New Age Islam
Thu Sep 24 2020, 04:51 PM

Islamic World News ( 13 Aug 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Urdu Media Has Radicalised Muslims in India, Feels Ex-BBC Scribe, Tufail Ahmad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: From Right, Mr Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor New Age Islam and ex-BBC scribe Mr Tufail Ahmad on the lauch of his book ‘Jihadist Threat to India’ in Hyderabad on Saturday

 

Hyderabad Muslim Society Demonstrates Diversity in Its Beliefs and Practices

Women Burn Burqas, Men Cut Beards As Syrian Town Celebrates IS Ouster

Pakistan Will Dedicate Its Independence Day Celebration to 'Kashmir's Freedom', Says Its High Commissioner to Delhi

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India

Urdu Media Has Radicalised Muslims in India, Feels Ex-BBC Scribe, Tufail Ahmad

Hyderabad Muslim Society Demonstrates Diversity in Its Beliefs and Practices

Pakistan's 'Trademark' Exports Are 'International Terrorism, Cross Border Infiltrators, Weapons and Narcotics', India Says

Sudhir Commission suggests more schemes for upliftment of Muslims

Pathankot NSG martyr gets Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day

Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K

Pak to play 'good host' to Jaitley at SAARC meet

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Arab World

Women Burn Burqas, Men Cut Beards As Syrian Town Celebrates IS Ouster

S. Arabia Supplies Terrorists in Syria with New French Heavy Machine Guns

Syrian, Russian Warplanes Bomb Heavily Jeish Al-Fatah's Centres in Idlib

Kurdish forces in fresh push to close in on IS-held Mosul

Peshmerga Forces Start Fresh Massive Operations to Win Back Nineveh Plain

Iraqi Forces Win Back 4 More Villages near Mosul

Syrian Army Ready to Confront Fresh Waves of Terrorist Attacks in Northern Districts of Aleppo

Saudi Courts Start New Round of Trial for Young Protestors

Sisi says will not baulk at Egypt economic reforms

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Pakistan

Pakistan Will Dedicate Its Independence Day Celebration To 'Kashmir's Freedom', Says Its High Commissioner To Delhi

Baloch Republican Party Chief Says People Leaving Balochistan Out Of Helplessness, Seeks India's Help

ISIS claims Quetta attack in Pakistan

Commemorative Edhi stamp being unveiled

In response to talks plan, India lists issues that must be resolved first

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North America

#IllWalkWithYou Campaign Kicks Off On Social Media In Support Of US Muslims After Fatal Shooting

Imam, associate shot dead near New York City mosque

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South Asia

ISIS Militants Suffer Casualties in US Drone Strike in East of Afghanistan

Afghan Air Force Raid Leaves 5 Militants Dead In Ghor Province

IS leader in Afghanistan and Pakistan killed in US drone strike: Official

Briton formally arrested over Bangladesh cafe carnage

Afghanistan’s ill-wishers in isolation, Ghani defends NUG success amid criticisms

Taliban launch coordinated attack on Want Waigal district in Nuristan

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Southeast Asia

Why Many Hong Kong Muslims Have To Worship In Makeshift Mosques

Malaysia arrests Islamic State suspects for grenade attack on bar in June

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Mideast

Turkish PM Says Ankara Sees No Compromise with the US over Gulen Extradition

43 journalists arrested, while 100 with detention warrants after Turkey's coup attempt

Deputy PM says dismissals in public service should not be turned into witch hunt

Turkey’s reputation hit with coup attempt, says Deputy PM Şimşek

Religious or secular, people should take part in civil service: Deputy PM

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Europe

Suspected Militant Expelled For Planning Attack on Leaning Tower of Pisa

German far-right party wants to expel migrants to islands as Merkel tells companies to hire refugees

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Africa

Shi'a Muslim group condemns calls for banning of Shiites

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/urdu-media-has-radicalised-muslims-in-india,-feels-ex-bbc-scribe,-tufail-ahmad/d/108263

 

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Urdu Media Has Radicalised Muslims in India, Feels Ex-BBC Scribe, Tufail Ahmad

By Express News Service Published: 14th August 2016

HYDERABAD: Accusing Urdu media of radicalising the Muslim community, former BBC Urdu journalist Tufail Ahmad urged strict action against Islamic preachers such as Brother Imran of Hyderabad and others for inciting Muslims.

Speaking at the launch of his book ‘Jihadist Threat to India’, the author and director of the South Asia Studies Project, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), US said that Islamism is a methodology and that Jihadism is the weaponised version of Islamism.

The book talks about the growth of Islamic extremism in India and Indian Muslims response and role in it.

“Through Islamism, Islam succeeded in wiping out Hindus from Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.

On Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement of 12 per cent quota for Muslims, Ahmad opined that reservation be given to BPL families and all communities will be covered in it. Endorsing Uniform Civil Code, Ahmad said that the Code has been abused and misunderstood.

New Age Islam website editor Sultan Shaheen said the violent verses of Islam were contextual and do not hold relevance in the 21st century.

“The binary interpretation of Muslim-Kafir, Muslim-Mushrik has to go and more reflection needed as the Quran asks all Muslims to reflect on what is written,” he said. Terming suicide as completely banned in Islam, Shaheen said that the present situation is such that armies of suicide bombers are emerging from Muslim communities. He attributed rise in conservatism among Muslims to Saudi Arabia for propagating extremist form of Wahhabi Islam since the last 40 years.

newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/Urdu-media-has-radicalised-Muslims-feels-ex-BBC-scribe/2016/08/14/article3578798.ece

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Hyderabad Muslim Society Demonstrates Diversity in Its Beliefs and Practices

TNN | Aug 14, 2016

The Muslim society in Hyderabad demonstrates diversity in its beliefs and practices. While that is perhaps the nature of any social or religious group, there is a need to understand the construction of this society in particular as Muslims are under sharp focus.

Most believe that a Muslim is a Muslim, whichever hue of Islam he or she follows. That's one perspective. The other is to find out how this huge group functions, religion wise.

Muslims are divided into two major categories: Sunni and Shia. Of the nearly 35 lakh Muslims in Hyderabad, Sunnis form a majority, around 90%. The Mahdavis are a sect among the Sunnis while Ismailis and Bohras are prominent formations among Shias.

The Sunnis are grouped into followers of four Schools, each headed by an Imam. These Schools started coming into being after about 100 years of the passing away of the Prophet in 632 and took nearly 100 years for completing the process.

The Hanafis, the largest among Sunnis, are followers of Imam Abu Hanifa's School. Those following the principles of Imam Mohammad Bin Idrees Shafi'e are called Shafi'es. The other two Schools- Hambali, led by Imam Ahmed Bin Mohammad Hambal and Maliki led by Imam Maalik Bin Anas are almost non-existent here.

Among the Sunnis are also Ahle Hadees, followers of traditions of the Prophet, described as non-conformists.

Also among the Sunnis are Salafis and Wahhabis. Salafis believe in 'original ways of Islam' which are based on a strict interpretation of faith. The claim that they follow the Islam that was practiced before the advent of the four Schools.

The Wahhabis, are followers of Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahab, a Hambali, born in Najd, Arabia in the early 1700s. His alliance with Mohammad Bin Saud, founder of the House of Saud, circa 1740, led to a large following of his idea of Islam that came to be known as Wahabism.

While the terms Salafis and Wahabis are interchanged, the Ahle Hadees like to be known as a separate entity. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to say who is following the stricter interpretation of the faith.

The Hanafi School is mainly divided among Sufis, Deobandis and Barelvis.

The Sufis are the people of Khankhah and preach love of God and its creations. Though Sufism is on the back foot in the country, the charisma of Moinuddin Chishti or Khaja Ghareeb Nawaz of Ajmer, among others, still attracts the hearts of millions.

The Deobandis are those who have taken the route to Islam through the seminary known as Darul Uloom, Deoband, in Uttar Pradesh. Founded in 1866, the seminary has tremendously influenced Muslims of the sub-continent, religiously and politically. They believe in monotheistic ways and are said to have been influenced by Wahhabism.

The Barelvis are the followers of Ahmed Raza Khan who was born in Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, in 1856. Also known as Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), they mainly believe in demonstration of love for the Prophet and veneration of saints.

Hyderabad has been marked in the last couple decades by the rise of Barelvis and Ahle Hadees.

The presence of ASWJ which has been there for long was largely felt at meetings of recitation of poems in praise of God and the Prophet. Lately, they have started celebrating Milad-un-Nabi or the Prophet's birthday at unprecedented levels. They have also begun to show intolerance towards other systems of beliefs in Islam.

The presence of Ahle Hadees was perhaps first noticed in the mid-19th century when Prince Mubarezud Dawla, son of the Sikandar Jah or Nizam III, revolted against the growing British clout in the State. He was influenced by a leader of the Wahabi movement, Maulvi Vilayat Ali. The prince died in prison in Golconda and the movement lost its sheen.

Until 1970s, the influence of Ahle Hadees was limited to a few localities and less than 50 mosques. Today around 200 mosques are under their control.

The history of rivalry between Barelvis and Deobandis is no secret. But the unhealthy competitiveness between Barelvis and the Ahle Hadees is coming to a boil. To top the worsening situation, security agencies have begun to suspect people of Ahle Hadees faith for their alleged 'militant intolerance.' A substantial number of Muslims who have been arrested by security agencies in the last decade or so are of this dispensation.

This is a matter of critical concern for the Muslim society and the country at large. Unfortunately, the religious leadership is making no serious attempt at addressing the negative changes emerging among various groups, and resolving them.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Muslim-society-demonstrates-diversity-in-its-beliefs-and-practices/articleshow/53693572.cms

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Women burn burqas, men cut beards as Syrian town celebrates IS ouster

AFP | Aug 13, 2016

BEIRUT: Islamic State group jihadists have released hundreds of civilians used as human shields while fleeing a crumbling stronghold in northern Syria, but the fate of others remained unknown Saturday.

The last remaining IS fighters abandoned Manbij near the Turkish border on Friday after a rout that the Pentagon said showed the extremists were "on the ropes".

The retreat from the city, which IS captured in 2014, marked the jihadists' worst defeat yet at the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish alliance supported by US air strikes.

Fleeing jihadists took around 2,000 civilians, including women and children, on Friday to ward off air strikes as they headed to the IS-held frontier town of Jarabulus, according to the SDF.

At least some of the civilians were later released or escaped, the alliance said on Saturday, but the whereabouts of the rest was unknown.

"There are no more IS fighters" left in Manbij, an SDF member said.

Kurdish television showed footage of jubilant civilians in Manbij, including smiling mothers who had shed their veils and women embracing Kurdish fighters.

A woman burned a black robe that the jihadists had forced residents to wear, while men who had lived for weeks under a shaving ban cut their beards with scissors.

"The battle was very hard," a Kurdish source told AFP.

"And the jihadists had laid mines" in the city.

A man cuts the beard of a civilian who was evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij. (Reuters Photo)

"One SDF fighter entered a house on Friday and saw a shoe placed on a Koran. When he removed it there was an explosion and he was killed," this source said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor, reported that several hundred of the civilians taken from the city were no longer being held by IS.

"Among the civilians taken by IS there were people used as human shields but also many who chose voluntarily to leave the town due to fear of reprisals" by the SDF, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The SDF launched an assault in May on Manbij, on a key jihadist supply route between the Turkish border and IS's de facto Syrian capital Raqa.

A woman sets fire to a niqab after she was evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces fighters . (Reuters Photo)

The jihadists, who have suffered a string of losses in Syria and Iraq, have often staged mass abductions when they come under pressure to relinquish territory they hold.

