry Out over 70 Sorties against Terrorists in Hama

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tens of militants were killed in the Syrian and Russian fighter jets' heavy airstrikes on terrorists' concentration centers and gatherings in Northern Hama on Friday.

The Syrian and Russian warplanes, in over 70 airstrikes, bombed terrorist centers in the villages of Kawkab, Souran, Ma'an, Karrah, Khafseen, Ma'ardes, al-Talisah, Helfaya and Taybat al-Imam, leaving scores of terrorists dead or wounded.

The Syrian army forces repelled the terrorists' attacks on army checkpoints in Tal Malah, al-Shaliout and al-Jabin in Hama, killing and wounding tens of militants on Thursday.

A military source said that the army forces could resist against the terrorists' offensives, and inflicted over 20 casualties on the militants.

"At least 40 more terrorists were wounded in the clashes," he added.

Concurrent with the attacks, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets pounded the terrorists' positions in al-Latamina, al-Zakat and al-Zalaqiyat, destroying their weapons, vehicles and military equipment, the source added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000436

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Notorious Terrorist Commander Killed in Syrian Army Attacks North of Aleppo

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior commander of Jund al-Aqsa terrorist group was killed in the Syrian Army's artillery fire in the Northern outskirts of Aleppo city.

The Syrian Army's artillery units opened heavy fire at Jund al-Aqsa's centers in the Northern outskirts of Aleppo, leaving several terrorists dead, including Abu Hafas Kafr Joum, a field commander of the group.

The Syrian fighter jet, for their part, pounded militants' centers in the Eastern parts of Aleppo city.

The army troops also targeted terrorists' gatherings in Bostan al-Pasha.

Meantime, Syrian warplanes bombed the supply line of Jeish al-Fatah terrorists connecting al-Ameriyeh to Khanasser and several other targets in Housing Project 1070, inflicting major damage on militants' vehicles.

Reports said earlier today Syrian Army soldiers and popular forces stormed Jeish al-Fatah's strongholds in the Southern districts of Aleppo and captured a key hilltop in the battlefield after hours of non-stop clashes.

The Syrian army men and Hezbollah combatants, in a fresh round of attacks, targeted Jeish al-Fatah's defense lines in Sheikh Saeed and Housing Project 1070 and captured the most important hilltop in Sheikh Saeed district.

With Sheikh Saeed Hill under their control, the Syrian Armed Forces and their popular allies now possess the high ground inside the district, leaving the remaining terrorists in serious trouble.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000500

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Iran, Russia Stress Political Solution to Syrian Crisis

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Deputies of Iranian and Russian Foreign Ministers Hossein Jaberi Ansari and Mikhail Bogdanov in a telephone conversation underlined the need for resolving the Syrian crisis through political means and sending humanitarian aid to civilians.

During the phone conversation on Thursday, Jaberi Ansari and Bogdanov dismissed military solution to the problems in Syria, and said the Syrian people should decide their own fate under a tranquil atmosphere and without foreign interference.

They also stressed the necessity for sending humanitarian aid to different parts of Syria, specially Aleppo.

In late September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed regret for the hard situation that certain regional states are bearing due to the enemies' interference and plots, and said Tehran will continue to support and assist Syria.

"Unfortunately, today many Muslim states in the region have been entangled in enemies' plots, and people in different regions, including Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan are tolerating hard conditions and big problems," Rouhani said in a meeting with Syrian Parliament Speaker Hadiya Khalaf Abbas in Tehran.

He described sending humanitarian aid to the Syrian people as the most important priority of the war-torn country, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to its principles, and because terrorism is a major problem for the region and the world, it believes that the Syrian people should be helped to root out terrorism in their country, and other countries have no other option, but the path of war against terrorism."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to help Syria in line with its policy of fight against terrorism and establishment of security in the region," Rouhani said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000334

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IRGC Top Commander Downplays Military Threats against Iran

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said military threats against Iran are no more than boastful and empty remarks.

"Military threats against Iran have never borne any value," General Jafari said on Thursday, addressing a ceremony in the city of Yasouj in Western Iran.

He, meantime, underlined the Iranian Armed Forces' readiness to defend the country against the foreign enemies.

"The warriors of Islam wholeheartedly defended the Islamic Revolution during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and such bravery resulted in no country's daring to attack Iran," General Jafari said.

He reiterated that the Iranian military and security forces have well been able to contain foreign threats as the country enjoys security and power despite the existing dangers in at regional and international levels.

In late August, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned the enemies that they will face Iran's harsh response if they dare to launch a military attack against the country.

"The enemy should understand that if it makes any aggression, it will be hit hard and our defense will also include response," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with commanders of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base in Tehran.

Warning that the enemy is after weakening Iran's defense power, he said, "We should increase the Armed Forces' preparedness to the extent that the enemy doesn’t even allow itself to think about aggression."

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the enemies' ballyhoos and opposition to Iran's purchase of the S-300 missile defense system from Russia, and said, "The S-300 system is a defensive and not offensive tool but the Americans have made their utmost efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic's use of this possibility."

"We are facing such an enemy which doesn’t respect our nation's right of defense and actually wants us to remain defenseless so that they can launch aggression against our country whenever they want," he added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000256

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Terrorists' Positions Hit Hard in Army Attacks in Eastern, Western Ghouta

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Eastern and Western territories of Damascus province were the scenes of heavy attacks by the Syrian Army and Air Force on militants' positions, military sources said, adding that dozens of militants were killed or wounded in the attacks.

The terrorists sustained heavy casualties in the Syrian army's offensive on their positions in Damascus countryside.

The army units also continued to march on the terrorists' positions in other provinces across Syria.

Damascus

The Syrian army units and popular forces, deployed near Deir Al-Khabiyeh, continued to push back the terrorists of Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) from more regions in Khan al-Sheih in Western Ghouta, inflicting over 30 casualties on the militants.

"During the clashes, 30 Nusra Front terrorists were killed and 12 military vehicles were destroyed," a military source said on Thursday.

The source added that after the clashes, the army seized control over 8 residential complexes in the Southwestern parts of Abu Shieh hill in Khan al-Sheih region.

"The terrorists left their weapons and fled the battleground," the source said.

Also, in a relevant development, the army repelled the terrorist groups' offensives on a number of military points in Jobar, Arabin, Tal al-Sowan, Hatitah al-Jarash, al-Masah and the refugees' camp in Eastern Ghouta, killing and wounding dozens of militants.

The army troops and popular forces, backed by Syrian warplanes, advanced in Damascus province, deploying forces near the key town of al-Reihan in Eastern Ghouta.

Syrian strikers pounded the positions of militants at several farms located between al-Reihan and Tal Kurdi in Eastern Ghouta region in Damascus on Wednesday night.

According to a battlefield source, the Syrian air force conducted tens of airstrikes over Jeish al-Islam's positions, paving the ground for the pro-government forces to encircle the militant group in the strategic town.

A military source said that the Syrian soldiers were only less than 1 kilometer away from al-Reihan's gates, adding that the pro-gov't forces are ready to start the final phase of the military operations to recapture the town.

Hama

The Syrian army and National Defense Forces managed to repulse repeated attacks by the three terrorist groups of Jeish al-Fatah, Jeish al-Izza and al-Firqat al-Wosta on their strongholds in Northern Hama on Thursday.

"The army and its allies repelled the militants' assaults in Abu Abideh, al-Jabin and Tal Malah villages in Northern Hama," a source said on Thursday.

"The army forces inflicted 48 casualties on the militants and destroyed their armored vehicles carrying ammunition as well as 5 vehicles, equipped with heavy machineguns," the source added.

Full report at:en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000194

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Heavy Fighting Underway between Syrian Army, Terrorists in Western Damascus

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military forces stormed the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) positions in a small but key town in Western Ghouta after militants violated the peace agreement with Syrian government, field sources said Friday.

"The FSA and it allies refused to retreat from agreed points in Elhamah," the sources said, and added, "In response to these violations, the Syrian Armed Forces stormed these points in Elhamah, resulting in a fierce battle with the militants.

Fierce clashes are still ongoing, as the Syrian soldiers are resolved to drive out militants from Elhameh, according to the sources.

In relevant developments in the province on Wednesday, thousands of civilians in the small town of Qodsiyeh in Western Ghouta took to the streets for the 7th time to urge militants to leave the town.

"Several thousands of civilians continued to rally against the deployment of anti-government fighters in Qodsiyeh," the sources said.

"260 militants, who had not agreed to join the peace agreement with the Syrian government, were to leave the town on Monday night but their evacuation to Idlib was delayed due to the eruption of some problems in the peace process in Elhameh whose reconciliation case in closely related to the peace agreement in Qodsiyeh," they added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000330

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Senior Terrorist Commander Killed in Clashes with Rival Group in Idlib

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- One of the notorious commanders of Ahrar al-Sham was killed in heavy fighting with Jund al-Aqsa terrorist group in Southern Idlib.

Jom'ah Hawash nom de guerre Abu Talib was killed in clashes with Jund al-Aqsa fighters in Khan Sheikhoun.

Media sources in Idlib last month disclosed intense infighting among two terrorist groups stationed in the province's Ariha region.

"The differences have increased among the Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham terrorist groups in Ariha region in Idlib province in the Northwestern part of Syria," the Arabic-language media quoted an informed source as saying on Monday.

"The differences intensified between the two terrorist groups after a Jund al-Aqsa terrorist attacked the brother of the commander of Ahrar al-Sham's Ariha Battalion," the sources said.

Infighting has increased among rival terrorist groups in Idlib province after they have come under the Syrian army siege and lost vast parts of lands across Syria, specially in neighboring Aleppo, to the government forces.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000353

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Syrian Gov't Forces Win Back Strategic Height in Southern Districts of Aleppo

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers and popular forces stormed Jeish al-Fatah's strongholds in the Southern districts of Aleppo and captured a key hilltop in the battlefield after hours of non-stop clashes.

The Syrian army men and Hezbollah combatants, in a fresh round of attacks, targeted Jeish al-Fatah's defense lines in Sheikh Saeed and Housing Project 1070 and captured the most important hilltop in Sheikh Saeed district.

With Sheikh Sa'eed Hill under their control, the Syrian Armed Forces and their popular allies now possess the high ground inside the district, leaving the remaining terrorists in serious trouble.

On Thursday, the Syrian army and its allies, supported by the Russian warplanes, attacked the terrorists' positions in the Northeastern parts of Aleppo, forcing them to leave their positions in the region.

A military source said that the Syrian army and the Russian air force launched offensives on terrorists' sites in Oweijeh, Maqta al-Baqara and al-Shalal regions and managed to win control over the textile and weaving plants, the water facility building, some parts of al-Shalal region, the Milano and Torang swimming pools and Housing Project 10 towards al-Ameriya.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000303

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Syrian Army, Hezbollah Continue to Advance against Terrorists in Aleppo City

October 7, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian army troops and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters continued to beat back terrorist groups from more positions in the Eastern and Northern districts of Aleppo city, inflicting major losses on them.

Nouralddeen al-Zinki terrorist group left behind scores of dead and wounded members and retreated from more positions in the Eastern and Northern neighborhoods of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Armed Forces, backed by Hezbollah, continued their large-scale offensive in Southern Aleppo, targeting Jeish al-Fatah's strongholds in Sheikh Saeed near al-Ramouseh.

The Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah captured several building blocks inside Sheikh Saeed, leaving a little more than half the district still under the control of Jeish al-Fatah.

On Thursday, Syrian army units in cooperation with popular forces carried out special operations against the fortified positions of the Takfiri terrorists in Bostan al-Pasha neighborhood in Aleppo city.

"The pro-government forces managed to take full control over the Sports club, its housing compound and a school in the neighborhood," the source said.

Tens of militants were killed or injured during the operations, while the rest fled into the neighboring regions, the source added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950716000262

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Europe

Archaeological Victims of ISIS Rise Again, as Replicas in Rome

OCT. 6, 2016

ROME — A statue of a human-headed winged bull from the Northwest Palace in Nimrud, Iraq, that was bulldozed by the Islamic State last year to great outcry has been faithfully recreated using modern technology and put on exhibit at the Colosseum in Rome to spur discussion of the possible reconstruction of war-torn archaeological sites.

Full-scale reconstructions were also made of two damaged Syrian sites: the archive room of Ebla and a portion of a ceiling from the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, as examples of how conflict can devastate a nation’s fragile heritage.

“Nimrud was the first place to be destroyed,” said Frances Pinnock, the co-director of the Ebla expedition, the most important Italian archaeological expedition to Syria. “It was a palace known as the Versailles of the ancient Near East, and so it was chosen because it was symbolic.”

“We included Ebla because it represents abandonment, what happens to a site when a mission is no longer present to protect it,” said Ms. Pinnock, who is a member of the scientific committee for the exhibit.

“And Palmyra is a wound” and a place of violent murders, not just of Khalid al-Asaad, the retired chief of antiquities for Palmyra, who was killed in August 2015, three months after the Islamic State took the city, “but of more than a dozen employees, killed in brutal ways only because they tried to protect the heritage,” Ms. Pinnock said.

