New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 11 Sept 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

US appreciate Bangladesh’s effort on humanitarian assistance to Rohingya



New Age Islam News Bureau

12 Sept 2017

Photo: Rohingya refugees walk to a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) post after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, September 10, 2017, Reuters

 

•  Bangladesh offers land to shelter Rohingya Muslims fleeing Burma

•  Ayatollah Khamenei urges action against Myanmar govt. over Rohingya Muslims

•  Myanmar bloodletting: Malaysia and OIC are hypocrites, says report

North America

•  US appreciate Bangladesh’s effort on humanitarian assistance to Rohingya

•  Trump administration launches bid to lift restrictions on 'Muslim ban'

•  Free press a cornerstone of American Democracy: Islam

•  US high court justice temporarily preserves Trump refugee ban

•  How Al-Qaeda Benefits From America's Political Divisions

•  Young Canadian ISIS recruit says he saw violence on scale he could never have imagined

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South Asia

•  Bangladesh offers land to shelter Rohingya Muslims fleeing Burma

•  Top UN rights official warns of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against Myanmar Muslims

•  Cops break up mob after it threw rocks at Muslim home

•  Rohingya Muslim crisis: Burmese colonel dismisses ethnic cleansing claims, asking 'who would want to rape them?'

•  Taliban local leader among 4 killed in Logar airstrike

•  Suicide bomber attacks foreign military convoy in Afghanistan

•  Taliban militants accused of sexual abuse of a child in Uruzgan province

•  India and Afghanistan agree to expand defense and security cooperation

•  Up to 670,000 Afghanis cash prizes for Turkmenistan games medal winners: Ghani

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Mideast

•  Ayatollah Khamenei urges action against Myanmar govt. over Rohingya Muslims

•  Report: Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ sectarian activity rises in Sunni areas

•  Iran Warns against US Defiance of N. Deal Undertakings

•  Only regional states can protect security of region: Rouhani

•  Human Rights Watch says Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen are war crimes

•  UAE: Pilot killed after plane crash due to technical failure in Yemen

•  Argentineans hold protest against Netanyahu’s visit

•  UN human rights chief calls for probe into Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen

•  Emirati soldier, military pilot killed in Yemen war, UAE says

•  Israeli forces destroy Muslim graves in Jerusalem al-Quds to build park

•  Turkey holds second hearing for staffers of opposition daily Cumhuriyet

•  Turkey signs deal to buy Russian S-400 missile systems: Erdogan | Arab News

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Southeast Asia

•  Myanmar bloodletting: Malaysia and OIC are hypocrites, says report

•  Indonesia Urges OIC, International Community, to Address Myanmar Conflict

•  Cross-region cooperation between anti-terrorism agencies needed

•  Malaysia is firm US partner in foreign policies including ISIS fight: PM Najib

•  Khairuddin slams Trump over Najib visit

•  Singapore's Malay presidency puts minority representation on agenda

•  Najib: Malaysia must show it is more than a rising star

•  Malaysia not ‘colonised’ by China, says Liow

•  PAS files police report against Siti Kasim, Sabah politician over Facebook posts

•  Marginalized transgender Indonesian society study Islam

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India

•  Convince Myanmar to end violence against Rohingyas, B'desh urges India

•  SC asks Allahabad HC CJ to appoint new observers for Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid site

•  AIMPLB campaigns to convey ‘right to practise Muslim personal law’

•  Rohingya Muslims posing threat to Myanmar’s integrity: Shiv Sena

•  Rohingya crisis: Sikh volunteers reach Bangladesh-Myanmar border to provide langar to refugees

•  Ladakh tense over Muslim-Buddhist ‘love jihad’ marriage

•  Huge Rally In Kolkata By Muslim Outfits Demands Justice For Rohingyas

•  MHA mulls crackdown on ‘radical’ Muslim outfit

•  Critical for India to empower Muslims through education: Islam

•  Brics declaration to lead to more action against Pak-based terror groups: Russia

•  India to offer more defence aid for Afghanistan

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Pakistan

•  Myanmar's Buddhist leader is a coward, unlike bin Laden: JeM

•  US sanctions to hurt counter-terror efforts: Abbasi

•  Pakistan supports regional peace efforts: COAS

•  NA demands of UN to send peace mission to Myanmar

•  Pakistan, Iran stress joint efforts for peace in Afghanistan

•  SC verdicts not meant to please, settle scores: chief justice of Pakistan

•  Passengers faint aboard Karachi-bound Saudi flight

•  Stakeholders fail to agree on Fata-KP merger

•  Five soldiers injured in Mohmand Agency landmine blast

•  Aid cuts will hurt US more: Abbasi

•  NAB bent upon proving Nawaz a saint: Siraj

•  Three miners die of suffocation in Harnai

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Europe

•  UK protesters urge end to Myanmar’s ‘genocide’ of Rohingya

•  The War on Terror Has Targeted Muslims Almost Exclusively

•  Being an ISIS martyr is better than success at school or college, Muslim hate preacher ‘told children’

•  Islamic groups in Germany publish election survey for Muslim voters

•  Germany halts major arms supplies to Turkey as tensions heighten

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Arab World

•  44 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Infighting in Raqqa

•  Militants launch deadly attack on police convoy in Egypt’s Sinai

•  Syrian Army Preparing to Start 2nd Phase of Deir Ezzur Operations

•  18 dead in attack on convoy in Egypt's Sinai

•  Tens of Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Raqqa, Deir Ezzur

•  Syrian Army Takes Control of Key Power Station in Eastern Hama

•  Report: Rifts Widening Among Al-Nursa Front Commanders in Idlib

•  Syrian Army S-200 Missiles Fired at Israeli Fighter Jets

•  Lebanon to complain to UN over Israel violating airspace

•  Russia urges UN to ramp up aid to Syrians

•  Iraq holding 1,400 foreign wives, children of suspected ISIS fighters

•  Saudi Arabia foils ISIS attempt to attack defense ministry

•  Anti-Terror Quartet issue statement on Qatar FM’s recent comments at the UN

•  Iraqi rights group urges Baghdad to sue US coalition over civilian deaths in Mosul

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Africa

•  Nigeria: Islamisation - Nigeria On Throes of Jihad, Christian Elders Insist

•  Tunisian leader Chahed asks citizens to make ‘shared sacrifices’

•  Israel forced to ‘postpone’ first Africa summit

•  Congo conflict forces more children to leave school: Refugee group

•  Somali army repels al-Shabab after attack on military base

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/us-appreciate-bangladesh’s-effort-on-humanitarian-assistance-to-rohingya/d/112502

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US appreciate Bangladesh’s effort on humanitarian assistance to Rohingya

September 12, 2017


Photo: Rohingya refugees walk to a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) post after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, September 10, 2017, Reuters

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The United States has expressed appreciation about the efforts of Bangladesh in providing humanitarian assistance to Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

“The United States is deeply troubled by the ongoing crisis in northern Rakhine State in Burma [Myanmar], where at least 300,000 people have fled their homes in the wake of attacks on Burmese security posts on August 25,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Monday.

Reiterating their condemnation, she said: “Most of those displaced by the violence have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh and we greatly appreciate the significant efforts of the government of Bangladesh to facilitate humanitarian assistance.”

Welcoming Myanmar government’s commitment to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches victims quickly, she urged the government there to allow media access to the afflicted areas.

Stating that massive displacement and victimisation prove that Myanmar security forces are not protecting civilians, she said: “We are alarmed by the allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, burning of villages, massacres, and rape, by security forces and by civilians acting with these forces’ consent.

“We call on Burmese [Myanmar] security authorities to respect the rule of law, stop the violence, and end the displacement of civilians from all communities. We also urge Burmese [Myanmar] security forces to work with the elected government in implementing the Rakhine Commission’s recommendations.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations said violence in Rakhine State is putting all civilians at risk.

“Violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State is putting all civilians at risk, with tens of thousands of people having been uprooted from their homes in the area,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.

According to the Myanmar government, all 3,500 Muslims living in three camps in the Rathedaung township have left the site and are now believed to be heading to Bangladesh border.

“Humanitarian activities in Rakhine have either been suspended or severely interrupted, resulting in 170,000 people not receiving food they usually receive and 15,000 people not receiving their primary health care,” the UN spokesman said.

As of September 10, at least 313,000 people — mostly women and children — who left Rakhine since August 25 entered Bangladesh. “There is no indication that the pace of these arrivals is slowing,” he said.

The UN and its partners are helping the Bangladeshi government and the local community respond to the situation by providing food, shelter, health care and water, among other means of support.

Noting that the UN and Bangladesh government are trying to allocate land to accommodate the new arrivals, Dujarric said the scale and speed of the influx of people from Myanmar has overwhelmed capacity on the ground, and additional resources are needed.

Aid agencies have prepared a preliminary response plan of $77 million to deliver urgent, life-saving assistance to over 300,000 new arrivals, he said.

The British Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft said: “We have asked for a formal discussion in the Security Council on Wednesday and that is a next step, which I hope will lead to a public outcome in some way.

“And I think it’s a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have. The situation is continuing to deteriorate for many Rohingya who are seeking to flee Rakhine state in Burma and move into Bangladesh.”

http://www.dhakatribune.com/world/2017/09/12/us-appreciate-bangladeshs-effort-humanitarian-assistance-rohingya/

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Bangladesh offers land to shelter Rohingya Muslims fleeing Burma

September 11 2017


A Rohingya refugee man pulls a child as they walk to the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Bangladesh has agreed to free land for a new camp to shelter some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled recent violence in Burma, an official said.

The new camp will help relieve some pressure on existing settlements in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox's Bazar, where nearly 300,000 Rohingya have arrived since August 25.

"The two refugee camps we are in are beyond overcrowded," said UN refugee agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan.

Other new arrivals were being sheltered in schools, or were huddling in makeshift settlements with no toilets along roadsides and in open fields.

Basic resources were scarce, including food, clean water and medical aid.

Still, more refugees were arriving. An Associated Press reporter witnessed hundreds streaming through the border at Shah Puri Dwip on Monday.

"Tomorrow we are expecting an airlift of relief supplies for 20,000 people," Ms Tan said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has offered two acres near the existing camp of Kutupalong "to build temporary shelters for the Rohingya newcomers", according to a Facebook post on Monday by Mohammed Shahriar Alam, a junior minister for foreign affairs.

He also said the government would begin fingerprinting and registering the new arrivals on Monday.

Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit Rohingya refugees on Tuesday.

Aid agencies have been overwhelmed by the influx of Rohingya, many of whom are arriving hungry and traumatised after walking days through jungles or packing into rickety wooden boats in search of safety in Bangladesh.

Many tell similar stories - of Burmese soldiers firing indiscriminately on their villages, burning their homes and warning them to leave or to die.

Some say they were attacked by Buddhist mobs.

The government hospital in Cox's Bazar has been overwhelmed by Rohingya patients, with 80 arriving in the last two weeks suffering gunshot wounds as well as bad infections.

At least three have been wounded in land mine blasts, and dozens have drowned when boats capsized during sea crossings.

The violence and exodus began on August 25 when Rohingya insurgents attacked Burma police and paramilitary posts in what they said was an effort to protect their ethnic minority from persecution by security forces in the majority Buddhist country.

In response, the military unleashed what it called "clearance operations" to root out the insurgents.

Accounts from refugees show the Burmese military is also targeting civilians with shootings and wholesale burning of Rohingya villages in an apparent attempt to purge Rakhine state of Muslims.

Before August 25, Bangladesh had already been housing more than 100,000 Rohingya who arrived after bloody anti-Muslim rioting in 2012 or amid earlier persecution drives in Burma.

Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and persecution in Burma and are denied citizenship despite centuries-old roots in the Rakhine region.

Burma denies the Rohingya exist as an ethnic group and says those living in Rakhine are illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The Dalai Lama said he felt "very sad" about the suffering of Rohingya Muslims, and that those harassing them "should remember Buddha. I think in such circumstances Buddha would definitely help those poor Muslims."

He told reporters on Saturday that he had delivered this message to Burma's leader Aung San Suu Kyi several years ago at a meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

While Buddhists in Burma also worship the Buddha, they follow a different religious tradition than Tibetans and do not recognise the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader.

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/asia-pacific/bangladesh-offers-land-to-shelter-rohingya-muslims-fleeing-burma-36119902.html

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Ayatollah Khamenei urges action against Myanmar govt. over Rohingya Muslims

Sep 12, 2017

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called on Islamic governments to exert political and economic pressure on Myanmar’s “cruel” government to make it stop a deadly crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslims in the Southeast Asian country.

Speaking on Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei urged practical measures by Islamic governments to end the crisis in Myanmar.

“Of course, practical measures don’t mean military deployments. Rather, they (Islamic governments) have to increase their political, economic, and trade pressure on Myanmar’s government and cry out against these crimes in international organizations,” the Leader said.

Myanmar’s government has laid a siege to a western state where the Rohingya are concentrated. There, horrific violence has been taking place against the minority Muslims, according to reports and eyewitnesses.

Soldiers and extremist Buddhists have reportedly been killing or raping the Muslims and setting their homes on fire. The Myanmarese government says 400 people, mostly Muslims, have died in the latest bout of violence. The UN says the actual number likely tops 1,000.

Ayatollah Khamenei strongly criticized the silence and inaction of international bodies and self-proclaimed human rights advocates on those ongoing atrocities.

The Leader said the crisis in Myanmar is a political issue and should not be reduced to a religious conflict between Muslims and Buddhists, although he said religious prejudice may have been involved.

“This is a political issue because the party that has been carrying out the atrocities is Myanmar’s government, at the top of which is a cruel woman who has won the Nobel Peace Prize. And with these incidents, the death of the Nobel Peace Prize has been spelled,” he said.

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has taken almost no action to end the deadly violence against the Rohingya in the country’s western Rakhine State.

Recently, she said widespread reports of brutal violence against the Muslims were fake news.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should convene to discuss the crisis in Myanmar.

The Leader said Iran has to be bold in making its stance known.

“The world today is the world of oppression, and the Islamic Republic has to maintain for itself the honor of speaking out against oppression anywhere in the world, whether in territories occupied by Zionists, or in Bahrain, or Yemen, or Myanmar,” he said.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/12/534856/Iran-Leader-Myanmar-government-political-economic-pressure

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Myanmar bloodletting: Malaysia and OIC are hypocrites, says report

September 12, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is manipulating language and being hypocritical in its condemnation of the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, according to a report in the Modern Tokyo Times.

The e-journal also criticised the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the mass media of hypocrisy for focusing only on the killing of Muslims in Myanmar, and overlooking the killing of Muslims by Muslims themselves in several nations.

“The mass media is using dangerous manipulation of language towards Myanmar that is inciting and boosting Sunni Islamist propaganda. Likewise, (Prime Minister) Najib (Razak) and the OIC are ignoring the reality on the ground in countless nations based on inter-Muslim bloodletting – and the same applies to the anti-Shia nature of nations including Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.”

The report said while Najib was concerned over the plight of Muslims in Myanmar “it appears that he negates the persecution of Shia Muslims in Malaysia. Similarly, it seems to escape Najib that the Saudi Arabia alliance is pulverizing Yemen to pieces”.

The Modern Tokyo Times report suggested that the hypocrisy could be because Gulf petrodollars from Saudi Arabia had “benefited certain political elites in Malaysia”.

The report said the number of Rohingya Muslims killed in Myanmar was minuscule compared with the number of mainly Muslims who had been “butchered by fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and a few other nations.

“Therefore, the manipulation of language by the mass media and Najib – and others – is clearly based on denying the reality of what is happening in certain Muslim-majority nations already mentioned.

“Of course, it is worth mentioning that Najib may be ignoring the systematic bombing of Yemen by the Saudi Arabia coalition based on being tainted by Gulf petrodollars. After all, Najib isn’t expected to be an honest broker when it comes to Syria and Yemen and the intrigues of Saudi Arabia. This is based on the role of Gulf petrodollars in relation to the current Najib-led government in Malaysia and the usual hypocrisy of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.”

The report noted that US$681million had been transferred into Najib’s personal bank account as a “genuine donation” from Saudi Arabia.

The report added: “It could well be that the crisis in Myanmar is being manipulated by Najib based on personal funding intrigues that beset the current leader of Malaysia. Hence, the same leader is extremely quiet about the endless bombing of Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

“This bombing of the infrastructure of Yemen includes numerous hospitals being hit, mosques blown up, markets attacked, and even funeral processions. In terms of numbers of deaths and people maimed, then the language being used by Najib and international media groups towards Myanmar is more appropriate in relation to the deeds of Saudi Arabia.”

The report, noting that the Myanmar issue was complex, claimed the brutal killing of Myanmar nationals over the last few years in Malaysia “by suspected Rohingya Muslims or Sunni Islamists is escaping the attention of the mass media”.

It added: “On top of this, more Christians from various ethnic groups have been killed in Myanmar over the last few decades rather than Muslims. Hence the hypocrisy of the leader of Malaysia, the OIC, and international media groups, towards the multiple problems besetting Myanmar.”

The report called on the OIC to focus on “internal realities” such as the fact that all non-Muslim holy places were forbidden in Saudi Arabia, the Shia were being “butchered” by Sunni Islamists in many nations, Muslim minorities faced institutional Sunni Muslim state discrimination in many nations, and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition was pulverizing Yemen.

“Equally important, various Sunni Muslim-dominated nations have supported sectarian Sunni Islamist terrorist groups against Syria. Therefore, while genuine concerns persist in Myanmar on various ethnic and political fronts, this issue in terms of the number of deaths pale into insignificance when compared with inner-Muslim bloodletting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and other nations.”

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/12/myanmar-bloodletting-malaysia-and-oic-are-hypocrites-says-report/

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North America

 

Trump administration launches bid to lift restrictions on 'Muslim ban'

Sep 12, 2017

The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to intervene once again on behalf of the President's partially reinstated travel ban.

The Justice Department filed an emergency application to bar a 9th Circuit Court ruling that would allow refugees to enter the country if they have a formal agreement with a refugee resettlement agency. The decision would affect some 24,000 refugees who have been assigned to an agency, but have yet to be resettled in the US.

Mr Trump's travel ban, which the Supreme Court partially reinstated in June, bars residents of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US unless they have a "bona fide relationship" with a family member in the country.

The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court ruled last week to extend the list of family members exempted from the ban. They also ruled to exempt those refugees with an arrangement with a US-based aid group – something the Trump administration took issue with.

In its emergency petition to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department wrote that the decision – set to take effect tomorrow – would "disrupt the status quo and frustrate orderly implementation of the Order’s refugee provisions".

"The Court can and should prevent further uncertainty and disruption by staying the court of appeals’ ruling with respect to refugee assurances," the Justice Department wrote.

The Department is not asking for the decision on family members to be reconsidered at this time.

The debate first started in June, when a Hawaii judge ruled that those who had an agreement with a resettlement agency should be allowed in. The Supreme Court intervened, saying the 9th Circuit Court should decide.

Now, the Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to intervene again, and block the 9th Circuit Court's decision.

The Supreme Court recently announced that they would rule on the full travel ban on 10 October. Its decision to allow parts of the travel ban to take effect in the meantime was labelled a victory by the Trump administration. The controversial policy had been plagued by lawsuits, and prevented from taking effect, since it was issued in January.

"Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland," Mr Trump said at the time. "I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-muslim-ban-supreme-court-lift-block-bid-scotus-immigration-latest-a7941251.html

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Free press a cornerstone of American Democracy: Islam

Sep 12, 2017

Washington, Sep 12 (PTI) Free press has been a cornerstone of American democracy and also an essential contributor to the US belief in government confined by a system of checks and balances, an eminent Indian-American philanthropist has said.

“The overriding responsibility of the media is to separate facts from fiction and is to hold governments and leaders, including the President, to the same standards,” Frank Islam told a Washington audience this past week during the Alfred Friendly Press Partners Award Ceremony.

Among the awardees were Indian journalist Smitha Rajan, the first Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman fellow.

Describing Smitha as a fearless fighter, a foe of the power structure and a friend to the disadvantaged, Islam said she has strong leadership qualities and the capability to be a journalistic change agent. Smitha is an assistant editor with DNA Divya Bhaskar in Gujarat.

In his remarks, Islam said that the free press has been a cornerstone of American Democracy. “Our constitution enshrines freedom of press. It is also an essential contributor to the American belief in government confined by a system of checks and balances,” he said.

“Freedom of the press requires constant vigilance and care. It’s a precious gift given to us by the founders in the Constitution,” he said. The United States remains a vibrant democracy, in large part because of the resilience of its questioning press, he added.

Full report at:

http://www.india.com/news/agencies/free-press-a-cornerstone-of-american-democracy-islam-2465067/

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US high court justice temporarily preserves Trump refugee ban

Sep 12, 2017

WASHINGTON: US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday provided a temporary reprieve for President Trump's order blocking most refugees from entering the United States, putting on hold a lower court's ruling loosening the prohibition.

Kennedy's action gave the nine justices more time to consider the Justice Department's challenge filed on Monday to the lower court's decision allowing entry to refugees from around the world if they had a formal offer from a resettlement agency. The full Supreme Court could act within days.

The Justice Department opted not to appeal another part of last Thursday's ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals that related to Trump's ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations. The 9th Circuit ruling broadened the number of people with exemptions to the ban to include grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of legal US residents.

Without Kennedy's intervention, the appeals court decision would have gone into effect on Tuesday. Kennedy asked refugee ban challengers to file a response to the Trump administration's filing by noon on Tuesday.

Under the 9th US Circuit's ruling, up to 24,000 additional refugees would become eligible to enter the United States than otherwise would be allowed, according to the administration.

Trump's March 6 order banned travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and locked out most aspiring refugees for 120 days in a move the Republican president argued was needed to prevent terrorist attacks.

The order, which replaced a broader January one that was blocked by federal courts, was one of the most contentious acts of his presidency. Critics called it an unlawful "Muslim ban" that made good on Trump's promise as a candidate of "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

The broader question of whether the travel ban discriminates against Muslims in violation of the US Constitution, as lower courts previously ruled, will be argued before the Supreme Court on Oct. 10.

The Supreme Court in June partially revived the order after its provisions were blocked by lower courts. But the justices said a ban could be applied only to those without a "bona fide" relationship to people or entities in the United States.

New litigation was brought by Hawaii over the meaning of that phrase, including whether written assurances by resettlement agencies obligating them to provide services for specific refugees would count.

Hawaii and other Democratic-led states, the American Civil Liberties Union and refugee groups filed legal challenges after Trump signed his order in March.

"The Trump administration has ended its odd and ill-advised quest to ban grandmas from the country," Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said on Monday.

"With respect to the admission to the United States of refugees with formal assurances and the Supreme Court's temporary stay order, each day matters," Chin added, promising to respond soon to the administration's filing.

