New Age Islam
Wed Oct 21 2020, 11:53 AM

Islamic World News ( 29 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Unprecedented Number of Israelis Raid Al Haram Al Sharif
















Giannis Ioannidis leading a 30-strong group of men in military-style clothing have taken over a downtown Athens premises earmarked as the site for Greece’s first official new mosque in a century.

 

ISIS to Establish Khurasan Caliphate If They Seized Tora Bora, Qadir Warns

Abubakar Shekau Dead or Alive, Boko Haram Is 100% Defeated

Global Outrage over Houthi Missile Attack near Makkah

This Is Islamic State’s Instant Messaging App of Choice

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Mideast

Unprecedented Number of Israelis Raid Al Haram Al Sharif

Group Opposed By Turkey Launches Operation to ‘Cut Mosul Off From Syria’

CHP, AKP in new row over intelligence lists of ‘Gülenists’

Turkey celebrates 93rd anniversary of the republic

Turkish warplanes to not fly into Syria after threat by regime

Turkish minister says more evidence given to US for Gülen extradition

Istanbul police again detain man who kicked woman on bus for wearing shorts

Turkey has spent $12.5 billion on refugees so far: Deputy PM

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South Asia

ISIS to Establish Khurasan Caliphate If They Seized Tora Bora, Qadir Warns

27 ISIS Militants among 87 Killed In Afghan Forces Operations: MoD

Taliban incurred AFN 2.1 billion loss to Afghanistan in 2 months: ARG

Car bombing in Kandahar kills 1, senior police officer among 3 wounded

Explosion in Kabul leaves 2 soldiers, 3 civilians wounded

Militants arrested before poisoning food of 18 Afghan policemen

Singapore and Bangladesh officials discuss counter-terrorism efforts in Dhaka meeting

Militant Payel’s family blames Hakim for influencing him

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Africa

Abubakar Shekau Dead or Alive, Boko Haram Is 100% Defeated

Morocco, Beacon of Moderate Islam in Africa

Somali Officials Vow to Retake Puntland Town

Islamic Movement in Nigeria disclose evil plot to kill southern Muslims and Christians

Clashes in Central African Republic leaves scores dead

Nigerian city hit by two suicide bombings

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Arab World

Global Outrage over Houthi Missile Attack near Makkah

Over 50 Terrorists Killed in Failed Attack to Recapture Key Town in Northern Hama

At Least 2 Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack against Shiite Mourners in Baghdad

Terrorists' Command Centre in Dara'a City Destroyed in Army Attack

Gov't Troops Tightening Noose on Militant-Held Town in Eastern Damascus

Enemies Never Dare to Attack Iran

Militants in Four More Towns Give up Fight against Syrian Gov't

Entire Members of Terrorist Group Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Quneitra

154 Saudi ex-extremists ready for reintegration

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Southeast Asia

This Is Islamic State’s Instant Messaging App of Choice

No Action on Ongoing Repression of Myanmar’s Muslims

Indonesians champion their own way of practising Islam

Indonesian millennials struggle to speak in local IT terms

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Europe

'Patriots' Take Over Site Earmarked For Greek Mosque

Putin Rejects Russian Military Request to Resume Airstrikes in East Aleppo

Baku: Where Islam Meets its Future

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India

India 3rd in Terror Deaths after ISIS-Boko Haram Areas: SC Told

15 Pakistan Rangers killed in retaliatory firing by Border Security Force

Forces giving befitting reply to Pak firing: Rajnath

Won’t bow down before anyone: India on ceasefire violations by Pakistan

Muslim activists want Sachar committee report implemented

Muslim Kashmiri Terrorists Behead another Indian Soldier; Indian Public Demands Revenge

Kashmir India’s internal matter: Syrian Ambassador Abbas

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Pakistan

Cache of Weapons, Ammunition Recovered In Karachi's Baldia Town

Will show Nawaz on Nov 2 what democracy is: Imran Khan

One-man party steals the show in Rawalpindi

PAF, Italian air force agree to enhance cooperation

Anyone challenging state's writ will be dealt according to law, warns Khawaja Asif

--

North America

PA Gun Store Warns Potential Customers: 'NO Muslims or Hillary Supporters'

State’s Muslim leaders seek balance with American culture

Immigrant, Muslim, sociologist reflects on the American Dream

It is for India and Pakistan to resolve differences: US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/unprecedented-number-of-israelis-raid-al-haram-al-sharif/d/108950

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Unprecedented Number of Israelis raid Al Haram Al Sharif

October 28, 2016

Ramallah: The Israeli regime has allowed an unprecedented number of its Jewish citizens to raid Al Haram Al Sharif, the holy Muslim shrine in occupied East Jerusalem, and to freely pray and perform their rituals inside the site.

A large number of Israelis raided Al Haram Al Sharif over the three-week holiday period in round-the-clock incursions into the holy shrine.

“Jewish [raiders of Al Haram Al Sharif] reported incredible relaxation of restrictions on prayer and religious rituals in the holy shrine,” reported the Israeli daily, Haaretz. “For example, police did not interrupt anyone who was praying in the holy shrine.”

Haaretz reported that more than 3,000 Jews raided Al Haram Al Sharif during the Jewish holiday period, and that more than 11,000 Jews have raided the holy site since the beginning of the year. This is believed to be the highest number of Jewish incursions since Israel occupied and annexed the holy city and Al Haram Al Sharif during the 1967 war.

Since the beginning of the occupation, the Jordanian Waqf Department has been running and overseeing the holy shrine on behalf of the Jordanian government, which signed a status quo agreement with Israel. The terms of this agreement state that Jews may visit the holy shrine, but are strictly banned from praying there.

“Israel has been working hard to make gradual achievements on the ground in order to change the agreed upon status quo,” said revered Muslim cleric Shaikh Ekrema Sabri, who heads the Supreme Islamic Council. “The real problem is not the daily incursions, but the official attitude of the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in full support of changing that status quo.”

Shaikh Sabri noted that allowing the Jews to pray and perform their rituals inside the shrine is one of Israel’s chief aims adding that Israeli police have paved the way for this in a step-by-step policy of arresting defenders of Al Haram Al Sharif and gradually emptying the shrine of all Muslims.

Israel has been working hard to stop Palestinian defenders of Al Aqsa Mosque, known as Al Murabiteen, from entering Al Haram Al Sharif. The Murabiteen have been effective in discouraging Jewish raids on the Muslim holy site, and Israel has taken draconian measures to curb their presence there, including denying them medical insurance, denying access to the holy site, and at times even revoking their Israeli residence permits.

Several Jewish groups have also been actively campaigning to encourage raids on Al Haram Al Sharif.

“The aggressive and inhumane policies Israel has implemented at the holy shrine will never secure them any rights or any kind of legitimacy at the undisputedly owned Muslim property of Al Haram Al Sharif,” Shaikh Sabri told Gulf News.

Source: gulfnews.com/news/mena/palestine/unprecedented-number-of-israelis-raid-al-haram-al-sharif-1.1920306

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ISIS to establish Khurasan Caliphate if they seized Tora Bora, Qadir warns

Sat Oct 29 2016

The Deputy House Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament, Wolesi Jirga, Zahir Qadir, warned that the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group will establish the Khurasan Caliphate if they managed to seize Tora Bora.

Speaking during the general session of the parliament, Qadir said the loyalists of the terror group have managed to take control of a strategic area in Pacher Agam district.

Qadir further added that the area is a few hundred meters away from Tora Bora and the loyalists of the terror group will become successful if their attempts if they managed to expand foothold in Tora Bora.

He also claimed that helicopters are air dropping supplies including food and mineral water to the loyalists of the terror group in the areas under their control.

The remarks by Qadir came as the top US commander in Afghanistan earlier said the loyalists of the terrorist group are attempting to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan.

“Right now we see them very focused on trying to establish their caliphate, the Khorasan caliphate, inside Afghanistan,” General Nicholson told NBC News.

He said the push is “principally a non-Afghan movement”, adding that the U.S. has seen foreign fighters, particularly Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, joining the Islamic State Khorasan, or IS-K.

Gen. Nicholson further added that the U.S. also sees many Pakistani Pashtun from the Pakistani Taliban who joined IS-K moving into Afghanistan to fight.

According to Gen. Nicholson, the IS-K is “completely rejected by the Afghan people,” and explained that the broader ISIL philosophy is “the antithesis of Afghan culture.”

“With our Afghan partners, we’ve been able to reduce that territory significantly and inflict heavy casualties on them to include killing their leaders,” he said.

Source: khaama.com/isis-to-establish-khurasan-caliphate-if-they-seized-tora-bora-qadir-warns-02164

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Abubakar Shekau Dead or Alive, Boko Haram Is 100% Defeated

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin said that it did not matter whether supposed Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has been killed or not, that the Boko Haram insurgency had been, “totally degraded, decimated and 100% defeated”.

The Chief of Defence Staff who was represented by the acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar at a media parley with Correspondents at the Federal Radio Corporation, FRCN, Kaduna, also cautioned the media against stories that could inflame conflict, Vanguard reported.

He said that “Today, I am pleased to inform you that we have defeated Boko Haram. It is not an easy feat. Yes, you may hear that an inaccessible village has been attacked or that there was an attack somewhere. But, that is the last kicking of a dying group."

Boko Haram, just like ISIL, is considered to be one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world. According to the Global Terrorism Index, the Takfiri group has actually killed more people than ISIL, murdering more than 6,000 people just last year.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000725

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Global outrage over Houthi missile attack near Makkah

Saturday 29 October 2016

RIYADH: The ballistic missile launched by the Houthi militias targeting the holy city of Makkah late on Thursday evoked worldwide condemnation on Friday with foreign ambassadors in Riyadh, key world leaders and prominent organizations joining Saudi society in unequivocally denouncing the “heinous act.”

In a uniform voice, ambassadors in the capital slammed the attack. The missile was intercepted by Saudi ground forces and downed 65 km from the holy city of Makkah.

German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller said: “We condemn this kind of attacks in strongest possible terms.” He said it is important for all stakeholders on Yemen to resume peace talks to find a solution according to the UN resolutions as proposed by its envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Speaking to Arab News on telephone from the US, Norwegian Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen said the attack would be condemned by all peace-loving people. “I sincerely feel that these matters could be settled at a negotiating table peacefully.”

Finland’s Ambassador Pekka Voutilainen said: “That kind of missile attack on Saudi soil has to be condemned in the strongest possible words. It is not acceptable.” He said the UN has come with a road map to restore peace in Yemen. Houthi militias doing this will disturb the peace process, which is important to restore the political stability.

Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed said: “Targeting a holy place must be strongly denounced.”

Belgian Ambassador Geert Criel said: “We are shocked by the attack on Saudi territory by the Houthi militias. This is absolutely unacceptable.” He said he hoped the cease-fire would continue in order to achieve the goal of the UN peace talks to restore political stability in Yemen.

Pakistan Ambassador Manzoor Ul Haq said: “The news of a missile attack targeting the holy city is shocking for every Muslim. We strongly condemn any attack against Makkah or any other part of the Kingdom.”

Turkish Ambassador Yunis Demirer said: “We strongly condemn the missile launch by Houthi militias toward Makkah, the most sacred place for Muslims ... We are relieved by the fact that the Saudi defense forces were able to intercept and destroy the missile.” He added: “Our Foreign Ministry also issued a separate statement condemning this attack.”

Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi told Arab News that his country strongly condemns the heinous act of the Houthis. “This is not an attack on Saudi Arabia, it is willful aggression on Islam,” he said.

“Under the able leadership of Premier Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is prepared to send its troops to protect the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah,” the envoy said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the attack has not only violated the peace agreement but also targeted Makkah, where Muslims from all parts of the world come for pilgrimage.

Arab coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said: “Targeting the holiest place on the earth with a ballistic missile last night reveals the fake slogans of Houthi militias.”

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani expressed the bloc’s strong condemnation of the attack.

“The GCC considers the brutal assault, which violates the sanctity of this country, a provocation for Muslims. It shows the Houthi disregard for Islamic holy sites. It is evident of the Houthi refusal to follow the will of the international community and their decisions to reach a political solution to the crisis,” Al-Zayani said in a statement.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, pointed out that the attack was an unacceptable violation of the sanctity of the holy land. In a statement, Aboul Gheit said this is a serious escalation by the Houthi militias.

Describing the attack as a gross violation of the sanctity of the House of Allah, Shoura Council Speaker Abdullah Al-Asheikh said it is a blatant attack supported by the Iranian regime’s agents in Yemen. Al-Asheikh pledged the council’s support to all measures taken by the Saudi government to protect the sovereignty, security and stability of the country.

The Muslim World League said the attack has violated the sanctity of the holy place and also hurt the sentiments of the world Muslims.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed tweeted: “The Iranian regime supports a terrorist group which targets the holy city of Makkah. Is this an Islamic regime as it claims?”

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Al-Momani said that “such heinous acts serve neither the Yemeni cause, nor the Arab and Muslim causes.”

“Any attack against holy places would expand the cycle of violence,” Al-Momani said, while reiterating calls to adhere to legitimacy and restore security of Yemen.

Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmad Al-Khalifah said: “Targeting Makkah is not only a violation of all international covenants, but it’s the biggest crime ever.”

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said: “This is an outrageous aggression against the sanctity of the holiest Islamic shrine and a provocation for the religious sentiments of millions of Muslims around the world.”

Doha reiterated support to relentless Saudi efforts to ensure regional security and stability and its efforts to achieve peace in Yemen.

Egypt described the attack as “a dangerous development which targeted the innocent people who came for the pilgrimage.”

Source: arabnews.com/node/1003916/saudi-arabia

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THIS IS ISLAMIC STATE’S INSTANT MESSAGING APP OF CHOICE

October 28, 2016

For the Islamic State’s top Southeast Asian propagandist Bahrun Naim, the ultra-secure instant messaging app Telegram is a godsend as popular social networks Twitter and Facebook race to weed out web-savvy militants like him.

Berlin-based Telegram, created by the exiled Russian internet guru Pavel Durov, insists it is doing its best to curb exploitation by Islamic State (IS), but experts say the mobile app remains among the most favoured by foreign fighters looking to recruit and inspire followers back home.

Islamic State followers flock to social media platform Telegram in terror propaganda free-for-all

The free-to-download messenger with over 100 million active global users allows the instant exchange of messages, photos and videos, much like rivals WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber.

Many users migrated to Telegram because of the belief that its end-to-end encryption technology – which keep communication private from start to finish – is superior to that of its competitors.

For militants like Naim, Telegram’s most enticing features are its private channels as well as its recently revamped ‘bot’ function – which allows the automated mass dissemination of messages and other content. A ‘bot’ – derived from the word robot – is a type of software that performs automated tasks over the internet. Militant groups can programme Telegram’s bots to answer simple text queries by followers.

“I would estimate there are at least 10,000 jihadi accounts on Telegram and at least half are pro [IS],” said Steven Stalinksy, executive director of the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.

French terror investigators grapple with Telegram app, Islamic State’s messaging weapon

“The regular [IS] accounts report on any developments and attacks in the region that they are behind,” Stalinksy said.

A search on the app by This Week in Asia uncovered an automated bot linked to Indonesian IS militant Bahrun Naim.

The authenticity of the account, which features a profile picture of a smiling Naim, could not be independently verified.

Counterterrorism experts say the 33-year-old is the foremost online propagandist for Katibah Nusantara, the brigade of Malay and Indonesian speaking fighters in Iraq and Syria.

New followers of the bot with Naim’s picture are greeted with an introductory message in Indonesian. “The writer’s name is Bahrun Naim but he is commonly known as BN. His full name is Muhammad Bahrunnaim Anggih Tantomo. He was born on September 6, 1983,” the message said.

Followers of the bot can click buttons on the app that prompt detailed automated messages including step-by-step instructions to make ammonium nitrate – used in explosives – using household materials.

Other options include instructions on making RDX, the main element in making the C4 explosive, as well as detonators.

The bot also sends out periodic messages and videos. A subscription to the bot garnered a response featuring a 20-minute video featuring interviews with militants and frontline footage of combat.

When asked “what is this?” the bot replied: “A motivational video detailing the members of Junud Daulah Islamiyyah in a hurry towards God,” referring to the brigade of Asian militants in Iraq and Syria.

“Their motto is ‘we die here for an eternal life on the other side’,” the message said.

In November, Reuters said it had contacted a man who claimed to be Naim on his personal Telegram account. In a exchange with the news outlet, the man said he was “just waiting for the right trigger” to “carry out an action” in Indonesia.

Two months later, Jakarta was hit by a gun-and-bomb attack that police said was remotely orchestrated by Naim. The attack killed eight people, including four of the perpetrators.

Pierluigi Paganini, an Italy-based cybersecurity expert who had done research on the militant group’s reach online, said militants like Naim were using Telegram because they continued to believe it was “one of the most secure instant messaging mobile apps”.

On a website described as the personal portal of Naim, the Indonesian national urged followers to exercise caution when using Telegram.

A blog post titled “Use Telegram with care” urged Indonesian followers of Naim to avoid registering on Telegram with their local numbers and use virtual private networks when accessing the app. The website was intermittently unavailable last week.

Markus Ra, Telegram’s spokesman, acknowledged that IS was continuing to use the platform to reach out to its followers.