Though the violence in the Middle East continues, archaeologists and officials from various international organizations continue to explore various options for the reconstruction of archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq once the fighting has abated.

“There’s a lot of discussion over how to reconstruct what is lost,” said Stefano De Caro, the director general of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, based in Rome, who is also on the scientific committee. “This is one proposal combining technical documentation and manual skill.”

This is not the first attempt to resurrect ancient art from the ashes of war.

Last month, a replica of an ancient arch from Palmyra, destroyed a year ago, was erected in City Hall Park in New York. That model was made using 3-D scanning, but it is smaller than the original, and less finished, some officials here suggested.

The Italian models are one-to-one reconstructions based on extensive documentation of various kinds. After being created using 3-D printing techniques, the reproductions were then covered with a layer of plastic material mixed with stone powder and finished by hand to replicate the original as closely as possible.

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Ms. Pinnock noted that the restorer based in Florence who completed the Nimrud statue even included scratches on the surface, “to give the sense of passing time.”

Such minute detail was possible because the restorer worked from high-definition photographs taken by United States military officers and later stored in Mosul, she said. “We have shown that scientifically it is possible to do good work.”

The Ebla reconstruction was accomplished by a company based in Rome that specializes in film sets and props, while the Bel temple ceiling was made by a company in Ferrara that already works in casting copies.

“These aren’t just isolated objects,” but markers of a civilization’s “history, context and value,” brought alive “thanks to Italian know how,” said Francesco Rutelli, a former mayor of Rome and culture minister and the driving force behind the exhibit. “This is also an Italian story that you see here today.”

On display are also two marble busts from the museum in Palmyra that were damaged during the 10-month occupation by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. “We baptized them the war-wounded of Palmyra,” Mr. Rutelli said.

The badly damaged sculptures were brought to Italy so that they could be restored, making an arduous journey from Damascus to Rome via Beirut, Lebanon.

“The only artifacts to leave Syria have been part of the illicit trafficking trade, but these came out with an accord,” Mr. Rutelli said.

Even though it is “very rare during a conflict that a corridor for culture opens,” he said, Damascus cultural officials had allowed the sculptures to travel because they knew the pieces would be in good hands, and on display in a prestigious spot where the plight of Syrian art would reach many.

“The Colosseum is the most visited site in our country,” Francesco Prosperetti, the art official responsible for Rome’s main archaeological area, said in a statement.

It was chosen to give maximum visibility to a “global message on the importance of cultural heritage and its value as part of national identity, on the need to protect it, preserve it, restore it and in some cases rebuild it,” he said.

Source: nytimes.com/2016/10/07/world/europe/rome-artifact-reconstruction-isis.html

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Man who drove into pedestrians shouting Allahu Akbar 'was just singing along to rap music while buying pizza'

October 7, 2016

A man who drove his car towards pedestrians in Vienna while shouting “Allahu Akbar” was merely singing along to rap music on a trip to buy pizza, his parents have said.

Police have arrested the 21-year-old driver, named as Ibrahim C, on suspicion of attempting to run down shoppers in a possible terror attack on 29 September.

Witnesses said passers-by leaped out the way as his Peugeot ploughed towards a pedestrianised zone of the Austrian capital’s Favoriten district.

A spokesperson for Vienna Police said Ibrahim had attempted to run down passers-by while shouting “Allahu Akbar”, repeating the Islamic phrase meaning “God is Great” while struggling against officers during his arrest.

Prosecutors said all lines of investigation were open but that a “religious motive could not be excluded” after a copy of the Quran was found on a car seat, with investigators searching Ibrahim’s home, laptop and electronic devices.

“The 21-year-old was not previously known to police,” a spokesperson said. “No link to extremist groups has so far been found.”

In interviews with local media, Ibrahim’s parents have said the episode was a huge understanding, adding that their son was unemployed and had recently been suffering hallucinations after smoking cannabis.

His father, Mehmet Ali C, told the Österreich newspaper: “My son is not a terrorist and he did not want to kill anyone.

“Ibrahim borrowed my car to buy pizza from the shop where he always goes – he was looking for a parking space.”

Asked about the shouts of “Allahu Akbar”, Mehmet added: “He was listening to music in the car and was singing along loudly…he is against Isis.” The father also said the Quran was his.

Journalists at the Kronen Zeitung listened to the music in question, a Turkish-German rap song, and said the phrase could “clearly be heard”.

Ibrahim remains in custody as the investigation continues.

The incident came hours after a jury found a man guilty of killing three people and injuring dozens more in the Austrian city of Graz in June 2015.

Alen Rizvanovic, 27, drove his van at high speed through pedestrianised streets and then attempting to stab passers-by.

Source: independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vienna-favoriten-car-ramming-attack-allahu-akbar-pizza-against-isis-rap-music-singing-cannabis-a7349876.html

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Russia's security forces kill 6 militants, including ISIS fighter who was planning terror attacks

07/10/16

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian security forces on Friday (Oct 7) killed six militants in the republic of Ingushetia, including one fighter from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who had been planning terrorist attacks, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK) said.

Special forces of the FSB security police laid siege to a private house in Ingushetia's capital Nazran, NAK said in a statement. The FSB officers persuaded them to free a child kept in the house, after which the rebels opened fire. Four militants were killed in the shoot-out.

Another two rebels were killed in a special operation conducted in a rural area outside Nazran, NAK said.

Those killed included a local resident who had fought in Syria and had returned to Ingushetia to resume "terrorist activity in the republic", NAK said, calling the man "an Islamic State emissary", referring to ISIS.

Moscow has fought two wars with separatists in the neighbouring Caucasus region of Chechnya. But its mainly Muslim North Caucasus remains volatile as widespread unemployment and corruption push some young people to embrace radical Islam.

Source: straitstimes.com/world/europe/russias-security-forces-kill-6-militants-including-isis-fighter-who-was-planning-terror

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Brussels stabbing attack investigated as terrorism

07/10/16

Belgian prosecutors on Thursday charged a suspect with attempted murder over the stabbing of two police officers in a "terrorist attack" a day earlier in Brussels, AFP reported.

The suspect in Wednesday's attack, named as 43-year-old Hicham Diop, has been "charged with attempted murder in a terrorist context and participation in the activities of a terrorist group," a statement from the prosecutor's office said.

His brother, Aboubaker D, had also been taken into custody "in the framework of the terrorist attack against two police officers" in Brussels, it said.

The brother was born in 1970 and both men have Belgian nationality, according to AFP.

"The investigating judge, specializing in terrorism, will decide tomorrow on the possible extension of his detention," the statement added.

Police shot the attacker in the leg after he used a knife to attack the two officers, one female and one male, in the Schaerbeek area of the Belgian capital. He then broke the nose of a third officer.

The first two officers, who suffered wounds to the stomach and neck, have been released from hospital, local mayor Bernard Clerfayt said, according to AFP.

Media reports said the attacker was a former soldier who had served until 2009 and who had ties to jihadists who had gone to fight in Syria.

Broadcaster RTL quoted Hicham Diop as explaining the motive behind the attack as "revenge on the police" for a 2011 incident which he says saw a police vehicle run him over.

His attempts to take legal action proved fruitless and left him "shocked," he said, according to RTL.

The attack follows previous attacks in Belgium, and comes two months after two policewomen were wounded in Charleroi by a machete-wielding man who shouted "Allahu Akbar".

The August attack was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers struck Brussels airport and a metro station near the European Union's institutions on March 22, killing 32 people.

Source: israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/218708

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No obstacle to extension of German troops at İncirlik base, says German lawmaker

October 6, 2016

A German lawmaker, who was among the group of parliamentarians visiting German troops at the Turkish air base İncirlik after a ban was recently lifted, has said the visit paved the way for the German Parliament to vote to extend the deployment of nearly 240 German troops stationed at the base.

“The Bundestag has got access to the troops and that means nothing stands in the way of an extension of the German military mission in December,” Karl Lamers, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, told the RND newspaper group on Oct. 5, according to Reuters.

MPs had threatened to end the deployment when its mandate expires in December.

Christian Democrat deputies Lamers, Ingo Gaedechens and Florian Hahn, Social Democrat deputies Rainer Arnold and Karl Heinz Brunner, Left party deputy Alexander S. Neu and Green party deputy Agnieszka Brugger landed at the İncirlik base, located in the southern Turkish province of Adana on the afternoon of Oct. 5, during which they visited the German troops at İncirlik.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin were strained after the Bundestag passed a bill that described as genocide the killing of Anatolian Armenians during the First World War.

Strained relations between Ankara and Berlin due to the Armenian bill worsened after Turkey rejected a German parliamentary delegation’s visit in late June to the base.

The German Air Force is keeping six Tornado surveillance jets, one refueling plane, and around 250 troops at İncirlik, in order to contribute to the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Also stationed at İncirlik are jets from other countries including the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Denmark and Qatar.

In September, the Turkish government issued permission for German MPs to conduct the visit.

The German parliamentarians’ trip took place with little publicity, which was closed to media.

Lamers, during a press conference in Turkey’s western province of İzmir on Oct. 5, said German lawmakers had an “open, honest” dialogue with Turkish officers and there were no restrictions on their ability to move around the base.

“I would like to express that we have contributed to melting the ice between Germany and Turkey with the contact we have made over two days,” state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Lamers as saying in İzmir on Oct. 5.

Another German lawmaker, Brugger, told RND that housing facilities for the German troops at the base were not satisfactory. Germany plans to invest 58 million euros to improve infrastructure at the base, including new quarters for troops.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/no-obstacle-to-extension-of-german-troops-at-incirlik-base-says-german-lawmaker-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104694&NewsCatID=359

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Migrants attack police with fire extinguishers

October 7, 2016

A migrant mutiny has left Spanish police scrambling to capture 26 people who escaped from a detention centre on the day the EU launched its new border force.

One migrant feigned illness to distract officers, leaving the others to attack police with fire extinguishers injuring five.

The mob, made up mostly of Algerian migrants, were some of the 70 foreigners without residence permits held in the Sangonera la Verde centre near the south-eastern city of Murcia.

The incident happened as the European Union launched a new border force in a desperate attempt to try and stem the flow of migrants.

'One of the foreigners first pretended to be ill, and when the ambulance came to take him away, the others rose up in mutiny,' a police spokeswoman said.

During the revolt, men 'grabbed fire extinguishers and various items to throw them,' she said, adding that five police officers were slightly injured.

The government representative said 26 migrants were still missing, 'almost all of them Algerian.'

And in neighbouring France shots were fired at a centre being set up to rehouse migrants from Calais's 'Jungle' camp.

Bullets smashed windows in the building on France's west coast, one of a number of properties across the country where the government is planning to rehouse people moved out of the crowded settlement.

The 50 refugees destined for the site, in the seaside resort town of Saint Brevin, have not arrived yet, but the attack reveals the level of local opposition to the French government's plans.

The opposition party, Les Republicains, has launched a petition against the plan, saying it will merely shut the Calais camp and replace it with dozens of mini-Calais sites nationwide.

Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse condemned the shooting in Saint Brevin.

'We can't just stand by and leave these people in the street and the mud when it is a matter of the right to asylum,' he told Europe 1 radio.

A new European border and coast guard force was also launched yesterday at a checkpoint on the bloc's border with Turkey in Bulgaria.

The service will have more than double Frontex's staff and new powers. EU countries will establish a pool of 1,500 guards and technical equipment to rapidly deploy to countries facing heavy migration flows.

But Libya, a key springboard for Europe-bound migrants, ejected calls from some EU countries to build refugee camps on its shores, saying the bloc could not 'shirk its responsibility'.

'The EU would shirk its responsibility and instead place it on our shoulders,' Foreign Minister Mohamad Taher Siala said at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna.

The idea is 'very far removed from the reality on the ground' in conflict-torn Libya where the government is engaged in fierce battles with Islamic State militants, he added.

Several European Union countries, including Austria and Hungary, have been pushing for EU deals with North African countries to send back rejected asylum-seekers as a way of dealing with the worst migration crisis since 1945.

Hungary's populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently said the EU should build 'a large refugee city' on the Libyan coast to process asylum claims of migrants outside the EU.

A growing number of people are attempting the treacherous sea journey from Libya or Egypt, after the closure of the Balkan migrant trail route leading from Greece to western Europe.

More than 140,000 have made the journey to Italy on overcrowded boats since the start of this year, latest figures show.

Over 3,500 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean in 2016 so far.

Source: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3826147/Migrants-attack-police-fire-extinguishers-escape-Spanish-detention-centre-day-EU-launches-new-border-force.html

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Second man sentenced for burning Qurans at Springfield Islamic Center in 2011

October 6, 2016

A man was sentenced Thursday to spend two weeks in prison and pay more than $10,000 in restitution for defacing the Islamic Centre of Springfield with graffiti and burning two copies of the Quran in 2011, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Adam David Smock, who was 18 at the time of the crime, will be on probation for five years, perform 40 hours of community service and personally apologize to the leadership of the Islamic Center.