In court papers filed earlier on Monday, the Justice Department said the 9th Circuit refugees decision "will disrupt the status quo and frustrate orderly implementation of the order's refugee provisions."

Omar Jadwat, an ACLU lawyer, contrasted Trump's efforts to keep alive his travel ban with the Republican president's decision last week to rescind a program that protected from deportation people brought to the United States illegally as children, dubbed "Dreamers."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-high-court-justice-temporarily-preserves-trump-refugee-ban/articleshow/60471544.cms

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How Al-Qaeda Benefits From America's Political Divisions

ALI SOUFAN 

SEP 11, 2017 

As someone who has dedicated years to fighting terrorism, both before and after 9/11, I find the anniversary of the attacks a moment for reflection. Amid the tragedy, 9/11 prompted heartening displays of unity. At home, left and right joined hands—literally, in the case of the members of Congress who came together to sing “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps. Social cohesiveness is one of the best predictors of a society’s resilience to terrorism; and our sense of common purpose and shared values in the weeks after the attacks helped preserve our commitment to free speech and the rule of law in the face of huge pressure.

By contrast, the principal goal of terrorism is to create and capitalize on disunity within the target society. Al-Qaeda has long sought to do this with respect to the United States: In 2010, from his Abbottabad lair, Osama bin Laden studied the American people’s dissatisfaction with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving orders to his commanders to seek ways of exploiting the discontent. Around the same time, Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American preacher who made English-language propaganda videos for al-Qaeda, declared with evident relish that “The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens!”—a quote that began trending once again in the wake of President Trump’s executive orders restricting travel from Muslim countries. 

Were he alive today, Awlaki would be delighted at the divisions plaguing America. As Americans struggle to recover from the most divisive election campaign in living memory, political, economic, ethnic, and geographic polarization are all at record levels. Islamophobia is on the rise, with scant condemnation from politicians. Americans cannot even agree on what to call our main enemy, with endless rounds of debates over the use of terms like “radical” and “Islamic.”

Meanwhile, extremism has infected American society: Between 2008 and 2016, domestic hate groups were responsible for nearly twice as many attacks and plots within the United States as Islamists, according to a study by a group of investigative journalists. The carnage in Charlottesville, in which a far-right fanatic adopted the sort of vehicle attack pioneered by Islamic State supporters, is a grim reminder that purely domestic terrorism can be just as dangerous as attacks inspired by foreign groups.

Let me be clear: America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies continue to do a fine job of countering terrorism. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our political leaders, on either side of the aisle. Indeed, Congress is so divided on the issue that it has failed even to update the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, despite the fact that our enemy has evolved almost beyond recognition over the past 15 years. If another 9/11 were to happen today, there exists a serious danger that American politicians would be too busy affixing blame to this or that ethnic group, or arguing over the role played by immigration, to take measured action to deal with the threat.

Internationally, too, the United States has squandered the goodwill occasioned by 9/11. The invasion of Iraq and the abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere angered many Muslims of all political persuasions and played directly into extremist narratives about an American “war on Islam.” But instead of learning from those mistakes, the United States persists in compounding them. President Trump’s state visit to Saudi Arabia to attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in May—at a time when millions of Muslim children are growing up as refugees: disaffected, poorly educated, and acutely vulnerable to extremist propaganda—would have been a good moment to reach out to ordinary Muslims worldwide with a message of understanding.

Instead, the administration chose to highlight the Kingdom’s “massive investment in America” and the additional $110 billion it was poised to spend on U.S. weapons. This message, no doubt inadvertently, chimed with Osama bin Laden’s oft-repeated claim that the United States was bent on “stealing” the wealth of the Muslim world—a claim that al-Qaeda repeated word-for-word in a statement released during the president’s visit.

The United States can ill afford such blunders; for the threat we saw materialize 16 years ago has not gone away. Bin Laden’s ideology has been taken up by groups around the world, including ISIS. At the same time, al-Qaeda itself remains a potent force. It is true that al-Qaeda today is not the same organization that attacked us on 9/11; in many ways, it is even more dangerous, having mutated from a tight-knit band of 400 militants based in Afghanistan to an international network that controls tens of thousands of fighters. Its Syrian and Yemeni branches have taken advantage of the chaos in their home countries to seize swathes of territory. Many of the commanders who made al-Qaeda so deadly in the years leading up to 9/11 are now out of jail and back in leadership roles. Meanwhile, the refugee camps in Syria and elsewhere offer deep pools of potential recruits. 

It is true that, since the failed threats against U.S. embassies in 2013, al-Qaeda’s various branches have apparently not tried to attack America directly, preferring to focus on building their power in war-zones like Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan. But there is good reason to believe that al-Qaeda’s period of recovery and consolidation may soon give way to one of renewed aggression toward the United States. Over the past two years, Osama bin Laden’s 28-year-old son, Hamza, has become an increasingly vocal spokesperson for al-Qaeda. Hamza’s messages on behalf of the group hearken back strongly to his father’s anti-Western rhetoric, calling for more atrocities on American soil like the Fort Hood shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing.  Like the group’s founder, al-Qaeda’s shrewd and well-informed commanders are no doubt aware of the deep divisions plaguing American society, and will be looking for ways to exploit them.

Full report at:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/how-al-qaeda-benefits-from-americas-political-divisions/539334/

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Young Canadian ISIS recruit says he saw violence on scale he could never have imagined

Sep 11, 2017

In early 2014, a young Toronto-area man who went by the jihadi nom de guerre "Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi" (Abu Huzaifa the Canadian) cleaned out his bank account and left to join the ranks of ISIS.

He was 17 going on 18. His parents were kept in the dark about his intention to join the extremist organization, he said.

Five months after serving as an ISIS enforcer in the Syrian city of Manbij, Abu Huzaifa said he realized it wasn't what he had signed up for and he decided to flee Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS] and head home.

Abu Huzaifa would only agree to speak to the CBC on condition that his real name and identity not be revealed. Afraid for his life, he said he suffers from nightmares and wakes up in a cold sweat at least three times a week.

For the past year, he has been counselled by Mubin Shaikh, the CSIS and RCMP undercover agent who helped break up the so-called Toronto 18 cell that plotted bombings in the city.

Abu Huzaifa said CSIS and RCMP agents have questioned him extensively since his return to Canada, but that he has not been charged.

In a written statement, CSIS said it is aware of approximately 60 "extremist travellers" who have returned to Canada as of the end of August.

The spy agency described "extremist travellers" as individuals who are suspected of travelling abroad to engage in terrorism-related activity and who "pose a range of security concerns for Canada."

Many have not been charged, but RCMP and CSIS do not comment on individual cases.

Abu Huzaifa said he was studying at a madrassa, an Islamic religious school, in Pakistan in 2013 where religious leaders were openly preaching that it was an obligation to perform jihad to liberate Muslims from oppression.

"I felt it was my duty, because you could see the Syrian regime becoming godlike to its people," he said. "They were oppressing the Sunni population, killing families, killing children."

He told his parents he was going to Turkey for a semester abroad and booked a flight from Lahore to Istanbul, travelling on his Pakistani passport.

On arrival, he was met by a contact with the help of a former Mississauga resident, Mohammed Ali, also known as Abu Turaab al-Kanadi.

Ali, a former Ryerson student, joined ISIS in early 2013 and was notorious on social media for heaping praise on ISIS and encouraging others to sign up.

His contact took Abu Huzaifa to the Turkish-Syrian border town of Jarablus, and from there he crossed into Syria at night.

Enforcer with ISIS police

Abu Huzaifa registered with ISIS and entered the ISIS controlled city of Manbij, a city northeast of Aleppo with a population of 100,000. He said he was trained for a few weeks in the use of weapons and assigned to Al-Hisba, a quasi-police force tasked with enforcing Shariah law.

He used several hundred dollars of his own savings to purchase a rifle, a Glock pistol, ISIS military uniform and tactical gear embroidered with ISIS insignia. He said the items were openly sold at shops in Manbij.

"We would enforce dress codes, ensure people don't smoke, use alcohol or drugs and that men and women didn't mix," he told CBC.

He said his unit would enforce ISIS school curriculum and manage its local prison.

Meeting other westerners

Abu Huzaifa said he was never sent to the frontlines, and although he didn't speak Arabic, he was eventually able to understand basic commands in the language.

He told CBC that he made friends with other foreign fighters from Australia and Finland. The foreign fighters from central Asia were nice, he said, but they didn't speak English and he had no way of communicating with them.

The only Canadian he met was Mohammed Ali of Mississauga, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Turaab al-Kanadi, the man who had vouched for him.

Abu Huzaifa said he heard of other Canadians such as Andre Poulin, a Muslim convert from Timmins, Ont., who was known on social media as Abu Muslim al-Kanadi.

"I stayed away from social media and kept a low profile," said Abu Huzaifa.

Shariah law

Abu Huzaifa says he witnessed violence on a scale he could never have imagined.

He had seen al-Qaeda propaganda videos, but none of that, he said, could have prepared him for the regular diet of public lashings, beheadings and crucifixions that he witnessed.

It bothered him, "but ISIS told us these people deserved it because they were apostates who had to be punished," he said.

"People were forced to watch, some were disgusted, some even recorded it on their phones. You have to get used to the smell, the smell is bad. It is like iron. It stirs something in you and you have to learn to suppress it."

'Someone else's war'

Abu Huzaifa says his family played a big role in bringing him back.

"The things my mother would tell me when I was over there had a big impact on me," he said.

"She would remind me about the times in my childhood, and she said you're sacrificing yourself for someone else's war."

It dawned on him that he was going to die in Syria, and he kept asking himself, "What have you done with your life apart from disappointing your family?"

After days of planning his escape from ISIS, Abu Huzaifa ditched his Pakistani passport and headed for the Turkish border with his Canadian passport, which he had kept hidden.

Return home

The Turkish authorities arrested Abu Huzaifa after he surrendered to them at the border. He was detained, interrogated and severely beaten on a daily basis, he said.

"The Turkish police told me it would be better to go back to Pakistan instead of going to Canada," he said. They released him a week later, and he returned to Pakistan.

There, he was arrested and interrogated but eventually released after relatives intervened and promised he would not cause trouble.

He said he began to abuse heroin, Ritalin, ketamine, anything he could get his hands on that would drown out his emotional pain. That's when the nightmares about dying started.

"I would get numb, and half the night would pass and I'm just sitting in bed thinking," he said.

He stayed in Pakistan for two years before deciding to return to Canada.

"I have a lot to live for now. Growing up your mind matures and you start to see a lot of things you didn't see back then."

Counselled by former spy

Abu Huzaifa now believes that joining ISIS and enforcing its code was a violation of true Islamic principles and he is determined to complete his studies at a Toronto area university and make a positive contribution to society.

His new vision for a peaceful life in Canada can be attributed in part to Mubin Shaikh.

Abu Huzaifa said if he had met Shaikh three years ago he would have considered him to be an apostate. "I would have wanted to kill him. That is the truth," he told CBC.

A year after the two men were introduced to each other they have developed a close friendship.

Full report at:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/isis-canadian-recruit-returns-1.4281860

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South Asia

 

Top UN rights official warns of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against Myanmar Muslims

Sep 11, 2017

The United Nations' top human rights official has denounced the Myanmar government for its apparent “systematic attack” on Rohingya Muslims, warning that “ethnic cleansing” seems to be underway against the minority community.

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein slammed Myanmar for refusing to give human rights investigators access to the troubled western Rakhine State, where Rohingya Muslims are mainly based.

“The current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rigts said.

He said more than 270,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine had fled to neighboring Bangladesh, with more trapped on the border, amid numerous reports of brutal atrocities being committed against them, including the burning of villages and extrajudicial killings.

“I call on the government to end its current cruel military operation, with accountability for all violations that have occurred, and to reverse the pattern of severe and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya population,” Zeid said.

The Dalai Lama speaks out against Myanmar

Meanwhile, as international pressure mounts on Myanmar to stop the atrocities, the Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual leader of Buddhists, has expressed profound concern over the ongoing violence against Myanmar’s Muslims, urging the country's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

“I appeal to you and your fellow leaders to reach out to all sections of society to try to restore friendly relations throughout the population in a spirit of peace and reconciliation,” said in a letter to Myanmar’s disgraced Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Dalai Lama says the suffering of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar would have inspired the Buddha to help.

Those who are harassing Muslims “should remember Buddha,"  said the Dalai Lama, also a Nobel peace laureate, adding that the Buddha would have definitely extended a helping hand to "those poor Muslims."

Myanmar using landmines to harm fleeing Rohingya

Meanwhile, Amnesty International and Bangladeshi officials have slammed Myanmar’s military for using landmines against the Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence at home, causing many of the refugees to sustain serious injures or lose their body organs.

The United Nations says 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the Myanmar military unleashed another deadly campaign against the Rohingya-majority Rakhine State two weeks ago.

Bangladeshi officials and Amnesty International experts believe new landmines have been recently planted, including one that the rights group said blew off a Bangladeshi farmer’s leg and another that wounded a Rohingya man. Both incidents occurred Sunday. AP reporters in Bangladesh on Monday saw an elderly woman injured by a landmine. She had devastating leg wounds: one leg with the calf apparently blown off and the other also badly injured. Relatives said she had stepped on a landmine.

Amnesty said, based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analyses by weapons experts, there was “targeted use of landmines” along a narrow stretch of the northwestern border of Rakhine State that is a crossing point from Myanmar to Bangladesh for fleeing Rohingya Muslims.

“All indications point to the Myanmar security forces deliberately targeting locations that Rohingya refugees use as crossing points,” Amnesty official Tirana Hassan said in a statement Sunday.

She called it “a cruel and callous way of adding to the misery of people fleeing a systematic campaign of persecution.”

Myanmar has one of the few military forces, who have openly used anti-personnel landmines in recent years, according to Amnesty. An international treaty in 1997 outlaws the use of this weapon.

Meanwhile, doctors treating Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have been astonished and overwhelmed by the scope of injuries they sustained in the brutal violence.

“We have never seen such violent injuries before,” said Dr. Shaheen Abdur Rahman Choudhury, the head of Sadar Hospital in Cox’s Bazaar.

It is the first time the doctors are dealing with injuries like gunshot wounds, blunt force trauma and stab wounds on a massive scale.

Eighty Rohingya Muslims with gunshot wounds, among other injuries like cuts and infections, are being treated at this overwhelmed medical facility.

Myanmar’s forces have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages in Rakhine State since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of armed attacks on police and military posts in the troubled western state.

The latest eruption of violence in Rakhine has killed more than 1,000 people, according to the UN.

An armed group that claims to be fighting to defend the Rohingya declared a unilateral ceasefire on Sunday to let aid reach the displaced.

The Myanmarese government, which blames the armed group for the violence, has rejected the call and said, “We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists.”

Protests in London, Karachi

Amid the international criticism of Myanmar’s atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, protests continue around the world decrying the humanitarian crisis unfolding on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

Protesters gathered outside the Myanmar Embassy in central London on Sunday to demonstrate their support for the displaced Rohingya.

Last week, 157 British lawmakers and peers called on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to suspend the UK training of Myanmar’s military forces given the brutal campaign underway against Rohingya Muslims.

The training of the Myanmar military cost London around £305,000 last year.

Johnson has already warned Suu Kyi that the mistreatment of the Muslim minority community is “besmirching” the country’s image.

Pakistanis also took to the streets of Karachi on Sunday in a mass protest in solidarity with the Rohingya.

The protesters exhibited numerous placards denouncing the persecution of the minority Muslim group, and called for the revocation of State Councellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel Prize.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534741/Myanmar-Bangladesh-London-Karachi-Rohingya

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Cops break up mob after it threw rocks at Muslim home

12 Sep 2017

Yangon: Police fired rubber bullets to break up a mob which stoned the home of a Muslim butcher in central Myanmar, authorities said, as religious tensions rise amid a surge of violence in the west.

The mob attack on Sunday night in the Magway region of the mainly Buddhist nation was fuelled by anger over the deepening crisis in the western state of Rakhine, according to a government press release.

Rakhine has been gripped by violence since militants attacked security forces in late August, triggering brutal army reprisals that have left hundreds dead and pushed nearly 300,000 Rohingya across the border to Bangladesh.

The exodus accounts for nearly a third of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, creating a humanitarian emergency as a flood of famished and wounded refugees pour into Bangladesh’s already overcrowded camps.

The conflict, marked by competing accusations from different ethnic groups, has intensified long-running mistrust between Myanmar’s Buddhists and its maligned Muslim minority.

Those tensions bubbled over in Taung Twin Gyi township on Sunday when dozens of villagers in a 400-strong crowd sang the national anthem and lobbed rocks at the home of a Muslim butcher before marching over to the local mosque, where police dispersed the mob.

Police arrested one man, 30-year-old Hnin Ko Ko Lin, who said the group acted because “they could not accept the things that happened in Rakhine”, according to the government statement.

Min Thein, a lower house MP for the township, confirmed yesterday that the butcher was Muslim.

“Now we are urging all the people to stay calm and we have already told the Muslim residents to stay in their homes,” he added.

Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims have simmered in Myan-mar since 2012 when sectarian violence erupted in Rakhine, leaving hundreds dead and pushing more than 100,000 Rohingya into decrepit camps.

The country’s new civilian government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is desperate to avoid a repeat of anti-Muslim riots that swept through central Myan­mar in 2013, leaving scores dead.

Full report at:

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2017/09/12/cops-break-up-mob-after-it-threw-rocks-at-muslim-home/

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Rohingya Muslim crisis: Burmese colonel dismisses ethnic cleansing claims, asking 'who would want to rape them?'

Sep 12, 2017

A Burmese colonel has dismissed claims state soldiers raped Rohingya refugees as false - despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Colonel Phone Tint, a minister for border security in the northern districts of the country, questioned "would anyone want to rape them?" when asked to address the alleged atrocities committed by the army.

"Where is the proof?" he told the BBC. "Look at those women who are making these claims - would anyone want to rape them?"

Earlier this year, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report alleged Rohingya women and girls as young as 13 had been raped and sexually assaulted by soldiers.

HRW said members of the army and border guard police took part in rape, gang rape, invasive body searches and sexual assaults against women and girls in at least nine villages in the Rohingya-dominated Maungdaw district in the final months of 2016.

The attacks were reportedly often carried out in groups, with women being held down or threatened at gunpoint by some men while others raped them.

The Burmese government has repeatedly denied allegations of persecution against the Rohingya.

The government launched a military campaign in the country on 25 August, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of Burmese police and paramilitary posts in what they said was an effort to protect their ethnic minority from persecution by security forces in the majority-Buddhist country.

In response, the military unleashed what it called “clearance operations” to root out Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militants.

Almost 300,000 refugees have since fled over the border into Bangladesh’s border district of Cox’s Bazar, where they have given horrific accounts of the violence.

Survivors said the military was targeting civilians with shootings and burning of Rohingya villages in an apparent attempt to purge Rakhine state of Muslims.

Satellite images have supported their accounts, while the bodies of killed Rohingya have been pulled from rivers and others have allegedly been burned.

Full report at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/rohingya-muslim-myanmar-latest-aung-san-suu-kyi-ethnic-cleansing-news-colonel-rape-a7941556.html

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Taliban local leader among 4 killed in Logar airstrike

Sep 11 2017

A local leader of the Taliban group was killed along with his three fighters in an airstrike conducted in central Logar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan informed regarding the deaths of the Taliban leader and his fighters today morning.

A statement by the ministry of interior said the Taliban leader killed in the airstrike has been identified as Qari Ismail who was also famous as Mir Mohammadi.

The statement further added that the three other Taliban group members killed in the airstrike have been identified as Qari Sirajuddin, Ahmad Gul and Mohammad Tahir.

The airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Ab Josh area of Charkh district, the ministry of interior said, adding that several weapons along with a vehicle of the Taliban were also destroyed.

According to MoI, the group was involved in several terrorist related activities including coordinated attacks, and roadside bombings before they were killed in the airstrike.

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

Logar is among the relatively volatile provinces in central Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents as well as militants belonging to other terrorist networks are actively operating in its various districts.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-local-leader-among-4-killed-in-logar-airstrike-03413

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Suicide bomber attacks foreign military convoy in Afghanistan

Sep 12, 2017

KABUL - A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a foreign military convoy in Afghanistan on Monday, wounding two US soldiers and three civilians, officials said.

The Taliban claimed the attack near Bagram airfield, America's largest base in the country. It comes a few days after another insurgent blew himself up outside the military facility over a US propaganda leaflet deemed highly offensive to Muslims.

The attack follows the Taliban's vow to turn Afghanistan into a "graveyard" for foreign forces after US President Donald Trump pledged to keep American troops in the country indefinitely.

"We had two US soldiers wounded and their injuries are not life-threatening," Navy Captain William Salvin, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, told AFP. Parwan provincial police chief Mohammad Zaman Mamozai told AFP that three civilians were also wounded in the attack.

Spanish Red Cross worker killed by patient

A Spanish physiotherapist working for the Red Cross in northern Afghanistan was shot and killed Monday by a wheelchair-bound patient, in the latest attack on the international charity.

Lorena Enebral Perez, 38, was shot inside the aid group's rehabilitation centre in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where she treated disabled children, women and men including amputees, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement. Perez was taken to the NATO military base hospital at Camp Marmal where she died of her wounds. "Energetic and full of laughter, Lorena was the heart of our office in Mazar. Today, our hearts are broken," said Monica Zanarelli, the ICRC's chief in Afghanistan.

"Lorena was a skilled and caring physiotherapist who assisted patients, especially children. The violent fluctuations of life seem particularly cruel today."

Two people have been arrested over the deadly attack, including the 21-year-old shooter whom police said was a "regular patient". "He had hidden the pistol in his wheelchair which he used to shoot the victim," police spokesman Shir Jan Durrani told AFP.

Deputy police chief Abdul Razaq Qaderi said the man "opened fire on the doctor as soon as she entered the consultation room". The motive for the attack was not clear.

It was the latest deadly assault on the Red Cross in northern Afghanistan, where Taliban and Islamic State militants have been terrorising the local population.

Aid workers have increasingly become casualties of a surge in militant violence in recent years.

Most of the Red Cross's programmes in the north have been on hold since February, after six Afghan employees of the ICRC were shot dead when their convoy was ambushed in Jowzjan province.

Two of their colleagues were abducted and only released by their captors last week.

No group claimed responsibility for the abduction or killings but Jowzjan police had blamed local IS militants.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Sep-2017/suicide-bomber-attacks-foreign-military-convoy-in-afghanistan

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Taliban militants accused of sexual abuse of a child in Uruzgan province

Sep 12 2017

The Taliban insurgents have once again been accused of sexually abusing a minor child in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan as the group claims the rumors are being spread in the area with an aim to defame their armed insurgency.

The latest incident involving the sexual abuse of a minor boy has reportedly taken place in the vicinity of Chora district, one of the remote and restive districts of Uruzgan province.