He said the app had a “dedicated department” processing complaints about IS complaints, alongside “a community of concerned users who report IS content daily”.

“As a result, IS channels usually go down within less than 24 hours,” he said.

Stalinksy, the Washington-based analyst, said IS militants would continue to thrive on Telegram as they were “being shut down on Twitter and especially Facebook which has led the way in going after their accounts”.

“Many [IS] media activists have praised Telegram for being a safe place,” he said.

He said other online platforms where IS propaganda was thriving included YouTube, Instagram, JustPasteit, Periscope, Vid.me, Pastebin, Vimeo, Tumblr, Vine, and Snapchat.

Source: scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2041078/islamic-states-instant-messaging-app-choice

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Mideast

Unprecedented number of Israelis raid Al Haram Al Sharif

October 28, 2016

Ramallah: The Israeli regime has allowed an unprecedented number of its Jewish citizens to raid Al Haram Al Sharif, the holy Muslim shrine in occupied East Jerusalem, and to freely pray and perform their rituals inside the site.

A large number of Israelis raided Al Haram Al Sharif over the three-week holiday period in round-the-clock incursions into the holy shrine.

“Jewish [raiders of Al Haram Al Sharif] reported incredible relaxation of restrictions on prayer and religious rituals in the holy shrine,” reported the Israeli daily, Haaretz. “For example, police did not interrupt anyone who was praying in the holy shrine.”

Haaretz reported that more than 3,000 Jews raided Al Haram Al Sharif during the Jewish holiday period, and that more than 11,000 Jews have raided the holy site since the beginning of the year. This is believed to be the highest number of Jewish incursions since Israel occupied and annexed the holy city and Al Haram Al Sharif during the 1967 war.

Since the beginning of the occupation, the Jordanian Waqf Department has been running and overseeing the holy shrine on behalf of the Jordanian government, which signed a status quo agreement with Israel. The terms of this agreement state that Jews may visit the holy shrine, but are strictly banned from praying there.

“Israel has been working hard to make gradual achievements on the ground in order to change the agreed upon status quo,” said revered Muslim cleric Shaikh Ekrema Sabri, who heads the Supreme Islamic Council. “The real problem is not the daily incursions, but the official attitude of the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in full support of changing that status quo.”

Shaikh Sabri noted that allowing the Jews to pray and perform their rituals inside the shrine is one of Israel’s chief aims adding that Israeli police have paved the way for this in a step-by-step policy of arresting defenders of Al Haram Al Sharif and gradually emptying the shrine of all Muslims.

Israel has been working hard to stop Palestinian defenders of Al Aqsa Mosque, known as Al Murabiteen, from entering Al Haram Al Sharif. The Murabiteen have been effective in discouraging Jewish raids on the Muslim holy site, and Israel has taken draconian measures to curb their presence there, including denying them medical insurance, denying access to the holy site, and at times even revoking their Israeli residence permits.

Several Jewish groups have also been actively campaigning to encourage raids on Al Haram Al Sharif.

“The aggressive and inhumane policies Israel has implemented at the holy shrine will never secure them any rights or any kind of legitimacy at the undisputedly owned Muslim property of Al Haram Al Sharif,” Shaikh Sabri told Gulf News.

Source: gulfnews.com/news/mena/palestine/unprecedented-number-of-israelis-raid-al-haram-al-sharif-1.1920306

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Group opposed by Turkey launches operation to ‘cut Mosul off from Syria’

Saturday 29 October 2016

Iraqi paramilitaries launched an operation on Oct. 29 to retake the town of Tal Afar from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and cut jihadist supply lines from Mosul to Syria, a spokesman said.

Forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary umbrella organization dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias, have largely been on the sidelines since the operation to retake Mosul from ISIL was launched last week.

"The operation aims to cut supplies between Mosul and Raqqa and tighten the siege [of ISIL] in Mosul and liberate Tal Afar," Hashed spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi told AFP, referring to ISIL's main strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Assadi said the operation aimed to retake the towns of Hatra and Tal Abta as well as Tal Afar, Assadi said.

operation could bring the fighting perilously close to the ancient city of Hatra, located northeast of the town of the same name, a UNESCO world heritage site that has already been vandalized by ISIL.

The involvement of Shiite militias in the Mosul operation has been a source of contention, although some of the Hashed's top commanders insist they do not plan to enter the largely Sunni city.

Iraqi Kurds and Sunni Arab politicians have opposed their involvement, as has Turkey, which has a military presence east of Mosul despite repeated demands by Baghdad for the forces to be withdrawn.

Relations between the Hashed and the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL are also tense, but the paramilitaries enjoy widespread support among members of Iraq's Shiite majority.

Tal Afar was a Shiite-majority town before the Sunni extremists of ISIL overran it in 2014, and its recapture is a main goal of Shiite militia forces.

ISIL overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since regained significant ground and Mosul is the last big city held by the jihadists in the country.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/group-opposed-by-turkey-launches-operation-to-cut-mosul-off-from-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105511&NewsCatID=352

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CHP, AKP in new row over intelligence lists of ‘Gülenists’

Saturday 29 October 2016

The government and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) are engaged in a new row after the latter’s leader claimed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was trying to protect some of its allies who had strong links to the Gülen movement, believed to be behind Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt.

CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said he was certain that some AKP officials were using the ByLock communication system, an application that was specifically designed for members of what the government and prosecutors refer to as the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).

“Absolutely there are. The deciphered names of the people who use ByLock are being selectively submitted to prosecutors [by the intelligence agency]. This is controlled,” Kılıçdaroğlu told Habertürk TV in an interview on Oct. 28.

Having the ByLock application on smart phones or computers is seen by investigators as major evidence proving an individual’s link to FETÖ.

Kılıçdaroğlu has long accused the government of neglecting the “political links” of coup plotters out of fear of the probe embroiling the ruling party, although Major General Metin Dişli, the brother of a deputy AKP leader, has been arrested on charges of staging the coup.

“Mehmet Dişli, who was the person masterminding the coup, was assigned to the general headquarters of the Turkish General Staff before fulfilling his duties in the Turkish Armed Forces by a political will. He was then promoted. He should have fulfilled his field duties, but in order to keep him there, his position was instead changed and another department was prepared in accordance to his promotion,” the CHP leader said.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım responded to Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim on ByLock users within the AKP on Oct. 28, demanding evidence.

“This is a very serious allegation. Our expectation is for him to give us his documents so that we can do what is necessary,” he said, adding that the government’s duty is to arrest criminals and not to make distinctions between them.

“If he knows something about it and he does not inform us than it means he is not doing his job,” Yıldırım said.   

He also blasted Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim that the government might hold a snap election in order to exclude members who are linked to the Gülenists.

“Early elections to cleanse [the AKP] of FETÖ? This is astonishing. No elections could be held to clear criminals [from a party],” Yıldırım said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-akp-in-new-row-over-intelligence-lists-of-gulenists.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105498&NewsCatID=339

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Turkey celebrates 93rd anniversary of the republic

Saturday 29 October 2016

The celebrations marking the 93rd anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic began on Oct. 29 with a ceremony at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Ankara.     

Headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ceremony was attended by numerous state and military officials including Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaorğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli and Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar.     

Erdogan left a star-and-crescent wreath of red and white carnations on Atatürk's tomb, and he observed a moment of silence with other attendees before the playing of the Turkish national anthem.      

Referring to the defeated July 15 coup, Erdoğan wrote in the mausoleum's memorial book: "On the night of July 15, domestic and foreign circles that targeted  independence, democracy, and the legal government of our country were once again defeated thanks to the nation's courage and resistance."

He added that Turkey celebrated the 93rd anniversary of the Republic with "great pride and enthusiasm."

The official proclamation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk took place on Oct. 29, 1923 when the name of the nation and its status as a republic were declared.

A vote then took place in the Grand National Assembly and Atatürk, a revolutionary statesman, was elected first president of the Republic of Turkey by a unanimous vote. Since then, Turkey celebrates Republic Day every year on Oct. 29.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-celebrates-93rd-anniversary-of-the-republic--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105510&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish warplanes to not fly into Syria after threat by regime

Saturday 29 October 2016

Turkey’s Air Forces have been unable to carry out aerial campaigns in Syria as part of the Euphrates Shield operation since Oct. 22, as Syria has activated its air defense systems over the flight of Turkish warplanes into Syrian airspace.

The Turkish Air Forces launched their last airstrike in Syria on Oct. 22, targeting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions. Since then, Turkey has not launched further strikes as Syria’s Russian-made air defense system was activated to cover the region under the Euphrates Shield operation, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity. Coalition forces have also decreased the number of their flights in northern Syria, the official said.

On Oct. 20, the Syrian military warned that it would bring down any Turkish warplanes entering Syrian airspace, in response to airstrikes carried out by Turkey overnight in Maarrat Umm Hawsh in northern Aleppo.

Turkish air strikes hit a group from the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which was moving toward al-Bab in northern Aleppo on Oct. 19, which the Syrian statement called an act of “blatant aggression.”

“Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish war planes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available,” the Syrian army general command said in a statement. The presence of Turkish troops on Syrian soil was a “dangerous escalation and flagrant breach of Syria’s sovereignty,” it said.

On Oct. 21 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed concern over Turkey’s airstrikes in Syria. “We are very alarmed about what is happening. As I understand it, we are talking about attacks on areas inhabited by the Kurds,” Lavrov said.

The Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) advance toward Al-Bab has faltered due to the lack of Turkish airstrikes. The FSA has only been able to move 5 kilometers in the last three days, sources said on Oct. 28.

A suspected Syrian army helicopter dropped barrel bombs on Turkish-backed rebels on Oct. 25, killing two rebels, the Turkish military has stated.

A helicopter “assessed to belong to regime forces” bombed the rebels in the Jabal Naif village near Akhtarin, a town 5 kilometers southeast of Dabiq, the Turkish military said in a statement on Oct. 26.

Two FSA rebels were killed and five were wounded, the statement added.

Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria in late August, using its armor and air power to help FSA fighters take territory near the border held by ISIL.

Turkish leaders say the Euphrates Shield operation will continue to move until it reaches the al-Bab region north of Aleppo.

The operation also targets the YPG, which Turkey regards as a terror organization on the grounds of its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-warplanes-to-not-fly-into-syria-after-threat-by-regime-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105489&NewsCatID=352

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Turkish minister says more evidence given to US for Gülen extradition

Saturday 29 October 2016

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said he has submitted more evidence to his U.S. counterpart for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen during a meeting in Washington.

“During yesterday’s visit [to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch], we submitted three folders containing additional information and documents requested by the U.S.,” Bozdağ said during a news conference at the Turkish Embassy in Washington on Sept. 27.       

He stressed that Turkey made the first extradition request last July for Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based preacher who is the main suspect behind the July 15 coup attempt, “within the framework and standards of the law.”  

Bozdağ also stated that his ministry had received intelligence that Gülen might seek refuge in a third country – particularly referring to Canada, Brazil, Belgium and Norway - claiming that preparations had been carried out in these countries for the preacher’s arrival.

Meanwhile, both Turkish and U.S. sources have told daily Hürriyet that at present it is up to the U.S. courts to decide on the extradition, which has been heavily pressed by Turkey.

Sources from both sides suggest the process would properly begin in January 2017, after U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office.

Turkish sources linked this to “political reasons,” while U.S. sources cited “technical requirements.”

In another meeting in the U.S. capital on Oct. 28, Bozdağ said the upcoming U.S. presidential election and subsequent administrative change in Washington should not affect the process to extradite Gülen toTurkey.

Bozdağ also claimed that the structuring of the organization led by Gülen, the infiltration of which into Turkish state institutions became clear in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, could have been ongoing for 18 years in the United States, warning that if the U.S. authorities do not take any measures the organization would only grow stronger.

During an hour-and-a-half long meeting between Bozdağ and Lynch, the only issue discussed other than Gülen’s extradition was the ongoing U.S. prosecution of Turkish–Iranian  businessman Reza Zarrab, who faces a jail term in the country on charges of money laundering and attempting to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-minister-says-more-evidence-given-to-us-for-gulen-extradition.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105501&NewsCatID=509

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Istanbul police again detain man who kicked woman on bus for wearing shorts

Saturday 29 October 2016

An Istanbul court has issued another arrest warrant for the man who assaulted a woman on an Istanbul public bus in September, a day after prosecutors objected to his release pending trial during the first court hearing on Oct. 26.

The detention comes after an Istanbul court had issued another arrest warrant after prosecutors objected to Abdullah Çakıroğlu’s release.

In an interview conducted before the latest arrest warrant was issued, the victim of the widely covered assault, Ayşegül Terzi, said she felt “imprisoned inside home” while Çakıroğlu “remains on the streets.”

 Speaking to daily Posta on Oct. 28, Terzi said she could not leave her house without her father since the attack.

“I feel myself kicked into a prison. That man, on the other hand, is on streets,” she said.

Terzi was kicked in the face by Çakıroğlu for wearing shorts on a public bus in Istanbul on Sept. 12. Çakıroğlu said he committed the action because he did not find Terzi’s outfit “appropriate.”

Injured after the assault, Terzi filed criminal complaints against the Çakıroğlu and he was briefly arrested before a court ruled to release him. Upon public outrage over his release, he was re-arrested and stood in the dock for his initial hearing that took place at an Istanbul court on Oct. 26.

Before being released by the court after his first hearing, Çakıroğlu testified that his kick came “impulsively” and he blamed his epilepsy illness.

Terzi said she did not believe the suspect was mentally ill.

“If he is ill, then his place is hospital. If he is mentally healthy, then he belongs in jail,” she added. 

Stating she was a “very strong woman” before the incident happened, Terzi said she now feels “weak and insignificant.”

“He threw that kick onto my neck to kill me. Later he said ‘why didn’t she die?’” she said, adding that she was now considering moving away from Istanbul, where she will not be able to “find peace in this city as long as he is outside.”

Terzi said she had received many positive and negative messages after the attack, but the most hurtful one came from a woman who said “I wish he had raped you.”

“Why would a woman say such a thing to another woman?” said Terzi, urging everybody to speak up otherwise “this country will become a hell for women.”

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/istanbul-police-again-detain-man-who-kicked-woman-on-bus-for-wearing-shorts.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105467&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey has spent $12.5 billion on refugees so far: Deputy PM

Saturday 29 October 2016

Turkey has so far spent $12.5 billion on Syrian refugees living in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said on Oct. 28, while noting that ongoing military operations in northern Syria have not caused any significant new migration influx.

“Turkey has spent $12.5 billion on refugees so far. The total aid spent by the United Nations, the European Union and several European countries only amounts to $510 million,” Kaynak added, stating that the current official number of refugees in Turkey is 2,753,696.

Of that number, 255,506 refugees are living in temporary settlements, but government is planning to move more than half of the official total into containers by the end of the year, he said.

He also noted that 500,960 school-aged refugee children will have the opportunity to attend school and the government is planning to provide school for every refugee child within three years.

“We are hosting Yazidi people, who fled from the terror of Daesh [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant],” Kaynak also said.

“During the ongoing Euphrates Shield operation, not a single refugee has come to Turkey from Syria. This is very important. As our president has stated, this shows how important it is to build a safe zone in the region,” he stated.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-has-spent-125-billion-on-refugees-so-far-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105497&NewsCatID=510

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South Asia

ISIS to establish Khurasan Caliphate if they seized Tora Bora, Qadir warns

Sat Oct 29 2016

The Deputy House Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament, Wolesi Jirga, Zahir Qadir, warned that the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group will establish the Khurasan Caliphate if they managed to seize Tora Bora.

Speaking during the general session of the parliament, Qadir said the loyalists of the terror group have managed to take control of a strategic area in Pacher Agam district.

Qadir further added that the area is a few hundred meters away from Tora Bora and the loyalists of the terror group will become successful if their attempts if they managed to expand foothold in Tora Bora.

He also claimed that helicopters are air dropping supplies including food and mineral water to the loyalists of the terror group in the areas under their control.

The remarks by Qadir came as the top US commander in Afghanistan earlier said the loyalists of the terrorist group are attempting to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan.

“Right now we see them very focused on trying to establish their caliphate, the Khorasan caliphate, inside Afghanistan,” General Nicholson told NBC News.

He said the push is “principally a non-Afghan movement”, adding that the U.S. has seen foreign fighters, particularly Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, joining the Islamic State Khorasan, or IS-K.

Gen. Nicholson further added that the U.S. also sees many Pakistani Pashtun from the Pakistani Taliban who joined IS-K moving into Afghanistan to fight.

According to Gen. Nicholson, the IS-K is “completely rejected by the Afghan people,” and explained that the broader ISIL philosophy is “the antithesis of Afghan culture.”

“With our Afghan partners, we’ve been able to reduce that territory significantly and inflict heavy casualties on them to include killing their leaders,” he said.

Source: khaama.com/isis-to-establish-khurasan-caliphate-if-they-seized-tora-bora-qadir-warns-02164

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27 ISIS militants among 87 killed in Afghan forces operations: MoD

Sat Oct 29 2016

At least 84 militants including 27 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed during the counter-terrorism operations in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Saturday.

According to a statement by MoD, the operations were jointly conducted by the Afghan army, Afghan police, and security personnel from the other institutions, including the Afghan Air Force.