Smock, now 24 and living in California, and two other people spray painted graffiti on the exterior walls of the Islamic Center of Springfield on Jan. 7, 2011, the release said. According to the release, they spray painted: “Queer insurrection,” “It’s okay to be gay!” “Bash Back,” “Now is our time!” and “You bash us in Pakistan we bash here.”

Repairs to the center, including sandblasting and applying anti-graffiti paint, cost more than $15,000, the release said.

The three individuals also burned two copies of the Quran and left them in front of the main doors to the Islamic Center of Springfield, the release said.

The Islamic Center of Springfield, 2151 E. Division St., provides services common to most religious establishments like regular prayer services, community activities and a forum for fundraising, according to the release.

Another man, Joshua Daniel Lobsien, 24, of Edgewater, California, and also formerly of Springfield, was sentenced in July to five years of probation, 20 hours of community service and $5,220 in restitution, the release said.

Both Lobsien and Smock were 18 years old at the time of the offense. The release said a third individual — then 14 — participated, but that individual is not named.

The release says a note was in front of the main doors with a picture of a ram's head and the following text:

"To: Sincere Followers of Allah,

"Today, we show the Muslim Nation that its oppressive religion won't go without a fight, not from soldiers, but from average citizens willing to fight for America — for there are three (sic) burned Qur'ans that lay spread in the driveway. For we grow tired of Anti-Zionism. The Islamification of Europe. Terroristic regimes. And worst of all, the membership of 1.5 billion Muslims that stain the earth. And we vow one thing: Islam will not survive.

"Death to Islam!"

Source: news-leader.com/story/news/crime/2016/10/06/second-man-sentenced-burning-qurans-springfield-islamic-center-2011/91689926/

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South Asia

Bangladeshi Minister Dismisses Threats in New IS Publication as ‘Hollow Warning’

OCTOBER 7, 2016

Bangladesh’s home minister on Thursday dismissed threats against the country contained in an article that the main planner of a terrorist attack in Dhaka in July purportedly penned before police gunned him down.

The newly published article is the latest attempt by extremist group Islamic State to glorify the massacre at a local café. It echoes a recent IS video in which the five young Bangladeshi attackers, who were all killed, each gave on-camera testimonials as they brandished an assault rifle and stood in front of IS’s black flag.

The article appeared this week in Rumiyah, a new propaganda magazine disseminated by al-Hayat, IS’s media wing, and a copy of which was obtained by BenarNews.

IS has claimed that its fighters carried out the attack but, in responding to the article, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal repeated his earlier claim that Islamic State has no presence in Bangladesh and that a home-grown militant group was behind the July 1 attack.

“This is ploy to intimidate the foreigners. We have adopted maximum measures to crush the militants. We will root them out at any cost,” the minister told BenarNews.

The July 1 massacre at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter, left 29 dead: 20 diners, five attackers, two policemen shot from inside the cafe, a restaurant worker and a wounded man who later died of his injuries. Seventeen of the dead were foreign nationals.

Since then close to 20 suspected members of Neo JMB, a faction of militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), have been killed in raids conducted by Bangladeshi police and counter-terrorist forces.

“What I can assure you is that we have broken their backbone; all the major leaders were killed in gunfights with the police. They are talking tall for coverage and intimidating people. This is nothing but a hollow warning,” Kamal said.

‘Just a glimpse’

The slain suspects included Bangladeshi-born Canadian citizen Tamim Chowdhury who, according to local authorities, headed the Neo-JMB faction which they blame for the café attack.

Chowdhury, who was killed along with two other suspected militants in a raid in Naryaganj district on Aug. 27, purportedly wrote the article published in Rumiyah.

Headlined “The Shuhada of the Gulshan Attack,” the article carries Chowdhury’s byline and an alias (Abu Dujanah al-Bengali). The article identifies the writer as the “Former Head of Military and Covert Operations of the Soldiers of the Kalifah in Bengal.”

Earlier this year another IS propaganda magazine, Dabiq, published an interview with Chowdhury whom it described as “the emir” of IS’s “caliphate in Bengal,” according to Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper.

“The mujahidin will continue discovering ‘security gaps and holes’ and lay in ambush for the crusaders whatever they can be found. The mujahidin will target expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, sports teams, and anyone else from the Crusader citizens to be found in Bengal until the land is purified from the Crusaders and all other kuffars and the law of Allah is established in the land,” according to the article in Rumiyah.

“... Cesare Tavella was just a warning, the Gulshan attack was just a glimpse, and what is yet to come by the permission of Allah will be worse and far more bitter,” says the article, referring to the killing of an Italian aid worker in Dhaka last year.

The September 2015 attack of Tavella occurred amid a wave of killings by suspected militants targeting secular bloggers and religious minorities. These resulted in Western embassies issuing travel warnings for Bangladesh and the Australian men’s cricket team postponing a tour of the nation at the end of last year.

Despite ongoing safety concerns the English men’s cricket team has agreed to play in Bangladesh starting this week. The home minister told BenarNews that the government had assured the visiting team its players and coaches would be protected through “maximum security” during their stay.

On Thursday, the eve of a series of matches scheduled to be played between England and Bangladesh, local army commandos conducted war-game exercises at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, the venue for the matches.

The publication of the article followed the dissemination in late September of an online video released by IS and which included scenes shot inside Bangladesh, officials acknowledged.

The video also threatened more terrorist attacks and vowed action against Bangladeshi clerics who had spoken out against militant groups.

Islamic scholar Maulana Farid Uddin Masud was criticized in the video because he had spearheaded an anti-militancy fatwa (religious decree) signed by 100,000 clerics.

“The way they term the non-Muslims, the Crusaders, is very objectionable. The IS Islam is not Islam; this is a total distortion of Islam. Allah says killing of one person is tantamount to killing of the whole human being,” he told BenarNews on Thursday.

Source: benarnews.org/english/news/bengali/tamim-article-10062016153702.html

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Cheques for Bangladesh militants for return to normal life

07.10.2016

Two Bangladeshi Islamist militants received cheques from the government on Wednesday in return for pledging to return to normal life, under a new scheme attempting to halt rising extremism.

Police said Abdul Hakim, 22 and Mahmudul Hasan, 17, had been members of banned local Islamist outfit Jamaayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), blamed for a cafe siege that left 20 mostly foreign hostages dead.

Elite Rapid Action Battalion spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan said the pair had recently reached out to police for assistance as part of a new scheme announced by the national police chief.

"They were involved with the organisational activities of JMB. They issued a plea to us through their parents to return to a normal life, therefore, we facilitated their return," Khan told journalists.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan handed the pair cheques each for 500,000 taka ($6,350) to restart their lives in a ceremony in the northern district of Bogra and broadcast on television.

A string of attacks by Islamist groups targeting religious minorities, secular and liberal activists as well as foreigners have blighted Bangladesh over the last three years. The government was left reeling after Islamist militants hacked to death and shot the hostages in the siege on an upmarket Dhaka cafe in July.

The Islamic State organisation claimed responsibility, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's secular government blamed the JMB.

Little is known about the two recruits, but Hakim told the ceremony he had chosen "a dark path when there was no aim in life and he had no wish to live".

"We made a mistake. We don't want anyone else to come to this path," Hakim said.

Three siblings belonging to another banned outfit, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, also surrendered to police on Monday, authorities have said.

Security analyst Shahab Enam Khan applauded the scheme which comes after the government's hardline crackdown on opposition activists that has seen thousands arrested and raised allegations of human rights abuses.

"It is good that the government is pursuing a liberal policy rather than only focusing on hard approaches," Khan, who teaches at Bangladesh's Jahangirnagar University, told journalists.

Source: en.qantara.de/content/cheques-for-bangladesh-militants-for-return-to-normal-life

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Soldier slain in Afghanistan was Green Beret fighting Islamic State

October 06, 2016

The U.S. soldier killed Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province was a Green Beret who has Maryland roots and was assigned to the Army's 10th Special Forces Group, the Pentagon said Wednesday night.

Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, 31, was killed by an improvised explosive device while on foot during an operation against the Islamic State, defense officials said. He was from Takoma Park, Md., and had been in the Army eight years. His death was disclosed Tuesday, but defense officials withheld his name while notifying family members.

The death occurred in Achin district, which is a few miles from the Pakistan border and considered the Islamic State's base of operations in Afghanistan. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the senior U.S. commander in the country, said the death occurred during a "larger United States-Afghan counterterrorism mission targeting the Islamic State, Khorasan" - a reference to the group's Afghan branch.

"On behalf of all of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, we are heartbroken by this loss and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the service member," Nicholson said. "Despite this tragic event, we remain committed to defeating the terrorists of the Islamic State, Khorasan Province and helping our Afghan partners defend their nation."

An investigation has been launched to determine what occurred. Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, a senior U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, said that the U.S.-led military coalition will continue to carry out operations against the Islamic State and has carried out multiple airstrikes in Nangarhar within the last week.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said it is believed that no other U.S. or Afghan troops were wounded during the operation.

"This was a combat situation," Cook said. "Clearly this was a service member who faced risk alongside Afghan partners and we offer our condolences to the family."

The death occurred as the U.S. military assisted Afghan forces with offensives in two other parts of the country. In the northern city of Kunduz, Afghan troops pushed out insurgents late Tuesday in an operation backed by U.S. air power. In southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, fighting was underway in both Nawa and Khanashin districts between Afghan troops and Taliban fighters.

The death Tuesday marks the third U.S. combat fatality in Afghanistan this year. It follows the Aug. 23 death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. Thompson, of 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, was killed by an IED during a dismounted operation.

In January, Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock was killed by gunfire while fighting alongside Afghan commandos in Marja, a farmland district in Helmand that has seen fierce combat on and off for years.

Five U.S. troops were wounded in Afghanistan in fighting against the Islamic State in July, Nicholson disclosed at the time.

Source: nola.com/military/index.ssf/2016/10/green_beret_killed_afghanistan.html

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Taliban, Afghan soldiers casualties in army base attack in Kandahar

Fri Oct 07 2016

The Taliban militants and the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces suffered casualties during an attack by the Taliban insurgents on an army base in southern Kandahar province.

The provincial government media office in a statement said at least 20 militants were killed or wounded and 3 Afghan soldiers lost their lives during the attack.

The statement further added that 4 Afghan soldiers also sustained injuries in the attack which was carried out in Maiwand district.

However, another official in Kandahar province said the casualties of the Afghan army could be higher than figure disclosed by the provincial government.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban group and was among the relatively volatile provinces few years ago but the security situation in the province has improved during the recent years.

The latest attack on the army base in Maiwand comes as the Taliban insurgents have launched several attacks in southern Helmand and northern Kunduz province.

Sporadic clashes still continue in the outskirts of Kunduz city as the group attempted to take control of it while clashes are also reported around the provincial capital of Helmand province.

Source: khaama.com/famous-afghan-singer-dr-mohammad-sadiq-fitrat-nashenas-dies-at-age-73-02026

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44 Afghan soldiers missing in United States since 2015: Pentagon

Thu Oct 06 2016

At least 44 Afghan soldiers deployed to the United States for training have gone missing in less than two years, it has been reported.

According to officials in Pentagon, at least 8 soldiers have vanished from the training in United States only in the month of September this year.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump told Reuters the total number of Afghan troops who have gone missing since January 2015 is 44, a number that has not previously been disclosed.

“The Defense Department is assessing ways to strengthen eligibility criteria for training in ways that will reduce the likelihood of an individual Afghan willingly absconding from training in the U.S. and going AWOL (absent without leave),” Stump said.

According to the paper, some 2,200 Afghan troops have received military training in the United States since 2007 — the incidents raise questions about security and screening procedures for the programs.

However, the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said  there was no evidence any of those who had absconded had carried out crimes or posed a threat to the United States.

This comes as reports emerged late last month suggesting that three Afghan army cadets went missing from a training exercise in Cape Co military base in Massachusetts state.

The missing soldiers were identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Cpt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, and Cpt. Noorullah Aminyar.

Earlier, two Afghan policemen identified as 22-year-old Mohammad Yasin Ataye and 24-year-old Mohd Naweed Samimi vanished during a training visit in United States last week.

The two were among the 31 Afghan police officers who are on a visit in United States to work with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Source: khaama.com/44-afghan-soldiers-missing-in-united-states-since-2015-pentagon-02024

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India

India slams “hold” on declaring Masood Azhar global terrorist

October 7, 2016

New Delhi:India today reacted sharply to the extension of the “technical hold” on banning JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN, saying the global body will be sending a “dangerous message” if it fails to act upon India s demand for his designation as a global terrorist.

Without naming China, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said only one country had put the technical hold, blocking the ban by another three months, and criticised the complete “non-transparent and anonymous” manner of designating individuals by the UN Sanctions Committee.

Noting that the UN Sanctions Committee has already proscribed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, he said the panel, however, ignored the need to take action against the organisation s main leader, financier and motivator who continues his terrorist actions unhindered.