Reports regarding the alleged abuse of the boy comes amid deteriorating security in the southern parts of the country with the rampant Taliban-led insurgency.

However, a spokesman for the Taliban group Qari Yousuf Ahmadi dismissed the reports as baseless and an effort to defame the group through propaganda means.

Qari Ahmadi in a statement said the group is aware regarding the allegations involving four Taliban insurgents who were caught red handed while abusing the child.

However, he rejected the reports suggesting that a court was organized to try those involved in the incident.

The Taliban spokesman further claimed that the group’s fighters are clean and are committed to their sacred duty to waging the holy war.

This is not the first time reports have emerged regarding the involvement of the Taliban insurgents in sexual abuse and rape of children as well young men in their ranks.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-militants-accused-of-abuse-of-a-child-in-uruzgan-province-03417

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India and Afghanistan agree to expand defense and security cooperation

Sep 12 2017

The Indian and Afghan officials have agreed to expand bilateral cooperation in the field of security and defense apart from New Delhi’s major contribution socio and economic development contribution to Afghanistan amounting to more than $2 billion since the fall of the Taliban regime.

The Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj informed regarding New Delhi’s new commitments during a press conference with her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani in New Delhi on Monday.

Swaraj further added that 116 new “high impact” development projects would be implemented jointly in 31 provinces of Afghanistan.

“We remain united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross-border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries to both our countries,” she added.

She did not elaborate further regarding the defense cooperation New Delhi aims to provide to Afghanistan but added that 500 new scholarships will be offered to  next of kin of the martyrs of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces from academic year 2018.

India has played a major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime and has invested over $2 billion in various reconstruction and infrastructure projects.

The construction of the major Salma Dam, the new Afghan parliament building, Zaranj-Delaram highway, and some other projects are among the key investments India has done so far in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/india-and-afghanistan-agree-to-expand-defense-and-security-cooperation-03416

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Up to 670,000 Afghanis cash prizes for Turkmenistan games medal winners: Ghani

Sep 11 2017

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has promised cash prizes worth hundreds of thousands of Afghanis for the medal winners from the upcoming games in Turkmenistan.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has issued a presidential decree declaring cash prizes for the medal winners from the game.

A statement by ARG Palace said President Ghani has allocated cash prizes in three different categories for each of medal winners.

The statement further added that the first category is for gold medal winners who will be awarded cash prizes of up to 760,000 Afghanis each.

The second category is for the silver medal winners who will be awarded cash prizes worth up to 335,000 Afghanis and each athlete will receive the prize for bring home the medal.

ARG Palace also added that the third category is for the bronze medal winners and cash prizes worth up to 201,000 Afghanis will be awarded to each athlete for winning a medal.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/up-to-670000-afghanis-cash-prizes-for-turkmenistan-games-medal-winners-ghani-03414

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Mideast

 

Report: Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ sectarian activity rises in Sunni areas

11 September 2017

The Iranian repressive and sectarian regime against Sunnis in the country warns of an upcoming civil war, according to a recent reformist opposition report.

First published on amadnews site, which is allied with the opposition, the report reflects the Revolutionary Guards’ continued and escalating activity in predominantly Sunni areas.

It also noted that cleric’s activities and the Guard’s institutions are increasing in southern areas of the country, specifically in Sistan, Baluchistan and Khorasan provinces.

According to the report, among these activities are calls of a sectarian nature. The most recent event called for was Eid al-Ghadeer, a Shiite celebration. Sunnis see this form of celebration in their areas as a form of provocation.

The Iranian regime is also accused of working to eliminate Sunnis and disrupting development in their provinces.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/11/Report-Iranian-Revolutionary-Guards-sectarian-activity-rises-in-Sunni-areas.html

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Iran Warns against US Defiance of N. Deal Undertakings

Sep 11, 2017

"The nuclear deal is not a mutual agreement and it is a multilateral understanding which has been confirmed by the UN through a Security Council resolution. Survival of the nuclear deal depends on all parties' compliance with their undertakings and in case of any defiance by a country in the implementation of its undertakings, it should pay a heavy compensation and price," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Monday.

Yet, he reiterated once again that Iran will not start violation of the nuclear deal, although it would provide the needed tough response to any such violations by other parties.

Elsewhere, Qassemi dismissed Israeli media reports alleging Iran and North Korea's cooperation in proliferating atomic bombs, and said, "It is an undigested word far from reality. Our positions on the nuclear weapons are clear and are nothing new."

Iran has always called for the total eradication of nuclear weapons throughout the world.

"Iran as a victim of chemical weapons strongly feels the danger posed by the existence of weapons of mass destruction and is determined to engage actively in international diplomatic efforts to save humanity from the menace of nuclear weapons,” Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshrou said, addressing a UN Conference on a nuclear weapons ban treaty in New York in March.

The Iranian ambassador stressed that Iran is committed to its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, which include negotiations based on effective nuclear disarmament measures.

"Several countries continue to ignore international calls and treaties for nuclear disarmament and even continue to increase their nuclear stockpiles. They do not have political determination to abandon doctrines of nuclear deterrence and nuclear terror,” he added.

In relevant remarks in late February, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned against the threats posed by atomic weapons, and called for nuclear disarmament of all the world countries.

"The time is now ripe for destroying the nuclear bombs of those countries possessing such weapons instead of accepting others to the nuclear club," Zarif told reporters.

The Iranian foreign minister said that nuclear weapons will not bring about security neither for Iran nor for any other country.

He went on to say that when the so-called crippling sanctions were imposed on Iran, the country had less than 2,000 centrifuges, but when the US came to the negotiating table, Iran had 20,000 centrifuges.

"The NPT non-member states talk about Iran’s nuclear threat while they themselves are the biggest threat to international community," Zarif added.

He reiterated that every mechanism is already in place to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

"The time is now ripe for destroying the nuclear bombs of those countries possessing such weapons instead of accepting others to the nuclear club," Zarif told reporters.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960620000933

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Only regional states can protect security of region: Rouhani

September 12, 2017

TEHRAN/islamabad - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has lambasted foreign interference in regional issues, reiterating that peace and security of the region must only be ensured by its nations.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that only regional countries, particularly Iran and Pakistan, must endeavour and cooperate to establish regional security, stability and peace,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif in Tehran on Monday.

He added that regional issues, including the crisis in Afghanistan, should be settled through regional approaches, emphasising that they would never be solved by foreigners and extra-regional powers.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to cooperate with regional countries, including Pakistan, in the fight against terrorism and development of peace, stability and security in the region,” Rouhani pointed out.

Rouhani hailed the growing collaborations between Iran and Pakistan and said the two countries as major regional players have “friendly and brotherly” ties.

The Iranian chief executive stressed the importance of cooperation of all countries in fighting terrorism and boosting security along common borders. “Promoting security along the borders and turning them into economic and trade frontiers as well as establishing border markets in these areas will be beneficial to the two nations and be in line with stability and security of the region,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani called for immediate implementation of bilateral agreements. “Iran and Pakistan are two friendly, brotherly, and effective countries of the region,” said Rouhani. “Tehran is determined to expand economic, cultural, and political relations with Islamabad,” asserted the Iranian top executive. The Iranian president regretted that the objective set for bilateral ties of Tehran and Islamabad has not been fulfilled yet, contrary to huge potentials of relations. He urged the officials of both Iran and Pakistan to expand and develop relations and cooperation, more than anytime, within the framework of brokered bilateral agreements.

Rouhani voiced hope for immediate implementation of agreements reached between the central banks of the two countries to ease banking relations and develop trade and business between the two countries.

In 2016, high-ranking officials from Iran and Pakistan signed six memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various areas, including health, commerce, security and foreign services.

The documents were signed in a ceremony in Islamabad on March 26, attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after a meeting between the two countries’ delegations.

The Pakistani foreign minister, for his part, said regional problems had no military solution, adding that only countries in the region, particularly Iran, could solve these problems.

No move by extra-regional powers can be effective, the top Pakistani diplomat said, adding his country believed in the battle against terrorism to restore peace, security and stability across the region. He also called for joint efforts to boost security in border areas and expand all-out relations between the two countries.

Earlier in the day, Asif met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and is also expected to meet with the vice president for economic affairs, Mohammad Nahavandian.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Asif’s official visit to Tehran was aimed at holding talks with senior Iranian officials on leading mutual, regional and international developments.

Talking to Iranian media in Tehran, Asif said “We are striving for bringing peace in Afghanistan for a decade, and if the peace prevails in the war-torn country, it will have a deep impact on the entire region.

Asif said the US army has failed to resolve the issues of Afghanistan. The minister stressed that there is no military solution of Afghan issue; rather, it should be resolved politically.

Khawaja Asif was accompanied by the National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua and the Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

In an interview with IRNA at Islamabad Airport before leaving for Tehran, Asif said achieving a consensus among regional countries could lead to the best solution to the problems in Afghanistan.

Asif said neighbours of Afghanistan must agree on a common approach towards Afghanistan problem. “Basically my main purpose of the visit to Iran is to evolve some consensus amongst the neighbours of Afghanistan, because peace in Afghanistan will have a comprehensive effect on the rest of the region,” Asif said.

Asif also said it was very important and imperative that regional disputes should be solved by the countries in the region because the imported solutions won’t work.

He said in the aftermath of the speech made by US President Donald Trump and the announcement of his new strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, there are few questions which are very important.

“In Pakistan we do believe that there can be no military solution to Afghanistan problem, it has to be political solution, a political solution is always a long-lasting one but military solutions will collapse soon,” Asif said.

“I will also be going to Turkey tomorrow to try Pakistan’s best to evolve a regional consensus on Afghanistan,” he added.

“No need to say that the approach taken by the Americans which is a military one, has not been able to bring peace to Afghanistan 16 years and military solution will not work,” the foreign minister said.

“I am also planning to meet my Russian counterpart in near future on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session and discuss the peaceful approaches for Afghanistan issue with him,” he added.

According to a foreign ministry statement released in Islamabad, Pakistan and Iran have pledged to “strengthen bilateral cooperation.”

Foreign Minister Asif spent a day in Tehran on Monday and held meetings with Iranian President and Foreign Minister.

They discussed strengthening of brotherly relations between the two countries rooted in common history, culture and people-to-people ties and reaffirmed the mutual desire to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

The statement said Asif had “detailed talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif on bilateral relations and the prevailing regional situation, including efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Asif told his Iranian counterpart that pursuing the policy of peaceful neighbourhood, Pakistan was committed to “further strengthen relations with Iran and to work closely for promoting peace, security and development in the region. In this regard, he expressed satisfaction over increasing engagement between Pakistan and Iran, while emphasising the need to focus on promoting trade, economic cooperation and connectivity.”

Zarif reaffirmed “Iran’s commitment to deepening relations with Pakistan in diverse fields including in trade, investment, connectivity as well as border management,” the statement said.

“Both ministers shared deep concern over human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir,” it said.

The two foreign ministers also exchanged views about efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan, particularly in the context of latest developments in Afghanistan, the statement added.

“They agreed that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a politically-negotiated settlement was imperative for lasting peace in Afghanistan. They underscored that the regional countries have vital stakes in stability in Afghanistan [and] should play a more proactive role in the peace efforts,” the statement said.

The two ministers, it said, “also expressed deep concern over the atrocities being committed against Rohingyas and agreed on the need for urgent humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering.”

Former ambassador Mushtaq Ahmed Mehar said that Pakistan traditionally enjoyed good ties with Iran and after Trump’s statement, Islamabad needed to get in touch with the Muslim-majority nations for enhanced cooperation.

He said that Pakistan had played a vital role of facilitator for dialogue between Taliban and the Afghanistan government.

“The US must know that Pakistan has a key role to play for peace in Afghanistan. Efforts to resolve the Afghanistan issue minus Pakistan will fail,” Mehar added.

In 2016, high-ranking officials from Iran and Pakistan signed six memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various areas, including health, commerce, security and foreign services.

The documents were signed in a ceremony in Islamabad on March 26, attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after a meeting between the two countries’ delegations.

The Pakistani foreign minister, for his part, said regional problems had no military solution, adding that only countries in the region, particularly Iran, could solve these problems.

No move by extra-regional powers can be effective, the top Pakistani diplomat said, adding his country believed in the battle against terrorism to restore peace, security and stability across the region. He also called for joint efforts to boost security in border areas and expand all-out relations between the two countries.

Earlier in the day, Asif met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and is also expected to meet with the vice president for economic affairs, Mohammad Nahavandian.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Asif’s official visit to Tehran was aimed at holding talks with senior Iranian officials on leading mutual, regional and international developments.

Talking to Iranian media in Tehran, Asif said “We are striving for bringing peace in Afghanistan for a decade, and if the peace prevails in the war-torn country, it will have a deep impact on the entire region.

Asif said the US army has failed to resolve the issues of Afghanistan. The minister stressed that there is no military solution of Afghan issue; rather, it should be resolved politically.

Khawaja Asif was accompanied by the National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua and the Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

In an interview with IRNA at Islamabad Airport before leaving for Tehran, Asif said achieving a consensus among regional countries could lead to the best solution to the problems in Afghanistan.

Asif said neighbours of Afghanistan must agree on a common approach towards Afghanistan problem. “Basically my main purpose of the visit to Iran is to evolve some consensus amongst the neighbours of Afghanistan, because peace in Afghanistan will have a comprehensive effect on the rest of the region,” Asif said.

Asif also said it was very important and imperative that regional disputes should be solved by the countries in the region because the imported solutions won’t work.

He said in the aftermath of the speech made by US President Donald Trump and the announcement of his new strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, there are few questions which are very important.

“In Pakistan we do believe that there can be no military solution to Afghanistan problem, it has to be political solution, a political solution is always a long-lasting one but military solutions will collapse soon,” Asif said.

“I will also be going to Turkey tomorrow to try Pakistan’s best to evolve a regional consensus on Afghanistan,” he added.

“No need to say that the approach taken by the Americans which is a military one, has not been able to bring peace to Afghanistan 16 years and military solution will not work,” the foreign minister said.

“I am also planning to meet my Russian counterpart in near future on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session and discuss the peaceful approaches for Afghanistan issue with him,” he added.

According to a foreign ministry statement released in Islamabad, Pakistan and Iran have pledged to “strengthen bilateral cooperation.” Foreign Minister Asif spent a day in Tehran on Monday and held meetings with Iranian President and Foreign Minister.

They discussed strengthening of brotherly relations between the two countries rooted in common history, culture and people-to-people ties and reaffirmed the mutual desire to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

The statement said Asif had “detailed talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif on bilateral relations and the prevailing regional situation, including efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Asif told his Iranian counterpart that pursuing the policy of peaceful neighbourhood, Pakistan was committed to “further strengthen relations with Iran and to work closely for promoting peace, security and development in the region. In this regard, he expressed satisfaction over increasing engagement between Pakistan and Iran, while emphasising the need to focus on promoting trade, economic cooperation and connectivity.”

Zarif reaffirmed “Iran’s commitment to deepening relations with Pakistan in diverse fields including in trade, investment, connectivity as well as border management,” the statement said.

“Both ministers shared deep concern over human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir,” it said.

The two foreign ministers also exchanged views about efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan, particularly in the context of latest developments in Afghanistan, the statement added.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Sep-2017/only-regional-states-can-protect-security-of-region-rouhani

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Human Rights Watch says Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen are war crimes

Sep 12, 2017

Human Rights Watch accused the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen of war crimes on Tuesday, saying its air strikes killed 39 civilians including 26 children in two months.

The rights group said five air strikes hitting four family homes and a grocery store were carried out either deliberately or recklessly, causing indiscriminate loss of civilian lives in violation of the laws of war.

The coalition has repeatedly denied allegations of war crimes and says its attacks are directed against its foes in Yemen’s armed Houthi movement and not civilians.

Yemen has been torn by a civil war in which Yemen’s internationally-recognized government, backed by a coalition supported by the United States and Britain, is trying to roll back the Iran-aligned Houthi group which controls most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

“The Saudi-led coalition’s repeated promises to conduct its air strikes lawfully are not sparing Yemeni children from unlawful attacks,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

“This underscores the need for the United Nations to immediately return the coalition to its annual ”list of shame“ for violations against children in armed conflict,” she said.

On August 4, coalition aircraft struck a home in Saada, killing nine members of a family, including six children, ages 3 through 12.

On July 3, an air strike killed eight members of the same family in Taiz province, including the wife and 8-year-old daughter, the organization said.

HRW said it interviewed nine family members and witnesses to five air strikes that occurred between June 9 and August 4, and did not detect any potential military targets in the vicinity.

The war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than three million and ruined much of the impoverished country’s infrastructure.

The Saudi-led coalition was formed in 2015 to fight the Houthis and army troops allied with them who have fired missiles into the kingdom.

HRW called on United Nations Security Council to launch an international investigation into the abuses at its September session.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Sep-2017/human-rights-watch-says-saudi-led-air-strikes-in-yemen-are-war-crimes

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UAE: Pilot killed after plane crash due to technical failure in Yemen

11 September 2017

The United Arab Emirates has announced the death of a pilot due to technical failure while he was operating as part of the Arab Coalition’s Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen.

The Commander-in-Chief of UAE’s Armed Forces confirmed the death of Sergeant Nasser Gharib Al Mazrouei.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/11/UAE-Pilot-killed-after-plane-crash-due-to-technical-failure-in-Yemen.html

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Argentineans hold protest against Netanyahu’s visit

Sep 12, 2017

People in Argentina have been holding anti-Israeli protests as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Latin American country.

Pro-Palestinian and left-wing demonstrators held a rally in the capital, Buenos Aires, on Monday, ahead of Netanyahu’s arrival, to condemn the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and crimes against Palestinian people.

They carried images depicting Netanyahu as Hitler (seen below) and reading “Get out Zionists from Palestine. Get out Netanyahu.”

Other images showed mug shots of Netanyahu as a wanted criminal. Messages on those posters read wanted for “human rights crimes” and the “genocide of the Palestinian people.”

People also plan to hold a protest in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, when Netanyahu is slated to meet Argentinean President Mauricio Macri.

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, a notable Argentinean activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, harshly criticized Netanyahu’s visit. He said the Israeli prime minister faced accusations “of having committed crimes against humanity…for killing civilians, [and] bombarding Palestinian schools, hospitals, and mosques.”

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/12/534862/Israel-Argentina-protest-rally-Netanyahu

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UN human rights chief calls for probe into Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen

Sep 11, 2017

The UN’s human rights chief has called for urgent investigation into Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes against civilians in Yemen.

Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein made the remarks during a Monday speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva after the global body attributed over 5,000 civilian deaths to Saudi Arabian airstrikes.

“The minimal efforts made toward accountability over the past year are insufficient to respond to the gravity of the continuing and daily violations involved in this conflict,” he said.

The latest call for an investigation was the third of such made by the UN's rights chief.

Last week, his office stressed that 47 countries on the Human Rights Council were not taking their responsibilities seriously, and called on them to probe the “entirely man-made catastrophe.” 

On Friday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) lashed out at the Saudi-led coalition for its refusal to provide information on its role in the massive unlawful airstrikes against Yemen in an attempt to avoid international legal liability.   

Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan are part of Saudi Arabia's coalition. Qatar withdrew from the coalition in June amid a diplomatic rift with Riyadh, Manama, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia along with his allies has been pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime.

More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of the campaign more than two and a half years ago. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due the war.

The Saudi war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen.

According to data provided by the World Health Organization and Yemen’s Health Ministry, the country’s cholera outbreak, the worst on record in terms of its rapid spread, has infected 612,703 people and killed 2,048 since it began in April, with some districts still reporting sharp rises in new cases.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534836/yemen-un-zeid-human-rights

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Emirati soldier, military pilot killed in Yemen war, UAE says

Sep 11, 2017

A soldier and a pilot of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) taking part in the Saudi-led war on Yemen have been killed in two separate incidents, the Emirati military says.

First Sergeant Nasser Gharib al-Mazrouei "died of wounds" he suffered whilst fighting in Yemen, the UAE military said in a Monday statement carried by the country's official WAM news agency.

The news agency said hours later that pilot Sultan al-Naqbi had been "killed by a technical malfunction" on his plane. 

The report did not mention the exact location of the incident.

Meanwhile, WAM said a soldier died Monday of wounds he earlier suffered in a separate incident.

Latest figures show that over 100 Emirati troops have been killed in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

The UAE is one of Saudi Arabia's main partners in the military aggression against the impoverished Arab nation.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recently lashed out at the Saudi-led coalition for its refusal to provide information on its role in the massive unlawful airstrikes against Yemen in an attempt to avoid international legal liability.

According to a Friday report by HRW, the current and former members of the coalition have refused to reply to the rights group’s correspondence in 2017, which urged them to release the results of their investigations into the unlawful airstrikes in Yemen. The report provided detailed witness accounts of several unlawful airstrikes by the coalition which killed and wounded a massive number of civilians.

The coalition includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan. Qatar withdrew from the coalition in June amid a diplomatic rift with Riyadh, Manama, and Abu Dhabi.

More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of the Saudi campaign against Yemen since March 2015. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due the war.

The Saudi war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen.

According to data provided by the World Health Organization and Yemen’s Health Ministry, the country’s cholera outbreak, the worst on record in terms of its rapid spread, has infected 612,703 people and killed 2,048 since it began in April, with some districts still reporting sharp rises in new cases.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534812/Saudi-Arabia-Emiratri-UAE-Yemen-war

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Israeli forces destroy Muslim graves in Jerusalem al-Quds to build park

Sep 11, 2017

Israeli bulldozers have reportedly demolished several Muslim graves in addition to a wall at a cemetery in occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds as the Tel Aviv regime goes ahead with its total disrespect for human and religious values.

The head of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem al-Quds, Mustafa Abu Zahra, told Arabic-language Wafa news agency that Israeli bulldozers rolled into Martyrs’ Cemetery near the Lions' Gate to the al-Aqsa Mosque, tearing down a wall and destroying a number of graves there.

Abu Zahra noted that the cemetery contained the remains of 400 Palestinians, who were killed during the Six-Day War fought on June 5-10, 1967 between the Israeli regime, on the one side, and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, on the other.

He explained that work had been suspended in the area, while his committee would take all necessary legal measures to prevent the desecration of the cemetery again.

There are reports that Israeli authorities are planning to seize parts of the cemetery for a national park trail.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority spokesman, Tariq al-Rishmawi, has strongly condemned Israel’s desecration of Martyrs’ Cemetery, describing the move as a terrible crime against the Palestinian nation as well as all humanitarian principles and religious laws.

Rishmawi said in a press statement that this crime came as part of the Israeli regime’s land expropriation policies and Judaization plans for Jerusalem al-Quds.