IS has also booby-trapped cars and carried out suicide bombings to slow advances by their opponents.

SDF forces captured Manbij on August 6 but had continued to battle pockets of jihadists in parts of the town.

According to the Observatory, 437 civilians, including more than 100 children, were killed in the battle for Manbij and surrounding territory.

Around 300 SDF fighters died, along with more than 1,000 jihadists, it said.

Pentagon deputy press secretary Gordon Trowbridge said Friday that IS "is clearly on the ropes".

"It has lost the centre of Manbij, it has lost control of Manbij," he said.

Since fighting for Manbij began, US-led strikes have taken out more than 50 of IS's heavy weapons and destroyed more than 600 fortified fighting positions, Trowbridge said.

But the job of clearing the city will be complicated after the jihadists left behind hundreds of mines and booby traps, he added.

Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 and has since killed more than 290,000 people and drawn in world powers on all sides of the war.

On Friday Russian and Syrian jets pounded rebel positions in and around second city Aleppo.

The raids came despite a pledge by Russia to observe a three-hour daily ceasefire in Aleppo to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Women-burn-burqas-men-cut-beards-as-Syrian-town-celebrates-IS-ouster/articleshow/53687695.cms

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Pakistan will dedicate its Independence Day celebration to 'Kashmir's freedom', says its high commissioner to Delhi

Shailaja Neelakantan | Aug 14, 2016

NEW DELHI: Pakistan just will not back down. Now it has said that its Independence Day celebration is dedicated to "Kashmir getting freedom."

"Is saal ki Jashn e Azadi hum Kashmir ki Azadi ke naam karte hain," Abdul Basit, Pakistan's high commissioner to Delhi said on Saturday, according to ANI. That translates to "This year's Independence day celebrations are in the name of Kashmir's (future) independence."

This latest provocation comes after Pakistan last week proposed foreign secretary-level talks+ on Kashmir and the ongoing unrest there, an issue India described as irrelevant to any Indo-Pak dialogue.

PM Modi said on Friday that "relevant issues" to discuss with Pakistan+ are its support for cross-border terrorism, its inciting of violence in Kashmir and it allowing UN-sanctioned terrorists like Hafiz Saeed operate freely on its soil. As for Kashmir, yes, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) is an issue India would like to discuss, Modi said. Except that POK is not on the table for discussion as far as Pakistan is concerned.

"The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by our neighbouring country. Due to terrorism normal life in Kashmir Valley is affected," Modi also said on Friday.

"Who's Salahuddin to talk?"

Pakistan has continued to make provocative comments about Kashmir since India's security services on July 8 gunned down 22-year-old terrorist Burhan Muzaffar Wani+ . A mere two days after Wani was killed, Pakistan began its sabre rattling. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif+ expressed "deep shock" over the killing of Wani, and criticized the use of "excessive" force against civilians in the valley.

Terrorist Hafiz Saeed went so far as to call the slain militant Wani a "martyr", and also held a prayer meeting for him. And Pakistan on July 20 observed a 'black day' to 'condemn' the violence in Kashmir.

Last week, Hizbul Mujahideen's Syed Salahuddin threatened a nuclear attack on India over the Kashmir issue.

Union Minister Venkiah Naidu slammed Salahauddin and asked who gave him the right to speak about Kashmir.

"Who is he and who has given him the right to speak about Kashmir? Dhamki se kuch nahin hoga (His threats won't work on us)," said Venkaiah Naidu, parliamentary affairs minister to ANI.

The minister also chastised Pakistan for allowing the likes of Salahuddin and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed operate freely on its soil.

"They keep talking bad (like this) just for publicity. Pakistan must seriously think if encouraging such people is right," Naidu said.

Modi on Pak involvement in Kashmir

PM Modi on Friday gave a breakdown of the huge numbers of weapons seized in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989-90 and added that since then, more than 5,000 foreign terrorists were killed "which is almost equal to the strength of 5 Battalions."

"When weapons have been seized in such huge numbers, so many foreign terrorists have infiltrated to spread death and destruction, the world will never accept the false propaganda of Pakistan, even if it speaks a hundred thousand lies." the PM said.

After that he went on to talk about the atrocities Pakistan commits on its own soil against the province of Balochistan.

"Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan and PoK.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-will-dedicate-its-Independence-Day-celebration-to-Kashmirs-freedom-says-its-high-commissioner-to-Delhi/articleshow/53693937.cms

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India

Urdu Media Has Radicalised Muslims in India, Feels Ex-BBC Scribe, Tufail Ahmad

By Express News Service Published: 14th August 2016

HYDERABAD: Accusing Urdu media of radicalising the Muslim community, former BBC Urdu journalist Tufail Ahmad urged strict action against Islamic preachers such as Brother Imran of Hyderabad and others for inciting Muslims.

Speaking at the launch of his book ‘Jihadist Threat to India’, the author and director of the South Asia Studies Project, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), US said that Islamism is a methodology and that Jihadism is the weaponised version of Islamism.

The book talks about the growth of Islamic extremism in India and Indian Muslims response and role in it.

“Through Islamism, Islam succeeded in wiping out Hindus from Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.

On Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement of 12 per cent quota for Muslims, Ahmad opined that reservation be given to BPL families and all communities will be covered in it. Endorsing Uniform Civil Code, Ahmad said that the Code has been abused and misunderstood.

New Age Islam website editor Sultan Shaheen said the violent verses of Islam were contextual and do not hold relevance in the 21st century.

“The binary interpretation of Muslim-Kafir, Muslim-Mushrik has to go and more reflection needed as the Quran asks all Muslims to reflect on what is written,” he said. Terming suicide as completely banned in Islam, Shaheen said that the present situation is such that armies of suicide bombers are emerging from Muslim communities. He attributed rise in conservatism among Muslims to Saudi Arabia for propagating extremist form of Wahhabi Islam since the last 40 years.

newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/Urdu-media-has-radicalised-Muslims-feels-ex-BBC-scribe/2016/08/14/article3578798.ece

----------

 

Hyderabad Muslim Society Demonstrates Diversity in Its Beliefs and Practices

TNN | Aug 14, 2016

The Muslim society in Hyderabad demonstrates diversity in its beliefs and practices. While that is perhaps the nature of any social or religious group, there is a need to understand the construction of this society in particular as Muslims are under sharp focus.

Most believe that a Muslim is a Muslim, whichever hue of Islam he or she follows. That's one perspective. The other is to find out how this huge group functions, religion wise.

Muslims are divided into two major categories: Sunni and Shia. Of the nearly 35 lakh Muslims in Hyderabad, Sunnis form a majority, around 90%. The Mahdavis are a sect among the Sunnis while Ismailis and Bohras are prominent formations among Shias.

The Sunnis are grouped into followers of four Schools, each headed by an Imam. These Schools started coming into being after about 100 years of the passing away of the Prophet in 632 and took nearly 100 years for completing the process.

The Hanafis, the largest among Sunnis, are followers of Imam Abu Hanifa's School. Those following the principles of Imam Mohammad Bin Idrees Shafi'e are called Shafi'es. The other two Schools- Hambali, led by Imam Ahmed Bin Mohammad Hambal and Maliki led by Imam Maalik Bin Anas are almost non-existent here.

Among the Sunnis are also Ahle Hadees, followers of traditions of the Prophet, described as non-conformists.

Also among the Sunnis are Salafis and Wahhabis. Salafis believe in 'original ways of Islam' which are based on a strict interpretation of faith. The claim that they follow the Islam that was practiced before the advent of the four Schools.

The Wahhabis, are followers of Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahab, a Hambali, born in Najd, Arabia in the early 1700s. His alliance with Mohammad Bin Saud, founder of the House of Saud, circa 1740, led to a large following of his idea of Islam that came to be known as Wahabism.

While the terms Salafis and Wahabis are interchanged, the Ahle Hadees like to be known as a separate entity. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to say who is following the stricter interpretation of the faith.

The Hanafi School is mainly divided among Sufis, Deobandis and Barelvis.

The Sufis are the people of Khankhah and preach love of God and its creations. Though Sufism is on the back foot in the country, the charisma of Moinuddin Chishti or Khaja Ghareeb Nawaz of Ajmer, among others, still attracts the hearts of millions.

The Deobandis are those who have taken the route to Islam through the seminary known as Darul Uloom, Deoband, in Uttar Pradesh. Founded in 1866, the seminary has tremendously influenced Muslims of the sub-continent, religiously and politically. They believe in monotheistic ways and are said to have been influenced by Wahhabism.

The Barelvis are the followers of Ahmed Raza Khan who was born in Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, in 1856. Also known as Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), they mainly believe in demonstration of love for the Prophet and veneration of saints.

Hyderabad has been marked in the last couple decades by the rise of Barelvis and Ahle Hadees.

The presence of ASWJ which has been there for long was largely felt at meetings of recitation of poems in praise of God and the Prophet. Lately, they have started celebrating Milad-un-Nabi or the Prophet's birthday at unprecedented levels. They have also begun to show intolerance towards other systems of beliefs in Islam.

The presence of Ahle Hadees was perhaps first noticed in the mid-19th century when Prince Mubarezud Dawla, son of the Sikandar Jah or Nizam III, revolted against the growing British clout in the State. He was influenced by a leader of the Wahabi movement, Maulvi Vilayat Ali. The prince died in prison in Golconda and the movement lost its sheen.

Until 1970s, the influence of Ahle Hadees was limited to a few localities and less than 50 mosques. Today around 200 mosques are under their control.

The history of rivalry between Barelvis and Deobandis is no secret. But the unhealthy competitiveness between Barelvis and the Ahle Hadees is coming to a boil. To top the worsening situation, security agencies have begun to suspect people of Ahle Hadees faith for their alleged 'militant intolerance.' A substantial number of Muslims who have been arrested by security agencies in the last decade or so are of this dispensation.

This is a matter of critical concern for the Muslim society and the country at large. Unfortunately, the religious leadership is making no serious attempt at addressing the negative changes emerging among various groups, and resolving them.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Muslim-society-demonstrates-diversity-in-its-beliefs-and-practices/articleshow/53693572.cms

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Pakistan's 'trademark' exports are 'international terrorism, cross border infiltrators, weapons and narcotics', India says

Shailaja Neelakantan | Aug 14, 2016

NEW DELHI: Pakistan's "trademark" exports are "international terrorism, cross border infiltrators, weapons and narcotics" and India's received enough of those, thank you very much, said the external affairs ministry (MEA) today.

MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup referred to these "exports" while slamming a supposed "communication" from the Pakistan foreign ministry to the Indian embassy in Islamabad last week.

Our response to yet another communique by Pakistan Foreign Ministry

2:08 PM - 14 Aug 2016

"I can only characterize its contents that propose sending supplies to the Indian state of J&K as absurd," Swarup said. "We completely and categorically reject this purported communication from the Pak foreign Ministry," he added.

Two days ago, PM Narendra Modi all but called 'absurd' another Pakistan proposal. That was Pakistan saying it's ready for foreign secretary-level talks+ on Kashmir. Modi outright rejected that proposal as completely irrelevant to any Indo-Pak dialogue.

PM Modi said on Friday that "relevant issues" to discuss with Pakistan+ are its support for cross-border terrorism, it's inciting of violence in Kashmir and it allowing UN-sanctioned terrorists like Hafiz Saeed operate freely on its soil. As for Kashmir, yes, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir+ (POK) is an issue India would like to discuss, Modi said. Except that POK is not on the table for discussion as far as Pakistan is concerned.