Responding to the extension of the hold, he said,”The Committee has already pondered (over) our submission for the last six months. It will get a further three months to ponder, but that will in no way change the strange situation we have of the Committee designating the terror organisation but failing to or ignoring the need to designate the organisation s most active and dangerous terrorist.

“We conveyed to the Committee that it is expected to proscribe Azhar under the 1267 Sanction Regime on the basis of our submission. Such a designation would help send a strong signal to all terror groups across the world that the international community is no longer going to pursue, or tolerate, selective approaches to terrorism.

“Distinction between good and bad terrorists is fallacious and counterproductive. Concomitantly, it will also be sending a dangerous message if it fails to act upon India s Submission.”

He noted that the issue was also being taken up with the Chinese Government.

He also emphasised that India would welcome any move which enables functioning of the UN Committee in a “manner where political considerations do not hold hostage the designation of known terrorists” and change the rule of “complete non-transparency and anonymity” of this process.

On March 31 this year, China – a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council – had blocked India’s move to put a ban on Azhar under the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.

China was the sole member in the 15-nation UN organ to put a hold on India’s application with the rest 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.

The Chinese technical hold had lapsed on Monday, and had China not raised further objection, the resolution designating Azhar as a terrorist would have been passed automatically.

Beijing had on Saturday announced the extension of its “technical hold”.

http://www.siasat.com/news/india-slams-hold-declaring-masood-azhar-global-terrorist-1036642/

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A Cross-Border Wedding: Youth Awaits Pak Bride As Tension Mounts

October 7, 2016

Jodhpur: A cross-border wedding has run into the headwinds of rising tensions between India and Pakistan.

Jodhpur resident Naresh Tewani and Karachi-based Priya Bachchani, who are planning to tie the knot exactly a month from now, are now facing anxious moments as the Indian embassy in Pakistan has not granted visas to the bride’s family and relatives.

According to the groom, despite having applied for visas in the prescribed time and format, no one from the bride’s side has been issued the documents so far. Seeing no headway in the process, Tewani has reached out to External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter for help.

“The applications for visas for the family of the bride were filed well in time about 3 months back. We assumed that the documents would be issued in time,” said Tewani.

The groom’s family says wedding preparations have come to a standstill as all their efforts are being directed towards ensuring that the bride’s family gets the documents.

“The minister has been quite responsive to tweets by people in trouble and they have received aid from her. Seeing her willingness to resolve the troubles of those in need, we have knocked on her twitter account,” Tewani said.

The groom’s father Kanhaiya Lal said Priya’s family in Karachi has also been constantly in touch with elected representatives from their community, but nothing encouraging has happened so far.

“It was my long-cherished dream to have a Pakistani bride for my son since my visit to Pakistan in 2001, considering the resemblance in culture and traditions between the two countries. But given the circumstances, I think that the realisation of this dream might take longer,” he rued.

http://www.siasat.com/news/caught-cross-fire-youth-awaits-pak-bride-tension-mounts-1036786/

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Muslim Bollywood star out of Hindu play

October 7, 2016

Some members of the Shiv Sena said they were against "a Muslim actor going on stage in a Ramlila", a theatre festival based on the Hindu religious epic Ramayana and performed across India.

The actor had said performing in the Ramlila was "his childhood dream".

The Shiv Sena often resorts to violence and threats to push its agenda.

The dramatic folk re-enactment of Hindu god Ram's victory over the 10-headed demon king Ravana celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

Villages across India stage their own performances, and spend a long time rehearsing and preparing for the event.

Ramayana: Indian children playing god with royal patronage

In pictures: India celebrates Dussehra festival

Siddiqui, who was performing the Ramlila in his village Budhana in northern Uttar Pradesh state, was forced to cancel his appearance minutes before going on stage, after the Shiv Sena told organisers that they did not want him to act.

"In the 50-60 year history of the Budhana Ramlila, no Muslim artist has set foot on the stage. We couldn't allow that now. It's about tradition," Shiv Sena member Mukesh Sharma told The Times of India.

Siddiqui has said however, that he is confident of performing in the Ramlila next year.

The Shiv Sena party is a junior coalition partner in the western Maharashtra state government, which is ruled by India's governing BJP.

The party was founded in 1966 to keep south Indian migrants out of Maharashtra state and to halt the spread of Islam.

Over time, it has acquired a reputation for promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism while allegedly targeting minorities, especially Muslims.

http://www.bbc.com/news/37583319

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Characters changed? Aishwarya and Anushka won't play Pakistanis in 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' anymore!

Fri, 7 Oct 2016

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is going through a tough time. The Karan Johar directorial has been in news ever since the ban on Pakistani actors have been imposed. While MNS has been protesting against its release, the IMPPA has now requested the political organisation to allow the film to release without any further protests. Now, we hear Karan too has bowed out.

What happened? In the wake of the ban on Pakistani artists, KJo has brought about a major change in his film's plotline. He has changed the character sketches of both his leading ladies, who were earlier playing two Pakistani characters in the film.

Anushka and Aishwarya's characters are no more that of Pakistani girls but of two Indian Muslim girls. Before the fiasco happened, designer Manish Malhotra had told Filmfare, "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is going to be that film where the characters – Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan are all dressed as people abroad but who are making a statement. Especially, in Anushka’s and Aishwarya’s case, it’s high street fashion mixed with labels. Both play Pakistani girls and their style has a mix of the cultures. ADHM is a film close to my heart."

Now, in a recent interview, he changed his entire statement. He told Elle, "Anushka plays a Muslim girl from Lucknow in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. We have blended traditional and modern details throughout the movie. For her bridal look, we kept in mind the cultural direction of what a modern Muslim girl would opt for."

Now you know that Karan has certainly decided to make the necessary changes to avoid further issues in the film's release.

http://www.dnaindia.com/entertainment/report-characters-changed-aishwarya-and-anushka-won-t-play-pakistanis-in-ae-dil-hai-mushkil-anymore-2262152

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Haj Comes Under the Control of Ministry Of Minority Affairs

Fri, 7 Oct 2016

The Centre on Thursday formally announced that the work related to management of Haj pilgrimage, including administration of the Haj Committee Act, 2002 and rules has been transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs to Ministry of Minority Affairs with effect from October 1.

A statement by the Ministry of the Personnel said here that Hajj is one of the most complex organisational tasks undertaken by the government outside Indian borders and Indian pilgrims constitute the third largest national group performing the Hajj.

According to the Ministry since 2013 about 1,36,000 pilgrims visit Saudi Arabia every year for performing Haj and given its complexity and geographical spread, Haj Management requires meticulous planning and close coordination with various Ministries and agencies which is a year long managerial exercise.

The Haj management involves concerted efforts of Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Health, the Consulate General of India, Jeddah (CGI), the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) and the State/UT Haj Committees. All aspects of the arrangements for the HCoI pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are coordinated by the Consulate General of India, Jeddah under the overall supervision of the Ambassador of India in Riyadh. In India, the Haj Committee of India established under the Hajj Committee Act, 2002 is responsible for making the arrangements for matters connected with Hajj.

On September 29 after the President Pranab Mukherjee had given his go ahead, the Centre had notified the decision. Till recently the Ministry of External Affairs dealt with the Haj pilgrimage and Act affairs. Under the amended business rules in the Second Schedule the External Affairs Ministry would however continue to oversee pilgrimages to places outside India and the Indian Pilgrim Ships Rules, 1933, and pilgrim parties from India to shrines in Pakistan and vice versa.

Early this year the government had decided to transfer the work related to management of Haj pilgrimage including administration of the Haj Committee Act, 1959 and Rules made there under from the Ministry of External Affairs to the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Haj Committee

The Haj Committee of India known as Central Haj Committee (CHC) has been established under the Haj Committee Act 2002, for making arrangements for the pilgrimage of Muslims for Haj, and for matters connected therewith.

Every year, the Haj Committee of India organises the All India Annual Conference for Haj Chairmen & Secretaries of State Haj Committees. Senior Officers of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Air India, attend the Conference. The Conference reviews the arrangements of pervious Haj and suggests improvements in the arrangements for next Haj. It also considers the calendar of activities/Action Plan for the next Haj.

The Haj Quota is fixed by the Centre and the state-wise quota of Haj Seats is distributed among the States and Union Territories on the basis of Muslim Population of these States/Union Territories.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/haj-pilgrimage-comes-under-control-of-minority-affairs-ministry/article9193652.ece

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Tamil Nadu man who ‘fought for IS in Iraq’ held

October 7, 2016

The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has arrested an alleged Islamic State fighter, a native of Tamil Nadu, who had returned from Iraq after fighting for the militant group. The NIA said Subahani Haja Moideen, 31, a native of Kadayanallur, Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, was arrested based on the details obtained from the six men from Kerala, who were nabbed from a hilltop in Kannur, where they were planning a secret meeting.

Moideen’s arrest was recorded on Wednesday. He was produced before the NIA court in Kochi, which sent him to police custody for nine days.

The NIA said Moideen has revealed that he had gone to Iraq on April 8, 2015 to join the Islamic State and fight for the organisation. He had left home telling his parents and wife that he was going to perform Umrah.

As per the preliminary examination, he was radicalised and recruited to IS by recruiters active over online social media platforms. He left India for Istanbul from Chennai on a visit visa. After reaching Istanbul, he crossed over along with others, including people from Pakistan and Afghanistan to IS-held territory in Iraq.

He was taken to Mosul in Iraq, where he underwent detailed course in Shariya followed by combat training. On completion of combat training, including training in the automated weapons, he was sent to the war zone in Mosul for security duties in IS-held territory, which he performed for almost two-weeks. He was being paid USD 100 per month as subsistence allowance by the IS along with common available accommodation and food without any additional charges.

He has further revealed that he could not withstand the violence and war misery in Mosul and decided to leave the organisation, after two of his friends were charred alive before him in a shell attack. On conveying his decision to quit the organisation, he was imprisoned by IS at Mosul and was subjected to extreme torture. He, along with other similar deserting foreign fighters, was produced before an IS judge, following which he was again incarcerated at Raqqa in Syria. Sources from the agency have claimed that Moideen was imprisoned for 55 days.

Thereafter, he stayed illegally in Istanbul for about two weeks, before he approached the Indian Consulate, for returning to India. He contacted his family and conveyed his decision to return to India, following which they sent him money for flight tickets. After Turkish Police issued a clearance certificate, he was issued an Emergency Certificate by Indian Consulate, over which he returned to India through Mumbai on 22nd September, 2015.

Sources said Moideen claimed that he met a couple from north Kerala at the IS warfront. “At this stage, we cannot identify the couple,’’ sources said. Last year, The Indian Express had reported that a couple from Kannur was among the 17 Indians believed to have joined the IS.

It is yet to be ascertained why Moideen was allowed to return home, but NIA sources have claimed that he was released when he agreed to carry out missions for the terror outfit in south India.

On his return to India, Subahani Haja went to his ancestral place in Kadaynallur, Tirunelveli, where he was staying till now with his wife. He got a job as a salesman in a gold jewelry shop at Kadayanallur.

According to the agency, Moideen again got in touch with IS handlers over the Internet after his return to India.

“Recently, he received a Telegram message from Syria, asking him to collect Rs 20,000 from near a statue in Chennai. The money was to be used to buy explosives. Moideen collected the amount and went to Sivakasi to procure the explosives, but we foiled the plan by busting the Kerala module last Sunday,’’ NIA sources said, adding that the explosives were meant to carry out blasts in south India.

The six persons suspected to be members of the IS-inspired module in Kerala have reportedly confessed that they planned to target high court judges, a senior police officer and a BJP leader. They also planned to execute an attack at a convention of all religions in Kochi last month, said sources. The venue of the convention was changed after central intelligence agencies alerted the organisers.

Although NIA has not named the police officer and judges who were being targeted, it is learnt that they had handled cases pertaining to Islamic fundamentalism.

http://www.indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kerala-indian-islamic-state-iraq-nia-3068865/

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North America

Muslims, Catholics build bridges during week of fun, faith at camp

October 7, 2016

The smiles spread spontaneously, creating the kind of infectious joy that immediately connects people, no matter their backgrounds or faiths. Oct 07, 2016Related News

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The smiles spread spontaneously, creating the kind of infectious joy that immediately connects people, no matter their backgrounds or faiths.

The young Muslim Americans who spent a week in the summer swimming, canoeing, climbing and learning more about their faith at the Catholic Youth Organisation (CYO) camp in Nashville also wanted to learn a special song from the young Catholics who were their lifeguards, canoeing guides and climbing instructors.

The young Muslims noticed the words to The Great Amen! song etched on a wall of the dining hall at the Indianapolis Archdiocese’s Camp Rancho Framasa. Catholic campers for years and years have ended their prayers with the lyrics, “Amen! H-A-P-P-Y! Yeah, God!” — followed by singing “Amen!” over and over again.

So at a final campfire, the young Catholics taught some of the young Muslims the right way to sing the song, and the woods filled with a loud, joyous, continuing chorus of “Amens!”

The smiles lasted even longer. “

That was great,” recalled a smiling Fariha Hossain, a 21-yearold Muslim who was one of two main advisers for the camp.