The statement further added that the operations were conducted in Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul, Badghis, Herat, Farah, Faryab, Baghlan, Kunduz, and Helmand provinces.

At leat 36 of the militants were killed in Kajaki and Lashkargah district of Helmand province, MoD said, adding that 13 more were wounded, 660 kg of Ammonium Nitrate were confiscated along with 1 landmine and some other type of military equipment.

The 27 ISIS loyalists were killed in Pachera Agam district of Nangarhar province and at least 6 more were wounded while 8 compounds of the terror group were destroyed, MoD said.

The statement also added that 8 Taliban insurgents were killed during a separate operation in Jani Khel district of Paktia and 8 others were killed in Faryab province.

At leat 5 more were killed, 2 were wounded and 7 others were arrested in separate operaions conducted in Uruzgan, Laghman, Herat, and Farah province.

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

Source: khaama.com/27-isis-militants-among-87-killed-in-afghan-forces-operations-mod-02167

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Taliban incurred AFN 2.1 billion loss to Afghanistan in 2 months: ARG

Sat Oct 29 2016

The Taliban-led insurgency incurred a loss of almost 1 billion Afghanis on monthly basis as the group increased attacks across the country in the past two months, officials in ARG Presidential Palace said Saturday.

President Ghani’s Deputy spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazvi told reportes today that the group incurred a total loss of 2,149,000,000 loss by targeting the government and public compounds.

He said the Taliban has left a legacy of murders, executions and violence during the past 20 years which includes their rein in mid-90s and insurgency after their regime was toppled down.

Murtazvi further added that the group has not only incurred collateral damage to the country but has also increased violence against the civilians in the past two months.

Calling the attacks on civilians and public infrastructures as a crime againt humanity, Murtazvi said the group has destroyed 2 bridges and over 170 culverts during the period.

According to Murtazvi, the group has also destroyed 302 schools, 41 health facilities, and 50 mosques in the past two months.

Murtazvi appeared in a press conference this afternoon as a delegation has been formed to assess and assist the Afghan civilians who sustained losses as a result of the Taliban-led insurgency.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the group announced its spring offensive in mid-April this year despite efforts by the government to end the violence through reconciliation process.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-incurred-afn-2-1-billion-loss-to-afghanistan-in-2-months-arg-02168

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Car bombing in Kandahar kills 1, senior police officer among 3 wounded

Sat Oct 29 2016

A car bomb attack rocked Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, leaving at least one dead and three others wounded, including a senior police officer.

According to the local security officials, the suicide bomber targeted the police chief of Police District#9 Haji Farid.

Provincial police spokesman Zia Durani said one policeman lost his life in the attack and three others were wounded but Haji Farid survived the attack unhurt.

But another official speaking on the condition of anonymity said Haji Farid sustained minor injuries in the attack.

The official further added that a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was detonated as the vehicle convoy of the police forces was crossing the PD#9 of Kandahar city.

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

The security situation in Kandahar province had improved during the recent months but the militant groups have been attempting to carry out attacks as they continue to destabilize the southern provinces, specifically the southern Helmand province.

At least 3 soldiers lost their lives and around 20 militants were killed after the Taliban insurgents launched a coordinated attack on an army base in Maiwand district earlier this month.

Source: khaama.com/car-bombing-in-kandahar-kills-1-senior-police-officer-among-4-wounded-02165

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Explosion in Kabul leaves 2 soldiers, 3 civilians wounded

Sat Oct 29 2016

An explosion rocked Kabul city late on Friday afternoon leaving at least 2 Army soldiers and 3 civilians wounded, the officials said.

The incident took place in the vicinity of 5th police district of the city targeting a vehicle of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces.

According to the security officials, a magnetic bomb planted in the vehicle of the Armed forces was detonated.

No group including the Taliban insurgents have so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

This comes as the anti-government armed militant groups have been widely using magnetic bombs in the city during the recent months to target the Afghan security and government officials.

One person was wounded in a similar attack which targeted the vehicle of the Afghan army in the 15th police district of the city.

Earlier, one person was wounded in a similar incident that took place in the vicinity of Taimani area of the city.

At least one person was killed and two others were wounded in a similar incident in Karte Naw area of the city nearly twenty days ago.

The security officials in Kabul said the bomb was planted in a vehicle belonging to the traffic police and a driver of the traffic

department was killed.

Source: khaama.com/explosion-in-kabul-leaves-2-soldiers-3-civilians-wounded-02162

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Militants arrested before poisoning food of 18 Afghan policemen

Fri Oct 28 2016

The Afghan security forces arrested two militants before they manage to poison the food of at least 18 policemen belonging to the Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces.

Local officials in southeastern Ghazni province said the militants who had infiltrated among the ALP forces wanted to poison the food of the policemen in a check post located in Gilan district.

The provincial governor’s spokesman Jawid Salangi confirmed that the militants wanted to kill the policemen late on Thursday night.

He said the two suspects have been arrested and are in custody of the security forces for further investigation.

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

Ghazni is among the relatively volatile provinces in southeastern Afghanistan which links the central provinces with the southern parts of the country, including Kandahar and Helmand.

Militants belonging to the Taliban group and other insurgent groups are actively operating in a number of its restive districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

Source: khaama.com/militants-arrested-before-poisoning-food-of-18-afghan-policemen-02160

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Singapore and Bangladesh officials discuss counter-terrorism efforts in Dhaka meeting

Oct 28, 2016

Singapore's senior minister for defence and foreign affairs, Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, visited his Bangladeshi counterpart Shahriar Alam in Dhaka this week to discuss counter-terrorism efforts between the two countries among other bilateral issues.

Singapore has deported at least 37 Bangladeshi workers after the country's internal security department found incriminating materials linking them to jihadist ideologies.

Last May, the security department detained eight Bangladeshis suspected of being members of "Islamic State in Bangladesh".

Singaporean investigators said members of the terror outfit intend to join Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. "However, as they felt that it would be difficult for them to make their way to Syria, they focused their plans instead on returning to Bangladesh to overthrow the democratically-elected government through the use of force, establish an Islamic State in Bangladesh and bring it under ISIS' self-declared caliphate," says a press release issued by the Singapore's ministry of home affairs.

Bangladeshi authorities however, said they have not found link of the group with any of the existing terror outfits in the country.

"We didn't get any connection with those who were deported from Singapore with the killers in our country," Monirul Islam, chief of Bangladesh's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime told WION.

He continued, "They were workers in Singapore. They have been working there for a long time. Some of them have stayed there for three to eight years. Before going to Singapore they were not radicals. We think it was someone from Singapore who played a key role in radicalising these people. "

Investigators told WION that members of Neo Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh have been waging attacks in the country by pledging their allegiance to Islamic State while another group Ansar Al Islam with affiliation to Al Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has been carrying out attacks in the home soil.

At least 30 people, including atheist bloggers, academicians, clerics of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian faiths, an LGBT activist and and policemen have been killed in machete attacks across Bangladesh since 2013.

Last July, Bangladesh experienced the deadliest terror attack in which 20 civilians including 17 foreign nationals were killed at an upmarket restaurant in Dhaka. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Source: wionews.com/south-asia/singapore-and-bangladesh-officials-discuss-counter-terrorism-efforts-in-dhaka-meeting-8058/

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Militant Payel’s family blames Hakim for influencing him

October 28, 2016

The family of the Holey Artisan attacker alleged that Hakim had introduced their son to New JMB but now he is under government protection and spreading false information about their deceased son

Family members of Khairul Islam Payel, one of the five suspected attackers of Gulshan restaurant, claimed that he was an innocent boy but his classmate Hakim influenced him to join militancy.

Payel’s mother Piyara Khatun said: “Hakim took our youngest son to Dhaka in 2015 for admission to Jagannath University after completing their education from a local madrasa. Later he talked our son into joining New JMB.”

The family alleged that Hakim had introduced their son to New JMB but now he is under government protection and spreading false information about their deceased son.

Abdul Hakim, 22, son of Abdur Rahman of Bogra, surrendered to Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in the presence of the home minister in Bogra on October 5.

Also Read- Two New JMB militants surrender in Bogra

Meanwhile, family members of Hakim claimed that RAB did not hand over Hakim to them and they have no clues where he is staying now.

Some six youths stormed into Holey Artisan Bakery at Gulshan in Dhaka armed with guns, bombs and swords and killed 22 people on July 1. After a 12-hour holdup, commando forces rescued 13 hostages, killing five suspected attackers.

Later, police brought parents of Payel and father and brother of another militant Ujjal from Bogra, to Dhaka for interrogating about their sons and collecting their blood samples to identify the alleged dead militants on July 5.

Abdul Hakim, 22, a known acquaintance of Holey Artisan attacker Md Khairuzzaman alias Khairul Islam Payel, Abu Umayr al-Bengali, surrendered before Rapid Action battalion on October 5, 2016 Dhaka Tribune

Abdul Hakim (left), a known acquaintance of Holey Artisan attacker Md Khairuzzaman alias Khairul Islam Payel or JMB-given name Abu Umayr al-Bengali, surrendered before Rapid Action battalion on October 5, 2016 Dhaka Tribune

But, police did not allow them to see the bodies of their sons.

Hosney Ara, sister of Payel, said: “Whatever crime Payel had committed we wanted his body for a proper burial but the law enforcers did not give his body to us.”

Josna, sister of Payel, who had paid Payel’s educational costs, said: “Payel along with his classmate Hakim had visited home nearly six months ago.”

However, Hakim’s mother Sufia Begum claimed that Hakim does not know militant Payel. “Hakim left Dhaka for Azerbaijan on June 30 this year,” said Sufia.

Besides, Hakim during his surrender on October 5 said he and Payel were classmates and went to Dhaka for getting admitted to JnU and that he got into militancy through Payel.

Source: dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/crime/2016/10/28/25908/

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Africa

Abubakar Shekau Dead or Alive, Boko Haram Is 100% Defeated

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin said that it did not matter whether supposed Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has been killed or not, that the Boko Haram insurgency had been, “totally degraded, decimated and 100% defeated”.

The Chief of Defence Staff who was represented by the acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar at a media parley with Correspondents at the Federal Radio Corporation, FRCN, Kaduna, also cautioned the media against stories that could inflame conflict, Vanguard reported.

He said that “Today, I am pleased to inform you that we have defeated Boko Haram. It is not an easy feat. Yes, you may hear that an inaccessible village has been attacked or that there was an attack somewhere. But, that is the last kicking of a dying group."

Boko Haram, just like ISIL, is considered to be one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world. According to the Global Terrorism Index, the Takfiri group has actually killed more people than ISIL, murdering more than 6,000 people just last year.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000725

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Morocco, Beacon of Moderate Islam in Africa

October 28, 2016

King Mohammed VI, who wound up Thursday a state visit to Tanzania and who is currently on a private visit to the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar, performed the Friday prayer at the Ashura mosque in Zanzibar and donated 10,000 copies of the Koran to the authorities in charge of the management of religious affairs there.

The Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar, located in the Indian Ocean, hosts a large Muslim community of Arab, African and Indian origin.

In his Friday sermon, the Imam said the local Muslim community of Zanzibar is honored by the visit of the Commander of the Faithful, King Mohammed VI, underlining the strong and deep ties binding all Muslims thanks to their religion of peace, tolerance and brotherhood.

The Imam stressed the importance of the cooperation agreements signed between Morocco and Tanzania during the Sovereign’s official visit and underlined that these socioeconomic partnership accords will have positive impacts on all Tanzanians.

In his Friday sermon, he also thanked the Moroccan Monarch for his decision to build a mosque in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam. Dubbed the Mohammed VI Mosque, this religious project will be built over a 7,400 m2 plot and will accommodate more than 5,000 worshipers. The mosque will also include a library, a conference room, a cultural center and other facilities.

The Royal initiative came in response to the request made by Mufti Abubakr Zubair Ben Ali, Head of the Muslims’ National Council of Tanzania, who expressed need for this mosque in the city of Dar es Salaam.

Morocco has built many mosques in Africa, providing training, leadership and education to African Muslim clerics and students on Islam’s humanistic values and making significant contributions to local African Muslim communities in this 21st century where respect for pluralism and diversity is becoming more and more important.

The North African Kingdom set up few months ago a Foundation for African Ulemas to enable them maintain contact, enhance dialogue and exchange experiences.

Based in Fez, this Foundation is part Morocco’s religious training program for imams and sustained efforts to counter Islamic radicalization.

In March 2015, King Mohammed VI dedicated a leading Institute that provides training to hundreds of imams of various nationalities, mainly from Africa and also from Europe.

The Rabat-based center educates Imams to the precepts of a tolerant and non-violent form of Islam based on Maliki rite and teaches them how to fight extremism and religious radicalization through sound argumentation and dialogue.

Morocco has been providing, for many years if not for centuries, training to foreign Islamic scholars and imams, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, in order to disseminate an “Islam of the middle path doctrine,” a vision of religion based on tolerance, intercultural dialogue and respect of other faiths.

Source: me-confidential.com/14137-morocco-beacon-of-moderate-islam-in-africa.html

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Somali Officials Vow to Retake Puntland Town

October 28, 2016

Somali regional authorities in Puntland are vowing to retake a town captured by pro-Islamic State militants this week.

The president of the region, Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, said his administration would push back against the militants, who faced little opposition when they took over Qandala.

“Puntland always defended itself, and is going to defend itself,” he said. “Daesh cannot hold on to Qandala; they will not maintain control. That is a pledge I make to you,” he said, using an Arabic term (Daesh) to refer to the Islamic State group.

Military officials in Puntland, an autonomous region in northeastern Somalia, were caught by surprise when the militants seized Qandala, a traditional symbol of staunch resistance to foreign occupation. They are discussing how to respond to the threat by the militant group that apparently was taken lightly by Somali administrations.

Qandala is 90 kilometers east of Bosaso, Puntland’s main port and the economic hub of Puntland. Since it lies between rugged mountains and the Gulf of Aden, it is seen more vulnerable to attack from the sea.

Since Qandala was captured, Puntland security officials have deployed gunboats to the area to intercept any shipments by militant groups in Yemen, military sources said.

Weapons from Yemen

A leading security and intelligence expert says militants allied with Islamic State chose Qandala because the small fishing port is just a few hours from the coast of Yemen.

A former director of the Puntland Intelligence Agency, Abdi Hassan Hussein, says there was “strategic planning behind the capture.”

“They constantly receive experts or trainers from Yemen, and shipments of weapons and other materiel. This is why they selected that strategic area,” Hussein said.

“It’s tough to reach by land, it’s a mountainous area, and it’s not suitable to drive there,” the intelligence expert added. “Sheikh Mumin’s tribe lives in that area, and they may get more support from the clan. Proclaiming that he wants to establish an Islamic region in the whole of Africa may get him some sympathizers or supporters.”

Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin is the leader of the pro-IS group that captured the town. Last month the United States designated him as a global terrorist. A year ago Mumin pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Militancy growing

During the past year, Mumin’s group has been busy evading attacks by rival militants from al-Shabab, while also seeking recruits and finding a space to grow. Hussein believes that they have achieved that.

“One year is complete; they are marking the anniversary. They had very few numbers but right now they have 200 to 300 fighters,” he said.

Mumin defected from an al-Shabab camp that controls a small hideout in a mountainous area known as Galgala, southwest of Bosaso. Despite several military offensives and defections, al-Shabab’s fighters are still in Galgala, so the emergence of pro-IS militants on the other side of Bosaso in Qandala expands the war and Puntland’s front lines against militancy.

“Fighting Daesh will be tougher than fighting al-Shabab,” Hussein said.

“Potentially there is more of a threat coming from this group [led by Mumin]. They are more active than al-Shabab, and they may get more recruits and more funds than al-Shabab,” he added.

“As we learned from the al-Shabab units fighting in Galgala, they started with few numbers and right now have increased. It’s very tough to defeat these militants, given the limited resources available to Puntland.”

Qandala’s historical significance

Qandala dates back to the 1850s, according to Somali historians. It has a beautiful beach, 20 kilometers of sand dunes along the sea, and rich fishing grounds. The former Somali government built one of its biggest fish factories in the town.

The pro-IS militants entered the town Wednesday, forcing government officials and a small number of forces to flee.

Video taken by the militants purported to show a fighter hoisting a black flag on top of a historic building erected by Italian colonial rulers early in the last century. The same building served as a prison for a Somali rebel who was arrested by Italian soldiers in 1914 for lowering the Italian flag and burning it.

That freedom fighter of the last century, Ali Fahiye Gedi, became known as “the flag-burner” and a symbol for other Somalis who fought against Italian colonial rule.

The militants’ video of pro-IS fighters entering Qandala Wednesday showed them being greeted by an elderly, obviously frightened man. The town’s schools closed the next day, and for the first time in Qandala’s history, its residents fled, leaving the town on foot and by boat. It may take the emergence of another “flag-burner” to stop the threat of militancy in Somalia.

Source: voanews.com/a/somali-officials-vow-to-retake-puntland-town/3570974.html

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Islamic Movement in Nigeria disclose evil plot to kill southern Muslims and Christians

October 29, 2016

Southern Muslims and Christians have been warned by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) that there is a plot to kill them and that the planned killing will displace them.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Southern Muslims and Christians have been warned by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) that there is a plot to kill them and that the planned killing will displace them.