"The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by our neighbouring country. Due to terrorism normal life in Kashmir Valley is affected," Modi also said on Friday.

Earlier today, Pakistan's representative in India, Abdul Basit, as well as Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan's Independence Day celebration+ is dedicated to "Kashmir getting freedom".

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistans-trademark-exports-are-international-terrorism-cross-border-infiltrators-weapons-and-narcotics-India-says/articleshow/53696335.cms

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Sudhir Commission suggests more schemes for upliftment of Muslims

14th August 2016

HYDERABAD: Sudhir commission has suggested some measures for the upliftment of socio-economic and educational conditions of Muslims in the State.

The measures include setting up of residential schools and welfare hostels exclusively for Muslim boys, establishment of skill development centres and launching of new schemes to provide self-employment to unemployed Muslim youth, providing interest free loans from banks and extending of weaker sections' housing scheme to more number of Muslims.

The Commission of Inquiry set up to study the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in the State, under the chairmanship of retired IAS officer G Sudhir, submitted its report to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday. As per the report, as many as 44.64 lakh Muslims live in the State. Of them, 90 per cent Muslims are living in abject poverty.

"Majority of the Muslims in the State earn their livelihood by undertaking unskilled and menial jobs. ," the commission stated in its 300 page report.

The school dropout rate is almost double among Muslim children when compared to SC/ST students of the same age group in the State. By the time their peers complete school education, majority of the Muslim boys/girls discontinue their education. Hence, the representation of Muslim boys/girls in professional colleges is very less, the report stated.

In order to bring down school dropout rate among Muslim children, the panel has recommended the government to set up exclusive residential schools for Muslims.

According to sources, in its report, the commission stated that in the Telangana State, the overall dropout rate in 2013-14 in secondary education was 17.43 per cent, whereas the percentage of dropouts among Muslim children was almost its double. The dropout rate of Muslim students gets increased in junior college and degree college level as around 90 per cent of these students discontinue their education at school level itself.

In its report, the commission felt that there is no proper mechanism to make Muslims avail banking credit facilities provided by the State and Centre when compared to other communities.

"We have recommended the State government in our report to take remedial measures to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Muslims," commission chairman Sudhir said.

newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/Sudhir-Commission-suggests-more-schemes-for-upliftment-of-Muslims/2016/08/14/article3578830.ece

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Pathankot NSG martyr gets Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day

PTI | Aug 14, 2016

NEW DELHI: Lt Col Niranjan E K+ , head of NSG's bomb disposal unit who was killed while sanitizing a terrorist's body during the Pathankot air base terror attack+ in January, has been honoured with the Shaurya Chakra, the third highest peacetime gallantry medal of the country, on the eve of the 70th Independence Day.

Niranjan, an officer of the Army's Corps of Engineer, was part of the special NSG commandos unit+ that was rushed to the IAF base in Punjab after four terrorists entered the high-security military facility on the intervening night of January 1-2.

NSG had said it lost the experienced and brilliant counter-IED officer to a deadly booby trap as the terrorists had used an " innovative technique+ " whose antidote was not included in the Standard Operating Procedure of the 'black cat' commandos force.

Niranjan's lungs got punctured due to the impact of the blast of a grenade that was kept in the pocket of a slain terrorist and the officer died before being taken to hospital.

NSG director-general R C Tayal had maintained that Niranjan, an experienced and highly trained Commanding Officer of the Bomb Disposal and Detection Unit, had followed all laid down SOPs while sanitising the bodies of the four terrorists, killed in the attack on IAF base on January 3.

Niranjan was probably the only officer who had a wide-range of experience in conducting back-to-back anti-sabotage and sanitisation checks on live bombs, including defusing IEDs found in Patna and Bodh Gaya in Bihar, Bangalore and Burdwan in West Bengal.

The DG had said a grenade that took the FBI-trained officer's life was concealed very "cleverly" by the terrorists.

The brave officer had sanitised two bodies and was working on the third when the fatal blast claimed his life.

The Pathankot attack claimed the lives of seven security personnel while four terrorists were killed by NSG and other security personnel.

While the NSG has maintained six terrorists were involved in the attack, including two in the airmen billet which they brought down using heavy explosives, according to the NIA, it so far has proof of presence of only four militants whose bodies were later recovered.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pathankot-NSG-martyr-gets-Shaurya-Chakra-on-Independence-Day/articleshow/53697155.cms

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Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K

PTI | Aug 14, 2016

JAMMU: After a lull of over four months, the ceasefire on the Line of Control was violated again with Pakistan Army firing at two places and shelling mortars in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

Indian troops retaliated to the firing which was still going on when last reports came in.

"The Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir," Defence Spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said here.

He said the Pakistan Army resorted to heavy mortar, small arm and automatic weapon fire in Poonch sector since 3 AM.

"Our troops are responding appropriately and no casualties or damage to our troops was reported till the report last came in. The firing was still going on" the spokesman added.

Today's ceasefire violation comes after over four months as the last such incident took place on April 10, this year in Poonch sector.

Earlier Pakistan had violated ceasefire on September 18, 2015 in Balakote sector of Poonch district.

Last year, 16 civilians were killed and 71 others injured in 405 incidents of cross-border firing by Pakistan, the officer said.

While 253 incidents of ceasefire violations took place along the International Border (IB), 152 incidents were reported along the LoC, he said.

Around 8,000 people were temporarily affected due to the ceasefire violations and had to be shifted to safer locations.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-violates-ceasefire-in-JK/articleshow/53693606.cms

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Pak to play 'good host' to Jaitley at SAARC meet

PTI | Aug 14, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is keen to 'accord a warm welcome' and avoid a repetition+ of the tense atmosphere that prevailed during home minister Rajnath Singh's recent visit by according a "warm welcome" to finance minister Arun Jaitley at the SAARC ministerial conference later this month, Pakistan officials said.

Jaitley is likely to attend the SAARC Finance Ministers' Conference to be hosted in Islamabad on August 25 and 26 and there are chances of "gracious handshakes" between Pakistan finance minister Ishaq Dar and his Indian counterpart, finance ministry officials said.

The government has finalised arrangements for the upcoming SAARC meet, a finance ministry statement said, adding that Dar chaired a meeting to review arrangements for the conference.

Pakistan would play the role of a "good host" and try to keep the overall ambiance positive, the statement added.

The ministerial conference comes in the shadow of home minister Singh's visit to Islamabad+ earlier this month where barbs were exchanged between Singh and Pakistan interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who only had a tense and uneasy handshake during the SAARC meeting.

The duo exchanged repartee over issues of terrorism and violence in Kashmir.

"The hostilities were at peak during the home ministers' conference and Dar does not wish a repetition," finance ministry officials were quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.

They further said that all regional countries except Bangladesh have confirmed participation of their finance ministers.

"Bangladesh has so far only confirmed the participation of its deputy finance minister. Dar will personally call his Bangladeshi counterpart and urge him to attend the conference," they added.

However, the Ministry of Finance did not comment on whether a bilateral meeting would be held between the finance ministers of India and Pakistan.

The meetings are taking place ahead of the SAARC Summit to be held in November in Islamabad wherein Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to participate.

"All SAARC countries have a lot of potential to develop together utilising each other's potentials and energies. The cooperation is necessary in promoting the welfare and improving the quality of life of the people of the region," said Dar.

"The upcoming conference is an important event in this regard," he added.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-to-play-good-host-to-Jaitley-at-SAARC-meet/articleshow/53697279.cms

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Arab World

Women burn burqas, men cut beards as Syrian town celebrates IS ouster

AFP | Aug 13, 2016

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BEIRUT: Islamic State group jihadists have released hundreds of civilians used as human shields while fleeing a crumbling stronghold in northern Syria, but the fate of others remained unknown Saturday.

The last remaining IS fighters abandoned Manbij near the Turkish border on Friday after a rout that the Pentagon said showed the extremists were "on the ropes".

The retreat from the city, which IS captured in 2014, marked the jihadists' worst defeat yet at the hands of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish alliance supported by US air strikes.

Fleeing jihadists took around 2,000 civilians, including women and children, on Friday to ward off air strikes as they headed to the IS-held frontier town of Jarabulus, according to the SDF.

At least some of the civilians were later released or escaped, the alliance said on Saturday, but the whereabouts of the rest was unknown.

"There are no more IS fighters" left in Manbij, an SDF member said.

Kurdish television showed footage of jubilant civilians in Manbij, including smiling mothers who had shed their veils and women embracing Kurdish fighters.

A woman burned a black robe that the jihadists had forced residents to wear, while men who had lived for weeks under a shaving ban cut their beards with scissors.

"The battle was very hard," a Kurdish source told AFP.

"And the jihadists had laid mines" in the city.

A man cuts the beard of a civilian who was evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij. (Reuters Photo)

"One SDF fighter entered a house on Friday and saw a shoe placed on a Koran. When he removed it there was an explosion and he was killed," this source said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor, reported that several hundred of the civilians taken from the city were no longer being held by IS.

"Among the civilians taken by IS there were people used as human shields but also many who chose voluntarily to leave the town due to fear of reprisals" by the SDF, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The SDF launched an assault in May on Manbij, on a key jihadist supply route between the Turkish border and IS's de facto Syrian capital Raqa.

A woman sets fire to a niqab after she was evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces fighters . (Reuters Photo)

The jihadists, who have suffered a string of losses in Syria and Iraq, have often staged mass abductions when they come under pressure to relinquish territory they hold.

IS has also booby-trapped cars and carried out suicide bombings to slow advances by their opponents.

SDF forces captured Manbij on August 6 but had continued to battle pockets of jihadists in parts of the town.

According to the Observatory, 437 civilians, including more than 100 children, were killed in the battle for Manbij and surrounding territory.

Around 300 SDF fighters died, along with more than 1,000 jihadists, it said.

Pentagon deputy press secretary Gordon Trowbridge said Friday that IS "is clearly on the ropes".

"It has lost the centre of Manbij, it has lost control of Manbij," he said.

Since fighting for Manbij began, US-led strikes have taken out more than 50 of IS's heavy weapons and destroyed more than 600 fortified fighting positions, Trowbridge said.

But the job of clearing the city will be complicated after the jihadists left behind hundreds of mines and booby traps, he added.

Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 and has since killed more than 290,000 people and drawn in world powers on all sides of the war.

On Friday Russian and Syrian jets pounded rebel positions in and around second city Aleppo.

The raids came despite a pledge by Russia to observe a three-hour daily ceasefire in Aleppo to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Women-burn-burqas-men-cut-beards-as-Syrian-town-celebrates-IS-ouster/articleshow/53687695.cms

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S. Arabia Supplies Terrorists in Syria with New French Heavy Machine Guns

Aug 14, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Field sources in Aleppo have witnessed new weapons in the strongholds of terrorists in Syria which need 6 months of training before use.

The new heavy machine guns have been produced in France and supplied to the militants in Syria by Saudi Arabia, the sources said on Sunday.

"It seems that a special group has received training in Jordan on how to use the new weapons, then moved long from South to the North to Aleppo and used them in clashes near the military academy region in Southern Aleppo," they added.

According to the field sources, the heavy machine guns have been built in France and have two barrels capable of firing 3,000 rounds in a minute in a way that they cannot be traced by eyes.

The sources said that the barrels of the machine guns should be changed every three hours, adding that changing the barrels needs 10 minutes.

Using the new machine guns also needs a team of specialists and a cargo of ammunition, they said.