He stressed that the Tel Aviv regime was violating all international resolutions on the Palestinian issue, the most recent of which was the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which called on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

He stressed that the Palestinian Authority would continue all efforts to protect Jerusalem al-Quds and the Islamic and Christian sanctuaries there until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534790/Israeli-bulldozers-demolish-Muslim-cemetery-Old-City-Jerusalem-alQuds

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Turkey holds second hearing for staffers of opposition daily Cumhuriyet

Sep 11, 2017

The staff members of Turkey’s main opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet have attended a second court hearing amid rising criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s lack of tolerance for dissent.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said Monday that the group of 19 media workers, whose trials were held at the Silivri prison court on the outskirts of Istanbul, faced various charges with sentences ranging from seven to 43 years in prison.

Among the staff members were prominent Turkish journalists, including editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu and columnist Kadri Gursel, who have been behind bars for almost a year, and investigative journalist Ahmet Sik, also in jail for 255 days.

More than 50,000 people have been jailed in Turkey since a failed coup against Erdogan last year. Many of them are accused of having links to Fethullah Gulen, an opposition cleric based in the United States whom Ankara accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup plot.

Gulen has denied any role in the coup.

Estimates suggest some 170 media workers are behind bars in Turkey on different charges, including involvement in terrorism activities. If confirmed, the figure could be a record for imprisoned journalists in a country. Most of the journalists have been arrested following the coup.

Meanwhile, Cumhuriyet employees and supporters gathered outside the high-security Silivri prison Monday and called for the release of the paper staffers and other journalists. They held a paper’s edition with a front page that was headlined “We want justice.”

Rights groups and European governments have censured Turkey’s large-scale crackdown following the coup, saying the move has clearly gone beyond the rule of law. They accuse Erdogan and his ruling party of using the anti-terrorism campaign as a pretext to silence opponents.

Erdem Gul, a prominent journalist who heads the Ankara office of Cumhuriyet, said government would fail in its attempt to muzzle opposition media activists.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534783/Turkey-Cumhuriyet-staffers-trial-Erdogan-

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Turkey signs deal to buy Russian S-400 missile systems: Erdogan | Arab News

12 September 2017

ISTANBUL: Turkey has signed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 missile defense systems in its first major weapons purchase from Moscow, Turkish newspapers Tuesday quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.

The accord for the surface-to-air missile defense batteries is Ankara’s most significant pact with a non-NATO supplier.

“Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia. A deposit has also been paid as far as I know,” Erdogan said in comments published in the Hurriyet daily and other newspapers.

“(Russian President Vladimir Putin) and myself are determined on this issue,” he told journalists.

The purchase of the missile systems from a non-NATO supplier will raise concerns in the West over their compatibility with the alliance’s equipment.

The Pentagon has already sounded alarm, saying bluntly that “generally it’s a good idea” for NATO allies to buy inter-operable equipment.

Erdogan said Turkey was free to make military acquisitions based on its defense needs.

“We make the decisions about our own independence ourselves, we are obliged to take safety and security measures in order to defend our country,” he said.

Moscow also confirmed the accord, with Vladimir Kozhin, Putin’s adviser for military and technical cooperation, saying: “The contract has been signed and is being prepared for implementation.”

He said that the S-400 was one of the most complex systems, made up of a whole range of technical materials.

“I can only guarantee that all decisions taken on this contract strictly comply with our strategic interests,” he was quoted as saying by Russian state-owned TASS news agency.

“For this reason we fully understand the reactions of several Western countries which are trying to put pressure on Turkey,” he added.

Russia’s relations with NATO have been in crisis over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and for backing pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1159681/middle-east

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia Urges OIC, International Community, to Address Myanmar Conflict

Sep 12, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesia has reaffirmed its commitment to address the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State and emphasized the importance of synergizing with Indonesian civil society and the international community during a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, in Astana, Kazakhstan.

"Indonesia also urges all countries, including member countries of the OIC, to continue constructive engagement. [We] invite fellow member countries to prioritize real support to help all citizens in Rakhine State, while also helping all stakeholders in Myanmar to address the root causes experienced by the Rohingya community," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe.

Fifty-seven heads of states and governments belonging to the OIC gathered for a special meeting on the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar on the sidelines of the first OIC Summit of Science and Technology on Sunday (10/09) and produced an outcome document calling on the government of Myanmar "to take all necessary measures and inter-communal harmony to restore peace and inter-communal harmony," among other things.

Indonesia was represented at the summit by Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

More than 300,000 people have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since violence broke out between Rohingya insurgents and Myanmar security forces last month. More people are trapped on the border, with surging reports of the burning of villages and extrajudicial killings.

Last week, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi visited Myanmar and Bangladesh, where she held meetings with officials of both governments to discuss the problem of refugees crossing to escape escalating violence and conflict in deeply divided Rakhine State.

During her meeting with Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, Retno expressed the importance of including what she called the "4+1 Formula" for the troubled region.

That approach includes restoring stability and security, maximizing self-restraint and desisting from violence, providing inclusive protection to everyone in Rakhine State and allowing open access for humanitarian aid to enter the region.

Furthermore, Retno also touched on the importance of Myanmar implementing recommendations laid out by advisory commission on Rakhine State led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

These approaches were also endorsed collectively by the OIC, which further included calls on the Myanmar government to tackle "the rise of hate speech and the spread of propaganda by right wing extremists against the Rohingya population" as well as ensuring "the right of each individual to live and move without fear and persecution based on their religion or ethnicity."

On Monday, the top UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, referred to Myanmar government’s "cruel military operation" as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

As the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar deteriorate rapidly, mounting calls have been made by analysts, human rights activists and prominent public figures for the international community to step up their diplomatic pressures on the government and do more to protect the country’s persecuted minority, the Rohingyas.

The same calls have also been made toward neighboring Bangladesh and India, whose proximity warrant better capability to provide immediate support toward Myanmar refugees in need.

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-urges-oic-international-community-address-myanmar-conflict/

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Cross-region cooperation between anti-terrorism agencies needed

Zam Yusa

September 12, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A  think tank has called for greater cooperation among security agencies from Southeast Asian and South Asian nations to deal with the increasing links between extremist groups in the two regions.

Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (Ipac), in a report, said links between Bangladeshi and Southeast Asian extremists appeared to be growing, inspired by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, and increasing cross-region population movements.

It said it might be time for governments in Asean to treat South and Southeast Asia as a broad geographical unit, at least as far as counter-terrorism efforts were concerned.

“Those who normally cover South Asia and those who cover Southeast Asia — whether police, foreign affairs, intelligence or military (agencies) — should sit at the same table when strategy is discussed.

“This is so that everyone has access to the same information and can see how the regions intersect,” Ipac director Sydney Jones told FMT.

The Ipac report, entitled “How Southeast Asian and Bangladeshi Extremism Intersect”, listed some of the links in the following forms:

 Bangladeshi migrants working in Singapore and Malaysia who recruit fellow workers for violence at home – a tiny proportion of the country’s overseas workers. Many have been supporters of Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a group responsible since 2013 for several fatal attacks on secular activists. ABT, which now calls itself Ansarul Islam, is the Bangladesh arm of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

 Bangladeshi students from middle-class families studying at Malaysian universities who develop pro-IS sympathies, either at home or while in Malaysia.

Bangladeshis who use Kuala Lumpur as the take-off point for travel to Syria.

Bangladeshis and Southeast Asians who meet each other as IS fighters in Syria or Iraq.

Pro-IS Malaysians or Filipinos who try to recruit Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants in Malaysia to fight in Mindanao.

Indonesians, Malaysians and others seeking to assist the Rohingya in Myanmar through contacts with Bangladesh-based Rohingya groups.

The report went on to say that none of the Bangladeshis arrested so far in Singapore or Malaysia for extremist activities had been interested in attacking their host country.

“The focus has been overwhelmingly on Bangladesh itself, as well as on getting to Syria – and in a few cases, to the Philippines,” it explained.

“Many have been young men radicalised in the aftermath of the so-called Shahbagh protests in 2013, when secular Bangladeshis marched to demand maximum punishment for Islamist leaders on trial for war crimes during the 1971 independence war (with Pakistan).”

According to the report, the connection made between Indonesian and Malaysian IS fighters with their Bangladeshi counterparts in Syria was important for two reasons.

“Indonesian IS fighters see the relentless series of attacks in Bangladesh, many of them fatal, as a model for what their own supporters at home should be doing but cannot seem to pull off,” it said.

“They also undoubtedly envy the praise heaped on the attackers by the IS leadership in its various propaganda outlets. The desire to emulate Bangladeshi extremists may be an added incentive for Indonesians to encourage violence at home.”

The Syria link between Bangladeshis and Southeast Asians could also encourage Bangladeshis seeking to leave the IS front to think about stopping to help out in conflict-hit Mindanao, southern Philippines, before going home.

“Pro-IS recruiters in peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, working with Malaysians who have joined former Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, would be happy to have more men, including Bangladeshis, to augment jihadi forces depleted by Philippine military operations,” it said.

“Two pro-IS Bangladeshi students were ready to leave in early 2017 but were caught in Malaysia and deported.”

In an earlier FMT report, Ipac warned of the eagerness of many Southeast Asian citizens to join the Rohingya insurgents in their fight against Myanmar’s security forces.

This was despite the insurgents’ apparent lack of a machinery to receive would-be fighters from neighbouring countries.

“I think many want to go,” Jones had told FMT.

“For example, thousands of Indonesians are reported to have signed up through the FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) and other such groups, but they have no channel for getting in.

“Indonesian and Malaysian mujahidin (jihadist fighters) have long been interested in helping their persecuted brethren in Myanmar, but have had no good channel for doing so,” the Ipac report added.

The Ipac report also warned of the possibility of pro-IS citizens of Southeast Asian countries inciting the Rohingya communities amid them to return home and fight the Myanmar military.

Malaysian police, meanwhile, are not discounting the possibility of Malaysians joining Rohingya insurgents in their fight against the Myanmar security forces.

Bukit Aman anti-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said his division was on the alert for recruitment efforts in Malaysia.

He said it was possible that would-be Malaysian mujahidin were seeing a similarity between the current troubles in Myanmar and the 1999-2002 conflict in Ambon, Indonesia, between Christians and Muslims.

“During the Indonesian conflict, VCDs were distributed throughout Malaysia to recruit people to fight in Ambon,” Ayob Khan had told FMT. “It could be the same with the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

“We aren’t saying yet that such a recruitment exists, but we will keep monitoring for this new possibility.”

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/12/cross-region-cooperation-between-anti-terrorism-agencies-needed/

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Malaysia is firm US partner in foreign policies including ISIS fight: PM Najib

Sep 12, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Najib Razak has assured the United States that Malaysia is a firm partner in its foreign policy objectives, especially in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Datuk Seri Najib , who is on a three-day visit to Washington, wrote in an opinion piece published by Washington-based political website The Hill that the Muslim-majority nation shares the US commitment to a "rules-based global order", such as North Korea abiding by UN Security Council resolutions.

Citing "the threats of nuclear proliferation, radicalisation and new and ever-more barbarous acts of terrorism around the globe," he said "nations need firm partners and friends".

"President Trump and I will be marking six decades of strong bilateral ties when we meet at the White House on Tuesday (Sept 12), but the relationship between our nations goes much further back in history. Our rubber, for example, was crucial for the growth of the American automobile industry, and that demand spurred our own economic growth - an early example of a mutually beneficial partnership between our countries,'' Mr Najib said.

"What underpins decades of friendly, productive and cooperative relations are the deep-seated values we share. Our commitment to the fight against radicalisation and terror is something we feel in our hearts, as well as planning and implementing our policies coolly and rationally.

Mr Najib's comments come as Malaysia is seen leaning towards China, whose influence in South-east Asia has been growing compared to America's.

"There is no better example of this partnership than our shared efforts against violent extremism. The world changed on September 11, 2001, and America has suffered further attacks on its soil that were inspired by that same false and poisonous ideology,'' the prime minister said.

"There has, so far, been only one successful Daesh-linked attack in Malaysia (and, thankfully, no fatalities), but that has not been for want of trying. Your enemy - those who blaspheme against the religion of a majority of Malaysians by claiming their terrorism is Islamic - is our enemy, too," he added, using the Malaysian term for ISIS.

"We have fought Daesh through the promotion of moderation, and through a deradicalisation program that has had a 90 per cent success rate. We have fought this through intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism measures in our region and beyond. I am proud to say that the Royal Malaysian Police has thwarted at least 13 major terrorist attacks since 2012.

"And we have fought this through being a partner in the U.S.-led global coalition to defeat Daesh, and through the strategic dialogue between our Ministry of Defence and the Pentagon. Rest assured, Malaysia will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America on this vital mission to eliminate a terror group whose acts sicken all of civilised humanity,'' said Mr Najib.

The New Straits Times quoted Mr Najib as saying in Washington that President Donald Trump's invitation recognised Malaysia's status as a "rising star". The invitation also rebuffed allegations that Malaysia is a failed state, the premier said.

Mr Najib will meet Mr Trump on Tuesday US time at the White House for wide-ranging talks expected to touch on issues including North Korea's nuclear threat, the Rohingya humanitarism crisis in Myanmar, terrorism, trade and Asian maritime disputes.

Full report at:

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysia-is-firm-us-partner-in-foreign-policies-including-isis-fight-pm-najib

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Khairuddin slams Trump over Najib visit

September 12, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Khairuddin Abu Hassan who lodged reports on the 1MDB scandal in the United States and other countries, has expressed his disappointment with President Donald Trump’s decision to meet with Prime Minister Najib Razak.

This is because the meeting came in the midst of a global investigation into the alleged embezzlement of billions of dollars of 1MDB funds, he said, in an open letter issued to Trump today.

“Mr President’s decision is ignorant of the current issues, especially one involving the 1MDB scandal which is being investigated by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“The invitation is unreasonable as it will lead to all sorts of speculation on the part of the US’ enforcement agencies probing the scandal,” Khairuddin said, adding that 1MDB’s alleged offences were committed in the US.

Khairuddin, who is the former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief, said that the meeting would indirectly be seen as an endorsement of Najib by the US President , thus negating the impact of the DoJ investigation.

This meeting is inappropriate, he said, as under Najib’s administration, Malaysia’s political, economic, and social systems have been severely jeopardised.

“The public is suffering from the high cost of living,” Khairuddin said.

He also took a jab at Najib’s claim of the country being a democratic one, saying under Najib’s regime, many including him and NGO leaders had been put behind bars for criticising the government.

Khairuddin and his lawyer Matthias Chang were arrested in 2015, and the following year, both were charged under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), for allegedly attempting to sabotage the country’s banking and financial services by lodging reports against 1MDB overseas.

Reports that Najib would visit Trump today have sparked speculation over the fate of the DoJ’s investigation.

The visit has also drawn flak from DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang who said the visit would bring shame to the country as he claimed Najib hadn’t cleared himself of allegations of corruption in the DoJ suit.

In its latest court filings in California, in June, the DoJ said it was seeking to seize US$540 million (RM2.3 billion) in assets including art works, jewellery, a yacht worth worth US$165 million, and film rights purchased with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.

It followed the civil forfeiture suit by the DoJ in July last year, which sought to recover all the assets including but not limited to the Park Lane hotel in New York, a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills, condominiums in New York, a private jet, expensive works of art, as well as the financing of Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio..

The total value of the assets sought by the DoJ stands at US$1.8 billion (RM7.7 billion).

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/09/12/khairuddin-slams-trump-over-najib-visit/

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Singapore's Malay presidency puts minority representation on agenda

11 Sep 2017

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - There are no Muslim Malays in the top echelons of Singapore's army, and few among the senior ranks of its judiciary, but a member of its poorest ethnic minority will become president of the Southeast Asian city state this month.

Aiming to strengthen a sense of inclusivity in the multicultural country, Singapore has decreed the Sept. 23 election for the largely ceremonial post of president will be reserved for candidates from the Malay community this time.

Even among the presidential hopefuls, however, there is some regret that ethnic Malays still need a leg up.

"It is my hope that in the near future the issue of Malay representation ceases to be relevant in the Singapore context," said Salleh Marican, a businessman waiting to hear if his election candidacy has been accepted.

Her experience as house speaker automatically qualifies her under the nomination rules, but her rivals, businessmen Farid Khan and Marican, could be disqualified if a presidential elections panel deems their businesses too small to demonstrate the required levels of responsibility.

The panel will announce its decision by Wednesday.

Halimah declined to comment for this report.

The last Malay to hold the presidency was Yusof Ishak, whose image adorns the country's banknotes.

Yusof was president between 1965 and 1970, the first years of Singapore's independence following a short-lived union with neighbouring Malaysia, but executive power lay with Lee Kuan Yew, the country's first prime minister.

The separation of Singapore from Malaysia gave ethnic Malays a clear majority in Malaysia, while ethnic Chinese formed the majority in independent Singapore.

PRESERVING HARMONY

Leaders of both countries, however, recognised that peace and prosperity depended on preserving harmony between the two groups.

But living in a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood, with Malaysia and Indonesia next door, Singapore's leaders have long worried about the risk of conflicted loyalties among Malays.

"You put in a Malay officer who's very religious and who has family ties in Malaysia in charge of a machine-gun unit, that's a very tricky business," the late Lee Kuan Yew was widely quoted as saying in 1999.

For Lee, whose son, Lee Hsien Loong, is now prime minister, the answer to social cohesion lay in creating a culture of meritocracy, rather than adopting policies of positive discrimination to boost the chances of advancement for Singapore's Malay and Indian minorities.

Still, a government report published in 2013 found Malays felt they were sometimes discriminated against and had limited prospects in some institutions, such as the armed forces.

Singapore's economic success and education policies have helped swell the ranks of middle-class Malays, but the last census in 2010 showed they lagged other ethnic groups on socio-economic measures such as household incomes and home ownership.

Malays, who form just over 13 percent of Singapore's 3.9 million citizens and permanent residents, also underperform on measures such as university and secondary school education.

Despite being the establishment candidate, Halimah wears a hijab, which is banned in state schools and public sector jobs that require uniforms. But she has seldom spoken publicly on the issue and there is little sign of change in official attitudes.

Khan, the chairman of marine services firm Bourbon Offshore Asia, told Reuters more Malays hold political office, and some are making their way in the corporate world, but "There is still room for improvement."

The prospect of a Malay president is by itself unlikely to resolve concerns over underrepresentation, but analysts and advocates say it could help foster trust among communities.

Yet the reserved election has also injured some pride.

Full report at:

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2017/09/11/singapores-malay-presidency-puts-minority-representation-on-agenda/

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Najib: Malaysia must show it is more than a rising star

September 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, Sept 12 ― Malaysia has a value proposition for the United States that is mutually beneficial for both countries, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak here.

“We have not come here to ask for money. We have come to show that we are a rising star that has achieved so much,” said the Malaysian leader to about 300 of his countrymen who are either living in the US or are studying here.

Talking about his meeting with US President Donald Trump tomorrow, Najib said the country had shown consistent growth with the last quarter figures at 5.4 per cent.

“When I spoke to President Trump earlier this year by phone to congratulate him on his inauguration, he asked me how was the Malaysian economy.

“I told him that we were growing by about 5 per cent and President Trump remarked that he wished the US had the same numbers and that it would make him very happy if the US grew like Malaysia,” Najib said.

The Malaysian prime minister is on a four-day working trip to the US on the invitation of Trump. He is the second Southeast Asian leader to be invited by the US president to come to the White House since Trump took office in June.

He pointed out that despite the US being 30 times larger than Malaysia in terms of land size, Malaysia was the US’ 18th largest trading partner while the US was Malaysia’s number three.

Stressing that Malaysia also invests in the US, Najib said: “Our EPF (Employees Provident Fund) and Khazanah Nasional have made significant investments in the US while several of our GLCs are also eyeing opportunities to do so that will be mutually beneficial to both countries.”

He also said that Malaysia was close to many other countries like China and Japan but “our partnership with the US should be valued.

Najib said he would also impress on the Trump administration that Malaysia can be a partner in fighting extremism and terrorism.

“We are here to propagate the authentic Islam and we believe that our interpretation of Islam is the true way.

“We in Malaysia, despite our diversity, have been able to live together peacefully because of this and I am sure our policy will hold us in good stead.”

Addressing the issue raised by the Opposition back home, he told his audience of how well the Malaysian economy had grown with trade figures in the first eight months at over RM1 trillion ― a growth of 22 per cent.

“Does this sound like a failed state as claimed by the Opposition back home? Does this sound as if we on a slippery slope?

“Of course, this is untrue. The figures speak for itself.”

Najib also reminded the Malaysian diaspora to be proud of the country and to be its emissaries in the US.

He said the government was doing a lot for the country and introduced the development of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), the Pan-Borneo Highway and the high-speed rail links to Singapore and the east coast.

“We are doing this because we have a vision for Malaysia to be among the leading nations in the world. We do not want Malaysia to be just another developing country. We want to be right at the top.

“We are also doing this for the young and so that they would inherit a strong and promising country.”

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/najib-malaysia-must-show-it-is-more-than-a-rising-star#vsuGyV3mbzgg1TjF.97

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Malaysia not ‘colonised’ by China, says Liow

September 12, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has slammed allegations that Malaysia is overly dependent on foreign direct investment (FDI) from China.

He said Malaysia was not being ’colonised’ by China through FDI, adding that the allegations were merely political manipulation.

Although FDI from China had increased in recent years, Liow stressed that China’s was still not the largest in the country.

“In Malaysia, China is not number one. It is still behind others. We have Japan, the United States and even Asean countries.

“Some people accuse Malaysia of being colonised by China through FDI, that is not true. This is political manipulation,” he told reporters, here, today.  — Bernama

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-not-colonised-by-china-says-liow#HdP39rJ5orgLodhE.97

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PAS files police report against Siti Kasim, Sabah politician over Facebook posts

September 12, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 ― PAS has lodged a police report against activist Siti Kasim and Sabah politician David Orok over their allegedly unconstitutional Facebook posts, the political party's mouthpiece reported.

PAS portal HarakahDaily said the police report was filed yesterday following Siti's Facebook posts on September 1 and September 10, purporting that the posts had caused deviation in understanding regarding actions by two Islamic prophets, Nabi Ibrahim and his son Nabi Ismail.

HarakahDaily also referred to David's Facebook post on September 5 on what the portal said were statements regarding Nabi Ibrahim's actions and Nabi Ismail being a child born out-of-wedlock.

“All this can be interpreted as opposing the Federal Constitution that places Islam as the religion of the Federation and opposing and challenging the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong as the patron of the religion of Islam in Malaysia.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pas-files-police-report-against-siti-kasim-sabah-politician-over-facebook-p#3GdIycQB6Ott5C0B.97

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Marginalized transgender Indonesian society study Islam

Sep 12, 2017

In a quiet city famed for its ancient temples, a group of women pray at a religious boarding school formed in the wake of a deadly earthquake that ravaged the area more than a decade ago.