The group in a statement signed by its Media Forum President, Ibrahim Musa, said that plans have been concluded to disrupt its annual”Arbaeen trek.”

In the statement, reports were made that some of its members have been marked for assassination during the course of its annual ritual event.

The statement reads, "It has come to our notice that security agents have perfected plans to cause mayhem during our annual symbolic Arbaeen trek, commemorating a similar trek the Umayyad ruler Yazid subjected family members of Prophet Muhammad (AS) to, from Karbala to Damascus in the year 680AD.

"This trek is a religious duty, which the faithfuls embark on, as a mark of answering of the call to help of Imam Hussein (AS) on the plains of Karbala, which many quotations of our Prophet (S) enticed faithfuls to answer, even if it were to be by crawling. It is purely symbolic and is done by millions of faithfuls worldwide.

"In Nigeria however, opponents who do not want anything of that tyranny against the family of our Prophet (AS) remembered and exposed had always used various plots and evil schemes to demonize the symbolic trek and even stop it by hook or crook means and the use of force.

"We have observed that the idea of trekking to mark or celebrate an event is not alien or new after all. Several people trekked much longer distances to celebrate the victory of President Buhari at the polls last year with pomp and pleasantries. That was a political trek. Ours is a solemn trek and a religious duty. We never force anyone to embark on it, we never molest anyone from start to finish and we must be allowed to exercise our religious obligation.

"This year however, credible sources have confirmed to us that they plan to attack the trekkers in various guise at multiple locations and also burn residences and business premises of the trekkers back in their towns while they are away on the trek. This evil plot involves the use of thugs along all the routes, who would attack especially at night while the trekkers take a rest in camps, kill as many as possible and raze their temporary shelters. Transporters will also be threatened with destruction of their vehicles if they allowed them to be used in anyway for the symbolic trek.

"Part of the plot also involves telling hospitals not to accept victims of their planned attacks for treatment. A list of very prominent members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has also been drawn, and the later are to be targeted for assassination in this devilish scheme. It has been arranged that southerners both Muslims & Christians that reside in the north will be killed in order to create an influx of refugees from North to Southern part of the country. All these are what the exposed plot called measures to be taken in the short term.

"The long-term plans involve the continued use of paid preachers, who would intensify the hate preaching against IMN, and these will be availed with various facilities to ease their assignment. Furthermore, it was also agreed that more civil organisations will be bankrolled to keep denting the image of IMN in and outside the shores of this country.

This they said must be taken seriously because the IMN is garnering sympathy and support from unexpected quarters in and outside the country, which they resolved to halt and reverse by all means possible.

"The Islamic Movement in Nigeria would however once more like to assure the general public and well meaning Nigerians as well as the international community that the annual symbolic Arbaeen trek, which comes up in few weeks time, remains a peaceful religious duty to be conducted by faithfuls as have been done in the last five years since it was started. It is on record that not even last year, when security agents under the cover of Boko Haram detonated a bomb killing 32 persons along the Kano axis, was the trek even disrupted talk less of turning violent.

"In spite of the spurious allegations of blocking roads, an unjustified charge, we do not prevent motorists and other road users from using the roads. It is also on record that we lost quite a number of persons in previous years who were knocked down by reckless drivers during the trek, which would not have happened if we blocked the roads or prevented others from using the roads.

"IMN is being vigorously persecuted by all levels of government, using all coercive apparatus of state, clearly in flagrant violation of our right to religious gathering and association. These efforts by security forces to scuttle the annual symbolic Arbaeen trek must be seen in that light. We therefore draw the attention of the public and the international community that whatever happens to IMN members during the trek, the Nigerian authorities must be held responsible.

"Lastly, we still demand for the unconditional release of our incarcerated leader, Sheikh Zakzaky and all those in detention since the December 2015 Zaria massacre by the Army."

Source: en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/10/29/788480/story.html

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Clashes in Central African Republic leaves scores dead

October 29, 2016

The UN force MINUSCA said Saturday that increasingly frequent bouts of deadly violence between rival sectarian militias claimed at least 25 lives in around 48 hours.

"Six gendarmes and four civilians lost their lives on Friday morning in an ambush on the Bambari-Grimari road," MINUSCA said in a statement on Saturday. "The day before, clashes between elements of the anti-balaka and ex-Seleka [militias] caused 15 deaths and a number of wounded."

CAR's descent into sectarian bloodshed began after the March 2013 ouster of President Francois Bozize, a Christian, by the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance. This in turn triggered a cycle of revenge attacks between Christian and Muslim groups in which thousands were slaughtered and around a tenth of the population of 4.5 million were displaced.

MINUSCA, a UN stabilization force, said six police and four civilians were killed in an ambush by armed men Friday morning, while on Thursday, 15 people died in fighting on the town's outskirts between Seleka militia and Christian vigilante groups; a separate incident in which UN peacekeepers were attacked near the Bambari airport left a 7-year-old child injured.

The UN seeks to support the administration of President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who was elected in February.

Earlier this month, 30 people were killed and 57 wounded when Seleka fighters staged an attack in the central town of Kaga Bandoro. Days later 11 people were shot dead in a camp for displaced people in Ngakobo, northeast of Bangui.

Adding to the strife, MINUSCA has been dogged by dozens of allegations of sexual abuse,prompting a broad UN inquiry. Criticism of the 13,000-strong mission has mounted in recent weeks with local civilians accusing peacekeepers of not doing enough to protect them.

Source: dw.com/en/clashes-in-central-african-republic-leaves-scores-dead/a-36195303

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Nigerian city hit by two suicide bombings

29/10/2016

The first explosion came when two of the bombers tried to enter a camp holding more than 16,000 refugees from Boko Haram's Islamic uprising at around 7am local time (0600 GMT), according to civilian self-defence fighter Dan Batta.

The military said there was only one attacker.

"A suspected female suicide bomber ran into a group of men and women at the entrance while they were coming out of the camp, killing five men and injuring 11 women," said a statement from military spokesman Colonel Mustapha Anka.

Inuwe Sula, who lives nearby, said he saw six bodies and several wounded survivors "drenched with blood".

The second blast came half an hour later and about a kilometre away when a tricycle taxi carrying two passengers exploded outside a petrol station, Col Anka said.

The bomber was driving the taxi and following a fuel tanker "with the sole aim of gaining entry to cause maximum damage and casualty".

In both attacks, the bombers were prevented entry, which could have caused many more casualties, Col Anka said.

Nine bodies, including those of two suicide bombers, were recovered and 24 people wounded in the explosions were evacuated to nearby hospitals, said Sani Datta, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks after a months-long lull caused by a leadership struggle in the organisation affiliated with the Islamic State group.

Nigeria's home-grown insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people, spread across borders and forced some 2.6 million people from their homes.

Source: belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/nigerian-city-hit-by-two-suicide-bombings-35171959.html

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Arab World

Global outrage over Houthi missile attack near Makkah

Saturday 29 October 2016

RIYADH: The ballistic missile launched by the Houthi militias targeting the holy city of Makkah late on Thursday evoked worldwide condemnation on Friday with foreign ambassadors in Riyadh, key world leaders and prominent organizations joining Saudi society in unequivocally denouncing the “heinous act.”

In a uniform voice, ambassadors in the capital slammed the attack. The missile was intercepted by Saudi ground forces and downed 65 km from the holy city of Makkah.

German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller said: “We condemn this kind of attacks in strongest possible terms.” He said it is important for all stakeholders on Yemen to resume peace talks to find a solution according to the UN resolutions as proposed by its envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Speaking to Arab News on telephone from the US, Norwegian Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen said the attack would be condemned by all peace-loving people. “I sincerely feel that these matters could be settled at a negotiating table peacefully.”

Finland’s Ambassador Pekka Voutilainen said: “That kind of missile attack on Saudi soil has to be condemned in the strongest possible words. It is not acceptable.” He said the UN has come with a road map to restore peace in Yemen. Houthi militias doing this will disturb the peace process, which is important to restore the political stability.

Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed said: “Targeting a holy place must be strongly denounced.”

Belgian Ambassador Geert Criel said: “We are shocked by the attack on Saudi territory by the Houthi militias. This is absolutely unacceptable.” He said he hoped the cease-fire would continue in order to achieve the goal of the UN peace talks to restore political stability in Yemen.

Pakistan Ambassador Manzoor Ul Haq said: “The news of a missile attack targeting the holy city is shocking for every Muslim. We strongly condemn any attack against Makkah or any other part of the Kingdom.”

Turkish Ambassador Yunis Demirer said: “We strongly condemn the missile launch by Houthi militias toward Makkah, the most sacred place for Muslims ... We are relieved by the fact that the Saudi defense forces were able to intercept and destroy the missile.” He added: “Our Foreign Ministry also issued a separate statement condemning this attack.”

Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi told Arab News that his country strongly condemns the heinous act of the Houthis. “This is not an attack on Saudi Arabia, it is willful aggression on Islam,” he said.

“Under the able leadership of Premier Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is prepared to send its troops to protect the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah,” the envoy said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the attack has not only violated the peace agreement but also targeted Makkah, where Muslims from all parts of the world come for pilgrimage.

Arab coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said: “Targeting the holiest place on the earth with a ballistic missile last night reveals the fake slogans of Houthi militias.”

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani expressed the bloc’s strong condemnation of the attack.

“The GCC considers the brutal assault, which violates the sanctity of this country, a provocation for Muslims. It shows the Houthi disregard for Islamic holy sites. It is evident of the Houthi refusal to follow the will of the international community and their decisions to reach a political solution to the crisis,” Al-Zayani said in a statement.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, pointed out that the attack was an unacceptable violation of the sanctity of the holy land. In a statement, Aboul Gheit said this is a serious escalation by the Houthi militias.

Describing the attack as a gross violation of the sanctity of the House of Allah, Shoura Council Speaker Abdullah Al-Asheikh said it is a blatant attack supported by the Iranian regime’s agents in Yemen. Al-Asheikh pledged the council’s support to all measures taken by the Saudi government to protect the sovereignty, security and stability of the country.

The Muslim World League said the attack has violated the sanctity of the holy place and also hurt the sentiments of the world Muslims.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed tweeted: “The Iranian regime supports a terrorist group which targets the holy city of Makkah. Is this an Islamic regime as it claims?”

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Al-Momani said that “such heinous acts serve neither the Yemeni cause, nor the Arab and Muslim causes.”

“Any attack against holy places would expand the cycle of violence,” Al-Momani said, while reiterating calls to adhere to legitimacy and restore security of Yemen.

Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmad Al-Khalifah said: “Targeting Makkah is not only a violation of all international covenants, but it’s the biggest crime ever.”

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said: “This is an outrageous aggression against the sanctity of the holiest Islamic shrine and a provocation for the religious sentiments of millions of Muslims around the world.”

Doha reiterated support to relentless Saudi efforts to ensure regional security and stability and its efforts to achieve peace in Yemen.

Egypt described the attack as “a dangerous development which targeted the innocent people who came for the pilgrimage.”

Source: arabnews.com/node/1003916/saudi-arabia

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Over 50 Terrorists Killed in Failed Attack to Recapture Key Town in Northern Hama

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Terrorists retreated from the battlefield after losing 50 militants in a counterattack on government forces' positions in the town of Souran that was just captured by the army few days ago.

Syrian army soldiers, backed up by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets, repelled the joint attack of Faylaq al-Sham, Jeish al-Ezzah, Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Sham on their strongholds near the newly-recaptured town of Souran, killing at least 50 militants and wounding many more.

In the meantime, militants' centers in the towns of Taybat al-Imam and its nearby villages, Tal Bazam, Lahaya and Bouyedeh were heavily shelled by the Syrian army's artillery units.

Syrian government forces have been hitting terrorists' defense lines near Taybat al-Imam to drive them out of the town.

Reports said on Thursday that the Syrian army troops continued the liberation operation in Northern Hama province to retake the two strategic towns of Souran and Taybat al-Imam, establishing full control over Souran.

"Militants sent tens of reinforcements from the nearby town of Taybat al-Imam to Souran to prevent the fall of the city," a battlefield source said, "But pro-government forces inflicted heavy damage and casualties on the terrorists and took back the city".

According to the source, after the Syrian Army won back Souran, the terrorists launched a large-scale assault from Taybat al-Imam to drive the pro-government forces out the city, but were pushed back.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000570

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At Least 2 Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack against Shiite Mourners in Baghdad

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least two people were killed and eight others wounded Saturday in a suicide bomb attack targeting a Shiite mourning tent in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a police source said.

The attack occurred before noon as a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest within the vicinity of a mourning tent in the Shiite neighborhood of Tobchi in the area of Eskan in central Baghdad, the source on condition of anonymity said, Xinhua reported.

The death toll may rise as ambulances and civilian vehicles evacuated the dead and wounded people to several nearby hospitals and medical centers, the source added.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but the ISIL, in most cases, is responsible for similar suicide attacks against civilians.

Terrorist acts and armed violent conflict killed 1,003 Iraqis and wounded 1,159 others in Sept. throughout Iraq, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000768

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Terrorists' Command Center in Dara'a City Destroyed in Army Attack

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A command-and-control center of Fatah al-Sham Front (the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in the Southern neighborhoods of Dara'a city in Southern Syria was destroyed in an army offensive.

Syrian army soldiers struck Fatah al-Sham's command center in the neighborhood of Suweidan in the district of Dara'a al-Balad, destroying the entire center and killing a number of militants.

In the meantime, Fatah al-Sham's bases, military vehicles and large trucks came under attack by the Syrian armed forces in the neighborhoods of al-Hamadeen, al-Arba'een, meteorology building, South of al-Mesri square, West of old the costumes department, al-Abasiyeh furnace and East of  Katakit building in Dara'a al-Balad. 

Also, Syrian military forces struck the strongholds of Fatah al-Sham Front in Western Dara'a, inflicting major damage on their bases and military hardware on Friday.

Syrian army soldiers stormed the gatherings of Fatah al-Sham Southwest of Dara'a Dam and Tal (Hill) Shihab, destroying the group's vehicle in large scales and killing a number of them.

Meantime, Saida Prison and the region to the East of al-Naima town in Eastern Dara'a was the scene of heavy fighting between the Syrian army men and militants.

Also, a number of terrorists, including Ahmad Naeem al-Masri were killed in an army attack on militants' bases in the district of Dara'a al-Balad.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000803

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Gov't Troops Tightening Noose on Militant-Held Town in Eastern Damascus

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Pro-government troops continue to march on Jeish al-Islam's positions in Eastern Ghouta, and are preparing to take yet another major stride in completing the siege of the key town of al-Reihan, military sources said Saturday.

"The Syrian Army troops and popular forces, in a surprise attack, drove Jeish al-Islam terrorists out of most farms between the town of al-Reihan and Tal (Hill) Kurdi, and paved the ground for the completion of the siege on the militants in the town of al-Reihan," the sources said.

"Government forces have thus far repelled several attacks of Jeish al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta," they added.

"The final phase of the large-scale operation to liberate al-Reihan will start soon," the sources underlined.

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian Army soldiers seized control over several key positions and roads in Western Ghouta and laid full siege on the trapped Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as the al-Nusra Front) in Khan al-Sheih town in Southwestern Damascus.

Syrian government forces captured an air defense base, the entire farms in the Northwest of Khan al-Sheih town and Southwest of the town of al-Zakiyeh and found fire control over al-Zakiyeh-Khan al-Sheih road, completing the siege of Fatah al-Sham terrorists in the town of Khan al-Sheih.

"The entire supply roads to Khan al-Sheih are blocked by the Syrian army soldiers and Fatah al-Sham militants have no way out of the town. They are trapped in the circle of government forces," military sources said Saturday.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000837

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Enemies Never Dare to Attack Iran

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami underlined that no foreign enemy ever dares to think of military action against Iran.

"The enemies' dream of using military option against Iran will never come true," General Salami said on Saturday, addressing a meeting in Isfahan province in Central Iran.

He said Iran has developed advanced weapons and ammunition to respond to the enemies' possible threats.

In relevant remarks in September, General Salami underlined that Iran would continue to develop and reinforce its naval strength and power.

"The Islamic Iran's military might is unstoppable," General Salami told reporters after addressing a ceremony held to launch a long-range high-speed vessel capable of carrying military helicopters.

He reiterated that Iran has on top of its agenda boosting its defense and deterrence capabilities.

"Everyday we witness a new vessel joining the IRGC Navy and we will grow more powerful and improve the quality of our products," General Salami added.

General Salami said that the IRGC Navy has always acted powerfully and it has helped to the strengthening of Iran's defense capabilities.

Also, in May, Commander of the IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi declared that the IRGC has done all the necessary tests and will soon launch mass-production of modern speedboats that cruise at a speed of 80 knots (148 kilometers) per hour.

"We have been able to increase the speed of our military vessels which are equipped with missiles and torpedoes up to 80 knots and this speed was tested late winter and now we are after mass-producing them," Fadavi said in an interview with the state-run TV.

"This is while the speed more than 35 knots is a dream for the world naval forces and the US vessels can cruise at a maximum speed of 31 knots," he added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000795

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Militants in Four More Towns Give up Fight against Syrian Gov't

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian Peace Coordination Center in Syria said militants in four more towns have given up fight against the Syrian army and joined the peace agreement with Damascus in the last 24 hours.