Reports said in June that Saudi Arabia has sent new cargoes of weapons and financial aid to the terrorists in Aleppo in Northern Syria to strengthen them against the Syrian army and its allies' fresh attacks, a source said.

"The Saudi regime has recently sent small arms, heavy machine guns and new equipment, including 5 drones, to the terrorists in Syria," the source said.

To this end, Riyadh has sent one of its ranking officers to the regions controlled by terrorists in Northern Aleppo to supply them with money and arms to intensify attacks and open new fronts against the Syrian army and popular forces, the source added.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950524000751

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Syrian, Russian Warplanes Bomb Heavily Jeish Al-Fatah's Centers in Idlib

Aug 14, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian and Russian fighter jets launched several rounds of combat flights over concentration centers of Jeish al-Fatah in Southern and Western Idlib, inflicting tens of casualties on the terrorists.

Russian and Syrian bombers, in over 60 combat sorties, pounded Jeish al-Fatah's defense lines in the town of Taftnaz, the villages of Maarateh, Arab Saeed, the regions of Sarmin, Kafr Yahmoul, Tal al-Sultan, Ariha, Khan Sheikhoun, Kafr Nabl, al-Neireb, Abu Dhuhour, Ta'oum, Tal Mardikh and Hazanou, leaving scores of terrorists dead or wounded.

On Wednesday, several convoys of terrorist groups' vehicles carrying arms and ammunition for Jeish al-Fatah militants deployed in the Southern districts of Aleppo city were targeted by the Syrian fighter jets in Eastern and Southeastern Idlib.

"None of the vehicles of terrorist groups' convoys could reach Aleppo's territories and the entire of them were destroyed in the Syrian airstrikes inside Idlib province," the sources said.

"The Syrian warplanes also targeted Jeish al-Fatah's narrow corridor in al-Ramousiyeh and administration buildings in military academy, leaving many militants dead," they added.

"Syrian snipers and the army's mortar units have monitored and targeted any movement along Jeish al-Fatah's corridor in al-Ramousiyeh," the sources went on to say.

"There is no way for terrorist to dispatch army and ammunition to their comrades in Eastern part of Aleppo city. A large number of militants in Eastern districts of Aleppo are non-Syrians," the sources said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950524000886

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Kurdish forces in fresh push to close in on IS-held Mosul

Reuters | Aug 14, 2016

WARDAK (Iraq): Kurdish Peshmerga forces backed by US-led coalition airstrikes launched a fresh attack on Islamic State militants in northern Iraq in the early hours of Sunday, as part of a plan to close in on their de facto capital Mosul, a Kurdish official said.

The offensive began after heavy shelling and several airstrikes, a Reuters correspondent reported from Wardak, 30 km south-east of Mosul, where some of the Peshmerga forces are deployed. Clouds of black smoke could be seen at a distance, possibly tires or other items set on fire by the militants to obstruct the planes' visibility.

The Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdish self-rule region are gradually taking up positions around Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad, from whose Grand Mosque in 2014 Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate spanning regions of Iraq and Syria.

Mosul is the largest urban center under the militants' control, with a pre-war population of nearly 2 million.

Its fall would mark their effective defeat in Iraq, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has said he aims to retake the city this year.

The operation that started Sunday is part of the "shaping operations" to prepare for an offensive on the city itself, said a Kurdish official who declined to be identified.

The Iraqi army is trying to advance from the south. In July it captured the Qayyara airfield, 60 km south of Mosul, which will serve as the main staging post for the expected offensive on the city.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Kurdish-forces-in-fresh-push-to-close-in-on-IS-held-Mosul/articleshow/53693844.cms

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Peshmerga Forces Start Fresh Massive Operations to Win Back Nineveh Plain

Aug 14, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Kurdish Peshmerga forces kicked off new operations to seize back more areas in Western Iraq, specially the strategic Nineveh plain.

"The Peshmerga forces started their fresh military offensives against the ISIL terrorists in al-Kharez and al-Kavir regions in Nineveh plain," the Arabic-language media quoted an unnamed Peshmerga officer as saying on Sunday.  

The officer said that the ISIL is now under Peshmerga forces' siege in the city of Mosul.

In a relevant development on Thursday, the ISIL terrorists sustained heavy damage after Kurdish Peshmerga forces intensely shelled their positions near Tel Afar in Northern Iraq, a Peshmerga commander confirmed.

“After monitoring movements by ISIL insurgents in Ayaza subdistrict of Tel Afar, we recently noticed that the terrorist group has established several new checkpoints in the area,” said Fathi Ismail, the Peshmerga commander on Zummar frontline, BasNews reported.

He confirmed to that the Peshmerga artillery units pounded the ISIL checkpoints and inflicted the group with heavy damages.

However, he pointed out that a specific figure on ISIL casualties is not available due to the fact that the shelled positions are located deep inside ISIL-held territories.

The Kurdish Peshmerga forces are known as the most affective ground forces battling ISIL since the eruption of the group in 2014 as a self-declared caliphate.

The terror group is now being constantly pushed back into its stronghold of Mosul as the Iraqi government forces are fighting them from Southern and Western frontline of the major city, while the Kurdish forces continue advancing to Mosul through Northern and Eastern frontline.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950524000854

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Iraqi Forces Win Back 4 More Villages near Mosul

Aug 14, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraq's joint military forces continued their advances in Nineveh province, and seized back four more strategic villages in al-Qayyara region to the South of the city of Mosul on Sunday.

The Iraqi forces are now in full control of the villages of al-Jada'a, Zahiliya, Ajabeh and Javan in al-Qayyara region.

Tens of ISIL terrorists were killed and their bomb-laden vehicles were also destroyed in the army offensive.

Meantime, a security force in Nineveh province disclosed that the Iraqi forces have seized a depot of mortar shells and rockets in the village of al-Imam in the Southern part of Mosul.

"The Iraqi forces have also discovered foreign passports of the ISIL terrorists from Arab and European countries in their search operations," the Arabic-language media quoted the unnamed source as saying.

In a relevant development on Saturday, the Iraqi forces took full control of the villages of al-Marir, al-Bazajeleh, Imam Gharbi and al-Tala'eh in al-Qayyara region.

Also last Monday, the Iraqi forces repelled ISIL's attack on al-Qayyara region and its airbase, killing tens of terrorists in fierce clashes.

"At least 110 ISIL terrorists were killed in the Iraqi forces' counterattack in al-Qayyara region," the Arabic-language media quoted a high-ranking Iraqi officer as saying.

He said that the ISIL had launched heavy attacks on the Iraqi forces' positions in al-Qayyara region.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950524000891

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Syrian Army Ready to Confront Fresh Waves of Terrorist Attacks in Northern Districts of Aleppo

Aug 14, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and their popular allies have been fortifying their strongholds in Northwestern Aleppo city and are ready to fend off any possible attack by the newly-arrived terrorists in the region, informed sources in Northern Syria said Sunday.

"Tens of fresh terrorists, who left their bases in Dar al-Izah and Ein Jareh, have arrived in the Northern and Northwestern countryside of Aleppo to participate in large-scale offensives on the government forces' positions in al-Lairamoun, Zahra Abd Rabeh and Ahrash al-Lairamoun," the sources said.

"The Syrian government forces, for their part, have reinvigorated their defense abilities in the Northern and Northwestern districts of Aleppo to repulse any possible offensive there," the sources added.

In the meantime, the Syrian government forces, backed up by the Syrian fighter jets, have been beating terrorists of Jeish al-Fatah back from more positions in Southern and Southwestern districts of Aleppo city, including in al-Ramousiyeh, 1070 project, old Aleppo and al-Hamdaniyeh.

Reports said earlier today that a notorious commander of Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) was killed in the attacks carried out by the Syrian Army troops and popular forces in al-Ramousiyeh district.

Shams Abu Mohammad was killed in clashes with the government forces in the Southern part of Aleppo city.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950524000676

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Saudi Courts Start New Round of Trial for Young Protestors

Aug 14, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Saudi judiciary system has again called on the young people participating in peaceful protest rallies to appear in the country's courts for rehearing.

Kazzem al-Nimr, the son of one of the Saudi political prisoners forgotten in the regime's jails for 16 years, Abdolkarim al-Nimr, said that he has been recalled for reappearing in the court on August 15.

The Saudi young man was detained four years ago on the way from his hometown, the Eastern city of Dammam, to Qatif.

In his court session, he admitted participation in the peaceful protests in the region in which people called for freedom of the political prisoners, including Abdolkarim al-Nimr, from the Saudi regime's jails.

Informed sources in Qatif region said that several other Saudi youth have also received the court's call to appear again for rehearing.

Local sources in the Eastern province reported late July that the Saudi authorities have increased pressures on protestors after execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

"After the martyrdom of Ayatollah Nimr, suppression of protestors has intensified and the security forces prevent any peaceful protests using different methods," a source who called for anonymity due to security issues told FNA.

Noting that any little private issue related to the citizens in the Eastern province is controlled by the Saudi intelligence authorities, the source said, "The Saudi security forces enter people's house without any judicial order."

"The Saudi forces have even destroyed the houses of a number of citizens and detained hundreds of youth so far," another local source said.

Saudi Arabia announced on January 2 that it has executed the prominent Shiite Muslim cleric.

Sunni and Shiite Muslims from across the world rushed to condemn his execution.

Saudi people still continue protest rallies in different parts of the kingdom's Eastern province of Qatif, specially Awamiyah and Qatif towns, to condemn Sheikh Nimr's execution.

Field sources from Awamiyah and Qatif said that the two regions are in a state of war with hundreds of Saudi army troops deployed in streets.

The Saudi troops have so far made tens of arrests, while local residents say protesters are beaten, arrested and shot at.

The rallies intensified after hundreds of Saudi soldiers and security forces raided people's houses in the region of Qatif in the Eastern part of the kingdom, beating residents and arresting tens of people.

The Saudi troops ransacked buildings and caused heavy damage to the houses, cars and properties of the people by random firing at them.

The Riyadh government is trying hard to suppress increasing popular protests across Saudi Arabia after it executed Sheikh Nimr.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950524000365

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Sisi says will not baulk at Egypt economic reforms

August 14th, 2016

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday he would not shy from tough economic reforms he said previous rulers had avoided fearing unrest.

Sisi’s comments come after an initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund for $12 billion in financing that hinges on a reform package slashing state spending and the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.

Parliament is also expected to pass a law introducing a value added tax to raise state revenues.

Egypt’s economy has been battered by turmoil since a 2011 uprising ousted veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, ushering in unrest that has driven away tourists and foreign investments.

“The first attempt at real reform was in 1977,” Sisi said in a speech aired by state television during the launch of an ethynyl plant in the coastal city of Alexandria.

The country had been rocked by riots that year after president Anwar Sadat said he would end basic subsidies as demanded by the World Bank in return for a loan.

“The people’s reaction caused the state to backtrack, and it has continued to delay (the reforms) till now,” said Sisi.

“All the hard decisions that many over the years were scared to take: I will not hesitate for a second to take them,” he said.

Sisi took aim at the country’s bloated bureaucracy, saying the state had hired hundreds of thousands of people who were not needed.

“When I appoint 900,000 people in the public sector because of pressure for jobs, at a time when I really don’t need anything from them... what effect will this have?” Paying their salaries, Sisi added, had increased state debts.

“We borrow and we borrow and we borrow, and the more we borrow the more the debt grows,” he said.

Bridging the gap

The government has already partially cut fuel and electricity subsidies, but the gradual reforms have been limited so far.

“We are trying to bridge the gap between resources and spending,” Sisi said.