Al-Fatah boarding school was founded after the Bantul quake left more than 5,700 people dead in 2006.

However, the students at the school in Yogyakarta, a university town in the southern part of Central Java, are different from those at the many other Islamic schools dotted across Indonesia - they were born as men but live as women.

The 42 women who study at Al-Fatah are under the charge of Shinta Ratri, 55, the school's director.

She was among those transgender women who came together after the 2006 earthquake to offer prayers for the victims of the disaster.

The meetings became more regular, with lectures from preachers and Quran classes, and two years later the school was established as a place to study Islam and worship.

The school's guests came to be able to pray and study free of the awkward gaze of fellow worshipers.

"When worshiping in the mosque with many people, there is a sense of discomfort," Ratri said.

Anadolu Agency visited the school during the festival of Eid al-Adha as the students prepared two sheep to be sacrificed and shared among the local community.

Also visiting at the same time were a group of university students, human rights activists and locals who gathered at the school to mark the day of sacrifice.

Ratri said those women living at the school were united in their desire to study Islam and worship freely.

Unlike other Islamic schools, known as pesantren in Indonesia, many of the students are middle-aged by the time they come to study.

"The majority of transvestites only graduated from junior high school because, at that age, they started to leave their families," Ratri, who wears a traditional headscarf, said.

Most transgender people in Indonesia face alienation from their families and difficulty in finding work, forcing many to seek employment on the margins of society despite Java's relatively relaxed attitudes to transgender women, known as "waria" in Indonesia.

"Some of them come here at over 40 years old because at this age they feel the need to get closer to God," Ratri said.

Yuni Shara's story is typical of many at the school in the historic district of Kotagede.

Now aged 50, she was thrown out by her family at the age of 29 after finalizing her decision to live as a woman full-time.

She worked as a street singer before coming to the school. She now works as a human rights activist.

"I used to be the subject of jokes when praying at the mosque but now I am relieved to be able to worship freely," she told Anadolu Agency. "We want to be accepted by society. At least let us worship quietly."

She added: "We are guided by four preachers, two of them women. I record what my tutor says - that we should be good listeners, loving to others, not get tired of studying and keep learning."

As well as praying together and studying the Quran, students also discuss the particular challenges facing them as transgender women. The school also arranges job training, medical check-ups and offers services such as free hair-styling.

Fellow student Inul, who like many Indonesians uses just one name, said her last two years at the school had helped her become a better person.

"After joining Al-Fatah, I am more able to control myself [and know] that I should behave better," she said.

Despite some support from the government and mainstream Islamic groups, the school faces opposition from hardliners.

In February last year, one group stormed the school, forcing it to close for four months.

Close to God

"They are provoked by the issue that we make heresies," Ratri said. " How could we make a new religious teaching?"

She praised a decree passed by President Joko Widodo in July aimed at tackling hardline groups in the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

"The hardliners will rethink if they want to make trouble," Ratri said.

As part of their activities in the local community, the school has organized trips to university campuses to spread a broader understanding of transgender identity.

"When people have accepted us, then our lives will be better, both in terms of education and work," Ratri explained.

Arif Nuh Safri, a scholar at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University who preaches at the school, said everyone deserved the opportunity to worship and study Islam freely.

"Transgender [people], although often mocked and considered inappropriate to praying, also have a desire to be close to God," he said.

Full report at:

https://www.dailysabah.com/life/2017/09/12/marginalized-transgender-indonesian-society-study-islam

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India

 

Convince Myanmar to end violence against Rohingyas, B'desh urges India

Indrani Bagchi

Sep 12, 2017

NEW DELHI: "India has good relations with Myanmar - we are both members of BIMSTEC. India must emphasize to Myanmar that conditions must be created so that these refugees can return to their country. India can call for the immediate implementation of the Kofi Annan report," said Syed Muazzem Ali, Bangladesh high commissioner to India as Bangladesh grapples with a huge influx of refugees- which now total 6,70,000 - in the midst of one of the worst floods in recent years.

The Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali proposed a plan of action to tackle the crisis. This includes asking Myanmar to stop the violence in Rakhine province, create safe zones to protect civilians "irrespective of ethnicity and religion". "Myanmar must engage with Bangladesh to ensure repatriation of all of its nationals living in Bangladesh through international joint verification as also proposed by the Kofi Annan Commission," the Bangla envoy said.

Muazzem Ali conveyed Bangladesh's concerns regarding what they saw as India's unhelpful stand on the issue during PM's visit to Myanmar. "I explained to the foreign secretary that we have no hesitation in decrying the terrorist attack that was launched against the security forces of Mynamar. We condemned in the strongest possible terms. My prime minister has emphasized that Bangladesh would show zero tolerance to any acts of terrorism and Bangladesh could not be allowed to be used by anyone for any terrorist acts."

Bangladesh's response coincides with the UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, roundly criticizing Myanmar, calling the ongoing violence "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing." "The Myanmar government should stop pretending that the Rohingyas are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages," saying "another brutal security operation is underway in Rakhine state this time, apparently on a far greater scale." Unconfirmed reports also said the biggest militant group, ARSA, has announced a month-long ceasefire for aid agencies to access people in Rakhine.

He said "Bangladesh had offered to Myanmar if necessary joint patrols on our border. But we did not get any response from Myanmar." In the weeks before the August 25 terror attack, "security agencies of both India and Bangladesh had alerted Myanmar about an impending attack, because we saw some activities in this area, and intercepted some telephone calls."

India had stood by Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar leadership criticizing the August 25 violence as a terrorist attack, at a time when Suu Kyi has come under widespread international condemnation, including calls to rescind her Nobel peace prize. But this stand played very badly in Bangladesh, India's other strategic ally, which has borne the brunt of the Rohingya exodus. India changed its stance on Saturday evening acknowledging Bangladesh's position on the issue.

"I believe we have seen in the past that the security concerns of this issue must be given due consideration," Muazzem Ali said. Myanmar, "must distinguish between terrorist suspects and civilian population. It has led to a mass exodus - 270,000 have taken shelter with us, and I am sure they will go to various other countries as well. I am given to understand by very high officials here that a very large number of them have also entered your country."

The issue of Rohingya refugees is a problem in BJP-ruled India, but it comes directly in conflict with India's position as a leading power in the region. India has found some 40,000 Rohingyas who have settled in different parts of India, but worryingly for the government, in Jammu and Kashmir. Some ministers have spoken of deporting them, but Myanmar does not want them, neither does anyone else. Indian officials say the security implications of this influx cannot be overstated given reports that Rohingyas have been infiltrated and radicalized by terror groups in Pakistan.

The Bangladesh foreign minister also put out a set of proposals for the international community. "The root of the Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar. Therefore the ultimate solution has to be found in Myanmar," Ali said. "The international community must pressure Myanmar to implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Commission and help Bangladesh with urgent humanitarian assistance to address the current crisis as well as for temporary relocation of Rohingyas that entered Bangladesh to Bhashan Char." The resolution of the Rohingya crisis, Ali said, had to be political. "Otherwise, wittingly or unwittingly we get involved in a security problem, where certain parties, which are interested in destabilizing the region, will set foot in our neighbourhood." http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-must-work-to-change-myanmars-approach-to-rohingya-problem-bangladesh/articleshow/60471145.cms

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SC asks Allahabad HC CJ to appoint new observers for Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid site

Amit Anand Choudhary

Sep 11, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court to appoint two senior judicial officers as observers for Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid disputed site in view of retirement and elevation to HC of two judges of lower judiciary who had been performing the task since 2003.

Brushing aside the plea against appointment of new observers, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer said it was not proper to ask the high court judge to perform the function of observer and allowed the plea of the Allahabad HC asking the court to discharge S K Singh and TM Khan from their duty as observers. Singh has been elevated as HC judge and Khan demitted office after retirement.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Allahabad HC, placed before the bench a list of additional district judges of six districts— Faizabad, Basti, Gonda, Barabanki, Sultanpur and Ambedkar Nagar, adjoining the disputed site —and pleaded SC to select replacement of earlier observers. The apex court, however, left it for the chief justice of the high court to select the observers.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sc-asks-allahabad-hc-cj-to-appoint-new-observers-for-ram-mandir-babri-masjid-site/articleshow/60465918.cms

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AIMPLB campaigns to convey ‘right to practise Muslim personal law’

by Milind Ghatwai

September 12, 2017

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Monday announced a campaign to convey to the judiciary, top government functionaries and the law commission that Muslims believe in the Shariat and that their right to follow Muslim personal law, including the practice of talaq, must remain inviolate.

As part of the campaign, hundreds of women signed a form that read: “We respect the triple talaq verdict (but) we believe in Shariat and talaq is part of it. Any restriction on it will amount to denying us our right to practice Muslim personal law as given by the Constitution, and it should remain intact.’’ The signature drive was held during the first meeting of women organised by the AIMPLB since the Supreme Court ruling against instant triple talaq.

The campaign will also involve organising meetings of Muslim men and women across the country, after which resolutions will be passed and copies sent to the President, Prime Minister, judges, law commission and women’s commission to assert the community’s right to follow its personal laws.

On Sunday, the AIMPLB executive committee had accused the central government of trying to interfere in the community’s personal laws in the guise of showing sympathy for women. At the gathering at Iqbal Maidan here on Monday, speakers again accused the Centre of interfering in personal matters of the community. “A propaganda is on for the last three years to project Muslim women as the most oppressed and unhappy, but that’s not true. We are here to protect the Shariat,’’ a woman speaker said. She referred to Muslim women who celebrated the Supreme Court verdict as “rented”.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/aimplb-campaigns-to-convey-right-to-practise-muslim-personal-law-4839286/

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Rohingya Muslims posing threat to Myanmar’s integrity: Shiv Sena

September 11, 2017

The Shiv Sena on Monday alleged the Rohingya Muslim community posed a “threat to the integrity and security” of Myanmar, prompting “strong action” by the country’s government. It praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not entertaining calls by ‘bogus secularists’ to give shelter to Rohingya refugees.

An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on Monday also lashed out at sections of the Muslim community in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, for hitting the streets last Friday to protest atrocities on Rohingya Muslims. “Do the people who came out on streets even know where Myanmar is or what is happening in that country? Do they know anything about Rohingya issue?” it asked.

“The issue of Rohingya Muslims is Myanmar’s internal matter. Strong action is being taken against them as they have posed a threat to integrity and security,” it alleged.

“Rohingya Muslims follow the fatwas issued by Pakistan’s Azhar Masood (leader of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad) and sow the seeds of division by creating religious strife,” the editorial alleged.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rohingya-muslims-posing-threat-to-myanmars-integrity-shiv-sena-4838359/

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Rohingya crisis: Sikh volunteers reach Bangladesh-Myanmar border to provide langar to refugees

September 12, 2017

A team of volunteers from Sikh organisation Khalsa Aid reached Bangladesh-Myanmar border Sunday night to provide relief to the lakhs of Rohingya Muslim families fleeing Myanmar. Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Amarpreet Singh, managing director, Khalsa Aid, India who has reached Teknaf, a border town in Bangladesh where the refugees are living in the camps, said that condition at the border was “miserable to say the least”.

“It was our first day here today and we did a pre-assessment before launching a major relief operation. We had come prepared for providing relief to some 50,000 people, but there are more than three lakh refugees here. They are living without water, food, clothes and shelter. They are sitting wherever they can find a corner. It is raining, but people do not have anywhere to go. It is miserable to say the least. We will be providing them langar food (community kitchen) and shelter. We are arranging tarpaulins but since the number of refugees have overwhelmingly exceeded our preparations, it can some time to make arrangements,” he said.

He added that there were huge camps at Teknaf and each one was crowded beyond its capacity. “A camp can accommodate at least 50,000 people but in most of them there are more than one lakh refugees. But we are committed to run langar here (community here) till the crisis is not over. The priority is to not let anyone sleep without food. Children are roaming without clothes and begging for food. Those who do not get space in camps are sitting along roads in hope of getting food from someone,” he added.

Khalsa Aid team is now serving langar and water to the refugees. “Teknaf is almost 10 hours ride from the capital Dhaka from where we are ferrying all the material needed to prepare langar. Connectivity issues and rain are creating hindrances but we are trying our best to provide food to the maximum people at the earliest. The langar will continue here till crisis is not over and refugees continue to reach the border,” he added.

Another team of Khalsa Aid volunteers is expected to reach the border town Teknaf in coming days to assist in the relief operations, said Amarpreet.

Jeevanjyot Singh, a Khalsa Aid volunteer from Jammu & Kashmir who is also in Teknaf, said that refugees started from Myanmar by foot almost ten days back and then reached Teknaf through boats. “They are in an extremely bad state as of now. They have nowhere to go.

We have spoken to some families and they have told us that after crossing thick jungles on foot in Myanmar, they crossed border through boats and then resumed journey on foot. Most of them have traveled for more than ten days. Since then, children had no food or water. They are in dire need of food and water,” he said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rohingya-crisis-sikh-volunteers-reach-bangladesh-myanmar-border-to-provide-langar-to-refugees-4839349/

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Ladakh tense over Muslim-Buddhist ‘love jihad’ marriage

M Saleem Pandit

Sep 12, 2017

SRINAGAR: The Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) is up in arms against the PDP-BJP government in Jammu & Kashmir and has decided to approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the growing feud between Buddhists and Muslims. The discord appears to have intensified after a 30-year-old Buddhist woman married a 32-year-old Shia man last year after converting to Islam.

Top LBA official P T Kunzang told TOI that a Buddhist delegation has been seeking appointment with the PM to apprise him about the situation, but is not getting an audience with him.

The dominant feeling among the Buddhists here, who comprise a thin majority — around 51% of Ladakh's population to 49% Muslims — is that the state machinery is consistently ignoring instances of conversion of Buddhist girls to Islam through wedlock.

Murtaza Agha, 32, of Drass in Kargil, married Buddhist girl, who changed her name to Shifah after conversion, sometime in 2016. While Shifah wrote to Mehbooba stating that she had married Murtaza of her own volition as they had fallen in love while working in a Delhi-based NGO, the Buddhist association stresses that her consent was obtained under duress.

According to details available with Nayeema Mahajoor, chairperson of the state women's commission, Shifah had solemnized the marriage in Bangalore in 2016 after converting to Islam in 2015.

Meanwhile, the J&K high court has directed authorities not to harass the couple following a statement by the Buddhist woman before the court. However, Kunzang alleged that the government was cleansing the state of its Buddhists. "We will fight against this till the last drop of our blood," he said.

Young Buddhist girls, another Ladakhi official said, were being lured by Muslims in various parts of the region by posing as Buddhists. However, girls learn after marriage that they've married Muslims, the official said.

Since 2003, more than 45 girls have married Muslim boys and claim to have done so of their own free will. "They give such statements under threat," Kunzang alleged.

Contesting the narrative, Shifah and Murtaza, stationed at an unknown place in Srinagar, deposed before the women's commission that Shifa had converted t Islam in April 2015 at Kammanahalli in Karnataka. In support of her argument, the girl, whose Buddhist name was Saldon, forwarded an affidavit executed in Karnataka to that effect.

Shifah wrote in an affidavit in Srinagar that she had exercised her choice in marrying Murtaza on July 7. Even the high court had passed an order saying the petitioner "shall not be harassed".

Ladakh comprises two districts - Leh and Kargil - with a total of population of about 2,74,000. Nearly 49% of them are Muslims. However, according to Muslims, the conversions are not one-sided: many Muslim women too have converted to Buddhism.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ladakh-tense-over-muslim-buddhist-love-jihad-marriage/articleshow/60471076.cms

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Huge Rally In Kolkata By Muslim Outfits Demands Justice For Rohingyas

September 12, 2017

KOLKATA:  On a day the Indian government was "deplored" by UN agencies for planning to deport some 40,000 Rohingyas who have been sheltering in India for years a dozen organisations - most of them Muslim - took to the streets of Kolkata to protest what they called the  genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar.

At least 25,000 to 35,000 protesters marched from Park Circus to Rani Rashmoni Road - a distance of about 5 km - and paralysed traffic. The slogans, banners and posters condemned Aung Sang Suu Kyi as strongly as Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Myanmar last week but failing to raise the plight of the Rohingyas with the Nobel laureate.

"Mr Narendra Modi is destroying the Indian culture of sheltering helpless people. He wants to deport Rohingyas when they are being killed in their homeland. We will not allow it, we want to tell Mr Modi that," said Md Kamruzzaman of the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, one of the main organisers of Monday's mega rally.

The rally ended in a mega meeting at Rani Rashmoni Road where the event took on a further political twist. Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury arrived and sat on the dais, as did CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty. There was no one from the Trinamool.

One of the organisers of the meeting, Pirzada Toha Ali Siddiqi, claimed Trinamool MP Mukul Roy had been invited but did not show up. Mr Roy, as a matter of fact, spent the day at the CBI for the Narada case.

Mr Adhir Chowdhury told NDTV, "We are here to protest against the atrocities being perpetrated by the Myanmar government on Rohingyas. And the Centre's total insensitivity about the violence on the people."

Mr Sujan Chakraborty said, "Mr Modi did not raise the Rohingya issue with Aung Sang Suu Kyi deliberately. He is practicing divisive politics."

The Kolkata Police's Facebook page said "a religious procession" was causing a slowdown of traffic in many parts of the city. Asked if it was a religious procession one, Md Kamruzzam said, "This is a political rally. There is nothing religious about it. We want justice for Rohingyas."

A team of protesters went to the Myanmar consulate in Kolkata to submit a memorandum of demands.

Full report at:

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/huge-rally-in-kolkata-by-muslim-outfits-demands-justice-for-rohingyas-1748971

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MHA mulls crackdown on ‘radical’ Muslim outfit

Bharti Jain

Sep 12, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Centre is mulling a crackdown on 'radical' outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), including banning it under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, over alleged involvement of its cadres in terror activities, sources in the home ministry said on Monday.

"We have enough material on PFI's terror links. The time has come to act and carry out a crackdown on it," a senior home ministry official said days after the NIA submitted a dossier to the ministry detailing four terror cases in which its cadres have been chargesheeted or convicted under UAPA. The cases relate to chopping of a professor's hand in Idukki, Kerala; holding of a training camp in Kannur from where swords and country-made bombs were allegedly seized; murder of RSS leader Rudresh in Bengaluru; and the Islamic State Al-Hindi Module case in which accused from Kerala and Tamil Nadu planned to hit targets in south India.

The Times of India had on September 8 reported exclusive details of the NIA dossier.

The dossier termed as "radical" PFI's policy of recruiting only committed Muslim youth "who assiduously follow Islamic tenets" as well as their subsequent training with emotive clips of Babri Masjid demolition and communal riots aimed at instilling a sense of "Muslim persecution" in them.

"Thus the recruits are guided to a besieged state of mind and trained in martial arts in the guise of self-defence and defence of the community," it noted.

The NIA dossier states that PFI cadres are encouraged to act as guardians of Islamic values, "thus effectively transforming them into moral police". It further alleges that, Darul Khada, a PFI front comprising Muslim scholars, lawyers and social workers floated in 2009 by SDPI national chief E Aboobacker, is a parallel judiciary settling family problems, land and property disputes, personal issues and other grievances of Muslim community under 'shariah'. According to NIA, a Kerala-level declaration by Darul Khada in Malappuram in July 2009 had called upon Muslim community not to go to civil courts but present all their issues before it.

PFI leader P Koya, when contacted by TOI, clarified that while PFI believed in "identity politics" it did not work on sectarian lines. "NIA is trying to put across a false case against PFI. We have been around for 25 years but faced only a handful cases relating to sedition/UAPA. So where is the case for a terror ban?" he asked.

The NIA paper claimed PFI affiliate Sathyasarani Islamic Dawah Institute or Markazul Hidya headquartered at Manjeri, Kerala, was functioning virtually as a religious conversion center where "inmates were subjected to rigorous religious training and until their conversion to Islam is over, they were not permitted to have any interaction with people outside".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/centre-plans-crackdown-on-popular-front-of-india-over-alleged-terror-links/articleshow/60465817.cms

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Critical for India to empower Muslims through education: Islam

September 11, 2017

Many Muslims in India remain economically disadvantaged and for the country to achieve full potential it is critical to empower them through education, an eminent Indian-American philanthropist has said.

Frank Islam, while speaking at a gathering of Indian- Americans here to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Aligarh Muslim University founder Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, said, "In spite of the begrudging progress, too many Muslims in India remain socially, educationally and economically disadvantaged."

Noting that much has been accomplished in India, the entrepreneur said still much needs to be done and this was especially true for Muslims and other minorities.

Islam, an alumnus of the Aligarh Muslim University, said, "They confront hostility and open prejudice which in turn fuels frustration and desperations. The statistics on Muslims in poverty and without education there are stunning."

Too many Muslim families are trapped in poverty because of lack of education, Islam said.

"There is a critical need to empower Muslims through education in order for India to achieve its full potential," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/critical-for-india-to-empower-muslims-through-education-islam-117091101602_1.html

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Brics declaration to lead to more action against Pak-based terror groups: Russia

Sep 12, 2017

NEW DELHI: Russia has hailed the Xiamen Brics declaration and its naming of Pakistan-based terror groups as a victory for countries concerned about terrorism in the region.

Despite it being seen as defending Pakistan from pressure exerted on the latter by the US on the issue, Moscow's position on Islamabad has been quite nuanced as official sources here confirmed Russia worked actively with Beijing to convince it to drop its opposition to name-checking Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM).

The naming of these terror groups was seen by Indian officials as a major diplomatic breakthrough in Xiaman as Beijing had stalled all such attempts by both Russia and India during last Brics summit in Goa.

"We see the declaration and the naming of terror groups as an important breakthrough for countries who share concerns on terrorism in the region and we expect it to lead to more concrete action against such terrorist organisations," said a top Russian diplomat here, Sergey Karmalito, to TOI.?

After the naming of Jaish in the Brics declaration, which is an accused in both Pathankot and Uri terror attacks of 2016, the next logical step for India is to also get its chief Maulana Masod Azhar proscribed by the UN. China has continued to block all attempts to include Azhar in the UNSC sanctions list despite the fact that the organisation he continues to helm is blacklisted by the same Security Council.

Indian officials are now hoping that Moscow will be of help to India in convincing Beijing to give up its opposition to the ban on Azhar too. According to diplomatic sources, Moscow is of the view that on the limited issue of Azhar, China may in the near future come round to India's view that a ban on Azhar will indeed be a positive step in the fight against terrorism.

"Beijing knows it has limited bargaining power with Azhar. NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) and CPEC of course are different issues," said a source who did not wish to be quoted.

India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier this year publicly appealed to Russia to convince China to support India's NSG membership bid but Moscow is not hopeful of a breakthrough anytime soon. However, while there are concerns here about Moscow's attempts to engage Taliban in the Afghanistan peace process, Russia is also trying to involve India more in that process.