The Russian Center declared in its latest statement that militants in three towns in Lattakia and one town in Hama have joined the nationwide reconciliation plan.

The statement further added that the total number of the cities, towns and villages that have joined the reconciliation process now stands at 855.

Also last week, the center announced that militants in fifteen more towns ended fight against the Syrian army troops and popular forces and joined a peace agreement with Damascus.

Earlier this month, militant groups in eight towns laid down arms under a peace agreement with the government.

"Five towns in Lattakia, two towns in Hama and one in Homs have agreed to end fight against the Syrian government," the Russian center said in a statement at the time.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000735

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Entire Members of Terrorist Group Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Quneitra

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops engaged in fierce clashes with Fatah al-Sham Front (the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) near a village in Northern Quneitra, killing all fighters of the group.

The army soldiers engaged in clashes with Fatah al-Sham terrorists in Zahrat al-Kasaar area in the Eastern side of the village of Toranjeh, claiming the lives of all the terrorists and destroying the military hardware.

The Syrian military forces also targeted the terrorists' centers in the village of Masraheh in Eastern Quneitra.

Meantime on Friday, Syrian Army's missile units shelled a main base of the terrorist groups in Northern Quneitra, killing several militants and destroying their machineguns and equipment.

The Syrian missile units targeted terrorists' base in Tal al-Hamriyeh hilltop in Northern Quneitra, killing most of the militants inside the base.

In the meantime, most of the machineguns and other military hardware in the base were destroyed in the attack. 

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000697

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154 Saudi ex-extremists ready for reintegration

Friday 28 October 2016

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center (MNCC) said it graduated 154 beneficiaries who underwent courses in counseling and a review of terrorist, deviant thought and extremist ideas in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The graduates now qualify to be integrated in society.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki announced the graduation of the 39th batch of beneficiaries from MNCC in Riyadh and of the 14th in Jeddah, the latter counting 39 beneficiaries.

These people graduated after it became obvious that they had benefited from the legal, social, psychological and historical programs, and the scientific, professional and sports courses, and the diverse seminars and lectures they followed during their stay at the MNCC. Al-Turki said that the graduates will follow an after-care program, which aims to achieve social stability.

On April 6, the MNCC said 97 beneficiaries graduated from its Riyadh and Jeddah centers.

MNCC is one of the prominent institutions that fight against deviant thought. It began its activities in 2006, drawing individuals who hold extreme views and working to reintegrate them in society and correct their concepts by taking advantage of the various programs the center offers.

MNCC employs to that end experts, counselors, psychologists, social workers, as well as clerics and Sharia specialists.

By enrolling in the MNCC, an individual shifts from prisoner to beneficiary, thus enjoying many freedoms, including holidays on religious, seasonal and national occasions, during which they can visit and spend time with loved ones, or are allowed to visit families when there are special family events as well as receive their families on private visits to the MNCC.

A beneficiary spends on average three months at the MNCC, during which he follows a number of programs and scientific training, in addition to various other courses.

Beneficiaries spend 15 hours a week in the Shariah program, six hours in the social program, five hours in the psychological program, five hours in the history program, five hours in the fine arts program and 12 hours in the sports program.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1003481/saudi-arabia

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Southeast Asia

THIS IS ISLAMIC STATE’S INSTANT MESSAGING APP OF CHOICE

October 28, 2016

For the Islamic State’s top Southeast Asian propagandist Bahrun Naim, the ultra-secure instant messaging app Telegram is a godsend as popular social networks Twitter and Facebook race to weed out web-savvy militants like him.

Berlin-based Telegram, created by the exiled Russian internet guru Pavel Durov, insists it is doing its best to curb exploitation by Islamic State (IS), but experts say the mobile app remains among the most favoured by foreign fighters looking to recruit and inspire followers back home.

Islamic State followers flock to social media platform Telegram in terror propaganda free-for-all

The free-to-download messenger with over 100 million active global users allows the instant exchange of messages, photos and videos, much like rivals WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber.

Many users migrated to Telegram because of the belief that its end-to-end encryption technology – which keep communication private from start to finish – is superior to that of its competitors.

For militants like Naim, Telegram’s most enticing features are its private channels as well as its recently revamped ‘bot’ function – which allows the automated mass dissemination of messages and other content. A ‘bot’ – derived from the word robot – is a type of software that performs automated tasks over the internet. Militant groups can programme Telegram’s bots to answer simple text queries by followers.

“I would estimate there are at least 10,000 jihadi accounts on Telegram and at least half are pro [IS],” said Steven Stalinksy, executive director of the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.

French terror investigators grapple with Telegram app, Islamic State’s messaging weapon

“The regular [IS] accounts report on any developments and attacks in the region that they are behind,” Stalinksy said.

A search on the app by This Week in Asia uncovered an automated bot linked to Indonesian IS militant Bahrun Naim.

The authenticity of the account, which features a profile picture of a smiling Naim, could not be independently verified.

Counterterrorism experts say the 33-year-old is the foremost online propagandist for Katibah Nusantara, the brigade of Malay and Indonesian speaking fighters in Iraq and Syria.

New followers of the bot with Naim’s picture are greeted with an introductory message in Indonesian. “The writer’s name is Bahrun Naim but he is commonly known as BN. His full name is Muhammad Bahrunnaim Anggih Tantomo. He was born on September 6, 1983,” the message said.

Followers of the bot can click buttons on the app that prompt detailed automated messages including step-by-step instructions to make ammonium nitrate – used in explosives – using household materials.

Other options include instructions on making RDX, the main element in making the C4 explosive, as well as detonators.

The bot also sends out periodic messages and videos. A subscription to the bot garnered a response featuring a 20-minute video featuring interviews with militants and frontline footage of combat.

When asked “what is this?” the bot replied: “A motivational video detailing the members of Junud Daulah Islamiyyah in a hurry towards God,” referring to the brigade of Asian militants in Iraq and Syria.

“Their motto is ‘we die here for an eternal life on the other side’,” the message said.

In November, Reuters said it had contacted a man who claimed to be Naim on his personal Telegram account. In a exchange with the news outlet, the man said he was “just waiting for the right trigger” to “carry out an action” in Indonesia.

Two months later, Jakarta was hit by a gun-and-bomb attack that police said was remotely orchestrated by Naim. The attack killed eight people, including four of the perpetrators.

Pierluigi Paganini, an Italy-based cybersecurity expert who had done research on the militant group’s reach online, said militants like Naim were using Telegram because they continued to believe it was “one of the most secure instant messaging mobile apps”.

On a website described as the personal portal of Naim, the Indonesian national urged followers to exercise caution when using Telegram.

A blog post titled “Use Telegram with care” urged Indonesian followers of Naim to avoid registering on Telegram with their local numbers and use virtual private networks when accessing the app. The website was intermittently unavailable last week.

Markus Ra, Telegram’s spokesman, acknowledged that IS was continuing to use the platform to reach out to its followers.

He said the app had a “dedicated department” processing complaints about IS complaints, alongside “a community of concerned users who report IS content daily”.

“As a result, IS channels usually go down within less than 24 hours,” he said.

Stalinksy, the Washington-based analyst, said IS militants would continue to thrive on Telegram as they were “being shut down on Twitter and especially Facebook which has led the way in going after their accounts”.

“Many [IS] media activists have praised Telegram for being a safe place,” he said.

He said other online platforms where IS propaganda was thriving included YouTube, Instagram, JustPasteit, Periscope, Vid.me, Pastebin, Vimeo, Tumblr, Vine, and Snapchat.

Source: scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2041078/islamic-states-instant-messaging-app-choice

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No Action On Ongoing Repression Of Myanmar’s Muslims

October 29, 2016

In one of its recent reporting the Guardian reports that at the entrance to Thaungtan village in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta a brand-new signasserts, “No Muslims allowed to stay overnight. No Muslims allowed rent houses. No marriage with Muslims.”

Al-Jajeera also reports of similar rise in systematic eviction, rape, loot and arson of Rohingyas (the Muslim ethnic minority of Myanmar’s Delta) by the military. Similarly Bangkok Post also reports how in a recent incident soldiers in Shey Kya village in Rakhine State “raided their (Rohingya) homes, looted property and raped them at gun point.” In the same Al-Jajeera report it quotes Yanghee Lee, the UN envoy on human rights in Myanmar, who said that she had received “repeated allegations of arbitrary arrests as well as extrajudicial killings occurring within the context of the security operations conducted by the authorities in search of the alleged attackers”.

Myanmar Government neither denies nor confirms these recent outbreaks of violence against Muslims in Myanmar. Instead it claims that some of the army actions are responses to ‘400 strong rebel actions’ of Rohingyas. But this claim of ‘armed resistance with foreign support’ is yet to be verified by any credible source.

This is an irony for Myanmar Muslims for they made important contributions in every aspect of Myanmar’s development – economic, political and social – including that Muslims in Myanmar played a key role in its independence movement first against the British then against the occupying Japan so much so that U Razzak, a Muslim from upper ‘Burma’ who believed in unity in diversity worked closely with Aung San, the Father of the Nation (Aung San Suu Kyi’s father ) and was Minister of Education and Planning in Aung San’s shadow cabinet who was assassinated along with Aung San on the fateful July 19, 1947.

Sadly, history does not seem to play any part in influencing Myanmar’s present day relations with Muslims – persecution of Muslims in Myanmar by now has become not only relentless but more brutal.

Saddest part is also that Nobel Laureate Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi once West’s voice of freedom and democracy who now heads the Myanmar government seems also to have a short memory of history that she herself once was a victim of state persecution. So far Aung San suu Kyi has chosen to remain either deafeningly silent or disturbingly evasive to the on-going horrific acts of violence against Muslims in her country. What is also quite tragic is that in recent times when a handful of conscientious Myanmar citizens condemned and protested in Yangoon against what seems like a well-organized plan of persecution,her police baton-charged the protesters for ‘disturbing public order’.

I, however, do not expect Aung San Suu Kyi or for that most institutions to come to much help in the cause of Myanmar’s Muslims and so far as Aung San Suu Kyi is concerned I expect the least for by now she has become a prisoner of her own ambition and thus is unlikely to do anything that would risk her own self-seeking agenda.

I also do not think the so-called free world would do anything differently either for they are a prisoner of geo-politics where self-interest has taken precedence over principles – they need a friendly Myanmar government in their China containment strategy and thus last thing they would do is annoy Myanmar’s government (more accurately, its army) and close its containment conduit that it believes it has opened by befriending an army that is known for its unenvious record in human rights abuses.

Nor do I expect Bangladesh, Myanmar’s oppressed Muslims’ closest Muslim neighbour to do much about the issue either for their government is but a prisoner of another government where the latter is nothing but a cahoot in the cabal of West’s imperialist geo-politics and also that its brand of politics resonates well with that of Myanmar’s sectarian political culture.

Bangladesh’s one and only Nobel Peace Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus is also not saying much for he is but a prisoner of fear.

The world body of Muslims, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) simply has neither the gal nor the moral standing to do much about the issue either for its members are too busy killing and demonizing each other – their own Muslims.

UN, the only body that can and has been raising its concerns from time to time is also a prisoner, of its structural incongruities that enables it to report but not regulate.

Only the people that irrespective of religion, caste, colour or nation they belong to, that believe in human rights as the fundamental tenet – the right to live and co-exist with each other with equal rights and privileges – can make the difference and fortunately, they are not in millions but in billions. They must unite and raise their voices internationally and most importantly within their own countries.

They must petition their respective senators, congressmen, parliamentarians whoever and get their governments to raise their voices in the strongest of terms against these dastardly acts of persecution and repression of Muslims in Myanmar that are happening on a daily basis for as Desmond Tutu oncereminded, “remaining silent at the time of injustices is to be on the side of the tyrants”.

Source: countercurrents.org/2016/10/29/no-action-on-ongoing-repression-of-myanmars-muslims/

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Indonesians champion their own way of practising Islam

October 28, 2016

JAKARTA // Through mosque sermons and public debate, the Indonesian Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (Awakening of the Ulama) aims to promote the concept of Islam Indonesia-style.

Islam Nusantara, or Islam of the Archipelago, argues that Indonesia is culturally different from the Middle East and should follow its own, broad version of Islam. It emphasises moderation and supports indigenous cultures and the rights of women. For the 40 million followers of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), it also means clear distance between them and extremism.

"One of the difficulties with the Middle East is that it has too great a history," the NU secretary general Yahya Cholil Staquf said in a recent interview. "It is difficult for people not to admire the past. The fortune we have here is we are less aligned with that mentality.

"By raising the idea of Islam Nusantara we call upon different Muslim societies everywhere in the world to connect themselves to the actual reality of their social and cultural environment, to maintain a social bond and not to delete it for some alien idea. The Salafist way of thinking is that Muslims must abandon anything that is considered un-Islamic."

A traditionalist Sunni Muslim organisation, NU was established in 1926 as a response to the rise of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and a surge in Islamic modernism at home.

Muslims make up nearly 88 per cent of Indonesia’s 250 million-strong population, but despite an extremist rebellion in the 1950s, which ended in the execution of its leader, Indonesia has resisted further, peaceful efforts to undergo a conversion to an Islamic state.

Muslim activism was largely suppressed during the 32-year authoritarian rule of former president Suharto, but flowered again from the start of the democratic era in the late 1990s, a period marked by economic hardship.

But the revival – which brought militant leaders such as Abu Bakar Bashir back from exile – also fuelled a renewed outbreak of Islamic-inspired terrorism. Over the next decade, more than 290 people died in a series of bombings in Jakarta and on the tourist island of Bali.

Thousands more were killed in Muluku and Sulawesi, two of the largest islands in eastern Indonesia, where previously peaceful relations between Muslim and minority Christian communities broke down with both sides engaging in horrendous massacres.

The bloodshed was finally brought under control, but the struggle against extremist terrorism goes on, prompting much soul-searching among responsible religious leaders with concerns about the threat to Indonesia’s reputation for tolerance.

Indonesia may be the world’s most populous Muslim country, but its clerics and scholars are often made to feel inferior to their Middle Eastern counterparts because they do not come from the proximity of Islam’s birthplace.

Now, with much of the Middle East torn apart by war and internecine conflict, NU and its fellow urban-based organisation, Muhammadiyah, are effectively saying the legitimacy of Islam as a peaceful religion has been undermined.

In Indonesia, Christians and followers of the Ahmadiyah sect have been the targets of persecution. But the events in the Middle East have also deepened distrust and hatred between hardline Sunni groups and the tiny Shiite minority, which is concentrated in eastern Java, the country’s most populous island.

By mounting more concerted efforts to stem Wahhabism and Salafism, Indonesia’s moderate Muslim leaders hope to instil a new belief in local forms of Islam, which entered the country as early as the 8th century.

Instead of a strict adherence to text, NU believes the key to peaceful coexistence is equally to be found in the unwritten tenets of venerated leaders of the past, including former president Abdurrahman Wahid, an avowed pluralist.

"Islam Nusantara should be embraced as a symbol of peace, diversity, tolerance, and distinctiveness in how Muslims implement their faith in Indonesia," says Mufizer Mahmud, a conflict resolution specialist and a devout Muslim from Aceh, the only province allowed to practise sharia because of a long history of rebellion against the central government.

"In no way should it interfere with the principles taught in Islam, but Indonesia has always been the most tolerant country in the Muslim world, having adopted the notion that customs can’t be separated from the religion. It is these strong historical factors that have formed and built this nation."

That is a view shared by Natalia Soebagjo, a member of the international board of Transparency International. "Islam Nusantara reflects the richness of Indonesia’s cultural heritage," she says, "the heritage of a society which throughout its history has always been open, inclusive and accepting."

Ms Soebagjo notes that before the arrival of Islam, "by way of trade and not the sword", Indonesians were exposed to the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, indigenous belief systems and philosophies which remain strongly rooted in the country’s ecology.

"Hence, how we interpret and practise the teachings of Mohammed is distinct from how Islam is understood in the Middle East or, for that matter, any other part of the world," she points out.

For all that, NU has had to fight an uphill battle so far, because of a lack of cooperation from the three sharia-based political parties and the tendency towards conformity among Indonesian Muslims, with far more women wearing the hijab than ever before.

The religious affairs minister, Lukman Saifuddin, may belong to the sharia-based United Development Party (PPP), but he has proved a refreshing change from a long line of ineffectual predecessors, who neither defended minorities nor faced up to growing radicalism.

Mr Saifuddin bemoans the widely held perception that only Middle East traditions are legitimate. "Yet anywhere in the world, Islamic values are based on local culture," he says. "In India, Egypt, Sudan and China, for example, Islamic values are all part of the local culture."

Given the stagnant support for sharia-based parties, which never garner more than 12-13 per cent of the vote, the willingness of legislative bodies to pass laws and regulations that enforce puritanism and restrict personal freedoms point to a failure by politicians to understand the evolving nature of Indonesian society.

In about a third of Indonesia’s 33 provinces, a proliferation of sharia ordinances prevent women from venturing out at night and demand everything from full Islamic dress to mandatory prayer and Quranic study sessions.

The reason why many of the by-laws have been passed is because they received the support of the largest sectarian parties seeking to curry favour with conservative clerics who are often wrongly perceived to have an influence on voters.