He called on Egyptians, especially “the great Egyptian lady,” to use less electricity and water.

“Please... she can -- with her presence in society and the family -- decrease a lot the consumption of water and electricity, and other things that are a burden on the economy.”

Although growth increased under Mubarak, economic disparity fuelled the 2011 uprising that ended his three-decade rule.

He was succeeded in 2012 by Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, whose government negotiated for an IMF loan but avoided austerity measures that could provoke unrest.

Sisi, a former army chief, led the military ouster of Morsi in 2013, winning elections a year later.

dawn.com/news/1277373/sisi-says-will-not-baulk-at-egypt-economic-reforms

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Pakistan

Pakistan will dedicate its Independence Day celebration to 'Kashmir's freedom', says its high commissioner to Delhi

Shailaja Neelakantan | Aug 14, 2016

NEW DELHI: Pakistan just will not back down. Now it has said that its Independence Day celebration is dedicated to "Kashmir getting freedom."

"Is saal ki Jashn e Azadi hum Kashmir ki Azadi ke naam karte hain," Abdul Basit, Pakistan's high commissioner to Delhi said on Saturday, according to ANI. That translates to "This year's Independence day celebrations are in the name of Kashmir's (future) independence."

This latest provocation comes after Pakistan last week proposed foreign secretary-level talks+ on Kashmir and the ongoing unrest there, an issue India described as irrelevant to any Indo-Pak dialogue.

PM Modi said on Friday that "relevant issues" to discuss with Pakistan+ are its support for cross-border terrorism, its inciting of violence in Kashmir and it allowing UN-sanctioned terrorists like Hafiz Saeed operate freely on its soil. As for Kashmir, yes, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) is an issue India would like to discuss, Modi said. Except that POK is not on the table for discussion as far as Pakistan is concerned.

"The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by our neighbouring country. Due to terrorism normal life in Kashmir Valley is affected," Modi also said on Friday.

"Who's Salahuddin to talk?"

Pakistan has continued to make provocative comments about Kashmir since India's security services on July 8 gunned down 22-year-old terrorist Burhan Muzaffar Wani+ . A mere two days after Wani was killed, Pakistan began its sabre rattling. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif+ expressed "deep shock" over the killing of Wani, and criticized the use of "excessive" force against civilians in the valley.

Terrorist Hafiz Saeed went so far as to call the slain militant Wani a "martyr", and also held a prayer meeting for him. And Pakistan on July 20 observed a 'black day' to 'condemn' the violence in Kashmir.

Last week, Hizbul Mujahideen's Syed Salahuddin threatened a nuclear attack on India over the Kashmir issue.

Union Minister Venkiah Naidu slammed Salahauddin and asked who gave him the right to speak about Kashmir.

"Who is he and who has given him the right to speak about Kashmir? Dhamki se kuch nahin hoga (His threats won't work on us)," said Venkaiah Naidu, parliamentary affairs minister to ANI.

The minister also chastised Pakistan for allowing the likes of Salahuddin and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed operate freely on its soil.

"They keep talking bad (like this) just for publicity. Pakistan must seriously think if encouraging such people is right," Naidu said.

Modi on Pak involvement in Kashmir

PM Modi on Friday gave a breakdown of the huge numbers of weapons seized in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989-90 and added that since then, more than 5,000 foreign terrorists were killed "which is almost equal to the strength of 5 Battalions."

"When weapons have been seized in such huge numbers, so many foreign terrorists have infiltrated to spread death and destruction, the world will never accept the false propaganda of Pakistan, even if it speaks a hundred thousand lies." the PM said.

After that he went on to talk about the atrocities Pakistan commits on its own soil against the province of Balochistan.

"Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan and PoK.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-will-dedicate-its-Independence-Day-celebration-to-Kashmirs-freedom-says-its-high-commissioner-to-Delhi/articleshow/53693937.cms

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Baloch Republican Party chief says people leaving Balochistan out of helplessness, seeks India's help

ANI | Aug 14, 2016

GENEVA: Asking India to help them in a same way as it did for the creation of Bangladesh, Baloch Republican Party (BRP) founding chief Brahumdagh Bugti on Sunday said if the international community could interfere in Libya and Syria, why not in Balochistan, where people were leaving their own nation out of helplessness.

Grandson of influential Baloch politician the late Akbar Khan Bugti, Brahamdagh told ANI: "They (Pakistan) call us terrorists. They say we are taking support from India. We are appealing to the international community to help us. They should come and see the situation and monitor everything. If you can interfere in Libya and Syria, why cannot in Balochistan? One cannot imagine all that happens in Pakistan, people are leaving their own nation out of helplessness."

"Baloch are resisting because they are being targeted by the Pakistan army. Villages in Balochistan are being bombarded and villagers tortured. Pakistan calls us terrorists, who are getting support from India or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)," said Bugti, adding that he urges India to help in the same way as it did for creation of Bangladesh.

"Operations (military) are being carried out for the last five to ten years and people are dying. Their aim is to bring Chinese company over there slowly-slowly so that they can work for deep wells. The (Baloch) people are protesting against it and they (Pakistan) want to evacuate people. They take actions wherever there are people," he alleged.

Maintaining that for the last four-five years this is increasing and not decreasing, Bugti said, "The operation was started during the time of Musharaf and later the PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) government came to power and it grew faster and now it is even getting faster. It is misinformation that committees are being formed. The situation is becoming tense with every passing year."

"My grandfather had said it was a full plan -- they (Pakistan) are seeking China's help, because they have many technologies, which Pakistan does not have. The Pakistani media showcase some of their works, but this is happening on daily basis since 2010," he added.

Stating that their organisation is so helpless that it cannot work openly, Bugti, "Many of our people are still missing. Some of our people go missing every year if they work openly. We are trying to report to the international organisations and NGOs. No media or NGO is allowed in Balochistan. So, we are giving reports on daily basis."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Baloch-Republican-Party-chief-says-people-leaving-Balochistan-out-of-helplessness-seeks-Indias-help/articleshow/53694023.cms

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ISIS claims Quetta attack in Pakistan

PTI | Aug 13, 2016

KARACHI: The Islamic State terror group on Saturday claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb attack in Quetta city in Pakistan's Balochistan province that injured 17 people.

The IS claimed the attack on social media and Twitter.

But a senior police official said the IS claim could be another attempt to gain attention as they are struggling for a foothold in Pakistan, where militant outfits like the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda have deeper roots in the tribal region and in urban areas.

Security officials have said in the past that the IS does not have a credible presence in Pakistan where several militant outfits operate.

The roadside bombing on Wednesday left 17 people including four police officials accompanying a judge injured. But the judge escaped unhurt.

The IS has also claimed responsibility for carrying out a suicide bombing at the Civil Hospital in Quetta on Monday in which around 73 people, mostly lawyers were killed and many others were injured.

But the IS claim came soon after the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar - a faction of the Pakistani Taliban had said that it had carried out the suicide attack.

The troubled Balochistan province rich in minerals and natural resources has been hit hard by sectarian violence, terrorist attacks, and separatists who claim there is corruption in the provincial government.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/ISIS-claims-Quetta-attack-in-Pakistan/articleshow/53687064.cms

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Commemorative Edhi stamp being unveiled

August 14th, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Post Office Department (PPOD) is going to release a commemorative postage stamp worth Rs20 featuring Abdul Sattar Edhi.

The renowned philanthropist and social worker, and founder of the Edhi Foundation, Edhi died on July 8 in Karachi.

The design of the stamp is based on a sketch of Edhi by Saeed Akhtar. It will become available in all post offices in the country on Monday, after an inaugural ceremony in Karachi on Sunday.

Commemorative postage stamps have been issued in honour of former heads of state, entries into statehood, historical events, historic sites, famous people, native flora and fauna and for causes, such as to raise awareness of rare medical conditions.

According to Inland Mail Director PPOD Mohammad Shakoor, the first adhesive postage stamp in the subcontinent was introduced by Sir Farar in 1852, and was named Scindi Dawk. “It was in three colours,” Mr Shakoor said.

“In Pakistan, the department of post and telegraphy, of the Ministry of Communication, released the first stamps in October 1947. It was originally an Indian stamp on which Pakistan’s name was printed. In July 1948, four stamps worth two ana each were released. The stamps were designed by Abdur Rahman Chughtai, and featured pictures of the constituent assemblies,” he said.

So far, around 1,500 postal stamps have been issued by the Pakistani government since independence, of which 250 feature notable personalities.

“Of the 250 stamps, 58 had pictures of pioneers of freedom and 11 martyrs – including one Kashmiri – who received or were declared equivalent to the Nishan-i-Haider,” Mr Shakoor said.

dawn.com/news/1277408/commemorative-edhi-stamp-being-unveiled

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In response to talks plan, India lists issues that must be resolved first

August 14th, 2016

NEW DELHI: India, responding to Pakistan’s plan to discuss Jammu and Kashmir, has given its list of issues that must be addressed before any progress is possible.

Reports on Saturday quoted India’s foreign ministry as responding to the statement by Foreign Policy Adviser Sartaj Aziz to invite India for dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir.

The ministry claimed Delhi welcomed dialogue on relevant issues and at this time it included stoppage of “Pak-supported cross-border terrorism”.

In a statement, the ministry said: “Would welcome dialogue on relevant issues in India-Pakistan relations and at this time it includes stoppage of Pak-supported cross-border terrorism.”

Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that before the start of a dialogue Pakistan must address “incitement to violence and terrorism across the border, parading of internationally recognised terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, and sincere follow up on the Mumbai attack trial and the Pathankot attack investigation”.

Days after India insisted that it would discuss only Azad Kashmir with Pakistan, Mr Aziz had said on Friday that Pakistan planned to invite India for a dialogue on the Kashmir issue.

“Our foreign secretary would formally be writing to his counterpart in this regard,” Mr Aziz had said as he briefed the media about the Envoys Conference held on August 1-3 to deliberate on major foreign policy challenges faced by Pakistan and make recommendations. He said the conference had spent considerable time on the grim situation in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said: “Unlike in the past we cannot agree that dialogue with sponsor and supporters of terrorism should carry on without being linked to action in that regard.” She was obliquely referring to Pakistan.

“Threat of terrorism dominates global concerns today. It is an issue which has confronted Indian diplomacy for many years because of its cross-border manifestation,” she said. “At the international level we are also putting the spotlight on early conclusion of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism,” she added.

dawn.com/news/1277447/in-response-to-talks-plan-india-lists-issues-that-must-be-resolved-first

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North America

#IllWalkWithYou campaign kicks off on social media in support of US Muslims after fatal shooting

14 Aug 2016

Social media users are offering to accompany Muslims who fear travelling alone to their mosque, after two men, including a Muslim imam, were fatally shot while walking home from afternoon prayers in New York City.

The #IllWalkWithYou hashtag was inspired by the #IllRideWithYou hashtag which sprung up in support of Muslims in Australia following the Sydney siege.

The victims of Saturday's shooting in the borough of Queens, identified as imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, were both wearing religious garb at the time of the shooting, police said.

The gunman approached the pair from behind after they left the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque and shot both in the head at close range about 1:50pm (local time), police said in a statement, adding the individual was still at large.

 David Pernick @DavidPernick

#IllWalkWithYou Los Angeles (Van Nuys). If you're Muslim and feeling threatened on your way to/from your mosque just hit me up.

  5 5 Retweets   5 5 likes

Although police said the motive was unknown and no arrests had been made, the New York mayor's office said "the NYPD is looking at all angles of this crime, including the hate crime [angle]".