This is evident from the fact, as sources said, from a proposal by Moscow that President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov visit India soon. The visit could take place as early as October this year.

Kabulov is not the most popular Russian figure in India with some of his comments on peace and stability in the region seen here as a sign of Russia's growing strategic embrace of Islamabad. After President Trump attacked Pakistan while announcing his new Afghanistan policy, Kabulov responded by saying that putting pressure on Pakistan would only further destabilise the region.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/brics-declaration-to-lead-to-more-action-against-pak-based-terror-groups-russia/articleshow/60471111.cms

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India to offer more defence aid for Afghanistan

Sep 12, 2017

NEW DELHI: India will extend further assistance for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, the two countries announced after the 2nd round of their strategic partnership council meeting here.

Announcing the launch of a next generation New Development Partnership, India and Afghanistan also agreed to take up 116 High Impact Community Development Projects to be implemented in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, including in the areas of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure, administrative infrastructure.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said India's relationship with Afghanistan is an "article of faith" for India and that the two countries remained united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries.

Addressing a joint press meet after co-chairing the meeting with Swaraj, Afghan foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani said India and Afghanistan had agreed to strengthen security cooperation.

"India has further agreed to provide assistance to Afghan national defence forces," he said. Afghanistan has long been pressing for greater Indian assistance in defence supplies and capacity building. He also asserted that his country's friendship with India does not mean hostility to any other country and added that it is not a zero-sum game.

The Afghan leader noted that India and Afghanistan were victims of terrorism and violent extremism. He also spoke about terror acts by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed which were threatening the region's stability.

The two sides inked four pacts after the meeting, including a motor vehicles agreement and a fresh document on India's development assistance.

"Noting that terrorism presented the greatest threat to peace, stability and progress of the region and beyond, they called for an end to all forms of support, state sponsorship, safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists against Afghanistan,'' said a joint statement issued after the meeting.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-to-offer-more-defence-aid-for-afghanistan/articleshow/60471140.cms

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Pakistan

 

Myanmar's Buddhist leader is a coward, unlike bin Laden: JeM

12-Sep-17

by Marvi Sirmed

ISLAMABAD: The latest issue of Jaish-e-Mohammad's (JeM) weekly magazine Al-Qalam lashes out at the extremist Buddhist monk who has been labelled as 'Buddhist bin Laden' by global media.

"This Buddhist terrorist is called 'bin Laden of Buddhism', while he is in fact 'bin rat'," says the leading column, which regularly appears in every issue of the Al-Qalam and is reportedly authored by the proscribed organisation's emir Masood Azhar.

JeM's tirade against the ultra nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu is because of his instigation of Myanmar's Buddhist nationalists to massacre and push out Rohingya Muslims. Castigating Wirathu, the article spells out the difference between bin Laden and Wirathu. "Bin Laden was a lion who came out to help the helpless, while Wirathu is just a dog who is barking while sitting in the comforts of his home," the article says. "Bin Laden was a brave and fearless man who challenged global imperialism on its face, while Wirathu is a lowly coward who is attacking unarmed civilians."

This is why, the authors goes on, Wirathu needs to be called 'bin rat' rather than Buddhist bin Laden for he has nothing in common with a brave man like bin Laden.

The author of the article, Saadi (which is reportedly the pen name of JeM head Masood Azhar), describes Wirathu as the 'key anti-Islam figure in Myanmar', the 'Buddhist terrorist' and 'a barbarian'. Eulogising bin Laden, the author calls him "a highly ethical brave man who never violated his county's minorities and rather helped the poor not only in his own country but in whatever he lived in". "Wirathu on the other hand is attacking a minority of his country and brutally killing them," he adds.

He goes on to warn Myanmar of dire consequences if Rohingya killings continue. Muslims will, he says, crush Wirathu for "committing barbaric terrorism against Muslims". In the last section, the author pays tribute to Rohingya Muslims for offering sacrifice to awaken the Muslim ummah and calls upon the Muslim world to do whatever every Muslim could. The article ends with an invitation to the Muslims to join the cause. "All Muslims of the world must unite for this cause. We have to do something. And do it urgently. Myanmar's soil is earnestly waiting for the thumping sound of the footsteps of the conquerors."

Ashin Wirathu is a revered Buddhist monk in Myanmar, who has been inciting violence against Muslims throughout the country, invoking ultra nationalist sentiments and creating a dire human rights situation. Despite the outcry from international human rights organisations, Wirathu continues to give passionate sermons from his Mandalay base calling on Buddhists to stand up against the "Muslim threat". "I believe Islam is a threat not just to Buddhism, but to the [Burmese] people and the country," The Telegraph quoted Wirathu as saying. In July 2013, Time magazine labelled him as the "Face of Buddhist terror", on its cover. In 2015, the extremist monk was condemned by UN's Human Rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein for his sexist comments against a UN envoy. Wirathu had called Yanghee Lee, special rapporteur on Myanmar, a 'bit** and wh***' for her comments in defence of Rohingya Muslims.

The latest JeM statement is not the first one from a proscribed organisation listed as terror outfit by the UN as well Pakistan's government. On September 4, Afghan Taliban issued a strong statement on Rohingya Muslims urging the Muslims worldwide to keep the Rohingya Muslims in their thoughts. "Gird up your loins for the defence, rescue, sanctuary and every type of aid to them and perform your obligation of Islamic empathy towards them," the statement said.

Moreover, Jabhat-ul-Nusra and AQAP, the al Qaeda's offshoots in Syria and Yemen, have also called the "Muslim ummah around the world" for retaliatory attacks against Myanmar in particular and Buddhists in general. The sentiment against the Buddhism is conspicuous in the latest publication of JeM as well.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/12-Sep-17/myanmars-buddhist-leader-is-a-coward-unlike-bin-laden-jem

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US sanctions to hurt counter-terror efforts: Abbasi

September 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said it would be counter-productive for the United States to sanction Pakistani officials or further cut military assistance, warning it would hurt both the countries’ fight against militancy.

Islamabad-Washington relations have frayed since President Donald Trump last month set out a new Afghanistan policy and criticised Pakistan as a fickle ally that gives safe haven to “agents of chaos” by “harbouring” the Afghan Taliban and other militants. The US has already begun conditioning future aid to Pakistan on progress Islamabad makes in tackling the Haqqani network who it alleges have helped the Taliban carry out deadly attacks inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies hosting militant sanctuaries, and Islamabad bristles at claims it has not done enough to tackle militancy, noting it has borne the brunt of violence in the so-called war on terror, suffering more than 60,000 casualties since 2001.

PM Abbasi said any targeted sanctions by Washington against Pakistani military and intelligence officials would not help US counter-terrorism efforts. “We are fighting the war against terror, anything that degrades our effort will only hurt the US effort,” Premier Abbasi said in an interview with Reuters in Islamabad on Monday. “What does it achieve?”

US officials privately say the targeted sanctions would be aimed at Pakistani officials with ties to extremist groups and are part of an array of options being discussed to pressure Pakistan to change its behaviour, including further aid cuts.

Washington’s civilian and military assistance to Pakistan was less than $1 billion in 2016, down from a recent peak of $3.5 billion in 2011, and PM Abbasi warned that Washington will not achieve its counter-terrorism aims by starving Pakistan of funds.

“If the military aid cuts degrade our effort to fight war on terror, who does it help?” he said. “Whatever needs to be done here, it needs to be a cooperative effort.”

The prime minister said one practical side-effect of military aid cuts and US Congress blocking the sale of subsidised F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan will be to force Islamabad to buy weapons from China and Russia. “We’ve had to look at other options to maintain our national defensive forces,” he added.

The Trump administration’s tougher stance is seen as pushing Islamabad closer to Beijing, which has pledged about $60 billion in roads, rail and power infrastructure in Pakistan as part of its ambitious Belt and Road initiative to build vast land and sea trade routes linking Asia with Europe and Africa.

“We have a major economic relationship with [China], we have a major military relationship since the 1960s, so that’s definitely one of our options,” he said.

Abbasi went on to add it was “unfair” to blame Pakistan for all the troubles in Afghanistan, saying Washington should show more appreciation for Pakistan’s losses from militancy and its role in hosting 3.5 million Afghan refugees.

Afghan-based militants, the premier said, have also launched cross-border attacks on civilians and military in the country, prompting Pakistan to begin investing “several billion dollars” to fence the disputed and porous 2,500km border. “We intend to fence the whole border to control that situation.”

Responding to a question, Abbasi said Islamabad was looking at a raft of measures to alleviate current account pressures to avoid going back to the IMF, including reducing imports of luxury goods, boosting exports, and possibly devaluing its currency.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is a staunch opponent of a weaker rupee – whose level against the dollar is effectively controlled by the central bank – but Abbasi said it had been discussed. “There are pros and cons to devaluation, but that could be a decision we take,” he said, adding that any devaluation would not be drastic, and “today, it’s not on the table yet”.

Abbasi, who has hinted his former boss remains the power behind the throne by repeatedly calling him “the people’s prime minister”, said the three-time premier remains hugely popular despite his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28.

“Politics is not decided in courts,” said Abbasi, who was jailed along with Nawaz Sharif after the 1999 military coup. “Politically, Nawaz Sharif is stronger today than he was on July 28.”

The prime minister is also pushing ahead with a wide-ranging tax reform agenda before the elections.

The ruling PML-N is looking for cross-party support for the reforms, but Abbasi said radical changes would require an integrated approach, including building confidence among taxpayers, reducing income taxes and making it less attractive to invest in a real estate sector that attracts black money. “You not only need to have a stick, you need to have a carrot also,” he added.

From page 1

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is a staunch opponent of a weaker rupee – whose level against the dollar is effectively controlled by the central bank – but Abbasi said it had been discussed. “There are pros and cons to devaluation, but that could be a decision we take,” he said, adding that any devaluation would not be drastic, and “today, it’s not on the table yet”.

Abbasi, who has hinted his former boss remains the power behind the throne by repeatedly calling him “the people’s prime minister”, said the three-time premier remains hugely popular despite his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28. “Politics is not decided in courts,” said Abbasi, who was jailed along with Nawaz Sharif after the 1999 military coup. “Politically, Nawaz Sharif is stronger today than he was on July 28.”

The prime minister is also pushing ahead with a wide-ranging tax reform agenda before the elections.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Sep-2017/us-sanctions-to-hurt-counter-terror-efforts-abbasi

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Pakistan supports regional peace efforts: COAS

September 12, 2017

RAWALPINDI - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa reached Australia on Monday on a two-day official visit.

According to an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement, the COAS was invited for the visit by the Australian Army Chief. Upon arrival at the Defence Forces Headquarters in Canberra, General Bajwa was given a tri-service guard of honour. He called on Australian Army Chief Lieutenant General Angus J Campbell and the Naval Chief Vice Admiral Timothy Barrett.

Later, the COAS also met Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne AR at Australian Parliament House.

During the meetings with Australian military and civilian leadership, the COAS highlighted regional security situation and Pakistan Army’s contributions towards peace and stability.

He said that Pakistan would continue supporting all peace efforts, but it expected that its security concerns were also addressed.  He said that Pakistan had improved security situation and had a key role in regional economy.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Sep-2017/pakistan-supports-regional-peace-efforts-coas

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NA demands of UN to send peace mission to Myanmar

September 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on Monday, while strongly raising its voice for Rohingyas, demanded that the United Nations sent a peace mission to Myanmar to stop the genocide of innocent Muslims.

Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi came under severe criticism for not playing the role expected of her. Lawmakers proposed concerned authorities to revoke her peace prize.

The MNAs in their recommendations and suggestions floated the idea to donate a month’s salary of theirs to provide relief to Rohingya Muslims.

Some of them called upon Bangladesh to change its attitude towards Rohingya Muslims and grant them status of international refugees.

The role of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was criticised for not bringing any positive change for the Muslims of Myanmar. The debate on the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar will continue till Wednesday (tomorrow), as many lawmakers from various political parties are yet to share their point of view.

The house will also adopt a resolution on this matter. Initiating the debate, PTI’s Shireen Mazari proposed to the government to ask the United Nations (UN) to send peace mission to Myanmar to stop genocide of innocent Muslims.

She suggested that all Muslim-majority countries should also give assistance for those Muslims. “They need to be declared as international criminals for genocide as this is not mere violence,” said Mazari, suggesting that arms sale by some countries used for the killing of those Muslims needed to be immediately stopped.

She also criticised Aung San Suu Kyi for not playing a “positive role”. PPP’s Shazia Marri, on her turn, strongly criticised Aung San Suu Kyi for terming the atrocities of Rohigya Muslims “fake news”.

“She [Aung San Suu Kyi] should have accepted her helplessness but she termed it ‘fake news’,” Marri said. The PPP lawmaker further proposed a parliamentary delegation should visit Myanmar and share the atrocities with the house.

“Government should not only raise its voice in UN but also make its lobby compel the body to take action,” she said.

JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman said peace prize should be “snatched” from Aung San Suu Kyi.

About OIC’s role, Rahman remarked that they did not have much expectation from the OIC.

“OIC is itself in ICU,” he said.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) parliamentary leader Sahibzada Tariqullah proposed to give one-month’s salary of all the parliamentarians to Rohingya Muslims.  He stressed the need for taking practical steps to end the atrocities.

Other lawmakers also strongly criticised Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

They also suggested to set up a fund for the Rohingyas. They said that all the Muslim-majority countries should provide space and support to the Rohingyas. The MNAs mainly focused on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Sep-2017/na-demands-of-un-to-send-peace-mission-to-myanmar

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Pakistan, Iran stress joint efforts for peace in Afghanistan

12-Sep-17

TEHRAN/ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Kh Asif Monday called on Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and exchanged views on the latest regional situation and different aspects of the bilateral relations in wake of the recent policy announced by US President Donald Trump, a statement released by the foreign ministry said.

Both leaders “discussed strengthening of brotherly relations between the two countries rooted in common history, culture and people-to-people ties and reaffirmed the mutual desire to strengthen bilateral cooperation,” the Foreign Office (FO) said. In a more comprehensive meeting, the foreign ministers of Iran and Pakistan discussed “bilateral relations and the prevailing regional situation, including efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

They agreed that only a political solution could bring peace in Afghanistan and underscored the importance of countries in the region in peace efforts.

The foreign minister expressed Pakistan’s commitment to strengthening relations between the two countries and emphasised the need to focus on promoting trade, economic cooperation and connectivity. Zarif reaffirmed Iran’s desire to deepen relations with Pakistan in trade, investment, connectivity and border management among other fields, the statement said. “They shared deep concern over human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir and atrocities in Burma, agreeing on the need for urgent humanitarian efforts for Rohingya Muslims,” the statement said. Earlier, talking to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) at the Islamabad airport before leaving for Tehran, Kh Asif said that neighbours of Afghanistan need to agree on a common approach towards Afghanistan problem. “Basically my main purpose of the visit to Iran is to evolve some consensus amongst the neighbours of Afghanistan, because peace in Afghanistan will have a comprehensive effect on the rest of the region,” he said.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/12-Sep-17/pakistan-iran-stress-joint-efforts-for-peace-in-afghanistan

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SC verdicts not meant to please, settle scores: chief justice of Pakistan

Nasir Iqbal

September 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD: In an apparent response to criticism of the Panama Papers verdict by a particular political party, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said on Monday the Supreme Court did not write judgements to please or settle scores.

“We serve the people of Pakistan and we serve the Constitution of Pakistan to the best of our understanding and ability… we render judgements in the fine scales of justice,” the chief justice observed during his speech at the beginning of the new judicial year 2017-18.

Though most of the speakers did not mention the Panama Papers verdict specifically, the decision cast a shadow over the event, as many alluded to it in their speeches.

In his address, the chief justice highlighted how the Constitution provided a system of governance to be run through three organs of the state — the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

The Constitution was supreme and each organ of the state had to perform its duties and functions in accordance with the constitutional scheme, the chief justice said, adding that the most vital aspect of a true democracy was the rule of law, for which the independence of judiciary was essential.

An independent judiciary administered justice according to the dictates of the Constitution and the law, ensuring the protection of fundamental rights to achieve the ultimate goal of ensuring social, economic and political justice, he said.

Independence of the judiciary meant that judges must be independent from all kinds of influences from any side, be it the executive, or by any other person or authority in the echelons of power, he added.

Under the Constitution, the judiciary was vested with power to undertake judicial review whenever any authority or functionary of the state acted against the Constitution or the law, the chief justice said, in what was seen as a veiled reference to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“An official action or act that violated any of the provisions of the Constitution or the law, reflecting arbitrariness, always results in mis-governance, non-governance and consequently, injustice,” he said.

The prevalence of injustice thus resulted in the denial and infringement of rights of the citizens, which in turn led to chaos and anarchy in society, the chief justice cautioned.

Thus, the chief justice said, it was necessary to uphold the rule of law by all means, with a view to ushering in peace and progress and allowing for the physical and spiritual growth of society.

But Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf was of the view that recent events did not augur well for the trichotomy of powers, which he termed as being essential for the development of Pakistan’s constitutional democracy. “We witnessed firsthand a confluence of these factors when political issues were brought before this court, leaving parties without the right of appeal,” he maintained, referring to the absence of any appeal mechanism for cases heard by the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

“The last twelve months have also exposed another kind of divide that strikes at the integrity of our legal processes in the eyes of the international legal community and one that we all must commit ourselves to bridge,” the attorney general said.

“In an ever-increasing number, international courts and tribunals have commented upon the orders passed by our judiciary and have found that international best practices have not been adhered to.”

“Some of the judgements by our courts have led to proceedings before international [forums] that, in turn, have awarded damages to investors in billions of dollars, and billions more are pending in claims against the state,” the AG lamented.

“Emerging economic literature informs us that quality of judicial performance impacts economic prosperity and is a key factor in investment decisions. Countries with robust judiciary structures attract more investment and grow more rapidly than those with weak judicial systems,” he maintained.

At a time when Pakistan was emerging from a decade of sluggish economic growth, the courts had a role to play in sustaining and encouraging the modest but rising rate of economic growth and development.

Referring to the expanding media role, the attorney general expressed the hope that it would not transform into a parallel ‘People’s court’, saying that this trend ought to be checked without compromising constitutional guarantees.

Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Mohammad Ahsan Bhoon regretted that the superior judiciary was subjected to criticism without reasoning over the Panama Papers judgement, despite the fact that many facts were available on the record. However, he expressed confidence that the verdict would eventually become a hallmark in the annals of history.

He also expressed the confidence that the principles developed through the judgement would also help bring other institutions, which enjoyed sanctity, into the net of accountability.

He also mentioned the tragic 1979 SC judgement that led to the hanging of an elected prime minister — a verdict which later earned notoriety as a judicial murder.

Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBA) President Rasheed A. Rizvi was bitter about the inclusion of Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials in the Joint Investigation Team that probed money laundering allegations against the Sharif family.

Citing the Asghar Khan case to highlight military interference in the 1996 general elections, the SCBA president regretted that inviting military agencies to play a role in a case of political sensitivity inevitably led to finger-pointing, not only at the military but also at the court.

“This bar does not believe that the only independent and honest people capable of an impartial inquiry against a sitting government belong to the armed forces,” he said.

Admitting that corruption was a massive challenge that eroded governance, merit and efficiency in the system, he said the judiciary had to stand up and fight this menace. In order to preserve its own reputation, it should be seen to do so impartially, he maintained, adding that the Panama Papers case filed by Imran Khan should not be the last such matter.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1357105/sc-verdicts-not-meant-to-please-settle-scores-chief-justice-of-pakistan

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Passengers faint aboard Karachi-bound Saudi flight

Tooba Masood

September 12, 2017

KARACHI: A Karachi-bound flight from Madina put passengers at risk when it took off with a faulty air-conditioning system over the weekend, delaying their arrival by more than three hours.

Sources claim that many pilgrims fainted on board due to suffocation and a rise in cabin temperature.

A video confirming this went viral on social media on Monday when a verified Twitter account @airlivenet posted a video of passengers passing out in front of the plane’s marked exits. The initial video which was shared by an on-board passenger shows people fanning themselves with leaflets while some elderly men passed out in front of the exit.

Cabin fever

The Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV-706 was scheduled to arrive in Karachi in the afternoon on Saturday bringing home Haj pilgrims but was unable to do so on time due to unknown reasons.

According to passengers, mostly women and children, they learnt that the air-conditioning was not working on board after they sat down in the aircraft. Many complained to the airline’s staff and were told that the issue would be fixed before they took off. However, a passenger said, that this did not happen for the duration of their flight.

Standard operating procedure suggests that an aircraft can make an emergency landing due to a medical emergency or problem.

A source at Karachi airport confirmed that the incident took place.

He said that the cabin crew learnt about a technical problem after all passengers had boarded the aircraft.

Due to this issue [which interfered with the air-conditioning], he explained, the plane did not take off for an hour or so. “Eventually the crew decided that it would be best to continue with the flight, hoping that the air-conditioning would start working soon,” he added.

Fasten your seatbelts

Sarah Iqbal and her husband were flying back to Karachi on SV-706 to collect their children from her parent’s before heading home to Doha.

“We were scheduled to depart at 13.30 Saudi time but the flight was delayed by two hours. While waiting on board we learnt that the aircraft’s cooling was not working and they needed time to get the cabin temperature down,” she said while talking to Dawn. “After half an hour they started boarding more than 300 Hajis. We were in the hangar tunnel and noticed that the air hostess was sweating profusely and welcoming the passengers on board — their makeup with melting off their faces but they didn’t really have a choice,” she added.

After she found her seat, Ms Iqbal claimed that it was quite warm inside the plane. “The cabin crew and their supervisor told us that the air-conditioning would start working once we were in the air,” she said.

“We eventually took off at 16.30pm and it was boiling. The AC vents were exhaling hot air. People started getting very restless and kept getting up from their seats and complaining.

‘‘The supervisor rudely told them to wait another half an hour. After flying for about 45 minutes, elderly ladies started to lose consciousness and others were feeling dizzy due to the temperature and confined space,” she explained.

“Doctors who were on the plane helped revive the passengers who had fainted. We later found out that the air-conditioning was working fine in the cockpit.

‘‘The crew also asked the families of passengers who had fainted to sign a declaration that the airline was not responsible for the medical conditions and when they refused, the crew started to misbehave,” she added.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1357115/passengers-faint-aboard-karachi-bound-saudi-flight

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Stakeholders fail to agree on Fata-KP merger

September 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions revealed on Monday that none of the stakeholders were willing to take responsibility for the complete merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Members of the committee discussed the Fata reforms and the proposed Rewaj Bill to replace the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) for over two months, but failed to agree and continued to offer contradictory ideas over the procedures to merge Fata with KP. While three special invitees supported the abolishment of the proposed Rewaj Bill and called for implementation of Pakistani laws in Fata with immediate effect, some members even called for implementation of Sharia laws in the tribal areas to replace the FCR and others demanded establishment of another committee to discuss the matter.