That is despite the fact that they contravene the country’s constitution and are against the spirit of Pancasila, the state philosophy which acts as the ideological foundation of Indonesia as a secular state

Still, even those Indonesians who consider themselves modern and progressive are not always enamoured with Islam Nusantara. "When you start compartmentalising Islam and its followers, you start creating divisions within Islam," says Fajar Reksoprodjo, a tech-savvy entrepreneur in his late 30s. "I think that’s plain wrong, whether it is based on ethnicity or whatever."

Source: thenational.ae/world/southeast-asia/indonesians-champion-their-own-way-of-practising-islam#full

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Indonesian millenials struggle to speak in local IT terms

Sat, October 29, 2016

“What is surel? I have never heard of that word before,” said 20-year-old college student and avid internet user Juan Putranto in Bandung, West Java, when asked about the Indonesian word for email.

As the country celebrated the historic moment when Indonesian youths affirmed their identity as Indonesians, known as Youth Pledge Day, which falls every Oct. 28, today’s youth — mostly digital natives — are struggling to speak the local equivalents of the foreign words that have become part of

their lives.

Juan is not alone in his confusion, as most Indonesians are more exposed to the English version of information technology (IT) terms instead of the Indonesian counterparts. Therefore, words like linimasa (timeline), tetikus (mouse) and daring (online) seem peculiar to them.

A recent university graduate, Danang Permadi, 24, said he actually knew about the word daring, but he was more familiar with “online” because he used the English translation more regularly.

“No one has ever used daring among my peers, family and even at university. I only know the word from randomly browsing the internet,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Indonesian youths are also unfamiliar with Indonesian IT words like salin dan tempel (copy and paste), serambi (platform), peramban (browser), peladen (server), lebar pita (bandwidth), narablog (blogger) and unduh (download).

The use of the Indonesian language by young people is well specified in the Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge), the 88th anniversary of which fell on Friday. One of the verses of the pledge reads “We, Indonesian youths, will carry high our national language, Bahasa Indonesia.”

But as the world becomes more globalized and new words are coined to catch up with new technologies, are there really Indonesian youths out there who would say “lebar pita” instead of bandwidth?

The government has done its job in promoting the use of the Indonesian language on a daily basis through the Language Development and Training Agency under the Culture and Education Ministry.

The agency periodically publishes the Indonesian Language Dictionary (KBBI), available in book and online versions, and its representatives are present in 30 provinces across the country.

But any efforts to convince youths to use their mother language appear insufficient as they obtain most of their information from the internet, where English is the dominant language, University of Indonesia linguist Mohammad Umar Muslim told The Jakarta Post.

“Language is constantly evolving. The internet has made Indonesian youths see foreign languages as more prestigious than their mother language. The more popular a foreign word is among youths, the harder it is for young people to use its Indonesian version,” Umar said on Friday.

Media researcher Ignatius Haryanto reaffirmed the linguist’s view. “As technology advances, people get more information as well as new words. Sometimes words are too technical, making them hard to be translated into Indonesian,” he said.

Haryanto added the media should play a role in promoting the Indonesian language, including the IT terms coined by linguists.

Source: thejakartapost.com/news/2016/10/29/indonesian-millenials-struggle-to-speak-in-local-it-terms.html

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Europe

'Patriots' take over site earmarked for Greek mosque

29.10.2016    

“A mosque? Here? Between two Greek navy bases?”

Giannis Ioannidis is a retired businessman leading a 30-strong group of men in military-style clothing who have taken over a downtown Athens premises earmarked as the site for Greece’s first official new mosque in a century.

Now the 74-year-old’s makeshift group of self-described “patriots” has plans to turn it into a homeless shelter -- for Greek people only.

“The mosque will be full of terrorists and it would be located in a former navy base. This is unthinkable,” Ioannidis told Anadolu Agency, claiming “illegal migrants even use the children they bring with them for sympathy or worse”.

Visiting the site where the mosque is set to be built, one is greeted by thick chains and locks which keep unwanted visitors out of the former military base.

People wearing camouflage gear guard the perimeter and no one is allowed in unless they get permission from “The General” -- Ioannidis.

“General is a rank you -- sometimes -- receive from your group while on the battlefield. The people here call me that,” Ioannidis explained.

Although official mosques exist in northern Greece -- in areas such as Thrace where Muslim minorities reside -- until August this year the creation of official places of worship for Muslims in other areas of the country was prohibited.

Almost three months ago, the Greek parliament passed a bill which permitted the creation of official mosques in the Greek capital -- and the first is set to find a home at the abandoned navy facility in the Votanikos area.

Amid dozens of unofficial mosques around Athens, the one in Votanikos will be the first state-backed construction since the 19th century. The Greek government will cover the estimated one-million-euro [$1.09 million] cost.

Suspicion

However, almost three months after the bill passed, building work has yet to begin and Greek officials are seemingly unable to comment on the reason why.

According to Ioannidis, in the almost five months his men have been at the abandoned base, no one from the authorities has tried to stop their activities.

The 30 men -- who say they served in the Greek military’s special forces -- are determined to block the construction of the mosque.

Ioannidis, who says he served as commando in his youth, talked to Anadolu Agency while giving a tour of the premises.

He stated that not only will his group stop the mosque, he and his men are turning the abandoned base into a homeless shelter, albeit one strictly for Greek people.

Playing with a large German Shepherd, one of the many stray dogs that have found shelter in the former base, Ioannidis claimed “Greeks are refugees in their own country, without the right to get asylum.

“They are homeless and hopeless,” he added.

There are currently no official numbers on the amount of homeless people in Greece but according to estimations of various NGOs, there are more than 20,000.

According to International Organization for Migration data, almost 170,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe in the first three months of this year, many of them through Greece. However, Ioannidis says he is convinced they are lying about their identities and own fake passports.

A week earlier, the far-right party Golden Dawn demonstrated against the mosque, right outside the naval base. Just a few blocks down there is a camp accommodating more than 2,100 refugees and migrants, mostly of Afghan origin.

However, Ioannidis and his men claim they did not allow any far-right demonstrators to enter the premises and declined to associate themselves with the protest.

“We are not covered with the colors of any political party; we are patriots, that is our only color,” he said. He denied his group was Golden Dawn supporters but also denied being with “dirty anarchists”.

Anadolu Agency contacted numerous Greek government officials but no one was available to comment on the subject.

Although certain far-right actions have occurred in the country, the Greek government and the majority of the people have shown repeated support for the huge numbers of recently arrived refugees and migrants.

Since early October, refugee children are allowed to attend Greek schools in special programs. Local NGOs and individual volunteers visit migrant camps and provide what they can to support those in need.

Recently, the Greek island of Lesbos saw a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for residents who spent the past year saving refugees from the sea. Even though the citizens of Lesbos did not end up winning, they continue to support the 6,000 refugees and migrants stuck on the island.

At the moment more than 61,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece, according to official government numbers; the vast majority of them are Muslims.

Source: aa.com.tr/en/europe/patriots-take-over-site-earmarked-for-greek-mosque/674511

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Putin Rejects Russian Military Request to Resume Airstrikes in East Aleppo

Saturday 29 October 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- President Vladimir Putin denied the Russian military’s request to order a resumption of airstrikes in Eastern Aleppo.

“The Russian president considers it inappropriate at the present time to resume airstrikes in Aleppo," Dmitry Peskov told the press, RT reported.

However, Peskov added that “in case of extreme necessity to prevent provocative actions on the part of terrorist groups, the Russian side reserves the right to use all means at its disposal to provide an appropriate level of support to the Syrian armed forces.”

Russia will make a decision on further action in accordance with the events on the ground in Aleppo, the spokesman added.

The Russian president believes that the humanitarian pause should continue “to allow the withdrawal of the wounded and the militants who wish to leave the city. And, which is also significant, to allow our American partners to fulfill the obligations to separate the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition and the terrorists, which they took upon themselves,” Peskov said.

Earlier on Friday, Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy, head of operations in the Russian General Staff, said "Due to the fact that there are still deaths among civilians and that the militants have resumed military activities against government forces, we’ve addressed Russia’s commander-in-chief, asking permission for the resumption of airstrikes targeting illegal armed groups in Eastern Aleppo,”

Earlier on Friday, militants “used the moratorium of Russian and Syrian combat flights” and attempted to break into Eastern Aleppo, the General Staff representative said.

“The attack was carried out by three groups [of militants]… with support of 20 tanks and 15 APCs. All this was accompanied by heavy fire from rocket launchers and artillery," he said.

The offensive was repelled, with the terrorists losing six tanks and five armored personnel carriers, Rudskoy said.

During the last three days, the terrorists have shelled western Aleppo on 62 occasions, killing 43 people and injuring 76 more, Rudskoy said.

On Thursday, a school in the Hay al-Andalus district of the city came under fire, with 12 civilians, including three school children, losing their lives and 14 others receiving injuries.

Russian air forces in Syria have not carried out combat flights in Eastern Aleppo for 10 days in order to facilitate humanitarian access to the city.

Russia’s center for reconciliation in Syria is currently in talks “with representatives of the public authorities of eastern Aleppo and several armed groups on the evacuation of the civilian population and withdrawal of militants from areas under their control,” Rudskoy said.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950808000662

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Baku: Where Islam Meets its Future

29.10.2016  

Ancient legends tell of the Temple of Fire – a temple fueled by the rich resources of oil and gas that still flow through an ancient land, under its ground and in its sea. Located near Baku, the capitol of Azerbaijan, it was once a place for religious worship by Hindus and Zoroastrians.

However, to talk of Azerbaijan only in terms of its energy resources is to do a disservice to the nation and its people. While those energy resources are critical to the future energy security of Europe and much of the region, it is only one aspect of this multidimensional country.

The recent 5th Baku Humanitarian Forum showcased that which Azerbaijan most valuably has to offer the world -- a model of a secular and modern Muslim-majority nation, where Shi’a, Sunni, Jew, Catholic, etc., live together absent the discord of much of the rest of the world.

In Azerbaijan, its citizens worry not about what ethnic or religious group has more power, but about the economic downturn, education, life insurance, jobs, and juggling family with profession. Each distinct group has one commonality -- they are all Azerbaijani.

As with most societies, Azerbaijan is a product of its history, in this case, one that left it with a varying array of peoples living together and not particularly caring about another’s heritage. Notably and importantly, it is a society that can be replicated should others have the courage to do so. It is also a society that should be actively supported by the West, despite the inevitable blemishes all nations and societies possess.

Exploring Baku is taking a journey from a grand past to a cutting-edge future. Each street corner reveals grand buildings, their architecture harkening back to the eras of the famed Silk Road to Imperial Russia to today’s staunchly independent Azerbaijan. Towering behind them stand futuristic buildings that seem to leap from the ground, molded from the minds of artists and dreamers. Yet just a bit of the bland Soviet era remains, where functionality reigned supreme over style and where elegance gave way to insipidity.

Over a millennium, perhaps this constant confluence of old and new/ancient and modern is what drives this quietness amongst its people. Throughout its history, Azerbaijanis have learned to adapt to numerous different worlds, peoples, and circumstances. Walking among them, one can see a few in religious garb, those wearing clothing evocative of the fashion capitals of New York and Paris and those wearing modern gear suited to any suburban mall. And the pride of its citizens and their love for their nation and society is clear.

While Azerbaijan is a Muslim-majority country, it is the polar opposite of the many Islamic and Muslim-majority nations of the neighboring Middle East. Azerbaijan is a fierce defender of its state policy of secularism, yet also a vivacious proponent of religious freedom.  In Azerbaijan, Jewish leaders do not tell their members to avoid wearing identifiably Jewish clothing as they do in Paris. While there are laws that ban the hijab from being worn in schools, this does not extend to the public domain, as in some European countries, where the government bans Islamic clothing in public in a futile attempt to stop radicalism. Here, it is infused in society, due to both the natural inclinations of Azerbaijani people, as well as the consistent promotion and sustained government policies to promote a tolerant society.

Somehow, despite the many ethnic tensions around the world, Azerbaijan has made pluralism a reality in ways the traditional western European countries can only dream about.

It’s an attitude that should be emulated by the West, where too often we think we have much to teach instead of accepting that we too have much to learn.

In this multifaceted country, it can be difficult to describe just where it fits into the cultural sphere of the world. It can feel like a classical European city straight out of a history book, a modern city on the cutting edge of innovation. There are even places where you might think you’re in a Middle Eastern bazaar surrounded by music and small shops in long underground passageways.

Western capitals would do well to study the fabric of Azerbaijani society, lest we improve our own. Blessed with vast and critical energy resources, governed by stability and tolerance, driven by a modern and progressive outlook, embracing both a proud past and an exciting future, Azerbaijan may not always be easily found on a map, but it’s definitely leaving its mark on the world.

Source: americanthinker.com/blog/2016/10/baku_where_islam_meets_its_future.html

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India

India 3rd in terror deaths after ISIS-Boko Haram areas:SC told

October 29, 2016

New Delhi: India ranks third among world nations most inflicted with terrorism and insurgency related deaths, after the areas ridden with violence by ISIS and Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the Supreme Court was told today.

Making this submission, the Chhattisgarh government also claimed in the apex court that more people were being killed in this Naxal-affected state than terror-hit Jammu and Kashmir and the involvement of extreme left-wing activists in the area was adding fuel to the fire.

“Today more security personnel are deployed in Chhattisgarh than in Jammu and Kashmir. Several policemen are being killed in Naxal violence in these areas. We are taking steps to contain the Naxal problems. We are carrying out lot of infrastructural work over there. We are passing through a phase,” Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Adarsh Kumar Goel.

“India ranks third in the world among the countries which are impacted by terrorism and inflicted with terror related deaths after the violence affected areas under ISIS and Boko Haram,” Mehta said.

He also urged the court to pass some directions for keeping social activists like Nandini Sundar out of the area alleging that “they just want the flame to keep burning”.

To this, the court said, “this can’t be a solution. They (activist) would want you (state) to be kept out of the area”.

Mehta, who appeared along with Chhattisgarh government standing counsel Atul Jha, said “we can’t go out of the area. It is a state and government will have to look after the people. We have responsibilities towards the people”.

“Keeping the flame burning is not a solution. There is a CD which shows them shouting ‘Lal Salaam’ slogans and sloganeering against the state. This will make the problem to continue. Everyone wants peace,” the ASG said.

When the bench asked the Chhattisgarh government about the security of political activist Manish Kunjam, Mehta said he was already under security cover.

Maintaining that he had initially said he does not need guards carrying rifles but those with smaller weapons, he said “now he again wanted rifle guards. We can provide that. If he wants central forces security cover that can also be provided. We are ready to provide central security cover to even petitioner Nandini Sundar.”

The suggestion of security cover to Sundar was rejected by senior advocate Ashok Desai and the counsel appearing for Sunder and others, alleging “they wanted to keep an eye on her in the garb of security cover. This is the behaviour of the government”.

Mehta said if this was the view, then he would withdraw

his suggestion of providing security cover to the petitioner.

Countering Mehta, Desai alleged that recently effigies of petitioner and other activists were burnt by police personnel who were in uniform.

The ASG said investigation has been ordered into the effigy burning and assured the court that those found guilty will not be spared.

The bench asked the Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and ASG to come up with innovative solutions to tackle the problem on the next date of hearing on November 11.

The apex court had on October 21 told the Centre to consider talking to the Naxals as Noble peace prize winner Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos did with FARC rebels to end the five-decade-old civil war in that country.

It had asked the government to authorise someone to hold peace talks with Naxals and referred to the amicable settlement reached by two groups in Nagaland at the intervention of a church.

The apex court had proposed peace talks, after CBI apprised it about the results of its investigation into the alleged violence of security forces in March 2011 in Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timpuram villages in Chhattisgarh.

On July 5, 2011, the Court had ordered a CBI enquiry into these incidents of violence which later charge sheeted several Special Police Officers for it.

Source: siasat.com/news/india-3rd-terror-deaths-isis-boko-haram-areassc-told-1052529/

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15 Pakistan Rangers killed in retaliatory firing by Border Security Force

October 29, 2016

Jammu: Border Security Force (BSF) Additional Director General, Western Frontier, Arun Kumar on Friday said if Pakistan continues with the cross-border firing, the BSF will give them befitting reply.

“We will never take the initiative to fire upon the civilian population. But, if they will continue to fire, as they have been doing, then they will be getting befitting reply from the BSF and the Indian side,” said Director General Arun Kumar.

Talking about causalities on the Pakistani side, Kumar said, “We can only give the count of people which we have seen or with some instrument. And if we continue the figure after snipping then the count is nearly 15.”

Earlier, heavy shelling by the Pakistani Rangers was reported in Nowshera, Sundarbani and Pallanwala sectors of Jammu and Kashmir.

This is the sixth ceasefire violation in the last 12 hours by the Pakistani Rangers.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the chief of Border Security Force on Thursday, asking them to give a “fitting response”.

Source: siasat.com/news/15-pakistan-rangers-killed-retaliatory-firing-border-security-force-1052984/

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Forces giving befitting reply to Pak firing: Rajnath

October 29, 2016

New Delhi: Amid the continuing ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along LoC, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today assured the nation that security forces were giving “befitting reply” to firing from across border and that the country will not bow down before anyone.

“I want to assure the nation that the security forces are giving befitting reply to the firing from Pakistan. We will not bow down before anyone,” he told reporters here. Singh said if countrymen were celebrating Diwali, it was because of the security personnel guarding the borders.