“That was cool,” said a smiling Anne Taube, a 30-year-old Catholic who is assistant director of Camp Rancho Framasa.

When Kevin Sullivan was approached by the Muslim Youth of North America about having its annual summer youth camp this year at Rancho Framasa, the codirector of the CYO camp knew that it was “fairly common in the camping industry” for an organization to “rent” a camp and have the camp staff provide meals, housekeeping, lifeguarding and other services.

He also knew the dates that the Muslim Youth organisation requested — Aug. 5-11 — came after the end of the CYO camp’s regular summer schedule, so he didn’t hesitate to welcome the group. He viewed it as an opportunity for collaboration between the two faiths.

“We all need that today,” Sullivan told The Criterion, Indianapolis archdiocesan newspaper. “As Catholics, we are all raised to believe that our Church is welcoming and is the first to reach out. We tell our staff over and over that our relationships with anyone who comes through our camp are changing the world. With that in mind, why wouldn’t we want their group to be present with us?”

Such a welcoming embrace hasn’t always been a guarantee at previous camps across the country, say the leaders of the Muslim youth camp.

“We have had negative experiences with camp sites where a local community came to the gates of the camp and protested why there was a Muslim camp,” said Uzair Siddiqui, 23, who was a co-camp adviser. “This camp has been the exact opposite. There have been many smiles and a lot of opportunities for the campers to interact with the staff.”

The interactions left lasting impressions on the 150 Muslim campers, their 21 Muslim counsellors and the Catholic staff who helped them that week. The campers came from as far away as Florida, Texas, California and Canada.

Scott Hartman, the CYO camp’s programme manager helped and interacted with the Muslims youths — ages 12 to 18 — as they swam, canoed and tackled the high-ropes challenge. He was struck by how the youths followed a schedule of praying five times a day during camp — and how they prepared to pray each time.

“They wash their hands and face before they pray because they believe they’re talking one on one with God — which I believe, too — but I haven’t always been concerned about my appearance when I do,” Hartman said.

“Learning about their culture and religion has been the best part for me. We got to pray together at the first meal,” he added. “They asked God to bless the food and protect us from harm. I could agree with everything in their prayer.”

Taube had a similar reaction as she watched a group of campers perform a skit in which two of the youths were cast as Taylor Swift and Kanye West, two popular celebrities who have had conflicts.

“Their point was how we spend a lot of our energy focusing on celebrity drama instead of focusing on God,” she said. “There are a lot of similarities in how they teach their faith.”

The interaction with the Catholic staff members also was valuable for the Muslim campers.

“It was a great opportunity for us to learn we aren’t different,” said Siddiqui. “One of the passages in the Quran (the central religious text of Islam) is that God has created mankind simply to get to know one another. And from that, to build bridges.”

http://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/muslims-catholics-build-bridges-during-week-of-fun-faith-at-camp/32350/2

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Starting Today, the Muslims Are Coming—to Vote!

10.07.16

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate: You Muslims better vote this election!

Muslim Americans across the country this Friday will be hearing words to that effect as part of the “My Muslim Vote Khutba Day.” This first of its kind national initiative is intended to deliver “a message about the importance of voting in this election—and making the story of our political power heard loud and clear.”

That screaming sound you might be hearing is from Trump supporters! The idea that Muslim Americans could tip the election in swing states with large Muslim populations such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan has to freak them out.  And this will upset them even more: It’s expected that Muslims will vote in big numbers. As Linda Sarsour, one of the people spearheading this effort explained, this year “the Muslim vote will be unprecedented.”

Before Fox News or Trump tells you otherwise, this project was not conceived by Huma Abedin. Nor is it some sinister plot to stealthily impose sharia law via the ballot box.  Rather this effort is being spearheaded by “My Muslim Vote,” a nonpartisan organization that is “focused on uplifting the voices of Muslim voters in the 2016 election cycle.”

The materials for this project even include a sample Khutba (which is simply a sermon) titled “On the obligation of Muslims to vote” that clerics or lay people can deliver this Friday during prayer services. (For those unaware, Friday is the big day of worship for Muslims, akin to Sunday for Christians and Saturday for Jews.) This sermon seeks to appeal to Muslims by invoking Islamic principles to inspire Muslims to become active in American politics with lines like, “It is not sufficient for us as a community to simply pray, fast, perform hajj, and to concern ourselves with ourselves and our worship, while ignoring that which is around us.  We have to be engaged …We should not sit idly by when we see wrong.”

The reality is that Muslim Americans have increasingly becoming involved in politics in recent years—and for good reason. We have seen numerous Republican politicians demonize Muslims for political gain, with Trump taking it to new despicable levels. We have also seen efforts to deprive us of our constitutional rights from calls for religious profiling in violation of the Fourth Amendment to making it nearly impossible to build new places of worship in violation of the First Amendment.

But the effort to encourage Muslims Americans to become active in politics is being taken to the next level this election. This fall major American Muslim groups spearheaded nationwide voter registration drives.  And now with this Khutba project, it’s going a step further.

It’s no different than the path taken by other minority communities who became engaged in politics to counter attempts to marginalize them.  Being the son of an Italian Catholic mother and a Palestinian Muslim father, I’m keenly aware of how bigotry has been used against minority faiths in the past.  My Catholic grandparents and others in their community were demonized and discriminated against simply for their faith in the early 1900’s.  And even as late as 1960 when John F. Kennedy ran for President some alleged (loudly) that as a Catholic he would not be loyal to the United States but rather would take orders from the Pope.

But as Catholics became more involved in politics they empowered themselves to effectively counter this narrative. We have come so far that no one even hints that Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine – a devout Catholic – might be less loyal to American because of his faith.

The success of other minority faith communities overcoming hate from Jews to Catholics gives us hope as well as a template to follow. As Sarsour noted, “We have historically seen the use of pulpits of churches to build political power of communities, and now Muslims are participating in similar ways.”

And Ahmed Bedier, the president of United Voices for America and one of the people who will deliver a sermon Friday as part of this initiative, believes that “the only way we will stop the avalanche of anti-Muslim bigotry and the scapegoating of our communities is by voting in large numbers and getting involved in the political process.” I couldn’t agree more.

Some may be surprised to learn that it’s not just radical right-wingers who oppose American Muslims being involved in American politics—people like Michelle Bachmann  and Brietbart.com, alleging that every visible Muslim in American politics is somehow a threat. There are actually some ultra-conservative American Muslims who believe that Muslims should not be involved in democracy or have allegiances to non-Muslims.  While I personally have never heard this view, clearly others have, which is why the sample sermon addresses that very issue noting that those arguments are not in any way supported by Islamic principles. 

The sample sermon also makes an argument that we hear directed to Americans of all backgrounds: Even one vote matters. The sermon notes that “Muslims have swung elections in the past,” citing the 2000 election where “Muslims voted overwhelmingly for Bush…and delivered Florida to Bush.” The sermon continues with a more recent example: “Similarly, in the recent primaries, Michigan Muslims voted overwhelmingly for Sanders, and hence Bernie Sanders won the Michigan primary due to the Muslim vote.”

This Muslim voter mobilization project in no way endorses any specific candidates. However, the reality is that with few exceptions, Muslims are passionately opposed to Trump given his demonization of our community and other minority groups.  And the hope is that by Muslims getting more involved in politics—from voting to raising money to running for office—we will be able to prevent another Trump from ever rising to power again. Inshallah.

Source: thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/07/starting-today-the-muslims-are-coming-to-vote.html

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Donald Trump no longer supports ban on Muslim: Mike Pence

October 7, 2016

 Trump Muslims, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, terrorism, Muslims terror, Hillary Clinton, US presidential elections, news, latest news, world news, international news, US news “When Donald Trump becomes president of the US, we won’t be paying ransom to terrorists. They will be paying the price if they detain American citizens or threaten our people,” Trump’s running mate Mike Pence said.

Donald Trump no longer wants to impose a total ban on Muslims entering the US, his running mate Mike Pence has said, indicating a disavow of one of its most provocative policy proposals by the Republican presidential nominee. “It is not Donald Trump’s position now,” Pence told CNN in an interview on Thursday when asked about Trump’s stated policy of banning Muslims from entering the country.

“Donald Trump has… talked about putting the security of the American people first… And he’s made it clear our position is, we’re going to suspend immigration from countries compromised by terrorism,” Pence argued. Pence said Trump has underscored on the need to suspend immigration from countries and territories that have been compromised by terrorism.

“I understand why you want to play the oldies, you want to talk about the where the campaign began or what statements were made, but the American people are focused on the policies that Donald Trump is articulating every day across this country,” 57-year-old Pence said. Later at an election rally in Pennsylvania, Pence slammed the Obama Administration for making alleged cash payment to Iranians as ransom, which has been denied by the US Government.

“This administration and Hillary Clinton, with Clinton’s assent, signed an agreement that essentially puts off USD 150 billion to the Iranian, the radical Mullahs in Iran. And all we did was delay their nuclear ambitions. The worst of it to me was the very day that the Iranians released four American hostages from captivity in Tehran, we delivered USD 400 million in cash on a pallet as ransom,” he said.

“Let me make you a promise. When Donald Trump becomes president of the US, we won’t be paying ransom to terrorists. They will be paying the price if they detain American citizens or threaten our people,” he added. The US, he said, can’t have four more years of Obama Administration.

“We cannot have four more years apologising to our enemies and abandoning our friends. For America to be safe, for the world to be safe, America needs to be strong. And when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, we will lead with American strength on the world stage once again,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 70-year-old reality TV star denied allegations that a town hall, held yesterday, was not his preparation for the next debate with his Democratic rival Clinton.

“This isn’t practice, this has nothing to do with Sunday,” Trump said in an apparent response to the criticism against him. Trump’s performance in the first debate against Clinton was widely panned. “We’re just here because we just wanted to be here. And I want to be with the American people, I want to be with the people from New Hampshire, and she (Clinton) wants to rest,” he lashed out at Clinton. The next debate in town hall-style presidential format is scheduled to held on Sunday.

Source: indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/donald-trump-no-longer-supports-ban-on-muslim-mike-pence-3070207/

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Pakistan

Communication Channels Between Pakistani, Indian Militaries Open: DG ISPR

October 7, 2016

ISLAMABAD: All communication channels between the Indian and Pakistani militaries remain open in wake of tensions that have gripped the South Asian nations over the disputed Kashmir region, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa has said.

Stressing the need for resolving issues through dialogue, Bajwa confirmed that the Director Generals of the Military Operations (DGMOs) from both sides have communicated after escalation in cross-border firing at the Line of Control (LoC).

"All communication channels including the hotline between the two militaries are open," he told Xinhua news agency in an exclusive interview.

He said Pakistan wants peaceful neighbourly relations with all countries in the region "and that is the policy of the state of Pakistan and that is the policy of the political government and every element of power in the country follows the same policy".

Bajwa reiterated that India violated the ceasefire along the LoC on Sept 29 and later claimed to have conducted "surgical strikes" inside Pakistan.

"We did check everything on ground and we found the claim was absolutely false."

Ties between Pakistan and India worsened after an attack on an Indian military camp in Uri inside India-held Kashmir on Sept 18, where around 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

India alleged that Pakistan-backed terrorists were involved in the attack and initially claimed that weapons recovered from them bore Pakistani markings. However, this assertion was debunked by the Indian media itself, forcing the Indian DGMO to retract the claim.

Since then, exchange of fire has taken place along the LoC on an almost daily basis. The escalation continued when India claimed it carried out "surgical strikes" across the control line on Sept 29, claims Pakistan rubbished as being baseless.

India last month pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit scheduled to be held in November in Islamabad. Several other Saarc members followed suit, leading to the postponement of the summit.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288606/communication-channels-between-pakistani-indian-militaries-open-dg-ispr-asim-bajwa

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PPP thunders in Parliament: 'Why has the govt been unable to defend Pakistan?'

October 7, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) played the role of a vibrant opposition party today when it asked the government some tough question about its handling of the Kashmir issue.

On the third day of the joint session of Parliament today when a resolution was passed on Kashmir, PPP lawmakers systematically criticised what they said was the government's inability to make a strong case for Pakistan on the international stage.

"The day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the name of Kulbushan Jadhav, I will donate Rs50,000 to the blind association," said Senator Aitzaz Ahsan. He was referring to PM Nawaz's UNGA speech, where he failed to mention the Indian spy caught by military officials months earlier.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman slammed Pakistan's foreign policy, asking "Why are we not able to mount a serious, sustained, protracted defence of the federation of Pakistan?"

"Kashmir is one of the most important issues for us regarding our foreign policy... You cannot build your foreign policy through one speech," Rehman said, referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's UNGA speech.

Rehman echoed Aitzaz's address to the joint session a day earlier, during which the premier failed to mention the Indian spy caught by military officials months earlier.

Aitzaz Ahsan also had something to say about Jadhav during today's session: "The day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the name of Kulbushan Jadhav, I will donate Rs50,000 to the blind association."

The Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said if there was another terrorist attack in India, Pakistan would lose Balochistan, Rehman said. "Who is the NSA of India to say this?" she questioned. "How dare any Indian speak about the federation of Pakistan?"

"One-seventh of India is constantly under insurgency. That is their internal matter. Why did you not bring this matter up?" the PPP lawmaker said, addressing the prime minister who was not present at today's session.

Full report at:dawn.com/news/1288595/ppp-thunders-in-parliament-why-has-the-govt-been-unable-to-defend-pakistan

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NAP-related police operation stopped after raids on PML-N UC chairmen outhouses

October 7, 2016

FAISALABAD: Police combing operation has been suspended in the district for a month allegedly since the force recovered illegal weapons from outhouses of three ruling PML-N union council chairmen, and two top police officers had to hold a pacifying meeting with these local representatives none of whom was booked for the crime.

Police had launched the operation just a few days after a military operation in Faisalabad.

On Sept 11 last, police raided the outhouses of three UC chairmen belonging to the ruling party -- Rana Israr, Mohsin Saleem and Pervez Kamoka -- and claimed to have recovered weapons of prohibited bores, including Kalashnikov guns.

The police did not dare to book even a single UC chairman for possessing illegal weapon.

Sources said raids were part of the combing operation carried out by the police to net the criminals who were also wanted by army.

Officers had to be ‘apologetic’ for recovering illegal weapons

They said after conducting these raids and recovering illegal weapons, the police officials had to face criticism from the ruling party parliamentarians who were patronising these chairmen.

Though the army operation was still going on in the district, police were not actively pursuing their targets fearing wrath of ruling party influential politicians, the sources added.

Two of these chairmen -- Rana Israr and Mohsin Saleem -- talking to reporters the other day threatened to submit their resignations if action was not taken against the policemen who ‘dared’ to raid their outhouses.

They also criticised the parliamentarians for remaining silent on the issue.

Owing to political and departmental pressure, two top police officers had to hold a meeting with the “disgruntled” PML-N chairmen to pacify them and give an assurance that action would be taken against the policemen responsible for conducting raids on their outhouses, the sources said.

However, a police officer seeking anonymity denied giving such an assurance to the chairmen, saying the meeting was held on the request of these local representatives.

Though three FIRs — 836, 837 and 838 -- had been registered with the Madina Town police on Sept 11 following the raids, instead of the three chairmen whose outhouse were raided, three others -- Arif of Nawan Lahore, Bilal of Dijkot and Mudasar of Samundri -- had been booked for possessing illegal weapons.

The police showed in the FIRs that weapons were recovered from the three suspects while they were standing along different roads.

Ijaz Virk, a former MNA and local PML-N leader, said it was unfair to pressurise senior police officers into holding a meeting with such elements and pacify them, adding it was tantamount to turning the department spineless. He said the reputation of these chairmen was already questionable.

Mr Virk said the police operation against such anti-social elements could not be stopped without instructions from higher-ups. He alleged that some local parliamentarians had approached the PML-N leadership with the argument that such raids would hit their “political stature” in the area.

He said the police raids were part of the National Action Plan (NAP) and should go on unhindered.

City Police Officer Afzaal Kausar, however, dispelled the impression and told Dawn that the police operation was continuing on the basis of actionable intelligence. However, he said the focus of the operation had shifted from action against criminals to Muharram related activities.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Deputy Secretary General Farrukh Habib said it was decided that under the NAP action would be taken against the suspects across the board. He said it was condemnable and a mockery of justice that policemen had to be apologetic about any lawful action.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288538/nap-related-police-operation-stopped-after-raids-on-pml-n-uc-chairmen-outhouses

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Faisal urges authorities to release Wahid Baloch

October 7, 2016

KARACHI: Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Foundation has requested the Inspector General of Sindh police and the Sindh chief minister to release ‘missing’ writer and publisher Abdul Wahid “on humanitarian grounds”.

Speaking to Dawn on Thursday, Mr Edhi acknowledged that he had written a letter on Sep 24 on the request of Mr Wahid’s eldest daughter Hani Wahid.

“I met Abdul Wahid during gatherings organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). Later, I got to know he works as an operator at the Civil Hospital. I had a meeting with Wahid’s daughter, Hani, last month. I earlier received a letter from her in which she asked me to appeal for her father’s release in any which way I can. I decided to write a letter to senior officials who I thought could help,” he said.

In the letter, Mr Faisal requests the IG Sindh and the chief minister of Sindh to “release Abdul Wahid on humanitarian basis”.

The letter shows a receiving stamp of Sep 27 from both the recipients; but, Faisal says he hasn’t “heard back from any official as yet”.

According to Mr Wahid’s family and friends, he was asked to step out of a van on the Superhighway near the toll plaza by two men in plain clothes on July 26. He was coming back from Digri, Mirpurkhas and hasn’t returned home.

A petition was filed at the Sindh High Court by Hani Wahid on Aug 2. She stated in the petition that an FIR was not registered by the SHO of Gadap, Khan Nawaz, when he was approached by her family.

Sub-Inspector Asadullah of the Gadap police station, who represented the SHO of Gadap during a hearing on Sep 26, stated in the court that the petitioner did not approach the SHO for an FIR.

The court asked the SI to register an FIR and file a progress report on the next hearing.

An FIR was eventually registered under Section 365 against intelligence agencies, according to a copy of the FIR available with Dawn.

Human rights activists and social workers recently participated in a public rally organised by the HRCP from the Regal Chowk to the Karachi Press Club. They demanded that Abdul Wahid was released soon and any evidence against him should be presented in the court.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288470/faisal-urges-authorities-to-release-wahid-baloch

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No discrimination against minorities in Pakistan: Khatumal

October 7, 2016

KARACHI: Special assistant to Sindh chief minister on minorities Dr Khatumal Jeewan on Thursday condemned the Indian-sponsored international propaganda over the plight of religious minorities, Hindus in particular, in Pakistan, which he said, was an attempt to divert world’s attention from the Indian atrocities in the held Kashmir.

Speaking to reporters, Dr Jeewan said he had been elected to the national and provincial legislatures and senate for eight times since 1988, which, he said, was itself a befitting rebuttal to the claim the Indian authorities were making against Pakistan. He said the Indian government’s hands were stained with the blood of Dalits, Muslims and Kashmiris.

“World knows that horrific human rights violations have been going on in India for decades. The international community should force India and the Modi government to stop persecuting minority communities,” he said.

Dr Jeewan said merely granting admission to two Hindu girls from Pakistan in medical colleges, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wanted to dupe the world; while thousands of Hindu boys and girls were already studying in Pakistani medical, engineering and business universities and faced no discrimination.

He said certain recent protests outside the UN Human Rights Council building against alleged atrocities on minorities in Pakistan were nothing but eyewash as “we feel safer in Pakistan than in India or elsewhere”.

He praised chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who had granted three seats to the minorities in the Sindh cabinet and nominated 18 chairmen and vice chairmen on district, municipal and town committees across Sindh. “Muslim and non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan are united in the nation’s struggle for a peaceful, prosperous and united Pakistan.”

Source: dawn.com/news/1288473/no-discrimination-against-minorities-in-pakistan-khatumal

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Sharif’s envoys say Pakistan not internationally isolated

October 7, 2016

Challenging the rising perception that Pakistan is “facing diplomatic isolation”, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawab Sharif’s envoys claimed on Friday, that Islamabad was committed to rooting out terrorism in all forms and shapes.

“Campaign against terrorism has to be comprehensive, clear, and has to be all out,” Mushahid Hussain, one of Sharif’s two special Kashmir Envoys told a Washington audience at an interaction organised by the Stimson Center, a US think-tank.

“Pakistan has waged one of the most difficult and successful fights against inland terrorists,” he said, acknowledging that “there are remnants of terrorists in Pakistan, and they would soon be taken care of.”

“There are no two views about that. We are going up against the largest war against terrorism inside the country. There is a certain consensus. We are against terrorism. We would go against remnants,” he said, while replying to a question.

“We consider terrorism and extremism as the number one security threat in Pakistan. There is a consensus on this,” Hussain added.

He, however, appeared to be in denial about the rising international isolation that is now facing Pakistan.

“Right now, Pakistan is not isolated,” he said asserting that countries like China, Russia, Iran, Turkey are with Pakistan, along with the Organisation of Islamic Countries and the Human Rights Council.

While Russia is holding its first-ever joint military exercise with Pakistan, even NATO, he said, has supported the Pakistan’s stand.

The Iranian Navy is anchored in the Karachi port, he noted.

Shazra Mansab, another Special Envoy on Kashmir, said that people of Pakistan are against militancy and terrorism.

“We have this feeling that Pakistan has not been recognised by the US and other countries, for the huge sacrifices it has made. No other country in the world has taken so many steps,” she said. “We are against militancy. But we do not fear isolation,” Mansab added.

The Pakistani leader also suggested three issues for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the India-Pak issues.

“First, resume the back channel. Second, have confidence-building measures (CBMs) in Kashmir, and finally, give a nod to Sharif for the SAARC summit in Pakistan. Let 2017 be the year of decision and year of peace,” he said.

Source: siasat.com/news/sharifs-envoys-say-pakistan-not-internationally-isolated-1036633/

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Africa

Attack on Refugee Camp in Niger Kills At Least 22 Soldiers

October 7, 2016

At least 22 soldiers have been killed in Niger after unknown gunmen opened fire on security forces at a refugee camp for displaced Malians, officials said. The camp is situated in Tassalit village in Niger's western Tahoua region, roughly around 525 km (326 miles) northeast of the capital Niamey, Reuters reported.

"We received information of an attack on the camp in Tassalit. For the moment we are told there are 22 dead, but that is not the total death toll," Niger's Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said in an address broadcast on state television.

He did not comment on the identities of the perpetrators or what their motive could have been. Nor did he reveal if any civilians were wounded or killed. But he said he feared the death toll could rise.

According to the Associated Press, an official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three soldiers were also injured. He said the assailants targeted a military post near the camp.

The soldiers were guarding the camp, sheltering Malians who had fled to neighbouring Niger following Islamist militants' attacks there. Some of the militants are reported to have links to the al-Qaeda terror group. They had seized vast areas of Mali's desert in 2012.

A French-led military intervention had driven out the extremists a year later, but the northern and central parts of the country are reported to be still unstable with escalating violence across Mali.

Besides, Niger's army is fighting Boko Haram militants, who are mainly based in neighbouring Nigeria but have launched attacks in several countries in the Lake Chad region.

In addition, Islamic State militants in Libya, bordering Niger, are thought to have raised concerns for Niamey as fears mount over the jihadists spilling over the frontier due to a government offensive in Libya.

Nigerien soldier

A Niger soldier guards with his weapon pointed towards the border with neighbouring Nigeria, near the town of Diffa, NigerREUTERS/Luc Gnago

In an operation against Boko Haram, who have rebranded themselves as Islamic State's West Africa Province (Iswap), 14 troops from Niger and Chad were killed, and 39 suffered injuries between July and September.

Earlier in June, in a surprise attack, described as the deadliest-ever in the country, the militants killed at least 30 Niger troops. But during a three-month joint operation by Niger and Chad forces after the attack, about 123 Boko Haram militants were killed, Niger's defence ministry said on 30 September.

Source: ibtimes.co.uk/niger-attack-refugee-camp-kills-least-22-soldiers-1585236

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Nigeria cenbank set limits on banks' investment in govt Islamic bonds

Oct 07, 2016

Oct 7 Nigeria's central bank has set commercial banks' investment in Islamic bonds issued by state governments to 10 percent of the total amount on offer and fixed a maximum tenor of 10 years for the bonds, it said in a circular.

The central bank said it considered the need to issue the guidelines to enhance the quality of sukuk instruments and to grant liquidity status at its discount window as well as for banks' liquidity ratio.

In 2013, Nigeria's cocoa producing state of Osun the country first sukuk to raise 10 billion naira, but no other transactions have followed.

Nigeria is working out details for issuing a debut sovereign sukuk but is yet to determine the size of a potential deal and was working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the central bank and the stock exchange to build capacity.

Africa's top economy, which is in the middle of a recession and needs to raise funds to plug a budget deficit, has set up a government committee to advise on the amount to be raised from the Islamic bond sale, the timing and jurisdiction of issue, either domestic or foreign.

Nigeria is also planning to sell Eurobond to raise $1 billion this year.

"The adoption of Sukuk by state governments, as an alternative means of financing public expenditure, will contribute to the deepening of the financial system," the central bank said in the circular seen by Reuters on Friday.

It said it expects other levels of government may get involved in sukuk in the future.

The regulator assigned a weight of 20 percent for capital adequacy for banks' investment in sukuk and a weight of 50 percent for Islamic bonds that do not qualify as liquid assets.

Issuance of a sovereign sukuk is part of a strategic plan developed by Nigeria's debt office to develop alternative sources of funding and to establish a benchmark curve.

Nigeria is home to the largest Islamic population in sub-Saharan Africa, with about half of its 160 million people Muslims. It is also home to one of Africa's fastest growing consumer and corporate banking sectors.