However, briefing the committee Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch said that the government has discussed the matter with all the stakeholders for more than two years and the Rewaj Bill has been formulated to address the concerns of local Fata residents.

“There were many things in the FCR like speedy justice but our system has a very slow process, therefore, a sudden change might be unacceptable to ordinary citizens,” he said. “We have had meetings and even the army chief attended a recent meeting to express support for the merger of Fata with KP and its mainstreaming.”

However, members belonging to the JUI-F stressed the need for further discussion over the matter on the ground that any decision taken in haste would ruin the lives of future generations of the people of Fata.

While the minister repeatedly stressed that the decision was to be taken by the committee and parliament, Shahabuddin Khan, PML-N MNA from Bajaur Agency, decried his own party leadership saying that Fata could be merged with KP with a presidential order.

“You are wasting time and this is delaying development works as well as the future of our youth,” he added.

He, along with Sajid Turi and Shah Jee Gul Afridi, called for scrapping the idea of Rewaj Bill and early merger of Fata with KP.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1357117/stakeholders-fail-to-agree-on-fata-kp-merger

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Five soldiers injured in Mohmand Agency landmine blast

Abdullah Malik

September 11, 2017

Five security officials were injured in Mohmand Agency's Khwazai Bazai Tehsil of the Koda Khel area on Monday when a security forces vehicle hit a landmine, sources said.

The injured who were identified as Havaldar Ismail, Lance Naik Asif, Lance Naik Khan Wali, Lance Naik Idris and Sepoy Kashif were shifted via helicopters to Peshawar, the security sources said.

A search operation is underway. No arrests have been reported so far.

A number of landmine explosions have targeted security forces in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), with at least three people killed in Mohmand Agency earlier this month.

Cellphone services — suspended in the agency earlier this year — continue to remain suspended owing to the precarious security situation in the area.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1356996/five-soldiers-injured-in-mohmand-agency-landmine-blast

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Aid cuts will hurt US more: Abbasi

12-Sep-17

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday said it would be counter-productive for the United States to sanction Pakistani officials or further cut military assistance, warning it would hurt both countries’ fight against militancy.

“We are fighting the war against terror, anything that degrades our effort will only hurt the US effort,” Abbasi said in an interview in Islamabad on Monday. “What does it achieve?” he said, adding that any targeted sanctions by Washington against Pakistani military and intelligence officials would not help US counter-terrorism efforts.

US-Pakistan relations have frayed since President Donald Trump last month set out a new Afghanistan policy and lashed out at nuclear-armed Pakistan as a fickle ally that gives safe haven to ‘agents of chaos’ by harbouring the Afghan Taliban and other militants.

The United States has already begun conditioning future aid to Pakistan on progress Islamabad makes in tackling the Haqqani network, who it alleges are Pakistan-based and have helped the Taliban carry out deadly attacks inside Afghanistan.

Washington’s civilian and military assistance to Pakistan was less than $1 billion in 2016, down from a recent peak of $3.5 billion in 2011, and Abbasi warned that Washington will not achieve its counter-terrorism aims by starving Pakistan of funds. “If the military aid cuts degrade our effort to fight war on terror, who does it help?” he said. “Whatever needs to be done here, it needs to be a cooperative effort.”

Abbasi said one practical side-effect of military aid cuts and US Congress blocking the sale of subsidized F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan will be to force Islamabad to buy weapons from China and Russia. “We’ve had to look at other options to maintain our national defensive forces,” he said.

“We have a major economic relationship with (China), we have a major military relationship since the 1960s, so that’s definitely one of our options,” he said.

Abbasi said it was “unfair” to blame Pakistan for all the troubles in Afghanistan, saying Washington should show more appreciation for Pakistan’s losses from militancy and its role in hosting 3.5 million Afghan refugees.

He added that Afghan-based militants have also launched cross-border attacks on civilians and military in Pakistan, prompting Pakistan to begin investing ‘several billion dollars’ to fence the porous 2,500 km border.

“We intend to fence the whole border to control that situation,” Abbasi added.

Abbasi also faces growing headwinds on the economy ahead of a general election, likely in mid-2018. He said Islamabad was looking at a raft of measures to alleviate current account pressures to avoid going back to the IMF, including reducing imports of luxury goods, boosting exports, and possibly devaluing its currency.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is a staunch opponent of a weaker rupee - whose level against the dollar is effectively controlled by the central bank - but Abbasi said it had been discussed. “There are pros and cons to devaluation, but that could be a decision we take,” he said, adding that any devaluation would not be drastic, and “today, it’s not on the table yet.”

Abbasi, who has hinted his former boss remains the power behind the throne by repeatedly calling him ‘the people’s prime minister’, said the three-time premier remains hugely popular despite his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28. “Politics is not decided in courts,” said Abbasi, who was jailed along with Sharif after the 1999 military coup. “Politically, Nawaz Sharif is stronger today than he was on July 28.”

Abbasi is also pushing ahead with a wide-ranging tax reform agenda before the elections - a tough task in a nation that has one of the world’s lowest tax-to-GDP ratios and where tax evasion is rampant and often culturally acceptable.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/12-Sep-17/aid-cuts-will-hurt-us-more-abbasi

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NAB bent upon proving Nawaz a saint: Siraj

September 12, 2017

LAHORE - Addressing the Ehtesab March organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami from the Punjab capital to Islamabad on Monday, the Ameer, JI, Senator Sirajul Haq said that the NAB was bent upon proving ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a saint like Asif Ali Zardari.

The performance of the NAB so far had been totally disappointing as it had given a clean chit to Zardari although he owned dozens of off-shore companies and now NAB was trying to strike a deal with Nawaz Sharif, he said while addressing the participants of the march at Data Darbar, the starting point.

The Ehtesab March was given a warm send off at Data Darbar.

Besides JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch, Dr Farid Ahmed Piracha, Hafiz Sajid Anwar, JI Information Secretary Amirul Azeem, Javed Kasuri, were also present on the occasion.

At Kala Shah Kaku, the members of the National Labour Federation garlanded the participants of the march.

Sirajul Haq said that the ouster of Nawaz Sharif had not helped solve the problem of corruption being faced by the nation which wanted accountability of all those who had plundered public money.

He said had Nawaz Sharif volunteered his resignation, it would have been respectable for him.

He further said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar should have stepped down after a reference had been filed against him.

The JI chief said the masses wanted the plunderers to be behind the bars.

He said that until and unless, the 436 persons named in the Panama leaks besides those rendering the banks bankrupt and the sugar and the drug mafias were brought to accountability, the JI would not rest.

He declared that the JI would not like the process of Ehtesab to be made a joke.

He said that till the time people like Zardari, Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif were made to face the law, the cancer of corruption would continue to spread further.

The participants of the March were accorded a rousing welcome at on reaching Gujranwala.

The JI chief was conducted to the Sheranwala Bagh in a horse driven coach.

Addressing the large gathering at the spot, the JI chief said that oppressive feudal lords and capitalists, who were actually the forces of the status quo,  had been ruling the country for the last 70 years and had been sucking the blood of the poor and plundering the public money with both hands.

He said that while the labourers and workers worked day and night, the feudal lords and factory owners were reaping the fruit of their hard work.

The poor labourer remained from hand to mouth even after working all the day long while the common man was deprived of the basic facilities of education, health and employment, he said.

On the other hand, he said, that the rulers had built palaces within the country and abroad through their ill gotten wealth.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Sep-2017/nab-bent-upon-proving-nawaz-a-saint-siraj

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Three miners die of suffocation in Harnai

September 12, 2017

Quetta - Three coal-miners suffocated due to presence of poisonous gas in a coalfield on Monday in Balochistan’s north east Harnai district. According to the Levies sources, the trapping of lethal gas deadly incident was reported in Harnai’s Hazara Dam area’s native coal-mine where three coal-miners died of asphyxiation in the mine. The bodies were later retrieved by their colleagues. The bodies were shifted to Harnai Civil Hospital for medico-legal formalities, where Medical Officer Juma Khan Buzdar confirmed the death of three coal-miners which he said was caused by poisonous gas. On Sept 8 four coal-miners died of suffocation due to the lethal gas inside a coal-mine in Quetta's Sanjdi area while two other miners were fell unconscious.  The law enforcement agencies personnel prevented other miners from working and sealed the coal-mine for precautionary measures.

The deaths of poor miners speak volumes of awful conditions of coalfields in Balochistan where no precautionary measures are undertaken for the safety of miners.

“Around 100 coal-miners lose their lives each year due to inadequate safety measures in Balochistan,” said an organisation official working for the rights of miners.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Sep-2017/three-miners-die-of-suffocation-in-harnai

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Europe

 

UK protesters urge end to Myanmar’s ‘genocide’ of Rohingya

Sep 11, 2017

Hundreds of activists have staged a rally in London to protests Myanmar’s ongoing crackdown of Rohingya Muslims, asking the government of UK Prime Minister Theresa may to take urgent action in order to end the “silent genocide.”

Around 200 people gathered outside government offices at 10 Downing Street over the weekend, carrying banners and chanting slogans that condemned the Myanmar government’s actions.

Chanting “Stop Rohingya Genocide,” the protesters said London needed to act using its status as a permanent member at the UN Security Council.

“This is anger! We are expressing our anger against the Burmese government who is doing genocide against our people,” Nurul Islam, president of Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.

“We want to draw the attention of the UK government, being a member of the [UN] Security Council and a powerful country,” he added.

Holding graphic photos of the women and children brutally killed by the Myanmar army on a daily basis, the protesters said London needed to go further than just condemning the murderous rampage and review its ties with the Southeast Asian country.

The UK has sold over £500,000 worth of weapons to the Myanmar government in the last three years.

“We don’t want to live a life of humiliation as refugees and as beggars in Bangladesh or elsewhere. We want to live in our own homeland and die in our homeland,” Islam said.

Myanmar's security forces have long been attacking Rohingyas and torching their villages since October 2016, in a bid to push them out of the western state of Rakhine. The attacks have been intensified since August 25, with State Counselor Aung San Suu Ky ignoring international demands to call off the operation.

Thousands of Rohingyas have already fled their homeland to take refuge in Bangladesh. Many people have been killed during the perilous boat journeys on the Naf River, which separates the two neighboring countries.

Last week, Members of UK Parliament asked May’s cabinet to step forward and help end the violence, which they described as “ethnic cleansing.”

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534779/UK-Myanmar-rally-Rohingya-silent-genocide

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The War on Terror Has Targeted Muslims Almost Exclusively

by Maha Hilal

Sep 12, 2017

Every year on September 11, the United States mourns the innocent lives that were lost in the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Each year I remember these victims, too. But I also mourn the often forgotten victims of the never-ending wars and draconian counter-terrorism policies of the post 9-11 world: the Muslim community.

In a speech to Congress shortly after the attacks, then-President Bush addressed a portion to Muslims. “The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends,” he said. “Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.” Yet despite Bush’s attempt to distinguish between the “good” and “bad” Muslims, the war on terror has targeted the Muslim community at large almost exclusively.

Abroad, several Muslim nations have been devastated by U.S. invasions and military operations. As of 2015, Physicians for Social Responsibility estimated that 1.3 million Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis had died in the course of the war on terror — a figure the group called “conservative,” noting that it doesn’t include figures from other war zones like Yemen and Somalia. Civilian casualties run high in all of these places, and alleged combatants have died by the hundreds in U.S. military custody.

Domestically, law enforcement has systematically singled out Muslims for special abuse.

Muslim congregations and student groups have suffered intrusive surveillance. And federal agencies have systematically entrapped alleged Muslim “terrorists,” with one 2014 Human Rights Watch report finding that informants had played an active role in hatching at least 30 percent of the plots they prosecuted suspects for.

Meanwhile, so-called communication management units — where federal prison inmates are barred from virtually all contact with the outside world and other inmates — were built and used to warehouse Muslim prisoners. At one point, over 60 percent of inmates housed in them were Muslim, despite Muslims making up just 6 percent of the prison system.

In the even more extreme Guantanamo Bay prison, that number rises to 100 percent.

But it doesn’t end there, because the laws and policies of the war on terror have created a culture of fear — one that teaches American society to fear Muslims, and one that teaches Muslims to fear the U.S. government. While it’s gotten worse under Trump, it’s not something that started under him. The Bush administration built the violent infrastructure of the war on terror, Obama expanded it, and Trump is simply building on it still.

Earlier this year, President Trump signed two executive orders, commonly referred to as the Muslim Ban and Muslim Ban 2.0, which halted the issuing of visas to people from seven (and later six) majority-Muslim countries.

While many were surprised by this overt act of racism and xenophobia, the war on terror has taught Muslims like me that this is nothing new. The orders came amid a surge of hate crimes against Muslims, which recently reached their highest levels since 9/11 itself. Furthermore, the number of hate crimes this year has far surpassed that of 2016 — by 91 percent, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.

“While the bias that motivates a hate crime may be unusual in its ferocity,” a Human Rights Watch report explained way back in 2002, “it is rooted in a wider public climate of discrimination, fear, and intolerance against targeted communities, which may also be echoed in or enhanced by public policy.”

As a Muslim American who has lived in the United States for most of my life, September 11 taught me a few things. It taught me that collective responsibility is at the heart of the laws and policies that have unfolded in the war on terror — that we’ll be targets till we prove we’re “good” Muslims who are uncritical of foreign policy and who believe in the American dream.

It taught me that religious freedom is a value that the United States cherishes, until of course Muslims try to claim it. Then it becomes a security concern.

It taught me that this is actually what many groups have experienced in our country. Different groups are targeted at different times under different umbrellas for our “national security,” which is nothing more than legitimized and institutionalized racism and xenophobia.

This year will mark 16 years of the war on terror — 16 years of military and militaristic means to allegedly abate the terrorist threat, but which have in fact terrorized my own community.

This year, as part of the DC Justice for Muslims Coalition, I’m leading a campaign called #MySept11MuslimStory to provide a space for Muslims to share their stories on the consequences they’ve experienced post-9/11 — not just from the U.S. government, but from society at large. This is my way of empowering the Muslim community to resist the oppression we’ve experienced on the basis of collective responsibility.

Full report at:

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/09/11/war-terror-has-targeted-muslims-almost-exclusively

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Being an ISIS martyr is better than success at school or college, Muslim hate preacher ‘told children’

12 September 2017

An imam who encouraged his congregation including children to join Islamic State told them martyrdom was better than school or college, a court heard yesterday.

Kamran Sabir Hussain, 40, was recorded by an undercover police officer delivering 17 sermons in a mosque aimed at recruiting members for IS, the Old Bailey was told.

On September 2 last year, he allegedly told nine children and 35 adults that martyrdom was the ‘supreme success’, greater than any other such as school or college.

Those who died ‘fighting for Allah’ had nothing to fear because they would be forgiven, he is claimed to have said. They would be martyrs in paradise hated by no one except ‘unbelievers’ and hypocrites.

In front of a congregation of ten to 15 children under the age of 15 and about 25 adults on August 19 last year, Hussain allegedly said the Government funded groups such as the English Defence League and Britain First to insult Muslims, attack them and put them down.

‘The kuffar [unbelievers] will attack you and kill you,’ he added. ‘Stand up and be ready to sacrifice, be ready to stand in the face of the elements of shaytan [satan], be ready to spill blood and have your blood spilt.’

An undercover officer known as ‘Qassim’ began attending the mosque in Stoke-on-Trent in June last year and recorded sermons given by Hussain over a period of ‘some weeks’.

‘Nobody knew he was a law enforcement officer and nobody knew he was recording the sermons,’ said Sarah Whitehouse QC, prosecuting.

Ten of the sermons, in a mixture of English and classical Arabic, are to be played to the jury, covering current affairs and reminders to the congregation to fear God and the day of judgment.

‘Much of the context of Mr Hussain’s sermons was unobjectionable,’ Miss Whitehouse said. ‘The sermons took the classic form of any sermon preached in a mosque up and down the country.

‘Some of the sermons, however, strayed beyond mainstream moderate Islamic thought and moved into support and encouragement to those carrying out acts of terrorism.’

The court heard that in March last year Hussain posted a ‘chilling message’ on social media in which he said the ‘Khilafah’ – a reference to IS – was ‘knocking on your door and the fulfilment of Allah’s command is near and if you don’t like it and are enraged by it, then our message to you is simple: “Die in your rage.’’’

In another post, he wrote that Islam ‘is the light of Allah, pre-destined to eliminate the darkness of kufr’ [non-believers].

The court was told that on June 24 last year, nine days after the start of Ramadan, Hussain delivered a 23-minute sermon to around ten people in which he gave an account of Islamic military victories.

On the subject of the Battle of Badr in which the Prophet Muhammad was victorious against a much larger army, Hussain is said to have compared the circumstances to Syria today.

He spoke of a ‘small fledgling state who is standing in the face of a pompous and arrogant army’ – described in court as a ‘clear reference’ to IS – and asked his audience to pray for it to be victorious and its oppressors annihilated.

On August 5 last year, he is claimed to have told his congregation that ‘mujahideen’ [holy warriors] ‘take over a land, they stand a black flag, and establish the law of Allah over the necks of the people, whether they like it or don’t like it’ and ‘nobody – not the Queen, not the Prime Minister – can say that you are not allowed to establish the law of Allah’.

The sermon echoed a recording Hussain had apparently made at a demonstration saying: ‘Inshallah [God willing], we will see the black flag of Islam over Big Ben and Downing Street’.

Hussain, who had been living in a flat close to the mosque where he preached his sermons, is accused of two charges of encouraging support for IS and six of encouraging others to commit acts of terrorism.

Full report at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4873464/Muslim-preacher-40-urged-worshippers-support-ISIS.html

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Islamic groups in Germany publish election survey for Muslim voters

11.09.2017

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany, as well as the German Muslim League (Deutsche Muslim Liga) and the Islamische Zeitung newspaper on Monday published the results of a survey sent to the parties expected to be voted in to the next Bundestag.

Read more: Immigrant voters in German federal election could prove influential

Of the 61.5 million eligible voters in Germany's nationwide elections due to be held September 24, about 1.5 million are Muslim.

The survey's publishers Aiman Mazyek, Belal El-Mogaddedi and Sulaiman Wilms wrote that, like all citizens, these voters were interested in issues surrounding pensions, climate protection and education - parties' positions on these were well-covered.

"However, a time of growing hostility toward Islam, German Muslims are also considering how parties deal with issues related to Islam and the concerns and suggestions of Muslim citizens when they decide who to vote for," they wrote.

Read more: Erdogan voting advice for German elections splits Turkish community

From dual citizenship to weapons exports

The researchers sent out 30 questions, asking for parties' positions on a wide range of national and international topics. The Left party, Greens, Free Democrats, Christian Democrats (and their Bavarian counterparts, the Christian Social Union) and Social Democrats all answered.

"The only party, that did not respond despite several attempts to follow up with them via email and telephone, was the AfD," the survey's publishers wrote, referring to the Alternative for Germany party, which posits itself as anti-Islam and anti-immigration and last year publicly clashed with the Central Council of Muslims.

The survey included a question on controversial public debates surrounding the circumcision of boys and ritual slaughter of animals (most supported no change to the status quo) and what the parties planned to do about what surveyors called "the growing discrimination against Muslims in parts of society, the economy, politics, media and social networks" (all spoke out against discrimination.)

Full report at:

http://www.dw.com/en/islamic-groups-in-germany-publish-election-survey-for-muslim-voters/a-40457112

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Germany halts major arms supplies to Turkey as tensions heighten

 Sep 11, 2017

Germany has stopped all major weapons exports to Turkey over the country’s worsening human rights situation amid heightened tensions between the two NATO allies.

“We have put on hold all big requests (for arms exports) that Turkey has sent to us, and these are really not a few,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday after his ministry announced that another German couple have been detained in Turkey over alleged political charges.      

Gabriel noted that Berlin was generally obliged to send arms to its NATO partner, but due to the situation in Turkey such measures are being put on hold.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to push EU members to consider ending Turkey’s accession talks, saying Ankara has been abandoning the rule of law.

Earlier in the month, Merkel censured Turkey's move to arrest two more German citizens after Berlin announced that two more German nationals had been held in Turkey "for political reasons."

German-Turkish relations deteriorated after Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit military personnel at the Incirlik Air Base and another base in Konya in Turkey earlier this year.

Germany had earlier blocked visits and speeches by senior Turkish officials to members of the Turkish diaspora in Berlin ahead of an April referendum in Turkey over the constitutional reforms.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently called on the Turkish population in Germany to vote against Merkel in the upcoming German elections.

Turkey also says Germany has granted asylum to officers who were allegedly behind the 2016 failed coup in the country.

Turkey has been trying to accede to the EU since the late 1980s. Formal accession talks began in 2005. The EU has opened 16 out of the 35 chapters required for Turkey to join the 28-nation bloc, but only one of them has so far been concluded.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534839/turkey-germany-tensions-arms

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Arab World

 

44 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Infighting in Raqqa

Sep 11, 2017

The websites reported that clashes between a group of ISIL terrorists in al-Amasi region in Raqqa city and another ISIL group coming from outside killed around 44 terrorists from both sides.

The clashes occurred after a group of ISIL terrorists were trying to defect the group after the recent defeats of ISIL and absence of the ISIL Commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Informed sources disclosed in early August that clashes among terrorist groups have intensified in Southeastern Idlib, leaving a number of militants dead or wounded.

The sources reported that the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) stormed the positions of Jeish al-Fateheen affiliated to Ahrar al-Sham in the town of Tahtaya, killing and wounding a number of the rival militants.

The sources added that Al-Nusra intends to impose full control over the road connecting the Southern part of Idlib province to its Eastern part via driving out Jeish al-Fateheen of Tahtaya.

In the meantime, fighters of Hamoud al-Malik, the former commander of Ahrar al-Sham, engaged in clashes with former combatants of Jund al-Aqsa in the town of Ma'art Shamarin in Southern Idlib.

Local activists reported on Wednesday that Al-Nusra militants stationed at a checkpoint South of Saraqib intercepted a convoy of four trucks of Faylaq al-Sham terrorist group.

Al-Nusra militants seized the vehicles which were laden with weapons and ammunitions, and detained Abu Adas, Faylaq’s commander who was leading the convoy.

Faylaq al-Sham issued an ultimatum to Al-Nusra to release the convoy and the commander before midnight or wait for bloody clashes.

The showdown comes two weeks after Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham (a close ally to Faylaq) signed a ceasefire following fierce clashes in North Idlib which killed up to 50 militants from all sides.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960620000632

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Militants launch deadly attack on police convoy in Egypt’s Sinai

11 September 2017

Suspected militants on Monday ambushed a police convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 18 policemen, including a police brigadier-general, according to security and military officials.