The Home Minister said people must have faith in security forces who are foiling the evil designs of enemies. Terrorists, aided by the cover fire by Pakistani Army, last night crossed the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and killed an Indian Army jawan and mutilated his body, prompting the Army to warn that the “incident will be responded to appropriately.”

Four Army and three BSF personnel have died in the latest escalation along the boundary with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan Rangers also violated ceasefire in RS Pura and Kathua sectors along International Border today.

Source: siasat.com/news/forces-giving-befitting-reply-pak-firing-rajnath-1053024/

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Won’t bow down before anyone: India on ceasefire violations by Pakistan

October 29, 2016

New Delhi: Amid the continuing ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along LoC, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday assured the nation that security forces were giving “befitting reply” to firing from across border and that the country will not bow down before anyone.

“I want to assure the nation that the security forces are giving befitting reply to the firing from Pakistan. We will not bow down before anyone,” he told reporters here.

Singh said if countrymen were celebrating Diwali, it was because of the security personnel guarding the borders.

The Home Minister said people must have faith in security forces who are foiling the evil designs of enemies.

Terrorists, aided by the cover fire by Pakistani Army, last night crossed the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and killed an Indian Army jawan and mutilated his body, prompting the Army to warn that the “incident will be responded to appropriately.”

Four Army and three BSF personnel have died in the latest escalation along the boundary with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan Rangers also violated ceasefire in RS Pura and Kathua sectors along International Border today.

Source: siasat.com/news/wont-bow-anyone-india-ceasefire-violations-pakistan-1053007/

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Muslim activists want Sachar committee report implemented

Oct 29, 2016

PUNE: As the debate rages over a uniform civil code, Muslim scholars and activists have demanded that the central government show similar enthusiasm to the Sachar Committee report's recommendations to empower the Muslim community.

Jamat Raza-E-Mustafa, a prominent Muslim organization, has started a campaign against the government's move on a uniform civil code and to demand that the Sachar Committee report be implemented without any further delay.

"We have started a campaign to save Shariat. If the government really cares about the welfare of Muslim women, the first thing it must do is to implement the Sachar recommendations which emphasizes education and employment. But the government is not interested in welfare, but is keen to interfere with religious matters," Maulana Zulfequar Ahmed Razavi said.

He is associated with Jamat Raza-E-Mustafa and claimed that Muslim women want development and not a uniform civil code. There are various issues pertaining to the development of Muslims, but the government is not interested in real development and wants to ruffle the community, he alleged.

Eminent Islamic scholar Anees Chisthy said, "It is very clear that the government is trying to divert attention from issues like high inflation, unemployment and corruption. There are many things to do for the general public and the Muslim community."

He added that implementation of Sachar Committee report has been pending for years and no government has shown any interest in implementing the recommendations. "The uniform civil code issues has been debated again and again. The government must focus on development of the community," he added.

The Muslim Personal Law Board has already opposed the government's move and has condemned a Law Commission questionnaire to gauge public opinion on triple talaq and other anti-women practices across religions. The Board also said the law commission isn't acting independently and is instead acting at the behest of the Centre, which has opposed the practice of triple talaq in the Supreme Court, and said it can't be regarded as an essential part of religion.

Munawwar Qureshi, president of the Indian Muslim Front said, "Sachar Committee has made some important recommendations which could empower the Muslim community. But no political party is interested in implementing these recommendation. The issues of the Muslim community are being politicized."

Muslim Satyashodhak Mandal, founded by late Hamid Dalwai, campaigning for a uniform civil code has cautioned that the government must not bring in a "saffron" bill.

Shamsuddin Tamboli, president of the mandal, said, "There is a difference between a bill for which we are campaigning and the bill which the RSS is pushing for. A uniform civil code bill must not be saffron. There is fear within the Muslim community that the government may push its agenda. We need a debate on the proposed bill and steps must be taken to prepare a draft and open it for public debate," he said.

Women Voices

Why should the Shariat be taken into account only when there's a debate on the freedom of Muslim women. Why don't clerics press for Shariat laws against Muslim men accused of rape and other such crimes?

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Muslim-activists-want-Sachar-committee-report-implemented/articleshow/55124501.cms

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Muslim Kashmiri Terrorists Behead another Indian Soldier; Indian Public Demands Revenge

Oct 28, 2016

An Indian Army soldier or jawan was beheaded by Muslim Kashmiri terrorists that infiltrated the Line of Control (LoC) covered by heavy fire from the Pakistan Army, said the Indian Army today.

The soldier was identified as Manjeet Singh of the 17 Sikh Light Infantry. He was mutilated in the Macchil sector of the Kupwara district in Indian-administered Kashmir. The army has strongly condemned the mutilation and vowed to "respond appropriately" to the barbarism.

This is the fifth known beheading of a jawan since 2011. A jawan named Lans Naik Hemraj was beheaded in January of that year while another jawan was decapitated in August. The Indian Army blamed both barbarisms on the Pakistan Army's "Border Action Team" (BAT).

But the most horrific beheadings were committed by BAT in July 2011. An attack by a BAT team at a remote Indian Army outpost, also in Kupwara, led to the deaths of three jawans.

Two of these men, Havildar Jaipal Singh Adhikari and Lance Naik Devender Singh of 20 Kumaon, were beheaded and their heads taken back to Pakistan.

Indian Army sources said the attack today seemed to also be the handiwork of a BAT, which normally consists of highly-trained Kashmiri terrorists and men of Pakistan's "Special Services Group" (SSG).

According to the Indian Army, BAT is specifically employed by the Pakistan Army for short-range "trans-LoC" raids into Indian-administered Kashmir, sometimes reaching up to three kilometers from the border.

This new firefight and the beheading of a jawan will most certainly worsen tensions along the LoC and at Jammu and Kashmir.

The reaction by the Indian public to the beheading was one of anger, horror and calls for revenge against Pakistan and the terrorists. Twitter was flooded by demands for righteous revenge.

Beheadings are commonly practiced by extremist Muslim terrorists such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the Abu Sayyaf Muslim terrorist bandit group in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

It remains unclear if the jawan was beheaded after being captured or beheaded after he was killed.

War has been in the air since September when Kashmiri Muslim terrorists killed 19 jawans in a raid on the Uri district in Kashmir. India replied to this atrocity with a series of surgical strikes at Pakistan Army and Kashmiri terrorist positions in Pakistan-controller Kashmir.

Source: en.yibada.com/articles/170274/20161028/muslim-kashmiri-terrorists-behead-another-indian-soldier-public-demands-revenge.htm

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Kashmir India’s internal matter: Syrian Ambassador Abbas

Oct 29, 2016

NEW DELHI: The current impasse in Kashmir is an internal matter for India and the country has the right to deal with it in the manner it wants, said Syrian Ambassador to India, Riad Abbas.

Syria supports India on all international forums, including Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Damascus has been a steadfast supporter of India on the Kashmir issue at various forums, including in OIC, Abbas told ETin an exclusive interaction amid the ongoing battle in his country against what he terms as externally sponsored ISIS. Referring to cross-border terrorism across regions, Abbas said Lashkar-e-Taiba has links with ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi and Boko Haram in Nigeria.

“These terror groups have one ideology — Wahabism. They have one colour and one principle.

Islam has no place for this ideology. LeT & JuD chief Hafiz Saeed should speak against this extremist ideology as he claims to follow true Islam.”

Noting that Indian minister of state MJ Akbar had undertaken a successful visit to Damascus, the first by an Indian minister in over five years, the envoy hinted at expanding bilateral security and partnership to combat terror.

A high-level delegation from Syria may visit India in the future to explore further cooperation, officials aware of the matter said. Referring to the crisis in Syria, Abbas said the Syrian Army, with support from Russia, will be able to free Aleppo from the ISIS.

“We have evidence to show that ISIS has received support and financial aid from the USA and certain countries in the region. Currently, American ‘aid trucks’ are trying to enter Aleppo, but we suspect that such containers may transfer arms and fighters to the ISIS.

We have had such experience in the past and, therefore, want to verify each and every American convoy entering Aleppo,” he said.

He described the current situation in Syria as a battle at three levels. “Firstly, it is a battle between USA and Russia. Secondly, it is a battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and thirdly, it is a battle between the Syrian Army and terror groups,” Abbas said.

Alleging that the US hatched “deep conspiracy” to destabilise Syria, the Ambassador said Washington had planned to draw a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe via Syria to destabalise the Russian gas pipeline to the Europe.

The Syrian government, however, did not agree to allow the gas pipeline and, therefore, incurred the wrath of Washington. Comparing the war in Iraq’s Mosul and battle for Aleppo, he said victory in Mosul for the US is aimed at overshadowing its failure in Aleppo.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/kashmir-indias-internal-matter-syrian-ambassador-abbas/articleshow/55123200.cms

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Pakistan

Cache of weapons, ammunition recovered in Karachi's Baldia Town

Oct 29, 2016

Pakistan Rangers Sindh on Saturday recovered a large cache of weapons and ammunition from a house in Karachi's Baldia Town area, a statement issued by the paramilitary force said.

The weapons were hidden under the floor of a house in Baldia Town's Musharraf Colony and included one G3 rifle, five submachine guns, two 8mm rifles, 14 magazines and 5000 rounds.

According to the statement, the weapons were meant to be used for target killings and to conduct terrorism activities in the metropolis.

Earlier this month, a huge cache of Nato weapons and ammunition was recovered by police during a raid on an empty house in the Azizabad area of the metropolis.

Police seized a large number of weapons including anti-aircraft guns, SMGs, LMGs, sniper rifles,hand grenades and rocket launchers hidden in the water tank of the empty house.

Bulletproof jackets and helmets were also recovered in what the Karachi police chief Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar termed the "biggest recovery of arms and ammunition in the history of Karachi".

Rangers is currently spearheading an ‘operation’ against criminal elements in Karachi, which was initiated back in September 2013 after the federal cabinet empowered the force to lead a targeted advance with the support of police against criminals identified for their alleged involvement in targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom, extortion and terrorism in Karachi.

Source: dawn.com/news/1293020/cache-of-weapons-ammunition-recovered-in-karachis-baldia-town

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Will show Nawaz on Nov 2 what democracy is: Imran Khan

Oct 29, 2016

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Saturday vowed to go ahead with his plans of a 'lockdown' of the capital on Nov 2.

Talking to reporters near his Bani Gala residence, Khan advised PTI supporters to travel in groups, saying when they arrive in small numbers the police "puts them in jail".

He also hinted to PTI supporters that instead of taking the main route where police is stationed, they should opt for hidden routes to arrive at the site.

Reiterating his plans to put up a grand show in Islamabad on Nov 2 to seek accountability of the prime minister Khan said: "This is Nawaz Sharif's dictatorship, not a democracy... we will show Nawaz Sharif on Nov 2 what democracy is."

A day after PTI workers skirmished with police in twin cities and scores of protesters were taken into custody, Khan came out of his residence to meet hundreds of supporters who have come to support him parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

He asked the supporters, many of whom set up camps and spent the night near the PTI chief's residence, about their comfort and directed his party managers to ensure their well being.

Breakfast for the supporters was prepared in large cauldrons. Some PTI workers did warm-up exercises and push-ups in the morning.

Meanwhile, life returned to normal in Islamabad and Rawalpindi on Saturday, as the previous day's crowds dispersed. Traffic flowed as usual although police contingents remained deployed in sensitive areas.

'Activists must come'

PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi has accused the government of blocking routes in KP and Punjab which lead to Islamabad.

"The government is blocking Attock bridge and Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway," he said while talking to DawnNews. "This is a clear violation of court orders."

He said the Punjab government itself "locked down Rawalpindi, shut the Metro, schools and routes for ambulances but we are being blamed for the lockdown".

"Containers are being placed but the people’s spirits are rising everyday."

He urged PTI supporters to reach for the "peaceful protest at any cost".

'Virtual house arrest'

Imran Khan remained under virtual house arrest at his Bani Gala residence on Friday as police teargassed and baton-charged scores of PTI’s workers before bundling them into prison vans in the twin cities.

Later in the evening, the PTI chief emerged from his residence for a brief period along with other party leaders only to tell the media that no government action would deter him from staging the Nov 2 lockdown of Islamabad.

“Wait for Nov 2, a PTI tsunami will sweep even a contingent of 50,000 policemen to D-Chowk,” Khan said. It appeared to be the first indication that the PTI might reach the place located in front of Parliament House where it had staged a sit-in for three months in 2014.

Intermittent clashes between PTI workers and the police took place on different spots in the twin cities. A hide-and-seek between the police and protesters that began after Friday’s prayer, continued till night.

PTI and the government have locked horns since the names of members of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family appeared in the Panama Papers leaks.

After months of verbal duels between the parties, Imran Khan announced plans to lay siege on the capital on Nov 2, and vowed to stay put until Prime Minister Nawaz resigns or presents himself for accountability in the backdrop of the Panama Papers scandal.

The government remains adamant that it will not allow the PTI to shut down Islamabad and action will be taken against the party according to law if it challenges the writ of the state.

Source: dawn.com/news/1293009/will-show-nawaz-on-nov-2-what-democracy-is-imran-khan

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One-man party steals the show in Rawalpindi

Oct 29, 2016

RAWALPINDI: The entire country’s attention was focused on Rawalpindi for most of the day on Friday, where Sheikh Rashid was to hold a jalsa where Imran Khan had promised to make an appearance.

The government’s promise to stop the two had turned the city into a story from late Thursday night when Lal Haveli had been surrounded by policemen.

By the time Friday morning rolled around, Sheikh Rashid was on the run and the story being chased by all news channels.

Through his tweets, quick interviews to channels in “undisclosed” locations and mini-statements, Sheikh Rashid was a man of the hour. Thanks to the government’s highhandedness and the absence of the PTI’s leadership, the one-man party had become the ‘hero’ of the day. Even his breakfast (of paye and murgh cholay) was telecast as news.

His coverage on television made it seem as if Rawalpindi was a city of containers, policemen on the hunt and one fugitive.

But in reality for most of the city, life continued as usual. The trademark hustle and bustle of Saddar and other commercial areas remained unchanged. Shops opened their shutters after Friday prayers as per routine and even the peddlers felt comfortable enough to bring out their pushcarts.

But this normality faded away as soon as one entered Raja Bazaar from City Saddar Road.

Containers were suddenly visible, blocking the routes to Lal Haveli, which has been in national news for the past week or so. Here and there, even barbed wire was visible.

The two-kilometre patch of Murree Road from Liaquat Bagh to Waris Khan was the scene of a battle once the afternoon prayers were over. Policemen and party workers faced each other in the midst of tear gas, stone throwing and sloganeering.

Committee Chowk, which falls on this patch, was the area occupied by the policemen, while the PTI workers kept running in and out of the narrow streets nearby. Like guerrilla fighters, they would suddenly appear, shout a slogan or two, throw stones before disappearing once again.

The policemen hit back with excessive force – so much tear gas that local residents were forced to shut their windows and doors.

“I was going to my brother’s house but the tear gas hurt my children; they felt as if someone had thrown chillies in their eyes,” said Mohammad Naveed, a biker on Murree Road.

In the four hour standoff, the police managed to arrest PTI MPA Ijaz Khan Jazi and a few workers. There were not too many protesting workers there. They appeared in groups of 10 to 15.

But the scene had its fair share of onlookers.

Local residents climbed to their rooftops to see the clashes while the policemen found time to take selfies.

The chaotic scenes of policemen and workers faded into the background when Sheikh Rashid suddenly appeared on the scene, after a montage shots of him riding pillion on a bike through narrow streets and then running as fast as he could.

He arrived at Committee Chowk where City Police Officer Israr Abbasi was leading the police force.

Climbing atop a DSNG van, he pulled out a cigar as would have a victorious general sitting astride a tank after a war.

Surrounded by cameramen and reporters, he spoke briefly in his usual style before disappearing once again.

“Sun lo Hukmaranon, I have arrived at Committee Chowk, crossing the hurdles you created to stop me from speaking against you.” He said the days of the government were numbered and that the people would go to Islamabad on Nov 2. No one would be able to save Nawaz Sharif, he thundered.

He and Rawalpindi – in that order – were the story of the day. A star was made for a day, all thanks to the government’s crackdown.

Source: dawn.com/news/1292957/one-man-party-steals-the-show-in-rawalpindi

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PAF, Italian air force agree to enhance cooperation

Oct 29, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Italian Air Force (IAF) have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in professional training besides participating in mutually conducted exercises.

The agreement between both air forces was reached at a meeting held between respective chiefs of the air staff at the headquarters of the IAF in Rome on Friday.

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman is currently on an official visit to Italy on invitation of his Italian counterpart, said a statement from the PAF.

On his arrival at the IAF headquarters, he was received by IAF chief Lieutenant General Enzo Veccirelli and was presented a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of the force.

The PAF chief was given a detailed briefing on the working of the IAF and he called on Lt Gen Enzo. They discussed matters of mutual interest.

Air Chief Marshal Aman emphasised the importance of mutual training and conduct of operational exercises between the two air forces to benefit from each other’s experience.

The chief of the IAF accepted the proposal of his Pakistani counterpart to enhance cooperation in professional training and participation in exercises to be conducted by each nation.