The shooting comes amid a climate of anti-Muslim sentiment as a wave of deadly attacks have unfolded in the US and abroad, some of which have been claimed by the Islamic State group, and Republican presidential contender Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US.

Kobir Chowdhury, who heads the nearby Masjid Al-Aman mosque in Brooklyn, said: "Please, read my lips. This is a hate crime, no matter which way you look at it.

"It's hate against humanity, it's hate against Muslims, these are Islamophobes who are causing these kind of troubles."

Filmmaker Lexi Alexander kicked off the hashtag, tweeting: "Australians offered Muslims #IllRideWithYou, I'd like to offer my Muslim neighbors [sic] #IllWalkWithYou to & from mosque."

From there the hashtag quickly gained traction as Twitter users posted their location and messages of support for the Muslim community, also using #IllDriveWithYou and #IllRideWithYou to offer private lifts or someone to travel with on public transport.

abc.net.au/news/2016-08-14/illwalkwithyou-trends-in-support-of-muslims-after-fatal-shooting/7733042

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Imam, associate shot dead near New York City mosque

AP | Aug 14, 2016

NEW YORK: The leader of a New York City mosque and an associate were fatally shot in a brazen daylight attack as they left the mosque after afternoon prayers on Saturday.

Police said 55-year-old Imam Maulana Akonjee and his 64-year-old associate, Thara Uddin, were shot in the back of the head as they left the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in the Ozone Park section of Queens shortly before 2 p.m.

Both men were pronounced dead later Saturday, an administrator at Jamaica Hospital said.

Police said no motive has been established and there is no reason to believe the men were shot because they were Muslim. No suspects are in custody.

"There's nothing in the preliminary investigation to indicate that they were targeted because of their faith," said Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner of the New York Police Department.

But members of the Bangladeshi community served by the mosque said they want the shootings to be treated as a hate crime.

Scores of people attending a rally at the shooting site Saturday night chanted "We want justice!"

Shahin Chowdhury, a worshipper at the mosque, said members of the community had felt animosity lately, with people cursing while passing the mosque. He said he had advised fellow community members to be careful walking around, especially when in traditional clothing.

He called the imam a "wonderful person" with a voice that made his Koran readings especially compelling.

Another worshipper, Millat Uddin, said he felt the community had been targeted. "Somebody has taken the law in their own hands," said Uddin, who is not related to Thara Uddin.

Uddin said Akonjee had led the mosque for about two years and was a very pious man.

"The community's heart is totally broken," he said. "It's a great misery. It's a great loss to the community and it's a great loss to the society."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Imam-associate-shot-dead-near-New-York-City-mosque/articleshow/53692962.cms

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South Asia

ISIS militants suffer casualties in US drone strike in East of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 14 2016

The loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group suffered casualties in the latest airstrike carried out by the US forces in Afghanistan.

The provincial police department in Nangarhar province confirmed that the loyalists of the terror group were targeted late on Saturday evening in Achin district.

The militants were targeted in Pekha area of Achin district leaving at least two of them dead, the provincial police said, adding that the local residents and the security forces did not suffer any casualties in the raid.

The loyalists of the terror group have not commented regarding the report so far.

The US forces based in Afghanistan are regularly targeting the loyalists of the terror group in eastern Nangarhar province by conducting strikes.

The persistent raids by US forces come as the Afghan forces are engaged in a major operation to eliminate the loyalists of the terror group from Nangarhar.

The ISIS loyalists suffered a major blow late last month after their group leader were targeted in a drone strike in Nangarhar province.

The US Department of Defense confirmed that Hafiz Saeed Khan was killed in the airstrike.

khaama.com/isis-militants-suffer-casualties-in-us-drone-strike-in-east-of-afghanistan-01690

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Afghan Air Force raid leaves 5 militants dead in Ghor province

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 14 2016

Afghan Air Force raidsAt least 5 militants were killed in an airstrike conducted by the Afghan Air Force in the central Ghor province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Sunday that the airstrike was carried out in Pasaband district.

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

Pasaband is among the relatively volatile provinces in Ghor province where the anti-government armed militants occassionally conduct insurgency activities.

Recent reports suggested that several Afghan security personnel were trapped following a coordinated attack by the Taliban militants in this district.

However local officials said the siege was broken and at least two security posts overrun by the Taliban militants were recaptured by the Afghan forces.

Ghor provinces borders the restive Helmand province in the south which has been witnessing growing violence during the recent weeks.

Both the Taliban insurngents and the Afghan forces have suffered heavy casualties as a result of the ongoing violence in Helmand province during the recent days.

Taliban militants launched coordinated attacks on a number of Helmand districts and briefly captured the administrative compound of Nawa district last week.

khaama.com/afghan-air-force-raid-leaves-5-militants-dead-in-ghor-province-01688

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IS leader in Afghanistan and Pakistan killed in US drone strike: Official

AFP | Aug 13, 2016

WASHINGTON: The Islamic State group's leader in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed, was killed in July in a strike in the border region between the two countries, a US defence official said on Friday.

"They got him," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement.

The death of Saeed represents a major setback for IS as it tries to establish itself as a serious force in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Afghan authorities erroneously believed Saeed had been killed in another strike in July 2015, when a US drone targeted dozens of IS-linked cadres in restive Nangarhar province, close to the Pakistani border.

That attack came less than six months after another strike in Afghanistan killed Abdul Rauf Khadim, who was thought to be the IS number two in the country.

Saeed was named head of IS's "Khorasan province", which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of neighbouring countries, early last year when a group of Pakistani Taliban switched allegiance to the group.

Since then, there have been defections from the Afghan Taliban, with some insurgents apparently adopting the IS flag to rebrand themselves as a more lethal force.

Most NATO combat troops who had been fighting the Taliban and other insurgent groups have now left Afghanistan, with responsibility for the country's security now in the hands of local forces.

The Afghan troops, however, still rely on US air support and training and have struggled to stem frequent Taliban offensives.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/IS-leader-in-Afghanistan-and-Pakistan-killed-in-US-drone-strike-Official/articleshow/53678903.cms

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Briton formally arrested over Bangladesh cafe carnage

Aug 13, 2016

DHAKA: Bangladeshi police have formally arrested a British national allegedly involved in the deadly Islamist attack on a Dhaka cafe that killed 22 people last month, officials said Saturday.

Hasnat Karim, a 47-year-old Briton, had initially been detained along with Tahmid Khan, 22, a University of Toronto student, as a suspect in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.

A court Saturday ordered Karim to be remanded in custody for eight more days after police said he was the "first person" to be formally arrested over the attack.

Karim and Khan were both inside the Holey Artisan Bakery when gunmen raided the cafe on the night of July 1, taking a group of mainly Western diners hostage and then killing 20 of them, along with two policemen.

Police had sought to hold Karim for 10 more days, saying the father of two should be questioned further as he was now the "first person to have been arrested in the case".

"We have found some information regarding his involvement in that incident," Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP.

Karim and Khan were last week arrested under a law which allows the police to detain someone on suspicion of any crime but they were not directly linked to the attack.

Karim's lawyer maintained he was innocent.

"We've said that he was a victim of circumstances. He was used as a body shield and forced to walk with the attackers at gunpoint," Golam Mostafa told AFP.

Khan was remanded into police custody for six days, police said.

Neither Karim and Khan have been seen in public since the end of the siege when commandos stormed the cafe in the capital's upmarket Gulshan neighbourhood on the morning of July 2.

The men's families have said they were being held by security forces even though there was no evidence to link them to the attackers.

Karim's father Rezaul Karim last week told AFP that his son had helped save lives during the siege.

"My son was a hero. He saved the life of at least eight people during the siege. I know him. He is innocent."

Relatives say Karim, his wife and two children were at the cafe to celebrate the 13th birthday of their daughter.

Reports in local media said both men were being investigated for suspicious activity during the siege. They said Khan was seen holding a firearm and Hasnat Karim strolling with the attackers on the roof.

Karim was a lecturer at the North-South University in Dhaka, where two of the five attackers who were gunned down at the end of the siege had studied.

Khan, who is a Bangladeshi citizen, was back in his homeland while on leave from the university.

Police earlier this week named a Canadian citizen, Tamim Chowdhury, as the attack's mastermind, offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to his arrest.

The siege was by far the deadliest in a string of attacks claimed by Islamist groups which have blighted Bangladesh over the last three years.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Briton-formally-arrested-over-Bangladesh-cafe-carnage/articleshow/53686978.cms

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Afghanistan’s ill-wishers in isolation, Ghani defends NUG success amid criticisms

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 14 2016

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke against criticisms raised against the Government of National Unity, insisting that the government has been successfully making breakthroughs in achieving its targets.

Speaking during a gathering in Kabul to inaugurate the youth parliament, President Ghani said the National Unity Government has been successful in achieving positive outcomes while pursuing its objectives.

President Ghani further added that the ill-wishers of Afghanistan located in its neighbor are in a state of isolation while the good governance by National Unity Government has saved Afghanistan from isolation.

The remarks by President Ghani were apparently directed to recent criticisms by Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah who called him as unfit for the office.

However President Ghani said the leadership does not mean ‘reations’, insisting that leadership is based on plans and on how to bring changes in the environment since the demands of the people could not be met if if the leadership is not capable to bring changes.

CEO Abdullah criticized President Ghani as he was speaking during a gathering in Kabul on Thursday to a group of young people in his office garden.

The Chief Executive said he had struggled to achieve much progress with President Ghani during the two years of their government on the issue of electoral reform.

He said President Ghani is not having time for him even in months so that he can have one-on-one meeting with him.

Abdullah insisted that “if someone does not have the patience for discussion, then they are not fit for the presidency, either.’’

khaama.com/afghanistans-ill-wishers-in-isolation-ghani-defends-nug-success-amid-criticisms-01691

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Taliban launch coordinated attack on Want Waigal district in Nuristan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 14 2016

The Taliban militants have launched a coordinated attack on Want Waigal district in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan, local officials said.

The attack was launched by a large number of Taliban insurgents around 4:00 am local time with the local officials saying clashes are still underway between the Afghan forces and the Taliban insurgents.

Provincial governor Hafiz Abdul Qayum confirmed the attack and said additional forces have been deployed in the area to repulse the Taliban attack.

According to Qayum, the Taliban insurgents have suffered heavy casualties as the Afghan forces forces responded to their fire.

There are no reports regarding the possible casualties of the Afghan security forces during the clashes.

The Taliban militants have not commented regarding the report so far.

Nuristan is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militants are actively operating in a number of its remote districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

Insurgents belonging to Taliban group as well as foreign militants are operating in this province which is located along the Durand Line bordering the tribal regions of Pakistan.

khaama.com/taliban-launch-coordinated-attack-on-want-waigal-district-in-nuristan-01689

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Southeast Asia

Why many Hong Kong Muslims have to worship in makeshift mosques

Sunday, 14 August, 2016, 7:00am

It’s lunchtime on a Friday and dozens of Muslim men are kneeling in prayer inside an austere unit on the ground floor of the dilapidated Kai Tak Mansion in Kowloon Bay. Next door to shuttered shops in the back alley, what was once a car repair workshop is now a makeshift mosque for more than 70 Muslim households living in the building, which will be torn down in November.

Yiu Kam-wing, the building’s manager, says residents of South Asian descent started moving into the 60-year-old building two decades ago.

There’s a shortage of Islamic schools in Hong Kong too

“As the building will soon be demolished, all the leases are short term. So a 500 sq ft flat costs just HK$4,000 a month. Muslim worshippers have been using the former garage as a mosque for many years,” he says.