Source: reuters.com/article/nigeria-sukuk-idUSL5N1CD1YV

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Only 20 Percent of Muslims Access Financial Services - World Bank

Oct 07, 2016

The World Bank on Thursday said less than 20 per cent of Muslims use conventional banking worldwide, in spite of the ever growing number of Islamic financial products.

The bank's Vice President and Treasurer, Arunma Oteh, said this in Washington during the World Bank High Level Seminar on Islamic Finance.

She said that a survey done by the bank showed that there were approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and that less than 20 per cent of the population used conventional banking worldwide.

Ms. Oteh added that in spite of the increase in the number of Islamic financial products, the huge financial gap that exist in the Muslim world could not be bridged.

She explained that "this statistics is scary but with the emergence of Islamic financial products, there is the tendency that many Muslims will access financial services of their choice.

"During the last fiscal year, the World Bank issued $63.5 billion of bonds across different markets, 22 different currencies and some of them innovative from the developing countries around the world.

"Also, the World Bank manages about $170 billion asset for 62 clients."

The bank's vice president said "sometimes, people may like to access financial services but they are unable to do so because of factors that are prohibitive to their faith.

"The lack of trust of financial service providers is another reason for the disparity.

"Islamic finance is a tool for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Islamic investors applying the ethical and quantitative measures in their investment decisions.

"Islamic finance is uniquely well suited to promote infrastructure development which is critical in promoting many of the SDGs."

Meanwhile, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, lamented that deficient infrastructure cost in Africa result in two per cent reduction in growth each year.

He said the growing Islamic financial products present strong potential in closing the huge infrastructure gap "and there is the need to explore all alternatives in funding the SDGs.

"There is no doubt that large-scale financial resources is needed to mobilise and support the SDGs.

"The funding need is expected to go beyond the available public financial resources and will require the involvement of the private sector."

Source: allafrica.com/stories/201610070016.html

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Mideast

Turkish lawyer files complaint for top US soldiers for ‘supporting coup attempt’

October 7, 2016

A Turkish lawyer has filed a complaint against three senior U.S. soldiers, accusing them of making terror propaganda over the failed July 15 coup while claiming that some of the bombs used in the attempt did not belong to the Turkish military.

Lawyer Mert Eryılmaz filed a complaint at the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul regarding U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel on the grounds that they supported the attempted takeover of July 15, which has been blamed on the Fethullah Gülen movement.

Eryılmaz stated in his complaint that the coup attempt was directed from the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana and that military officers with links to the Gülen movement cooperated with U.S. military personnel at the base.

He said bombs which do not belong to the Turkish military were found inside eight cargo planes which took off from the base and landed in the eastern province of Malatya on the night of July 15.

The base’s commander, Brig. Bekir Ercan Van, had sought asylum in the U.S. when the coup attempt failed but was rejected.

The lawyer also noted the testimony of Specialized Sgt. Muhammet Emrah Kuzu, who said Van called him to duty on July 15, after which he entered a building at the base belonging to U.S. soldiers, staying there around 20 minutes.

The soldiers at the base supported the movement and violated international conventions, the lawyer said, demanding the precautionary closure of the base.

The Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation but said the matter was out of its jurisdiction, sending the file to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office where coup attempt probes are being conducted.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office could either file a lawsuit or drop the complaint.

Following the coup attempt, a report by pro-government daily Yeni Şafak claimed that retired Gen. John Campbell planned the failed coup attempt. It stated that Campbell provided a huge amount of cash flow from the UBA Bank in Nigeria via the CIA in order to support the coup.

Dunford dismissed the allegations, describing them as “absurd.”

Presdent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also lashed out at Votel for appearing to lament the fact that some Turkish officers with whom the U.S. had relations were detained for their role in the attempted overthrow, saying the situation could impair relations between the two militaries.    

The Pentagon stated that the general was misunderstood, saying any report suggesting Votel’s support in favor of coup-plotting soldiers was factually inaccurate.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lawyer-files-complaint-for-top-us-soldiers-for-supporting-coup-attempt.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104707&NewsCatID=509

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166 detention orders issued for security personnel over coup probe

October 7, 2016

More than 160 detention orders were issued on Oct. 7 for security personnel at the Istanbul police headquarters over their alleged links to U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, believed to have masterminded the July 15 coup attempt.

Anti-smuggling police conducted simultaneous operations in 35 provinces across the country and 26 districts of Istanbul early on Oct. 7 to apprehend security personnel, including police chiefs and chief officers, who allegedly used the ByLock app, an encrypted messaging service that was allegedly developed by Gülenists at the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued the 166 detention orders for the suspects as part of the ongoing investigation into the attempted takeover.

Those who were subjected to the order included 13 police chiefs, 114 high-ranking officers and 39 police officers.

One suspect identified as B.İ. was detained in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri while two dismissed police officers were not found at their addresses.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/166-detention-orders-issued-for-security-personnel-over-coup-probe.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104705&NewsCatID=509

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Police capture PKK militant suspected over Istanbul bombing

October 7, 2016

Police have captured an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant whom they suspect carried out a "motorbike bomb" attack on Oct. 6 that wounded 10 people near an Istanbul police station.

A total of six people had been detained in connection with the attack in the Yenibosna neighborhood, several kilometres from Istanbul's Atatürk Airport.

The suspected perpetrator was captured with a fake identity card in the central province of Aksaray, travelling in a car with two other people.

Television footage released after the explosion on Oct. 6 showed damaged vehicles, shattered glass and broken windows in the residential area, along with the mangled wreckage of a motorbike to which the bomb was attached.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/police-capture-pkk-militant-suspected-over-istanbul-bombing.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104703&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey ‘always seeks solution’ with Iraq: Turkish FM

October 7, 2016

Turkey’s presence in Bashiqa in northern Iraq will not pose a problem if Iraq eliminates its domestic political concerns, Turkey’s foreign minister has said.

An Iraqi parliamentary motion against the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp “will not pose a serious problem if Iraq purifies itself of its domestic political concerns,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said late Oct. 6 during a joint news conference with his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni. 

“We always seek a solution, but Iraq is continuing its negative attitudes about the Bashiqa Camp because of its internal political turmoil and polarization,” he said.

The presence of Turkish troops in Iraq has resulted in diplomatic tension between Iraq and Turkey, with the Iraqi parliament sending a diplomatic note to Turkey’s ambassador on Oct. 4, after which Turkey summoned Iraq’s ambassador in Ankara the following day.

Gentiloni touched upon the crisis in Syria, indicating that Turkey and Italy should give a joint message. “We should give a message to Russia and the regime of [Bashar al-Assad] that they cannot go on like this. It is impossible to continue with the incidents that have occurred in eastern Aleppo in the last 15 days. You cannot get anywhere by destroying a city where 300,000 people live,” he said.

The minister said the parties should seek recommendations from the United Nations to end the “tragedy.”

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-always-seeks-solution-with-iraq-turkish-fm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104704&NewsCatID=510

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CoE Commissioner urges Turkey to repeal emergency decrees

October 7, 2016

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks has stressed the urgency of reverting to “ordinary procedures” and safeguards in Turkey by ending the post-coup attempt state of emergency as soon as possible. Muižnieks also called on the Turkish government to halt the closure of media outlets, associations, private companies, and end the transfer of their assets to the Treasury.

“The Commissioner notes with regret the Turkish government’s intention to prolong the state of emergency for a further 90-day period, but hopes that this period can be curtailed. In any event, the Turkish authorities should immediately start repealing the emergency decrees, starting with the provisions which allow the highest degrees of arbitrariness in their application and stray the widest from ordinary guarantees,” said a memorandum issued by Muižnieks on Oct. 7 

The memorandum, which follows the commissioner’s visit to Ankara on Sept. 27-29 examines the criminal law aspects of emergency measures; administrative measures affecting public employees, civil society, the private sector, and family members of suspects; the question of legal remedies against these measures; and a number of other issues.

The emergency decrees adopted in Turkey since July “created very far-reaching, almost unlimited discretionary powers for administrative authorities and the executive in many areas, by derogation from general principles of rule of law and human rights safeguards ordinarily applicable in a democratic society,” it said.

Muižnieks said he found it very problematic that the Turkish government already introduced amendments to many laws through emergency decrees, thus entirely bypassing ordinary legislative procedure. He said it would be appropriate to repeal these amendments at the end of the state of emergency and re-submit them, if necessary, to parliament for enactment after a proper parliamentary procedure.

Concern on replacing mayors

The commissioner expressed concerns about emergency decrees allowing the Turkish government to replace mayors rather than allowing municipal councils to replace them or renewing the local elections at the earliest opportunity. “This poses fundamental problems vis-à-vis principles of local democracy and is likely to create resentment in the local populations concerned, as it can be perceived as a collective sanction,” read the report.

Muižnieks noted that it was not yet certain whether the Constitutional Court is competent to receive individual applications from people claiming wrongful dismissal in the post-coup probes.

“At any rate, the risk for a huge number of applications to the European Court of Human Rights is very present and tangible,” he said, urging the Turkish authorities to communicate very clearly and precisely about the legal remedies for persons affected by the emergency measures.

Halt closure of institutions

He also referred to measures that target directly or are liable to affect family members of suspects in an automatic fashion, saying “any measure treating family members of a suspect also as potential suspects should not exist in a democratic society, even during a state of emergency.”

Muižnieks called on Turkish government to put “an immediate stop to the closure, on the basis of a simple administrative decision or an executive order, of legal persons, such as newspapers, TV stations, associations, private companies, etc., and to the transfer of their assets to the Treasury.”

The authorities must reverse the measures already taken in this respect when this is still possible he said, adding that at any rate, the final dissolution or transfer of property should never occur without a proper judicial review with a final judgement, which must include the possibility of remedial action where necessary, including compensation.

Call for ‘transparent criteria’ on FETÖ membership

As regards on-going criminal proceedings, among the most immediate human rights concerns are consistent reports of allegations of torture and ill-treatment, Muižnieks said. He stressed that he does not “automatically give credence” to such allegations, but observes that the extension of the custody period to 30 days, practical changes to procedures for obtaining medical reports, and drastic restrictions to access to lawyers, as well as limitations on the confidentiality of the client-lawyer relationship, contributed to the persistence of such allegations, according to the report.

The commissioner urged the Turkish authorities to render much more transparent the criteria to be retained to prove membership of FETÖ/PDY and other terrorist organizations, the degree beyond which contacts with these organizations can incur sanctions, as well as the kinds of information and evidence the authorities must assess to establish liability. At a minimum, persons should be able to have access to evidence against them and make their case before a decision is taken, the report read.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/coe-commissioner-urges-turkey-to-repeal-emergency-decrees.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104706&NewsCatID=351

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Turkey says Putin’s visit will further deepen bilateral cooperation

October 7, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Turkey on Oct. 10 will “accelerate” bilateral cooperation, the office of the Turkish Presidency has stated.

Putin will be in Istanbul to attend the 23rd World Energy Congress upon the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the statement noted, adding that on the sidelines of the congress the two leaders will hold a bilateral meeting with the participation of relevant ministers.

“It is expected that this visit, which comes as a follow-up to the two leaders’ earlier meetings in St. Petersburg on Aug. 9 and in Hangzhou [China] on Sept. 3 on the sidelines of the G20, will contribute to further improving our cooperation and to accelerating normalization process between Turkey and Russia,” read the statement. 

The two leaders will discuss bilateral relations and regional issues, it added.

Putin’s visit comes after efforts by Washington and Moscow to secure a cessation of hostilities in Syria have been futile, as the Syrian regime continues to bomb civilians in and around Aleppo. Turkey has expressed its intention for the re-launching of a process to bring about a ceasefire in Syria, with Erdoğan and Putin discussing Syria over the phone late on Oct. 5.       

In Istanbul, the two leaders are also expected to discuss ongoing energy cooperation, with a special emphasis on the realization of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project that will transfer Russian gas to Europe via Turkey.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-says-putins-visit-will-further-deepen-bilateral-cooperation.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104710&NewsCatID=510

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10 wounded in blast near police station in Istanbul

October 7, 2016

Ten people were wounded in an explosion near a police station in the Yenibosna neighborhood of Istanbul on the afternoon of Oct. 6, the Istanbul Governor’s Office has announced.

Istanbul Gov. Vasip Şahin said 10 people, all of whom were civilians, were wounded in the blast, which occurred when a bomb placed on a motorcycle was detonated.

He added that all the wounded were in stable condition as they received treatment in hospitals.

Earlier via his Twitter account, the governor said five people had been injured, including one in serious condition.

Crime scene units, firefighters and ambulances were immediately dispatched to the scene after the explosion at around 3:50 p.m.

Security forces also took extensive security measures around the scene and evacuated the area out of fears of a second explosive device.

The windows of many houses near the scene were scattered and vehicles were damaged due to the blast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Şahin also said work to identify the organization responsible for the blast was ongoing.

“Claims regarding the issue are being investigated. Footage has been collected and will be examined. We do not have any injuries among our police officers. We have to evaluate even the slightest possibility in such incidents. There might be another bomb placed or another intention. We want our citizens to heed warnings,” Şahin told reporters after conducting inspections at the scene.