Source: dawn.com/news/1292981/paf-italian-air-force-agree-to-enhance-cooperation

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Anyone challenging state's writ will be dealt according to law, warns Khawaja Asif

Oct 29, 2016

Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Friday said if Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) challenges the writ of state then action would be taken against them according to law.

“PTI had planned to attack national institutions on the pretext of protest gathering in the federal capital as previously it had attacked the Parliament and Pakistan Television buildings during last sit-in in 2014, Asif said while talking to a TV channel.

The defence minister said the PML-N government had showed patience during PTI and PAT sit-ins at D-Chowk in 2014.

He said that army has not been deployed in the federal capital this time around, as “police is our first line of defence”.

“Police will be deployed for safety of national institutions, citizens and students during the PTI's protest on November 2, he added.

Commenting on Sheikh Rasheed’s entry earlier in the day, Asif said: “He came on motorcycle at Committee Chowk and addressed only few people and went back.”

The public court is the biggest court for people's representatives and the masses will decide in 2018 general elections that which political party was better for them and the country, he maintained.

He was of the view that the national economy has further strengthened due to prudent policies of the incumbent government.

Source: dawn.com/news/1292894/anyone-challenging-states-writ-will-be-dealt-according-to-law-warns-khawaja-asif

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North America

PA Gun Store Warns Potential Customers: 'NO Muslims Or Hillary Supporters'

OCTOBER 28, 2016

An advertisement for a Pennsylvania gun store warns potential customers that Muslims and supporters of Hillary Clinton, who are "terrorists" in the store's parlance, are not welcome.

“Please NO Muslims or Hillary Supporters — We do not feel safe selling to terrorists!” Altra Firearms in Jackson Center, Pennsylvania advertised in local papers this week.

The “Politically Incorrect Firearms” store also invited readers to “Visit our underground bunker and speak with our unique and deplorable sales associates.”

Altra Firearms' owner Paul Chandler, 54, told TPM Friday that he’s had a sign in front of his store advertising that supporters of President Obama aren’t welcome to come inside, either.

“We did have, in three-foot letters, ‘No radical Muslims,’ but I changed that to ‘No Muslims,’ period,” Chandler said in a phone interview, noting rhetoric from Iranian television motivated the change.

“They’re saying that America is the great Satan and it’s got to be destroyed. They’re basically teaching that if it’s an infidel, either they convert or kill them. And that’s what they’re doing in our country now,” he said, comparing the actions of modern Islamic nations to the expansion of Muslim influence into Europe before the Crusades.

“If the gun store in Florida wouldn’t have sold to that man, there’s be 40 or 50 more people alive,” he continued, referring to Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in Orlando when he opened fire in an LGBT nightclub in June.

Chandler told TPM he's never actually denied service to any Muslims or Clinton supporters, although he said he'd told one woman with an Obama bumper sticker on her car that the store was closed. He also said he'd denied service to one man who told him “I hate niggers, I want a gun.”

Chandler said he didn’t extend the same blanket ban to potential Christian customers after a series of abortion clinic bombings years ago because “hundreds of Christian preachers got up and said ‘that is wrong.’"

“Do you hear any Muslim clerics condemning what is going on today?” he asked. “I haven’t heard one.”

Source: talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/gun-store-owner-no-muslims-clinton-supporters

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State’s Muslim leaders seek balance with American culture

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What do leading Muslims in Connecticut think of the factions in Islam that construe the faith to call for the oppression of women and homosexuals and the monopolization of religion?

And is Islam compatible with the secular democracy prevailing in the state?

The Journal Inquirer recently put these questions to Islamic organizations in Connecticut. Many declined to comment, including the Windsor-based Islamic Center of Connecticut, but several did, offering differing responses.

Some leading Muslims, among them South Windsor Town Council member and former Mayor M. Saud Anwar, now a candidate for state representative, repudiated the oppressive ideology.

Others, including local Muslim imams, or prayer leaders, explained how the oppressive prescriptions of Islam work within America’s political and cultural framework.

“I am proud to be a citizen of Connecticut and I fully support the LGBT rights and the gay marriage rights that my state has allowed,” says Anwar, who strives on both the state and national levels to achieve tolerance for Muslims. “I believe human rights are universal and there should be no individual in any country or any religion who should face punishment because of who they are and whom they love.”

In an interview discussing his candidacy for the state House of Representatives, Anwar stressed his advocacy of equal rights for women.

Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim, of the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, did not express opposition to sharia courts in Muslim-majority countries, many of which, he admitted, “are very severe in their punishments.” Abdul-Karim said he supports the general concept of sharia, which many Muslims characterize as principles to bring Muslims closer to God. But he stressed that Muslim U.S. citizens in all legal matters should respect the constitutional democracy of the United States.

“As the Islamic world starts to grow and we start interacting with other societies," he said, "we have to remember that sharia teaches something as well: Muslims should obey the law of the land unless the law of the land conflicts with their religion.”

Abdul-Karim acknowledged the stories in the Quran that tell of homosexuals being put to death, but he argued that this theme is found in all Abrahamic religions and must be interpreted with modern sensibilities.

“The idea of homosexuality and stoning and all those things, those laws were imposed before Islam,” Abdul-Karim said. “The Jewish people imposed stoning for fornication and homosexuality and all those things. Many orthodox Jews would still agree with those tenets but wouldn’t necessarily put them into practice in today’s society. You would see them doing what the Quran means metaphorically when you deal with stoning. Stonings are representatives of pillars and principles.”

While Abdul-Karim says it is appropriate for Muslims to advocate their principles through public policy, such as working to keep liquor stores out of their neighborhoods, he added that the human rights implications of homosexuality create different circumstances.

“The rights the Constitution gives homosexuals to stand up and do the things they want to do,” he said, “are the same rights that give me the ability to express my freedoms in America, and I would be hurting myself to go after something like that, making it criminal.”

Abdul-Karim said most Muslims he has dealt with agree with him. The strongest opposition to tolerance of homosexuality, he said, comes from Muslims who come to the United States later in life.

He lamented the emphasis many people put on homosexuality as a sin. As a prison chaplain, he said, he met murderers and rapists who did not want to worship with homosexuals. These people were misguided, he said, because following Islam can point any sinner toward righteous conduct.

As for women in Islam, Abdul-Karim said, “Islam offers them an opportunity to become free, to avoid oppression, and to obtain particular rights.”

Conceding that some Muslim women around the world are oppressed, Abdul-Karim again blamed cultural rather than religious influences.

“The cultural aspects of Islam when it comes to women depend on what society they’re from,” he said. “In an American context, it would be very different than in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, or China. The rights of women would differ.”

Abdul-Karim said that due to “cultural baggage,” many nations that claim to be Islamic in fact contradict the egalitarian nature of the religion. He said Islam is clearly compatible with American values, citing last year’s appointment of Carolyn Walker-Diallo, a Muslim woman, as a judge in New York City.

Of the hijab, the head covering worn in public by many Muslim women, Abdul-Karim said it serves as a protection from unwanted sexual attention. Christian and Jewish women in earlier times — including Mary, mother of Jesus — also wore head coverings, he said, and all Abrahamic religions have similar prescriptions for women.

Abdul-Karim’s mosque does not have separate prayer rooms for men and women, nor does it separate the sexes with a curtain, as many mosques do. He said it is important for women to have direct access to imams during worship. During worship women do kneel behind men, he said, but added that this is done to prevent men from being distracted sexually when they should be focusing on God.

Imam Hafiz Saeed Ul Hassan of the Al-Noor Islamic Center in Ellington, part of the international Islamic network Minhaj-ul-Quran, did not disagree with making homosexuality a capital offense.

He argued that the legitimacy of such a law hinges on the context of religion and political power.

“There is a very big difference between being in an Islamic state or a state where religion is not actually practiced, or if you can say that state is not an Islamic state,” ul Hassan said. “If in the Islamic countries you are in power, you have the authority.”

Ul Hassan, who moved to the United States from Pakistan in November, said individuals like the Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen are never justified in carrying out punishments in the name of Islam, as that responsibility belongs to Islamic courts in Islamic countries.

“The judiciary is part of Islam,” ul Hassan said, and peaceful protest is the only recourse outside of that institution.

Ul Hassan said Muslims, as a minority, are compelled by the Quran to pay taxes and peacefully accept the laws of the United States. Like Abdul-Karim, Ul Hassan does approve of using the democratic process to implement tenets of Islam in this country. But he did not carve out a distinction for human rights.

He said: “There is one condition: “That if you get the vote and you are elected as a congressman, whatever your research is or whatever your concerns are, put that in front of the Congress. If you are able to convince them in that manner, that’s OK.”

But he said his duties and interests do not include such advocacy.

Of homosexuality, he said, “My work is just to tell the people, my brothers and sisters, that’s not OK.”

Ul Hassan did not respond to a request for comment about Islamic doctrine as it applies to women.

Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan of the Connecticut chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Meriden, said Muslims must conduct an “intellectual jihad” based on ideas rooted in the Quran, but his approach involves empowerment of women and welcoming homosexuals to Islamic prayer services.

The Ahmadiyya community’s slogan is “love for all, hatred for none,” but the group, which advocates gender quality and says its teachings encompass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, does suffer persecution from other Muslims because of its belief in a 19th-century religious leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as a messiah.

In fact, Mannan said, the Pakistani government condones the murder of members of the Ahmadiyya community. But Mannan emphasizes tolerance and coexistence.

“Prophet Muhammad said 1,300 years ago that love and loyalty to your country are a part of faith,” Mannan said, adding that Muslims who cannot practice their faith peacefully where they live must relocate rather than retaliate.

Mannan argued the Muslim jurists who call for death and oppression cannot be trusted about the true teachings of Islam because they insert personal and geopolitical agendas. Rather, he said, it is God’s authority alone to punish those who engage in homosexual conduct and that Muslim leaders are obliged only to teach that homosexuality is wrong.

“That’s how we love them, and that’s how were going to continue to serve them and help them and invest in them,” he said of homosexuals and others who disregard the teachings of Islam. “Even if they ignore us about the fact that this is against nature, we’re going to do it with love.”

Mannan, a former Yale research scientist whose work relating to acute pancreatitis has been published in academic journals, says Islam’s teachings against homosexuality are rooted in practical, scientific concerns.

Citing HIV and AIDS, he said, “Science proves that when you go against nature, many times you’ll see that nature responds. Nature fights back.”

“I’m not calling that a divine punishment but the natural response of nature,” he continued, comparing sexually transmitted diseases resulting from homosexual conduct to lung cancer resulting from smoking. Homosexuality may be passed on by homosexual conduct in a way similar to fetal alcohol syndrome, he said, citing the promiscuity and drug use that became more common in the 1960s as a potential cause of homosexuality in the United States today.

Still, Mannan said, the punishments imposed by Islamic countries are not justified by Islamic doctrine.

“True Islam is not represented by Saudi Arabia. It’s not represented even by Indonesia,” he said. “It’s represented by the prophet Muhammad. He is the face of Islam.”

In accordance with his interpretation of those teachings, Mannan has welcomed homosexual Muslims to pray at the Ahmadiyya mosque in Meriden. He said he believes homosexuality is most likely a behavioral choice rather than an inherent orientation. But, he added, even if it is not, following the teachings of Islam can lead homosexuals away from such conduct.

“Every life is sacred,” Mannan said. “It doesn’t matter your affiliation. The prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy to all mankind, not just straight people, not just Muslims, not just Arabs.”

On women, Mannan and his wife, Shana Shah, have positions similar to that of Abdul-Karim.

“We have to separate culture from religion,” Mannan said. “It’s cultures and people who bring them down and legitimize sorry excuses to say women are under men.”

Mannan said that men are traditionally the breadwinners in Muslim families, while women are more responsible for raising children, but he added that this division of labor is not a rule in Islam. He pointed to his own family as an example, as his mother holds a doctorate and runs a preschool while his grandmother was a medical doctor.

“Women are helms of knowledge,” Mannan said. “When they take the lead, then we support.”

Shah said she has never felt oppressed by her religion, including the hijab, which she said she elected not to wear during college. It was during young adulthood, she said, when she began to identify more closely with her faith.

She described wearing the hijab as a liberating experience that brings her closer to God. She said women who feel liberated when they cease to wear the hijab should never have been forced to wear it in the first place because their rejection of the garment shows they do not understand or agree with the Quran’s prescriptions.

The freedoms afforded to Shah by her faith and U.S. law, she said, allowed her to understand her religion before becoming so devout.

“I’m so grateful that I was born here in a society where I have the freedom to think, to ask questions, to speak my language, to practice my religion the way I want to, and to explore my religion,” she said.

Some Islamic organizations in Connecticut declined to provide comment for this report: the Islamic Center of Connecticut; Bayt Ui Mamur Mosque, the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, the Connecticut branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, the Islamic Association of Southern Connecticut, United Muslim Mosque, Al-Madany Islamic Center, Daar-ul-Ehsaan, and the Islamic Center of Vernon.

Source: journalinquirer.com/connecticut_and_region/state-s-muslim-leaders-seek-balance-with-american-culture/article_6b8b4900-9d76-11e6-9531-3b3a0b0a7eb8.html

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Immigrant, Muslim, sociologist reflects on the American Dream

Saturday, October 29, 2016

As an immigrant child, I remember my life turning upside down as I moved from a small rural village in Bangladesh to a town called Reston.

I was uncertain about my future, small and scared. But the Americans I met were so kind and welcoming. They taught me English, helped me become active in my school and community and they made it possible for me to practice my faith in America. Because of the values of this country and its constitution, I began to participate actively in American civic and social life. 

Currently, I teach college students about social issues facing America so that they can come to a common understanding and address the problems facing our increasingly interconnected world.

The poor, marginalized and weak in society must make their way through the institutions we as a collective set up to support the values we cherish and espouse. Sometimes these institutions fail us. Our schools suffer from lack of resources, our businesses close down and our families splinter.

Our government officials are also stuck, reeling with social, political and demographic challenges that only diverse perspectives will help us solve. But when we are down, sometimes the easiest thing to do is bring other people down with us. So we look for a scapegoat. We ask: Is the problem women’s fight for equality, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigrants taking jobs or refugees bringing terrorism? Currently, it is OK to talk about whether white, working-class Americans think immigrants make our country better (47 percent don’t think they do, according to a CNN poll) or if Muslim refugees pose a terrorist threat to America (80 percent think they do).

These are not the right questions to ask. We need to be asking why are we failing working class and poor Americans from all walks of life?

Our collective cry for help is being manipulated for personal profit by a man who only cares about putting more coins in his coffer. 

Donald Trump promises that he will bring businesses back to areas of America like Meadville that have suffered from the economic downturn and an increasing reliance on cheap foreign labor. He preys on our fears and insecurities about the future and locates our challenges in the face of an America that is foreign to small town white America, but equally vulnerable; blacks, refugees, immigrants and Muslims have all been targeted in the recent election.

Trump sells security for some and insecurity for others in exchange for a belief in his brand name’s ability to make strong business decisions. By labeling certain groups as a threat to America, Trump is hoping we won’t notice the ways in which corporate America continues to bankrupt families, small businesses and takes factories away from towns like Meadville. He’s hoping we’re desperate to make a bad deal.

Since Trump’s rise to political influence, I’ve thought a lot about why we find ourselves so angry, sad and powerless in the face of our political system. I think much of the blame goes to cable news and social media in presenting us with an America that is more soap opera and celebrity TV than real American people living and working together to develop businesses and communities.

Social media in particular presents a distorted reality of America where we collectively carry and internalize negative and positive currents sweeping through our country in memes, article headlines, real time video footage, all rendered meaningless by a scroll. We see ourselves reflected in ugly terms and we don’t like it.

I challenge you to turn off cable news and your social media and talk to your neighbors, friends and colleagues who come from a different background than you.

You might find that your wives, sisters and daughters dislike Trump’s attitude toward women because it condones violence against them. You might find your black and mixed neighbors are afraid of police brutality and fear for their children’s safety when they walk out on the streets. You might find that the newest wave of immigrants are putting money back into a struggling local economy by paying taxes and coming up with new businesses. You might find that Muslims are people who believe in a message of peace, not violence.

I ask you to reject the message of fear and hate because this small town needs the American dream more than ever.

Source: meadvilletribune.com/opinion/columns/column-immigrant-muslim-sociologist-reflects-on-the-american-dream/article_e1f138aa-9ca6-11e6-9690-330af219bfef.html

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It is for India and Pakistan to resolve differences: US

October 29, 2016

Washington: The US today put the onus on India and Pakistan to work out their differences through talks, a day after the two neighbours expelled a staffer each from the other country’s High Commission amid escalating tensions.

“We’ve seen the reports of these decisions. These are sovereign decisions that nation-states make, and these are issues that we’re going to leave to India and Pakistan to work out,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.

“These are issues that we believe India and Pakistan need to discuss, need to talk about, need to work out between themselves,” Kirby said.

Amid growing strain in relations, India and Pakistan yesterday declared a staffer each at their High Commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad ‘persona non-grata’ and sought their recall in tit-for-tat action after Indian police busted an ISI-run spy ring involving an employee of the Pakistani mission.

Source: siasat.com/news/india-pakistan-resolve-differences-us-1052514/

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/unprecedented-number-of-israelis-raid-al-haram-al-sharif/d/108950


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