The prayer room in Kai Tak Mansion is one of many stopgap religious facilities that have sprouted across Hong Kong to cater to a growing Muslim population faced with apparent official apathy to the community’s needs.

According to government statistics, there were 100,000 Muslim residents in 2006, a number which has risen to 300,000 today. Half of these are Indonesians, who account for much of the growth in the Muslim population; more domestic helpers from the country have come to the city in the past decade. Ethnic Chinese Muslims account for 40,000 and there are 30,000 Pakistanis. The remainder are smaller populations from various other countries.

Family of Muslim ‘clock kid’ suing school officials for discrimination

Although there is estimated to be one church for every 700 Christians in Hong Kong, the Muslim community must make do with just six official mosques – four on Hong Kong Island and two in Kowloon.

“The one in Chai Wan is too far away,” he says. Devotees are required to attend noon prayers, and Chai Wan is too distant for many working Muslims. “And the Stanley one is in a restricted area.” The mosque at Stanley Prison was built for Muslim prison guards in British colonial times. “The sixth is a temporary structure [built in 2013] in Yau Ma Tei,” which can accommodate only about 300 worshippers.

Devotees of Islam listen during Friday prayers at the Kowloon Mosque in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Kowloon Mosque in Tsim Sha Tsui, built on a site where there has been a Muslim place of worship since 1896, can accommodate 3,500 people, and is the city’s largest. “But up to 5,000 people go there on Fridays,” Minhas says, referring to the most sacred weekly congregational prayers that take place at noon. “During the annual festival of Eid [marking the end of Ramadan], we need to divide people into sessions because it’s difficult to accommodate everyone at one time.”

The dearth of mosques has left the city’s devout Muslims with no choice but to turn apartments into places of worship.

Muslim during afternoon prayers in a small flat in San Po Kong. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

One is the San Po Kong Islamic Centre, in an old tenement building in East Kowloon. The roughly 400 sq ft flat packs in as many as 140 devotees for Friday prayers.

“Space is so tight that we have to hold two sessions of Friday noon prayers,” says Imam Tanveer Hussain Shah. “In summer, the weather is hot and space is tight, so hosting so many people at one time can be inconvenient.”

Hong Kong Muslims reflect on a long, hot Ramadan ahead of Eid festival

Madrassas – centres where youngsters learn the Koran and how to be a pious Muslim – also double as places of worship. Young Muslims attend outside regular school hours. Hong Kong has 29 madrassas, according to the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund.

“We have about 70 students [in San Po Kong] and they need to come at different times because it can be hard to accommodate all of them at once,” Imam Tanveer says. “With more space, we could also accommodate women worshippers, and separate children into single-sex teaching rooms to make it more convenient.”

For the purpose of worship for adults, the San Po Kong centre hosts only men, for whom congregational prayers are mandatory, especially at noon on Fridays. Men and women are not allowed to pray in the same room.

Despite religious requirements, calls by members of Hong Kong’s Muslim community for more mosques have fallen largely on deaf ears. Imam Tanveer says they have repeatedly asked district councillors for help but have been referred to various government departments. Their inquiries have gone nowhere.

The Jamia Mosque at Mosque Street in Mid-Levels. Photo: Lucy Swinstead

The Home Affairs Department said in an email that bona fide religious bodies operating as charitable organisations may be granted land for development of religious facilities at concessionary land premium, but did not explain how the government was handling the issue of the shortage of mosques.

If the government appears hesitant to assign land for the construction of mosques, Muslim leaders insist it is unrelated to suspicion of Muslims since the September 11, 2001 attack on New York and subsequent events.

“I don’t feel that the government made it more difficult for us to get mosques after 9/11,” says Yusuf Yu Chi-wan, council member of the United Muslim Association.

“Hong Kong people don’t pay attention to Islam ... They might have negative perceptions of us after news coverage about the attacks, but I don’t feel it strongly. After 9/11, we’ve seen more locals sign up for Islamic general knowledge courses offered in our mosques, which are open to the public, because they are more curious about us.”

Diplomats applaud group speaking out for migrants

In the New Territories, where the Muslim population has been growing, there isn’t a single official mosque. In 2006, the United Muslim Association of Hong Kong bought a plot of land in Sheung Shui from the government for HK$9.8 million on which to build one. A condition of the lease was the provision of a social service, so an adjacent home for the elderly with 200 beds was planned.

With limited funds at their disposal, the community reached out to Saudi Arabia, which agreed in 2009 to meet all construction costs. In 2015, the Buildings Department approved a draft architectural blueprint for the mosque, but the plans came to nothing after the Saudis pulled out, reputedly for economic reasons after the fall in global oil prices.

The land lease stipulated that the mosque should be built by 2011. Due to delays, however, punitive charges were levied.

“We have paid more than HK$2 million so far for extensions. But we still have to pay HK$8 million more, and we are having difficulty paying,” says Minhas, adding that they are negotiating with the government to lower the punitive charges and change the terms of the lease.

Friday prayer sessions at the United Muslim Association of Hong Kong Haji Omar Ramju Sadick Care and Attention Home in Tuen Mun. Photo: Jonathan Wong

One public space used for worship in the New Territories is a ground-floor atrium at Oi Yee House on the Yau Oi Estate in Tuen Mun. The public housing estate is also the site of the only home for the elderly run by Muslims in Hong Kong – the 20-year-old United Muslim Association of Hong Kong Haji Omar Ramju Sadick Care and Attention Home. The centre caters to 39 elderly people – local Chinese Muslims and one Pakistani.

One Friday last month, dozens of men knelt in prayer on rattan mats on the concrete floor next to a foul-smelling refuse collection point.

Ahmed Raheel, chairman of the old people’s centre, who lives with his family in Oi Yee House, says they have prayed in that space for years.

“At the beginning, there were only two or three worshipers. Now, there are more than 100,” Raheel says. “There are thousands of Muslim families in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long. There are makeshift mosques on construction sites in Yuen Long. Others rent the ground floor of village houses for praying. Many of us are on public financial assistance, so whenever the rents go up, we have to move to another place to pray. We hope we can have a mosque in the New Territories.”

scmp.com/culture/article/2002457/why-many-hong-kong-muslims-have-worship-makeshift-mosques

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Malaysia arrests Islamic State suspects for grenade attack on bar in June

Aug 13, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have arrested nine militants, including two suspected of carrying out a grenade attack, claimed by Islamic State, at a nightspot on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in June, the country's police chief said on Saturday.

A known Malaysian IS fighter in Syria, Muhammad Wanndy Muhammad Jedi, had said in a posting on his Facebook page that the group had carried out the June 28 attack on a bar in the Puchong neighborhood that wounded eight people.

If the claim was genuine it would have been the first attack by IS on Malaysian soil.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement the two men who carried out the attack had been caught in the northeastern state of Kelantan, where they had been awaiting instructions from Wanndy to carry out further attacks.

"Following on from their arrest, police managed to seize a grenade, and it was suspected it would have been used in a planned attack," Khalid said.

He said two other people had been arrested for helping to hide the suspects.

Police had also tracked down a suspected IS member, whose cell had received orders from Wanndy, and had threatened attacks on the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and on government buildings in the country's administrative capital of Putrajaya, Khalid said.

Others arrested included a 17-year-old in the eastern state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, who was believed to have been planning a 'lone wolf' attack on non-Muslims after communicating with another Malaysian IS member in Syria.

Meanwhile, three foreigners, who were ex-military, were arrested in Kuala Lumpur for allegedly using the country as a transit point to secure fake travel documents and plan an attack on a Middle East nation, Khalid said.

Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have been on high alert since IS-linked militants carried out an armed attack in the capital of neighbouring Indonesia in January.

Police said last week 230 people, including 200 Malaysians, have been arrested since 2013 for involvement in militant activities.

In June, IS released a video of its fighters from Southeast Asia calling on its supporters to unify under one umbrella group and launch attacks in the region.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Malaysia-arrests-Islamic-State-suspects-for-grenade-attack-on-bar-in-June/articleshow/53681378.cms

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Mideast

Turkish PM says Ankara sees no compromise with the US over Gulen extradition

Reuters | Aug 13, 2016

Turkey's prime minister said on Saturday that Ankara could not compromise with the United States over its request for the extradition of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen which it blames for orchestrating last month's attempted coup.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made his comments to a group of Turkish journalists who quoted him as saying that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden would visit Turkey on August 24.

US Secretary of State John Kerry would also visit Turkey some time in October, he said.

"The main element improving our relations with the U.S. is the extradition of Gulen, where there is no room for negotiation," Yildirim was quoted as saying by CNN Turk's general manager who was among journalists attending the briefing from Yildirim.

"Whether or not the anti-Americanism in Turkey will continue is also dependant on this," Yildirim said.

Turkey has been angered by what it sees as lukewarm condemnation by its Western allies of the abortive July 15-16 putsch against President Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government, and Western criticism of a subsequent purge of military, judiciary and civil servants.

More than 240 people were killed in the violent coup attempt by a rogue faction in the Turkish military using fighter jets, helicopters and tanks.

Since the failed coup, almost 5,000 out of 81,000 people had been sacked and the others suspended, Yildirim said.

Turkey almost immediately increased pressure for the extradition from the United States of Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan who runs an influential network of international schools outside Turkey.

Yildirim on Saturday said that the United States had improved its attitude on the issue of Gulen's extradition, but he did not elaborate on this.

Maintaining Ankara's criticism of the Muslim cleric who denies any involvement in the putsch, Yildirim said on Saturday that Gulen ran an exclusive communication channel with 50,000 using it.

Earlier on Saturday Turkey took exception to remarks by a top U.N. human rights official for saying that Ankara should stem its "thirst for revenge" against internal critics following the coup.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic, in a statement, said Zeid's comments were unacceptable.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Turkish-PM-says-Ankara-sees-no-compromise-with-the-US-over-Gulen-extradition/articleshow/53687056.cms

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43 journalists arrested, while 100 with detention warrants after Turkey's coup attempt

August/14/2016

Some 43 journalists have been arrested as part a probe into the July 15 failed coup attempt, while the number of detention warrants issued against professionals exceeded 100, according to a journalism association.

The Istanbul-based Platform for Independent Journalism (P24)  said that with the Aug. 11 arrest of now-closed daily Zaman correspondent Ayşenur Parıldak, the number of arrested journalists with alleged links to the coup attempt rose to 43.

Some 10 days after the deadly attempt, detention warrants had been issued against 42 journalists as a part of ongoing investigations against members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Meanwhile some 42 employees of TRT, whose names and titles were not disclosed, were detained on Aug. 11, with sources saying anchors of the channel were also included in the list. 

Amid arrests and detentions issued against journalists, authorities have also been imposing travel bans on media personnel, as the Prime Ministry’s Media Press and Information General Directorate (BYEGM) announced on Aug. 11 that based on a July 23 order of the Police Department, journalists holding grey service passports should receive a report from the BYEGM allowing their overseas travels in order to travel abroad.

According to official numbers, meanwhile, some 74,562 passports were canceled as part of the coup attempt investigations and reports emerged that some 200 journalists had been barred from entering the Turkish parliament.

The platform also said 13 journalists had been detained and five had been arrested, mostly from Kurdish media outlets, since July 15 independent from the coup attempt investigations.

hurriyetdailynews.com/43-journalists-arrested-while-100-with-detention-warrants-after-turkeys-coup-attempt.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102821&NewsCatID=341

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Deputy PM says dismissals in public service should not be turned into witch hunt

August/14/2016

Deputy PM says dismissals in public service should not be turned into witch hunt

The latest dismissals in the public sector as part of the investigation into the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which has been accused of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 15, should not be turned into a witch hunt, Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş has said.