The police and military officials said the attack began with the detonation of roadside bombs that destroyed and set ablaze three armored vehicles and a fourth one carrying signal jamming equipment.

The gunmen later opened fire with machine guns and commandeered a police pickup truck.

The attack took place about 30 kilometers west of el-Arish in northern Sinai, the epicenter of a long-running insurgency by militants now led by the extremist ISIS group.

Three gunmen killed in Arish terrorist attack

A security source at the North Sinai Security Directorate announced that police forces managed to kill three attackers before fleeing the scene.

The terrorist group planted four explosive devices on the road coming from Bir al-Abd area towards Al-Arish, according to the Egyptian news site dostor.org.

ISIS claims responsibility

A local ISIS group affiliate based in North Sinai claimed responsibilty for the attack, reported Al Arabiya.

While based in North Sinai, the ISIS affiliate in Egypt has carried out attacks elsewhere including in the capital Cairo, and killed more than 100 Coptic Christians since December.

Saudi Arabia condemns attack

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/11/Militants-attack-convoy-in-Egypt-s-Sinai-kill-5-police.html

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Syrian Army Preparing to Start 2nd Phase of Deir Ezzur Operations

Sep 11, 2017

The army dispatched the forces and equipment after retaking control of the main road of the city, i.e. Deir Ezzur-Damascus, and breaking the siege of the city and Deir Ezzur airbase.

According to reports, the Syrian army plans to start the new phase from the Northwest and East near Deir Ezzur to completely drive the ISIL out of the entire parts of the province.

Relevant reports said earlier today that the army troops continued their advances in Deir Ezzur province and managed to retake several points, restoring full security to the surrounding areas of Deir Ezzur military airport.

The Syrian army troops attacked ISIL's military positions to the South of Deir Ezzur city from the two directions of Panorama and al-Tim oilfield, and managed to take control of al-Tharda 1, al-Tharda 2 and al-Tharda 3 mountains.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army regained control of al-Tharda mountains which are considered the main defense lines for Deir Ezzur military airport in the South.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960620001227

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18 dead in attack on convoy in Egypt's Sinai

Sep 12, 2017

CAIRO - Militants killed 18 people in an attack Monday on a security convoy in Egypt's North Sinai, where police and troops are battling a militant insurgency, security and medical sources said.

The interior ministry confirmed an attack around the town of Bir al-Abed had caused deaths and injuries but did not provide a toll.

An Islamic State group affiliate based in North Sinai has killed hundreds of soldiers and police in attacks since the military in 2013 ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Monday's incident took place when a vehicle tried to break through a security convoy passing between Qantara near the Egyptian port city of Ismailiya, and El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it killed eight Egyptian soldiers in an ambush on the outskirts of El-Arish, according to the Aamaq news agency, which is affiliated with IS.

"As the forces dealt with the car, it blew up," the ministry said.

The explosion was followed by a shootout with "militant elements who were hiding in the desert area alongside the road," the ministry said.

"This led to the martyrdom of some of the convoy's individuals and the injury of others," it said.

It was not immediately clear whether any civilians were among the dead.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Sep-2017/18-dead-in-attack-on-convoy-in-egypt-s-sinai

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Tens of Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Raqqa, Deir Ezzur

Sep 11, 2017

The US warplanes targeted several regions in Raqqa city in the past 24 hours, killing at least 11 civilians and wounding a number of others.

Meantime, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the US fighter jets have pounded one of the ISIL-controlled prisons in the town of Albukamal near the former political security building of Deir Ezzur city on Saturday afternoon, killing at least 23 people, including 18 civilians who had been under arrest in the jail, and wounding several others.

It added that at least 10 inmates jailed in the prison were Iraqi nationals.

In a relevant development on Sunday, over 10 civilians, including children, were killed and several more were wounded in the US-led coalition airstrikes in ISIL-held Raqqa city.

The US fighter jets targeted several districts and neighborhoods in Raqqa city, including the shool area in al-Nahzah neighborhood, killing 11 civilians.

Five members of a family, including  three children, were among the dead civilians in air assault.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960620001357

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Syrian Army Takes Control of Key Power Station in Eastern Hama

Sep 11, 2017

Salba power station in Salamiyeh region is now under the full control of the Syrian army.

Meantime, the Syrian army is now very close to imposing control over the entire Eastern Hama as ver limited areas are still under the control of the ISIL.

In a relevant development on Sunday, the Syrian Army troops carried out an ambush operation against ISIL in Eastern Hama and repelled a heavy attack of Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) in the Southern part of the province, inflicting major casualties on the terrorists on Sunday.

The army's elite forces ambushed a group of ISIL terrorists in Wadi al-Azib region in Eastern Hama, killing the entire members of the group and seizing their arms and ammunition.

Also the army soldiers fended off a heavy offensive of Al-Nusra terrorists deployed in Hirbnafsa at the thermal power plant in Southern Hama, killing and wounding a number of rebels.

Relevant reports said on Saturday that the army units, backed up by the country's Air Force, repelled ISIL's attacks to win back lost positions, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

The army men fended off ISIL's offensives on the two towns of Jarouh and Hamadi Omar in Eastern Hama, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.

Also, the army aircraft pounded ISIL's movements in Jarouh and Hamadi Omar regions, killing a number of terrorists and destroying their military equipment.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960620000841

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Report: Rifts Widening Among Al-Nursa Front Commanders in Idlib

Sep 11, 2017

The commanders and religious muftis of Al-Nusra Front are at odds over a recent request by an Al-Nusra commander in Idlib who asked Chief Commander of Al-Nusra Front Abu Muhammad Julani for permission to arrest Abdullah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, the commander and Mufti (religious leader) of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board) during an upcoming visit to Al-Nusra bases, the Arabic-language al-Hadas news website reported.

Al-Julani, however, rejected the request by Al-Nusra commander in Idlib Abu Hamzeh Banesh, and told him that he would prevent further visits to Al-Nusra military bases by al-Muhaysini.

In a relevant development in late July, Tahrir al-Sham ultimately pushed Ahrar al-Sham back from Idlib city after weeks of bloody clashes in Northwestern Syria.

The Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news network quoted informed sources affiliated to the terrorist groups as saying that Tahrir al-Sham has gained full control over Idlib city and has driven the entire members of Ahrar al-Sham out of the city.

The network added that regardless of the ceasefire, fierce clashes between Tahrir al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham are underway to take control of passageways and command centers.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960620000567

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Syrian Army S-200 Missiles Fired at Israeli Fighter Jets

Sep 11, 2017

The Arabic website of Sputnik news agency quoted the facebook page of Encyclopedia of Syrian Military as reporting that the Syrian army's air defense radars traced two F-16 fighter jets since 10:25 local time on Sunday and ordered their interception at 11:26 local time.

The report added that the two aircraft were flying Northward and the missile hit them in the Northern parts of Sidon in Lebanon, noting that the targets were also traced by the air defense battalions.

The facebook page underlined that the decision to intercept the Israeli warplanes is no less important than destroying them, reminding that the Israeli fighter jets are equipped with protection systems which can create virtual targets.

The Damascus and Tel Aviv officials have yet to show reaction to the report.

Israel is known to have assisted Golan-based militants of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) with medical aid and military equipment since as early as 2013.

Photos released on social media last month also showed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) medical personnel have been recovering wounded terrorists from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and then treated them in medical centers on the Israeli-occupied side of the region.

According to sources, the militants have been treated by the IDF Israel's medical centers only to then be sent back into Syria were they continue to commit terrorist acts.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960620000877

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Lebanon to complain to UN over Israel violating airspace

11 September 2017 T

Lebanon will file a complaint to the United Nations against Israel for violating the country’s airspace and causing damage by breaking the sound barrier in the south of the country, its foreign minister said on Monday.

Israeli jets flew low over the southern city of Saida on Sunday, causing sonic booms that broke windows and shook buildings for the first time in years, Lebanese security sources and residents said.

“We have started preparing to file a complaint to the (UN) Security Council against Israel for flying its planes at low altitude... causing material, moral and sovereign damage,” Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said Lebanon would issue its complaint “against Israel for planting spy devices on Lebanese land and continuously breaching” its airspace, his office said.

Israeli warplanes regularly enter Lebanon’s airspace, the Lebanese army says, but rarely fly so low. The Israeli military gave no immediate comment.

Tensions have risen recently between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel, which fought a month-long war in 2006.

The 2006 war killed around 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them troops.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/11/Lebanon-to-complain-to-UN-over-Israel-violating-airspace.html

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Russia urges UN to ramp up aid to Syrians

11 September 2017

Russia on Monday urged United Nations special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to ramp up humanitarian aid, as Moscow said it would dispatch demining experts to the city of Deir Ezzor after regime gains.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sent a letter to de Mistura in which he stressed the need for more humanitarian assistance in Syria in areas freed from “terrorists”.

“The document notes that government troops freed from terrorists a significant part of Syria with the help of Russia’s air force,” the defense ministry said.

“Conditions have been created for the revival of peaceful life.”

Shoigu singled out a “complicated situation” in refugee camps located in the border town of Al-Tanf and Uqayribat in Hama province, the ministry said, adding that Syrians needed more than 1,000 tonnes of food and more than 80 tonnes of medical supplies.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to be winning a six-year-long war against rebels and Islamic State militants as his army backed by Russian forces now controls the country’s main cities.

Over the past week, Syrian troops have made major advances in the east of the country, relieving two government-held enclaves in and around the city of Deir Ezzor that had been under siege by the Islamic State group since 2014.

The defense ministry said Monday a demining unit comprising more than 40 experts and special equipment had been sent to Syria, adding that they will be sent to Deir Ezzor “in the nearest future.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/11/Russia-urges-un-to-ramp-up-aid-to-Syrians.html

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Iraq holding 1,400 foreign wives, children of suspected ISIS fighters

11 September 2017

Iraqi authorities are holding 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected ISIS fighters after government forces expelled the militant group from one of its last remaining strongholds in Iraq, security and aid officials said.

Most came from Turkey. Many others were from former Soviet states, such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Russia, Iraqi army and intelligence officers said. Other Asians and a "very few" French and Germans were also among them.

The wives and children are being held at an Iraqi camp south of Mosul. Most had arrived since Aug. 30, when Iraqi troops drove ISIS out of Mosul.

One intelligence officer said that they were still in verifying their nationalities with their home countries, since many of the women no longer had their original documents.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/09/11/Iraq-holding-1-400-foreign-wives-children-of-suspected-ISIS-fighters.html

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Saudi Arabia foils ISIS attempt to attack defense ministry

12 September 2017

Saudi Arabia has said that attempts by ISIS militants to attack the defense ministry have been foiled, the kingdom's Presidency of State Security confirmed to Al Arabiya News Channel on Monday.

Two Yemeni nationals named Ahmed Yasser al-Kaldi and Ammar Ali Mohammed were arrested for plotting attacks targeting two headquarters of the Ministry of Defense in Riyadh.

Below is a full translated statement from the Presidency of State Security regarding the ongoing investigation into the plots:

First: The arrest of the suicide bombers, Ahmed Yaser al-Kaldi and Ammar Ali Muhammad, before they reached the target location, neutralizing their danger and controlling them by the security men. The initial investigations revealed that they were of Yemeni nationality and their names differed from those recorded by the identity evidence that was seized.

Two other Saudi nationals were also arrested and their relationship with the above-mentioned suicide bombers was confirmed who tried to provide assistance. The investigation's interest would require anonymity at the moment.

Second: Two explosive belts (each weighing 7 kg), and nine homemade grenades, firearms and white weapons were seized.

Third: Raid conducted on a safe house in Al-Rimal neighborhood of Riyadh where a suicide bomber was trained at in how to wear explosive belts using them during an attack.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/09/12/Saudi-Arabia-foils-ISIS-attempt-to-attack-defense-ministry.html

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Anti-Terror Quartet issue statement on Qatar FM’s recent comments at the UN

11 September 2017

The four Anti-Terror Quartet countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have issued a joint statement in response to recent comments made by Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani at the UN Human Rights Council.

The four countries have said Al-Thani’s statement reflects Doha’s approach in misleading others and that while Qatar claims that it wants dialogue, they are more focused on improving its international image.

He said that the Qatari minister's speech did not reflect a sincere intention to deal positively with mediations, pointing out that he was the first foreign minister of Qatar to declare his country's commitment to stop supporting terrorism.

The joint statement also said that Qatar FM’s speech did not reflect a sincere intention on Doha’s side to deal positively with mediation efforts with its neighbors.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/09/11/Anti-Terror-Quartet-issue-statement-on-Qatar-s-FM-recent-comments.html

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Iraqi rights group urges Baghdad to sue US coalition over civilian deaths in Mosul

Sep 12, 2017

Iraq’s official High Commission for Human Rights has urged the Iraqi government to sue a US-led coalition operating in the Arab country over the death of civilians in the northern city of Mosul.

Wahda al-Jumaili, a member of the parliament-affiliated commission, said US-led airstrikes had destroyed “numerous buildings in western Mosul — residential and commercial,” and that “nearly 2,000 bodies” had been recovered from under the rubble.

She said that more bodies were expected to be found.

“We are therefore calling on Iraqi prosecution authorities to file an official lawsuit against coalition commanders for these violations of humanitarian law and a failure to discriminate between Daesh criminals and civilians,” she said.

Al-Jumaili also urged Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to launch an investigation “to determine who is responsible for the loss of innocent lives” in Mosul.

In July, Iraqi forces liberated the city of Mosul, the provincial capital of in Nineveh, from the control of the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

Separately, Hussam Eddin al-Abbar, a member of the provincial council of Nineveh, said that the coalition’s fierce airstrikes had caused “widespread destruction” in the district of Old City in western Mosul in particular.

‘2,650 bodies recovered from Mosul so far’

Health officials in Nineveh said on Monday that 2,650 bodies had been recovered from Mosul since the city’s liberation two months ago.

“Local medical facilities have received some 2,650 bodies,” Laith Hababah, head of the Nineveh Health Department, said.

He said most of the bodies had been pulled from the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Old City district.

The United States and its allies launched a campaign of airstrikes against what they say are Daesh positions in August 2014 after the terrorist group overran parts of Iraq’s north and west, including Mosul.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/12/534860/Iraq-High-Commission-for-Human-Rights-US-coalition-Mosul-deaths

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Africa

 

Nigeria: Islamisation - Nigeria On Throes of Jihad, Christian Elders Insist

11 SEPTEMBER 2017

By Sam Eyoboka and Dapo Akinrefon

The National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, has insisted that the Federal Government was planning to Islamise the country through Jihad.

The group comprises different professionals and former senior army generals, including former Defence Minister, Theophilus Danjuma.

In a statement entitled, "Jihad in Nigeria: Burying The Head in Sand," and signed by NCEF chairman, Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN, on September 6, the group was compelled to defend its earlier release in July this year entitled; "Correct Assessment of Situation in Nigeria," which has generated a great deal of debate among some Nigerian Muslim leaders who have denied the reality of an ongoing Jihad in Nigeria, and clarified certain misconceptions in the interest of peace and development of Nigeria.

After reviewing unfolding events across the country, the eminent Christian elders in July this year, called on Nigerian leaders to tread softly to avoid a pending implosion, insisting that the real problem with the country was that a Jihad had been launched in Nigeria.

It also contended that Islamists that have been interfering in the governance of the country, using "Taqiyya" (approved deception) as "Stealth/Civilization Jihad," Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen as violent Jihad, were relentless in their pursuit of eradicating democracy in Nigeria.

"The objective of the Islamists (political Islam) is to supplant the constitution of Nigeria with Sharia ideology as the source of legislation in the nation.

"The conflict between democracy as national ideology and Sharia as a usurping ideology is responsible for the crisis unfolding in Nigeria. The nation is in the throes of Jihad," the group said.

Nigeria moving dangerously close to national red line

Noting that Nigeria was moving dangerously close to a national "red line" where truth was now being criminalized as "hate speech," the NCEF said it was committed to the unity of Nigeria, contending that the duty of the leadership of the nation was to ensure that this unity was not sacrificed on the altar of sectarian interests and biases.

It noted: "The NCEF is fully aware of the seriousness of these issues and wishes to share this information for the consideration of serious minds desirous of providing solutions to the myriad of problems confronting Nigeria.

"The NCEF has taken on this onerous task, not for the interest of the present Christian elders, most of whom are in the boarding lounge to eternity, but in the interest of the coming generations."

NCEF challenges Muslim leaders

The NCEF challenged Muslim leaders denying the existence of a jihad in the country to clarify certain pronouncements over the issue, including declaration by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in one of his videos in 2012 that the war they were prosecuting was not political but religious.

It said: "It is between Muslims and unbelievers (arna). It will stop when Islamic religion is the determinant in governance in Nigeria or, in the alternative, when all fighters are annihilated and no one is left to continue the fight.

"I warn all Muslims at this juncture that any Muslim who assists an unbeliever in this war should consider himself an unbeliever and should consider himself dead." If this statement is not a declaration of Jihad, could Muslim leaders explain what this means?" The group further quoted Shekau as saying.

Buhari's agenda is for new Nigeria--Presidency

Reacting, the Presidency denied the claim, saying President Buhari's only agenda for the country was for a new Nigeria.

The President's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said: "The times in which we are do not call for unnecessary suspicion. The only agenda President Muhammadu Buhari has is emergence of a new Nigeria, safe, prosperous, corrupt free, where our children can have a future and a hope."

http://allafrica.com/stories/201709110223.html

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Tunisian leader Chahed asks citizens to make ‘shared sacrifices’

12 September 2017

Tunisia’s prime minister has called on citizens to “join hands” to defeat both terrorism and the economic obstacles threatening the North African country’s budding democracy.

Youssef Chahed announced before lawmakers on Monday a battery of ambitious reforms aimed at pulling Tunisia out of its economic crisis by 2020.

Chahed says until then he will lead “a government of war against terrorism and corruption, a government that works for development and fights unemployment” and helps to erase disparities between the capital and the country’s impoverished inland regions.

To do so, he told Tunisians that they must “join hands” and make “shared sacrifices.”

The prime minister says he wants to raise the retirement age and increase the social charges Tunisians contribute to their benefits.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2017/09/12/Tunisian-leader-Chahed-asks-citizens-to-make-shared-sacrifices-.html

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Israel forced to ‘postpone’ first Africa summit

Sep 12, 2017

Israel has had to indefinitely postpone a summit it had planned with African countries following a boycott by a number of those states.

The so-called Africa-Israel Summit, a first of its kind, had been due to take place in Togo’s capital, Lome, on October 23-27. Israeli officials had reportedly planned to discuss with African leaders ways to enhance cooperation in the fields of “technology, development, and security.”

In a statement released on Monday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced the postponement of the event without providing an alternative date.

“At the request of the president of Togo [Faure Gnassingbe] and following a joint consultation with the prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu), it was decided to postpone the convening of the Israel-Africa Summit, scheduled to take place in October in Lome,” the statement read.

Shunning ‘regime of occupation’

The delay came amid reports that Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania had decided to boycott the gathering.

South African Ambassador to Lebanon and Syria Sean Benfeldt said last month that his country would not take part in the summit, which he said would be a step by Israel to normalize ties between Africa and a regime of “occupation.”

He also denounced “Israel’s inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip, stressing the need for practical solutions to the humanitarian suffering of the population in the besieged [Palestinian] territory.”

In an attempt to improve relations with African states, the Israeli premier went on a tour of East African countries — namely Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia — in July 2016.

He also attended a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia in June 2017.

Moroccon King Mohammed VI did not participate in the event because Netanyahu had been invited.

Additionally on Monday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the postponement of the first Africa-Israel Summit “was a result of sizable pressure” by the Palestinian government.

The gathering, it said, had been meant to “enhance Israel’s influence in the African continent and to make the continent dependent” on the regime.

“The Arab League, along with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and other Arab and Islamic groups and parliaments of Arab countries, have adopted several initiatives seeking to counter and thwart that summit,” the statement said.

Last month, the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad wrote to African governments, calling for the boycott of the Togo summit and dissociation from “Israel’s Apartheid regime.”

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/12/534859/Israel-Africa-summit-postponement-boycott

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Congo conflict forces more children to leave school: Refugee group

Sep 11, 2017

More and more children are being deprived of education in the Republic of the Congo over a protracted conflict and the country’s weak education system, an NGO says.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said Monday that some 850,000 children have been displaced and 900 schools have been destroyed as a result of intensified violence in Congo's central Kasai region over the past year.

The group said the population is part of some 7.4 million children who are out of school in Congo as the conflict keeps taking toll on the country’s already weakened education system.

Some 92 percent of children in the six-to-11-year-old age group are out of school in the violence-hit towns of Kalemie and Tanganyika, the group said.

The group also warned that the vast Central African country risks losing its next generation as only 4 percent of humanitarian funds for education have been received this year.

“When children are displaced they are forced to suspend their education, or drop it altogether. This disruption to their development hinders their personal progress, and has detrimental effects to the socio-economics of the entire country,” said Celestin Kamori, the council's Congo education program coordinator.

The campaigning group called on international donors to prioritize education emergencies.

“Donors should recognize that education is also a protection tool. Children enrolled in emergency education classes, catch-up classes and child-friendly spaces are less likely to join armed groups,” said Kamori, adding, “We need more funding to scale up emergency education support so that we don't lose a generation.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council said many schools that are spared of the effects of fighting in Congo are used to shelter displaced families, further complicating efforts to restore the education system.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534828/Congo-violence-children-school

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Somali army repels al-Shabab after attack on military base

Sep 11, 2017

Government forces in Somalia have seized control of a town near the border with Kenya, after the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group attacked a Somali military base there and left a number of soldiers dead.

Military officials and local residents confirmed on Monday that the Takfiri outfit had detonated a car bomb in the Somali border town of Balad Hawo and then stormed the military base there, but were later driven out by the army after heavy fighting.

"We were awoken by a suicide car bomb this morning and then fierce battle followed," Major Mohamed Abdullahi told Reuters from the town.

"We lost at least 10 soldiers. We chased al-Shabab out of the town. We killed seven militants,” he added.

The official, however, warned that the death toll on both sides could still rise.

Ahmed Hassan, a resident of the Somali town, said, "Now Balad Hawo is calm and government forces fully control it," adding that he saw 13 bodies collected from the military base.

Al-Shabab, however, claimed it had killed 30 soldiers in the fighting and left the town after releasing 35 prisoners from the local jail.

The development came a day after at least six people were killed and several others injured in an al-Shabab bomb attack in central Somalia.

Al-Shabab is the dominant militant group in Somalia, a country in the horn of Africa that has been ravaged by decades of war and poverty. The militant group aims to oust the western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out African Union peacekeeping troops.

Somalia has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants since 2006.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/09/11/534798/Somali-army-repels-alShabab-after-attack

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