According to witnesses, one person who was wearing a black coat, jeans and black helmet fled the scene just before the blast.

An air-supported police hunt for the suspect was continuing on main routes across the city, along with searches on public buses and metrobuses.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s media watchdog, RTÜK, imposed a customary gag order following the blast.

The site of the blast was also close to a military recruiting office and the Forensic Medicine Institute.

It was not the first time that the police station near the scene had been targeted in an attack.

In 2012, two assailants staged an armed attack on the same police station, wounding two police officers.

Turkey has been rocked by a wave of deadly bomb attacks in recent months, some blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and some on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group.

Recently, 57 people, 34 of whom were children, were killed in an ISIL attack targeting a street wedding in the southeastern province of Gaziantep near the Syrian border.

The latest attack that hit Turkey’s biggest city was on June 28, a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s busy Atatürk Airport, with authorities pointing the finger at ISIL.

Some 44 people were killed and hundreds were injured in the attack.

In addition, seven police officers and four civilians were killed on June 7 in a bomb attack on a police vehicle that was claimed by the outlawed Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a group allegedly linked to the PKK.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/10-wounded-in-blast-near-police-station-in-istanbul.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104681&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish soldiers will stay on Iraqi soil: Turkish PM

October 6, 2016

Turkish troops will remain in Iraq to continue the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and to make sure that no change to the region’s “demographic structure” is imposed, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has vowed.

“Whatever the Iraqi government in Baghdad says, the Turkish presence there [in the Bashiqa region] will remain for the fight against ISIL and to make sure that the demographic structure of the region is not being changed by force,” said Yıldırım, addressing a trade and industry meeting in Ankara on Oct. 6.

He added that at a time when there were troops from 63 countries in Iraq to fight against terror, concern over the Turkish presence in the country was “absurd” and had “nothing to do with good intentions.”

“Iraq’s reaction to Turkey’s military presence at the Bashiqa army base north of Mosul is “a fool’s errand” since there are soldiers from 63 countries in Iraq, the prime minister said, adding that Turkey aimed to ensure that more blood was not spilled in the region.

“Iraq is wasting its time by fixating on Turkey’s presence in Bashiqa, when there are troops from 63 different countries under the name of fighting Daesh [ISIL] and other terrorist organizations,” he said. The prime minister stressed that Iraq’s reaction came ahead of a Mosul offensive planned in October.

Yıldırım also criticized the central Iraqi administration for failing to take any precautions against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) elements in northern Iraq.

[HH] Iraqi parliament’s decision does not represent all Iraqis

A resolution adopted by Iraq’s parliament criticizing the Turkish military presence at the Bashiqa base in northern Iraq does not represent all of Iraqis, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said, describing the move as ill-intended.

“First of all, we don’t regard the statement of the Iraqi Parliament about the annually renewed motion in the Turkish parliament as well-intentioned. We very well know that this does not reflect the thinking of all of the Iraqi people,” Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference with visiting Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic late on Oct. 5. 

Recalling that Turkey had been renewing a motion granting authority to the Turkish army to conduct cross-border operations and to deploy troops in Iraq every year since 2007 because of “terror threats against the Turkish people,” Çavuşoğlu underlined that the scope of the authorization was broadened after ISIL began posing a threat against Turkey.

“We wish that Iraq could provide for its own security and stability and not permit these terror organizations’ presence on their territories. Unfortunately, the current picture in Iraq and divisions affect its ties with regional countries,” he said.

Blaming former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for pursuing sectarian policies which paved the way for terror organizations like ISIL to find an opportunity to occupy Mosul, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey had to take its own measures to provide for its security against both ISIL and the PKK.

“Still, we support Iraq’s fight against terror. The Bashiqa camp was not founded recently. It was established within the knowledge of the Iraqi government with the objective of training local forces against Daesh,” he said.

Forces at the Bashiqa camp have killed more than 750 ISIL militants so far, added the minister.

Officials from Baghdad visited the camp and provided financial assistance, Çavuşoğlu said, recalling that Turkey’s training efforts had become an issue as a result of problems within Iraqi internal politics.  

“Our stance is clear. We want a strong and stable Iraq. We attach great importance to Iraq’s territorial integrity and independence. The division of Iraq or instability inside the country is not in our interest,” he said. “We do not want to see a sectarian Iraq. We regard the entire Iraqi people as our brothers.”

[HH] Iraq asks UNSC to discuss Turkish presence

Iraq has formally called on the United Nations Security Council to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the Turkish military presence in Camp Bashiqa in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, according to a Foreign Ministry statement issued on Oct. 6.       

 Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal said Baghdad had called on the Security Council to “shoulder its responsibilities vis-à-vis Iraq and issue a resolution that would halt violations of Iraq’s sovereignty by Turkish forces.”

[HH] KRG: Baghdad consented to presence of Turkish troops

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Oct. 6 that Baghdad consented to the presence of Turkish troops in Bashiqa to train the Nineveh province’s Sunni volunteer forces.

“Two training bases were set up in Bashiqa and Dubardan near Mosul to train the police and Nineveh province’s volunteer forces,” said Safeen Dizayee, adding that “the KRG facilitated the process.”

He revealed that even “the [ousted] Iraqi defense minister, Khalid al-Obedi, had visited the Turkish military bases near Mosul.”

Dizayee reiterated that the KRG “is not aware of any other program in this regard.”

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-soldiers-will-stay-on-iraqi-soil-turkish-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104666&NewsCatID=510

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar’s Muslim Militias Face Showdown with Buddhist Supremacists

October 7, 2016

Within days of being appointed to lead the commission on Rakhine, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan managed to provoke ire on both sides of Myanmar’s most troubled state.

Buddhist hardliners protested that international agencies favor the Muslims while locals argued that their feelings will never be understood by a foreigner. Even so, the commission has been moving forward, with Annan meeting religious, political and community leaders.

The commission was created amid an international outcry that Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize winning de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was ignoring the plight of Rakhine’s Rohingya population, who have been denied citizenship in Myanmar for decades. Citing many generations of residency as proof of their native status, Rohingyas have become increasingly vocal since the country’s first democratic elections last year.

But despite its liberal credentials, the official position of Burma’s National League for Democracy government has been to refer to the Rohingya as the “Muslim community of Rakhine State.”  It has denied their requests for citizenship, repeating claims that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to the north.

Many Buddhists simply refer to the Rohingya as “Bengalis” and loudly maintain that they will not accept their citizenship. In squalid refugee camps, Rohingyas who have fled to the border area from their traditional communities in the face of state-sponsored persecution are reportedly prevented from leaving without permission from the military.

Estimates differ as to whether Rohingyas in Rakhine number 100,000 or several million. What is known is that hundreds of thousands have attempted to flee the country by boat to Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia – and hundreds, maybe thousands, have perished in the Bay of Bengal.

How can Annan’s commission reconcile such differences? First, it’s essential to understand the role of armed groups fanning multiple conflicts across Myanmar.

Proto-States

Myanmar’s   federal   system   has   been   wracked by ethnic warfare ever since independence. Despite successive efforts by the nation’s army, the Tatmadaw, to bring rebel states to heel, the country has 18 ethnic militias, each one engaged in running their own proto-states in the hinterlands of Myanmar. The following are only the major ones:

United Wa State Army

Composed of defectors from the now-defunct Communist Party of Burma, created in 1989, the UWSA is the largest military force next to the Tatmadaw, and the single biggest threat to state sovereignty. With a fighting force of up to 20,000 in Shan State, it possesses heavy weapons and sophisticated military vehicles, including Mi-17 helicopters, although it’s not known to use terrorist tactics nor target civilians in government-controlled areas.

Centered in the country’s north east, the Wa are ethnically Chinese and draw support from China – at times not quite too covertly. The group’s goal is to establish an autonomous ‘Wa State.’

Full report at:fronteranews.com/news/asia/myanmars-muslim-militias-face-showdown-buddhist-supremacists/

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Malaysian State’s Islamic Department Releases Google Play App That Lets You Report On Shariah Crimes

Oct 06, 2016

Malaysia tries to play up its Islamic credentials with the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) introducing a mobile app known as Hotline JAIS. The Hotline JAIS app is free to download on the Google Play Store, where members of the public will then be able to make reports of crimes which are not Shariah compliant.

Being the first country in the world to launch a Shariah Index last year, this is another step in curtailing the freedom of those living in this multi-racial country. The Hotline JAIS app is meant to make the Selangor Islamic Religious Department more “approachable”. With the public now being able to play the role of religious police, the app is supposed to make it more difficult for those who intend to break Shariah laws in the country.

According to JAIS director Haris Kasim, “I believe many will find this app easy to use. Users can report any form of Shariah-related crimes, such as ‘khalwat’ (close proximity with someone of the opposite sex who is not a family member), devious teachings, religious talks without permits and other matters related to Islam.”

It will not be that straightforward however, as complainants do need to fill up a form beforehand that includes details such as your full name, Identity Card number, and mobile phone number. With smartphones having better and better camera sensors embedded these days, the report can be substantiated with photographs as well for additional proof.

The app itself is not just an avenue to file a report with JAIS on Shariah-related crimes, it will also allow one to obtain further information on everything that is Shariah-related as well as Islam. It would not be surprising to see these Shariah laws and rules being listed down that makes people get all legalistic in their zeal to pick out ‘sinners’ from the crowd. A list of organizations with their respective contact details are also provided in the app just in case you have a question that JAIS is unable to act on or answer.

Last updated in September 20th, the Hotline JAIS app has seen just 50 to 100 installs as at press time. Reviews of the app have been generally unfavorable, with Muslims themselves incredulous at the waste of money for such an app when far more pressing and important issues that plague the country are at hand: corruption, kleptocracy and aggresive, systematic Islamization of the country continues to run rampant. Moral and religious policing in such a manner will never yield the desired result, but rather, it is a form of undue oppression on the masses as history has proved.

There are many questions which need to be answered concerning this app, including potential violations of privacy and the ilk. What if it sets off a new breed of voyeurs who have nothing better to do but to look out for alleged contravention of Shariah laws? Imagine the amount of embarrassment as well as undue stress caused to a married couple just because someone reported them to be in close proximity, and JAIS officials then take the relevant action by barging in unannounced.

Full report at:gospelherald.com/articles/67067/20161006/malaysian-state-s-islamic-department-releases-google-play-app-that-lets-you-report-on-shariah-crimes.htm

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Singaporean ISIS supporter placed under restrictions

Oct 07, 2016

A 33-year-old Singaporean supporter of terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was arrested here under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in August, the Ministry of Home Affairs said yesterday.

Asrul Alias, a technician, has been placed under a two-year Restriction Order - which curtails his movements and activities - after investigations, the ministry said.

It added in a statement that Asrul will undergo religious counselling while under the Restriction Order.

The ministry said Asrul started reading online material on the conflict in Syria in 2014. He began viewing radical preachers' online sermons and videos of ISIS fighters.

He also shared pro-ISIS propaganda on social media and spoke up against criticisms of ISIS that he encountered online.

Asrul stopped posting pro-ISIS material online after heeding the warnings of a family member and a close friend some time last year and early this year, the ministry added.

But he remained supportive of ISIS and continued to consume the terror group's propaganda online.

"As he was not an imminent security threat, he was not detained but given a Restriction Order under the ISA," the ministry said.

It added that evidence obtained during investigations is used to determine the threat an individual poses, and many who were investigated in the past were not detained but placed under supervision or given counselling.

A person who is under a Restriction Order cannot change his residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the approval of the authorities.

The ministry also announced that Singaporean Mohammad Razif Yahya, 28, was released conditionally from detention under a Suspension Direction this month after it "assessed that he no longer posed a security threat that required him to be placed in preventive detention".

He had been detained in August last year for voluntarily fighting in Yemen after he began studying at a religious institution there in 2010.

The ministry said the decision to release a detainee is based on his progress in rehabilitation, and the assessments of psychologists, Internal Security Department case officers, detention centre wardens and religious counsellors.

The ministry may revoke a Suspension Direction and re-detain the individual if he does not comply with certain conditions, such as prohibition from associating with militant or terrorist groups, it added.

Also, two Bangladeshi men detained in April this year were repatriated home last month after investigations were completed.

Sohag Ibrahim, 28, and Islam Shariful, 27, were part of a group of eight Bangladeshi nationals who were detained for their involvement in a group they named the Islamic State in Bangladesh.

In July and August, the remaining six Bangladeshi men were jailed for financing terrorism and received sentences of between two and five years' imprisonment. They had given funds to buy firearms for the group's terror plans in Bangladesh.

Since 2002, more than 80 people have been detained for terrorism-related activities. There are currently 17 people detained, two on Suspension Directions and 25 on Restriction Orders under the ISA.

Source: straitstimes.com/singapore/sporean-isis-supporter-placed-under-restrictions

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/un-human-rights-watchdog-orders-saudi-arabia-to-stop-stoning-children/d/108791


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