“When you have a look at rectors’ elections in universities, someone is informing on the other as a FETÖ member. What is interesting is that the other also accuses his opponent in the same way. They are malevolent. I also said this on TV. If your shocks breaks on the road, they say FETÖ members did it. There is such a widespread atmosphere. This thing is being turned into a witch hunt, and I see it as very [unfortunate],” Türkeş said in an interview with daily Sözcü, saying the government was acting carefully to differentiate between the good and the evil, the right and wrong.

The deputy prime minister also refuted claims over the arbitrary dismissals of opposition figures in the bureaucracy, noting that they were based on investigations and intelligence.

“Dismissals in public service are not arbitrary. They are done based on a number of criteria such as reports coming from intelligence units, contact information, organizational work and organized work,” he said.

But Türkeş admitted there could be problems during the dismissal process as enmity, personal problems and other such issues could be involved.

hurriyetdailynews.com/deputy-pm-says-dismissals-in-public-service-should-not-be-turned-into-witch-hunt.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102820&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey’s reputation hit with coup attempt, says Deputy PM Şimşek

August/14/2016

The economic harm stemming from the failed July 15 coup has been limited, but the real damage has been to Turkey’s reputation abroad, according to Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek.

“The damage to the numbers is not permanent; the real damage is in Turkey’s reputation,” Şişmşek told CNN Türk on Aug. 14.

Turkey has been growing economically under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to Şimşek, but the efforts of the Fethullah Gülen Movement, widely believed to have orchestrated the failed coup attempt, have significantly damaged Turkey’s reputation abroad in the last few years.

“There is an incredible international campaign against Turkey – a systematic attack financed by FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization],” he added.

Many politicians in the United States have financed their campaigns with Gülenist funds, Şimlek said, noting that such aid had spawned propaganda against Turkey.

“Such generalizations will cause harm in the way the coup attempt could not,” he said. “Turkey has been facing the West for centuries. Our citizens deserve the most advanced democratic standards, and cutting the welfare gap with the West is our priority. Hence, attempts to abandon us and keeping us away from the West are targets of the failed coup attempt. Turkey will not fall into this trap.”

When reminded of the criticism that fundamental freedoms are diminishing in Turkey, Şimşek said the government’s fight against FETÖ was the source of complaints.

The activities of FETÖ should be taken into account when considering the situation, the deputy PM said. “When France declares a state of emergency, everybody gives their approval or even applauds, but when Turkey does it, some make calls to stay away from Turkey.”

Şimşek said the efforts to persuade representatives of international capital to keep investing in Turkey will continue.

“I may go to the Asia-Pacific region in the last week of this month, when the holiday season is over,” he said.

“Then we will spend most of September in the West with investors and finance circles, exerting efforts to keep the funds and investments flowing to Turkey.”

Şimşek also said a decision by ratings agencies to downgrade Turkey would be a mistake.

“It would not have been a surprise if Turkey’s rating had been downgraded in the wake of the coup attempt,” he said. “But we said ‘let us tell you, then do however you please.’”

The predictions of ratings agencies did not occur, Şimşek said.

“Now that FETÖ has been crushed, Turkey will relax,” he added. “The democracy and the economy of the country have been strengthened. We did not back down from reforms even during the state of emergency.”

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-reputation-hit-with-coup-attempt-says-deputy-pm-simsek.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102822&NewsCatID=338

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Religious or secular, people should take part in civil service: Deputy PM

August/14/2016

People from all segments of society should be able to take part in civil service regardless of their religion or political views, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said, hinting at a new restructuring process based on competence after the failed coup attempt of July 15.

“Our primary issue should be capability, competence and loyalty to the nation, not the fact that a person who thinks like me should take part in the state. It does not matter whether religious or secular; those who are really capable, competent and loyal to the nation should come and take part in civil service. I hope that the July 15 attack [coup attempt] should lead to such a transformation. In this sense, I think that Turkey will provide a huge benefit. This is our historic matter. Anyone should be able to find a career opportunity under the roof of the state with their opinions, communions, temperaments and political views,” Kurtulmuş said in an interview with private broadcaster Fox TV on Aug. 14.

Kurtulmuş also said no one would need organizations such as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which was blamed for orchestrating the coup attempt, as a result of such a transformation.

“Those who consume alcohol and those who do not will come; those whose wife wears a headscarf and those whose wife does not will also come. If you provide such an atmosphere of freedom within civil service, no one will need FETÖ. This is what we have to break primarily. We will provide both democratization and transparency, as there will not be obstacles before political participation,” he said.

Kurtulmuş also suggested all structures across the country should be open and controllable.

“What is important here is that we need to make all those structures open from now on. Anyone can spread their thoughts in this society but those have to be open and controllable. Unfortunately, when you outlaw them, they go underground and all good and evil is intermingled. Turkey should get rid of all of this,” Kurtulmuş said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/religious-or-secular-people-should-take-part-in-civil-service-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102819&NewsCatID=338

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Europe

Suspected militant expelled for planning attack on Leaning Tower of Pisa

August/14/2016

ROME: Italian authorities on Friday ordered the expulsion of a Tunisian national suspected of planning an attack at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, according to media reports.

Bilel Chiahoui, 26, was arrested on Thursday after posting messages on social media praising those behind the militant attacks in Europe and saying he would attack the Tuscan city's famous monument, a huge tourist attraction.

His expulsion order was signed by a judge on Friday according to a police report, which said there was “evidence the Tunisian sympathised with extremism and IS,” a reference to the Islamic State group.

The police statement did not provide details on the target of the suspected attack.

There has been mounting concern about the possibility of Italy being hit by “lone wolf” terror attacks of the kind seen in neighbouring France and Belgium.

Recent weeks have seen a string of suspected militants expelled from the country on the order of Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

dawn.com/news/1277344/suspected-militant-expelled-for-planning-attack-on-leaning-tower-of-pisa

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German far-right party wants to expel migrants to islands as Merkel tells companies to hire refugees

14 Aug, 2016

The leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party known for its anti-immigrant stance has proposed deporting illegal immigrants and rejected asylum seekers to islands outside Europe. It comes as the German chancellor is trying to make businesses hire more refugees.

In an interview to Germany’s Bild newspaper on Saturday, AfD’s Frauke Petry said she would like to see all migrants unlawfully staying in Germany as well as applicants who were denied asylum to be repatriated to the “two islands outside Europe that are protected by the United Nations.”

While on the way to the islands, the male refugees who are traveling alone should be separated from female refugees and families as it is allegedly “cheaper and more secure than the current practice,” Petry said.

While the AfD leader has not specified the exact location, the remote Oceania islands of Nauru and Manus, Papua New Guinea that already host Australian-run refugee detention centers were the German media’s first guess. The facilities are infamous for multiple reports of abuse and torture used toward refugees held in what is claimed to be unbearable conditions.

In April 2016, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court outlawed the Manus detention center, then home to about 850 people, half of whom were estimated to be legit refugee applicants. The court found the agreement with Australia on the camp in violation of the Constitution, that protects “the rights and dignity of mankind.”

The recent Nauru leak revealed a staggering number of incident reports, exposing assaults, sexual abuse, cases of self-harm, child abuse and dire conditions at the center. Over 2,000 reports obtained by the Guardian paint a grim picture of widespread violence at the facility. Almost half of all the incidents involve children, who account for 18 percent of the Pacific island’s 442 detainees.

Since the German legislation is not as strict toward immigrants as Australia’s, Petry proposed an overhaul of the Germany’s migration system to shift its focus from accommodating refugees to getting rid of illegal migrants as fast as possible.

“I propose the transformation of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees into an office for emigration,” Petry told Bild, adding it will be tasked to ensure that “all illegal migrants leave this land as soon as possible.”

Petry has come under heavy criticism for her controversial anti-migrant rhetoric, with mainstream political forces accusing AfD of populism and exploiting common fears to garner support. Green Party chairman and German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel has branded Petry’s cause “a class struggle at the wrong address,” accusing her of making “refugees responsible” for all the problems in Germany.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly plans to call on bosses of Germany’s biggest companies, including Siemens, Opel, Volkswagen, electric utilities company RWE and chemicals group Evonik to hire more refugee force as she will on September 14, Bild reported on Saturday.

The chancellor is expected to urge big German businesses to employ refugees and to extend more traineeships to enable integration of low-skilled refugee workers into German society.

So far, only 54 refugees have been hired by the 30 largest German companies listed on DAX. Fifty of them were employed by Deutsche Post, according to data cited by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in July.

More than 1 million refugees, mostly from North Africa and Middle East, crossed into Germany last year amidst the biggest European migrant crisis since WWII, fleeing war and terrorism. The open-door policy pursued by Merkel has triggered the dramatic rise of right-wing sentiments. The recent spate of terrorist attacks, with three of them committed by migrants, and reports of Islamic State terrorists infiltrating Germany disguised as refugees only fueled the tension.

rt.com/news/355832-germany-migrants-islands-afd-merkel/

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Africa

Shi'a Muslim group condemns calls for banning of Shiites

By Maryam Ahmadu-Suka, Kaduna | Publish Date: Aug 14 2016 11:55AM

Shi'a Muslim group condemns calls for banning of Shiites

The Rasulul A’azam Foundation (RAAF), a Shi’a-based Muslim organization in Nigeria, has condemned recent calls by the Kaduna State chapter of the Supreme Council for Shari’a in Nigeria (SCSN) for the banning of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria ( IMN).

The group said in a statement signed by the spokesman of RAAF , Alhaji Nasir Ja’afar, over the weekend in Kaduna that the recent statements by Sheikh Yusuf Sambo Rigachikun of the Kaduna chapter of the SCSN were not in the interest of the peace and unity among the Muslim ummah.

The statement further accused the SCSN of widening the gap between the Muslim Ummah instead of promoting unity and peace within the Islamic fold and the Nigerian nation in general.

He added, "The SCSN had in a communique sought the Federal Government assistance to ‘ban Shi’a Islam’, from the wide spectrum of the existing global Islamic sects that have been recognized world over; and was explicitly protected along with all other religious sects under Nigerian Constitution.

"The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is not a Shi’a sect we insisted, and the recent crisis is solely between the Nigerian army and the members of the IMN, a movement that comprise all the Muslim sects,” as they stated.

"What is then, the take of innocent Shi’a Muslims that are not part of the movement and remain loyal to the sovereignty of the Nigerian state to be innocently accused?

"The Supreme Council for Islamic Shari’a in Nigeria (SCSN) proved to be playing an agent to lure the Nigerian government to fight the fight of foreign entities of which the Wahhabi infested Shari’a Council is part of, thus to divert the government attention from celebrating successes in bringing about peace and harmonious co existence among its citizens; to engage in another front of unending war with its patriotic citizens.

"This, their sinister motives has however, contravened the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution that bestows upon Shi’a Muslims the same rights as any person with or without any religious affiliation a right to practice his or her belief in a manner that is not inimical to the Nigerian State, and this must be acknowledged as such."

The statement described comments of some interest groups on the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the army- Shia clash as unfortunate.

dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/shi-a-muslim-group-condemns-calls-for-banning-of-shiites/158909.html#tsSHCFuWTpJcuwg0.99

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/urdu-media-has-radicalised-muslims-in-india,-feels-ex-bbc-scribe,-tufail-ahmad/d/108263

 

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